Claescaster

Tag: Toshio “Mori” Moridaira

Hohner, Made in Japan

1970's Japan made Hohner TelecasterMy new Hohner Telecaster, made in Japan in the 1970’s most likely by Morris in the Moridaira factory.

This weekend I received a 1970’s Japan made Hohner Telecaster. These old Hohner’s have a nice solid feel to them and good resonance even though the bodies are made out of plywood, or some form of wood sandwiched together. Having said that, this Telecaster is extremely heavy so maybe they sandwiched a chunk of mahogany together with an ash or alder top layer. This would have put me off if I wasn’t so gay for my old beat up Hohner Strat. This was one of the first Japan made guitars I bought, I found it in a charity shop in Camden in London for £50 in 2009. It’s not the best Strat I have ever played but the neck is really chunky and the pickups sounds really good. It’s the same with the new Hohner Telecaster, pretty nice neck and great pickups. The neck pickup actually sounds a bit like the in-between neck and middle position on a Strat. I would have preferred that the Telecaster neck was a wee bit thicker, but it’s still very playable. Hohner only produced guitars in Japan for a couple of years during the late 1970’s and later moved to Korea like a lot of other brands. I really enjoy this Telecaster but I have too many guitars at the moment and therefore it’s up for sale.

1970's Japan made Hohner Telecaster1970's Japan made Hohner Telecaster

According to my previous post about Japanese guitar brands they were made by Morris in the Moridaira factory. I took my list from Who Made My MIJ Guitar so I hope we can trust his research.

Moridaira (Morris Guitars)
Founded in 1967 by Toshio “Mori” Moridaira, the Moridaira factory produced high-quality guitars, including the infamous Morris badged guitar. Moridaira also produced badged guitars for Hohner including Coronado, Futurama, H.S. Anderson, Lotus (some) and Sakai.

One thing that would prove the Hohner connection to Moridaira would be Prince’s Telecaster. He used to play a a H.S. Anderson Mad Cat, as I mentioned in a previous post. Hohner later copied the Mad Cat, first in Japan and later as the Prinz guitar made in Korea by Cort. Those early Mad Cats under Hohner was made by Moridaira. “A little over 500 Mad Cats were made during the ‘70s, including a small batch made OEM for Hohner USA with a Hohner logo in the H.S. Anderson style. Pop artist Prince discovered one of these rare guitars early on in his career, and used it live and on countless hit-records like Purple Rain, 1999, Controversy, etc. for over 30 years now.” Taken from the history page at Mad Cat guitars

1970's Japan made Hohner TelecasterI took the guitar a part to look over the electronics and give it a good clean and set it up properly. The Switch is a bit worn so I will order a new one and replace that but the Japanese 500k pots are crackle free so I will keep the rest. This one is wired in an even weirder way than my Greco, with the ground from the bridge going to the first post on the treble pot. There were two big chunks on the back of the neck that was either worn or sanded down, which I didn’t like. I applied some Nitrocellulose lacquer with a sponge for not getting any sharp edges around, which worked pretty well, and then sanded it smooth with 2500 grit paper.

1970's Japan made Hohner Telecaster Update: August 30, 2014 I got around to change the 3-way switch so now I finally got to hear the bridge pickup, not bad at all. I also bought 6 new screws that I cut since the original ones were really annoyingly long. When I got this guitar the action was too low for me and when I raised the saddles the screws that are holding them in place almost touched the strings so I decided to replace them with something shorter. I really starting to like this Telecaster now, it has a great twang and feel to it. 

1970's Japan made Hohner Stratocaster
1970's Japan made Hohner StratocasterMy beat up old Hohner Stratocaster, bought cheap in London back in 2009. Notice that the logo is different on these two.

Morris W-40

Morris W-40 1973
Morris W-40 1973

My new found love just arrived to the office, a 1973 Morris W-40. I have been looking for a Japan made Martin D-45 copy for a while and I’m really glad I went for a Morris. I have never played a guitar that sounds this good, amazing tone with really low action. She is a bit more worn than I expected, which doesn’t really bother me that much since the wood looks so good. I might put some gold tulip machine heads on her tonight, if my Gibson PMMH-025 fits. This Monday is just getting better and better. First I got to celebrate my girlfriends birthday, which meant getting up at 5.45 am and prepare breakfast in bed for her, and then I got this baby delivered and she arrived in one piece. Thank you Monday.

Martin D-45

Bob Dylan 1975 with A. Ginsberg playing a Martin D-45
Bob Dylan in 1975 with A. Ginsberg playing a Martin D-45

Neil Young Martin D-45
Neil Young in 1971 playing his Martin D-45 which was given to him by Stephen Stills in 1969

I just found my Japan made Martin D-45 copy that I was looking for, at least for now. I have managed to became the very proud owner of a 1973 Morris W-40, which is as close to a Martin D-45 that my budget could allow. Ideally I would have liked a Yairi YW- 1000 but they tend to go for 1000-2000€ so I had to settle for a Morris W-40. I’ve read a lot of good things about Morris, at least the ones made in the 1970’s so hopefully I will not only look like Neil Young, I will sound like him too, or maybe not. It doesn’t have the vertical logo, which is a shame but those tend to cost 500-600€ if you get one straight from Japan and are pretty rare here in Europe. Well at least it has hexagon mother of pearl inlays and the beautiful 3-part back with Brazilian rosewood and maple. Let’s see how good it sound and looks when it arrives next week. Here are some random photos I found of other Morris W-40.

Morris W-40
Some random Morris W-40 pictures I found online. Moridaira (Morris Guitars). Founded in 1967 by Toshio “Mori” Moridaira, the Moridaira factory produced high-quality guitars, including the infamous Morris badged guitar.