Ventura Guitar Review: 2023 Edition

Table of Contents

If you’re looking for a Ventura guitar review or are wanting to learn more about this rare guitar brand, you’ve come to the right post!

Ventura Guitar Review: Background

I wouldn’t say that they’re completely shrouded in mystery. But there are certainly some things that we don’t know about Ventura guitars. After all, they’re not exactly the most mainstream brand. And all the info that we have on them isn’t entirely confirmed.

Ventura worked during the 1960s and the 1970s. Many refer to them as a Japanese brand. Although their instruments were made in Japan, C. Bruno & Sons distributed them in the US. The brand worked up until the early 1980s. It’s not totally clear why they stopped.

Kaman Music Corporation, a Japanese company that still owns Ovation to this day, was the owner of the Ventura brand. And, at that point, they also owned C. Bruno & Sons.

But the info on this is scarce. It all ultimately leads to one source. What we know with certainty, however, is that C. Bruno & Sons was an older company. And I’m talking really old, starting in the 1830s.

Essentially, Ventura was one of those Gibson and Fender knock-off brands from the 1970s. Ibanez used to be in the same basket but later moved on to make its own stuff.

For the most part, Ventura had solid-body electric guitars. But they also had plenty of acoustic guitars. There were also electric bass guitars as well as banjos and mandolins.

Buying Ventura Guitars: What You Should Bear in Mind

Don’t get me wrong, these instruments aren’t bad. In fact, they’re pretty decent for knock-offs from the 1970s. But what may be an issue is that some sellers overrate them.

There are usually a lot of name-drop attempts. Online ads mention how this particular model was manufactured in Ibanez factories. Or, more precisely, factories that worked for the Ibanez brand.

This may be true to some extent. Some of the Fender copies may have come out of these factories. The same goes for some of the hollow-body models.

If you plan on buying them, just be careful. They’re far from a bad choice. But some can get pricy for no apparent reason. 

Line of Products

So with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of their products. We can’t really mention all models as there are no concrete records of all of them. But we can take a closer look at some of them.

Electric Guitars

Used Guitar - 1972 Ventura V2500 Les Paul Style Maxon Clear Tone Pickups Gold Sparkle
Here’s a demo of Ventura’s V-2500 model. It’s a copy of Gibson’s Les Paul Custom model with some very interesting features.

Ventura had some pretty awesome Les Paul copies. For instance, there’s the Alpha Omega model that’s like an LP Special. In fact, it’s probably the closest to Gibson’s The Paul model. The only difference is that it came with a bolt-on neck.

And, to my knowledge, all of their electric guitar models had bolt-on necks. Even the copies of ES-335 had bolt-on necks.

They also had some pretty interesting SG copies. For instance, the V-1005 model came with some unusual yet awesome features. It even had binding on the fretboard. And, what’s more, the fretboard edges were rounded out at the top fret.

However, in my opinion, Fender Stratocaster copies were better. Since Ventura already focused on bolt-on necks, they were better at copying Strats. V-1006 is a fine example. It even came with some interesting natural finish options that looked incredible.

There have been plenty of other copies. This also includes V-style guitars. However, there’s hardly any info on these available online. And other than conventional LP, SG, and Strat copies, you’ll have a hard time finding anything else.

Acoustic Guitars

"Affordable Favorites" - 1968 Ventura V14 Acoustic Guitar | Norman's Rare Guitars
And here’s a demo of a Ventura acoustic guitar.

For the most part, Ventura’s acoustic line had dreadnaught-style models. There have been some nylon-string models as well. One such example is the V-1600F which is a flamenco guitar.

The V-6 model is your average dreadnaught guitar. In my experience, they are actually pretty decent. But, on the other hand, it’s nothing super incredible or unique. It’s just your standard acoustic steel-string guitar.

I could say that about pretty much all of their acoustic guitars. Sure, there are some 12-strings, and there are models that collectors will like. They’re good but they’re not worth obsessing about.

Ventura Guitar Review: Are They Worth It?

Generally speaking, they’re not bad. However, it’s hard to make a judgment since they’re somewhat rare. Additionally, the company had a lot of different guitars to offer. And it’s not like you’ll have a super consistent experience with all the models.

But, in general, I think that they’re all pretty decent guitars. Some of them were comparable to Fenders of the 1970s.

At the same time, some of them can be overpriced. As I mentioned, sellers like to beef up the price with unconfirmed manufacturer information. If these instruments are a few hundred dollars, then it’s okay. But if you see an ad showing an instrument going for $1000 or even more, that price is hard to justify.

As I already mentioned, for the most part, these are pretty ordinary guitars. Sure, some of them might have sentimental value. And some particular models may have historical value. After all, they’re the part of the so-called lawsuit guitars which were so widespread back in the day. But if you’re looking for a good functional guitar, I think you can get a better deal with some cheaper brands today.  

Ventura Guitar Review: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you get a better sense of this guitar brand and Ventura guitars’ strengths and weaknesses.

And if you want to read more about guitar brands on this site, check out:

Lastly, feel free to message me in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

15 Responses

  1. I have seen the Ventura (Sometimes spelled differently??) I see them sold as Stratocasters, not cheap. the the “Player series are not cheap, made in Mexico. I am still having problems finding out where these are made. I, with the crazy prices, want to buy aa Anerican Fender, with a Maple neck, I like white. I can have them refinished, as far as pick ups go. Bare Knuckle out of the U.K.-can not go wrong. I will not pay the new out of the Guitar Center prices. I do not like the fact Reverb charges tax, which is illeagle. I guess im forced to be patient and see what hits Craigslist.

  2. David Cowart says:

    08/17/2022. I have a Ventura acoustic guitar with the Model type inside the sound hole on paper (VWDONAT). The serial number is 06143017. It is wrote in black ink, inside the sound hole below the truss rod, on a bracing. I had to hunt to find it. Bought it new several years ago.

    1. Hi David,

      Sometimes finding detailed information like what you found on your instrument can be challenging. Nice work figuring it out!

      1. Robert Silvester says:

        Just bought a Ventura guitar last nite for 50$. Neck at 14th fret. Paper in sound hole, cant read model on it, cant find serial number also. It is in good shape. Cant find any info on it. Differs from ones i find on net. The string pins on the saddle are in the shape of a smile. see no other like that. similar to the v14 he is playing, But not as old. Does not have that pick guard and newer head stock shape. So newer that that one. Dont no how it sounds. String action is 3x what it should be. Needs a reset. Girl gave it up trying to learn on it. Did not seem to be progressing. No wonder. And fingers really sore. Tex her and told her what the problem was. Told her, dont give up get a proper guitar and try again I have a vintish Torino c71T in good shape. Cost me 40$ at pawn shop. Had a broken neck, easy fix. It has Ivory tuners and markers. Has a very interesting saddle, similar to a classical guitar. with 2 adjusting screws. Little info on these models. Any body can give me info on them, i appreciate it.

      2. Hi Robert,

        I wish I knew more about this model, but hopefully someone else can chime in if they know anything about it!

  3. The VWDONAT is a modern made in China inexpensive line available on Amazon as well as mkany other sites and local music shops. Not a bad guitar at all, with a little setup work and good strings, but not quite the same as the 70’s era Ventura. I have one here now I purchased used in pretty bad consition just to see how nice I could get it to sound when done. I worked 1978-1981 in a small shop which carried the made in Japan Ventura brand. Their acoustic model all sounded amazing at the dollar point (roughly $150-$300US depending on model). Model numers from that era were all V-something, and even the same model numers could have different tops. There was a blonde V-13 dread in the shop with solid top sides and back (can’t recall the wood for certain – possibly maple), brass nut and adjustable brass saddle. 40 years later with more guitars than I can recall I still hear the tone and volume of that V-13 in my dreams. The Ventura name/trademark has been passed through more than one set of hands since then, each with their own good and not-so-good characteristics. My take on Ventura is if you can see and play in person and like what you find do or pay to have done as full setup and you will be happy with your purchase.

    1. Hi Alan!

      Thanks for sharing your experience with this brand. That’s interesting. I agree that the ultimate test for any guitar is to see how you like it when you play it. There is a lot of variability between instruments, even when made by the same manufacturer, and especially when brand ownership has changed frequently!

  4. Do you know anything about a semi-hollow Ventura chet atkins model? I’ve seen a few and have been offered one in very nice condition. I was hoping to be able to validate year and location of manufacture, but more difficult than expected. They don’t even seem to use serial numbers. Hoping somebody can give useful info. Seems like prices vary wildly from around $250 to $1000.

    1. Hi Greg. With very little official information about Ventura guitars to go by, it’s hard to ascertain any claim about them.

  5. David Binder says:

    Have an acoustic Ventura Bruno … the label says the model is “CW – 140.” I thought the model numbers started with a V. It says “Made in Japan” but no serial number is evident. Any idea what it might be and about when it was made?

    1. Hi David!

      I wish I knew more about this but didn’t find much of anything when I searched it online. Maybe a resourceful reader will comment here with some information about it!

  6. I have a Ventura v32 335 that is my absolute favorite of all of my guitars. My guitar has a set neck and no tailpiece, the neck is so smooth and plays like butter. It gets played at least once a day. Thanks for letting me share.

    1. Hi Dan,

      That’s great to hear! As you can see from the comments, plenty of people are sharing their love for Ventura guitars and I’m glad you did too. It helps other readers know that these are great instruments!

  7. Johnny Marsh says:

    I have a Ventura guitar I want to sell.
    What’s the best way to do that?

    1. Hey Johnny,

      I’m no expert on instrument sales. I’ve sold a couple on Ebay with good experiences. You may also want to check out Reverb. Although I’ve never bought or sold on it, I know it’s extremely popular.

      Best of luck with it!

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