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Tag: Japanese acoustics

Sigma DR-35

Sigma DR-35, Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoSigma DR-35, Made in Japan 1980

I finally managed to find another Japan made Sigma, this time a 1980 Sigma DR-35. It’s a beautiful looking Martin D-35 copy with a 3-piece rosewood back. They are pretty hard to come by these early 1980’s Japan made Sigma’s and sometimes very expensive too, between 500-1500€ depending on the model. I didn’t buy this for myself, I’m way too happy with my Sigma DR-41 at the moment and on top of that I’m actually trying to thin out my Japanese guitar collection. I got it for my friend Wolf who just like me have gone from a pretty solid Gibson obsession to realise that perhaps that Martin sound is not that bad after all. There is something of that punchy mids and clear ringing highs in the Martin sound that these Japanese made Sigma’s have too, after all they were commissioned by C. F. Martin & Co. I thought my Sigma DR-41 was loud and had a very punchy midrange but this Sigma is one step beyond, I guess because of the 3-piece back. I like the highs and the overtones better in mine but still, this is an amazing sounding guitar that I thought long and hard about keeping for myself. I was sure that my Sigma DR-41 was made in 1982 since the serial number starts with E82 but since this Sigma DR-35’s serial number also starts with E82 and came with a receipt that proves that it was sold in September 1980 it must have been made that year, or earlier.

Sigma DR-35, Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoSigma DR-35, Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoThis guitar had apparently been in storage for the last 30 years, since the original owner died and that seems plausible, it’s in really good shape for it’s age.

Sigma DR-35, Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoThe classic Made in Japan football stamp, burnt in to the back brace that was used from 1978-1983 on Japan made Sigma’s stating: Sigma Guitars – Made in Japan for – C.F. Martin & Co, just like on mySigma DR-41. The rosewood looks really nice on this Sigma, even better than on mine.

Wolf asked me to install a LR Baggs iBeam in the Sigma before he received it and since I recently installed the LR Baggs Lyrics in my Sigma DR-41 it was a pretty easy task. We actually got to try them both out last Saturday when we played live with Cherry & Wolf at La Sonora, it sounded something like this. I did two tests to make it easier to compare the Sigma DR-35 with the iBeam to the Sigma DR-41 with the Lyrics. They both sounds pretty darn great, but in different ways.

Sigma DR-35, Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoThe original receipt from 26 September 1980. The guitar cost 475 Deutsche Mark which would be around 245€ today and probably a lot more 36 years ago. Taken from my Instagram

Alvarez 5014

Alvarez 5014 Made in JapanAlvarez 5014, made in Japan in 1973

I recently found a 000-sized Alvarez for my friend Wolf. It’s a really nice little guitar that we both were impressed by. These guitars were made in Japan for the US market and imported by St. Louis Music in Missouri, the guys behind Westone. According to Wikipedia and Alvarez own site it was the legendary Kazuo Yairi that founded the brand in 1965 to make cheaper Yairi guitars for the US market. Having said that, it’s still unclear if all Alvarez guitars were really made in the K. Yairi factory in Kani, Gifu in Japan or outsourced on other factories in Japan, see Jedistar. These early 1970’s Alvarez are a bit different to the later Alvarez-Yairi guitars that got famous in the late 1970’s and 1980’s when musicians like Crosby, Stills & Nash and Bob Weir endorsed them. Not only is the label inside and head inlays different, but they also seems to have their own models, the later Alvarez-Yairi are exact copies of the Yairi models of the time but made for export to the US. Since there is a sticker with a serial number inside that correspond perfectly to the Emperor code that K. Yairi uses things point towards the Yairi factory. As with everything made in Japan during the 1970’s, there are some questions we might never find the answer too. Either way we have an awesome Japan made Martin 000-18 copy that Wolf is very excited to play, especially with my Bill Lawrence A-300 in the soundhole.

Alvarez 5014 Made in JapanAlvarez 5014 Made in JapanThe serial number starts with 48 which signify the 48th year of the reign of emperor Shōwa, which was in 1973. You can check the serial numbers of your Yairi or Alvarez here

Morris W-50

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanTF Morris W-50, Made in Japan around 1979

I managed to find another Morris W-50, this time with hexagon inlays instead of snowflakes as on my earlier Morris W-50. They sounds pretty similar, very rich and full tone with clear highs. I guess the 3-piece back is adding to that full sound and of course it makes them very pretty to look at too. In my opinion these TF Morris guitars are almost up there with K. Yairi and the best Japanese builders. It doesn’t look like Brazilian rosewood, but it has some really nice figured dark rosewood back and sides with quilted maple in the middle and a solid spruce top.

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanMorris W-50 1970's Made in JapanThe guitar came from a collector in Scotland and was ready to play when it arrived, I didn’t have to do anything to it.

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanThe two TF Morris W-50 together, the left one from around 1976 and the right from about 1979

Morris Japan catalogue 1979Morris Japan catalogue 1979Morris Japan catalogue 1979Morris Japan catalogue 1979

Guitars for sale

Martin SPD-16R Made in USA1999Martin SPD-16R, Made in USA 1999, 1500€ 1300€
Martin SPD-16R is a Special Edition Dreadnought from Martin guitars. Spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides with forward shifted scalloped X bracing. Performance taper, low oval mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard and bridge. Snowflake inlays, abalone rosette and a D-45 style back strip with gold Martin stamped machine heads. Produced in USA between 1996-2001. The guitar is in fantastic shape for being 18 years old with hardly any scratches and no fretware. The top has a hairline crack from the bridge down which has cracked the lacquer but not the wood. SPD-16R stands for Special edition, Dreadnought, 16-series in Rosewood. This guitar looks great and sounds amazing, you can read more about it here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Gibson J-45 ADJ 1965 Made in USAGibson J-45 adj, Made in USA 1965, 2300€ SOLD
An awesome looking Gibson J-45 ADJ, built in the Kalamazoo factory in 1965. It’s the classic round shouldered Gibson dreadnought, natural finish spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fretboard and bridge. All original except for the refinish which turned this J-45 in to a J-50. Apparently this was done in the early 1970’s when the slight separation in the tops mid seam was glued. The guitar looks really great, worn but still well preserved for being 50  years old. The sound is just amazing, it has that typical Gibson bass response that you can hear on the early records of James Taylor and Jackson Browne. I cut a new bone saddle for it but it comes with it’s original adjustable rosewood bridge. It has an endpin jack already installed so it’s ready to play live, just ad a pickup. A brand new flight case is included to protect the guitar. The action is low and there are no structural issues with this guitar, just the normal marks and scratches. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Gibson B-15 Made in USA 1969Gibson B-15, Made in USA 1969, 1200€ SOLD
This 1969 Gibson B-15 sounds and plays great and is pretty good shape for it’s age. There is a lot of scratches and wear to the top and sides but the are no cracks or structural issues. It’s all original and even comes with the Gibson made alligator chipboard case. The action is good and the frets has very little wear. The B-15 was an all solid model with a natural finished mahogany body, a mahogany stained spruce top and rosewood fretboard and bridge. Gibson referred to the B-series as student models at the time which is a bit misguiding considering what a student guitar sounds like today. These have great even tone and pretty amazing sustain for the size, a perfect little blues machine. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325Harmony Monterey H1325, Made in USA 1950’s, 550€ SOLD
Very cool looking US made archtop from the late 1950’s. Solid spruce top with birch back and sides, 16 1/2 in wide grand auditorium size, steel reinforced neck. This guitar is all original and even comes with the original case. There is a glued crack on the side but no other issues. It sounds great, loud and clear acoustically. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973K. Yairi YW-1000, Made in Japan 1973, 1700€ SOLD
This is the top of the line, the fanciest guitar that K. Yairi built. Their Martin D-45 copies are legendary for their sound and build quality. This guitar has real Brazilian Rosewood back and sides and a beautifully aged solid spruce top. Real abalone inlays all around and the typical Martin volute where the head and neck meet. At the moment this guitar has Wilkinson WJ28NGD open gear machine heads in gold fitted but I still have the original K. Yairi machine heads. It’s all original except for the bridge which is a brand new hand cut and shaped replacement in ebony with a bone saddle and ebony bridge pins. The guitar is in great shape for being 43 years old but there are a couple of scratches to the top, one big one close to the bottom. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The guitar sounds amazing, so deep and clear at the same time. These K. Yairi YW-1000 are extremely rare in Europe and without any doubt the closest you can get to a real 1970’s Martin D-45. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanMorris W-50, Made in Japan 1970’s, 700€ SOLD
Nice Martin D-42 copy with real abalone hexagon inlays and the typical Martin volute where the head and neck meet. Solid spruce top with nice inlays all around and a beautiful 3-piece back with flamed maple and dark rosewood. The guitar is all original and in really good shape for being over 35 years old but with some scratches, one slightly larger on the top. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The guitar sounds great, very clear and Martin like. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanMorris W-50, Made in Japan 1970’s,650€ SOLD
Great looking Martin D-42 copy with snowflake inlays and the typical Martin volute where the head and neck meet. Solid spruce top with nice inlays all around and a beautiful 3-piece back with flamed maple and dark rosewood. The guitar is all original and in really good shape for being over 35 years old but with scratches and marks around the body. It has Wilkinson WJ28NGD open gear machine heads in gold installed now but the original will be included. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The guitar sounds great, very clear and Martin like. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris W-40 1973Morris W-40, Made in Japan by Terada 1973, 500€ SOLD
A pretty early Morris and a very nice looking Martin D-45 copy, made by Terada in Japan, the factory that makes Gretsch and Orville. Solid spruce top with a really nice 3-piece back of Brazilian rosewood and maple. The inlays are real abalone hexagon inlays and I still have the original machine heads if chrome is preferred to gold. It has it’s fair share of scratches and has been played a lot over the past 42 years but it has no cracks or issues. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The sound is just amazing, really deep bass but with good clarity and great projection. It has a endpin jack fitted and a strap button so it’s ready to be gigged with straight away, just fit a pickup. It’s still one of my favourites but now I have too many Morris guitars and have to get rid of some. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris WL-35 Made in Japan 1970'sMorris WL-35, Made in Japan 1970’s, 400€ SOLD
A really cool looking Johnny Cash Guild copy. It’s in great condition except for one flaw, the end pin has been pushed in at one point and cracked the lacquer. It’s not as bad as it sounds and it doesn’t really affect anything but I thought it would be worth mentioning. I’m pretty sure it’s mahogany back and sides, it has a really warm and nice sound and is a great playing guitar. It has a endpin jack fitted and a strap button so it’s ready to be gigged with straight away, just fit a pickup. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

K.Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi TG-40, Made in Japan 1977, 700€ SOLD
A very rare and unique K. Yairi copy of the famous Guild D-40, which itself was introduced in the Sixties as a competitor to Gibson’s J-45. The Guild D-40 became famous as the Bluegrass guitar for their even response over all the strings and I have to say that this K. Yairi TG-40 sounds amazing. Solid spruce top, sides and back in solid mahogany, neck in Honduras mahogany, bridge and Fretboard in black ebony. The guitar is all original except for the pickguard, which was replaced with an official Guild pickguard, the old one was cracked. It has an end pin jack and strap button fitted and at the moment Wilkinson WJ-309 Art Deco machine heads in gold but I still have the original machine heads if chrome is preferred to gold. The top and back has a few scratches but no structural issues. It plays really well and has an amazing tone, very loud and clear with a great punch in the mid-range. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

K. Yairi YW-130 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi YW-130, Made in Japan 1977, 550€ SOLD
This is a quite accurate Martin D-28 copy made in Japan by K. Yairi in 1977. It’s really light and beautiful sounding, very responsive and a joy to play. Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides with a smooth ebony fretboard. It has it’s fair share of scratches and a couple of dents to the top but no cracks or issues. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The sound is great, very clear with great harmonics. It has a strap button fitted and at the moment Wilkinson open back machine heads in gold but I still have the original machine heads if chrome is preferred to gold. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

IMG_9283Levin Model 13 Ambassadör, Made in Sweden 1950, 600€ SOLD
This is a beautiful Levin Model 13 Ambassadör, hand built in Gothenburg Sweden in 1950. If you are not familiar with this classic Swedish brand Levin, click on the link to read more about it. It was restored a few years ago by GammelGura, a great luthier in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. With new bronze frets, a neck re-set, cracks glued and a new bridge was created to improve the intonation, the rest is all original. It even has the sticker on the back of the head from the guitar shop in Örnsköldsvik where the guitar was bought 65 years ago. It’s a fairly small ladder braced 12-fret guitar with a big sound because of the body width, 400 mm. All solid woods, as always with Levin. Spruce top, walnut back and sides, 4-ply bound top, single-bound back. Mahogany neck with non-adjustable T-shaped duraluminum truss rod. Single-bound rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and pearloid dot inlay. Single-bound headstock, rosewood bridge, nickel plated individual tuners. Sunburst finish, very similar to the Gibson sunburst of the 1940-50’s, and 10 years warranty. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942Levin Model 65, Made in Sweden in 1942, 550€ SOLD
A nice little parlour guitar from Levin, made during World War II in Gothenburg Sweden. It’s just 315 mm wide so it’s a perfect little ladder braced blues machine. All solid woods, spruce top, birch back and sides with walnut fretboard, brass machine heads and nickel plated tailpiece. The guitar is all original, I carved a new bridge for lowering the action but the original will be included in the sale. The neck is really fat and nice and feels great to play. A perfect parlour for blues picking. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Hagström Western 6 Made in Sweden 1978Hagström Western 6, Made in Sweden in 1978, 650€ SOLD
A very rare Hagström Western 6 Missouri made in 1978 by Bjärton in Bjärnum in the south of Sweden. Bjärton were the second largest guitar manufacturers in Sweden after Levin, and they produced all the acoustic instruments for Hagström. It’s both stunning to look at, a joy to play and it sounds great. It has the same head, fretboard and inlays as the legendary Hagström Suede electric guitars had in the 1970’s. Spruce top with X-bracing, mahogany back and sides. 4-ply bound top and bound back. Unbound ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge, mahogany neck. Matte natural finish and 10 year warranty, which was only give to the top end models. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975Hagström B-60, Made in Sweden by Bjärton in 1975, 500€ SOLD
This great looking Gibson J-50 copy was made in 1975 by Bjärton in Bjärnum in the south of Sweden. Bjärton were the second largest guitar manufacturers in Sweden after Levin, and they produced all the acoustic instruments for Hagström. It’s made out of all solid woods and it’s a very nice sounding guitar, even though it has a bolt-on neck, I guess the solid woods and massive neck block is helping with the sound. Spruce top with X-bracing, mahogany back and sides with a nice mahogany bolt-on neck, unbound rosewood fingerboard, Single-bound top and back, rosewood pin bridge. Van Gent machine heads, just like Levin, natural finish and 10 year warranty, which was only give to the top end models. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Sigma DR-41

Sigma DR-41 Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoSigma DR-41, made in Japan in 1982

I have heard a lot of good, and some not so good, things about Sigma guitars over the years but never actually tried one. To be honest, I really didn’t know anything about the brand until this beautiful Sigma DR-41 arrived and I felt curious and started to read up on them. I guess one big reason why there are both avid supporters and fierce haters of Sigma could be the big changes in production over the past 45-years. The brand was Created in 1970 by C.F. Martin & Co as a line of inexpensive guitars to compete with all the far east brands that flooded the market at the time. The first generation of Sigma’s from 1970-76 were made in Japan but came with adjustable bridges and looks very inexpensive to me, I haven’t tried one so they might be great. When the second generation of Sigma’s arrived in the later half of the 1970’s they really started to look like Martin guitars and the build quality seems to have improved a lot, at least by the look of it. From around 1976-1984 Sigma produced the now classic DR-line, these guitars seems to be ridiculously collectable and very popular because you rarely see them up for sale. I have a feeling that most of them live somewhere in the US and are owned by middle aged men that bought them new as their first proper guitar around 1980 and since they still sounds really good they would never sell them. I have nothing against middle aged men or guitar hoarders, I’m 35 and an avid guitar hoarder and of course I still have the first guitar I bought back in 1993.

Sigma D-41 Made in Japan 1982I have had at least 20 different Japanese acoustics in my house over the last couple of years and this 1980 Sigma DR-41 is easily my favourite so far.

The DR line consisted of DR-8, DR-9, DR-11, DR-14, DR-15, DR-28, DR-28S, SDR-28, DR-35, DR-41 and DR-45. I’m not entirely sure what DR-8 to DR-15 were based on, but DR-28 to DR-45 were pretty accurate copies of the Martin models with the same number. The guitar I’ve managed to find, the Sigma DR-41 looks very close to a Martin D-41 and I’ve seen pretty convincing Sigma versions of Martin D-28 and D-35’s too. Apparently there is a very rare version called Sigma DR-14, which is a DR-41 but with a 3-piece back, that was imported through Levin in Sweden, which makes sense since C.F. Martin & Co bought Levin in 1973. There are actually quite a few of the earlier 1970’s low end Sigma’s that were imported through Levin for the European market as well. It seems like the earlier Sigma guitars were made by Tokai through Kasunga Gakki but I really don’t know if all Japan made Sigma’s were produced by them or not. I have a feeling they might have used a lot of different factories during their 13 years in Japan.

Sigma DR-41 Made in Japan 1980, MIJ, C. F. Martin & CoI couldn’t resist so of course I changed the machine heads for Wilkinson WJ28NGD as soon as I got the chance. I just can’t stand those big bulky Japanese 1970’s machine heads.

Sigma stopped the production in Japan around 1983 and moved everything to Korea, later Taiwan and finally Indonesia. Martin claims that all Sigma’s where sent to them in Nazareth, Pennsylvania to be inspected and adjusted by Martin personnel before they sent them out to the dealers, which I doubt for the later Taiwan and Indonesian guitars. In 1981-1982, Martin imported partially assembled Sigma guitars from Japan and then put them together themselves in Nazareth, these were labelled Sigma Martin USA DR-28N and DR-35N. The Sigma story seems to be a bit shady from the 1990-2000, C.F. Martin & Co lost the rights to the name for a while and there seems to have been other companies producing Sigma guitars and then Martin got it back and closed it down in 2007. In 2011 the German company AMI Musical Instruments GmbH purchased the rights to the name and relaunched Sigma Guitars that are now being produced in China. There is quite a lot of information on Wikipedia about Japanese Sigma guitars. I also found this Sigma site really helpful.

Sigma D-41 Made in Japan 1982 guitar ad1980’s ad for Sigma guitars, with my beloved Sigma DR-41 far right

I really didn’t know what to expect when I got myself this Sigma DR-41. I just bought it because I’m so insanely gay for any guitar that looks like a Martin D-41 or D-45, or actually any guitar with a volute on the back of the head, hexagon markers and a lot of mother of pearl inlays. At first I didn’t like this Sigma much, I thought it sounded stiff and boring but after two days with the pump and a week of heavy playing I was sold. I’m not sure if all Japanese Sigma’s are this good, but this guitar is freaking amazing. It’s easily up there with Morris and K. Yairi, perhaps even better, see the second video where I compare it to my K. Yairi YW-1000.

How to… carve a bridge

K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973K. Yairi YW-1000 a Martin D-45 copy made in Kani, Japan in 1973

It’s been a while since I posted anything in my little DIY series, How to…, like me previous post about How to… reset a Levin neck or remove a bridge. I did carve a little floating bridge for my Levin 65 over a year ago but now it was finally time to carve a proper ebony bridge for my K. Yairi YW-1000.

K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973I thought about getting a pre-made Allparts ebony bridge at first but felt that it would be more fun to make one myself from scratch instead. I ordered some rosewood and ebony blanks from Madinter, it thought it could be good to have some extra at home, and got started. First I removed the old bridge, it had two screws that was a bit tricky to get out but eventually I figured it out. I removed the bridge with a spatula that I heated on a normal clothes iron, it works like a charm every time. Start in a corner and work yourself towards the middle and be careful when it starts to loosen up so you don’t break it off and chip the top, it should come off slowly and without force. I planed the ebony blank and then used a cabinet scraper to get it even. I copied the old bridge and drilled the holes straight away. It felt easier to do this before the bridge was shaped, it would also have saved me a lot of time in case I messed up the holes and had to start all over again. Luckily everything went fine.

K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973Once the bridge was sawed in to a good size, I made it a couple of millimetres bigger on all sides, I drew the outlines of the final shape. I mounted the bridge blank on a piece of scrap wood with two screws so I could more easily work all around with the bridge firmly secured. I used a chisel to carve out the shape on the sides and from the top down towards the wings. I got a good round shape with a half round rasp and then it was just a hell of a lot of sanding to remove all the lines from the rasp and to get it smooth and nice.

K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973I glued the bridge on and after 3 days I strung up both E-strings and used a drill as a saddle so I could move it around until I got the intonation right, I forgot to take a picture of that. I marked out the saddle and then sawed a 3 mm slot. Next step was to create a bone saddle to match and string it up. Easy peasy, well it was a hard days work but it was easier that I thought.

Cherry & Wolf

Cherry & Wolf - La Sonora de Gràcia 10 Oct 2015Cherry & Wolf with me on guitar, La Sonora de Gràcia 10 Oct 2015. © Araceli Perez

Last Saturday I got a chance to play with my friends Cherry & Wolf again. It turned out to be great fun and it seems like I have a few more gigs lined up with them this autumn. Now you can see where the Luxor Dove copy went, it’s Wolf’s main guitar and I’m playing on my beloved Morris W-50.

Ibanez V 637

Ibanez Vintage 637 BS Made in Japan 1978Ibanez Vintage 637 BS, made in Japan by Fujigen Gakki in 1978

I managed to find another a Ibanez Vintage, just like the Ibanez V 300 BS that I got for my friend Miki back in July, but this time it’s a Ibanez Vintage 637 BS. I’m not really sure what the difference is between the V 300 and V 637 because they feel, look and sound very much the same but I assume this one should be a bit better since the model number is higher. Unless they used the old 600-series number for them in 1978 like the used on the Concord earlier and then changed in 1979 to a 300 series. Either way it’s a beautiful and very well sounding guitar. This guitar is now sold.

Ibanez Vintage 637 BS Made in Japan 1978Ibanez Vintage 637 BS Made in Japan 1978I only had to clean her up, polish the frets, oil the fretboard and machine heads and change the nut and saddle to bone and she was ready to go

Fuji F310

Fuji F310, Kurosawa by Matsumoto Made in JapanFuji F310, made by Kurosawa guitar in Matsumoto, Japan

I recently found a little Fuji F310, a 000-sized Japan made acoustic. The guitar was made by Kurosawa guitar in the Matsumoku factory in the late 1960’s. It says Matsumoto factory on the label and that seems to have been the original name of the Matsumoku factory before they grew too big and had to move, the old Matsumoku factory was in the city of Matsumoto. It’s in great shape for the age and has a great tone, these folk sized Japanese acoustics are pretty hard to come by, especially here in Spain. It’s made with really nice looking tone woods, the rosewood back is beautiful and so is the fretboard. The neck is really fat and feels great, a bit like a 58′ Les Paul and if I needed another 000 I would have kept it myself but I have three Levin guitars in this size. I bought the Fuji F310 for my wife but her hands are too small for the neck and therefore it’s up for sale.

Fuji F310, Kurosawa by Matsumoto Made in JapanFuji F310, Kurosawa by Matsumoto Made in JapanA changed the bridge pins and put in a bone saddle, straightened up the neck and polished the frets. There was a pretty nasty dent on the back of the neck, close to the body, that I filled, painted and lacquered over.

 

Luxor 42-274

Luxor 42-274, Dove copy made in Japan by Ibanez 1970's Luxor 42-274,  Dove copy made in Japan by Ibanez 1970’s

A few weeks ago I got myself my first Luxor guitar, just like C.G. Winner it’s a brand that you see a lot of in Germany but no one outside have ever heard of it. It’s a really well built Dove copy from the 1970’s in great shape, most likely made in the Matsumoku factory in Japan by Ibanez. What we know for sure is that Luxor was a made by Ibanez and imported by Musikhaus Otto Manfred Hack, Göttingen, Germany. This was pretty common in the 1960-70’s that guitars, especially Ibanez, were imported without a brand name on them since it was cheaper and then the importer put their own chosen name on them, like Penco in the US, imported by Philadelphia Music Company, or Antoria or CSL in the UK, imported by Charles Summerfield Ltd, just to name a few. Penco, Antoria and Luxor are all linked to Hoshino Gakki, the owner of the Ibanez but they all claim to have been made in different factories, this is a bit of a problem with Ibanez since it’s just brand, not a factory. Ibanez produced guitars both in the Matsumoku and FujiGen factory, and probably in some others too, so it’s very hard to know what was made where. Ibanez and Cimar, a sub-brand of Ibanez, claims to have been made by FujiGen, while Luxor and a lot of other brands owned by Hoshino Gakki were made by Matsumoku. Having said that, the quality of this Luxor is made with Ibanez standards and not like a lot of the no branded inferior ones that Matsumoku mass produced in the 1970’s. Here you can read more about Japanese guitar brands. Either way, it’s a fabulous looking Dove copy, a pure joy to play and it sounds great. Unfortunately I managed to buy a couple of more guitars than I first intended over the summer so this Luxor 42-274 is for sale.

Luxor 42-274, made in the Matsumoku factory in Japan by Ibanez in the 1970'sLuxor 42-274, made in the Matsumoku factory in Japan by Ibanez in the 1970'sLuxor 42-274, made in the Matsumoku factory in Japan by Ibanez in the 1970’s. Imported to Germany by Musikhaus Otto Manfred Hack in Göttingen