id'ing mij basses......

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mattbass6945, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Musky


    Nov 5, 2005
    Interesting, but I certainly wouldn't take that as gospel. There are a few glaring errors in there that are well enough documented and shouldn't have made it in there.

    So as he says, a work in progress.
  2. i'm sorry i threw that out there then! i didn't realize it had obvious errors. this is new territory for me. if you know any other sites with more accurate info, please share! i'd love to check them out! thanks!
  3. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    The workings of the Japanese guitar industry up to about 1975 are an ongoing mystery. Most is hearsay, as there are practically no records. Plants would build batches of a certain model for each other if there was an outstanding order from an importer abroad. They would exchange stocks of bodies and necks according to demand. Hardware would be sourced from the same suppliers. The brand on the headstock was generally applied by the importing company. The best we can do is make inferences from the few available facts and comparisons of various instruments.

    Michael Wright at Vintage Guitar has done a commendable job of unraveling some of these tangled connections in his articles.
  4. Musky


    Nov 5, 2005
    There really isn't a 'go to' site for all things vintage MIJ. What we have are a bunch of sites that largely deal with one brand or manufacturer, like or Ibanez Collectors world, but also look at other brands of interest.

    The problem is that everybody's just poking around in the dark really. Nobody kept records of who was making what and when - it can be hard enough finding out exactly which factories are making instruments for a well known brand like Fender nowadays, let alone who made a particular instrument 50 years ago. So really all we have to go on are the instruments themselves, and trying to match them up to other instruments with other brands on the headstock where we definitely know who the manufacturer was. There were dozens of Japanese factories we know of, and who knows how many that we don't.

    My main bugbear with the site you linked to isn't so much the information it contains, but the fact that he doesn't make clear the difference between brands and manufacturers. Anyone who could rustle up enough cash to meet a manufacturers minimum order could be the owner of a brand and call it whatever they liked. And many music shops and small businesses did just that. When they came to order a second batch, if the price had gone up they were free to order from a different manufacturer or another country altogether. And the brand would remain the same.

    So saying X Manufacturer made Y Brand doesn't really get anyone very far. Just because it's known one bass was made by a certain factory (and this can be a herculean task in itself) doesn't mean that every bass with the same brand came from the same factory, even if they were made in the same year.

    Usually the best approach is to keep an open mind, accept that there is very little hard evidence for many brands, and just try to whittle things down a bit.
  5. yeah, i've been digging for a few days and coming up short.i guess i should give up on the history lessons and just dig in on the project! curiosity and stubbornness always gets the best of me!!! thanks for the info guys!

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