The easiest way to ID a brand is to look at the label 😉 ,- if it says Fender its most likely a Fender , though there are many fakes around…
When I try to ID a guitar without label, I first try to figure out where its made. Most unlabeled guitars found here in Europe are also made here.
In this intro section I will try and tell a bit how I do …or try to do it. Ill add ideas little by little , when I have the time for it.
Hardware like pickguards and tailpieces can be very good clues, though one must always have in mind that these parts can very well have been replaced over the years…
Never base a identification on a single feature. That will lead to many mistakes unless the feature is diagnostic, and they seldom are. The more featires that fits the better, and then compare with allready known samples.
Simple trapeze .
These looks very much the same , but there are ways to distinguish between them.
Here we have two very similar trapeze tailpieces.Look at the hinge. The left is the typical postwar ABM produced trapeze, very common on guitars from Westgermany ( and can also be found on guitars from other places ). So its not the trapeze that is important, but the hinge. The one at the right is the Eastgerman postwar version.
In Czechoslovakia they are almost the same as the Eastgerman above :
This is how the ABM hinge looked like in prewar Schönbach days, and they continued to make similar copies after the war. A hinge like this is in most cases either prewar Schönbach ( Czechoslovakia) , postwar Czechoslovakian or very early postwar Westgermany like this very early Höfner 456 ..
photo to come..
A few other easy recognizable trapeze’s
with eastern europe style hinge, but the upper bar is rounded. This trapeze is from Poland , and very often used on Defil guitars. Can also be seen on Italian guitars like Eko ( and probably more)
With rounded solid upperbar . Yugoslavia . In this case from a Glazbala ( made in Zagreb, Croatia )
Ill add more special trapezes later….
simple tuners with round yellowish ( ambercolored ? ) tunerbuttons.
Germany East typical tailpieces :
Sometimes marked Rima or HM . Typical Vogtland tailpieces from the area around Markneukirchen
First one is a rather fancy one mostly seen on highquality guitars and also on early Roger guitars
here a couple of variations of simpler harp shaped tailpieces. They also come with added tremolosystem. As far as I know these can only be found from outside eastgermany as “wrong” replacements….
Germany West. Typical ABM produced tailpieces.
ABM produced almost all the tailpieces for westgerman guitars…and still do. They do however also deliver to brands and makers outside of Germany….so….
Various types of “reinforced” trapeze style . they come in many versions and also in short versions. first is an older type:
Left is a quite rare type. Right is very common.
Harpshaped tailpieces :
Lyrashaped tailpiece, which was normally used on highend models. They also vary like the others, but the main idea is the same :