I originally had a red Watkins Rapier 33 around 1970 – can’t be exact as my memory isn’t that good. I sold it a year or two later after I purchased a second-hand 1960s Fender Telecaster (Oh how I wish I still had that!!). I have to confess, I’m not a huge fan of Watkins guitars but, mainly for nostalgic reasons, I decided to purchase one when it came up for sale in 2014. I think it’s a fairly early Rapier 33 as the neck is fixed to the body. The serial no. is 3018 and I’ve been advised that it was probably made in 1961. However, when I got it, the paintwork was in a terrible condition so I decided to respray it. I’m not sure if this was a good or a bad decision but it’s done now so I can’t go back. Painting guitars is not an area I’m very good at but I did rub the woodwork down and I used the correct type of paint. I chose a cherry red colour purely because it’s a colour I like. I also had to replace the scratchplate / pickguard as the original was cracked and had a large hole in it. The guitar doesn’t look too bad now. It plays well and sounds reasonable but I’m afraid it will never replace my 1976 Stratocaster.
In 2016 I purchased a 2nd Rapier 33 – serial no. 3756. I can’t be sure of the date of this one but the later serial number and the detachable neck would suggest it dates from around 1963. It has a natural wood finish, although I suspect this isn’t original.
Here are my 2 Rapiers together –
In April 2017 I was fortunate enough to be able to snap up a rare WEM Sapphire bass guitar. It was originally blue but many decades ago a previous owner had stripped the blue paint and left it with a natural wood finish. I believe the guitar was probably made in the late 1960s but I’m not an expert of WEM guitars so I can’t be 100% sure. The guitar needed a good clean and some TLC and the first 2 pictures show it as it was when I purchased it. Further down the page are more pictures showing it as it is now.
This is how the guitar looks now. I’m a long way from being an expert on restoring guitars and rubbing down the bodywork took much longer than I anticipated and the results are nowhere near as good as I would like. However, the guitar doesn’t look too bad. The chrome work has cleaned up reasonably well. The electronics work well and the guitar plays well and sounds reasonable. It’s never going to be as good as a Fender or Rickenbacker but it’s a piece of music history that I will take good care of and hopefully give an occasional outing.