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Matsumoku Electric Guitars and Basses

Instruments produced at the legendary Matsumoku plant

Japanese guitars are pretty well regarded today, but at the start of the 1960s, manufacturers producing guitars in Japan were pretty much non-existent. The market was dominated by American and European makers, many with decades of experience, and producing very fine instruments. It is, then, a testament to Japanese skill and ingenuity that by the end of the decade these same makers were contracting a large part of their manufacture to companies in Japan, with the majority coming from one place, the Matsumoku factory in the city of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

Although Matsumoku were relatively new to guitar manufacture, the company were well regarded in cabinet building, for televisions, amplifiers, sewing machines and traditional Japanese furniture. The name Matsumoku derives from "Matsumoto Mokko" - translating to "Matsumoto Woodworking Company". Electric guitar production began in the mid 1960s, and continued through to 1986.

Matsumoku and Aria

Initially, Matsumoku didn't build and market their own guitars - as was the case with their sewing machines, Matsumoku were subcontracted by other companies, the most important being Aria. Aria designed a series of instruments, some quite original, some clearly based on guitars by existing manufacturers; and although available with Aria branding, the same guitars were re-badged for different guitar distributors across the globe. The guitars were effectively identical, using many of the same parts (see Matsumoku guitar parts), but with plastic peghead logos pinned in place.

Re-badged Matsumoku guitars

From around 1967/68 Merson/Unicord distributed Aria/Matsumoku guitars labelled Univox, most notably the Mosrite-styled Hi-Flier. David Wexler of Chicago badged them as Conrad, C. Bruno as Ventura, and Maurice Lipsky as Domino. In the United Kingdom many were imported (by Rosetti?) with the brand Commodore. Over the next five or six years there were numerous other examples: Lyle, Electra, Eros, Granada, Tempo, Toledo, Angelica, Jedson, Arbiter and Shaftesbury to name just a few.

Matsumoku Epiphones

But the best known Matsumoku guitars of the early seventies were those branded Epiphone. Aria struck a deal with Gibson to start production of Epiphone guitars in Japan in late 1970. Whilst functionally the same instruments these guitars were a step up from the previous offerings, having Epiphone-style headstocks, with inlaid logos and branded scratchplates / truss rod covers. Initially the Epiphone models kept the original Aria model designations, but these were soon revised to differentiate these guitars from the numerous similar models out there. Perhaps one of the best known of these early Japanese Epiphones was the ET-270 solid body later wielded by Kurt Cobain of Nirvana

Gretsch and Dorado

But Gibson was not the only Big American company to offer a Matsumoku-made 'entry level' version of its guitars. In 1973 Gretsch attempted the same approach, offering a very nice version of Epiphone's ET-270 solid body as the Dorado 5985.

In 1975 Aria guitars were sold as Aria Pro II. The brand had gained in confidence and there was a distinct move away from copies towards more original designs.

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Epiphone FT-90 El Dorado 1968

Epiphone FT-90 El Dorado 1968

Fort Myers, Florida, 339**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Vintage guitar with original case. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or make an offer. Thank you
... more
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1981 Epiphone Casino AS Sunburst  - MIJ Made In Japan w /  Gibson Case - Matsumoku

1981 Epiphone Casino AS Sunburst - MIJ Made In Japan w / Gibson Case - Matsumoku

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Here's a 1981 Epiphone Casino in a factory original Antique Sunburst in very good condition.
This guitar has light surface scratches, a few small scuffs and some oxidation on the hardware
Minor fret ware - see pics below
No breaks or repairs
6 5 lbs on a digital scale
She has a detailing and set up with 10's and is ready to go!
Comes with the Gibson hardshell case as seen in the pictures
This guitar will be safely packed and shipped. Please make sure to change your ... more
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1983 Aria Pro II Japan Elite-II Electric Bass Matsumoku factory. Phantom Blue

1983 Aria Pro II Japan Elite-II Electric Bass Matsumoku factory. Phantom Blue

Washington, District Of Columbia, 200**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


The Aria Pro II Elite-II is known as one of the best Japanese basses to ever come out of the Matsumoku factory.
Favoured by bass legends including Cliff Burton, Jack Bruce and John Taylor, the Elite II was one of the highest end instruments in the 1984 catalog (although this one was made in early 1983, making it a very early example. Alder body with a smooth maple transmit neck (and heel-less cutaway) and a rosewood 24 fret fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays.
This is a one owner ... more
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original 1960s Univox Hi-Flyer PHASE I Sunburst CLEAN!!! with orig. soft case

original 1960's Univox Hi-Flyer PHASE I Sunburst CLEAN!!! with orig. soft case

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1960's Univox Hi-Flyer Phase I in its original brilliant Sunburst finish. It has a good playing neck with good frets. It's all original and 100% complete along with its original tremolo arm and original chipboard case. It's in EXCELLENT condition with some very minor nicks + dings, a few minor finish cracks and other minor cosmetic wear. Everything remains structurally sound with no cracks, breaks or repairs. All... more
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Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3, Excellent Player, 1974-77 Vintae MIJapan Solid Body

Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3, Excellent Player, 1974-77 Vintae MIJapan Solid Body

Andover, Massachusetts, 018**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Univox Phase 3 Hi-Flier in excellent playing condition. I'm selling off guitars that I have more than one example of, and simply aren't being played.
All controls function smoothly and without noise, action is uniform and notes ring out clearly on every fret, and the infamous high output Maxon pickups still roar. This guitar has clearly been a working player, and has accumulated it's fair share of dents and dings over 45 - 50 years (see photos), but is completely sound and intact, ready for ... more
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1970s Univox Ripper White Electric Guitar Made in Japan

1970's Univox Ripper White Electric Guitar Made in Japan

Van Nuys, California, 914**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Univox Ripper 1970s - White Electric Guitar

Headstock has been repaired

Please see photos for more details

Free shipping
... more
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1970s Univox Ripper Clear Electric Guitar Made in Japan

1970's Univox Ripper Clear Electric Guitar Made in Japan

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 333**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1970's Univox Ripper clear coated Electric Guitar Made in Japan.
Proceed with caution . This guitar is guaranteed to bring out your inner rock god! The body has an A- / B+ condition with a few signs of use as shown in the pictures. One of the screws holding down the pickguard is absent. Two of the three humbucker pickups are original to this guitar. A whammy-bar came with this guitar, and although it shows similar signs of patina, we are unable to confirm its provenance. The pictures of ... more
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1981 Aria Pro II Thor Sound TSB-650 Vintage Neck Through Bass, Japan Matsumoku

1981 Aria Pro II Thor Sound TSB-650 Vintage Neck Through Bass, Japan Matsumoku

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a 1981 Aria Pro II Thor Sound TSB-650 in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. Made at the Matsumoku factory in Japan, this Aria Pro II is a top-quality instrument crafted with elegant five-ply neck through body construction and loaded with a pair of MB-III humbuckers.
The neck through maple / walnut construction is mated to ash body wings and capped with a slab rosewood fingerboard for a rich, complex tone with near endless sustain that marries the ... more
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Rare Japan / Matsumoku made 1983 Aria Flamed Custom TA-70 Advanced Electrics OHSC

Rare Japan / Matsumoku made 1983 Aria Flamed Custom TA-70 Advanced Electrics OHSC

Port Townsend, Washington, 983**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


non-paying bidders please note--if payment / communication is not received within 24 hours it will be presumed the bidder is agreeing to cancel the bid and i will re-list the item as is allowed under ebay rules--bidders with less than 10 positive feedback please contact me before bidding-
this is a very rare Japanese / Matsumoku Aria Advanced Electric Masterworks TA-70 with Custom Body--it is nearly mint and plays like a dream with the Maxon Super 70 pups--they are excellent in this ... more
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1970s Ventura ES-175 Natural

1970's Ventura ES-175 Natural

Nazareth, Pennsylvania, 180**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Just in is this killer Japanese made 70's Ventura ES-175 copy. This was made right along side the ibanez guitars and sold under the Ventura brand
Quick Details
weight 7 2lbs
Nut width 1 11 / 16th
Depth at 1st fret 0 86
Depth at 12th 1 06
This is a killer Lawsuit era Ventura ES-175 Guitar
This guitar was rescued from being up in an attic for years. The strings still had tension on them so the Glue in the neck loosened up when it was hot so we had it reset and now it is in ... more
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Very Rare 1960s Univox Ud-50 Uni-drive Guitar Pedal. Working. Ready For Restore

Very Rare 1960's Univox Ud-50 Uni-drive Guitar Pedal. Working. Ready For Restore

Hampshire, Tennessee, 384**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Tested and works. Both knobs do as they should   Expression pedal functions good. The pedal range pot is scratchy. The paint is flaking off. Inside is clean . Please understand that you are buying a very old item. As is If you have any questions please ask prior to purchasing   I ship fast and always package professionally
... more
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1973-75 Bradley Greco Ibanez SG Matsumoku Vintage Made In Japan Refinish Lawsuit

1973-75 Bradley Greco Ibanez SG Matsumoku Vintage Made In Japan Refinish Lawsuit

Flower Mound, Texas, 750**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1973-75 Bradley Greco Ibanez SG Matsumoku Vintage Made In Japan Refinish Lawsuit.
I just finished another mid 1970??s SG style guitar
These were made by Matsumoku in Japan and badged with several brands, the most popular were Greco, Burny, and Ibanez. There are probably 40 other badged brands of the same guitar
All of the poly coating has been removed and left open pored and stained with dark walnut and coated with lacquer. It was then wet sanded fairly smooth on the alder caps and ... more
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RARE Vintage 1975 Greco Precision P-Bass Sunburst Pre-Lawsuit Matsumoku Japan

RARE Vintage 1975 Greco Precision P-Bass Sunburst Pre-Lawsuit Matsumoku Japan

Santa Ana, California, 927**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


From my personal collection and batch 1975 Vintage RARE Greco PB420S Precision P- Bass 4 string Bass Guitar in Sunburst One of the most coveted high-end model Brand Made In Japan by Matsumoku
Beautiful early pre-lawsuit era high quality instrument made back in the day with great tone and feel.
CONDITION. Bass is in very nice Vintage USED-PREOWNED CONDITION *Scratches, dings, scuffs and noticeable honest play wear mostly on the body *Body shows some belt buckle rash, and dings, scratches ... more
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Univox Vintage Guitar Amplifier (Amp) U-1221

Univox Vintage Guitar Amplifier (Amp) U-1221

Collegeville, Pennsylvania, 194**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Welcome. Thanks for stopping in. Up for sale is one of my Univox U-1221 Amplifier restorations. This unit is SN-59337 manufactured in Japan in the early 1970s, most likely 1970-1971. This amp is fully restored and in excellent condition. Intended for guitar, this amp's tone circuitry and effects remain true to the original designer's intentions. This amp has lots of vintage sound and plenty of punch
This amp is equipped with two (2) channels, each with Normal and Bright inputs, Volume, and ... more
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Univox Vintage Guitar Amplifier (Amp) U-320-APB

Univox Vintage Guitar Amplifier (Amp) U-320-APB

Collegeville, Pennsylvania, 194**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Welcome. Thanks for stopping in. Up for sale is one of my Univox U-320-APB Amplifier restorations. This unit is SN-37997 manufactured in Japan in the late 1960s early 1970s, most likely 1969-1970. This amp is fully restored and in excellent condition. Intended for guitar, this amp's tone circuitry and effects remain true to the original designer's intentions. This amp sounds great
This amp has been completely restored and is in excellent condition. This amp is equipped with two (2) channels,... more
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1972 Ventura V-1300G Sb Jazz Guitar

1972 Ventura V-1300G Sb Jazz Guitar

Bakersfield, California, 933**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1972 Ventura V-1300G Sb Jazz Guitar. Has a couple wear and tear I haven??t played the guitar in 5 years was my first guitar asking for 1000$ last one I saw to sell was about around 1000$ this is a vintage guitar
... more
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Mid Sixties Japanese-made Ventura-V-10 w / NEW Case (ZERO Fret)

Mid Sixties Japanese-made Ventura-V-10 w / NEW Case (ZERO Fret)

Limestone, Maine, 047**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is a Ventura V-10, a 40 inch Japanese clone, with X-bracing. It has a 25 5 / 8 inch scale lenth. the lower bout is 15 inches at its widest point. I am guessing this was made in 1966. It has an abalone inlay on the headstock that says "Ventura " , and is fully two inches long. That sort of craftsmanship ended long before the 1970s. It also has the "ZERO" fret. (see pictures )
The condition is remarkably very good. This guitar is more than fifty years old. The white binding is ... more
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1975 Aria SG Pre Lawsuit Custom Refinish MIJ Matsumoku  Mahogany Body Japan

1975 Aria SG Pre Lawsuit Custom Refinish MIJ Matsumoku Mahogany Body Japan

Flower Mound, Texas, 750**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is a mid 1970??s Aria SG style guitar made in japan at the Matsumoku factory
The guitar has just changed complete refinish
The pickups have been upgraded to Epiphone Pro Bucker 4 wire pickups which are brand new
The pots, 3 way switch, and input jack are all original
I have installed a set of period correct Gotoh tuners. I have also installed a brand new Gotoh bridge and tailpiece
It has a brand new set of D??Addario XL .09- 42 strings
I refinish a lot of these and ... more
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1970s Univox Coily 4 string Bass Guitar Vintage NOW U CAN HEAR IT

1970's Univox Coily 4 string Bass Guitar Vintage NOW U CAN HEAR IT

Olmsted Falls, Ohio, 441**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1970's Univox Coily 4 string Bass Guitar Vintage NOW U CAN HEAR ITThis guitar has a great history was played by a member of the mushroom heads I was asked to sell his guitar but only if it was made like new by professionals Well it was taken apart, new wiring and a new rheostat, neck put back to it's proper place, buffing, replace a piece of plastic edge trim, and adjusting the resonator Etc. and last 4 new strings Last tested, made to go through it's scales, as you can see and hear in the video... more
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Epiphone ET-285 Bass, 1970s Made in Japan

Epiphone ET-285 Bass, 1970's Made in Japan

Blackwood, New Jersey, 080**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This bass is in good shape for being about 50 years old! There are two screw holes in the body (pictured), assuming that was for an ashtray-style bridge cover that we do not have
Weight: 9 29 lbs... more
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1968 Selmer guitar catalogue

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1960 Hofner Colorama II

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1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

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1971 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns' catalog

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1967 Vox Stroller

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1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalog Hagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner President The President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.

1971 Gibson Les Paul Recording guitar owners manual

1971 Gibson Les Paul Recording guitar owners manual The newly designed Les Paul Recording guitar was released in 1971, in many ways as an updated version of the Les Paul Professional that had debuted two years earlier in 1969. The new guitar came with a new owners manual explaining the (somewhat complicated) controls, their operation, and giving other specifications, including recommended strings, action and control settings. Compare with the broadly similar owners manual for the Les Paul Personal / Professional