Around 1976, LoBue and Novak moved the operation over to west 48th street customizing and completing the Gretsch bodies and necks under the name Alex Axe. These “new” Alex Axe guitars were typically fairly straight forward production guitars but now upgraded with LoBue electronics and famous fretwork. Some had ornate carving on the body and neck. LoBue and Novak continued to make custom guitars as well. After about a year when Charles contract with Alex expired, Charles moved to San Francisco to start a new store.
Charles made at least one other guitar for Rick Derringer around this time. Derringer indicated that it wasn’t bound and was made of Honduran Mahogany indicating that it sounded more like a Les Paul and that it was used more in the studio.
Kimock with his Explorer
Another nearly identical instrument (Explorer) was purchased by musician Steve Kimock at Alex Axe. This guitar was likely built at 206 Thompson. The explorers can easily be distinguished. The first, made by LoBue guitars has the LoBue crescent moon logo on the headstock, block markers on the fretboard and is made of birch.