Japanese/FujiGen guitars - two questions

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by WordMan, Feb 6, 2006.


  1. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    1) Where do you go to do your research?

    - I have read http://www.guitarsjapan.com/ and http://www.guitargai.com/html_folder/homepage.html and read a bit on this board - any other sources?

    2) Any way to find out more about Orville by Gibson? I am seriously circling an OBG '54 Reissue - long tenon and nitro top. I like a chunkier neck - not a baseball bat, but a 50's-style Gibson neck that is big and comfortable and NOT Slim Profile. A guy I know who has owned an OBG told me that his neck was slim and that he heard that all OBG necks were slimmer because they were made for the Japanese market and Japanese have smaller hands - I am NOT looking to start a politically incorrect discussion here, so PLEASE stay on topic! ;)

    Anyway - how can I research this? The seller assures me that the OBG I am considering has a chunky neck, and I was very specific in my questioning - how can I research this before I get the sucker shipped across an ocean?

    Thanks!
     
  2. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I am here as you are here as you are me and we are
    How about having the seller measure the neck thickness and width for you?
    Say at the first and 12th fret?

    If he doesn't have calipers, all he needs to do is hold a ruler above the neck (looking down on the thickness, then looking down on the thickness) and eyeball a measurement for you. Then just compare those measurements to any known specs for neck profiles you're aware of (like the specs for necks on the Warmoth.com site, or just compare the measurements to the necks on guitars you own.

    If you want to know the radius of the neck, I've sent you a radius neck guage in .pdf format that the seller can print/cut out/compare on the guitar's fretboard.

    Good luck!
     
  3. omboy

    omboy Member

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    my Orville was described as a "chunky" neck by the seller, and it's about the same size as a current Gibson "50s" neck. definitely not a "slim taper" style.
    getting the seller to do some measurements for you is a good idea for peace of mind.
     
  4. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    I havent yet seen an ObG with a huge neck, that's not to say there arent any, but the vast majority are slim taper. Burnys and Greco's are also generally slim. Some (but by no means all) of the current Edwards models have big necks though.
    Al
     
  5. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    My experience has been different AlexF - I have two Burny's with medium chunky necks. I have played a bunch more and the ones that are 50's replicas tend to have 50's style necks. Same with Greco's - I have played my share - certainly over a dozen - and the ones that are 50's style again have bigger necks. My friend's EGF-1200, which is based on a 58 Standard, has a positively fat neck...

    Well, if it comes down to individual guitars, it sounds like I will have to make my own decision. Again, I made it clear to the guy that I want a chunky - at least medium chunky - neck and he tells me that's what it has...

    If anyone has any other resources to research these guitars in general and ObG's in particular - that would be great. Man, are FujiGenGakki guitars in need of the definitive book on them, or what?
     
  6. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    Maybe its down to definition of 'big'. I've owned over a dozen of these now, and only one would I call 'huge' and that was on the Edwards. Maybe the really high end ones - the 1200 models and the like are more slavish to the 50's ones, but I would agree with your original statement that the majority are made for smaller hands.
    You might find this one interesting:
    http://www.japanguitars.co.uk/
    check the page called 'japanese replicas'
    Al
     
  7. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    Don't know what to say - I think you are right about there being some definitional stuff going on.

    I know that website - do you like that seller? Does he know his stuff, in your experience? He seems to have good stuff! I have bought from guitargai in the US, who seems to be the US equivalent to this fellow. Guitargai knows his stuff pretty well, and his selection is usually pretty good...
     
  8. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    Mark certainly knows his Japanese guitars and consistently comes up with nice pieces. I would put him at the higher end of the price spectrum (but in fairness perhaps that reflects the pieces he finds). Not all the detail is 100% on any of the history websites, I think because as you correctly state, its ripe for a really well researched book in English ( I suspect there is a lot of info already in Japanese). However as a guide, there is a lot of good info on sites like Marks. I have bought from Katana and Hisashi(several times each) and Japanoldguitar on ebay, all with great success.
    Good luck with your purchase, these axes are well worth the trouble!!
    Al
     
  9. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    I agree on the definition/perspective thing. I've had Tokai, Burny, Edwards, etc. LP copies...most have necks that I might describe as chunky (actually probalby a bit smaller than 59, but def. bigger than 60s slim)...but I prefer slimmer necks. I've also heard guys that like fatter necks refer to similar necks as 60's.
    Greg
     
  10. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    Thanks for the referral - that eases my mind. Any insights on his point of view regarding necks? If I ask him about a neck and he says it is "chunky" do you think it will be truly chunky, or more like a "Japanese version of chunky" if you will!

    With guitargai - his descriptions are pretty spot on. When he says chunky you can bet it will be...

    As for Katana - I have read a number of folks who praise this guy - which is great. He had (and still has) an Edwards on his Katana website that I filled out an order form on. I basically asked - "do you still have this? if so I am interested" and never heard back from him. Grr. By now, I think I am more inclined to go with an Orville By Gibson - given the nitro finish, air-dried wood vs. kiln dried, etc... - but it still was frustrating that he never even replied to my email and I was ready to buy!!!
     
  11. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    Hmm strange one that on Katana, I had really good comms from him, he had 'helpers' answering questons even when he was out travelling, so there was obviously some foulup there. I would be frustrated too. Regarding Mark, he also owns/has owned top line historics, so if you ask about neck dimensions, you should get a reliable answer, he is well clued up. For what its worth, I would go for an ObG if you can find an affordable one, ensure it has Classic 57 pups and not the horrible standard Gibson USA models of the mid 80's (overwound bridge) - they used both. I have watched these increase in price dramatically over the last 18 months, great guitars. The best value out there at the moment tho is the Greco Mint Collection IMO, still cheap and fantastic quality. Go for a 59/80 or higher for nitro finish, tho the standard of poly finish is breathtaking, super thin etc.
    Al
     
  12. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    All good - thank you, Sir. Yep, I emailed Katana 3 times over a week and didn't hear a thing, both using his website form and via my own email account. Again - I have heard great things; something just didn't work for me.

    Good advice regarding ObG's - if I can find one with a chunky neck, yay! I really am looking for one with P-90's so I don't think I will have the same pickup issues you are pointing out in your post, but I will keep my eyes open...and seriously talk with Mark. His site says he is traveling right now, but I have sent him an email...
     
  13. hans-jürgen

    hans-jürgen Member

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    The http://www.tokaiforum.com/ also has a section for "Other" guitars, and there are some Orville owners reading including Mark Kane, maybe they can help you with your questions.
     
  14. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    +1

    In terms of value for dollar, I'm willing to live with a little variation on the neck in exchange for a near custom shop level guitar at a fraction of the price...

    I was in the same boat when I bought my Orville LP...wasn't sure what would show up. It's thicker than a 60's slim taper, thinner than some Jr's I've played. It's perfect for me, but would be thin for those who like the real clubby Gibson necks.

    Also beware of misinformation, intentionally or just through ignorance. Mine was described as a long tenon neck and showed up otherwise. I'm happy with the tone/sustain of the guitar but it still ticks me off that I didn't get what I thought I was getting. Moral: ask for LOTS of pictures, neck joint, serial number, underside of pickups, pots/caps etc. This will give you more confidence in terms of what you're buying.

    good luck with it...some really killer guitars out there at ridiculous prices. You just have to find them.
     
  15. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    excellent advice.

    Dont be too downhearted about the construction, its all about finding guitars that really WORK, they work regardless of constructional details. One of the greatest guitars I have ever owned (out of many, many) was a '74 LP Deluxe, with a 3 piece neck, sandwich body, shallow headstock angle and beaten to hell, it cost me little. I gigged it for many years and it had an amazing sound, surely those are the only criteria...
    Al
     
  16. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    You have to understand that a lot of the myth about Japnese LP copies is just that. I've owned a ton of these things over the years, Orville, Burny, Greco ,Tokai, OBG. Except for the Tokai's: a lot of them were heavy and dead sounding, the headstock angle is always wrong. The ebony, white, and goldtops are those colors to hide multi piece tops and backs. The pups always need replacing. They never have cases, and yet we are to believe all these average copies have survived for 20-25 years without hardly a scratch on them. Remember, except for the OBG's and the high end Tokais none of these were built as high end copies. How many Bradleys, Memphis, Cort, etc copies to you see that are 20 years old in great condition ? If you've never owned any Gibsons you might be impressed. I wasn't. The only one I kept was a rare OBG re-issue custom which is a really nice guitar. I have never, ever seen any Jap copy with a neck the size of my R7 or R8. Don't get me wrong, for 4-500 bucks they are great guitars, but just as somewhere on the net there is someone who swears his Turser "blows the Gibson away" so it is with these guitars. A lot of the regular posters on the Tokai forum make their living selling LP copies to Americans BTW. A new Tokai LS95F costs $799 shipped. If you want a case add $110.00. Now you have a $910.00 copy with a Veneer top. Remember , it's much different in Europe, Gibsons cost double what they do here.
     
  17. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

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    The Orville I had was really nice. The neck was chunkier than my Tokai 335, but still very comfortable. I guess that makes it about a 50's style?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    Opinions are fine, but those statements are just plain factually incorrect. Examples? Edwards use Seymours, ObG's use Gibson USA (many Classic 57's), Greco Mint Collection used rather excellent Dimarzio's. Most of the better copies had the correct headstock angle. Its interesting that you exclude tokai from the criticism, because model for model they are pretty much identical quality wise with their competitors. In fact one of the most revered and expensive Tokai's - the Reborn - is one of the few with the wrong headstock angle. The higher the model numbers, the better the quality, simple as that. As regards heavy and dead, that just varies guitar to guitar as with Gibson, I've played plenty of Historics and higher end models that werent worth a damn from that point of view. Its all about knowing what you're buying - I could go out and pay 2 or 3 thousand dollars for a Gibson Heritage 80 with all the wrong features you can think of, most are pretty terrible, some work great...
    Al
     
  19. Sparky6string

    Sparky6string Member

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    My Burny has a pretty thick neck and my Elitist has a rather thin one. Do your research and don't be afraid to take the plunge. I haven't had a bad experience with a Japanese guitar yet. From what I've seen they're quite consistant.
     
  20. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    Wordman, I started my quest for MIJ LP's in 2000, after reading a blurb about Orvilles in Tony Bacons book. In those days there was Guitargai and that was about it. A lot of the information I uncovered was contradictory, and since I neither read nor write Japanese it was difficult at best. I was lucky to make friends with Michael Rile (ultrabass now Guitarspazz7) when he only had a few trades. In those days it was bank wire only , and I paid $800 for my first Orville . And it wasn't even an OBG !!. If you keep digging you will uncover a world of these guitars, some really great high end stuff like Navigator and Ornetts. You will also find that even today there are dozens of correct looking LP's in Japan. Grassroots, Goodtimes, Photogenic, etc etc. The difference now is there's a lot more people doing it. And these guys move some product. Sixstring now has over 1000 trades. That's a lot of 20 year old guitars to find. I am amazed at how so many of these guys find so many of these guitars day in and day out. It's a worthwhile hobby, although I never found that one Magic MIJ guitar, it doesn't mean that you won't. Be careful, sometimes facts are altered to suit inventory. If you really want to get the deals make friends with someone who can read and write Japanese. Go on Yahoo Japan , that's where a lot of thoese guys get their inventory from. To answer your original questions . There are no english translated books to my knowledge . Although there is a great new Ibanez book out ( $40.00 Available from Ibanez ) that may hold some answers. The rest of it is just pieced together from old catalogs. Good luck in your search.
     

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