Well, would you check out this gorgeous guitar? Hailing from the late 50s, this fancy slice of bread represents one of the earliest Japanese import guitars made by one of the oldest guitar makers in Japan.Maruha Gakki began making acoustic and hollow body guitars in 1948. Located in Fukuoka Prefecture and the city of Kurume, the company was one of the original suppliers of guitar bodies and necks for Teisco and Elk guitars. Maruha Gakki built very high quality guitars for the era, with finishes and inlay work that surpassed many US builders such as Harmony and Kay.This particular finish is like a swirled varnish…I’m not sure what to call it but it’s like someone took a rag or sponge and swirled in the darker stain. It’s a truly gorgeous burst effect that’s totally visually stunning. Very nice.I’ve seen these guitars in Japan labeled as Maruha, and in the states as Domino Guitars. There were a few different models imported by Domino during this time, including a simple parlor guitar, a larger concert model, and this round hole arch top.This guitar had a wonderful, full V-neck and some very solid construction. Interesting bracing inside allowed for one of the coolest arch tops I’d ever seen. In fact, I didn’t even know that a round-hole arch top existed until I bought this guitar! Apparently the design was en vogue for a few years in the 50s, but it truly was unique in build style and I liked it quite a bit. The neck wasn’t adjustable and did need some serious heat work, but the frets were great and the tuners were quality.It was really hard to photograph the arch here, but basically the guitar top flattened out around the sound hole and then bulged up where the bridge was located. The sound always seemed a bit restrained to my ears, but standing out in front the guitar projected like a cannon and just had a great sound. This is one of those guitars that I always regretted selling!
4 thoughts on “1950s Domino (Maruha Gakki) Round-Hole Archtop Guitar”
Super cool. I have had and have now several Muruha guitars and they are top notch quality wise and usually sound wise. They made nice classical guitars also. I had one large folk guitar solid maple back and sides and solid top that was extraordinary. They usually have a strong radius on the folk guitars… live a Fender Strat 91/2 almost. .. with smaller fretboard on the acoustics almost like a strat or tele size… in width. Always happy to see a new one as they merit respect and interest.
Cool, thanks for sharing!
This is a cool looking guitar and if it played and sounded as well as it looks, it is indeed a shame that you sold it. I imagine that they tend to sell underpriced as compared to what they’re really worth. To tell the truth, I had never heard of this line before.