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Following the war, Charlie briefly earned a living playing accordion with a guitarist.In ’49, Charlie and Reg opened a record shop in London.

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Most examples of the 33 sport the forward-slanted middle pickup; it appears Watkins made its own pickups.In ’55, Watkins began importing and distributing its own line of acoustic guitars made by Hopf, in West Germany.Watkins was familiar with the problem guitarists had with being heard and in ’55 also began making amplifiers with a contemporary look, with cabinetry handled by Reg.In the early/mid ’60s, Watkins also built one of the earliest “organ guitars,” plus the WEM Project IV Fifth Man with built-in effects.Later in the decade, the España exports appeared (see below). WEM also sold a line of thinline hollowbodies, most certainly imported from Germany or Italy. Rapiers continued, plus the Ranger, Super 6, Mercury 6, and W-Type models.Around that same time, Watkins began buying and modifying amplifiers from a local electronics shop for use with contact mics on guitars, which were well-received and probably serve as the reason for dating WEM to that date, though 1953 has also been put forward.

In the mid ’50s, skiffle – a version of American folk and country music – became popular.

In the ’60s, Watkins Electric Music (WEM) was one of the largest and most influential guitar/amplifier manufacturers in England, and lays claim to inventing the rock-PA concept. S., they’re mainly off the radar, though the brand has a sizeable following across the Atlantic.

Considerable information about WEM can be found, though no satisfactory account of their guitars or reliable chronology has yet been undertaken.

That year, Watkins pickups changed to having slotted covers commonly called “toasters,” so our example is prior to that.

In ’68, WEM changed brand names to Wilson and pickups appear to be Japanese, or modeled after them.

S., few saw them as future “collectibles,” so the number of survivors is unknown.