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: Thu 20 Jan 2022 05:32 PM 
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I've seen a number of ads on Reverb.com for Yamaha's vintage Les Paul copy: the Studio Lord, and its earlier iteration, Lord Player. Several ads say these models were built by Mat.

However, I was under the impression that Yamaha (Nippon Gakki) employed their own in-house team of expert luthiers rather than outsourcing to other manufacturers. It's true that they outsourced the manufacturing of some *parts* - but the bulk of the manufacturing of any instrument was done in-house, if I understand correctly.

Are the SL/LPs an exception to this rule? Or did the Reverb.com sellers make a mistake?


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PostPosted: Fri 21 Jan 2022 06:52 PM 
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I've never heard of Yamaha farming out to Matsumoku but it's possible.
I looked at a few of them and, my honest opinion, no.

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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jan 2022 10:44 PM 
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If one believes everything you read on ReGurge.com half the Japanese guitars were made by Matsumoku and even some of the Korean and Chinese models as well.

Most of the time it is mentioned to increase perceived value. Rule of thumb is until it is confirmed it is only hearsay. Only a claim.

You are probably correct Cadebryant. I will give Yamaha this: Their Japanese models are quality instruments. Not a big fan of their Chinese/Indonesian models.


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jan 2022 01:46 PM 
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Crusty wrote:
Most of the time it is mentioned to increase perceived value. Rule of thumb is until it is confirmed it is only hearsay. Only a claim.......You are probably correct Cadebryant. I will give Yamaha this: Their Japanese models are quality instruments. Not a big fan of their Chinese/Indonesian models.


Pretty much all the Japanese manufacturers (Yamaha, Mat, Fujigen, Terada, Yamaki, etc.) were making exceptional guitars back in the mid-70s through the mid-80s. The companies that survived, and the new ones that came after (ESP, Caparison, Deviser, etc.) are still making exceptional guitars today.

I agree with you that sellers throw around Mat's name to boost the perceived value/status of what they're selling. The ironic thing is that the manufacturing quality of many of Japan's other manufacturers at that time (especially Yamaha and Fujigen) was every bit as good as that of Mat. Quality variations between Japanese instruments of that era were more likely to occur between individual instruments, or between the cheapest and most expensive models of a given line, rather than between the factories themselves.

I agree as well that Indonesian and Chinese instruments of any brand often leave a lot to be desired, in terms of build quality/sound/playability/durability.......although I've owned and played some newer Korean guitars that amazed me.


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jan 2022 03:08 PM 
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I've had a couple of Korean guitars that were of fairly good quality, one of which I still have, a Hamer SATF before they "re-vamped" the model (translated to "trashed it"). Another was an Epiphone Del Rey. I wish I would have hung onto that one. The quality went down when the switched to the DC Pro.

My PRS SE is Indonesian but the thing there is PRS is VERY involved with quality control at their Indonesian plant and it is a quality instrument. Sadly this is the exception, not the norm.

I agree, Most mid-grade and up Japanese guitars of the late 70s and 80s were excellent instruments. I have a room full of them now. I'd be hard pressed to find their contemporary equivalents at a reasonable price.


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jan 2022 07:44 PM 
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Crusty wrote:
I agree, Most mid-grade and up Japanese guitars of the late 70s and 80s were excellent instruments. I have a room full of them now. I'd be hard pressed to find their contemporary equivalents at a reasonable price.


Agreed.
My only interaction with an Indonesian guitar was a Gretsch G2655T that I had for about 2-3 years. I must admit it was very nice with no flaws whatsoever. The only issue I had with it was the Bigsby. If I'd picked up one with a stop tail, I'd probably still own it.

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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan 2022 12:42 PM 
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Crusty wrote:
My PRS SE is Indonesian but the thing there is PRS is VERY involved with quality control at their Indonesian plant and it is a quality instrument. Sadly this is the exception, not the norm.

Back in the day when I worked at a local guitar shop, we carried the PRS SE line and I agree, the fit, finish, and playability were outstanding. Also, the Korean Gretsch models were similarly amazing quality.

These had nothing to apologize for IMHO.

My regret was that I did not have enough disposable capital to take advantage of the stuff we sold, even with a generous employee discount. :bawl:

(I did manage to pick up a Squier Telecaster Custom II with P90's though. Indonesian made and I love it.)

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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan 2022 01:54 PM 
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Yep, I had a couple of (Korean) SE's several years ago (SE-245) and can attest that the build quality was excellent. Frets, neck, and action were first-rate. Light years ahead of any Chinese Epiphone I've played, or even a lot of Gibson USA LP Studios.

The only things that I didn't care too much about were the veneer tops and the electronics. I would rather see a raw, boring natural top (even if it had no flame/figuring) than a veneer. And I could never warm up to the pickups: too sterile, not enough warmth/complexity.

In recent years, they've moved their operations from Korea's World Music Instruments to Indonesia's Cor-Tek. At first I was worried this was a step backwards, but from what I've heard, the current Indonesian models are actually better-built than the Korean ones! Like someone else said, PRS is very much involved in the QC process and are adamant about not letting lemons slip through the cracks.

I've heard great things about the new SE "Paul's Guitar". It actually has a full-thickness flame maple top - and from the videos I've watched, the sound from those new pickups are a leap above what older SE's were equipped with. Coil splits, too. Maybe this could be the consolation replacement for my old Matsumoku Washburn SB-8 that I regrettably sold for pennies back in the 90's.


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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan 2022 02:02 PM 
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I have a Standard. My reasoning is I can't hear or feel the flame/figuring so why pay an additional $500 for pretty that never makes it to my amp.

I like the neck pickup on it and I replaced the bridge with a Duncan Distortion. Perfect combo and great bell tones when paired and coil cut.

It is most definitely a quality instrument.


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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan 2022 03:11 PM 
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Crusty wrote:
I have a Standard. My reasoning is I can't hear or feel the flame/figuring so why pay an additional $500 for pretty that never makes it to my amp...

Very practical and a tad utilitarian but understandable for a gigging player/recording artist.

As for moi, I love the aesthetic beauty of the guitar as a piece of art as much as the tone/playability. I enjoy just seeing them in the stand as I pass by.

That said I have a bunch of black guitars, some solid colour finishes, and a couple of funky coloured Danos and that kinda counter balances any artsy fartsy notions I may have. :rofl:

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