Sunday, May 13, 2018

1981 Greco Flying V MSV850 Guitar Review

Hi there!

Today we are looking at something completely different: a wonderfully gaudy vintage Gibson copy from Greco of Japan. This is a 1981 MSV850 that is obviously a Flying V copy, and if you look at the color scheme and the model number you might be able to figure out the story behind it. It is a peach, and I have never seen one in the US before.

Obviously it does not have a conventional paint scheme, with a striking black and white split down the middle, and even the pickguard and headstock get the dual finish. Of course, this thing is getting close to 40 years old, so the white has turned pretty darned yellow. And if you look at the model number, the MS indicates that this is the Michael Schenker model (that guy from the Scorpions). The V means it is a Flying V, and 850 would be the price in Yen (85,000 Yen was around $420 in 1981).

This guitar was made at the Fujigen factory in December 1981, and it appears to have survived without the indignities of modifications or shoddy repairs for the past 37 years. Apart from the finish, this appears to be equipped with fairly standard fare for a Greco electric. I am not completely sure what it is made from, but looking at the pickup cavities I think the used mahogany, so the neck probably has the same wood. The fretboard is a nicely aged chunk of rosewood, and there are 22 frets set into it, as well as small plastic dot markers.

The hardware is chrome and included Greco-branded sealed tuners, and the expected stop-bar tailpiece and tune-O-matic style bridge. There is also a brass nut, which is how these instruments shipped from the factory.

Some of these guitars came from the factory with the legendary Dry Z pickups, but this one did not. The humbuckers are what are to be expected, and they measure out at 8.01k ohm for the neck and 8.05k ohm for the bridge. The pots are also original, and they look to be a little on the cheap side.

Condition-wise, this thing looks awesome for a 37-year-old metal guitar. The truss rod works fine and the frets are a little worn, but it still plays fine. It has a comfy neck and it is actually pretty easy to play, and it actually stays in tune really well. But the best part is the tone, and even though this did not come with Dry Z pickups, it has an exceptionally sweet tone and it sounds tremendous when overdriven. It is an awesome guitar for pretty much whatever you would want to do with it. Oh, and di I mention it comes with the original hard case? Those are pretty hard to come by…

I never knew I waned one of these Greco Michael Schenker signature model guitars, but now that I have one I am super happy with it. I hope you get to try one out some day!



  1. Great find, Rex. This one really checks all the boxes.

  2. While Michael Schenker was briefly in The Scorpions, he is more well-known for his work in U.F.O. and The Michael Schenker Group.