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Visiting Japan ... Where to shop?
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ampmaker
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Joined: 15 Oct 2010
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Location: Cambridge, England

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:01 am    Post subject: Visiting Japan ... Where to shop? Reply with quote

I'll be spending four weeks in Japan, from the 22nd March. Mostly for fun and culture, but with a little guitar shopping, too. I'm quite excited (understatement!)

Any suggestions of shops that must be on my list? I'm staying in Shinjuku for a week or so, then travelling a bit to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, etc.

My #1 aim is to find an early Tokai V, ideally from 83 (nostalgia reasons).

Other Qs: do guitar shops take credit cards? Is haggling likely to work? Is it feasible to take a vintage Gibson there to sell?
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wulfman
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go to the major shops in Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ochanomizu.
Ishibashi and Shimokura in Ochanomizu have good used selections and you should have no problem using a credit card AND can handle duty-free sales (this will save you the 5% salese tax).
Haggling is usually not welcome but it may be easier to get a discount if you are buying more expensive items. Most desirable things sell quite quickly so if you don't see something that has been in stock for months and months I'd hesitate to ask for a discount. Give it a go and see what your experience is.

Have a nice trip!
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sneakyjapan
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trouble is, every guitar player on the planet now knows about Ochanomizu so competition is fierce, you`ll have to be lucky and not hesitate if you see something, waiting even a day can be too late.
I have had amazing luck in the second hand shops like Hard Off and 2nd Street. I often haggle, though in my experience it is only the managers who have he authority to do that up here and sometimes shop staff feel really uncomfortable dealing with that. I`ve even bought old acoustics at antiques shops locally. Where I live, shops will not offer veery much on something someone wants to sell, better off keeping it and trying to sell it personally...I have been offered so little for some stuff I brought into shop that it was laughable so I haven`t even tried in years, I now sell on line here, much better option for me since I live in the country.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info about Ochanomizu, etc.

Perhaps there's no point taking guitars to sell, then. I have two guitars to sell, a '71 Les Paul 56 Reissue and a Max Burst replica. I was figuring that the exchange rate movements make Japanese guitars so expensive to buy but also make these look much cheaper over there. But if shops aren't likely to offer a decent price for them, then I'd best abandon that idea.

Must also get to see something (anything!) at the Budokan - it figured in so many of may favourite albums. Any other music-related places to go?
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sneakyjapan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I`m not in Tokyo, I`m just talking about what shops offer on guitars I brought to them....I can`t speak for the entire country, I don`t pretend to know everything about that...could be different in big cities though I`d be surprised if it were. I was offered 10% of the sale price...not manufacturer`s suggested retail price... on a Les Paul once, so I brought it back home.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now here, and just about got my bearings. Just had a chance to look around Shinjuku at the moment. Three guitar shops- Rock Inn (two of them) and another which I forgot to note.

Several new Tokais. All Freplicas had the alternative headstock, Greplicas were fewer. Only the plain top LS-160 to speak of.

I did see a Tokai-branded Michael Schenker Flying V Greplica. Super cheap and new, so I assume it was Chinese made?

(Coincidentally, I have also seen Gibson Flying Vs here with the MS paint scheme, plus some with '70s cosmetics such as block neck markers and bound fretboard - all over 300,000 yen.)
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luis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edited

Last edited by luis on Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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wulfman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nico Nico Guitars (http://www.niconico-guitars.com/) has a decent used Tokai LS-160 in stock, and has one of the best selections of Fender and Gibson guitars in Tokyo all nicely displayed.
http://www.niconico-guitars.com/stocklist2012/other/o12.11.15_2/tokaiLS160.html



They are walking distance from Shibuya station.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks w, will definitely stop by. Also will get to Guitar traders to ogle the vintage stuff.

Any particular Ishibashi store good for Tokai/vintage/used?
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wulfman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ishibashi's vary but are all in crowded areas so anything really cheap gets picked up quickly.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much old Tokai stuff to see so far. Shops are full of Grassroots brand, plus FGN/Fugigen.

Did see some interesting Tokai Stratalikes, including some at 248000 Yen! The sales guy spoke no English, so I could not find out what was so special about them. Anyone know about these?

Also saw that the Silver Star model is now being given to all sorts of Fender-style retro guitars.

wulfman wrote:
The Ishibashi's vary but are all in crowded areas so anything really cheap gets picked up quickly.


Hmm... And as if to make your point, today I was in the Ochanimizu Ishibashi and saw an old Yamaha SuperFlighter for 29800. And it was one of the set-neck models, but too busy to get close. Went back an hour later, and it was sold.
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sneakyjapan
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats why I said, don`t hesitate if you see something....I learned that lesson early on. Sometimes I go months without seeing anything up here so luck plays a huge role for me, right place right time kind of think...and I have been extremely lucky over the years. About 30 million people in the greater Tokyo/Yokohama area, they aren`t all guitar layers but enough of em are so competition is fierce. I own some FGN`s....old ones though, from early last decade made with the Timeless Timber....the ones I have are top notch, as good as anything else I see in local shops. Consider trying some, they are great players and not as sought after as the other brands that everybody is after nowadays.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Learning slowly!

As a side question - do guitar shops open on Sundays? I know this isn't a Christian country, so perhaps there's no reason why they would?
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sneakyjapan
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes open on Sundays....there are lots of churches in this city, I see gaijin Mormons on bicycles almost everyday....so theres just about everything here. Thinking of joining a cult?...lots of those around too.
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ampmaker
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joining a cult? Hmm... Is there one that worships through the consumption of Katsuo and mochi?

Meanwhile, today's outing to Shibuya and er... the station near Koreatown yielded some interesting guitars, but none that said 'buy me now'.

Couple of Aria-made BC Rich Mockingbird copies, but lacking the wood choice of the amazing Supreme version. A couple of Ibanez RocketRolls - too spendy for a guitar without the proper korina (indeed, completely the wrong woods!). Same shop did have an old US-made Hamer Vector in korina at the same price. Tempting...

Saw an M-59 model Tokai LS and the used LS-160 at 98000 yen, but those are fairly modern, and I have an LS-320 already. More taken by what looked like a mid-80s Goldstar TST50 which seemed OK value at about 30000 yen (IIRC). At least it had the correct headstock shape.

(Apologies if this is all too bloggy!)
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