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Fender Japan and Fender Replicas

 
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Mages
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Fender Japan and Fender Replicas Reply with quote

is there a comprehensive site somewhere that can you tell you a pretty complete history of Greco, Tokai, Fender Japan and how they all tie together? I've found several sites that have little pieces of info here and there but nothing that tells you the whole story up to the present date.

Here is what I've been able to put together.

-in the early 70s tokai started making Les Paul copies. not cheap knock-off guitars but extremely high quality replicas made to vintage specs.
-Greco soon followed
-they both soon started making fender replicas.
-CBS fender was shit and they were getting pushed out of the market by the japanese copies so they struck a deal with the makers of Greco (Fuji-Gen Gakki). They would make guitars for fender, sold as squier in the US and Fender Japan in japan. these early squiers used american pickups left over from the Lead I and left over greco parts. the 80s squiers made by fujigen are serial numbers starting with JV (japanese vintage) and SQ (squier).

after this point is where it starts to get harder to find information. like what happened to greco and tokai after this? and when did squier and fender japan manufacturers change? I just found out that now tokai (Dyna Gakki) makes fender japan. Does tokai still make Love Rocks (the Les Paul copy)?
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Mages
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Joined: 26 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pretty cool article, I'll hide it though cause it's a lot of images...

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esteban
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that was a really interesting read.

and another reason to not buy gibson!! Twisted Evil
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Mages
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Joined: 26 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yea, I'll bite my tongue about modern gibsons for now...

if you are interested, check ebay for these guitars. grecos seem to be going for around $350-550 and tokais a little more. which is a damn good price if you ask me. I would much rather get one of these than a MIM strat.

I just found this quote in the stratocaster article on wikipedia:
Quote:
By 1982 the company had started producing Stratocasters in Japan. They built the cheaper "Squier Stratocasters" for the European and American markets. These models, again, weren't as high quality as before or even their American counterparts.

um, really? that sounds like a load of biased bullshit to me. then it goes on to say:

Quote:
All of Fender's guitars in the 1985 catalog were made in Japan. Some estimate that as much as 80% of Fender's sales between 1984 and 1986 were Japanese models.

does anyone know if this is true? that would be interesting. those are probably good guitars if they were made by fuji-gen.
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aen
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mage wrote:
yea, I'll bite my tongue about modern gibsons for now...

if you are interested, check ebay for these guitars. grecos seem to be going for around $350-550 and tokais a little more. which is a damn good price if you ask me. I would much rather get one of these than a MIM strat.

I just found this quote in the stratocaster article on wikipedia:
Quote:
By 1982 the company had started producing Stratocasters in Japan. They built the cheaper "Squier Stratocasters" for the European and American markets. These models, again, weren't as high quality as before or even their American counterparts.

um, really? that sounds like a load of biased bullshit to me. then it goes on to say:

Quote:
All of Fender's guitars in the 1985 catalog were made in Japan. Some estimate that as much as 80% of Fender's sales between 1984 and 1986 were Japanese models.

does anyone know if this is true? that would be interesting. those are probably good guitars if they were made by fuji-gen.



Yeah it's true. Fender Japan was up and running, and Fender US was so fucked up by CBS that when Bill Schultz rode in on the white horse, he moved produciton to Japan while he fixed the US plant, becasue they knew how to build fucking guitars in Japan.
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Mages
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh shit, I just found this super comprehensive squier jv site. don't have time to look at it all right now, I'm goin to bed but it looks fucking awesome.

21 Frets
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Fender Japan and Fender Replicas Reply with quote

mage wrote:
Does tokai still make Love Rocks (the Les Paul copy)?


Tokai still makes love rocks. They make some high quality and high dollar ones in Japan and also produce some in Korea. There are more Tokai guitars available to Canada and Europe. They pretty much got shut out on most of their models in the US. Gibson sues any US distributor or merchant selling Tokai's that look like copies. Tokai was manufacturing Dillion guitars in Korea too. Now they also have manufacturing in China. Tokai and Dyna Gakki are not the same. Or didn't used to be, but I think they both now make Fender Japan. I know there are atleast two companies that make Fender Japan's guitars.

Gibson did much of the same thing Fender did. They created a label for the Japanese market called Orville made by FujiGen and Terada. They were good quality Gibson replicas some saying simply Orville on headstock as in Orville(Gibson) and others saying Orville by Gibson. They also made a very good series of Epiphone guitars made in Japan that were higher quality. They still make those in Japan in limited runs. That idea was then imported to the US under another new label called Epiphone Elititst but with different headstock shapes, so as not to compete directly with Gibson USA. The irony is in Japan that the most desirable Gibson style guitars by far to the Japanese market are Gibson USA.

I don't think it's that important as to who made what. You can usually tell the quality of a Japanese guitar from that era by looking at it and playing it. Some are more accurate specs wise than others. Also at different times companies switched production to different factories so it's never static. Those companies for the most part were set up to fill orders. The best contribution of these guitars were that besides making some good guitars, they kicked the U.S. companies in the ass, and made them realize that people wanted instruments with characteristics from the 50's and 60's.


Last edited by jcyphe on Mon May 26, 2008 6:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Fender Japan and Fender Replicas Reply with quote

jcyphe wrote:
The best contribution of these guitars were that besides making some good guitars, they kiecked the U.S. companies in the ass, and made them realize that people wanted instruments with characteristics from the 50's and 60's.



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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any body know why Gibson and Fender went after Tokai so viciously in the courts but lets countless shitty brands make shitty knock offs? Is it simply a matter of Tolai getting good enough to compete directly with the American companies?
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BacchusPaul wrote:
Any body know why Gibson and Fender went after Tokai so viciously in the courts but lets countless shitty brands make shitty knock offs? Is it simply a matter of Tolai getting good enough to compete directly with the American companies?


Perhaps a little bit of that; I'd buy a Tokai if they were sold in the US (they're not allowed).
Some kind of legal loophole permits a lot of design characteristics of fender guitars to be copied (though not the headstock, you'll notice), and gibson's designs are more efficiently protected... This doesn't extend to certain other countries though, even the UK... still, I think you'll find most cheap knock-off les pauls have an altered lower horn, and there aren't many strat copies with that spot-on fender shape headstock... but Tokai copied both of those things to a T, and replicated many other specs very closely. It was clear that the sentiment with Tokai amongst a lot of people, especially those interested in the vintage designs in the pre-reissue era was "why bother buying a fender when you can get this for cheaper and the only difference is the name on the head", etc... whereas with the cheap copy shit around nowadays, not so.
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Mages
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

paul_ wrote:
BacchusPaul wrote:
Any body know why Gibson and Fender went after Tokai so viciously in the courts but lets countless shitty brands make shitty knock offs? Is it simply a matter of Tolai getting good enough to compete directly with the American companies?

Perhaps a little bit of that; I'd buy a Tokai if they were sold in the US (they're not allowed).
Some kind of legal loophole permits a lot of design characteristics of fender guitars to be copied (though not the headstock, you'll notice), and gibson's designs are more efficiently protected... This doesn't extend to certain other countries though, even the UK... still, I think you'll find most cheap knock-off les pauls have an altered lower horn, and there aren't many strat copies with that spot-on fender shape headstock... but Tokai copied both of those things to a T, and replicated many other specs very closely. It was clear that the sentiment with Tokai amongst a lot of people, especially those interested in the vintage designs in the pre-reissue era was "why bother buying a fender when you can get this for cheaper and the only difference is the name on the head", etc... whereas with the cheap copy shit around nowadays, not so.

yea, but it wasn't just that, there was a difference (at least in the 70s and early 80s). like jcyphe said, tokai and greco were making the guitars with the features people wanted (50s and 60s reissues) while fender and gibson had their heads up their asses. the cheap knocks offs today are just cheap guitars with cheap features.

if you read the above article he mentions the "lawsuit" that people refer to when talking about the "lawsuit era". what happened was fender tried to sue ibanez but the japanese court threw the case out. still, greco and tokai thought they should avoid confrontation and made some changes. the Love Rock used to be called the Les Paul Reborn. tokai changed the headstock on their fender reissues by the mid 80s probably for the same reason.

I would love to have a p-90 w/bigsby goldtop love rock.
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