Welson: Les Paul and SG Copies
by Jack Marchal
1970 ( ?) LP copy, black
After the popularity of Fender-ish designs in the years 1961-64 and the semi-acoustic wave of 1965-67, the tremendous success of the Gibson Les Paul started a new phase in 1968. With the normal delay from demand identification to new product development and manufacturing, all major guitar makers brought on the marketplace Les Paul inspired models in the early 70’s.
Being already clearly influenced by Gibson concepts and having pioneered in Italy the use of modern humbuckers as soon as 1967, Welson was certainly among the first ones in Europe to respond to the new trend. The early version shown here can in my opinion be assigned to the year 1970 (if not 1969).
The bridge looks like a German-made item, the tailpiece and the three-bolt neck plate are specific to that series. Other hardware components are consistent with those fitted on Welson hollow bodies of the late 60’s, first of all the mini/medium humbuckers, the Italian made imitations of Van Ghent tuners and the truss-rod plate shaped like an imperfect triangle.
On the back, in addition to the usual plastic covers underneath the control zone and the selector, there is a large plastic plate covering a cavity milled in the body. Some kind of a tone chamber, whose role is mostly to reduce weight.