Seizing on the success affordable Japanese import guitars had in the '60s, companies like Greco, Ibanez, and others produced as many guitars as they could for the '70s USA guitar market. In this period, some builders were so brazen and unabashed that many designs are shameless copies of more expensive American-made guitars. While companies like Gibson hired teams of lawyers to fight the competition, some of these "Lawsuit Era" guitars sincerely rival their USA-made counterparts. In today's vintage market, these intriguing—albeit slightly whacky—axes are great-sounding guitars that provide a different, somewhat off-beat inspiration.
The Greco SA-700 borrows from the Gibson ES designs, but interestingly it combines two features you don't generally see on the same Gibson model: fully-hollow thinline construction and humbucker pickups. Because of this quirky configuration, the SA-700 falls somewhere in between an ES-335 and an ES-330. Like other Grecos, it captures its own unique MIJ charm, too.
This SA-700 is a great example of the post-'75 specs, so we assume it was made some time in the late '70s. Until 1975, the input jack was located on the side, but after that, the jack was top-mounted like a Gibson. Also, the "Greco" inlay on the headstock shows a clear R, whereas earlier versions almost appear to read "Gneco."
This SA-700 sports a very 1970s Walnut finish. It has survived the decades in excellent condition, showing signs of playwear and usage (see photos) but fortunately no repairs or issues. The bridge is sitting as low as the thumb wheels will allow, but it still plays nicely. The strings are fairly close to the bridge pickup, but while you may hit the pickup with your pick, the strings still ring out and resonate as they should. The previous owner replaced the strap buttons with buttons for Schaller strap locks. This late-'70s Greco SA-700 includes a modern hardshell case.