The firm St. Louis Music acquired an interest in the company in 1981 and began importing the brand to the United States as a replacement for the previous Custom Kraft-brand instruments manufactured by Kay and Valco in the mid-1950s. Electra was also a brand of St. Louis Music. In 1984, they merged the brands to make the Electra-Westone brand. From 1985 onwards, the guitars were branded as Westone. The majority of the Westone guitars of the 1980s were made by the Matsumoku factory in Japan and imported by St. Louis Music. After about 1988 production moved to Korea, most of the innovative models disappeared, and the brand name was replaced by Alvarez in 1991.
Though initially popularized as inexpensive, entry-level guitars particularly useful for students, the transition into Asian manufacturing in the 80s represented a fundamental change in production. Designers then emphasized features such as custom pickups and electronics. Upon the end of production, many Westone guitars and basses have become collectors items.
Notable musicians who have used Westone models includes
- Trevor Rabin (Rabbitt and Yes)
- Tim Smith (Cardiacs)
- Ian Masters (Pale Saints)
- Leslie West (Mountain)
- Kirk Pengilly (INXS)
- Justin Broadrick (Napalm Death and Godflesh)
- Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse)
- Gabriel Saloman (Yellow Swans)
- Dave Brock (Hawkwind)
- Varg Vikernes (Burzum).
- Eric Brittingham (Cinderella)
Guitar line names:
Trademark 73073895: "WESTONE" (Musical Instrument Products) by St. Louis Music Supply Company, Inc., filled: 1976-01-09, registered: 1976-08-17,
First Use Anywhere: 10/9/1975Check date values in:
See also Trademark 73460545 and Trademark 73697956; the registration have been finally canceled (by section 8) in 1995-02-06.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Westone guitars.|
- Westone Guitars -The Home of Westone- Contains catalogue scans, repair information and up to date detailed model information
- The Westone Guitar Site Archive - Authorized site, not maintained
- Westone Info - Fan made website
- The Westone Guitar Forum - discussion forum for Westone owners
- Electra Guitar
- St. Louis Music Website
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