Greco Spacey Sound – The Brazen Picker

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 : Is this Japanese Vintage at its best!

I have mentioned before that I love a nice vintage Japanese Strat clone, or Les Paul, as they made absolute cracker instruments. It is also well noted by many amateurs and experts alike that a lot of these instruments were on par or surpassed the US made gear at the time with their quality workmanship, components, feel and tone.

Okay, before we get to deep into my review, let’s see and hear how she sounds when Darren plays her through a Marshall JCM800…

MARSHALL JCM 800 BASS CABINETS STACK IN "MINT" CONDITION "EXTREMELY RARE"!

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This next video Darren is playing her through a Peavey Delta Blues

We have a couple more amps lined up to demo this guitar through, so I will update this page when they are done, keep an eye out on the Youtube channel for them…

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Ok, lets take a look at some pics and while we’re at it, I will share some thoughts on this very cool, vintage Japanese guitar…

Greco Spacey Sound SE450

Greco Spacey Sound SE450

The Greco Spacey Sound SE-450 is no exception to the rule when it comes to quality Japanese Vintage (JV) guitars, although I must admit the name ‘Spacey Sounds’ probably fits the musical genre quite well, but perhaps a little bit of Japanese English coming through there.

The name ‘Brazen Picker‘ is also quite cool in its own Japanese way, but luckily these guitars are well known for their tone, not their label. I mean when I lived in Japan (I lived there for 3 years) there were pawn shops called, ‘Hard Off’ which was hilariously funny to my teenage boy humor, but I digress!

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Body

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Body

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For a bit of history, Kanda Shokai (the overall company behind Greco and other instruments) stopped making the Greco Brand Stratocaster copy when they started to sell the Fujigen made Fender Stratocasters, which were the ‘JV’ serial guitars brought out by Fender, which are very well sought after and collectable today.

Disclaimer: Stratocaster is a Trademark owned by Fender and I am in no way implying that the guitar we’re looking at today, the Greco Spacey Sound SE450, is a ‘Stratocaster’!

Also at the time, as Legend goes, Fender started bringing lawsuits and cease and desists notices against Stratocaster clones that were just a little too good, and the Greco’s were a little too good (which is why Kanda Shokai stopped them).

Upon picking up the Greco, and playing unplugged I was first of all impressed by the neck. With its bullet truss and large 70s style headstock with bolded 70s style Fender font, done over aged maple, it looked pretty sexy and well, ‘Hendrixy‘ to me.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Headstock

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Headstock

The tuner’s are a typical 70s style with the strings going into the center of the pegs to tie them off rather than through a hole in the side of the peg as you find on today’s guitars.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Headstock Back

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Headstock Back

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The sealed tuners have the Greco branding embossed into the back of them.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Headstock Back Tuners

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Headstock Back Tuners

The maple fingerboard slab over a maple neck felt smooth and perfect for my sized hands, easy to get around and obviously a quality neck.

The guitar sustained and played well unplugged, which is always a good sign of nice tone woods and quality construction, in that the sound can resonate freely. It is also a good indication that the neck, neck pocket and the body are properly fastened together.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Low E Neck Joint

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Low E Neck Joint

There was very little, if any, sign that the neck had ever been removed, the lacquer surrounding the neck pocket showed no signs of chipping or damage at all.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 High E Neck Joint

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 High E Neck Joint

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Even though it does have a three bolt neck plate, there is no problem with neck movement or loss in resonance.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Neck Plate

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Neck Plate

The weight was about standard for a Strat, maybe slightly heavier than most, and it has a perfectly contoured body to have comfortably sitting against the ribs.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Body

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Body

One thing I particularly love on this guitar is the solid cast iron full size tremolo block, with the ‘Made in Japan‘ stamped into it.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Body Bridge Block

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Body Bridge Block

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I have always felt that a good size tremolo block adds sustain and resonance to the tone, and a lot of pro musos have agreed on this point. The saddles are also solid cast, not bent steel, possibly adding to the resonance of the bridge.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Bridge

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Bridge

The body is made from Japanese Ash (called ‘SEN’ in Japanese) and a very resonant tone wood not to mention having a very nice three tone sunburst, most likely, poly finish.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Wood Grain

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Wood Grain

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Body Burst

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back Body Burst

The vintage ‘skunk’ stripe at the back is very Fendery indeed, but not surprising given the history, with a nut width of 42.55 mm and standard C shaped neck profile.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Back

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Now I am not an expert on necks and setting up intonation etc… (but definitely worth knowing) but as mentioned, the neck doesn’t leave my wrist feeling stretched, it felt easy to play, very smooth and fast.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 High E Neck

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 High E Neck

Ok tone, how does the little bad boy from hell sound?

First of all, this is a vintage voiced instrument, not a head and ball banging instrument. It is vintage in its low output single coils and the very dynamic cleans that it produces.

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Pick Guard

Greco Spacey Sound SE450 Pick Guard

However if you wanted to, you could put in more hotter output single coils ala Malmsteen. It is warm but yet to my ears it sounded very much like a 50’s reissue as it was clear and articulate, but not as full as say a 70’s reissue, which has much fatter bottom and bass, whereas a 50’s, to use Mark Knopfler’s words, “50’s vintage Strats are like a piano or a human voice, very clear and ringing out each note”.

This is not a criticism but praise of just how good the pickups and the tone is, very true to vintage Fender Strats. I played this through an all tube Blackstar HT40 Club, which has one of the nicest cleans I have heard (outside of Fenders and Vox) and it was magic tone.

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I literally couldn’t stop noodling with straight clean into the amp with no effects. I put some compressor on it, but the Greco didn’t need it as it had a wonderfully slightly compressed tone already.

I just added a bit of delay, I didn’t adjust anything, and it was a beautiful vintage clean. I then hit it with some TS808 clone (BWM Spider OD pedal). Again, I had to smile as it was pure Strat goodness, but the Greco filled out a bit more with OD and was perfect as it has a clear tone that takes OD and Distortion so well.

In summary, I would have to say that the Greco Spacey Sound is a contender for that ‘desert island’ guitar as it is a real all-rounder, giving you bell like cleans but taking OD like a champ.

I have had Fender’s that were magic clean, but were fizzy or muddy on OD, which is a disappointment. So would I recommend you get a Greco? Yes you bet, for not only do you get a piece of musical history, you get a wonderful sounding instrument, but also an investment that may continue to grow in value over time.

Viva la MIJ Strat clones (sadly I have to give this wicked beast back to Director Mr J who owns this site, but it was a pleasure to review it though)

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$12,500.00
End Date: Monday Oct-16-2017 15:59:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $12,500.00
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About strataminor

Born in Brisbane I am a bedroom guitar player, although having played in front of churches (tough crowd!!) for quite a few years so some understanding of band dynamics, timing, gear (private use compared to public use) and melodic structure, instrumental breaks (okay leather pants solos....) and of course amps! Besides from my love of guitar and the G.A.S that goes with it (hey email me I am always offloading gear!! lol) I love languages, and can converse in basic Japanese, and study biblical Greek. I live in Logan with my young family (so not heaps of time at the moment) and will be contributing gear reviews based on a lot of gear I have or still currently have.

2 thoughts on “Greco Spacey Sound – The Brazen Picker

  1. Are you sure this is 7.25 radius? I had a 79 Super Sounds that had a super flat fret board (12 at least). Been looking for details online about which models had which radius. Hard to find that info….

    • Hi Captain El Marko
      Good question and one that shows a good working knowledge of your MIJ guitars! I agree with you on the fact that getting consistent information on older Japanese guitars can be hard and often, such as yourself and myself, we will come up with different answers. I sourced my information from a few different sources, firstly having the guitar itself physically and then confirming with ‘authentic’ forums that had what seemed to be reliable info on dimensions and specs on necks widths, profiles, pickups and that sort of cool stuff. I believe there was some mix and matching going on with necks as even the almighty Fender had models that would be inconsistent with the majority. However I am happy to acknowledge that there is definately room for slight error and that I am still learning in this fantastic hobby! Peace and Rock on!!

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