An important piece of the puzzle in determining when your guitar was made is the headstock style. However, it must be noted that transitional models exist for almost every feature change; the old parts were always used up, sometimes right alongside new ones. Therefore, any combination can exist and these are just general guidelines.

Hondo 3x3 style

Paddle headstock with psychedelic logo

Paddle Headstock

This was Hondo's first 3x3 style headstock, most commonly used on acoustics. The first logo style used a psychedelic font, from about 1972-1976. Then, the brand was re-named "Hondo II" and a new block font logo shortly followed. The "Hondo II" script logo was introduced in 1978, and the "Sunrise" logo in 1981. This headstock can be found with all of these logo styles

Used on:

  • H-28
  • H-35
  • H-118A
  • H-119A
  • H-124
  • H-180A
  • H-424

Open Book Headstock

HDLP-2W hando 2.jpg

The Gibson "Open Book" headstock first appeared in 1974 on the HEG-5005. Along with a new lineup of Gibson copies came the block font logo in 1976, followed by the introduction of the classic "Hondo II" script logo in 1978.

Used on:

Wavy headstock with Sunrise logo

Wavy Headstock

In late 1979 or 1980, the headstock design was altered slightly, as many manufacturers were doing so to avoid lawsuits after Gibson sued Ibanez in 1977. For reference purposes, we'll call this the "Wavy" headstock. Earlier examples used the "Hondo II" script logo.

Used on:

Deluxe HS.jpg

Deluxe Headstock

H935 deluxe short PG 2.jpg

One of the most common styles found on 3x3 Hondos is what we'll refer to as the "Deluxe" headstock, because of it's widespread use on Deluxe Series models. However, it's first use actually dates back to 1978 on the HDC model. That was the only model to feature this headstock until 1980, when the Professional Series debuted, using it on all 3x3 style models. Early Deluxe Series models still used the "Hondo II" script logo, before moving to the new Sunrise logo. Around 1982, models started appearing with a Deluxe Series logo in the center of the headstock (often without any Hondo logo at all), which, by 1983, moved to the truss rod cover and the Sunrise logo was always included.

Used on:

85 H935 Revival 3.jpg

Open Book Headstock

The "Open Book" headstock returned in 1983. There are rumors that Samick had a contract with Gibson allowing them to make copies, but this is untrue. They didn't even start working with Gibson until 1985. Somehow these guitars managed to fly under Gibson's radar for some time, only apparently getting noticed on Samick brand guitars the year after Hondo stopped production in 1989.

Used on:

Fatboy Headstock (Version 1)

The HL5 (Fatboy) featured it's own headstock until late 1979, when it switched to the "Wave" headstock.

  • 1978-1980
  • Script logo
  • Fish shaped truss rod cover
  • "Stinger"

Used on:

Fatboy hs 2.jpg

Fatboy Headstock (Version 2)

In 1983, a small number of Fatboys were produced with the "Deluxe" headstock. The Fatboy returned in 1985 with a new headstock which is very similar to one used on certain Gretsch hollowbodies (and less so, Samick-made Antorias).

  • 1985-1989
  • Sunrise logo
  • Fish shaped truss rod cover (1985)
  • Triangular truss rod cover (1986-1989)

Used on:

Samick 3x3 style

Comic logo on Arched headstock

Arched Headstock

Because Samick's early home-brand guitars were produced in such limited numbers and without serial numbers, it's hard to determine exactly when certain headstocks were used. The most common headstock during this period (roughly 1979-1988) is very similar to the "Fatboy (Version 1)" headstock, just more narrow. We'll call it the "Arched" headstock. Two different logos appeared on this headstock around the same time; the "Tree Notes" logo, and the "Badge" logo. Around 1985, their new "Comic" logo appeared.

This headstock was also used on many contract builds for other brands.

Used on:

Oakland Headstock

Another used in this time period, while similar to Ibanez's headstock, is actually a copy of Matsumoku's Oakland brand headstock.

EG1935 SA-1 The Samick 3.jpg

Open Book Headstock

The "Open Book" headstock was used occasionally on Samick brand guitars through the '80s, and from 1988-1989 (and early 1990), was used in their US/International lineup. They stopped using it abruptly in 1990, the same time Epiphone did, suggesting Gibson became aware at that time, and didn't even want Epiphone's use to encourage or imply to other manufacturers that it was okay to use. However, because Gibson's trademarks are not upheld by Japanese law, the Open Book headstock could be used on Japanese market models.

Used on:

01 HJS650TR 4.jpg

Deluxe Headstock

The first Samick brand guitars with Hondo's Deluxe headstock were the HJ and SA starting in 1989. After 1990, all 3x3 style Samicks used this headstock. It's a little narrower than the Hondo version, and the humps are less pronounced, giving it a more refined look.

Used on:

Hondo 6-inline style

Fender headstock with psychedelic logo

Fender Headstock

Sunrise logo

The first 6-inline style headstock used by Samick was on the first Hondo electric guitars, starting in 1972. The first logo style used a psychedelic font, from 1972-1976. After that, the brand was re-named "Hondo II" and a new block font logo appeared. The "Hondo II" script logo was introduced in 1978, and the "Sunrise" logo in 1981. This headstock can be found with all of these logo styles, although later models with the Sunrise logo are less common.

Used on:

HDFS-3S Hando 2.jpg

CBS Fender Headstock

With the introduction of the HES-5000 Stratocaster copy came the wider Fender headstock (associated with Fender's CBS era). It can be found with either the block or script logos.

Used on:

  • HES-5000
  • HFS
  • HFM
  • HFP
  • HJB

Eagle Beak Headstock

1980-1981 Professional Series version

This headstock debuted with the Professional Series in 1980. In 1981, Deluxe Series models started using it. It is the only headstock design with an official name, as referenced in Hondo literature.

In late 1985, some models with this headstock had a patent number printed on the back side, but it was actually the patent number for the Mastercaster headstock design. It could be a mistake, or possibly to throw off competitors trying to copy the design (Gibson did this with the PAF humbuckers; the patent number they were labeled with was actually the patent for the trapeze tailpiece).

  • 1980-1988
  • Script logo
  • Sunrise logo
  • Fame Spaghetti logo
  • Formula 1 logo
  • Fish shaped truss rod cover (Early Deluxe Series models)
  • Bullet style truss rod (later Deluxe Series models)
  • Gibson style nut (Early Deluxe Series models)
  • Fender style nut (Professional Series and later Deluxe Series models)

1981 Deluxe Series version

1982-1983 Deluxe Series version

1984-1988 Deluxe Series version

Used on:

Jackson Headstock

Formula 1 HS.JPG

This headstock debuted on Formula 1 Series models (introduced in mid-1984) and by 1985 found it's way onto Fame Series models as well. The use of this headstock could possibly have a connection to IMC's purchase of Jackson/Charvel in 1985 (which ironically, resulted in their neglect of the Hondo brand).

  • 1984-1985
  • Triangular truss rod cover

Used on:

Stinger Headstock

Stinger HS 2.jpg

In mid-1984, a new headstock debuted on the H-785, and eventually found it's way to many other models.

  • 1984-1987
  • Bullet style truss rod
  • Triangular truss rod cover

Stinger HS-1.jpg

Used on:

Mastercaster Headstock

Mastercaster HS-0.jpg

The Mastercaster Series debuted in late 1984 as a line of high-end Fender copies, with a new headstock design that is very similar to Fender's Stratocaster headstock, but with an oblong end. This headstock was actually designed before 1982, as that's when the patent for it was applied for. It was designed by Masaaki Sugai for Rhythm Band, Inc (Another business owned by Tommy Moore, co-founder of IMC). After the Mastercaster run had ended, the headstock began appearing on other models.

Curiously, the patent number for this headstock design was often printed on the back of Eagle Beak headstocks, and never on the back of these headstocks.

Used on:

Mastercaster Tele Headstock

Mastercaster tele HS-1.jpg

The MC-001 and MC-002 got a different headstock, more similar to Fender's Telecaster headstock, but also with a more oblong end.

Used on:

Hockeystick Headstock

Hockeystick HS.jpg

In 1988, a new headstock appeared along with the new Marker logo. There was also a reversed version of this headstock used.

Note: This headstock was still used in the early '90s on Hondos not made by Samick.

Used on:

Samick 6-inline style

Eagle Beak Headstock

~1984 Eagle Beak headstock with Badge logo

Around 1982, Samick started using Hondo's new Eagle Beak headstock on their own models.

  • ~1982-1984
  • Fish shaped truss rod cover (~1982-1983)
  • Heel-adjusted truss rod (1984)
  • Gibson style nut (~1982-1983)
  • Fender style nut (~1984)
  • Tree Notes logo
  • Badge logo

Fender headstock with First Runner logo (Ver. 1)

Fender Headstock

Around 1985, the Fender Stratocaster style headstock shows up on Japanese Market Strat copies with the First Runner logo (Version 1& 2) or Tree Notes logo. In 1989, it begins using the new Spaghetti logo. It was used on U.S./International market models only from 1988-1989.

Used on:

Rounded Fender Headstock

Rounded headstock with First Runner logo (Ver. 2)

In the U.S. and international markets, Samick used a very similar headstock but with more rounded edges.

Used on:

  • EG-766

Jackson Headstock

Jackson headstock with First Runner logo (Ver. 2)

The Jackson headstock appeared on Samicks around 1986, and was used in all markets.

Used on:

Pointed Headstock

Pointed headstock with Vantage logo

This headstock first appeared in 1988 on U.S./International market models.

Used on:

Samick Eagle Beak.jpg

Eagle Beak Headstock (Ver. 2)

This headstock was produced only in 1991, and only on S models.

Used on:

Rounded Headstock

Rounded headstock with Wave logo

Rounded headstock with Artist Wave logo

Rounded headstock (Ver. 2) with Artist logo

The Rounded headstock replaced the Pointed headstock around April 1992. However, examples have been found of the pointed headstock being used until October 1992 at the latest. With the introduction of the revised Artist logo in 1997, the headstock became even more rounded at the end.

Used on:

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.