Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

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Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by Sollophonic on Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:27 pm

Recently acquired an old Gibson Challenger which dates from 1983. The same era as many Westones, and this one shows the marked difference between the approaches of the two brands. Gibsons quality control and design ethos at that time was very different to Westone.

I knew this guitar from my younger days, it has had a tough life, it was played in a few punk bands back in the time, and arrived to me in a bit of a sorry state. Someone had scratched (a signature??) into the back of the headstock, over part of the serial number, so I had to sand that back and refinish, while still trying to preserve the number.

The wiring needed attention, as did the action and a few of the top frets.






After a bit of work, it now plays and sounds great, the pickup is a real rocker, pretty high output. Sure it is a low end Gibson from probably the nadir of production, but it has a certain punk rock appeal, and has a nice playable neck too.






Note the non "open-book" style headstock, which was on a few budget Gibbys of this era.







Joins my other single banger guitars




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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by Barry on Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:41 pm

Nice save.
I have soft spot for single pup guitars. Something basic and unpretentious about them. Balls to the walls and full speed ahead!

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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by Guest on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:03 pm

Gibson made some odd guitars in the early 80's.  I have an '81 Gibson Victory MVX.   A very underrated guitar - kinda ugly, but has a lot of pup selections with minimal switching

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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by corsair on Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:03 am

Oooh, nice!! Nice vibe on that one, eh!! 

Always fancied a Victory or a U2, Sarc, so a little jelly here!! Fenders' Katana also tickled my fancy in a way no other Fenders ever did....

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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by Sollophonic on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:49 am

Ah a few appreciators of the oddball guitars here.

The Katanas are fetching crazy money now, given that they are stock parts mainly. At one time you couldn't give 'em away. Both the Squier and the Fender versions.

Same with the original Fender Bullets, at one time like the cheaper Gibsons, they were the staple of many indie/punk band and got worn out, modded heavily or both. The necks on these were nice so many players bought them cheap to use the necks.

Yep Gibson also did some odd ones, starting with the Marauder. Then they made things like the L6, the Corvus(!!!) the Victory and others. The Challenger uses up parts from a few of these, including the Corvus. The pickup is actually a Bill Lawrence, and the neck is an odd one. It is actually very deep at the heel, much more than other bolt on neck guitars, i has a very deep neck pocket. I'm sure they used up necks from set neck guitars and simply cut off the tenon. The Marauder has  Flying V style neck.

While Gibson and Fender were raiding their parts bins, the likes of Uncle Mat were producing the competition;-)

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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by Westbone on Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:34 pm

Sollophonic wrote:

It is actually very deep at the heel, much more than other bolt on neck guitars, i has a very deep neck pocket. I'm sure they used up necks from set neck guitars and simply cut off the tenon. 

There's also not a lot of the body on the back of the neck. Prone to spliting the body at the join if dropped.

Those Bill Lawrence pups are a little thin sounding but articulate. I've a few of those pups. Mine read around 6.5 ohms.

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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

Post by Sollophonic on Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:14 pm

Westbone wrote:
Sollophonic wrote:

It is actually very deep at the heel, much more than other bolt on neck guitars, i has a very deep neck pocket. I'm sure they used up necks from set neck guitars and simply cut off the tenon. 

There's also not a lot of the body on the back of the neck. Prone to spliting the body at the join if dropped.

Those Bill Lawrence pups are a little thin sounding but articulate. I've a few of those pups. Mine read around 6.5 ohms.

Its funny because the body is the same thickness as a Les Paul Jnr, and thicker than the Melody Maker. There's not a lot of timber there, but mine seems to be holding up OK.

I love the pickup in mine, it reads just over 8 ohms. Rather P90 ish in character to my ears, works well for me, as I don't do any high gain stuff. Funny with pickups, the single coils in my Melody Maker read something silly like 4.2 ohms, let they are really bright and loud. 

Played it at a rehearsal the other day, this guitar. Covers a few bases.

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Re: Gibson Challenger, From the Era As Westones

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