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: Sat 31 Mar 2012 02:47 AM 
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Axe Slinger

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As I'm sure most of you know by now I've been wrestling with which guitar to go after. I can only get one, and while a vintage PE-R80 is easily my first choice I do have some concerns.

My first concern is based on a vintage Ibanez 2617 I bought about 5 years ago. I had it shipped from Japan and while it was in good shape overall (and it sounds absolutely Godlike) the neck was a little warped, causing fairly pronounced fret buzz whenever the action is lowered to a good playing height. My brother adjusted the truss rod and raised the action just a bit and the buzz was gone - but so was the playability. It needs a fret dressing to address the fret buzz, and even then it won't be a guitar that a gigging musician would want to play live. So my concern is that the same thing could happen with a vintage R80. Sure, we all know that buying guitars sight unseen is a crapshoot, and with classic/vintage guitars expectations of playability should be adjusted accordingly, but I know that when you get a PE-R80 in fairly good shape with a straight neck it can be a great players guitar. I just don't know how common it is to find one with a warped neck that throws off the intonation, creates fret buzz, or both.

So from that standpoint a new RX80 would be a safer bet. I'm absolutely sure that they are very, very well made guitars and they play and sound great. But buying a new one means losing a lot of it's value. I'm not looking to make a profit off of these things, but I would like to be able to get my money back out of them (adjusted for inflation) if I get into retirement and need the money

But the bummer about the RX80's (and even the new R80's made in Japan) is that they aren't Matsumoku guitars. I'd really like a Mats made R80 in good shape, but how realistic is that expectation?

AND how realistic is it to expect to find a PE-R80 in good shape, with a straight, unwarped/unbowed neck, for around $750-$800 shipped? I know that when I was looking at them back about 10 years ago you could find R80's for around $400-$500 (depending on condition), but I have only seen a couple lately, and they've been pretty highly priced. Is the $750-$800 range unrealistic in today's market, or is that a realistic number if I just keep looking?

The thing is that the deal I can get on a brand new RX80 ($800 shipped WITH hardshell case) isn't going to last forever, so if I pass that up and a good R80 in my price range never comes along I end up with bupkis.

Yeah, I know - that's part of collecting guitars. Sometimes you have to take your chances. Whether it's the condition of a vintage guitar or passing up a good deal on a new guitar, or buying that new guitar and watching it's value fall as soon as you open the box.

I'm just curious as to what the most knowledgeable Aria/Matsumoku collectors think. What is your take on this?

What would you say is the safer bet? Getting the RX80 because the likelyhood of a good condition R80 coming along in my price range is minimal, or holding on because a good R80 is likely to come along in that price range?

Thanks for reading my rambling post - and thanks for your help!


Last edited by B5Erik on Sat 31 Mar 2012 11:54 AM, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat 31 Mar 2012 02:57 AM 
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Axe Slinger

Joined: Sat 17 Mar 2012 01:53 AM
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Location: Southern California
Here are some pics of a new RX80...

Image
Image
Image


and some pics of a vintage R80 for which I've been trying to negotiate a workable deal (with no success so far)...

ImageImage

With that one you can see the buckle rash and the chips (lower left and on the tip of the horn). The machine heads are also corroded and in fairly bad shape.

How much would be too much for the R80 there? And since it's in Japan and there seems to be a slight language barrier with the seller (slight), would you be concerned about any kind of neck issues?


Thanks again! You guys are the best!


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PostPosted: Sat 31 Mar 2012 08:37 PM 
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Axe Slinger

Joined: Sat 17 Mar 2012 01:53 AM
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Location: Southern California
That PE-R80 above has been relisted and the total price including shipping (if the lowest bid wins) would be just over $800.

I don't really have $800 (I've got $750), but it's not completely impossible for me to pay it off (it's just really hard to justify charging another $55 given family finances and all).

Is it worth $800 when I don't know for sure what condition the frets are in, if the neck truly is straight, etc?

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


(The price for the R80 with gig bag would be just a little more than the brand new RX80 with hardshell case.)


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PostPosted: Sat 31 Mar 2012 09:15 PM 
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Virtuoso
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My honest opinion, I'm not sure I'd pay $800 for an R80. I know for fact I won't pay $800 for an RX80. I'd hold out for the R80. I'm pretty sure a used RX80 won't be nearly as expensive if an R80 doesn't show up.


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PostPosted: Sat 31 Mar 2012 09:54 PM 
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Axe Slinger

Joined: Sat 17 Mar 2012 01:53 AM
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Jorg wrote:
My honest opinion, I'm not sure I'd pay $800 for an R80. I know for fact I won't pay $800 for an RX80. I'd hold out for the R80. I'm pretty sure a used RX80 won't be nearly as expensive if an R80 doesn't show up.

I haven't seen a used RX80 anywhere. Not on ebay, craigslist - nothing. The people that have bought them seem to be very happy with them.

And it's more like $700 for the RX80 and $100 for the case (since it comes with a case).

For me the first thing is the design of the guitar, and on that count both the R80 and RX80 are equal (same specs/designs). The condition of the guitar is important, so a brand new guitar wins out there.

The intangible is the Matsumoku or Not Matsumoku factor. We all know that the Mats made guitars are VERY well made. While I'm sure that the RX80's are well made, too, there seems to be something intangible about the guitars made by Matsumoku (and whichever facility made the 70's and 80's Ibanez Artist series). With the Ibanez guitars the AR300 reissues from about 10 years ago were nowhere near as good as the AR300's from 20 years earlier. The reissues were made in Korea and not Japan, and while many Korean made guitars are extremely well made these sounded thin. There was something about the factory in Japan that made a difference.

With my PE SPL it's got a MUCH better sound (both acoustically and plugged in) than the Ibanez Artist reissues from 10 years ago, so I would imagine that the RX80's are also really, really good (if a lower end model plays and sounds that good then I'm confident that the top end from the same facility will meet or exceed expectations). Again, a 1981-1983 R80 would be my first choice, all things being equal. The problem has been finding one in decent condition at a price I can afford.

I've been looking for an R80 for about 8 weeks and the only ones I've found so far have been in less than great condition but just barely above my price range or in very good condition but way above my price range. Have the PE-R80's gone where the Ibanez 2619's and AR300's were 6 or 7 years ago in terms of value?

What have you guys seen in recent months?

Again, THANKS!


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PostPosted: Sun 01 Apr 2012 03:55 PM 
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Axe Slinger

Joined: Tue 06 Mar 2012 10:23 PM
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I know there was a beautiful R60 that went for $499 with free shipping recently. I would have considered that one if I were in the market. It sounds like you're open to reissues - there was a PE-1500RI that went in the $300-$400 range as well. A little different, but still a formidable guitar and possibly MIJ (not sure). I'll certainly keep my eyes open. :look:


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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr 2012 07:31 PM 
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Axe Slinger

Joined: Sat 17 Mar 2012 01:53 AM
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And then there's this beauty...

Image

Not a Mats, but a thing of beauty all the same (and a guitar that sounds great too, I'll bet). Anyone want to spot me about $3000 so I can complete my PE collection? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Seriously, though, I see a vintage R80 in good shape and I remember why I wanted one in the first place. Then I look at the RX80 and know that it will be immaculate and darned near as good as an R80. Truth is, I'd like to get one of each, as well as the guitar above, a PE Anniversary model, and a PE Royale. And then I'd like a PE-60 just for good measure. :wink:

But for now I can only get one. So which one to get? Wait for an unknown period of time for a decent R80 in my price range (if one even comes along), or take advantage of a good deal on the RX80 and put off the R80 for another year or two?

Here's a loaded question for you - How much is too much for the vintage R80 in the pics above? If I could get it for $750 would that be a fair price?


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Apr 2012 02:04 AM 
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Virtuoso
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The PE-RX80 is not made in Japan... there is also a Japan made re-issue of the PE-R80, that doesn't have the X in the type designation.

In regard to buying from Japan... the exchange rate is USD to Yen is not good enough, to consider buying from Japan. A old PE-R80 will go about 45000 Yen around Japan (if you don't mind a couple of scratches).
A couple of years ago when 1 USD was getting you about 100 Yen... now it's only 80 Yen... so the 750 USD, in your post elsewhere, are realistic... but I guess you will get better deals when buying in the US.


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Apr 2012 09:15 PM 
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Axe Slinger

Joined: Sat 17 Mar 2012 01:53 AM
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Yeah, I know the RX80's are made in Korea, but I've got a couple Korean made guitars and they're really good. I think Korea today is where Japan was in the mid to late 70's as far as guitar making goes. Bad reputation, but good quality guitars.

I've got a bid in on a PE-R80 now. We'll see how that goes. I've got my fingers crossed.


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PostPosted: Tue 29 May 2012 09:38 AM 
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Gallery Friend

Joined: Sun 18 Mar 2012 04:54 PM
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I've done a lot of research on these and the RX80's show up on ebay fairly frequently....usually new for around $800-900.
They don't sound the same as a R80 and aren't built to the same quality tolerances.

From what I've gathered about Korean versions, they are way better than Chinese, but definitely a few notches down from vintage Japanese. The 90's Korean Samick stuff is said to be a step above any Korean stuff currently and still not competing with the Japanese stuff. If you grab a Samick made Sheraton and compare it to a Matsumoku version, you will know what I mean.

I actually compared the two last week and the difference in build quality is HUGE! The Samick is made from heavier, cheaper grade laminate wood and has major differences in fretboard quality, binding/trim quality, and especially tone. Less complex harmonics and a more muffled projection. I actually don't mind the pups on the Samick.

The Mats version just feels like your picking up a vintage American guitar (in most ways) where as the Samick Sheraton feels like something smack in the middle of the Chinese/Japanese quality gap. The Samick uses wood of a quality right around the Chinese versions but is obviously built tighter and more carefully. Also the Chinese version has a huge neck profile and the Samick is 90% similiar to Mats version. I actually liked the Samick version a LOT! But my Matsumoku Sheraton is in another realm completely.

IMHO the Samick stuff from the 90's will get you the closest to Mats (for the price) but youre gonna be smack in the middle of the cheap chinese quality and the great vintage Japanese quality. You can compare many a Mat guitars favorably to American counterparts, the Samicks seem to feel more mid grade to me. However when I see a Samick at GC they do seem nicer than much of what's new at GC right now....FWIW

The closest PE-R80 that you can get new, is the few specimen of NOS Japanese PER80 reissues. I think they've done Japanese reissues twice (late 90's?) and a few years ago. They typically retail for $2700-$3800 compared to $8-1200 for a Korean RX80 and are not currently being produced. I believe they are Fuji Gen but I could be wrong. The Mats versions are at least as good.

Once you feel the balance and sustain of the Mats version, you know it doesn't get much better. I'm sure the RX is nice, but there's a reason why they have to charge at least $2k to accurately reproduce the Matsumoku version. One day the old R80's are gonna leap in price again, it's good to get yours before then, lol.

Either way, good luck and enjoy. Hopefully my research helps you out.


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