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: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec 2021 10:52 AM 
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Hi, newbie here...

I'm trying to understand a bit more about a guitar i've owned for over 40 years. It's a cherry red Flying V marked with the Arbiter brand on the truss rod cover.

I'm no expert but i've pretty much investigated most of the Japanese guitar sites and forums over the years and Arbiter is pretty much a black hole. My feeling is that it's probably a Matsumoku but i'm not 100% certain.

I'm more than happy to post a few pics, if you let me know of specific shots, if somebody can help with the definitive ID of the guitar.

It's been a mystery since I bought it in 1978. Its a beautiful thing and has just had a sensitive non-cosmetic restoration by Danny Lint at Leicestershire Luthiers.


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec 2021 11:19 AM 
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Any help with the ID and possible valuation would be most welcome.

Its in nice original condition and has recently been refretted/re-trussed, fitted with Iron Gear "Hot Slag" PU's (still got one original Humbucker and a single DiMarzio) full rewire, cavity shielding with refurbed switch/pots, Gotoh locking tuners, new nut and a full setup. I have the bill too.

Sadly, I suffered a serious stroke in June and can no longer play...so reluctantly i'm going to let it go to someone who likes these sort of guitars, its driving me nuts just looking at it, lovely as it is.

Cheers,

Si


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 06:23 AM 
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I found this on Ibanez Collectors World. The featured guitar was identical to my Arbiter V; the stamp on the underside of the bridge "LP BRIGE MADE IN JAPAN" is also the same.

https://www.ibanezcollectors.com/discus ... 1168651192

The thread is as clear as mud and there are quite a few contradictory views; one poster claiming Arbiter branded guitars were actually Teisco's. Then another poster discounted this by stating that Arbiter switched manufacturers from Kawai Teisco to Matsumoku in the early 70's.

I'm more uncertain than ever right now. I've posted a few more pics.

Si


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 07:34 AM 
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Welcome to the board!

A quick google search for Arbiter Guitar Japan pulled up a few more references, another noting Teisco as the manufacturer...

Kawai Teisco
https://spinditty.com/instruments-gear/Japanese-Manufacturers-of-Made-In-Japan-Badged-Guitars-from-1950-to-1980

Reverb Listing 1
https://reverb.com/item/25981577-arbiter-japan-flying-v-1970s-mahogany

Reverb Listing 2
https://reverb.com/item/3977839-arbiter-japan-flying-v-1970s-mahogany


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 08:14 AM 
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Thanks for this,

I had seen that page and the Kawai Teisco section does list Arbiter as one of its export brands..and this threw me for a while. Further digging revealed that Arbiter supposedly dropped Teisco and began sourcing from Matsumoku at some point (I can't actually recall where I read that).

I acquired the guitar in early '79 and had always assumed what the shop owner told me was correct - that my V was manufactured around 1972. But maybe it was later? To be a Matsumoku it would mean the V was manufactured in 1976, is that correct?

The strongest clue, I think, is the neck plate. Hopefully a forum Matsumoku expert can confirm?


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 03:52 PM 
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Hello Si, nice to have you here.

First of all I am so sorry to hear of your stroke.
It's incredibly frustrating to not be able to play your guitar. The brain knows what to do but the body just won't cooperate! :explode:

I had one in 2011 and it turned my left hand fingers basically into flippers. Couldn't even play a first position D chord fer Pete's sake!

But the good news is, over time, and with a bit of determination, it does return. Mostly.
So hang in there my friend, don't give up.

Now, as to your guitar. . . a bit of head scratcher that.
On first look it does appear that it could be a Mats guitar.

The trouble is, if it is in fact a Mats guitar, the serial number puts it at a May 1981 build and you say you bought it in 1978! So something ain't right!

On that basis it could not be a Mats made instrument.

The original Di Marzio pup is definitely a late 70's marker and found on a lot of "white label" brands of the time such as el Degas for example. If you happen to still have the original pots and wiring you may be able to get a date code from them??

That's all I got! :dunno:

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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 04:52 PM 
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Hi Barry,

Thanks for the positive and thoughtful message. At first my stroke went off like a nuclear bomb in our lives; everything became suddenly different and very hard. But I find that if I look for gratitude - it's usually right there staring back at me. Finding gratitude for the things I have still got was the key for me.

I fell in love with this guitar when I was 14. I was born in Stoke on Trent, UK and like most teenagers with an interest in music and electric guitars all over the world, most Saturdays were spent hanging around the many guitar and music shops in Hanley. This guitar immediately caught my attention, it looked incredible, played beautifully, sounded filthy and had a crazy fast action and best of all; it was a Flying V...as a Michael Schenker fan, what a statement of intent it represented.

Every weekend in late '78 i'd go into that same guitar shop simply to fawn over this V, just to hold it, play it and dream. These were powerful, primal emotions that I was experiencing for the first time - I simply had to have this guitar. I pleaded with both mum and dad to lend me the £180 to buy it...but this was a significant chunk of change back in 1978 and I was only 14. Then one weekend in January '79 it was gone; it had slipped through my fingers and I was floored.

Fast forward to March '79 and it's my 15th birthday. Dad says to me "There's something behind the sofa for you". Well, you could have blown me over with a feather. There it was and we were reunited forever.

So it's been quite a heartfelt decision to let it go - and i'm keen to make sure it goes to the right person. Finding that person starts with a definitive identification on what it actually is and where it actually came from and that's proving quite tricky. And the more I dig into it, the more questions and uncertainty seem to come forward. I actually owe this guitar a lot, it really came to define me in a certain sense and it's given me everything. That's why I was happy to spend almost £700 on rehabilitating an old Japanese copy, earlier this year.

I really appreciate your help with this and it's nice to be here, amongst like minded folks.

Thanks,

Si


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 05:30 PM 
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Sounds like you should be hanging on to it, not selling it.

I feel much the same way about my '64 Gibson ES330 which I bought new at the tender age of 19.

Over the years, I entertained thoughts of selling but I still have her and I can't imagine it not being around, even if my chops aren't as they once were.

Your first guitar love is an integral part of who you are.

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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 05:54 PM 
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Hi Barry,

Maybe you're right Baz...I honestly don't know if i've got the heart to finally let it go, but It kinda frustrates me knowing that i'll never be able to play my it properly again, so the deal i've made with myself is to replace it with another instrument (probably an Elektron Digitone) that I can noodle on with my one good hand.

It's a symbolic nod to ongoing musical exploration, using what i've got, I suppose...

I'll probably end up selling my Melody Maker and Epiphone Dot first... :lol:

Si


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 Post subject: Re: Arbiter Flying V
PostPosted: Fri 17 Dec 2021 10:39 PM 
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Geez, double hurt! I've always thought it would be nice to have a Melody Maker :love:

You know, if you have the interest and enough dexterity there is always slide guitar, and there are a bazillion tunings to try. You can make some bitchin' music, but it's not quite the same. I sucked at it.

Have you considered keyboards? Perhaps working with something different might remove expectations and take some of the pressure off. You can emulate just about any instrument on those things and be your own one man band. :rofl:

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