1960s Japanese Guitar Brand Name Game!!

OK, I think it’s time for a list like this.  Way back in the 1995 the early legend of guitar research, Michael Wright, published a short list like this in his book Guitar Stories Volume One. What he did was compile a list of brand names and distributors/importers where known.  At the end of his list he wrote that it was time to start tracking all the names down but in the almost 20 years that have followed, I haven’t seen anyone else try.  So, I figured I’d give it a shot!  I’m going to try to list every damn brand name that was ever placed on the headstock of a 1960s Japanese guitar!!  A lot of this information is already out there floating around like tiny puzzle pieces, and all I’m trying to do is collect it in one place.

Of course it’s a seemingly impossible task, so I did/do need help.  Many thanks need to go out to the main contributors to this list besides yours truly.  The great Jimmy Noise worked on this list and added a ton of information, and Nate DeMont of DeMont Guitars gave up just about everything he had for this project.  Scott Freilich of Top Shelf Music filled in some missing pieces too.  These three guys are just so great for sharing what they know.  One thing I learned from this project is that some dudes are holding on to their information for various odd reasons and really don’t want to give it up.  So I really appreiate these fellers!  As of late, the great Bill Menting has been filling in some of the missing information, and again, I appreciate it!  Thanks Bill!

Also, a million thanks goes to the excellent work of Michael Wright, who was writing and researching these guitars when people were just as likely to throw them in the trash.  I also want to mention the great site Jedistar.  That fellow has done some really excellent work compiling all sorts of information regarding guitar brands from all over the world, both past and present.

Now before all you curmudgeons and codgers start blasting away at the information compiled here, I want you to stop and think about my mission for a moment.  This is just to help people out, so maybe somebody can rediscover the guitar of their youth.  Maybe someone can connect with that eager teenager that wailed away in a garage in the middle of nowhere.  Maybe someone can actually LEARN something about that guitar that’s been sitting in a closet for the past 50 years and maybe that guitar can get fixed up and handed down.  You get my drift? Yeah, I can be idealistic at times, so screw you!  This is not for profit or to raise prices on these Japanese guitars.  A HUGE part of the fun with these 60s MIJ guitars is that they’re still pretty cheap!  And when they aren’t cheap and everyone thinks every old guitar is worth a boatload of money, then I’ll move on and start my beer can collection again.  Yeah, that’s right, beer cans.

As with any good research, primary sources are the best.  But as you can imagine most are just not available, so we’re left to rely on secondary sources, our own eyes, and our failing memories rattling around up there like dried beans. Many people will want to know which factory made their guitar, but that is a truly maddening process because of the way it was back then.  Take for instance the Apollo brand; we know from looking at one Apollo catalog from the 1960s that Apollo guitars were being made by Guyatone, Kawai, and Zenon, all within the same year!!  I’ll be happy if we can figure out the market, the importer/distributor, and maybe even the store where the name originated.

If you see a (?) listed, that means more research or proof is needed.  I’m focusing on 50s and 60s Japanese electrics, but there will be some sneaky 70s names in here, some Korean models, and maybe the odd acoustic brand too.  The 70s Japanese guitars are pretty well documented, especially in comparison with the 60s stuff.  This is a dynamic list, meaning it will be changing over time as more and more information is gathered. Please be aware that I won’t be 100% on the dime with every brand name origin, so with that being said, I’m always open to corrections and suggestions.  Yeah, that’s right.  I’m talking directly to all dudes living in darkened rooms with only the flicker of a computer screen keeping you warm, YEAH YOU!  And anyone else of course…

All right bitches, here’s the LIST!!!!!

  • Abe- known for acoustics
  • Alex-
  • Alfa-Tone-
  • Alvarez- US market, St. Louis Music
  • Amena- 70s copy era
  • Ampeg- Selmer
  • Anboy-
  • Andre-
  • Angelica- UK market, Boosey and Hawkes distributor
  • Anson- 70s copy era, AUS (?)
  • Antares- 70s copy era, imported by Vega Int., California
  • Antoria- UK market, imported by JT Coppock Ltd., Leeds
  • Aokland-
  • Apollo- US market, St. Louis Music Co.
  • Arbiter- UK market
  • Arbor- US market, Musicorp.
  • Arai- see below, early Aria brand name
  • Aria- company and brand, most guitars made by Matsumoku
  • Aria Diamond- see above
  • Ariel-
  • Arirang- 70s copy era
  • Arita- US market, Newark Musical Merchandise Co., NJ
  • Arrow-
  • Artisan- US market, Barth Feinberg, New York
  • Artist-
  • Artist ltd.-
  • Artist Supreme-
  • Asco- German market
  • Aspen- 70s copy era, Musicians Supply Inc., San Diego CA
  • Assama- (?!?!?!?)
  • Astro-
  • Astrotone-
  • Atlas-
  • Audition- UK and US markets, sold at Woolworth/Woolco stores in US(??)
  • Autry-
  • Avalon- US market, Harris/Teller Inc., Chicago
  • Avora-
  • Axiom- AUS market
  • Ayar-
  • Azsama-
  • Aztec- German market, imported by Hopf
  • Bandmaster-
  • Balladeer- US market, Fife and Nichols Store, Hollywood CA
  • Barclay- US market, Unity Buying Service (?)
  • Baron-
  • Barth- US market, mail order catalog
  • Bass Beat-
  • Beam- CAN market (?)
  • Beckenridge-
  • Bedell-
  • BeeTone-
  • Bellwood-
  • Beltone- US market, Monroe Catalog House
  • Bently- 70s copy era, St. Louis Music Supply, Hondo(?)
  • Blackjack- US market, Harris-Fandel Co.
  • Blackstone-
  • Bolero-
  • Bradford- US market, WT Grant Co., Guyatone
  • Bradley- US market, imported by Veneman Music in Maryland
  • Broadway- UK market, website
  • Bruno-
  • Burns-
  • Camaro-
  • Cameo-
  • Canora- N. American market, Great West Imports Ltd.
  • Capri-
  • Carlo Robelli- 70s era Conn and Sam Ash brand
  • Carver-
  • Castilla- 70s copy era, C. Bruno & Sons
  • CBS- 70s copy era
  • Checkmate-
  • Chester-
  • Chimes-
  • Cimar- 70s copy era
  • Cipher- US market, Inter Mark Corp, New York
  • Citation- 70s copy era, US market, Grossman Music, Cleveland
  • Clear Sound-
  • Columbia-
  • Columbus- 70s copy era
  • Commodore-
  • Concert-
  • Condor-
  • Conn- US market, Continental Music Co., Indiana
  • Conqueror- US market, C. Bruno & Son, Matsumoku
  • Conrad- US market, imported by David Wexler and Co., Chicago
  • Continental- US market, Continental Music Co., Chicago
  • Coral- Danelectro MCA era, hollowbody bodies made by Kawai, US made components like electronics and necks
  • Coronado-
  • Coronet- AUS market
  • Cortez- US market, Jack Westheimer Co., Chicago
  • Cortley- CAN market(?), Westheimer Musical Industries, Chicago
  • Crescendo- 70s, early copy era
  • Crestline- 70s copy era, Grossman Music Corp., Ohio
  • Crestwood- US market, La Playa Dist., Detroit
  • Crown-
  • Crown Professional-
  • CSL- UK market, C. Summerfield Ltd.
  • Custom Craft- US market, St. Louis Music Supply
  • Cutler-
  • Cyclone- US market, Leban Imports, Baltimore
  • Daimaru- Daimaru NY Corp., also Japanese factory (?)
  • Daion- 70s quasi-copies, Daion Co. Limited, Japan
  • Dana- CAN market, 70s, ARC Musical Instruments, Ahed Co.
  • Decca- US market, Decca Distributing Corp., New York
  • Del Rey-
  • Delta-
  • Demian- Early Fujigen Gakki brand name.
  • Devoc-
  • Dia-
  • Diamond- US market, Diamond Accordian Co.
  • Diasonic-
  • Discovery-
  • Displender-
  • Dixon-
  • Domino- US market, Maurice Lipsky Music Co., New York
  • Dorado- 70s copy era, distributed by Gretsch
  • Douglas-
  • Duke-
  • Dyko-
  • El Degas- US market, imported by B&G, New York
  • El Maya-
  • Electra- 70s era, St. Louis Music Supply
  • Elger- US market, Elger Co., Ardmore PA
  • Elk- Japan market, quasi-copies
  • Elko-
  • Emperador- US market, imported by Jack Westheimer in Chicago
  • Empires-
  • Empro-
  • Encore- US and UK(?), US Musical Merchandise Corp.
  • Endres-
  • Ensenada- mainly acoustics, Strum & Drum, Chicago
  • Epiphone-
  • Eros- UK market, 70s copy era, Rosetti House of Music, London
  • Espana-
  • Esquire-
  • Essex-
  • Excetero-
  • Exotica-
  • Fandel-
  • Feather-
  • Fell-
  • Fernandes- started as 70s copy era, Saito Musical Instruments
  • Festival-
  • Fiama-
  • Finder-
  • Firstman- Japanese market, factory and brand
  • Franciscan-
  • Fresher- 70s, Kyowa Company Ltd. in Nagoya Japan
  • Fuji-
  • Futurama- mostly made in UK, Italy, Yugoslavia
  • G.H.I- G&H Imports (?), Lodi, NJ
  • G Holiday- US market, Gimble’s Department Store(?)
  • G Maximus-
  • G Rossi-
  • Gaban- Hukuhara Musical Instrument Co.
  • Galaxie-
  • Galaxy-
  • Gallan- 70s era, distributed by Kyowa-Shokai
  • Gigan-
  • Givtone-
  • Global-
  • Goban-
  • Goldentone-
  • Goldmax-
  • Gonzales- 70s era
  • Goya- US market, initially imported by Hershman Musical Instrument Co., NY
  • Granada- CAN market, 70s era, United Conservatory of Music
  • Granson-
  • Grant-
  • Grassi Custom-
  • Greco- made since mid 1960s at Fujigen Gakki factory, Japan, imported by Goya Music Corp., NY
  • Gremlin-
  • Guitarlia-
  • Guya-
  • Guyatone-
  • Halifax-
  • Hariumu/Harimu- 70s era
  • Hawk- (?)
  • Hayakawa- 70s era
  • Heerby-
  • Heit- US market, imported by G&H of Lodi New Jersey
  • Heit Deluxe- Probably same as above
  • Hi-Lo-
  • Hickory-
  • Hohner-
  • Holiday- Alden catalog
  • Holly-
  • Hondo- started 1969, most made in Korea
  • Honey- Japanese brand
  • Horugel-
  • Howard-
  • HsinMi- Dutch market, 70s, mail-order catalog, Taiwan Kawai factory
  • Hylo/Hy-Lo- possible SoCal source??
  • Ibanez- US distributor is Elger Instruments, Hoshino Gakki
  • Ideal-
  • Idol-
  • Imperial- US market, Imperial Accordian Co. of Chicago
  • Isonez-
  • Jamboree- Hoshino Gakki
  • Jason- AUS market, Ibanez/Hoshino Gakki
  • Jedson- UK market, Dallas Musical Electronics Ltd. and Arbiter
  • Johnny Guitar-
  • Kasuga- Factory, and branded guitars appeared in 70s
  • Kawai- Factory and brand name
  • Kay- WMI in Chicago bought Kay name in 68
  • Kaycee- Kansas City Music Dist.
  • Kent- US market, Kent Musical Instrument Co, B&G in New York
  • Key-
  • Kimberly- US market, imported by Limmco, distributed through Lafayette catalog
  • Kingston- US market, imported by Jack Westheimer in Chicago
  • Kinor-
  • Keefy-
  • Knox-
  • Kyowa-
  • Lafayette- US market, Lafayette Radio Electronics catalog, NY
  • Lake-
  • Leban- US market, Leban Imports, Baltimore
  • LaBoz-
  • Lancer-
  • Lero-
  • Liberty- Japanese market
  • Lim-Gar- Could be mis-identified stylized “Z” for Zim Gar, but maybe not
  • Lindberg-
  • Lindell-
  • Lord-
  • Lori-
  • Luxor-
  • Lyle- US market, imported by L.D. Heater in Portland
  • Lynn-
  • Lyra-
  • Maderia- 70s era, Avnet
  • Maestro-
  • Maier-
  • Mann-
  • Marathon-
  • Marco Polo- US market, Harry Stewart
  • Marlin-
  • Marquis-
  • Marvel- US market, Peter Sorkin Music Co., New York
  • Marveltone-
  • Masada- 70s copy era
  • Mason-
  • Matador- 20th Century Music
  • Matao- US market, mostly copy era, West Coast Music Distributors
  • Maximus-
  • Maxitone-
  • Maya- 70s copy era, distributed in UK by Stentor
  • Mayfair- US market, Grossman Music
  • MCM-
  • Medalist-
  • Mello Tone- Name on a very early 50s Teisco guitar
  • Mellowtone-
  • Melodier-
  • Melodies-
  • Melody-
  • Merlin- US market, Lowes store
  • Minister-
  • Monica-
  • Montaya-
  • Montclair-
  • Morales-
  • Morris- Japanese brand, Moridara Co., copy era
  • Naruber-
  • National- Strum & Drum, Chicago
  • Navarra-
  • Nivico- JVC
  • Noble- US market, Don Noble & Co., Chicago
  • Norma- US brand, distributed by Strum ‘N’ Drum, Chicago
  • Norwood-
  • Nuvox- Nuvox Electronics Corp.
  • Omega-
  • Opus- Ampeg/Selmer
  • Orlando-
  • Orpheum- US brand, Maurice Lipsky
  • Orpheus-
  • P. Beuscher-
  • Palmer-
  • Pan-
  • Pearl-
  • Penco- 70s early copy era, Philadelphia Music Co., Limerick PA
  • Penncrest-
  • Philharmonic-
  • Phoenix-
  • Pickwick- Pickwick International Inc.
  • Pleasant- mostly Japanese market
  • Polaris-
  • POS- Believe it or not!!
  • Premier- Sorkin Music Co., New York, Italian and Japanese parts
  • Prestige-
  • Pyramid-
  • Queen-
  • Randel-
  • Raven- N. American market, Great West Imports,
  • Raver-
  • Realistic- US market, Radio Shack, 70s (?)
  • Recco-
  • Regent- US market, K&K Musical Instrument Co.
  • Regina-
  • Rexina-
  • Reythmline- (it’s true!!!)
  • Rhythmline-
  • Riveria-
  • Rodeo
  • Rosetti- UK market, 70s copy era, Rosetti House of Music, London
  • Rossi
  • Royal Artist-
  • Royal Flush-
  • Royalist-
  • Royce-
  • Ryan-
  • Sakai-
  • Sandtron-
  • Satellite-
  • Saturn- US market, Eatons catalogs
  • Schaffer-
  • Sears-
  • Sekova-US market, US Musical Merchandise, New York
  • Sentinal-
  • Seiwa-
  • Shadow-
  • Sigma-
  • Silhousette-
  • Silverstone-
  • Silvertone- US market, Sears Roebuck and Co., Chicago
  • Sonnet- Daimaru Corp., New York
  • Sonatone-
  • Sorrento- Foreign and Domestic Trade Consultants Ltd., Chicago
  • Splendor-
  • St. George- Buegeleisen & Jacobson, George’s Music in New York & Hollywood
  • St. Moritz- Manhattan Novelty Corp., New York City
  • Stadco SoundMaster-  
  • Stafford-
  • Stagemaster-
  • Stairway- UK market
  • Star- Hoshino Gakki brand name
  • Starway-
  • Sterling-
  • Stewart-
  • Stradolin- US, Sorkin Music
  • Solola-
  • Super Astrotone-
  • Surfer-
  • Suzuki- N. American market, Great West Imports Ltd.
  • Swinga-
  • Swinger-
  • Takamine-
  • Tamaki-
  • Teisco-
  • Teisco Del Rey-
  • Telestar- US brand, Telestar Trading Corp. in New York, Maurice Laboz
  • Telstar-
  • Tempest-
  • Tempo- US market, Merson Musical Prod., NY, Matsumoku
  • Thomas-
  • Tix-
  • Tokai-
  • Toledo- CAN market, website
  • Tonemaster-
  • Top Twenty- UK brand
  • Toptone-
  • Toyota-mostly acoustics, hollowbody, Hershman Musical Instrument Co., NY
  • Tremo Twenty-
  • Trump-
  • Truxa-
  • Tulio-
  • Univox- Merson Musical Supply Co., New York, later Unicord
  • Valiant-
  • Ventura- US, distributed by C. Bruno and Co., NY
  • Vernon-
  • Victor- RCA Victor
  • Victoria-
  • Vision-
  • Voice-
  • Vorg-
  • Voxton-
  • Weltron-
  • Westbrook
  • Westbury- Unicord, Westbury New York
  • Westminster- 70s copy era, Pennino Music Co., CA
  • Westone- St. Louis Music Supply Co.
  • Wilson-
  • Winner-
  • Winston- B&G, New York
  • World Teisco-
  • Yamaha-
  • Young Tone-
  • Zenon-
  • Zenta-
  • Zeus-
  • Zim Gar- Gar Zim Musical Instrument Corp., Brooklyn NY, Larry Zimmerman
  • Zombo-
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87 thoughts on “1960s Japanese Guitar Brand Name Game!!

  1. Thanks for all the effort and keep up the good work. This is very helpful and it is good to see someone putting in the effort for the rest of us. Good job!

  2. You can also add : assama as for condor it should read: condor corporation ltd. mij by tombo

    Very cool list!!!

  3. I’d be great to have this list on a Wiki platform, so that visitors can add/edit details, add photos/models for each of these brands.

    Also: I’d like to add “Shiro” to the list. Only found a few examples of their guitars in existance, but beautifully made (may be 70′s more than 60′s tho).

    • Thanks for the add! I’ll put Shiro on the list. The WIKI idea is sorta cool, but the disadvantage is that there’s so much misinformation out there regarding these vintage guitars. For now I like it this way, so I can “filter” out the stink, dig? And hey, if you have pics, I’d love to put a link or post them. I’m all about pics! Just not the stolen kind!

  4. Pingback: A Cattle Shed and George – The Early Fujigen Gakki Story | Drowning in Guitars!

  5. Please add to your collection ‘Yairi’, a hand made guitar I bought in the 60′s for a couple hundred dollars, worth much more today. This video covers the materials and manufacturing of them.

  6. The Penncrest line was sold in JC Penney stores in the 60′s…I picked up a neat old one at a flea market a few weeks ago. Acoustic guitar with a bolt on neck! I also own a Ventura Jazz Box (69 or 70 model) and an old Cameo kid’s guitar (3/4 size)

  7. very cool list. Listen has anyone come across ‘GILBERT”? I have a beautiful Fender Jazz bass clone (even the pickguard holes line up with old us models), block inlay, binding, same fender scroll headstock, mirror image here kids, and the markings on the headstock say Gilbert Bassline. I believe its a japanese 70′s model but can’t find any info on these….thanks for any thoughts

      • I have one of these too. Seems to be the same as the Ibanez and Greco jazz bass copies I have seen from that time period. Same neck and pickups. Cool bass.

    • A friend of mine just brought me one of these, it was his brothers who is now deceased and the headstock is broken off, he wants to fix it not to working order but just as a keepsake. never heard of these and as you said i can’t find any info on these Gilbert guitars, it is missing one tuning machine and the headstock bridge , i am guessing from what i have read any fender parts will fit this bass like a glove, is this true?

  8. Cool list!!
    I have a Winner like the right one in this picture:

    Can you help me to find out what it is? A 60′s Teisco?

    Regards from Germany

  9. I have a Yamato (as in the WWII battleship) identical to a Maya. P-style ply or rough, open-pored wood body in white with bwb scratchplate in post-’57 shape but very thin, esp at the belly cut. Single coil 6-pole pup under chrome, vol, tone with nasty chrome knurled knobs. Two saddle (4 screw) bridge and ashtray that I think was aftermarket. 4-screw neckplate “Made in Japan” but no “steel adjustable neck” script. Glossy maple neck with gold-inside-black “Yamato” logo only on headstock (lefties commonly have maker only on h/stock), Gotoh-style (but nowhere near the quality) chrome tuners.

    Don’t kick me, but I’m considering modding this with Schaller minikeys, 51 RI SCPB pup and Telebucker routed into the neck, and a decent 4-saddle bridge – all black hardware. Will be keeping the logo and neckplate identifier, though.

  10. Hi There,
    I just bought a Mendez Acoustic Guitar. Made In Japan. I didn’t see it on your list and can’t find anything about them. Has anyone heard of them?
    Anthony

  11. Thats a hell of a list you got goin on right there, ..
    Mmmm, can you imagine owning 1 of all those.

    I see you have mentioned Marlin in the list, i have one of these and i gotta tell you the tone is so nice its evil,
    However trying to get any parts for it is proving to be near impossible, anyone here with any information or pearls of wisdom regarding Marlin parts would be more than greatly appreciated.

  12. Hello:

    Great work. I have a Crown gold top Les Paul guitar I bought from a friend in 1974 in southern california. He was in the Navy and got it in Japan around 1971 – 1973. The guitar is a Le Paul Custom style and is made of beautiful solid mahogany and dark-grained rosewood fingerboard with 3-piece neck. This guitar plays like butter! If you like, I can send a picture of it to you. Let me know how to get a digital picture to you either on this website of another way.

    Mark SMith
    msmith7007@yahoo.com

  13. Nice work. I have had a MIJ Sterling Les Paul for about 6 months now.. It is a plywood body, but they must have given it the best mojo, because the sound is sweet & crunchy! Also have a 1983 Electra Phoenix that is right up there with it.

      • My research said that Daimaru had their own factory and made mostly acoustic models. For their two electric models, they apparently had the necks made by Teisco, but the rest was their work. I didn’t read anything about Kawai. Maybe they had some parts from them as well.

      • Sure, I’ve seen that same information. I just don’t agree with it. I chased that dog, in regard to that Daimaru information, but I never found any evidence of a factory. And I can say with 99% certainty that is a Kawai made guitar. When I started seriously researching all this stuff, I found a ton of internet misinformation and hearsay. But hey, in the end I could be wrong!!

  14. Just wanna say thanks. I just found an old recco while exploring a long abandoned house. It was actually the only thing in a lo g forgotten crawl space. It’s an old f hole jazz guitar. I’m having a hell of a time finding any value on it.

    • Value on most of these old Japanese guitars are all over the place, with rarity, condition, and design being the big factors. I suppose it’s the same with any old collectible. But I have to say that’s a cool find!

    • Yup, you’re so right about that! In 1965, there were about 30 electric guitar makers in Japan. But there were around 100 acoustic guitar makers! So for this list, I’m sticking to the electrics. That’s why there’s no Yamaki.

  15. Daimaru Kogyo Kaisha Ltd. was responsible for Dyko – you can sort of spot the abbreviation. It seems likely they sourced parts from Teisco/Kawai, but did their own assembling and finishing. Their headstock badge was typically just a sticker and would fall off, which can make Dykos hard to identify.

    • Hey man, I’ve heard/read that information before but to be honest, I’ve never seen any factual information to back it up. According to Japan Music Trades, Daimaru Kohgyo was a distributor of “Diasonic” guitars, and not a factory. Every “Diasonic” or “Daimaru” guitar I’ve ever seen was made by Kawai. As for that Dyko name, I’ve heard of it but never actually seen a vintage Japanese guitar called a “Dyko”. Searching the web I see people referring to Dyko guitars but they’re also made by Kawai.

      • I have a Dyko guitar, it doesn’t say Kawai anywhere on it. Inside the guitar it says “Dyko Guitar Daimaru Kogyo Kaisha Ltd, Japan. I can’t seem to find anywhere that has any information or history about this guitar. If anyone has any information, I’d like to know it!

  16. hey man thanks for such a informative site i would like to donate a picture of PYRAMID guitar which i bought today. NO NO NO idea when it is from but it sure is a machine. Looks like a GIBSON ES lol. oh shoot how do i add pic to this?

  17. Have you ever come across ‘Status’ used on the headstock of Fender Jazz bass copies? Not Status as in Status Graphite I know that much but this one is confusing me!

  18. I have an ‘Esquire’, Les Paul clone. It has Made in Japan stamped on the neck plate, but that’s it, no serial number. The only info I could get was from a music shop owner who said he remembers selling them in the early 70′s, so I know they sold them in Australia. Do you have anymore info on the Esquire?

  19. Just spotted a MIJ “Mustang brand” today but not the Fender mustang,actually a very nice copy of a Fender Stratocaster, I also have a Suzuki Stratocaster which is made by GRECO, identical in every way including the wording “Brazen Picker”under the name, my band mate had an Esquire in the late 70`s,early 80`s ES-355 kinda shape from my memory.

  20. I’d like the F. Hashimoto acoustics added to the list. ’70ies japanese made from Maruha Gakki. I own a W350 (D-41 copy) and a W315 (D-18 copy) dreads, and these are keepers. Well made, no structural issues, great sound compared to the Martin’s production of those days. They made classical guitars also. I came across 12-strings on the net, and D-35 copies. Lower numbers refer to laminate production (my W315 is); higher numbers refer to mostly or all massive wood production (my W350 has laminate sides, massive top and back).

  21. I just noticed my mistake. It’s all about electric guitars here, so feel free to correct my former post. In the meantime I’d like to add the Sanox electric guitars. I have a Sanox Sound Creator myself, with neck – through construction. Great sustain, very versatile soundwise, in great condition.

  22. España was a Buegeleisen & Jacobson import brand, but not made in Japan AFAIK. They were sourced from Hagstrom in Sweden (who subcontracted Landola in Finland) and from Crucianelli in Italy.

  23. Re: St. George
    Tony G. owned five stores in New York (run by his brother Herb through the mid-70′s), and his son Paul was in charge of the operation in LA (closed in 1966). Their imported, Japan-produced guitars reflected this, in that the NY ones had a headstock emblem designed by Tony, while the Hollywood ones had “St. George” in script.

    The above info was in an eBay post by Paul’s son in January, 2010.

    • Thanks for the info., but that’s partially true. I saw that same auction years ago and that info is on the Jedistar site, but I’ve never seen or read or heard evidence of that emblem transition. The change in the emblems actually occurred when the George Music Stores switched factories and suppliers. When I was in Japan, I confirmed this with the old Japanese employees.

  24. i don’t speak english very good. I want buy a acoustic guitar,
    the opcion are:
    Splendor w-200s Gran Conciert guitar by create by Kurosawa Matumoto Co., Ltd is like a Hummingbird gibson.

    YAMAKI L-30
    Yamaki Yw-15

    Morris MD-510
    Morris Wn-35

    Yamaha Fg-201b
    yamaha Fg-520 TBS

    I don’t know what guitar is the best,
    Please help me!!! ;(

  25. I have a ROXY 12 string hollow body haven’t seen more than 2 others online, one dude has a video up on you tube…

  26. Great site. Much appreciate the selfless effort involved in pulling all this info together. Just got outbid on a pristine “Maier” that, but for the name, was identical to the Telestar RD2V demo’ed on this site by Mr. Dugan. Anyone encounter “Northern” brand guitars? I’ve seen pics of tele and SG clones, but they may have also had some original designs. If memory serves, they were retailed by a music store in Canada… Some had maple leaf logo on fretboard or headstock.

  27. Hi . I have a very decent ES with a love nametag . It sas PRESIDENT . On the plate it says MADE IN japan . You can add it if you wish . I can send pictures if you need them .
    Thanks .
    Elvin

  28. Hi I have just purchased a encore hollow body jaz type guitar looks like a copy of a L5 gibson. This tobacco sunburst, Encore has sticker label on the neck heel 602-BS I can’t find anything on this guitar. any info on this one would be much appreciated.. thanks Edd

  29. I have a “Johnny guitar” it’s essentially a jazz bass copy. The guy I bought it from claimed to have bought it from a Russian civilian also said the bass was probably early 70′s. Does anyone know much about this guitar? It’s just like this bass http://youtu.be/nVtLuMgtUc0 same pickups/controls/bridge/tuners except the woods seem different, maple neck with black inlays and natural finish on the body. The knobs are metal/silver. And mine has the ashtray cover. Does anyone have any info on this guy? It sounds sweet.

  30. Great and useful site! For those interested in the “european connection” of MIJ guitars, you can see an example for Stagg (Vintage, Japan, not the actual one) on my website vintagestagg.altervista.org

  31. There are two Yairi’s to add, S Yairi was earlier and very high end hand made, K Yairi came later, supposedly a spin off family member. Also Cobra which can be added. I think it is a variant of Hondo 2

  32. Hi. Great list. But I still miss Shiro on it.
    I have two Shiro guitars myself, one spanish and one flamenco guitar. Know there is some westerns out there too. Was imported here in sweden in the 80:s but theres is information about them that go back to the late 60:s. Som sources say they are by Shiro Aria. But that’s not confirmed as I know. But the music shop in my little hometown both had both Aria and Shiro guitars at the same time.

  33. I have a Sound of Science Japanese acoustic, it has gold gotoh machine heads. can’t for the life of me find anything out about it, anyone heard of them.

  34. Hi. Great info. I have just discovered and purchased a ‘President’ hollow body Guitar made in Japan. I don’t see the name listed. Can you or anyone please help me with links or information about them. Thank you

  35. Presidents and Diplomats were common cheap guitars in the late 60′s and 70′s in New Zealand. The Presidents looked OK but were not that well made,suffered from neck warping and crappy pickups, a bit budget. The Diplomats were better, (my first half decent LP copy, bolt on neck, but it had similar issues in the end) and I still see some around for sale.

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  40. Just saw a vintage 12 string Maestro that resembled an ES-335 at an antique store.. was listed at 1400. It peaked my curiosity just for names sake.. but I have yet to really find anything about the brand on the internet. Do you know anything about it or where I could get any information?

  41. Tempests were made in the ’70′s by Fujigen and Kawai. They are either Fender Strat-like copies, or have a Gibson SG double cutaway, but more rounded, not so sharp. Here’s links to the four I’ve found so far:

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/japanese-1970s-vintage-tempest-guitar/1002798643

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/msg/4668076822.html

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Rare-1970s-electric-guitar-Tempest-thru-neck-stunning-/301277173431

    http://guitarz.blogspot.com/2010/09/vintage-1960s-imperial-guyatone-teisco.html

    And a really nice link to the Ochanomizu area in Japan where guitars are sold:

    http://www.musictrades.co.jp/webnews/english/2009/09/take-a-closer-look-at-ochanomizu-musical-instruments-town-in-tokyo-earning-20-billion-yen-annual-sal.html

    Hope this adds some more value to your site!

  42. “Diplomat” was a range produced by Aria.

    A query: How can we send you photos of guitars? I have a “Hawk” MIJ hollowbody by unknown manufacturer. I have YET to find a picture of it anywhere on Google or any of the specialist sites.

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