1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

History of Canora Brand?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Text_Edifice, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Text_Edifice


    Nov 28, 2005

    I picked up a 'Canora' P-Bass earlier this year - through body with maple core and some unidentified wood for the rest of the body - that I think was made 70s / early 80s. I really dig the bass and got it quite cheap but I haven't been able to find any information on the brand anywhere.

    Can anyone fill me in on where the thing might have been made (I'm guessing Japan) and what the story is with the Canora brand. I wouldn't normally be so interested but the total lack of information has me intrigued.


  2. do you live in australia?

    coz i have a canora guitar, a strat copy. was my first guitar.

    i pretty sure they are japanese, i too can't find any info on the brand, and have only heard of them in australia
  3. Text_Edifice


    Nov 28, 2005

    Australian born and bred! I've read references to a strat with an identical sounding body to my bass on a couple of guitar forums - maybe they're a local branding on a generic import?

    What's the strat sound like BTW?

  4. While it is nearly impossible to exactly pinpoint the manufacturer of this bass, it is clearly an early product of Matsumoku, Kawai and the Teisco guitar factories as it has recognizable parts from each of those plants. It is well known that Matsumoku kept very poor records on the export models they produced, but it is known all of the Univox, Aria, and Guyatone guitars came from them as well as some Ibanez, Electra, Yamaha and dozens of other brands had at least a foothold in production there. It was clearly an odd time unlike anything that happens at US factories, because you'd often see different combinations of factories necks, bodies, pickups, and hardware all on the same guitar. Imagine a Fender neck on a Mosrite body with Gibson pickups and you get the idea of where I am going with this. It seems very strange but I think it went to a different sensibility employed in designing this guitars. There were a lot of orders to fill and many more coming down the pike! It seems that for the lines made for the Japanese market this was less the case, but the US imports often became a free for all. What results is many models with confusing slight or drastic variations in design that has made it almost impossible to get a solid handle on it. The guitars like Kent, Decca, Kingston, Guyatone, Audition, Lyle, and Melody all seem to morph and change model to model and year to year in this way. It is clearly not very easy for me to say with certainty much else about the history of this model...
  5. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Canora (named after a town in Saskatchewan) was a Canadian import brand owned by Great West Imports Ltd of Vancouver, as were Mann and Raven. The instruments were sourced from various manufacturers in Japan and (maybe) Korea.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    fretter likes this.
  6. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    I recall that Geddy Lee said in an interview that a Canora was his first bass.
    That would have been in the late 1960s I'm sure.
  7. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    Interesting. I have two Raven bass guitars, a fretted and a fretless. I also have a "JWalkers" Les Paul copy purchased at the Guitar Cellar on Granville street in Vancouver about 40 years ago. They claimed that was their own brand and that they had the guitars made with extra windings in the pickups. Don't know if that was true, but the thing really honks when you play it loud.

    I know where there's a Canora for sale.
  8. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Just thought that I'd mention this but I'm about to purchase this Canora bass below. Much of what has been mentioned in the posts above is correct regarding Great West Imports in Vancouver bringing these instruments to Canada during the mid 60's. What hasn't been mentioned is that the first order of 2000 instruments was placed with and made by the Fujigen Gakki factory located in Matsumoto City which is not to far from Nagano in the North East portion of the country. The instruments arrived without a brand name so the "Canora" logo was fixed to the headstock before the instruments were shipped to the stores.

    The Canora brand morphed into Raven during the later part of the 60's into the early 70's before disappearing. Many of the Raven instruments were made by Kawai although other factories also made Raven products for the Great West Import company.

    I can't believe that there was any additional windings on the pickups of the instruments sold by the Guitar Cellar on Granville Street but stranger things have happened.

    Canora front. canora headstock.

    Oren Hudson and cdef like this.
  9. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    Too cool TD. :)