Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Talk about and show off your El Degas instruments here.
Post Reply
andreww
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:22 am

Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by andreww »

Our street had a number of garage sales this past weekend. I usually don't bother with such events, but as it was a beautiful day I decided to take a walk around to the various driveways. At the last house on the block I spotted a cheap vinyl guitar case with a $10 sticker on it. I unzipped it to find a full sized, cherry sunburst acoustic guitar. I gave it a couple of quick strums and found that it had nice low action, and it seemed to play in tune all the way up the neck. I snapped it up and took it home. Its a Kent "Bonanza" which appears to have been produced in the early 1970s. From what I understand, Kent was a budget brand that never actually manufactured guitars, but had them made for them by various (mostly far east) companies. The quality can vary from fairly decent to pretty terrible, but it seems that the one I got is of the higher quality variety. Anyway, I really wanted a full sized acoustic, as my Kramer Ferrington gets drowned out when I play with friends, and for $10 it was a steal!

If any of you guys have any further insight in to Kent guitars, I'd love to hear it.

BTW, My all time favorite player, Alex Lifeson, started on a Kent, so this one definitely has the right Karma :)
User avatar
charles
Site Admin
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:00 pm
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by charles »

They may well have been brought in by B&J or some sort of a subsidiary/parent/sister company - the catalog scan I have (it'll go up on the site, don't worry!) shows some of the guitars & basses leaned up to Kent amps.

Here's a taste:

Image

Is the logo on the guitar in the same typeface?

Blown up and sharpened a bit:
Image
I started ElDegas.com many years ago to help celebrate and inform about El Degas instruments. It all started with a used Ric 4000 bass copy I bought in circa 2000.

El Degas stable as of 03/2022: 42 :shock: (13 bass, 26 electric, 3 acoustic)
User avatar
Barry
Posts: 1008
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:31 pm
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by Barry »

Hey Andrew.
Kent is a name I haven't seen in a long time but if you google it there is quite a bit of info out there.
My recollection is that these were an average to good quality line.

You might start here:
http://www.hagstrom.org.uk/history.htm
I have a hunch your guitar may have originated with Hagstrom, a very good guitar maker.
Meantime, enjoy!
User avatar
Barry
Posts: 1008
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:31 pm
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by Barry »

Hi again,
I found this MIJ Bonanza model. Is yours a 12 string?
http://www.guitarbarn.com/barn/modules. ... ge&pid=626
andreww
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:22 am

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by andreww »

No, mine is a 6-string, but the guitar is identical except for the shorter headstock, and it uses pegs instead of the steel tail piece. Of course mine is a cherry sunburst as well.

I'd researched the Hagstrom connection, but from what I could tell they never produced any full bodied acoustics under the Kent name.

I'll take notice of the font used on the headstock tonight.
User avatar
charles
Site Admin
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:00 pm
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by charles »

andreww wrote:I'd researched the Hagstrom connection, but from what I could tell they never produced any full bodied acoustics under the Kent name.
With all respect to Barry, I personally would very much doubt a Hagstrom connection (which to my understanding is a Swedish company) with Kent guitars (which is likely an imported Japanese-produced instrument)

That's the thing that I think leads a lot of people in the wrong direction when it comes to 70's MIJ makes... I see it so often "oh that XXXXXX brand guitar is a 70's MIJ, must be the same as my friend's Aria/Pearl(yes, the drum company Pearl!)/etc". People have trouble differentiating the "company" that has their brand name placed on the headstock from the "manufacturer" that actually produces the instrument.

The thing about the Japanese manufacturers back then (and actually, still today) is that they produce guitars for many different companies/importers... so you see a lot of 70s MIJ guitars with all sorts of brand names that may have come from the same manufacturer - but the end-result of the brands on the headstock have no direct correlation. The brand is just what's put on the headstock after the manufacturer that actually produces the instrument does their thing.

That's why you'll see a lot of guitars with various names that the keen-eyed can point out as being textbook Matsumoku or Fuji Gen or some other manufacturer's style; BUT this does not mean that the company who's brand is on the headstock has ANYTHING to do with the company with their brand on another guitar from the same manufacturer. Quite the contrary, most likely they were all rushing to get their similarily-styled instruments to market first to get a piece of that lucrative 70's copy pie! They just happened to source their manufacturing from the same company, and THAT is where the correlation really rests, and where it is truly the most important.

Many people just do not realize that it's this back-end correlation that is key (I'm much more excited when I recognize the tell-tale signs of a very good Fuji Gen, Matsumoku, etc manufacturer's guitar handiwork in different brands of these 70's era MIJs; rather than whether or not the importing company that had their brand name screened onto the headstock had anything to do with another).
I started ElDegas.com many years ago to help celebrate and inform about El Degas instruments. It all started with a used Ric 4000 bass copy I bought in circa 2000.

El Degas stable as of 03/2022: 42 :shock: (13 bass, 26 electric, 3 acoustic)
andreww
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:22 am

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by andreww »

From hagstrom.org
The Kent Branded instruments were extensively produced in Korea and Japan circa 1960’s. The was no Kent Guitar company, it was a distribution brand for the USA. Distributed in the US by Distributors in New York, Texas, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Kent was a trademark used on a full line of acoustic and solid body electric guitars, banjos and mandolins imported into the US and Canadian markets in the 60’s - but NOT MADE BY HAGSTROM. Some of the early Kent guitars (all types) were made in Japan by either Teisco or Guyatone, at this time entry level models. After this, Hagstrom produced versions of their Solid Electric Hagstrom I, II and III and Electric Bass guitars as Kents also just for the US market, as: 1) a way to get into the market with a brand that was at heard of in the US, and 2) a way for the Kent brand to make a quality leap in an increasingly discerning market. Hagstrom ceased to produce under the Kent brand presumably because they became popular under their own name! I have no other info on Kent, beyond the old “David Bowie once played a Kent Guitar” – now that one WAS a Hagstrom!
User avatar
charles
Site Admin
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:00 pm
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by charles »

andreww wrote:From hagstrom.org
The Kent Branded instruments were extensively produced in Korea and Japan circa 1960’s. The was no Kent Guitar company, it was a distribution brand for the USA. Distributed in the US by Distributors in New York, Texas, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Kent was a trademark used on a full line of acoustic and solid body electric guitars, banjos and mandolins imported into the US and Canadian markets in the 60’s - but NOT MADE BY HAGSTROM. Some of the early Kent guitars (all types) were made in Japan by either Teisco or Guyatone, at this time entry level models. After this, Hagstrom produced versions of their Solid Electric Hagstrom I, II and III and Electric Bass guitars as Kents also just for the US market, as: 1) a way to get into the market with a brand that was at heard of in the US, and 2) a way for the Kent brand to make a quality leap in an increasingly discerning market. Hagstrom ceased to produce under the Kent brand presumably because they became popular under their own name! I have no other info on Kent, beyond the old “David Bowie once played a Kent Guitar” – now that one WAS a Hagstrom!
Interesting. But my point is still valid - according to your quote, if it's a MIJ or MIK Kent it is "NOT MADE BY HAGSTROM" and thus not really a Hagstrom in terms of who actually constructed it (the same as an El Degas is not really a "B&J" or an "El Degas"-made guitar; because the company importing the guitar is not the one manufacturing it).

Only the "Hagstrom produced versions of their Solid Electric Hagstrom I, II and III and Electric Bass guitars as Kents" are actually Hagstroms wherein Hagstrom actually manufactured the guitar.

Either way, it might be a damn fun guitar :) I had a couple of Teiscos and while they were certainly not the best quality instruments they were fun to play and definitely had their own character.
I started ElDegas.com many years ago to help celebrate and inform about El Degas instruments. It all started with a used Ric 4000 bass copy I bought in circa 2000.

El Degas stable as of 03/2022: 42 :shock: (13 bass, 26 electric, 3 acoustic)
User avatar
charles
Site Admin
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:00 pm
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by charles »

I wonder which kind of Kent guitar Mr. Lifeson started on; A MIJ Teisco/Guyotone/etc made Kent or a Hagstrom-made Kent?
I started ElDegas.com many years ago to help celebrate and inform about El Degas instruments. It all started with a used Ric 4000 bass copy I bought in circa 2000.

El Degas stable as of 03/2022: 42 :shock: (13 bass, 26 electric, 3 acoustic)
andreww
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:22 am

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by andreww »

From Alex...
I started playing when I was about 11 years old. I begged for a guitar for Christmas, and got an $11 Kent acoustic--it was just terrible, but my parents still have it [laughs]. Then the following Christmas my parents bought me a Conora, which sort of looked like a Gretch Country Gentleman. Both were inexpensive, poorly Japanese guitars. I borrowed the guy-next-door's Paul amp whenever I could, and I taped "Vox" in black tape on the front of it [laughs]. I played for hours and hours and hours.
User avatar
charles
Site Admin
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:00 pm
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by charles »

The Hagstrom/Kent -- B&J/Kent connection may be debunked here:
http://www.albinhagstrom.se/here_comes_the_history.htm

(bolding added by me)

Kent

1962 saw the beginning of a new model with a slightly new trade name. It was a step away from the Gibson (Les Paul) design. It had simpler Fender head-piece and a body which resembled the Stratocaster. Kent was a low budget model, which had a vinyl-coated backside. The front was covered with a disc of perspex which was lacquered on the inside (this made it durable so as not to tarnish the front of the guitar). The guitar was sold under the name Hagström F-11 in the USA and the equivalent bass was called the Hagström FB. The English distributor (Selmer) did not want to use the Hagström name and so used their own, Futurama (see Hershman).

The name to be used elsewhere in Europe was the trade name Kent (a name which Karl Erik got from Japanese musical accessories which were sold under the same name in the USA by Buegeleisen & Jacobson NY. Buegeleisen & Jacobson also sold the Bjarton acoustic guitar under the Espana name in the USA) when the boom in guitars came. The idea with this was that you could sell the guitars to anyone who wanted to have a Hagström, either for their own use, or to be sold in a shop without the infringement of an earlier established distributership who had a stock of Hagström guitars. You could maintain that they were not Hagström guitars which were being sold, they were in fact Kent guitars. This was a marketing method which Karl Erik used with other names, even in the USA, at least until the letters from upset American distributors arrived when they finally realised they had been selling a Hagström guitar in the store only under another name.
I started ElDegas.com many years ago to help celebrate and inform about El Degas instruments. It all started with a used Ric 4000 bass copy I bought in circa 2000.

El Degas stable as of 03/2022: 42 :shock: (13 bass, 26 electric, 3 acoustic)
User avatar
the52blues
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:10 am
Location: Brampton, ON, Canada
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by the52blues »

I was a bit surprised to see a Kent string here on the El Degas site but, believe it or not I owned 2 Kents in the 60's One acoustic 6 string which played fantastic for a cheap guitar... well until the chipboard case opened up while I was running up the stairs at high school. The guitar fell out of the case and the guy behind me bumped me and I landed knee first on my now totally destroy guitar. I was heart broken. I also had a red semi-hollow electric guitar that had a little rubber mute you could flip up at the bridge onto the strings to make a very unique sound.
My news is Blues!
User avatar
Barry
Posts: 1008
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:31 pm
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Contact:

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by Barry »

the52blues wrote:I was a bit surprised to see a Kent string here on the El Degas site ...
Hey, no snobs here. We're El Degas lovers but we do like a little bit on the side too! :mrgreen:
I landed knee first on my now totally destroy guitar.
Every player's nightmare, eh? Condolences. :cry:
Cgleb
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2022 7:08 am

Re: Anybody know anything about Kent Guitars?

Post by Cgleb »

They were made by guyatone the oldest guitar mfg in Japan and sold under Kent Morris Ideal and various other brands.
Post Reply