||1975-1982 Navigator SA-150|
ESP-designed sleek 335
On sale is an astounding 335 from Navigator, an ESP sub brand. With its lineups of Fender / Gibson style gtuitars targeted for supreme quality seeker, Navigator acclaimed as 'Japanese craftsmanship at the pinnacle' from many of domestic and international guitar forums. Having known an ESP luthier in Tokyo, I often visit their custom shop and each time I am amazed with the exotic and highly creative design of Navigator guitars on display, let alone the rich and warm sound with long sustain.
As for this particular model, Navigator SA series 335 types appear in the ESP catalogues only from 1975 to 1984. The guitar listed here is their 1975-1982 production. The guitars manufactured around this period are distinguishable by the narrow dots on 12 frets. Navigators from the rest of years have dots distant each other, one on 6th string and one on 1st string. As a matter of fact, It is rare to find this particular production and you wouldn't want to miss this chance. According to the Japanese sites, this model was played by Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton in their Japan tour in 1980's.
To speak of the quality, I'd give A/A- mark, for its sturdy binding, straight neck and barely touched frets. Lacquer finish stays intact for 30 years. Quality timbers and mahogany center block enhances sustain and maturity of sound. Yet 2 issues need mentioned - thin cracks along the right hand side of the front body, despite hardly identifiable, were photo-taken so have a look. Another, the buckle strap pin on the back was slightly moved to the right.
Trivia for collectors - the model of this guitar is SA-150. ESP advises there is difference of the tuning pegs between SA-120 and SA-150, where SA-120 has brass-made ones while SA-150 tuning pegs were made from bovine bone.