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Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Tommy on Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:47 pm



Well, whatdaya know, it's our very own FMsleepkid!
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Redline on Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:52 pm

^Great Japanese guitar write-up...Salut!
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby sleepkid on Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:26 am

Hey Thank You!

Was just kind of a primer for people who'd never bought one before. Anyone who has read this thread is well versed in all of that stuff by this point.

I am very sorry that I have not been able to add to this thread recently. I've started a new job which is music related, but keeps me pretty (monumentally) busy at the moment. I have seen some amazing guitars recently, but haven't been in a position to buy any of them, much less repair them and sell them.

Once I get things into a smoother groove at the new job, I hope to have some time to share some fun/interesting things here.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby agiant on Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:34 pm

Not bizarre, just a fernandes strat copy, but... impossible to identify!
Sleep kid, can you tell me anything about this?

I can't find anything, this model is not included in the catalogs, etc... I'd like to know if it's made in japan or made in korea. Hints:

- Originally bought from a store in Europe (Madrid, Spain), in the 90s
- Correct fender headstock shape
- Electric Sound Research Group logo
- No “limited edition”, “revival”, “custom body”, etc. in the headstock
- No sticker or SN in the back of the headstock
- The neck plate only says “Fernandes”
- LE-X printed in the neck pocket, with the date (dec 23 1995)
- Ceramic pickups
- Allen Nut Hot Rod
- Body routed for humbuckers
- 5-piece body
- 1-ply pickguard
- The original tuners were replaced by Hamer Gotoh style tuners

I can't find any info about the LE-X model.
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Last edited by agiant on Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Mason on Tue May 16, 2017 12:06 pm

Two items for the thread, including some questions for FM sleepkid if he's up for them.

The quick one:
A shop in my area has a Yamaha TA-20 for sale. The smallest of the "pyramid" amps that came up earlier in the thread. It looks to be in good condition and is listed for 230 CAD. I can check it out to see if it'd do anything for me sound- or output-wise. But they're such an oddball design, the foam trapezoidal speaker and all. So while they're rare, I'm wondering if anyone's had any experience with the TA amps, or knows anything about their reputation in the world. ("Speaker blows easily," "incessantly catches fire," etc.)

The other one:
I picked up a Bizarre Japanese bass last month. Branded as a Univox, more or less a Precision copy. 130 CAD.

It's not a Precisely bass or whatever the other "canonical" copy was called. In fact, it meets the description of the Counterfeit Univox that I see referenced from time to time.
http://vintageunivox.com/guitars/counterfeit.html

I've seen the Univox name in plenty of "we had the rights to the name haha" instances— '80s Superstrats, '00s digital drums—but calling this a counterfeit doesn't seem right, especially since it seems contemporaneous with any "real" Univox. My bass has the inlaid headstock logo and a pickup that resembles, and could well be, a Tele neck pickup. But so did the Ibanez Tele Bass I used to have, and that would have come from the Matsumoku factory. Where from you also get Univox.

I don't care what this bass is. I guess I just get annoyed seeing HarmonyCentral bros clowning on people in their "check out my new bass!" threads when their basses might not be counterfeits at all. And perhaps they are, though I don't totally know the purpose of making counterfeits of comparable or identical quality/cost, and for sale within the same domestic market. (For real, the electronics might be lower grade, but the build of the rest feels as or more solid than my other Univoxes.)

So while there's a convoluted relationship between these manufacturers and the names they put on instruments, it might be cool to have the record set straight. If that can be done!
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby elisha wiesner on Tue May 16, 2017 6:41 pm

I don't know about the basses but I've seen 2 of those "Univox" strats and they are identical in every way except for the headstock shape to the Harmony H80t and Cort strat copies from the era. Same exact guitars. I have no idea who imported them. Made in Korea, plywood bodies, shitty tuners, shitty pots/wiring but surprisingly good pickups and nice necks. With a bit of work, they're really nice guitars.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Mason on Tue May 16, 2017 6:54 pm

That might complicate it more for me. I owned a Harmony H80T for a bit—had Chris Jury turn it into a 12-string for me—and the build on my bass is much different from that. My Harmony had that characteristically Korean factory feeling. This bass has all the characteristics of my Ibanez Tele Bass, as well as the Mann Tele Custom a relative of mine owns. Down to the finish on the neck and the particular look of the inlay on the headstock. And the Mann, being an Ibanez that was meant for sale in Canada, should have come from the Matsumoku factory as well.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby elisha wiesner on Tue May 16, 2017 7:25 pm

I've never seen one of the basses but I don't doubt you at all. Sounds like a score.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby sleepkid on Sun May 21, 2017 11:44 pm

agiant wrote:Not bizarre, just a fernandes strat copy, but... impossible to identify!
Sleep kid, can you tell me anything about this?


Sorry for the very late reply on this. It appears this was an export model made for the Fernandes USA factory - the LE-X specification not being seen in Japan. However, at the time they were made, it seems that Fernandes strat models were still being made in Japan. But I'm not sure what factory they were using at that time.

Mason wrote:Two items for the thread, including some questions for FM sleepkid if he's up for them.

The quick one:
A shop in my area has a Yamaha TA-20 for sale.


I believe I played one once, but I've forgotten what it's like. There's one in a shop near me, and I keep forgetting to play it to remind myself. I think they're probably nice enough solid state amps for the bedroom, but they're not going to do anything magical to your sound, otherwise people would be raving about them and they'd be going for 5 times what they do. As soon as A Place to Bury Strangers or Queens of the Stone Age start using a wall of TA amps, that's when you can expect the indie buzz to start on them. Invest today for the future!

The other one:
I picked up a Bizarre Japanese bass last month. Branded as a Univox, more or less a Precision copy. 130 CAD.


This headstock: http://vintageunivox.com/pics/guitars/u ... s_head.jpg

Is from Matsumoto Musical Instruments Union (or however anyone wants to translate it) who are very often confused with Matsumoku. We've talked about them before in this thread. These are also the people who made the beloved Franpton, some early 70's Ibanez models, and a few others. I think someone had a "National" tele with this same inlay as well. I also had a "Delta" once from them. Quality on them is good. Maybe just a smidgen below something that was actually from Matsumoku.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby agiant on Mon May 22, 2017 3:59 am

sleepkid wrote:
agiant wrote:Not bizarre, just a fernandes strat copy, but... impossible to identify!
Sleep kid, can you tell me anything about this?


Sorry for the very late reply on this. It appears this was an export model made for the Fernandes USA factory - the LE-X specification not being seen in Japan. However, at the time they were made, it seems that Fernandes strat models were still being made in Japan. But I'm not sure what factory they were using at that time.


Thanks! Made for the USA with fender headstock shape? Weird. Maybe they were made to be exported to Europe. Some people told me that it's Korean, but I couldn't confirm that.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby sleepkid on Mon May 22, 2017 9:46 am

agiant wrote:
Thanks! Made for the USA with fender headstock shape? Weird. Maybe they were made to be exported to Europe. Some people told me that it's Korean, but I couldn't confirm that.


It's possible that they are Korean as well - they're right about at that overlap point.

Fender doesn't usually enforce headstock shapes for overseas manufacturers because I think that they technically can't - the design has kind of entered the public domain as a generic shape. I know some manufacturers pay a token licensing fee to manufacture Fender shape headstocks, but a lot don't. Other companies, like Tokai, etc. - have Fender style headstocks here, but manufacture a different headstock for overseas. Some just don't care though. It's all a bit mixed up these days, though back in the day Fender sued Murph and put them out of business, and allegedly sued Gibson regarding the Firebird, though that may be a rumour.

Fender are very protective of their logo though.

Gibson of course have the open book headstock, but when they tried to sue PRS for copying the Les Paul shape only to be told that had become generic as well.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby agiant on Mon May 22, 2017 3:16 pm

sleepkid wrote:Other companies, like Tokai, etc. - have Fender style headstocks here, but manufacture a different headstock for overseas.


The other models of the LE series have the ugly headstock:

https://www.guitar-list.com/fernandes/electric-guitars/fernandes-le-series
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Mason on Thu May 25, 2017 7:59 am

sleepkid wrote:I think they're probably nice enough solid state amps for the bedroom, but they're not going to do anything magical to your sound.


Noted. I have a small Yamaha solid state amp already, a JX-25. I like it, but it's just as you describe. And that one already doesn't keep up with any band, so I don't need a second that doesn't either. A -30 or -60 would be closer to being worth my time I guess.

sleepkid wrote:Matsumoto Musical Instruments Union.


Nice! I didn't know Ibanez/Mann had ever come out of Matsumoto, but that explains it. I didn't bring it up for fear of complicating things further, but my Fresher Telecaster had the same characteristics as those (incl. the Tele neck pickup used for non-neck pickup purposes), and I believe it was a Matsumoto jawn too.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby MRoyce on Tue May 30, 2017 6:35 am

Hey Sleepkid,

on another forum someone is asking about this bass. We're thinking it might be an Aria but as there seem to be no markings of any kind it's hard to tell. The odd thing is that it has a Zero-Fret, which you can't really make out in the pictures. Have you ever seen one like this?

Image
Image
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Tue May 30, 2017 1:29 pm

MRoyce wrote:Image

:smt007
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby sleepkid on Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:48 am

MRoyce wrote:Hey Sleepkid,

on another forum someone is asking about this bass. We're thinking it might be an Aria but as there seem to be no markings of any kind it's hard to tell. The odd thing is that it has a Zero-Fret, which you can't really make out in the pictures. Have you ever seen one like this?

Image
Image


Sorry for the late reply. That's an interesting one. Quite a look.

If it was an Aria, I think you would know because it would have the logo, or the remains of the logo on the headstock, and that sticker wouldn't have been enough to cover it. Unless someone has refinished it.

Aria never had their own factory, and they had a very long, long relationship with Matsumoku.

Based on the pickups, I'd guess that this was Fujigen or Kawai made. Roughly around 1967 or 68. Unfortunately the knobs have been changed out, which would have helped narrow it down.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby llllllllllllllllllllllll on Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:56 pm

Sleepkid, I'm going to the Philippines in September. What are the chances of running into any of these cool Japanese guitars? Where they distributed out to that general region over the years, or were they not often exported out?
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby toby2 on Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:50 pm

Anyone ever seen a Japanese Mosrite copy that had built in Mandlin + Banjo sounds ? The main circuit board is quite large ( covers the full size of the pickguard ) , 7 transistors , 6 electrolytics , 9 volt battery . Someone has swapped in new electrolytics . I am not sure if the cap values are correct . The circuit board has a Z etched in it . Thank you for your time !
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby Riff Magnum on Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:26 pm

Any recommendations on some of the best Les Paul Custom copies from back in the day? I used to have one and i've kinda been wanting to get another one eventually, but i don't really wanna pay $2000 for one.
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Re: Bizarre Japanese Guitars Thread

Postby MatthewK on Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:41 pm

Just the standard ones - Greco EG series, EG500 / EG600 / EG700 etc. Tokai Love Rocks, Ibanez 2350, Yamaha Studio Lord, et al. There are a bunch of obscurely named ones which came from the same factories with the same quality, e.g. JooDee, Electra, Suntech, Hondo, Ventura, and Aria which was considerably higher quality in the 1970s than the cheap ones of the 80s and 90s, especially the Aria Pro IIs.
Be warned, they are climbing in price!
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