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 by Shiro Arai
  • 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., mostly Guyatone-made
  • 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.
  • 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– mostly 70s era, St. Louis Music Supply
  • Elger– US market, Elger Co., Ardmore PA
  • Elk– Japan market, quasi-copies and originals, Miyuki Industries
  • 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
  • Gemtone
  • Gigan
  • Givtone
  • Glee Club
  • Global– Mostly early Korean imports
  • 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
  • Hi Tone
  • 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
  • La Suprema
  • Lafayette– US market, Lafayette Radio Electronics catalog, NY
  • Lake– Mostly a Japanese brand name
  • Lauren
  • 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
  • Solola
  • 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–  Early Hoshino Gakki brand name
  • Starway
  • Sterling
  • Stewart
  • Stradolin– US, Sorkin Music
  • Stratovox
  • 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– Iwase Denshi in Japan
  • Vorg
  • Voxton
  • Weltron
  • Westbrook– 
  • Westbury– Unicord, Westbury New York
  • Westminster– 70s copy era, Pennino Music Co., CA
  • Westone– St. Louis Music Supply Co.
  • Wildcat
  • 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

212 thoughts on “1960s Japanese Guitar Brand Name Game!!

  1. Jeff "Red Man" says:

    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!

      1. John says:

        Minot Bolivar humbuckers but I’m not quite sure they have a gold screen mesh cover in the pickups

  2. Franksters says:

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

    Very cool list!!!

  3. Andy says:

    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).

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      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. leebowman says:

    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.

  5. Dan says:

    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)

  6. tom says:

    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

      1. Anonymous says:

        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.

    1. JG says:

      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?

      1. C Richardson says:

        Brands like that (Gilbert), are sometimes specific music store and sometimes music school labels/orders. Even single outlet stores that were selling the MIJ stuff would pay the extra dollar or so to create a house brand.
        I’m about to add a music school label to the database, for example
        Great site btw. I do restorations and found it a while back while researching a model’s provenance/history for someone.

  7. Nelson says:

    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

  8. 1bassleft says:

    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.

  9. Anthony says:

    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?

  10. Andy says:

    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.

  11. Anonymous says:


    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

  12. Charles, San Diego says:

    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.

      1. takistan says:

        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.

      2. drowninginguitars says:

        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!!

  13. locobreth says:

    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.

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      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!

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      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.

  14. Sherman says:

    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.

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      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.

      1. Aurora says:

        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!

  15. jimmy says:

    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?

  16. bassman says:

    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!

    1. Michael Crabtree says:

      Yes, I have a ‘Status’ Jazz bass copy in sunburst, block inlays/rosewood fretboard.
      I believe it is a 70s model. Unsure of its origins though.
      Plays and sounds great!

  17. Gez says:

    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?

  18. Anonymous says:

    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.

  19. Stef says:

    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).

  20. Stef says:

    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.

  21. Suzie Q says:

    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.

  22. Suzie Q says:

    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.

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      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.

  23. MAriano says:

    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!!! ;(

  24. Illinois Mcilhenny says:

    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…

  25. Chip says:

    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.

  26. Mr Miagi / elvin says:

    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 .

  27. Ed green says:

    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

  28. Joshua says:

    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.

    1. Anonymous says:

      i do have the johnny guitar (just like your´s bass ) but guitar (6-string) with one-pice-maple neck! 70´ headstock same label “johnny Guitar) the neck is from heaven !!! and it´s the best sounding strat i have ever heard ( allthough it has a plywood-mahogany body ) greatings from germany

  29. vintagestagg says:

    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

  30. chris says:

    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

  31. Anonymous says:

    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.

  32. Matthew hutchinson says:

    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.

  33. Anonymous says:

    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

  34. Anonymous says:

    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.

  35. Pingback: Anonymous
  36. Tyler says:

    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?

      1. Jeremy Acton says:

        I have a rare 1963 Guyatone LG100T with a Maestro brand sticker on it. I found it in Cape Town, South Africa.

  37. Ron "Oily" Sprague says:

    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:





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


    Hope this adds some more value to your site!

  38. Jeremy Acton says:

    “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.

  39. Ashley Danielle says:

    I have had an old Dixon acoustic guitar sitting in storage for years now. It’s a model dg4at. Made in Korea. I cannot find any information on this model that is solid. I have heard anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. If anyone knows anything about these it would be greatly appreciated!

  40. pietro says:

    hi … i have a bass guitar made in japan brand HB ..4 string solid body, sunburst ,double pick-up’s…about 60 or 70’s … was my first bass,a gift from one of my father friends around 1982… i didn’t find nothing about this label nowere..someone says was fused into Aria but is impossible find info about this label…. i like it so much and its sound is like a rare vintage bass…do you have more info about HB? thanks pietro

  41. Jay Casmirri says:

    How about Harptone (originally a case manufacturer, made really nice handmade acoustic guitars in New Jersey in the 70’s – I still own a Harptone I bought new in 1975) and their “sister” company Standell.

  42. Tom H says:

    Hi, great list but I am trying to find info on a 1971 S12 Sakura made in Japan 12 string guitar and can find nothing on it! It has 200 penciled in the upper corner of the label. Possibly the 200th one made?

  43. niels kristensen says:

    hello, that was interesting reading, thank you!
    I have an Axtech Telecaster type guitar. On the back of the scratchplate is a sticker ‘Made in Japan’. But from the scarce info on the web I gather Axtech is Korean. Maybe it was the successor to Vester? Would you have any info on the brand? thanks.
    here are two pictures.

  44. Peter Lourens says:

    In the 70’s you also had Orfeo (once saw a great Strat copy) and Custom, which was related to Ibanez I think. Well at least they made the same models. Still own a SG 12/6 guitar with that name, they also made a great Rickenbacker 4001 copy (neck through!). And I remember late 70’s you also had Asama (just one S), they made great basses too that kinda looked like Kramer but without the alu neck.
    By the way, Vorg was a sub brand of Pearl, I remember a Jazzbass that was labeled ‘Vorg by Pearl’. Also Roland started producing guitars in the late 70’s, synth guitars of course. And I remember Jarock being a late 70’s copy brand.

  45. Robert .P says:

    I need help …I purchased a Royalist
    Electric guitar..very nice….I don’t know what its worth…its got a gold foil.pick up….1 tone 1 vol….chrome scratch plate…an info would be greatly appreciated….

  46. Ben says:

    Hi, thanks for your efforts, great list. I pulled a Hawk solid body strat out of a skip today, and despite this, and missing strings, was amazed how good it sounded, pick ups very quiet etc- any further info on ‘Hawk” yet?

      1. Jeremy Acton says:

        I have a Teisco-made Hawk semi-hollowbody with f holes, found in Cape Town, South Africa. It was also branded as “Checkmate” in the USA, which I saw for sale on Reverb or Ebay.

  47. Marc-André Langlois says:

    A tremendous effort to complete this listing and a zillion of gratefull thanks. Because of you I’ve found my old electric guitar brand a PYRAMID. I still play with it just for the fun of it.

  48. kenngordon says:

    whilst you have some correct info much of what you have listed is incorrect (NOT HAVING A GO AT YOU as I think what you are doing is fantastic) For instance WESTONE whilst there were importers in just about every country in the world they were actually owned (yes the Matsumoku Plant was owned by a third party) by The Singer Sewing Machine Corp. It was Leased to the parent company of Aria who had previously outsourced work in the Matsumoku region up until 1987 when Singer offered for sale the actual Factory (Buildings) However it was offered at too high a price and the Doors were forced closed. Westone name was then Bought up by a British guy who made Westones in a small workshop He then sold the name one and Westone were Produced in China by the parent company under the ownership of BC Rich which is why the newer Westones look Like the Chinese BC Rich guitars (they are in fact made now from what BC Rich (China) consider to be parts they can not make Guitars bearing the BC RICH Name to they go to the assembly line for Westone. This is a crying shame for such a Great Name as Weston Guitars (the vintage Westones (those made in Matsumoku up until 1987) you could not give away in the 90’s and a Thunder 1A you could pick up for £30-£50. In the 2000’s That had risen to about £100 and by 2015 it is now abut £250-£300. Why so you ask???? Matsumoku Quality has finally been realised. so much so that many Matsumoku made guitars now fetch well OVER £1000. Just my two pence worth

    1. Tom H says:

      I have one that isn’t listed either and no one else seems to know anything about it. It is a Sakura model S9-12 12 string sitka top and Indian rosewood back and sides made in 1971. Very nice guitar! I wish I knew some history on it!

  49. Tim Castelow says:

    Hi I’m trying to find out all I can about an angelica sunburst les Paul guitar that I am looking at purchasing. All I have found out is they were made in japan dating from 65 to the 70’s for boosey and hawkes company of London. I also found somewhere that they were entry level guitars. Wondering if these were built at a reputable factory in japan using quality wood and components and how they would be compared to entry level chinese built les Paul’s of today like epiphone. It’s a bolt on neck so in some ways I’m thinking it may not be that great but I’ve seen quite a few Greco bolt on les Paul’s go for quite a bit on ebay and could be easier for a luthier to set up correctly if it needs it. I’m guessing it’s not of Greco quality but if it’s 60s or early 70s and well made with quality materials it could be a good les Paul . Would much rather buy something like this than a chinese epiphone and live in New Zealand where things like this are rare to find but don’t want to buy something that was never that great in the first place. Any advice would be greatly appreciated .

  50. Debra keesy says:

    I have a elger custom made with the model number FS1R japan lable in the sound hole could you tell me about when it was made

  51. jesse oh says:

    Do you know anything about spitfire guitars? Picked one up from a local shop in the seattle area. There is a made in japan on it.

  52. RJ Wheels says:

    I,m 61 years old I got a Apollo guitar when I was young I still have it I,ve looked at 100,s of picks of Apollo guitars and have never seen another one like it. The number on it is warn but it looks like 002264. It has a small body big head stock crome pick gard 2volume 1tone controls 2 push switches under the frount pickup 1 slide switch rythem lead perl inlay in the freats. It had single coil pickups and a fixed bridge when I got it. Can you tell me anything about it?

  53. Roger E says:

    Hey there, trying to find out anything more about a ‘National’ Cherry Sunburst Les Paul. ‘Made in Japan’ and hand inscribed serial number on back. Mahogany bolt on neck. Not sure what the body is, light colored and heavy; two pieces of wood joined about 1/4 of way down to top of bridge. ‘National’ logo and broken diamond inlay on headstock are mother of pearl? but the fret inlay looks like plastic. All the hardware is gold colored. Trim around body is white/black/white. Small toggle switch between volume knobs. Black pick guard. Very playable, sets up great 🙂

  54. Steve says:

    Customer just brought in an Atlas AC2. Looks like a wide ES-335 with an old style bigsby-ish trem. Tobacco burst, black pick gurad, no case. Condition is fair to good.

    The label inside the F hole has an Atlas emblem and model number AC-2, a penciled serial number, and Atlas Musical instrument 319 West John Street, Hicksville, Long Island, NY. I have seen this label on acoustics, but on nothing of this quality.

    Pics at: http://guitarz.blogspot.com/search?q=Atlas+guitar
    (Ours does have a pick guard, and bursts to a darker, more tan-ish color)

  55. Hans-Werner says:

    In ca 1980 I bought a Strat-Copy,made in Japan.The Brand-Name ist “Sunrise”,Brazen Picker Professional,it is an 100% Strat-Copy and exactly looks like the Strat-Copies of Suzuki,Thunder and Greco which have also the “Brazen-Picker-Professional”-on the Headstock.So it seems all these Guitars came from the same Factory.Anyone with more Infos ?
    By the way it plays and sounds great after all that time, somehow still my favorite Guitar among the others I own …..
    Greetings from Germany

  56. Dave in Boise says:

    I have a Bradley Les Paul copy, presumably from the late 70’s. The neck plate states that it was made by Matsumoku. I’ve seen Bradleys on Ebay that also have neck plates indicating manufacture by Matsumoku. Others I’ve seen have no maker mark on the neck plate. So, we at least know where some were manufactured.

  57. Jeremy Acton says:

    I have a “Maestro” branded guitar that is actually a Guyatone LG 100T. I bought it in Cape Town , South Africa.

    I also have a quite rare “Hawk” branded Teisco-made slimline hollowbody that was also sold as Teisco Checkmate in the States. I am not sure how to share pictures here.

  58. Jamie says:

    I have an acoustic guitar with the only identification of three lines forming a graphic of small “h” on the headstock. The guitar itself looks like a yamaki (solid top) or a some hondos but not the right logo. It is about 45 years old. I have looked at several different models you have listed here on your site….so much info, thank you…but still have come up short. Do you have any ideas?

      1. Doug B. says:

        Daion was connected with Yamaki and some Yamaki’s were branded “Harptone” (the original Harptone company was a US company).

        Some Harptones shown in this 1973 Yamaki catalogue:

  59. evan says:

    Northern….Japan made guitars imported by a Burlington On Canada company called Northern, these are some of the best I have ever played, and I have played a hell of a lot of guitars in my time. Included are electric copies of famous brands, acoustics and ukes. I love the little Canadian flags instead of dots on the fretboards and headstocks. These were 70s and 80s imports.

  60. grymmis says:

    I have a ibanez jamboree guitar model 680. I cant find any information about that guitar. It is a hummingbird copy. Does anybody knows anything i will be glad.

  61. pinkjimiphoton says:

    fwiw, i own two Gilbert Les Paul guitars, one a black les paul custom, the other a sunburst les paul standard. both are bound, but both were made at different times. the burst is the same as my original black one, and was picked up off ebay after a couple decades of searching (pretty freakin rare) and was made i would imagine by the same company as memphis, but with far better QC… good intonation, and action. typical single coil in humbucker case deals. the second one, was obviously made in korea by the honodo II people, as it is an exact match with headstock and inlays/binding to my red hondo II les paul. however, unlike the hondo, it has no intonation issues, and plays and sounds great with the original “dimarzio” style distortion buckers. both are very cool, still trying to find my original black gilbert les paul, the truss rod cover said “the slut” cuz she was a sleazy little cheap bitch but she screamed when ya carressed her right. she was def made by memphis..
    both seem to be a cut above the standard memphis and hondo guitars from the period i’ve played owned or seen. i won’t be giving either up. the black one in particular is a screamer, for sure.
    sometimes you can tell who made it by the shape of the headstock and inlays… it appears to me that hondo II is now called “k tone” and is still made in korea… their es 135 knock offs are on ebay cheap, and a gas to play. would love to hear from others if they have any of these… and always looking for my original one. 😉 peace!

  62. Clay says:

    Hi all,
    Great site…very informative.
    I can’t seem to attach a photo, but, can anybody help me identify the factory and year of manufacture, that my Coronet Les Paul Black Beauty was made?

  63. John hollowell says:

    I have two T.Haruo Guitars, models T-40 and a T-150, they were made at the Terada Factory in Japan by Haruo Terada.
    They are Martin copies made from 1974 thru 1982. High end Martins, among other known brands, were also made there.

  64. Jo F. says:

    My first guitar I bought in 1970 at a Musicland store in Duluth, Minnesota. It was an acoustic guitar that took nylon strings. It fell apart years ago, and I told my sister to please just do with it what she must. I’m sure she must have thrown it ingloriously into the dumpster! I wish I could remember what brand it was! Anyone know?

  65. patrick walsh says:


  66. Jennifer Tirado says:

    Man thank you for posting this. Wish I can find more on this Penco Dove acoustic guitar I found collecting dust at a Goodwill. It has a great sound, and its beautiful. Most I got on it information wise, was that it was a copy. I laughed and said no shit. They copied Gibsons Dove guitar.
    Its beautiful and in good shape and they said it was more than likely made in the 70’s. Here’s my email, JM.Tirado@aol.com I can send pics of anyone wants to see it. Just wish I had more info but I can’t find anything on The Philadelphia Music Company In . Anyone that is willing to help please feel free to email me.


  67. bluegrass-air says:

    Dear guys!

    I have come across an old 70s’ era (lawsuits) (?) guitar called ” GEMSON” WX-500 It is one of the greatest sounding guitars I have ever heard! Do you know anything about it?

    I appreciate your help and thank you in advance
    Zsolt, Hungary

  68. Anonymous says:

    Just saw a posting on a forum of a “Bravo” Model 680 acoustic 6 string. Label says, Made in Japan.

    Do you know anything about the Bravo brand?

  69. Jim Cornelius says:

    I have a Sterling 12 string. The inside has Atlas made in Japan. I’ve looked everywhere online and can’t find ANYTHING about it. I’m trying to find prices and any info I can find on it.

  70. Benjamin Arauz says:

    Does anybody know anything about “Wildcat” brand guitars, i have a jag style with two pups and three switches and i can’t find anything about the guitar, even less the brand.

  71. Andy says:

    Hi, I am about to buy a bass guitar made by Matsumoku, the brand is Supreme – not on your list… did it really exist? Do you know something about the brand Supreme, made by Matsumoku?

  72. John says:

    I have an electric guitar with the Made In Japan on the back. The name of the guitar is Valals. I cannot find any information on it whatsoever. Do a google search and nothing. Anybody can help I would appreciate it.

  73. Jeremy Acton says:

    In Cape Town, South Africa, I have just acquired (in original faux grey alligator hardcase) a very old “Wizard Prezident” (with a z) archtop acoustic guitar with single pickup, a rosewood-looking arched back, relatively cheapo looking black spray finish on the front, f-holes trimmed with white enamel, and black scratch plate. Volume and tone knobs are smooth clear plastic It is very much in the style of an old Gibson L series archtop, with tailpiece and bridge. I am pretty sure it is Japanese made as it has a cheaper range of finish and neck binding.

    I have seen a similar old “Wizard” guitar, and I have seen “President” MIJ guitars (acoustic and electric) but this guitar links the two names into a very intriguing and possibly very rare brand name. Anyone who also has a Wizard Prezident archtop guitar is welcome to contact me to compare notes.

    When I search it on google images, I find NOTHING relevant except the photo of my old guitar .

  74. David says:

    Morris Guitar

    I have what I believe to be a 1970 Morris Mando Mania and am trying to source some background information.
    It has a Florentine scroll with twin pickups and the headstock reads “The Morris” and a name plate inside the f-hole reads “Morris Gakki Co. MORRIS Custom”.
    The only reference to it is that Pete Cosey played one in the 70’s with Miles Davis and there are a few pictures on Google but that’s it!
    Any help would be much appreciated.

    I can supply photos for authenticity if it helps.

  75. Kathy Huntsberger says:

    Interesting! I have a Crown Professional Classical guitar. I received it as a kid and have kept it safely in a closet ever since. It’s in fantastic shape. Since I’ve never really tried to play it, I’d be glad to sell it. Anyone interested?

  76. Anonymous says:

    Fun page…and very informative to boot…tha’s a winning combo folks. Seems like a lot of effort has gone into sustaining the ‘flow’. Your work, and that of your contributors, is very much appreciated by the likes of me. I have ‘returned to the fold’ of guitar after a couple of decades (gasp, can it be?!?) of only picking up my guitar(s) on rare occasions…damn, feels like I’m ‘totally’ starting over. I have immersed myself in the history and mechanics of the ‘art of guitar’, trying to absorb as much information as possible in the shortest possible timeframe…hey I’m almost 70, so got fewer options…and I tend to be rather OCD about things that interest me. Sooo, wha’s my point? THANK YOU FOLKS…I hope to be able to share the fruits of my labor as I progress along the path of “luthierization’ :-).

  77. Ladds says:

    Had just finished an excessive tome when…it went zippp…gone…oh well, guess it was s’posed to be…main thing..thank you for this very good blog, the info is ‘enlightening’ and ‘chains’ to multiple threads for research and knowledge gleaning. Hopefully I will be able to contribute to this project as I continue to expand my horizons in the art and science of the guitar.

  78. creatorinfo says:

    Hello i bought a greco 12 string in japan when i was in the navy in viet nam
    Paid 47.00 american. Seems like 37000 yen. Just guessing. I played it a long time. Finally the headstock broke off. Thanks too your website i remembered the name. Wrote songs in california playing it in an empty closet. I also had an EKO 12 string acoustic electric back in those days.

  79. betrayedrosse says:

    I have a RAVER branded Teisco/Audition style guitar, never seen another bearing this logo, a simple block-capitals heavy metallic glued on plaque just above the nut. Body is the usual double cutaway, two gold foils and sliders with the spring tremolo.

  80. takistan says:

    Does anyone know anything about the Takamine model TG-001 classical guitar other than what’s on Google (which isn’t much)? I contacted Takamine and they told me the model number was too old to be in their records. Weird. It has a penciled signature by the luthier just below and to the left of the interior label.


  81. Jim Barnhart says:

    I HAD a 335 copy with a brand of Musician that I bought in a pawn shop. Easy to play. I’ve never been able to find another or find who made it. I sold it at a swap meet because it had low output. I think I could have fixed that now so I’ve been looking for another.

  82. evan paul says:

    I just sold a very rare made in Tokyo acoustic called “Harmon” what a sound it had, kind of like between an acoustic and resonator. Might want to put that on your list here. I didn’t want to sell it, but I was drowning in guitars and girlfriend threatened me.

  83. evan paul says:

    I also have a SADA hand made classical, I don’t see it listed here. It’s an Indian rosewood, lovely instrument. Sada of course is a Yairi family member who made violins for Suzuki in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and in the 60s when he first heard a gut guitar, began to make guitars, he has a great ear. I have a few other rare ones in storage, I’ll dig them up you can list them here, very rare.

  84. Schuyler Olsen says:

    Hello fellow guitar info and research fanatics!! A few years ago I purchased a Cortley CF95 guitar from a private party from a local on-line ad. It had no case. I met the buyer and he handed me the guitar. I was immediately smitten with it just by the overall look of it. The S/N is 60784. This may sound weird, but the few pics I have seen of a CF95 all had a 3 piece back and a rounded, Martin like pick guard. Mine has a 2 piece back and a fancy “dove” style pick guard. So I looked down the the length of the neck and saw no bowing at all. The only noticeable “blemish” is that some of the beautiful print on the pick guard has worn off. Intonation and overall playability I would rate as excellent, however about half way up the neck I get a little “buzz” and for 2 to 3 frets the pitch is identical on the 2 middle strings. I still absolutely love the hell out of this guitar and have no intention of ever getting rid of it for any reason. I plan on buying a case for it and getting the “buzz” problem fixed by 1 of 2 local shops that I trust. First is Intermountain Guitar and Banjo, and the other is simply called Acoustic Music. I have tried to get info on this guitar online but reach dead ends as these guitars had mysterious production issues. As I recall, I forked out $140 for it. I also still have yet to find a photo of a CF95 that looks exactly like this one. I can be reached via my email at olsensky92@Gmail.com and i will take texts but no calls on my phone 8016359717. I would love to hear from other Cortley guitar owners and maybe eventually gain more insight regarding these guitars. I had 2 Guilds in the past, an F212XL jumbo body 12 string that I highly coveted, and a D25NT, which I also loved the hell out of. They were stolen out of my truck along with a beautiful Takamine that I had bought just weeks earlier. This Cortley could be a fairly decent substitute for my Guild if it weren’t for the buzz issue that I described earlier. I have been playing on and off, mostly on, for about 47 years, since I was about 10 rears old. Yeah… I like Led Zepoelin (Jimmy Page), Tony Iommi, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc. I really hope to hear from other Cortley owners. Peace to all and God Bless all of you and our music!

  85. joe says:

    hi i have a guyatone model v-6a guitar that was given to me for payment of a job i did I’m now learning to play but i don’t know anything about it any hints

  86. Doug B. says:

    Excellent source – thanks for the effort on this & youtube vids also.

    An additional 2 yen worth: I don’t see Washburn on the list, but it looks like
    Daion/Yamaki was selling Washburn electrics in Japan around 1980 – are those
    Ric copies? They kind of have that golden era MIJ look:

  87. billythekid says:

    Some electrics that I’ve had or have include Mansfield, Taro, El Torres, Como, Anjo, Sanox, and Vantage. Lots of info on Vantage. Little on Sanox. First five seem to be found in Canada. Taro in Vancouver, El Torres in Montreal. Presumably distributors in Canada called the guy in Japan or Korea and asked for some of these or some of those, put this name on them and that was that. Some sound very good, some not so much. Some were higher quality and some just looked guitar-like. I have a great sounding Taro tile knock off. Solid slab of ash. A couple of postings on the net say cheap, plywood rubbish. Mine isn’t. Keep in mind, Ford made Lincolns, Mustangs and Pintos, among other things. Some good, some crap, some fantastic. To my mind, guitars should be viewed the same way. If you have a Pinto, did a hole and bury it. If it’s a Mustang, you are a lucky plucker.

  88. Kerry Bracken says:

    Hi, I just bought a ZENTA stratocaster off ebay here in Cornwall U.K, bargain price of £15, currently in pieces as I stripped it down, cleaned and polished most of it, now waiting to build it back up again in a couple of days, on the back neck plate there was a half a stick left , a word which ended in …es 5000. Will see if I can post a picture of guitar when complete, thanks for taking the time to compile such a list, it is a vast one but useful none the less!

  89. Eddo says:

    Wow, I had no idea that Toyota made guitars in the ’60s. If their guitars are anything like their cars then they must be incredibly awesome guitars!

  90. JoTestard says:

    Not sure if i am on the right blog for this particular question.
    I have just purchased a Bellwood Super Swinger SG… can’t figure out if it’s genuine or not… in the other hand why on earth would someone duplicate this guitar when it wasn’t even really popular at that time…. the sound of the pickups is incredible, sounds amazing to me… i am an amateur so really few tips would be really welcomed


  91. James says:

    Anyone know anything about Sakura acoustics? I’ve seen a few online. No one here responded to any of the inquiries. Must be rarer than the CBS Masterworks 000 I had for years! 😉

  92. Anto says:

    Fantastic work…. great to see it all in one place

    I however have a MIJ 1960s single pickup guitar branded “Chaser” it has a 3 piece maple neck with rosewood fingerboard…possibly Matsumoku??

    Maybe worth a mention in the list.

  93. Roger Still says:

    Mann guitars were made by Ibanez for the Canadian market, initially. The Japanese ones are better than the Korean ones, which have a mere decal on the headstock, as opposed to inlay on the Japanese ones. I have a double neck (Bass/6-string) that I bought in 1975. It is made in Japan and a quality instrument. There is a gag order on the parties involved in the ‘lawsuit’ guitars, and trying to get info out of them is like pulling dinosaur teeth.

      1. Roger Still says:

        You’re right, you know. There was a parent company making both brands. Mann seemed only to be for the Canadian market, but I saw Ibanez guitars back in the day.

  94. MicheeRose says:

    Hi, I am in France, I own a Cortez Double Neck from 1976. What a sound and quality instrument. I don’t know how much were produced and its cost today but this is awesome !

  95. Loren Sanders says:

    Hi there,

    On your list, you show Aspen as being manufactured in the 70’s here in the states. Do you have or know of any other information on Aspen guitars? I ask because I have a red Aspen (ES-335 style) that belonged to my uncle that was from the 1960’s.

    I know the time-frame of this one only because I was born in the end of ’63, and my Mom has a picture of me and Unc and that Aspen from 1968-9 (my own memory has it “always” being there, so mom’s Polaroid is the definitive…).

    I know these aren’t valuable guitars, but it is invaluable to me for the nostalgia of good times with my uncle as kid with that guitar (and him with his Gretsch); I’d like to be able to “know” more about it though – the specs etc.


  96. Tom says:

    Hi, I just bought a Lyle model 714 12 string. Can’t find any info on this model!
    Can anyone help. I do have a Lyle W470 and one other one.
    The 714 looks to be Indian rosewood back and sides but not sure.
    Will arrive in a couple of days/.

  97. Eric says:

    I never gave my Amena bass a second thought, until someone asked me what my first bass electric guitar was. Bought new in 1976 ($53 Aussie) and sold a year later, in favour of an unbranded (possibly Japanese and really well built) Rickenbacker copy, which was sold, in turn, a year later for a 1971 Fender Jazz, which I still have. Such memories.
    I guess the logical step would be to put pictures to all the above names, but I won’t hold you to it.

  98. Ole Tinglev says:

    My first guitar, bought in Odense DK. was an F.Hashimoto with M G ( Mahura Gakki ) Letters on the headstock. I found out that F. Hasimoto MG. was handmade in Japan by MasterLuthier Mahura gakki.
    He had a little Factory with 6 men working and him as master luthier. From Ole Tinglev DK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s