There are four models in the Clipper series:
- Clipper Six
The Clipper series appears to have been manufactured 1987-88. The first Clipper model (The Clipper Six) was originally produced by Matsumoku but the vast majority of Clipper models were made in Korea . They may only have been available in the UK/Europe. There is no mention of them in the US price lists. (See also the 1988 catalogue.)
Probably made in Korea from 1987. Quality control on the Korean made guitars can be inconsistent. For example, shielding foil on the back of the control cavity cover of this example wasn’t connected to anything, and there was no earth connection to the trem/bridge (The body wasn’t even routed for this connection so the guitar left the factory like this) Easily fixed, but it should never have happened.
The numbering system for the Clipper series is quite straightforward. The first digit is the number of pickup coils on the guitar (2, 3 or 4) the next three describe the pickups from neck to bridge (1 for single coil, 2 for humbucker). If there are only 2 pickups, the second digit is 0.
- 2 single coil pickup
- single volume and tone controls
- Bendmaster Deluxe trem with locking nut (Early models only – by July 1988 they were supplied with a standard non-trem bridge)
- Single coil Alnico pickup in the neck position
- Alnico humbucker at the bridge
- Bendmaster Deluxe trem
- on/off switch for the single coil pickups
- 3 way on/off/coiltap switch for the humbucker
update August 2011:
Thanks to Forum member Nikki for these new pictures (click to enlarge)
- H/S/S Alnico pickups
- Bendmaster Deluxe trem with locking nut
- triangular neck inlays
- black binding on the body
- Individual on/off switches for the single coil pickups
- 3 way on/off/coil tap switch for the humbucker
At some point the specifications changed. The following has the TRS-101 trem system and locking nut:
Info from MAY 1987 Guitarist Mag review:
- through body stringing
- 22 frets
- ebony fingerboard
- 24.75″ scale.
- body made from ‘selected hardwoods’
- Gotoh machine heads
- plastic nut
Different headstock shape from the other Clipper Series guitars.
When is a humbucker not a humbucker? When it’s on a Clipper Six. It was originally thought that the two switches must be for phase and coil tap – they’re not.
The pickup is a humbucker wired as two separate single coil pickups, the two switches switch the two coils on or off. One end of each coil is permanently wired to earth, so the pickup will not function as a true humbucker.
According to the August 1987 review the pickup is a humbucker. Either there had been a design change, or one review is wrong. If there was no design change then the earlier review is probably more accurate as the reviewer had obviously had a look at the wiring of the pickup.
RRP in May 1987 was £149 (Source – Clipper 6 review May 1987)