1 Proteus 2 weeks ago Frequent flyers will know of my one-time obsession and ongoing interest in the Matsumoku-made Electra/Westone guitars of the mid-80s. These guitars were a joint venture of St Louis Music and Matsumoku, and the most functionally impressive are the Phoenix/Spectrum X185, X189, X198, and X199 - all on the same body, with an evolution from bolt-neck 5-point Strat trem models early in the run to set-neck versions with locking/fine-tuning trems later on.But the salient feature of all (besides rock-solid build and excellent playability) is the 2-1-2 pickup arrangement, with tappable unbalanced coil 'buckers at neck and bridge flanking a matching single-coil in the middle - along with a simple, sleek switching matrix that gives the best of humbucker, Strat - and close to Tele - worlds in one guitar.I have more of these than I'll ever need, but I keep watching the market (hoping some of those more might fund part of my retirement eventually).The market is depressing, going exactly the wrong way. Curiously, pre-SLM Westone guitars from the late 70s and the very early 80s are going for double the money - and to my taste, they're lesser creatures. (They're just more apt to feature multi-wood striping and stained figured wood, maybe more attractive to vintage-heads than the more utilitarian, sports-car solids and metallics of the Spectrums.)Tonally, these are both fat and bright, humbuckers thick but articulate, and tapped single-coil sounds that, thanks to unbalanced coils, are much girthier and richer than you think.ANYway. It's just one of the one hobby horses I ride from time to time.This time I find four really really great deals on what look to be pretty nice examples on Reverb. When you can pick one of these up for under 400.00, you're getting a lot of guitar for the money. Solid maple construction, real rosewood boards with fat frets, innovative pickups and switching - and Matsumoku was building guitars in the 80s easily on a par with Terada today.Just a PSA; no financial interest. (I'm not about to sell mine at these depressed and depressing prices.)https://reverb.com/item/203... 1983; 300.00 + 60.00 ship; a first-year X185 in the rare and purty rose metallic finish, with an expert - and apparently reversible - hard-tail conversion https://reverb.com/item/304... 1984; 249.00 + 40.00 ship; finish is a little beat up on this X198, but it's the first iteration of the set neck build. (The final version had a tapered heelless joint.)https://reverb.com/item/309... 1984; 300.00 + 60.00 ship; another X185, whose gold finish is about as rare as the rose metallic; the Strat-type bridge has been neatly replaced with a Mexican Fender unit https://reverb.com/item/309... 1985; 275.00 + 70.00 ship; another set-neck X198, this has an added "kill switch" to let you get the middle single coil by itself (otherwise not available with the switching matrix); tremolo has also been modded in ways that can probably be routed around, but sounds functional as is.These are stupid low prices for the set-neck models...And here's an honorable mention, from Ireland - so it's pricier, with spensive shipping. https://reverb.com/item/304... 1985; 468.xx + shipping; the only X198 to be seen here, this guitar appears to have completely unmolested hardware - and the right (very cool) knobs. First year for the 2-point floating (but NOT locking) tremolo. The color wasn't called "tungsten;" I think it was "graphite." My main player for several years was an X189 in pearl white, and it's still a sweet ride.