Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 96
(LEFT) Style 1 Wanderer.
(RIGHT) 2004 Spacetone
GENIUS IN MD
T H E
M I C R O - F R E T S
ad fate been just a notch kinder, Ralph Jones might today be a '60s counterculture icon alongside Bob Dylan,
Muhammad Ali, and Steve McQueen. ■ Hyperbole?
Perhaps. But at the very least, Jones' name would be listed alongside
those of Leo Fender and Ted McCarty. Because when he started
making guitars in a small shop in Wheaton, Maryland, Jones was
doing something very different for 1965.
BY WARD MEEKER
S A G A
Though documentation is sparse, Jones'
instruments were the prototypes for what
would become Micro-Frets Guitars - an
antithesis to the sub-par offerings cranked
out for corporate overlords at CBS (Fender)
and Norlin Industries (Gibson) who cared
little about quality or innovation but were
quite concerned with the bottom line.
Working in a 15,000-square-foot factory
financed by business partner Marion Huggins on Grove Road in nearby Frederick,
in 1967, Jones and a small f lock of builders began not only cutting and carving
bodies, necks, and plexiglass pickguards,
they also machined components including