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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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr 2021 08:36 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Wow, I'm baffled as well. It does appear to be newer.
Oh MJT? What you gonna do with it?

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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr 2021 10:14 AM 
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I have always wanted an old silverburst from the 80s, however do to recent popularity it has now become extremely out of my reach! *thanks to Adam Jones and his new Gibson Les Paul Custom signature model. Very frustrating. So, I have done many projects with MJT but it never dawned on me to have them refinish a single cut LP style guitar. So here we go the experiment has started. Going for something like this. https://flic.kr/p/2kREnZ3

I can't find any newer Aria Pro II LC version from the 90s or even late 80s.....especially with the open book headstock. This guitar is a true enigma. I can't even tell if it is Korean or Japanese made. The neck pickup cavity does appear to have a "M" scribbled but I'm guessing that is the inspector and not Matsumoku. The seller is from Tokyo, he said it was early 90s so maybe he has something that affirms it. It has to be a domestic model, meaning only avail to Japan at the time. In about 3 months time it will be a entirely different guitar!


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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr 2021 02:51 PM 
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Jocko wrote:
Ok so the guitar arrived safe and sound today from Japan. Took 5 days from seller. Very impressed. As for the guitar. I am baffled. It doesn't appear to be from the 70s or even 80s. It just seems newer to me. Although I am confused because there are no serials, no "made in Japan" anywhere and it has an open book headstock which doesn't make sense if it is indeed from the early 90s as advertised by seller. What do you all think? I uploaded some more pics to help.

The pickups seem very worn...no markings, they're tested at 8.0 resistance Neck and 8.31 resistance Bridge. The pots were cheap AF, looks like 1 meg pots so those def got to go. The tuners feel really high quality. Nut looks original, the headstock decal is misleading as well. it is different from 70s/80s diamond logo. it has one solid piece rather than being broken up in the diamond shape. The body doesn't seem to be a pancake style and the neck isn't a 3 piece from what I can tell. So maybe it is post 80s construction? It weighed in at 9 pounds. My 81 Aria Pro LC 900 weighed in at 10 pounds.

My theory is that perhaps this was a 90s LC 500 version (not as good quality as LC 900) and that it was only sold or available in Japan. The open book headstock violates the lawsuit era, no? All in all, I'm happy with it.

Now its off to MJT to get a refinish job!

https://flic.kr/ps/3W31H7



The tiny pots have me baffled. Normally that is a telltale sign it is Korean but not sure in this case. The tiny pots are not typical of Matsumoku.


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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr 2021 04:49 PM 
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I'm thinking this is much newer. . .

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PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr 2021 04:11 PM 
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In any case it is post Matsumoku. The open book headstock was still available in japan after the almost-lawsuit. Some better models were still made in Japan, not all production moved to Korea but the mfr is unknown.

This looks to be a nice piece. Not a cheapie. Well, save for the pots that is. :)


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PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr 2021 06:37 PM 
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Yeah it is a mystery for now it seems. I'm happy with it and that is all that matters I suppose. I wish it was same quality build as my 1981 Aria Pro II LC900. For a moment I thought I had a fake or counterfeit Aria Pro II because I did read somewhere that there were attempts. This doesn't seem to be the case and if it is, I'm impressed. The inlay on the headstock is very well done. The inlays on the fretboard seem to be a little sketchy but this most likely because it is a lower end model, presumably 1990s LC 500 series? I dunno....I wish I could find more pictures of other models from this era because they all have entirely different shaped headstocks (not the open book). Its very unique and I guess that is ok.


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PostPosted: Fri 09 Apr 2021 05:34 AM 
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Most of those guitars I've seen had a "Diamond" logo instead of the "Aria Pro II" on the headstock, but this is definitely 90s.


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PostPosted: Fri 09 Apr 2021 10:28 AM 
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You are right! I did some searching on the Diamond Series and found this on mylespaul forum....although the person who asked about this guitar didn't really get much of an answer. The response was post Matsumoku 87 or early 90s range and most likely Korean, although it could be a possible Japan make at Fujigen. The headstock has a similar diamond inlay pattern however the open book is slightly different. Mine DOES have the open book, but this white one has a rounded top to it. It also made reference to the "plywood" body type construction and I can see that in mine...multiple layers of wood compressed together. Some say not as good of build, but others say the sounds is still killer with the correct wiring components and pickups. It did have the small pots seems to be an indicator of Korean made, but then there is conflicting info out there that says Korean made guitars had serials and mine does not. It was cool to see another one out there in white. Still have many questions however, the research continues. :loon:

https://flic.kr/p/2kRZdxV
https://flic.kr/p/2kS4GqY
https://flic.kr/p/2kRYuyP


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PostPosted: Fri 09 Apr 2021 12:54 PM 
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I wouldn't be concerned with the plywood body. I've had a few of them and they sounded great. They are heavy though. . .

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Apr 2021 01:10 PM 
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Thank you Jorg,

From what I have read in various forums...sounds like 1987 Aria moved production to Korea....that spawned Diamond and Blitz? However, this particular guitar we are talking about still says Aria Pro II on the headstock, but features the "S" style diamond inlay which is characteristic of the Samick plant in Korea....I might be wrong and if anyone knows please correct me. Someone even indicated that during the transition phase a few higher end models were made in Japan, but eventually all ended up in Korea by early 90s. It was also mentioned that the Korean versions featured serial numbers, mine does not. Maybe I have an earlier transition piece? who knows. Its fun playing detective regardless.


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