Why are there so many Alembics,Fenders and great basses in Japan

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Willopis, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Willopis


    Aug 25, 2012
    I was wondering if there was anyone that could elaborate on all of the basses for sale
    in Japan. I was just looking at the Alembics and Fenders on ebay and there is a ton of them
    for sale from Japan. Tal toured in Japan recently and her new go to bass is now a 69 P that she got there. It just seems like a lot.I would be a little wary of buying one. I mean there are a lot of fakes out there and how do you know that they aren't copies? Do they have a lot of places
    like Norm's rare guitars there?
  2. There is also a lot of classic tube audio gear over there like McIntosh, Western Electric, old juke boxes etc. I was told that they revere classic American gear over there and a lot of people bought it while it was still cheap to buy before we realized what we had, not sure how true that is but it makes sense.
    aaronious likes this.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Some very reputable dealers in Japan, but I guess mistakes can be made.
    Not only many different Fenders in colors you can't readily find elsewhere, but G&L L-2000s with pickguards and also quite a few beautiful Bacchus basses.
  4. It seems that back in the 90's and up until recently, Japanese collectors would buy vintage and higher end USA gear by the pallet load. One local shop said a particular Japanese client of his would essentially clean him out every 6-12 months - buying 20 guitars at a time. Now it looks like they are trying to sell them back to people in the States. USA vintage Fenders were appreciating year over year for a while, and everyone was scrambling to scoop them up. I think the yen/dollar was favorable to people in Japan to buy stuff from the States. Not sure if its still the case. At one point you could get great used gear from Ishibashi (?) and even with $100 shipping, there were tempting deals on high quality Japan-only Fenders.

    It also seems that it is very common in Japan for people to walk in to a music store and take pictures of a bass, then list it for sale on ebay at twice the price. If someone bids, then the person goes back to the store and buys the bass to ship it to ebay winner.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Not to mention Rickenbackers, Ric makes a whole run of "export only" basses with premium features like custom colors and CB binding expressly for the Japanese market. Wealthy collectors and dealers buy them, sometimes for resale in the US at outrageous prices. Highly profitable for all concerned.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  6. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Not just collectors. Investors, or "market speculators" as they would've been known in the old days.

    Within a very short period of time in the early 90s they cleaned UK out shops to the point of tripling the prices within a couple of years and I may very well be underestimating the impact here...
  7. A lot of the vintage American stuff was sold by servicemen when they needed cash or they did with instruments what some folks did with blue jeans.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    When the Japanese economy was cranking Americana was big among those with money. A lot of cars and guitars went overseas to collectors. Now some of them (or their heirs) need the cash again.
    aaronious likes this.
  9. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    Back in the late 70's a guitar player I knew had quite a Strat collection and put one of them up for sale-I think he needed rent money or something. At any rate, a Japanese buyer made him an offer on his entire collection that was almost waaaaay to good to be true. He asked him why he would do that and he said that they were trying to buy up all the Fenders so that the guitar industry in Japan could become the supplier of quality instruments. Don't know how true it is, but the guitarist I knew was sure flush for a few months...
  10. aaronious


    May 23, 2011
    Denver CO
    It is true. It makes perfect sense.
  11. Willopis


    Aug 25, 2012
    Thank you all, being a student of Aikido,I have a lot of respect for Japanese people and culture and I was not trying to insinuate that there were a bunch of Japanese people counterfeiting these basses and unscrupulously selling them on ebay.
    It just seemed like an awful lot of them so the explanation is that they wisely bought them up. Pure genius!I love that they post them on ebay before owning them.
    Snaxster likes this.
  12. 5fingerfrenzy

    5fingerfrenzy Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Burlington, VT
    Its funny, every time I see myself looking at a bass on Ebay lately I find myself checking to see if it's a seller from Japan. Way more Japanese sellers just in the last two years than ever before. I will say it's usually very good looking pieces, but usually overpriced.
    tightbidness likes this.
  13. Bought a PB70 from Ishibashi and the bass was in excellent conditions and a very good bargain for the money.
    Of course this is not a vintage made in USA instrument but it's however a symptom of how alive the market in Japan is.
    In Italy a bass like that would not be easily sold almost new; it will be rather kept and played as much as possible and sold later on at a higher price with respect to what I paid for it.
    In addition to the above, the service of Ishibashi was excellent and also the setup the bass came with from them.
    So, in conclusion, live long Ishibashi, Ikebe, Rakuten and the rest of them!
  14. Lately, there has been a ton of basses available on eBay, all for inflated prices. I'd heard (here) that people find them for sale on other websites or in shops, use the photos, and post the bass on eBay even though they don't physically have it in their possession. The prices are nearly always crazy, like a Fender AS P for $2,200. Last week, I saw a perfect example of such shenanigans and almost started a thread about it.

    I peruse Kawai basses often. Two sellers had the same Kawai FIB for sale, same photos and everything. I've considered calling this to eBay's attention, but I'm sure they don't care.

    There are more of these examples popping up every day and it's annoying as H E double hockey sticks. As a result, I no longer peruse eBay as often as I used to.
  15. dhagopian


    Jun 12, 2014
    Los Angeles
    I'm sure some are probably legit, but I don't trust them - especially when I see 3-4 different listings for the same bass. Something shady going on there...
  16. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    This came up not too long ago in a thread. Somebody had mentioned a bunch of Sadowsky's from Japan that all used the same image on ebay. It has been a while and my memory isn't the greatest but I think it had something to do with people going into shops and re-selling the basses on ebay. People would list the bass and if it sold they would go get it from the shop and ship it.
  17. Sub Four

    Sub Four

    Jul 19, 2016
    Berlin, Germany
    Japanese people are really crazy about brands and quality, also many of the japanese white collar workers make quite some money but don't have the time to spend it so if they play guitar or bass they spend much more on a single instrument than americans or europeans would do. I've visited many guitar stores in Tokyo and the amount of top class Fender and Gibson instruments (new and used) offered was unbelievable. There is even one shop specializing in Gibson Les Paul guitars (most of them being Customs) and the store has four floors packed with Les Paul guitars. Another store only deals in high end and boutique basses. The japanese guitar and bass market is unlike everything else you might now. If you want to buy online you might want to go through one of the larger stores like Ishibashi, Ikebe or Shimokura.
    izpak likes this.
  18. Sub Four

    Sub Four

    Jul 19, 2016
    Berlin, Germany
    Just some pictures from several weeks ago drool



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