The Guitar Gallery Forums - The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku

Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec 2015 11:37 AM 
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Virtuoso
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I apologize if I am being a bit wordy here, but in doing so attempting to be thorough.

I can't find it now but I have an article somewhere here about Matsumoku's factory. It clearly shows a CNC machine making a body, another shot of one of the workers painting guitars with a rack of bodies hanging next to him, and another working on fretboards and frets. Each person did what they were best at and were experts at what they did. That was one of the things that made Matsumoku and other Japanese manufacturers good at what they did. Each employee was a specialist at what they did. Henry Ford proved that an assembly line was not only more efficient and faster but also produced better quality as each worker had their own area of expertise. The Japanese were no different.

A bolt-neck may have had as many as 5 or more people build it on an assembly line. The neck may have been the 135th made whereas the body the 96th, and the fretboard came from the 3rd batch of rosewood even if the production number indicates the 34th made. The serial can indicate only one thing. The umpteenth neck plate was used to fasten that neck to that body. Nothing more. Again, a serial number stamped it the back of the headstock was an entirely different creature altogether but could have also been composed of parts made at different times. Even Fender Custom Shop guitars that come with a certificate of authenticity in no way indicates all the components were the umpteenth made. It simply assigns a unique ID to the guitar as a whole. This applies to any bolt neck guitar.

Models such as the Neal Schon or Gerry Cott PEs may have been very limited runs but even with those there is no way to know whether the body or the neck were the umpteenth made and whether they have matching birthdays. This is a common misconception. Only if a guitar is a one off hand made by a single luthier can one be sure all of it was made at once.

A bolt neck serial number can only loosely indicate when the components were made and in no way indicates it was the umpteenth one off the line.

The point being it was an assembly line. Bolt neck guitars are on the economical shelf with neck-thru and custom models such as the Neal Schon occupying the top. There were other signature guitars as well that were limited in production, primarily due to additional costs and as a marketing strategy. It would make no sense to give an economical model any extra undue attention. Their production was as inexpensive and efficient as possible as they were intended to fill that niche. Inexpensive. My CS350s were priced far lower than other models such as the PE-R80s I have had. A CS350 took far less time and labor to manufacture.

Shiro Arai was no dim wit. If a color didn't sell, it was abandoned. If he and Arai Co. felt a color would sell it was added. In reality Shiro Arai was a marketing genius. If it sold he had it made, if it didn't it was goodbye model. It is well known Arai Co. distributed different models for different markets such as the US, Japan (domestic), or Europe for example. It is well documented that colors, appointments, and features often change from model year to model year.

My PE-R60 is a good example of this. The PE-R60 was intended to be the little brother to the PE-R80 but apparently did not sell well. Enter the PE-60. Goodbye PE-R60. But, it was not a limited run. The CSB450 Black 'N' Gold I have however WAS a limited edition and the slick confirms it as they clearly indicate limited edition.

http://www.matsumoku.org/models/ariapro ... s/pg3.html

One of the gripes we've had here was the fact that some Vantage models were schizophrenic and were subject to "change without notice". This makes it much harder to nail down any concrete information. Concrete being the key word. We have so little information on some of the Vantage models it is hard to make any assumptions at all. The owners and distributors of the Vantage label would sometimes change their minds with regards to specs seemingly on a whim. The FV575 is probably a good candidate for inclusion in this confusion. In all the models we have information on not one was a limited edition or limited run.

Also, if it was a short lived run it doesn't mean it was intended to be. It could very well have been a complete and total flop and abandoned. Manufacturers and distributors sell what sells, and drops what doesn't like a hot potato. Businesses are in the business to make money.

I doubt anyone will go the eBay route with regards to this guitar. At least I am leery of that anyway. Because a guitar is not well covered or documented cannot indicate it's rarity at all. The Skylark WAS a limited run but hardly intentional. Not that it was indicated as such in documentation, but in the fact there was only one run. Even then, it won't make a $340 2588 a $3,400 guitar at all. Lack of documentation in no way means a guitar was limited, rare, or custom. It just means there is little info on it. In fact, the less information information available the more difficult it is to ascertain it's rarity.

I see time and time again on eBay "I've never seen another like this", "one off" or "custom" because the available information differs from the one they are selling or little information is available at all. I've even written an article about this and add a link to every one of my eBay listings. It pretty much covers this phenomenon. I guess you could call it a sore spot with me as the article will illustrate.

http://www.therathole.org/ebaypics/ebay ... words.html

In no way am I shooting you down at all. I'm saying there is no way I can go the route of limited run or rare. The complete lack of evidence or proof pretty much solidifies my position. I'm not sure where this other information is coming from. We could sure use it here. None of the Vantage catalogs covers the FV575 and we have only one guitar pictured. That is only one guitar. If we had dozens to compare I'm sure the story would be different. Alas, even after 15 years we are still at a loss and likely will never make it any farther. Compared to the documentation on the Aria Pro II lines the Vantage information is but a drop in the bucket.

I fully respect your opinion and I firmly believe everyone has a right to theirs. It's one of the things that makes each one of us "us". I'm not being argumentative but rather impartially analytical. I have nothing to gain by disagreeing with you or to gain by agreeing. The one concrete fact we have is obscure is obscure, nothing more. Lack of information is not proof, however a preponderance of information can be.


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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec 2015 12:07 PM 
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Virtuoso

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Hey guys, I have no doubt that the good folks at Matsumoku took great pride in their work and it shows in the quality of those instruments that we all know and love. It is altogether possible that somebody took the time and effort to sort and stack all of those hundreds of neck plates in sequential order after they came out of the plating bath and others kept them in that order to ensure that plate number 1090001 went on the first FV575 assembled in September 1981,1090002 went on the second one assembled and so on. I can't think of any compelling reason for doing so. It would have increased production costs and not made the instruments one bit better than if they had been assembled with neck plates pulled at random from buckets (or boxes or baskets). What matters is that terrific, attractively priced guitars went out the factory door, each with a unique serial number.

Apologies to Graham for sounding "cold and clinical."


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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec 2015 07:53 PM 
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Crusty wrote:
I can't find it now but I have an article somewhere here about Matsumoku's factory. It clearly shows a CNC machine making a body, another shot of one of the workers painting guitars with a rack of bodies hanging next to him, and another working on fretboards and frets. Each person did what they were best at and were experts at what they did...

I dunno if this is the same article you're thinking of Crusty but here's a short piece referencing the Westone line from our information website. It has a similar theme. Scroll down about half way to "Background to a Breakthrough"
http://www.westoneguitars.net/history-1/

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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec 2015 08:06 PM 
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I believe that is one of the articles. I don't know if it is the same one, but Tom Presley, head of product development during the Westone Electra years gave me a bunch of stuff on Westone and Electra. I know I sent much of it to one of the Westone guys.

He was a really laid back cool guy but anything guitar got him wound up like a kid at Christmas. I got to look at and play some of the first prototypes and he gave me some concept drawings that became the standard models. Very creative. It was an honor to hang out with him.


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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec 2015 08:52 PM 
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Joined: Tue 10 Nov 2015 09:54 PM
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Thank you for all the info in the replies. I am just a little ticked that I was unaware of the full idea of mass production could utilize a bucket for the neck plates, but Im sure it must have been this way by some of the responses I've gotten.
I understand the process of mass production.
I've even viewed a couple of you toob videos of the Cort plant. I had an interest in it a while back while acquiring a beautiful blue Korean Kramer Spector NS6C.
Again thank you for all of your collective insights. I am sorry if I've offended anyone.
So to answer the underlying question, the answer is YES. This guitar plays nicely! And more to the point, I do enjoy it although not as much as my newly acquired VP790 aka DEMON.

I hope this answers any of the questions posed to me by you folks here in this forum.
Cheers :loon:


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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec 2015 11:05 PM 
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Crusty wrote:
I believe that is one of the articles. I don't know if it is the same one, but Tom Presley, head of product development during the Westone Electra years gave me a bunch of stuff on Westone and Electra. I know I sent much of it to one of the Westone guys.
That's all I have. We inherited the bulk of the Westone info from David Blair some 6 years ago. I'm sure he would have published all articles that he had in his possession.
Quote:
He was a really laid back cook guy but anything guitar got him wound up like a kid at Christmas. I got to look at and play some of the first prototypes and he gave me some concept drawings that became the standard models. Very creative. It was an honor to hang out with him.
We had the pleasure of his online company on the Westone Forums, and he was a very popular fellow there. He just appeared one day, contributed a lot of insight, chatted on and offline to many of us, and then, just like that he went away. A lot of what he had to say about Westone in particular is now an important part of the History section on the website. Terrific fellow indeed.

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 Post subject: Tom Presley
PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec 2015 12:27 AM 
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Tom was an honoured guest at Electrafest 2015 and had the guys who attended absolutely hanging on every word; I caught a small amount of what he was talking about over the livestream, and he was, and indeed still is, very much a gentleman!
He still arcs up when talking about his babies; his passion for the instrument is undeniable and his knowledge of Matsumoku is unsurpassed...

He was, and I hope still is, a visitor to the Electra and Westone forums; like most normal people, he has other more important things happening in his life at the moment and has moved on. That said, I'd hate for all of that wisdom he has to be lost to us forever!

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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec 2015 01:15 AM 
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I know I have a zip file somewhere named something like "westone_stuff_for_david. It's on one of my many backup DVDs and I am still going through them.

I'm hoping I still have the concept drawings he gave me.


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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec 2015 10:17 AM 
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That would be a wonderful find if you come across those files. Thanks!

John, just a thought...is there a chance that someone recorded that part of the Electra live feed with Tom. That would be very kewl to have available eh?

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 Post subject: Re: FV 575
PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec 2015 10:39 AM 
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Virtuoso
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I'll look for it today if I can get away from all the other stuff that is currently doing it's best to annoy me. :D

I did find the original article mentioned above. I also created a downloadable PDF of it also. The original files are dated 06-27-2004.

Here's a link to the PDF

The only other Westone stuff I have found are the autographed celeb shots Tom gave me. Those are already on the Westone site.

Now, I'm being a horrible moderator here allowing (maybe even instigating) a stray from topic so this'll be the last off-tiopic post. :D


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