I'm not sure how many Guitar brands were sold in the Japanese Market in
1970-80 I currently owned about
20 different Japanese old Stratcasters. Of course, some of them are very poor replica, some of them are better
than Current FJ stratcaster. Specially, the wood in use are really great, I could see them.
Many flamed maple wood were used, sometimes body is just 1P. It is really, really good.
Most of my clients are purchasing the Greco, Fernandes, Aria, Fender Japan, Orville and etc... But they
are only taking the major brand. I would like to introduce unknown Japanese Vintage Guitars in this WEB.
Most of Japanese guitar manufacturers are originally furniture manufacturers. Fujigen and Matsumoku were
originally furniture manufacturers. Like Guyatone... Guya name came from KaGuya (Furniture in English
They are mostly located in Nagao,Gifu, Nagoya and shizuoka area. I think the climate of these area are suitable for making the guitars.
I wrote down which I knew and can remember the name.
I didn't include here any big name. These are just in alphabet order
|Argus - Kyowa Shokai - Kurokumo|
|I remember this brand was so expensive as new brand in 1980.
Kyowa tried to get into the high end guitar market. Then, asked Mr. Shiino of Vestax to consult this brand. The Les Paul replica was over JYE 100,000 and stratocaster was like 80,000 - 90,000. They also offered the full acoustic like JYE 250,000.It is very difficult to see the original model. However, if you could find out, this brand is "must Buy" collection item. When I get it. Of course, I would introduce.Argus brand is still handled by Kyowa. But they are offering only guitar parts now. Argus guitar (specially high grade) will be changed as Mushroom brand guitars which were limited sales high grade guitar from "Paco" original.
|Bossaxe - Shino Sogyo - PACO|
|It is very difficult to find out even in Japan. Only very short period
Mr. Shiino offered. It will be changed to Vesta Grapham and Vestax guitar later day. The quality of wood are very high grade. I have heard from Mr. Shiino that he spent much money for developping the Bossaxe guitars and basses. I owned Bossaxe stratcaster model. I saw Mr. Shiino owned all hand crafted Full acoustic guitar. Some of Bossaxe (later 1990) were not conducted by Mr. Shiino.
|Camel - Kyowa Shokai|
| I remember this brand to produce the Gibson type replica Actually, Camel
is sister brand of Fresher.Therefore, Kyowa Shokai distributed. They have
Les Paul, Strato and other Gibson's replica.The position of this brand
is top before Argus brand came to the market. I have the Start 72 type.
Camel brand guitar was made with good craftsman ship. I could recommend you this brand could begood collection. You can see Camel Strat at "other stock" area.
|ELK was a famous brand for the Amplifier. In early 70's, ELK was only domestic brand for professional players. They offered the several replica and original guitars, but not really good replica but very good quality. Now, it is very difficult to find out proper condition ELK guitar. I keep both Les Paul and SG model. These are quite good quality guitars. I'm not sure who made ELK guitar. Probably, Fujigen ? Matsumoku ?, because the quality is really fine even compare with other 80's made replicas. You can see Les Paul and SG at "other stock" area.|
|El Maya - Rokkoman -Chushin Gakki|
|EL Maya was distributed by Rokkoman here. Rokkoman is one of leading distributor here. They are currently distributing the Acoustic guitars (both Classic and Western) Rokkoman used this brand name in 60's. But they started to use this brand for the Replica probably late 70's. The famous model is 54 Fender Strat Replica. I own this model, but I would say it is so-so as replica. The wood material is very fine. We can see this brand sometimes on market. However, most of El Maya have the neck trouble. I don't know the reason why. So, very tough to find out the good condition one. According to several books here, El Maya has Start, Tele, Les Paul and other replica. Stratcaster Replica have 2 king both artist and junior series. For overseas market, they used "Maya" brand instead of El maya. Early 80's, they offered original designed guitars and basses have the though neck construction. You can see El Maya Strat at "El Maya stock" area.|
|Founder - Daion - Dyna Gakki - Yamaki|
|Founder is a 2nd brand of Joodee. Yamaki made Founder. They have Les Paul,
Strato, Tele, SG, ES-335 and ES-175 replica. The price range is JYE 30,000
- 50,000. No really expensive model. I have 2 strat replica of
Founder guitar. My impression is not so bad. The shape of neck and constructions are very closed to Fresher Guitar. If Founder is 2nd brand, Joodee should be pretty high grade/quality guitar.You can see Founder at
"other stock" area.
|Fresher - Kyowa Shokai - Matsumoto Musical Ins. Union - Chushin Gakki|
|Fresher is famous enough. Maybe, I must prepare the Page for Fresher one
day.I think They started as 2nd class brand of Kyowa sales network (their
first class is Gallan should be). At the beginning, we thought Fresher
is just cheap model. But, they developed the guitar one by one. I think
Late 70's -Early 80's model is quite good quality. We could find out the
different of production year from the logo mark. Fresher used the 4 different
Logo mark 70's - 80's. Your could see 4 different logo. The left photos
are showing 1st logo to 3rd logo, the below is 4th generation. 1st and
2nd logo type model were made by Mastumoto Musical Instrument Union (not
Matsumoku). 3rd and 4th generation logo were made by Chushin gakki. You
can see our stock at "Fresher stock" area.
|Franmpton - Pearl Gakki|
| Framplton ??? Peter ? I saw this brand in 70's. Probably incredible poor
sales. I got a friend at Pearl, But he never ask to purchase even I was
working for music store. Well, He concentrated to sell the Drums ! They
offered Les Paul. Strato and etc... But these are less JYE 30,000 List
It was better replica compare with Pearl brand electric, but so far, both of them are student model.
|Gaban - Fukuhara Gakki - Matsumoto Musical Ins. Union|
|I owned their Les Paul. They have the Gibson & Fender replica. Specially their SG replica is very famous even now. The Japanese famous guitarist, Hisato Takenaka, used Gaban SG replica when he was young. I think This SG replica should be over USD 1000. I have a Strat replica now. You can see it at "other stock" area.|
|Gallan - Kyowa Shokai - Matsumoto Musical Ins. Union|
This is first brand of Kyowa Shokai sales net work. Kyowa Shokai is a distributor
& whole seller.
Gallan made both Gibson and Fender Replica at earlier stage, but not really good compare with Fernandes and
Greco that time. Later, the position of this brand relocated as a superior series of Fresher.
They made many many replica like Firebird and other Gibson.
I have a firebrid replica now. You can see it at "other stock" area..
|Ganson - Kasuga Gakki|
|Ganson is brand Kasuga offered. I think they offered both Gibson and Fender replica.Heerby should be high end model.|
|Guyatone --- Guya, Tokyo Sound|
|Guyatone is pretty famous from 60's. They offered both Guitar and Amplifier. I remember they offered the tube amp like Twin Reverb. It was good sound. The guitars, when I was Jr. High, mostly poor replica compare with Greco and Fernandes. Later '70s, they started to offer Gibson/Fender Replica. In addition, they made a special guitar for Rory Gallager. The name was Mallory and Glory. I could not see these guitars on the market.|
|Heerby - Kasuga Gakki|
|Kasugi was established in 1935 by Mr. Ikko Kasuga (1910-89) who was a politician (originally Japanese Socialist Party).He started this company by himself. I believe that company was ended in 1996. I'm not sure why Mr. Kasuga started the musical instruments company. Well, My impression of Mr. Kasuga was very strong mind guy. Anyhow, Kasuga made a very good guitars like Heerby and Ganson. The late 70's, they offered their original design through neck guitar as " The Kasuga" which I want to get someday.Kasuga also supplied the guitars for Yamaha as OEM. I'm not sure which model, when. If I could get more info. I would add.|
Other JV Guitars History