Re: Oasis electric guitar

Posted by Ric Duff on Sun, 07/25/10 - 04:01:18.

: : : : : Has anyone heard of Oasis guitars? I have an electric, double cutaway, matched flame maple body (not just the top, but the whole body!), gold hardware, with early Bartolini Beasty? humbuckers and an ebony fretboard on a maple neck. I bought it new in Denver around 1979 - 1980. The body style resembles an Alembic. I have searched the web high and low without any results. The Oasis factory was in California, I belive. Any information would be appreciated.

: : : Hi, Oasis Guitars was located in Sacramento,CA. Gary Cooper was the luthier, formerly from Alembic and the Grateful Dead. I happen to own the prototype model for your guitar. Mine was all hand built by Gary and his partner-in-crime,Louis Armstrong(not that one). My instrument is made of of Koa-2 piece bookend matched flame koa...hand beveled top with white-black-white binding on the body and neck. The serial number is 018. It was shown in the 1976 Winter NAMM Show in L.A. I received it in late October of 1975. I have since replaced the Hi-A pickups with Seymour Duncans(What other pickups would possbly be worthy?)It's great to find other owners of these guitars...I've got pics if you'd be interested. My Oasis logged some serious study time in L.A. in the late '70's and '80's. I love this thing...I'm sure you feel the same about yours. You can reach me at: jelly_mojoboy@hotmail.com

: :
: : Hi All:
: : I also am an Oasis owner. Met Gary Cooper around 1980 or so in Sacramento where my band was playing. What a great guy. Made me a guitar from scratch, inlaid my initials in it, had me over to his house to see the progress while he made it; an incredible experience meeting this guy. God rest his soul. I can't seem to find any other guitar as perfect for me as this one; Gary let me design the electronics, and of course he did everything else. Amazing piece of mahogany body, one-piece ebony fretboard, strip of micarta (not sure of spelling- it's a linen composite material) thru the neck (to eliminate dead spots), etc. Would LOVE to hear from other Oasis owners... email is: scottyrocker@cox.net

Hello All.
I also had the fortune of meeting Gary Cooper in 1980.
He was kind enough to build me a Oasis Electric Bass.
Koa Body, Bartolini pick-ups, hand carved top w/ black and white binding. He made a perfect instrument for me! To this day it still my favorite. My instrument is the matching sister bass to Scott Shuett's guitar. An amazing instrument! Gary was an artist! God rest his soul. Anyone who spent any time with Mr. Cooper will agree. A great guy and became a good friend. ....Would love to hear from other Oasis owners as well. My email: ric@denricentertainment.com

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Oasis Guitars

Hello, I'm Lew Aytes formerly of Lew's Music Store in Sacramento, CA, and the original owner of Oasis Guitars.
Gary came into my store one day carrying an electric mandolin and telling me stories about his tenure at Alembic. Gary's family lived in Sac, but he had been living in the Bay area working for Alembic. He wanted to come back to Sac and needed a job. Rather than just hiring him as a guitar tech, we discussed starting a business where I was the owner and he provided the technical skills. We began by turning our store basement into a guitar shop and teaching studios. One of our tenants at the time was an up and coming classical guitar maker, Dake Traphagen. Dake just rented space from me, but Gary ran the Oasis part. After making a few custom instruments under the name Oasis, and that stuck from then on. We hired an artists from Sac to create the logo, which we used on catalogs and the instruments. We created a small inventory and signed a contract with L.D.Heater Music Company out of Portland, OR. Heater was a west coast wholesaler owned by Norlin Musical Instruments, Lincolnwood, Ill. Norlin was a multi-line company that first owned Pearl Beer from South America. Norlin owned Gibson and Epiphone, and distributed Moog, Lewis violins, Slingerland Drums, a line of band instruments and keyboards. I signed a distribution contract with Heater, and we sold a few dozen instruments through them to music stores in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Arizona and New Mexico. We never really got geared up to have much impact of the guitar world, because of financial challenges and problems with the first production models (mainly issued with the finishes). We used active electronics and purchase parts from Alembic. We had a good working relationship with them, and even discussed making a kit guitar as a co-op project.
We made a semi-hollow body bass for me that we later sold to B.B. Dickerson of War. We made several custom guitars, and a few mandolins (some were sold to Seals and Crofts). Gary was particularly interested in the mandolins since he played some himself (along with being a moderately accomplished guitarist, and his mandolin was written up in a couple of magazines.
The music store suffered because we put so much money into materials and tools for Oasis, and eventually I just couldn't keep up the investment. I sold the equipment and materials to Gary's father, and liquidated the retail inventory through another store. Once the merchandise was sold off, I went to work for Norlin as Sales Rep in No. CA, No. Nevada, AR and Hawaii. During this time Norlin began developing their Japanese drum line, and re-named it Pearl, after their beer.
While we still owned Oasis, I worked to design a few of the parts for our instruments. My favorite item was the bass fine tuner. The first try at these was pretty basic - I took viola fine tuners and had Gary retrofit them onto a solid brass stop tailpiece. We gained fine tuning from the bottom end of the bass with the sustain from the brass. When Gibson saw these (remember they owned Heater who distributing Oasis, they had their engineers make a better looking version that's now known as the Gibson TP-6 tailpiece. Because of the cost to make these, they were only used on ES series and high-end Les Paul models. The first guitar that got the tailpiece was B.B. King's Lucille. I had the privilege of meeting with B.B. soon after he got the new instrument. He seemed to really like the tailpiece and continued to use it from then on.
If anyone knows where that first ES type bass is, I'd really like to see it again. By the way, it was featured in the Playboy Magazine "Best of" (or Best Products of the Year, I can't remember) in about 1975 or 1976.
If you have any questions about the early Oasis, I'm happy to answer them.

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