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If you have catalogs, ads or pictures of guitars that can help fill in some of the blanks, please let me know (Michael Wright, PO Box 60207, Philadelphia, PA 19102).

Tempo Merson was a distribution organization founded by a man named Bernie Mersky.

A 1967 YBA-1 is reported to feature a diode rectifier.

Some bore the "signatures" of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the Lone Ranger.Some of the most collectible vintage Martin flat tops include the Dreadnoughts from the 1930s, but any 12 or 14-fret steel-string models from the mid-1920s until the mid-1940s will bring a good price.The best part about collecting Martin guitars is that the company has made it so easy—vintage Martin guitars from 1898 to the present are easy to date because each instrument has an individual serial number. Gretsch competed with both companies via its line of Synchromatics, which had a cat’s-eye sound hole (Gibson and others went with more traditional f-holes).While most think of the history of American guitars in terms of American manufacturers, if you’ve followed this column you know the tradition is much richer.Among the major players in the American market were the many importers and distributors who enriched the guitar landscape with instruments – usually at the lower ends of the market brought in from other countries, primarily from Europe, Asia, and to a lesser extent, Latin America. While we tend to think of the automobile industry in ethnocentric terms, it’s impossible to think of “cars in America” without considering Volks-wagen Beetles, Toyota Corollas or Datsun Zs (Yugos and Renaults deliberately ignored).

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