Vintage Japanese Guitars
The late 70's and early 80's were the pinnacle of Japanese guitars inspired by the greatest American made models from the 1950's and 60's. These manufacturers were obsessed with the quality and correctness of their guitars. Correctness in this case largely meant making copies as close as possible to the vintage American originals by carefully examining some of the most desirable guitars ever built, like the 1959 Les Paul and ES-335.
Here in 2018, some of these Made in Japan guitars are now over 40 years old. These are vintage guitars in every sense, with the more desirable examples being some of the finest guitars you could ever want to hold in your hands. These instruments were built by master luthiers to the highest standards using the highest quality materials available, including old growth wood. Looking at and playing one of these guitars, it is not hard to sense the pride of work and commitment to excellence that went into them. Discovering what actually went into the making of these guitars, the attention to detail and how well they play and sound is highly rewarding. These are exceptional vintage instruments.
Those that have discovered these guitars know that they are masterpieces in their own right, and while each manufacturer had a range of models, the top models can stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest American made guitars.
This website is based on a private collection of vintage Japanese guitars, with a primary focus on the best models, produced by the premier Japanese manufacturers, at the very top of their game. Names like Tokai, Greco, Navigator, Yamaha and Burny. I am regularly looking to buy, sell and trade vintage Japanese guitars, but also hope to be able to provide a valuable resource for anyone interested in these fantastic guitars.
As guitars come and go I am gathering more and more detailed information on them and trying to better understand how they differ within their own brand, across manufacturers and most importantly how they play. Being able to compare and play multiple models side by side has been immensely valuable, finding differences and subtleties that would otherwise never have been able to identify and develop a much clearer impressions of how each model plays and sounds. I’ve also been able to compare some of these great guitars to the originals they are inspired by.
Of particular interest are the semi-acoustic models of this period that are based on the ES-335 and ES-345. These are not nearly as well documented or understood as the solid bodies, so I’ve done substantial research into the best examples. I will share much of what I learn throughout this website and especially on its blog. My focus, and what you will primarily find here are outstanding examples of vintage Japanese guitars that were inspired by the ES-335, Les Paul, SG and Stratocaster.
Some of my collection is always for sale and all of the guitars here are located in the United States.
I look forward to hearing from you - JDZ