1980 Overwater Guitars, “Flying V” with BKP “Nailbomb” pickups.

From the previous owner:

The guitar was made by Chris May in 1980 in Carlisle, custom order for Andy’s Custom Guitars on Denmark street, London. Chris May only ever made 2 Flying Vs, mine and a blue one – which I’ve never seen but I heard is not in a good condition at all, mine is as new!!!
The guy that I bought it from told me that it once belonged to Joe Bonamassa, but I can’t verify this, it is only what I was told… I didn’t take that too seriously, to be honest, but I can’t exclude it either…
I called Chris May to get some info before me buying the guitar (used) and I tell you what he told me…
Woods used are Maple for the neck through body and sycamore for the wings! Very clear and articulate sound, one of the nicest I’ve heard…

Ebony fretboard, 24 frets, Fender scale, shape and profile – actually the neck is quite narrow, nearly half of my limited edition flying V Shred!!! I like the narrow neck, to be honest, but I can’t get used to the scale and profile – I guess I’m a Gibson guy…
2 separate volume and 2 tone controls, 1 for each pickup – like a les paul!
Comes with the original hard shell case of 1980, a custom made Five Star – very posh inside, with a fury plush pillow that you can move anywhere you want in order to support the neck, but has no pocket for accessories, was not trendy at the time…

What I’ve found on the web:

Andy’s Guitar Workshop started in March 1978, in the basement of 27 Denmark Street which was underneath a general store. CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO

Initially Andy worked on his own, but was quickly joined, first by budding guitar maker Chris Cross, and then by four other repairers

When the fruit and veg man in the store above the workshop left, Andy’s took over first the ground floor in around 1980, and then one by one the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors- the last of which was occupied by ‘Thunderclap Jones ‘ the pianist until around 1985.

In the early days, punk was very much in fashion, and so were reggae bands. Aswad had all their early guitars made at Andy’s, and Chrissie Hine from the Pretenders was a regular customer, along with many other name bands like The Kinks and who brought their guitars in for repair.

Another branch, ‘Chris & Andy’s’ Guitar Workshop Newcastle on Tyne, was opened started in 1979, and ran in conjunction with the London shop until 1982. It later became featured in the TV series ‘Spenders’ .

Andys also went into guitar manufacturing in the late 1970’s with the Overwater Guitar Company, run by Andy Preston and Chris May who were running the Newcastle shop, and many ‘Andy’s’ Custom’ models were produced . This link was severed in 1981, but The Overwater Guitar Co. still exists and makes mainly basses .

During the 1980’s and 1990’s the shop in Denmark Street expanded into guitar sales, dividing up the premises floor by floor with different sections for electric, acoustic, bass and classical guitars, but keeping the guitar workshop ethos with two workshops and workbenches on the upper sales floors.

What I say:

There’s nothing more “ROCK” than a “Flying V” – Joe Bonamassa, K.K. Downing, Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Schenker – even Eddie Van Halen! – all of them have used “The V.”

This is a quality made British instrument.  Considering that it was made in 1980 – it’s 30+ years have been kind – there’s a few marks to the rear of the guitar but nothing through to the wood.  Bridge and tailpiece hardware are Gibson standard for the period.  24 frets, Ebony fretboard – both showing very few signs of wear.  The neck is a nice rounded C profile and in great condition.

The Electrics are a different story – the pickups I received in this were distinctly odd….  … a hum bucker sized pickup with only one coil – simply not “Rock” enough for the guitar.  So.  I’ve had a calibrated pair of Bare Knuckle Pickup’s “Nailbomb” pickups made.  The Alnico neck is pure classic rock “Hot” at 9.8k ohms, the Ceramic bridge is “Metal ready” at 15.8k ohms!  Both have 4 conductor wiring and could be coil tapped  if wanted.  I was intending to do this – but the control cavity didn’t have enough depth for the push pull pots I wanted to use.  I suspect installation of some switches for coil tapping would be the way forward.  I reused the original crackle free and fully functional pots, but installed a pair of my favourite Sprague Orange Drop caps for the tone control.  I’ve copper plated the scratch plate and the control cavity to avoid interference.

If the image fits, this is a great sounding, great playing example of a truly “Vintage” guitar.

Comes with the outrageously large and heavy “Five star” case as pictured.