Guitar shopping in Japan

Discussion in 'Musicians' started by Willybomb, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Willybomb

    Willybomb Member

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    Just got back from Japan, taking in bits of Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto and a few other places. Only managed to find 4 guitar shops for whatever reason (we were on tour with a few other people), one in Hiroshima called "Yamaha" that had every other brand under the sun and three within a block of each other in Kyoto.

    I thought I would take a few pics for the masses here, sneakily using the mobile phone so excuse the pic quality.

    Keep in mind the Aussie dollar was being anally raped by every other currency and was only buying 49 yen at it's lowest while we were there, and at it's best around 63. So, when you see the prices, take off the two zeros at the end and multiply what's left by 2. If the AUD was at 98 to 107 yen like it was when we booked the trip, the prices would have been great but as it stands prices were about on a parity with local AU prices after conversion and not worth buying if you could get it here.

    Floyds and superstrats tend to be a little more common than over here, and there are a couple of "boutique" brands such as Killer and Edwards. Other brands that you don't find so much over here such as Ferdanez and Burny were more common too.

    Fender/Japan strats were around a grand converted, USA strats around 1.5 - 2K after. Some "Jacksonstar" branded dinkys and soloists were kicking around too.

    On with the pics:

    The "Yamaha" shop in Hiroshima:
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    Lots of pedals! Quite a few Ibanez and boss clones around on the other side of the case, along with H+K and others (Yamaha shop).
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    Thought I'd stick up the OCAU darling - the Tiny Terror (Yamaha shop). What are they worth over here?
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    Prestige Ibanez - would have been around the $1.5k mark in July...
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    Ukuleles must be big business in Japan.
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    Something for Spootmonkey - Burny guitars! Quite a few Gibson Melody makers too, with single coils in the neck... (Kyoto, IIRC)
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    Ferdenez - these were everywhere.
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    *Shrug* can't remember what brand these were. Possibly ESP, but I just thought they looked cool.
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    Something less "Attentionwhoreish":
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    I thought 1 million yen was expensive...
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    Until we saw 1.5million yen....
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    And finally - one for the Okatu out there. Or maybe Shredder:
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    So, what did I end up buying? A guitar tuner. We thought this was pretty cool (no pics yet):
    http://www.woodbrass.com/images/woodbrass/KORG+PITCHJACK.JPG

    Willy.
     
  2. tired

    tired Member

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    Man those Fernandes guitars look freaky.

    I was interested in importing a Jap Strat not so long ago but the prices that greeted you while you were over there were what I'd be paying here + delivery + the customs duty for the cost being over $1000 with the plummett of the Aussie dollar.

    I never wanted anything while the dollar was worth almost $1 US and it ain't fair!
     
  3. spootmonkey

    spootmonkey Member

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    Hard to go wrong with a Bunny.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Willybomb

    Willybomb Member

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  5. spootmonkey

    spootmonkey Member

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    Nah definitely Bunny. Going by your formula those amp prices seem pretty steep.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Willybomb

    Willybomb Member

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    Work it out for yourself - the exchange rate was shifting anywhere between 50 and 65 yen to the AU dollar and you'll find that the prices do suck very hard for the most part.

    Don't take my word for it though, try it for yourself. 54,600y = 902.82AU
    http://xe.com

    Japan has this reputation for being cheap, but as a general rule it just isn't. Even the same made in china bokken and shinai practice weapons I can get at about half the price here.

    Food prices will kill you pretty quick. At the current rates a Big Mac meal will cost you near AU$14.
     
  7. kendo

    kendo Member

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    I thought Japan was pretty cheap, mind you the last time I went over the AU was trading at 96yen. I ventured into ochanomizu in Tokyo, and there were about 8-10 guitar shops all on one street. I ended up buying a Japanese stratocaster (st50) for roughly $400 AU. I also sent back a few other Japanese strats and teles for a few friends of mine (cant remember which models, probably a few of the vintage reissues) I think some had US made pickups. The shipping at the time was roughly $100AUS so I sent 4 different guitars to a few friends of mine. If anyone wants guitar stuff from Japan, go to Ochanomizu, it is simply amazing.
     
  8. DJ Fusion

    DJ Fusion Member

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    Great pics Willy, thx for posting! Looks like a mad tour, I've heard stories of people picking up brand-new but old-stock from the 80's and 90's Ibanez's in Japan, I'd love to go there with a fat wad of cash. :thumbup: For $1500 I would've definitely bought that blue Ibanez SV5470F-NBL Prestige in that photo of yours, that's my ultimate axe at the moment.

    TT heads are $975 in my local btw, how much were they in Japan? And I need that guitar gun! :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  9. shredder

    shredder Member

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    That one with the hearts on it is awesomely terrible. "Suck me", lol.

    The machine-gun guitar could be fun, especially to take through airports/customs. Would be cool if the trigger did something (e.g. activated an effect, made a sound, flashed some lights or something).
    That's the one I had my eye on as well (only because I already have my quota of RGs). Though I didn't realise the ZR trems weren't double-locking. Would sooner a fixed bridge one of those models myself, I think - I've already got enough trem-equipped guitars (i.e. one).

    Current exchange rates make those prices pretty grim - AU 3 grand or so - which is about equivalent to the Australian street price, it seems. Street price of US$1300 or so in the States mind you. Grr at economies-of-scale and exchange rates etc.
     
  10. Boneman

    Boneman Member

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    Prices arent so bad when you live and work here, especially if you want to send money home to AUS, its pretty good.

    Naturally if you come here now, you will get royally screwed. :cool:
     
  11. ChrisH

    ChrisH Member

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    Hey man, thanks for the pictures. I love looking at guitar stores. Its nice to see the colours and the shine etc. (i must sound like the creepy guitar man, but i love new stuff)

    Cool as dude!
     
  12. DJ Fusion

    DJ Fusion Member

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    Same, I took some photos of the Ibies I was playing in Allens today. Its funny, after trying a few Prestiges and S series I've come to realise how beautifully aged the neck on my RG is compared to all the new ones. Mines golden yellow, slippery as all get out and I swear to science it feels thinner then the Prestige necks in the store which are supposed to have identical dimensions. I came home to check my neck again and none of them could touch it for slickness - now, taking into account my guitar is only an early 2000s model, but it is second hand, could it have actually had the neck profile reduced by extensive playing? Either by a kind of natural sanding or compressing effect? Or can I just put it down some guru at the FujiGen factory who made mine giving the neck extra love in the build process??
     
  13. Xplora

    Xplora Member

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    Some necks ARE different. My RG7421 has a thinner, slicker neck than similar age RG7620 and UV777s. I wouldn't be surprised that the neck gradually does wear down.

    I remember the top line Satch has a worn neck?
     
  14. spootmonkey

    spootmonkey Member

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    Some of this may be to do with wearing down the finish on back of the neck. I know some people sand theirs.
     
  15. Li0n

    Li0n Member

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    can you comment on prices of mid-range classicals?
    im planning to go sometime next year or the year after, hopefully the dollar will climb back to the ~100 yen
     
  16. shredder

    shredder Member

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    My 1998 570 is exactly the same. I suspect that the late 90's and early 00's high-end RGs are probably the best RGs ever (so far). Back when there was no Prestige, these were pretty much top of the line so they got the best treatment.

    The entire Prestige thing is basically marketing imo. They give them the fancy name, pay extra attention to cosmetic detail, and pretend like it's something awesome and new. But really it's just an excuse for them to charge twice as much for a supposedly 570-class instrument as they used to - and they're not even as good!

    The old high-end Wizard necks are pure gold, there is just nothing like them out there. To have a better neck (for this style of guitar) you'd have to have one that teleported your fingers directly to the frets they wanted to go to.
     
  17. DJ Fusion

    DJ Fusion Member

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    Well aren't we a lucky group of sweet-neck Ibanez owners! I'd love to see 'em, I reckon an OCAU guitarists meet would be awesome but it's a shame we're all over Oz.
     
  18. shredder

    shredder Member

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    And beyond, even. Yeah those necks kick ass. After 10 years of using one, just about every other guitar feels like a budget plank of wood. Which is not entirely a good thing, but I don't care. :)
     
  19. Boneman

    Boneman Member

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    http://www.digimart.net/


    This is a good place to search for guitars in Tokyo. It lists many shops that sell guitars, and you can search manually and get an idea of the value of things over here.

    Im going to Ochanimizou soon, so I will take some photos while Im there. :thumbup:
     
  20. SneakyBastd

    SneakyBastd Member

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    in tokyo they have a street filled with guitar shops. the japanese love to do that, cram in heaps of shops close to each other, all selling the same stuff. its not far from akihabara, like two stops on the train i think. it was described as their music street, and i went their looking for piano stuff. but i didnt see anything except shop after shop after bloody shop of guitars. :/
     

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