Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by G.Rotten, Jun 19, 2019.
Don't mean to be curmudgeonly, but this in this case that's actually the exact opposite of the way things are. It's not that you're wrong when you say the Japanese have a preference for domestic brands. In general that's absolutely true. If a Japanese person is going out to buy a television, or fridge, or a space heater or, most especially, an automobile, they strongly feel that Japanese products are superior to products made elsewhere. But somewhat oddly, this categorically does not apply to guitars. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Domestic guitars suffer from massive negative stigma. As bizarre as this seems to us in the West, they see playing a Japanese guitar as something shameful. Horrible. It means you're either a) unserious about your craft, or b) unsophisticated, totally out of step with what is cool and expected of a musician. The first thing a Japanese guitarist does when he or she has enough of money is to buy an American guitar. Preferrably a Fender or a Gibson, although other American or British prestige brands are also fine. The Japanese are probably the most brand conscious people on the planet, so this drives prices and sales in a big, big way.
Things are changing now that Westerners have decided that all the old Japanese lawsuit guitars are cool and desirable. Our appetite for them has raised prices big time. But when I lived there, which wasn't all that long ago, you could walk into a guitar shop and buy a used Japanese guitar for rock bottom prices. Greco LPs for $250. Tokai Silver Star strat knock-offs for $200 or $300. I almost bought an Orville 335 for just over 70000 yen. In the same store they were selling a 70s Strat for $3000, and this thing was literally the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of guitars. The finish was horrible with mangled poly everywhere and had obvious, amateur, poorly done repairs. The neck pocket looked like it had been carved by a boy scout with a dull hatchet. It was literally the worst Fender guitar I'd ever seen. I thought it was madness. But my girlfriend at time--who was an excellent guitarist and a real guitar nut--thought this was perfectly normal. After all, it was a "real" vintage Fender.
I have a lot of memories of going through guitar shops with her, and whenever she saw me take an interest in Japanese guitars, she was horrified. She wouldn't even look at them. She'd literally grab my hand and pull me away as if to even be in close proximity with these things was contaminating. After talking with many other Japanese musicians, I found that attitude was the norm.
But I'd be interested to see the degree to which changing perceptions of those instruments in the West has changed things. And obviously there are exceptions to the rule. There are great boutique makers in Japan. But generally speaking, in this one particular area of life, they want to buy American.
Surely it would have a serial number or some reference inside the control rout. When Gibson dropped the ball Tokai did do a Les Paul reborn I beleive 78-79. Never seen a Tokai LP style guitar with bolt on neck but I know the budget models which are outsourced have them. I lost interest in Gibson when they put shareholders before customers ( quite a while ago) & I'd put a new MIJ Tokai LS186 up against a LP Custom Shop all day any day.
Saw John Fogerty and CCR in 1973 ( minus brother Tom) and John Fogerty used an Ibanez Les Paul Black beauty ALL night except for his Gibson in the encore.
Great sounding guitars from Fuji- Gen ( who apparently later named them Ibanez after anti-Japanese feelings at the time following WW11) but they were great. We used to get them for $160 AUD- now they are worth ten times that amount- I know, I'm currently looking.
BTw those early 70s Les Pauls had open book headstocks, diamond style design on the headstock, great binding and even better sound. All but the word Ibanez, which came into being in 1973, they later went on to make brands such as Burny, Greco, Tokai and Fernandez. All sought after now. Play one and you'll know why.