1. Ibanez, 2. Caparison, 3. Fender Japan, 4. Electric Sound Products, 5. Takamine, 6. Fujigen, 7. Yamaha, 8. Fernandes Guitars, 9. Morris, 10. Matsumoku. There is no doubt that Japanese guitars are among the best in the world. When it comes to Japanese guitars, there is something for everyone, from legendary brands like Ibanez and ESP to more esoteric producers like Caparison. Here is a list of the best Japanese guitar brands if you're seeking the guitar available.
- Fender Japan
- Electric Sound Products
- Fernandes Guitars
Ibanez is one of the most popular examples of this list by far, since it has achieved international success after so many years. Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand that was founded in 1908 by Hoshino Gakki, a company that originally produced sheet music and other musical products. Today, Ibanez is known for producing a wide range of high-quality guitars and basses that are popular with musicians of all genres.
It is supposed to have begun with classical guitars, just as Takamine. The brand was inspired by the last name of the Spanish luthier Salvador Ibanez, initially using the “Ibanez Salvador” brand name and then just using “Ibanez.” While Ibanez began as a small company, it quickly expanded after it began manufacturing Fender and Gibson knockoffs in the 1970s. Notably, it manufactures a number of excellent-sounding semi-hollow guitars, as well as an extremely affordable acoustic guitar catalog for starting players.
Founder: Hoshino Gakki
Headquarters: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Instagram: instagram.com/officialibanezguitars/ (1.1M followers)
Photo by @officialibanezguitars via Instagram
Caparison ranks second on the list of the best Japanese guitar brands. This company is a modern Japanese guitar brand that was established in 1997. They’re noted for their one-of-a-kind, stylish, and imaginative designs that merge parts of current and older guitars. As a much younger brand than the others, it’s impressive how quickly the Caparison brand caught on by the mid-2000s and has a roster of very well-known artists under its belt.
Some of their most popular models include the Dellinger, Horus, Applehorn, and TAT, and they have been used by guitarists such as Michael Romeo, Andy LaRoque, Olof Morck, Adam D., Joel Stroetzel, and Mattias Eklundh. Caparison makes lovely instruments, but their prices are usually higher than those of these other companies, which reflects their exquisite craftsmanship. One part of me wishes they had more affordable guitars, but the other understands and respects their status as a hand-made Japanese guitar brand with incredibly high standards.
Founder: Itaru Kanno
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
Instagram: instagram.com/caparisonguitars (72.9K followers)
Photo by @caparisonguitars via Instagram
Fender’s Japan subsidiary is one of the most well-known Japanese guitar brands. Fender is an American corporation at heart, but its Japanese division is a unique entity with its own factories and designs, as well as its own history and reputation. The main distinction between Fender Japan and Fender USA is that in the 1980s and 1990s, the Japan division produced high-quality instruments at a reduced cost. This is because labor and materials were significantly cheaper in Japan during the period, allowing them to utilize better materials and devote more time to each instrument without having to worry about import expenses.
Fender Japan also offers a variety of unique models that are not initially available through the US division. For example, they sell Telecasters with humbucker pickups in the bridge position, which is unusual. Fender Japan also created the HM Strat, Fender’s version of the iconic super strat design in the 1980s, which was revived a few years ago. The Fender Japan brand was retired in 2015 and is now known as Fender Music Corporation (Japan), but its history lives on through these reissues and the high-quality instruments that are still available.
Founder: Leo Fender
Photo by @fender_jp via Instagram
Electric Sound Products
ESP, which stands for Electronic Sound Products, is a Japanese guitar manufacturer that was founded in 1975. They are well renowned for their heavy metal and hard rock guitars, which are used by some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, and George Lynch. Under the Takamine name, ESP also produces a variety of different instruments, including acoustic guitars, basses, and even ukuleles. They’re known for their great quality and attention to detail, and performers of various genres, particularly metal bands, use their instruments.
Many people become acquainted with ESP guitars through its LTD brand of guitars, which are reasonably priced and sometimes include budget replicas of signature guitars, such as those of the musicians noted above. Only in the Japanese market does ESP have another subsidiary, Edwards Guitars, which produces very high-quality instruments at lower prices than authentic ESPs, particularly Japanese-exclusive variants. Unfortunately, these guitars are extremely difficult to find in the United States and other Western countries, and they must usually be imported, which incurs additional costs.
Founder: Hisatake Shibuya
Instagram: instagram.com/espguitarsjapan (45.8K followers)
Photo by @espguitarsjapan via Instagram
Takamine ranks fifth on the list of the best Japanese guitar brands. This companybegan in 1959 as a family-run guitar shop and has since grown to become a world-renowned guitar manufacturer. Mount Takamine, which stands close to the shop, inspired the name. Takamine, like many other Japanese guitar manufacturers, began by primarily producing classical guitars.
Takamine, like Yamaha, became noted for its ingenuity, and it was a pioneer of acoustic-electric amplification. The Palathetic undersaddle pickup was created by the firm in 1978. The Palathetic pickup is now one of the most advanced undersaddle pickups on the market. It has six separate piezo components, each of which penetrates the soundboard.
Takamine’s innovative spirit also led to the creation of the CTP-1 Cool Tube, the first onboard tube preamp for acoustic guitars. The tube preamp provides a combination of warmth and grit in your sound, and an onboard EQ allows you to shape it as well. Takamine has just begun applying the torrefaction procedure to the tops of its high-end instruments. Even though Takamine acoustic guitars are known for their cutting-edge electronics and impeccable craftsmanship, they are still available at affordable prices for most working musicians.
Founder: Gitaro Takamine
Headquarters: Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan
Instagram: instagram.com/takamineguitars (25K followers)
Photo by @takamineguitars via Instagram
Fujigen Guitars (abbreviated FGN Guitars and originally known as Fujigen Gakki) is a high-quality Japanese guitar manufacturer. It also produces a variety of instruments, such as bass guitars, solid-body electric guitars, and hollow-body guitars. In addition to selling guitars under its own FGN brand, Fujigen is a subcontractor for various Ibanez instruments as well as some non-musical products.
FujiGen is still an important player in the guitar market today, manufacturing instruments for a variety of well-known brands as well as its own range of guitars and basses. The company is noted for its attention to detail and use of high-quality materials and components. Many musicians regard FujiGen guitars as among the best in the world, and the company’s instruments are in high demand among collectors and players alike.
Founder: Yoshiharu Shirotsu
Headquarters: Matsumoto, Japan
Instagram: instagram.com/officialfgnguitars (10.8K followers)
Photo by @officialfgnguitars via Instagram
Yamaha guitars have long been considered staples in school bands and music education programs due to their amazing value. Torakusu Yamaha, the originator of the Japanese guitar brand, led the endeavor to manufacture Western musical instruments such as guitars in Japan. Yamaha was first known as Nippon Gakki, which translates to “Japanese Musical Instrument.” To mark the company’s 100th anniversary, the name Nippon Gakki was changed to Yamaha in 1987.
The Japanese guitar manufacturer sells high-quality instruments at shockingly inexpensive prices. The Yamaha A5M-ARE from the A-Series is one of the best examples. This is a solid Sitka spruce and solid rosewood acoustic-electric guitar. The top has been treated with Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (ARE) technology. This is essentially a torrefying technique that gives the top the sound of an ancient, well-played acoustic. You get the sound of a vintage guitar right out of the box with Yamaha guitars. Despite having features seen on guitars costing thousands of dollars, the A5R costs less than $1000.
Yamaha’s ingenuity distinguishes them from other Japanese guitar manufacturers. The ARE system, like the SRT2 guitar electronics system, exemplifies the brand’s innovative attitude. A piezo pickup is used with microphone modeling technology in this system. Depending on your performance requirements, you can blend signals to personalize your sound.
Founder: Torakasu Yamaha
Headquarters: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan
Instagram: instagram.com/yamaha_guitar_japan/ (5.4K followers)
Photo by @yamaha_guitar_japan via Instagram
While Takamine is known for its acoustic guitars, Fernandes Guitars (also known as Burnys Guitars) is known for its eclectic and often eye-catching electric guitar designs. In 1969, the corporation was started in Osaka, Japan. Fernandes Guitars, along with Matsumoku and Fujigen Gakk guitar brands, is also a major Japanese guitar manufacturer.
Many of Fernandes’ early guitars were knockoffs of popular Fender models, particularly the Telecaster and Stratocaster. The “Burny” emblem on the headstock of Fernandes guitars was usually a Gibson knockoff. The name “Burny” is actually a typo of “Bunny,” but Fernandes refused to change it until the guitar maker pointed it out.
Fernandes contributed an important feature to the history of the electric guitar: the sustainer. This technology generates an electromagnetic field that vibrates the strings of an electric guitar to provide limitless sustain. The Fernandes sustainer is still available for purchase. Fernandes additionally develops its own distinctive guitar designs. The ZO-3 travel-sized guitar, for example, has a roughly semicircle-shaped body and is available in a variety of vivid and distinctive finishes.
Founder: Shinichi Ito
Instagram: instagram.com/fernandes.jp (4K followers)
Photo by @fernandes.jp via Instagram
Morris Guitars (established in 1967) is a Japanese manufacturer that produces instruments for every level of player, from entry-level acoustic guitars to high-end, handmade instruments for pros. Morris has an advantage when it comes to creating guitars, according to the company, because it begins with high-quality tonewoods. Many of the tonewoods used are similar to those found in the United States, but Morris also employs Yezo spruce, a Japanese spruce tree with tonal qualities similar to European spruce.
Morris creates a terrific variety of high-quality, handcrafted guitars. Even now, it uses two separate production procedures to improve its quality. The first is known as “Luthier Made,” and it is completed by a group of expert craftsmen in specific areas of the guitar production process. The second is known as “handmade, and it is executed by a group of experienced craftsmen in certain areas of the guitar manufacturing process. Furthermore, Morris brand guitars have characteristics for finger-style performance, as the strong and straight neck of the guitars allows you to adjust the tension of their strings to your liking.
Founder: Toshio Moridaira
Headquarters: Nagano, Japan
Instagram: instagram.com/morris_guitars (2.5K followers)
Photo by @morris_guitars via Instagram
Matsumoku was a Japanese guitar maker that was in business from the mid-1950s through the early 1980s. The company was situated in Matsumoto, Japan, and manufactured a variety of guitars and basses under a variety of brand names. Matsumoku guitars are widely sought after by collectors and players alike for their high-quality workmanship and exceptional playability.
Matsumoku produced guitars for a variety of well-known brands, including Aria, Westone, and Washburn, during their prime years. They were also in charge of creating a number of their own brand names, such as Univox, Electra, and Vantage. Matsumoku was noted for using high-quality materials and components, and their guitars were built to precise specifications.
One of the things that distinguished Matsumoku from other guitar manufacturers was their creative approach to instrument design. They were responsible for introducing a number of ground-breaking features, including the through-neck design, which allowed for increased sustain and resonance. They also experimented with various materials, such as graphite and aluminum, in order to improve the tone and playability of their instruments.
Founder: Tsukada Matsumoto
Headquarters: Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
Photo by Matsumoku via matsumoku.rocks