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K Serial Orville origins
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orvilleowner
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It certainly is hard to debunk something once it gets accepted as truth on the internet. There are few definitive statements of fact about ObG guitars. The Bacon & Day Les Paul Book (from the early 90's) says that they (ObG and O) were made in Japan; with ObG being the higher end models (Gibson USA pickups, etc.). No mention of Korea.

You'll still find web sites that say that the letter in the serial numbers of ObG guitars means the month of production. That seemed to be widely accepted as truth. It's easy to understand why: because the Grecos that came before them were that way.

I started researching ObG in late 1997/early 1998. I was mostly interested in the higher end ObG models, but I read that stickers were used on O models for the first few years.

Then a few years later, I read on the internet that in the latter years, some were produced in Korea (to meet market demands, I guess, but no real proof given). Then I read that the MIK versions were just made in 1996. Then that "fact" became all stickered O models (with the "K" serial numbers) were MIK.

It was interesting watching this "fact" develop.

There are auctions of stickered O guitars by their original owners who will tell you when they bought them and that, as far as they know, they are MIJ guitars.
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

n/a

Last edited by japanstrat on Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:23 am; edited 5 times in total
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at this Orville by Gibson with a sticker.

http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=8512


Also comparing the prices of the 1992 K Orvilles and the 1997 (non K FujiGen) Orvilles the 1992 K Orville Les Paul Junior LPJ-70 was sold at 70,000 Yen and the 1997 ink stamped (non K Fujigen) Orville Les Paul Junior LPJ-65 was sold at 65,000 yen.
So the K Orville Les Paul Junior was actually sold at a higher price than the ink stamped (non K Fujigen) Les Paul Junior.


Last edited by japanstrat on Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:38 am; edited 3 times in total
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Custom Headstocks

Terada OBG 1991 G1XXXXX



http://img361.imageshack.us/img361/8688/g91is5.jpg


Terada K Orville 1991 K01XXXX



http://img361.imageshack.us/img361/9679/k91lg3.jpg



http://img361.imageshack.us/img361/6758/k1backgp0.jpg



http://img361.imageshack.us/img361/7786/k1frontff9.jpg

FujiGen Orville 1998 8XXXXX



http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/8622/fujigencustomtenon3pl7.jpg



http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/1466/fujigencustomtenon2cu8.jpg

Terada OBG



http://img77.imageshack.us/img77/3092/teradaobgzw3.jpg

FujiGen OBG



http://img77.imageshack.us/img77/7687/fujigenobgkw3.jpg



K Orville thread at Japanaxe

http://forum.japanaxe.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=710

Recently a Orville by Gibson has turned up that had a sticker (that was probably a K sticker) and had no ink stamped serial number
http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=8512
and this points to Yamano putting the K stickers on the Orvilles and some Orville by Gibsons.
Looks like for any guitar they received from Terada that had no serial number Yamano would put a K sticker on mainly for warranty reasons.
Terada must have missed putting ink stamped serials on some Orville by Gibsons so Yamano put a serial number sticker (that was probably a K sticker) on them.
It seems like Terada didn't bother putting a serial number on the K Orvilles so Yamano put a serial number sticker on them for warranty reasons.
The K doesn't stand for Kanda Shokai (although it was a good theory) and it doesn't stand for Korea the K is something Yamano came up with and what it stands for is anybody's guess athough Yamano's wholesale section is at Kuramae.
I emailed a former Kanda Shokai employee who worked for Kanda Shokai (and now runs o2factory guitars) in the early 1990's (same time as the K Orvilles) and he said Kanda Shokai was not involved with the OBG's or Orvilles and a 1990 K Orville with a Yamano warranty has turned up on Yahoo Japan Auctions http://page2.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/b80953869 which means that the K Orvilles are definitely from Yamano and not Kanda Shokai.

Hopefully this is the end of this thread and even though there are wrong theories in the thread about Kanda Shokai it resulted in finding out what likely happened with the K Orvilles.

At the Terada Gretsch factory tour I've come across a photos of Terada logos and decals for the guitars they make and there is a Orville by Gibson box which is the 2nd box on the top row.

http://www.gretschguitars.com/terada/images/IMG_4051.jpg

The photos date from 10/27/03 so looks like Terada used the same Orville by Gibson decal box for the Orville by Gibsons, Orvilles and Epiphone Japan.

http://www.gretschguitars.com/terada/


Here is the whole complicated Orville history.

There were no Korean companies involved with any of the Orvilles, there were only 2 companies involved and they were the same companies who made the Epiphone Japan guitars and they are Terada and FujiGen guitar factories.
Yamano is the orderer/distributor of the OBG's and Orvilles and Epiphone Japan and Yamano also run a chain of retail shops in Japan.
There are different serial number prefixes used on the OBG's and Orvilles.
There is a G which is on all OBG models up until 1992/1993 and then from 1992/1993 to 1995 the G is mostly on OBG Semi Acoustics, then there is a J serial number prefix from 1995 to 1998 mostly used on Orville Semi Acoustics, and then there are solid body Orvilles and OBG's with a serial number with no prefix (no G or J) from 1992/1993 to 1998.
The G serial number prefix and the J serial number prefix Orvilles can be traced back using the ES-335 model from the T serial number prefix used on the Epiphone Japan ES-335's to the J serial number prefix used on the Epiphone Japan ES-335's to the J serial number prefix used on the Orville ES-335's to the G serial number prefix used on the Orville by Gibson ES-335's.
All these T,J and G prefixes are Terada ES-335 Semi Acoustics.
All the OBG and Orville ES-335 Semi Acoustics have a G (OBG) or a J (Orville) serial number prefix.
Terada was using a G for the OBG Semi Acoustics and then they changed to a J for the Orville Semi Acoustics when the OBG Semi Acoustics were ended in 1995.
There are no OBG or Orville Semi Acoustics that have no serial number prefix (no G or J).
Therefore any OBG or Orville with a G is a Terada made guitar.
In 1988 when the OBG's started, FujiGen was at the height of their Fender Japan and Ibanez bolt on neck production and FujiGen was quite happy doing bolt on neck contracts and not set neck Gibson style contracts because set neck construction is more time consuming so Yamano gave the contract to Terada.
By 1992/1993 a lot of the FujiGen Fender and Ibanez contracts had gone to Korea etc so FujiGen was ready to take on new contracts like the Orville contract.
A Fender Japan employee talking about FujiGen factory expansion in 1992/1993 has said that FujiGen was trying to get the Orville contract around 1992/1993 and an Ibanez employee has said that FujiGen didn't get back into set neck Gibson style neck production until around 1991/1992 and also that he saw the Orvilles at Terada and FujiGen around 1993 (and not at other factories Ibanez used like Iida etc) and also on a Japanese forum someone has said Terada had the OBG contract because FujiGen was not making many set neck Gibson style guitars in the late 1980's.
So all 3 of the above agree with each other and point to Terada and not FujiGen for the 1988-1992/1993 OBG solid body models and all the OBG's from 1988-1992/1993 have a G so G = Terada and the backtracing of the ES-335 models from T to J to G just reaffirms it.
The K Orvilles end in 1993 and the Orvilles with serial numbers take over in 1993 with no serial prefix letter (no G or J) and this lines up directly with FujiGen taking over most of the solid body Orvilles and OBG's production from Terada and it also lines up with what the Fender and Ibanez employees have said, so no serial number prefix = FujiGen (any ink stamped serial number with no G or J is FujiGen).
The K Orvilles come from a time when Terada was making all the OBG models 1989-1993 so it would be logical to assume the K Orvilles were made by Terada.
The K Orvilles end exactly when FujiGen start making the solid body OBG's and Orvilles with serials in 1992/1993.
FujiGen took over most of the OBG and Orville solid body making in 1992/1993 from Terada leaving Terada to mostly make the Semi Acoustics which is the way it continued up to and including the Epiphone Japan models from 1998 to 2007.
Also the G Terada custom Les Pauls have headstocks with wide split diamond inlay spacing.
The no prefix FujiGen custom Les Pauls have headstocks with closer split diamond inlay spacing.
Also the G Terada custom Les Pauls have headstocks that have a pronounced open book curve.
The no prefix FujiGen custom Les Pauls have headstocks that have a less pronounced open book curve.
The K custom Les Paul headstocks are the same as the G Terada custom Les Paul headstocks and are not the same as the no prefix FujiGen custom Les Paul headstocks.
At the Terada Gretsch factory tour there are photos of Terada logos and decals for the guitars they make and there is a Orville by Gibson box which is the 2nd box on the top row.
The photos date from 10/27/03 so looks like Terada used the same Orville by Gibson decal box for the Orville by Gibsons G, Orvilles K and J and Epiphone Japan J and T.
By the 10/27/03 Terada were using a T on the Epiphone Japan models.

http://www.gretschguitars.com/terada/images/IMG_4051.jpg

http://www.gretschguitars.com/terada/

The Gretsch decal in this photo is applied in the same way as the Orville by Gibson or Orville or Epiphone Japan decals were.

From Mike Lewis from Gretsch who visits the Terada Factory

The headstock logos, steerheads, and such are not decals. They are mother-of-pearl, about 0.1mm thick, applied with a poly type glue.

http://forum-archive.gretschpages.com/viewtopic.php?id=12102&p=2

So the Terada G Orville by Gibson Les Paul Customs and the Terada K Orville Les Paul Customs have the same mother of pearl split diamond positioning and spacing and they must both be coming from the same Terada decal technique and the no letter serial numbered FujiGen OBG's and Orvilles have different split diamond positioning and spacing to the Terada G J and K OBG's and Orvilles.
Also the G OBG's and K Orvilles mix up the tenons sometimes and the FujiGen no prefix OBG's and Orvilles have mostly (always) a long tenon.
Some Terada OBG's have a medium tenon and some Terada K Orvilles have a long tenon.
What Terada might have been doing is if a K Orville with a medium tenon turned out better than expected then it was promoted to be a OBG and if a OBG with a long tenon turned out worse than expected then it was demoted to be a K Orville.
So the K Orvilles are from Terada and Terada didn't stamp them and Yamano put the sticker on for warranty purposes and the K does not mean Korea it is something Yamano came up with.
Also a OBG has been found using a sticker just like a K Orville and it looks like what has happened is that Terada or FujiGen missed putting the ink stamped serial on, so Yamano put a sticker on the unstamped OBG for the warranty.
Yamano seems to have wanted to put there own serial number date code on the K Orvilles for some reason.

The Orville by Gibson's were released in 1988 and the Orvilles were released in 1989.
Why were the Orvilles released a year later in 1989 and not in 1988 with the Orville by Gibson's.
Maybe what happened is that Yamano did start the ordering of the Orville by Gibsons and Orville Les Pauls and SG's together in 1987/1988 but did not want the Orville Les Pauls and SG's dated with a serial number stamp because Yamano was not certain when it would release the Orville Les Pauls and SG's maybe because they were waiting to see how the Orville by Gibsons sold or maybe because they were waiting for a bigger distribution deal around Japan.
So maybe the Orville Les Pauls and SG's were premade and Yamano would release them when they wanted to with their own dated sticker for the warranty and did not want Terada to put a date stamp on them .
When they did decide to release the Orville Les Pauls and SG's a year later they released them with the Orville EB-3 bass which was ink stamp dated by Terada.
The Orville EB-3 bass would not have been premade in 1988 like the Orville Les Pauls and SG's and so would not have the Yamano date sticker.
Terada and Yamano kept to this system from 1989-1993 and it ended when FujiGen took over most of the Orville production in 1993.
Something like this must have happened because Yamano could have easily had the Orville Les Pauls and SG's dated with a serial number stamp if they wanted to.
They would just tell Terada to stamp them and Terada would do it.
So it seems the K Orville Les Pauls and SG's probably were made from 1988 just like the Orville by Gibsons but not released until 1989.

From 1989-1991 there were some 65,000 Yen K Orville Les Paul models and some of these have 3 piece tops and also there were some 60,000 Yen K Orville SG's and 65,000 Yen K Orville Melody Makers.
After 1991 the above models were discontinued and the K Orville Les Paul models are 75000 Yen and the K Orville SG's are 65,000 Yen.
From 1993 when FujiGen takes over the Les Paul and SG production with ink stamped serial numbers some models were added so there were Orville Les Paul models at 75,000 Yen and 80,000 Yen (flametop) and 85,000 Yen and the SG's stayed the same as the K Orville SG's at 65,000 Yen.
Interestingly the K Orville Les Paul Junior was 70,000 Yen and the ink stamped serial Orville Les Paul Junior was sold at a lower price of 65,000 Yen.
As you can see in the above post the K Orvilles have Made in Japan pots and bridges and tuners and probably Japanese Gotoh pickups so the only way any part of the K Orvilles can be Korean is the cnc machine carving of the body and necks might have been done in Korea (maybe, maybe not) because the K Orvilles are definitely assembled and finished in Japan.
Also Korean parts could have been used in the low end Orville by Gibsons as well.
Also the ink stamped Orvilles could have been made this way as well with neck and body parts from Korea because the K Orvilles and the ink stamped Orvilles were sold for a similar price so if Terada was using Korea for body and neck parts for the K Orvilles then FujiGen would have been doing the same for the ink stamped Orvilles.
Maybe Korean made bodies and necks were used and maybe not, even if they were used they would have been made under Terada or FujiGen Japanese control and not left up to Korean companies like Samick or Cort or Peerless to make them because the Orville contracts were with Japanese guitar making companies and not Korean guitar making companies.
The wood used in the K Orvilles is African Mahogany the same as the other Orvilles and OBG's, I know this because my K Orville SG is not made from Alder or Basswood or some other wood, the neck and body are made from Mahogany and as you can see from the above K Orville prices they were basically priced the same as the ink stamped Orvilles and are way above the prices in Yen for say the Korean Epiphones selling in Japan at that time.

Terada K Orvilles (Yamano serial sticker 1989-1993) K 09XXXX = 1989, K 00XXXX = 1990, K 01XXXX = 1991, K 02XXXX = 1992, K 03XXXX = 1993.
The ink stamped Orvilles.
Terada serial (G 1988-1995, J 1995-1998) G88XXXX = 1988, G103XXX = March 1991, J603XXX = March 1996, G3 XXXX = 1993,
AG203XXX = March 1992 and A stands for Acoustic.
FujiGen serial (1992/1993-1998) 403xxx = March 1994, 4 XXXX = 1994.[img][/img][img][/img][img][/img][img][/img][img][/img][img][/img]


Last edited by japanstrat on Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:34 am; edited 12 times in total
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sneakyjapan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah welll.....it was fun while it lasted eh.
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Mickdal
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, who from Orville Headquarters stated that K stickered Orvilles are made in Korea? Or that K = Korea?



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20 century boy
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe http://www.guitarsjapan.com/ this site is full of mystakes but many sites copy informations from it. It was one of the first with guitargai, maybe he never cared about updating?
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Mickdal
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks mate,

Yeah, I have seen quite a few sites and ebay listings that claim the K series are Korean made.

Then, what evidence is there to say that they were MIK from the manufacturer?

I would be greatly disappointed if someone just assumed K = Korea, and that they have made the biggest "faux pas"

The evidence presented in this thread is very very good, and when put up against, well the statement of, K, you know K, it means Korean, you know, of course those Orvilles with a K serial sticker, are made in Korea

What The?

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leadguitar_323
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi fellas, ok Japan strat, what then is your opinion of the Terada OBG G stamped customs, and the overall quality of the Terada made LP guitars..??.......Mick
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Terada factory looks like an old barn that someone decided to use to make guitars in and is pretty untidy and the FujiGen factory looks more modern and higher tech.
You can see this from the Terada and FujiGen factory tours on the web.
Terada in the 70's and 80's were mainly Acoustic and Semi Acoustic makers and FujiGen were making solid bodies for Ibanez and Greco in the 70's and 80's so they had a lot of Gibson like design experience by the time of the OBG's but Terada also could make solid bodies.
The guitar factories had there own specialties to get contracts.
FujiGen gave up making Acoustics around 1980 because they were competing with Terada and Iida and others for Acoustic contracts so FujiGen just concentrated mostly on solid body stuff for Greco and Ibanez and Fender Japan and made the occasional Semi Acoustic.
Terada and Iida and Kasuga concentrated on Acoustics but also made some solid bodies.
I think in general there is not much difference between Terada and FujiGen.
Sometimes Terada might use unmatched pieces of wood for their lower models and some of the Terada made Ibanez Semi Acoustics from the late 80's are like this but Terada's high end stuff is pretty good.
There are some differences but they are pretty minor like some of the Terada G serial Wine Red OBG's have a 3 piece top whereas the FujiGen ones always seem to have a 2 piece top and FujiGen made all those veneered flametop Orvilles LPS-80F 80,000 Yen (which I personally don't like that much) and Terada didn't and it also depended on price as well.
The lowest priced Orville LP's were the 65,000 Yen Terada made K Orvilles from around 1990 and some of these might be a bit rough but as you go up in price Terada can equal any of the other Japanese factories (like FujiGen) for quality.
There is another difference as well.
Terada was making some OBG's with medium and long tenons and FujiGen made them all with long tenons.
I'm not sure if Terada was deciding on using medium or long tenons on the OBG's based on price but it looks like they were, but it seems to vary.
The LP custom headstock inlays and decals are positioned by hand which you can see on the Terada factory tour and Terada gets a more Gibson like look than FujiGen does and the Terada LP custom headstock shape is more Gibson like than the FujiGen ones.
This is a giveaway on who made the K Orvilles because the LP custom headstock inlay positions vary from factory to factory as there can be a lot of position variations as it's done by hand and the K Orville LP custom inlays are the same as the Terada G serial LP custom inlays.
The LP custom headstock inlays have more parts to them and therefore more variation then the LP standard for instance.
It's impossible that someone at a Korean factory (or even another Japanese factory) can consistently hand position the LP custom headstock inlays exactly the same as Terada for the 3-4 years of the K Orvilles and there are LP custom headstock shape variations as well and the K Orvilles are exactly the same shape as the Terada G OBG's and both are different to FujiGens headstock shape.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your help Japanstrat, much appreciated...... ....Mick
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Long and Winding Road of the Orville by Gibsons.

Yamano = Orville by Gibson and Orville, Japanese Orderer and Distributor under license from Gibson USA.
Terada and FujiGen = Japanese guitar factories.
Iida (Ida Gakki) = Japanese guitar factory who also own Peerless in Korea.
OBG = Orville by Gibson.
sn = serial number.
Kanda Shokai = Greco and Fender Japan, Japanese Orderer and Distributor.
Hoshino = Ibanez Orderer and Distributor.
Samick = Korean guitar factory.

Email from Jim Donahue to me (including Jims spelling mistakes which he does a lot on the Ibanezcollectors posts).
Jim Donahue worked for Ibanez in the 1980's and 1990's and visited the Japanese guitar factories that Ibanez was using.
I asked him about whether he saw any OBG's or Orvilles at Terada, FujiGen, Iida or Tokai and this is what he said.

"I remember seeing the Orville by Gibson at the Fuji Factory also at Terrada. I asked Fuji what these were and they told me that the Japanese Distributor was sellinged these made in Japan as a sort of Epiphone model for Japan. They could not use Epiphone at that time and they wanted to make a Gibson bot they were not allowed to use the Real Gibson Name. So they came up with the Orville name.

I have never visited to Tokai so I have no idea on that, they were making many at Fuji back then thiswas around 1993 or so."
Jim

He did not see any Orvilles at any of the Korean factories that he regularly visited (Samick, Cort, Peerless, Saehan/Sunghan etc) in 1991 http://www.stribble.com/showarticle.php?ID=49 he only saw them at Terada and FujiGen around 1993.
The K Orvilles were being made in 1991 so if they were being made by a Korean factory he would have seen them.

The K Orvilles have catalogue and serial number years from 1989-1993.
He would have visited FujiGen frequently as Ibanez still had their high end guitars made there and he didn't see Orvilles at FujiGen until around 1993 because the Orvilles were not made by FujiGen until mid/late 1992 and from 1988 to mid/late 1992 they were being made at Terada only and he wouldn't have visited Terada much because Terada only made guitars for Ibanez for a short time starting in 1986/1987 and then the production was moved to Korea.

In mid/late 1992 FujiGen joined in with Terada with the OBG making (and in 1993 the Orville making) with FujiGen taking over most of the solidbody making which is why the G letter starts disappearing from the OBG solidbodies from mid/late 1992-1995 and why the G letter is still used on the OBG Semi Acoustics from mid/late1992-1995 because Terada gave up most of the solid body making to FujiGen in mid/late1992 but kept on making the Semi Acoustics which all still had a G letter from mid/late1992-1995.

This is verified by what Jim Donahue said "they were making many at Fuji back then thiswas around 1993 or so" as most of the OBG's and Orvilles in 1993 were FujiGen no letter ones and Terada were only making a small number of OBG's in 1993 which were mostly Semi Acoustics with a G letter.
All the OBG's from 1988 to mid/late1992 have a Terada G letter.
When 2 or more guitar factories are making the same brand of guitar some sort of factory ID code has to be used for quality control, warranties and returns.

Hoshino did this with Ibanez, for instance Jim Donahue says that Terada and Iida were making models for Ibanez so Terada used a H letter (probably for Hoshino) and Iida used a I letter.
For the OBG's from 1988 to 1995 there are only 2 codes used which are a G letter code and a no letter code and each code ID's the guitar factory with G = Terada and no letter = FujiGen.

The 2 codes means that there were only 2 guitar factories making the OBG's and Orvilles, Terada and FujiGen.
J = Terada is used for the Orvilles after the OBG's end in 1995 up to 1998 and FujiGen keeps using no letter for the Orvilles from 1995-1998.
In 1988 FujiGen obviously wasn't interested in the OBG Yamano contract and why would they be.

FujiGen were much busier than Terada, Iida or any other guitar factory.
In 1988 FujiGen had the Ibanez contract, the Fender Japan contract, the Greco contract etc so the OBG contract wouldn't excite them much.
Jim Donahue has said that in 1987 Hoshino could not get FujiGen who made most of the Ibanez guitars in the 1980's to make the Ibanez set neck models in the numbers that Hoshino needed because FujiGen was too busy with Ibanez, Fender Japan, Greco etc bolt on neck production so Hoshino had to use Terada and Iida to produce the Ibanez set neck models.

"Here's some Fujigen trivia: Nick (Nick Sugimoto worked at FujiGen at the time) and some other Fujigen luthiers were responsible for getting the president of Fujigen to rescind the decision to get completely out of making setneck guitars. (You'll notice that most Ibanez setneck guitars from the late 80s are Iida and Terrada made.)"

http://www.ibanezcollectors.com/discus/messages/12/21327.html?1177550983

Fujigen didn't get back to full set neck production until after the opening of the FujiGen Hirooka Factory in November 1991 http://www.fujigen.co.jp/history/ which is why the early 1988-1992 Orville by Gibsons and K Orvilles were made by Terada and why Kanda Shokai had the no serial Grecos made to fill the lower end production Greco gap left by FujiGen opting out.

So Yamano starting off the OBG's in 1988 would not have had much of a chance to have FujiGen make them.
Have a look at FujiGen in 1987 a year before the OBG contracts start.
http://www.daeschler.com/articles/fujigen/

So in 1988 Terada was available to build all the G letter OBG and (K) Orville models and that's how it stayed until mid/late1992.
By mid/late1992 FujiGen had lost a lot of it's Fender Squier contracts to Korea and had lost a lot of it's Ibanez contracts to Korea and Kanda Shokai was looking elsewhere to other guitar factories to make some of the lower end Grecos so by mid/late1992 FujiGen were a lot less busy than they were in 1988 and they made themselves available for the Yamano OBG and Orville contract.

So around mid/late1992 FujiGen start making OBG's and Orvilles in 1993 with no letter and the Terada K Orvilles end and the Terada G letter is not on most of the OBG and Orville solidbodies anymore because FujiGen was making most of the solidbodies with no letter.
When the OBG's end in 1995 Terada changes it's letter from G to J but basically everything stays the same with FujiGen making most of the Orville solidbodies from 1995 to 1998 with no letter and Terada making most of the Orville Semi Acoustics with a J letter (instead of a G) from 1995 to 1998
This is also how it was for Epiphone Japan models as well.

The Terada G letter probably stands for Gibson and the Terada J letter probably stands for Japan.
The K letter is completely different from the G and J and does not stand for Korea.
The K letter has a completely different serial number format to the G and J letters.
The K letter is from Yamano and not from Terada even though Terada made the K Orvilles (just look at the Terada G letter OBG and Terada K letter Orville custom headstocks, they are both the same and both are different to the FujiGen no letter custom headstocks).

At first glance you could say G = Gibson J = Japan and K = Korea but it doesn't work that way.
The G and J serials have the same format but the K format doesn't so they can't be directly compared.
The K = Korea and the J =Japan can't be linked because they come from different years with the J letter coming from 1995-1998 and the K letter coming from 1989/1990 to 1993.
There was made up info that the K Orvilles were from 1996 probably because the person who made it up was trying to pair off the K = Korea against the J = Japan and had to put the K Orvilles past 1995 (when the J letter starts being used) to do so.

This info turned out to be made up by someone and was false.
The likely reason that the K Orvilles had no ink stamped serial is because they were actually made in 1988 with the first OBG's but not released till nearly 2 years later in 1989/1990.
The first LP and SG K Orville models in 1989/1990 correspond with the first LP and SG OBG models that come from nearly 2 years earlier in 1988 indicating that the first K Orvilles were actually made at the same time as the first OBG's in 1988.
Yamano probably didn't want the K Orvilles dated with a serial number because they were not sure when they were going to release them.

The K sticker is from Yamano for warranty dating purposes.
The OBG that was found that had a sticker the same size as a K sticker backs this up because the sticker on the OBG would not be a guitar factory sticker because the guitar factory would have put a ink stamped serial on the OBG, so the guitar factory missed putting a ink stamped serial on the OBG and so Yamano must have put the sticker on.
The 65,000 Yen K Orville Les Paul Custom is in the Orville by Gibson catalogue volume 3 from 1989/1990 and the K Orville Melody Maker (there were no OBG or ink stamped Melody Makers) is on the cover of the Orville by Gibson 1990 catalogue.

There were theories about the K meaning Kanda Shokai but these are wrong as I emailed a former Kanda Shokai employee who worked for Kanda Shokai (and now runs o2factory guitars) in the early 1990's (same time as the K Orvilles) and he said Kanda Shokai was not involved with the OBG's or Orvilles and a 1990 K Orville with a Yamano warranty has turned up on Yahoo Japan Auctions http://page2.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/b80953869 which means that the K Orvilles are definitely from Yamano and not Kanda Shokai.

K can stand for a lot of Japanese words and it most likely stands for Kuramae which is Yamano's wholesale division.
Some people will bring up the K Orville quality issue.
All the Orvilles (K and ink stamped) were made from African Mahogany and not Alder or Agathis like some Korean guitars were.
The Terada K Orville Les Pauls started selling in 1989/1990 at 65,000 Yen and the K Orville SG's sold for 60,000 Yen.
By 1990/1991 the Terada K Orville Les Pauls rose in price to 75,000 Yen and the K Orville SG's rose in price to 65,000 Yen.

When the FujiGen ink stamped Orvilles start in 1993 and the K Orvilles end the Les Paul and SG prices are kept the same with 75,000 Yen for ink stamped Orville Les Pauls and 65,000 Yen for ink stamped Orville SG's.
The ink stamped Orville Les Paul models were added to by a 80,000 Yen flametop model and a 85,000 Yen ebony fingerboard model and that's how it stayed with a few variations until the Orvilles ended in 1998.
There would be a difference in quality of a 65,000 Yen K Orville Les Paul compared to a 75,000 or 85,000 Yen ink stamped Orville Les Paul and the quality is based on price.

There is hardly any difference in quality between a 75,000 Yen Terada K Orville Les Paul and a 75,000 Yen FujiGen ink stamped Orville Les Paul or a 65,000 Yen Terada K Orville SG and a 65,000 Yen FujiGen ink stamped Orville SG.

How the OBG and Orville serial numbers tie in with the above info.

Every OBG has a Terada G letter sn from 1988 to mid/late 1992.
The first OBG models are Les Paul Customs and Standards and SG's and ES-335's.
The Terada K Orvilles get released in late 1989/ early 1990 but were really made at the same time as the 1988 OBG's.
The first K Orville models are Les Paul Customs and Standards and SG's which are the same as the 1988 OBG models with the exception of the OBG ES-335.
The OBG ES-335 was not going have a corresponding K Orville model at this time as the K Orvilles are just cheaper versions of the best selling models LP's and SG's.
It wasn't till after the OBG's ended in 1995 that the ES-335 model became an Orville model.

So the K Orville LP's and SG's had a delayed release probably because Yamano wanted to see how the OBG's went before launching the Orvilles.
When the K Orvilles do get released in late 1989/ early 1990 the OBG range had been expanded to include other models like Explorers etc and the K Orvilles get released with a Yamano sticker for the warranty dating.
Yamano were unsure of a release year for the K Orvilles so they did not want them made with a G letter ink stamped year dated serial number.

When Yamano does decide to release the K Orvilles in late 1989/ early 1990 they release them with a EB-3 bass model that has a G letter ink stamped serial number.
The reason that the EB-3 bass model has a G letter ink stamped serial number and the K Orvilles don't is because the EB-3 bass model was not delayed and were made just before Yamano decided to release the Orvilles in late 1989/ early 1990 whereas the K Orvilles had actually been made nearly 2 years before in 1988.
Yamano decided just before the release of the delayed K Orvilles to also include a EB-3 bass model in the Orville range and so the EB-3 bass model doesn't have a K sticker like the other K Orville Les Pauls and SG's do.

So the delayed K Orvilles and the EB-3 bass model get released for sale at the same time but were actually made in different years.
As I said before every OBG has a Terada G sn letter from 1988 to mid/late 1992 and from mid/late 1992 the first no letter sn OBG's start appearing and in 1993 the K Orvilles stop appearing and are replaced with no letter sn Orvilles.
The appearance of the no letter serial numbers coincides exactly with the time that FujiGen joined in with Terada.
From 1988 to mid/late 1992 every OBG or K Orville or Orville bass was from Terada.

From mid/late 1992 FujiGen takes over most of the solid body OBG and from 1993 the Orville making and Terada assumes it's more traditional role making mostly Semi Acoustics.
From mid/late 1992 to the end of the OBG's in 1995 the Semi Acoustics still have the Terada G sn letter whereas most of the solid body models from mid/late 1992 to the end of the OBG's in 1995 have the FujiGen no letter sn.
These serial number variations coincide exactly with the info above about when FujiGen actually started producing OBG and Orville guitars for Yamano.
When the OBG's end in 1995 the Orville range had some of the previous OBG models added to it such as the ES-335's, Explorers etc.
Basically after the OBG's end in 1995 the serial numbers stay the same until the end of the Orvilles in 1998.

The only difference is that Terada uses a J letter for the 1995-1998 Orvilles instead of the G letter they were using for the OBG's.
There are no OBG's with a J letter.
The G letter stands for Gibson and when the OBG's end so does the "by Gibson" logo and the use of Gibson pickups and so Terada thought that a using a J letter (J stands for Japan) for the Orvilles would be better than keep using a G letter which was connected with the OBG's.

So just as it was with the OBG's and Orvilles from mid/late 1992 to 1995, Terada makes mainly the Orville Semi Acoustic models with a J letter sn from 1995-1998 and FujiGen keeps on making most of the Orville solid body models using a no letter sn from 1995 to 1998.

Terada can make any type of guitar but they usually specialize in Semi Acoustics and Acoustics.
All the Orville by Gibson Semi Acoustics and Acoustics have a G or J letter serial number code.

Terada Factory Tour image showing that Terada had the Orville by Gibson contract starting in 1988 and that Terada used the G letter code as Terada would have made the Orville by Gibson Semi Acoustics and all of them have a G letter code and Terada also used the J letter code as all the Orville Semi Acoustics have a J letter code and it also shows that Terada had the Orville by Gibson contract in the years that the K Orvilles were made as the K Orvilles were made in the same years as when all the Orville by Gibsons (and not just mainly the Semi Acoustics) have a Terada G letter code from 1988 to mid/late 1992/1993 (before the FujiGen no letter code starts appearing in mid/late 1992/1993).

The image also shows that Terada had the Yamano contract spanning the Orville by Gibsons, the Orvilles and the Epiphone Japan's as the image was taken in 2003 (long after the Orvilles ended in 1998) and Terada are still using the Orville by Gibson decal box for the 2003 Epiphone Japan models.

http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/4223/teradaobgwl1.jpg

http://www.gretschguitars.com/terada/images/IMG_4051.jpg

http://www.gretschguitars.com/terada/


Orvilles and other factories and the K sticker

Sometimes Iida is said to have made some of the Orvilles but by the G and J letter Terada serial numbers and the no letter FujiGen serial numbers Iida can be rejected as having anything to do with the Orville by Gibsons.
For the K Orvilles Iida sometimes comes up as the maker of the K Orvilles with Iida's Korean Peerless factory providing the parts but this theory has problems.
If Iida is making the K Orvilles why are the Terada Orville by Gibson LP custom headstocks the same as the K Orville LP custom headstocks but both are different to the FujiGen custom LP headstocks.

The way the OBG and Orville headstocks are done is they use a thin maple headstock veneer and paint it black and then they glue the black headstock veneer to the headstock and then apply and position by hand the Orville logos, split diamonds etc which are mother-of-pearl, about 0.1mm thick, and applied with a poly type glue (info from Mike Lewis from Gretsch and the Terada tour).
The script logos like the "Les Paul Model" are decals (not mother of pearl) and are positioned by hand.

The Terada made Gretsch headstocks are done this way as well and are shown in the Terada Gretsch factory tour.
In the Terada picture http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/4223/teradaobgwl1.jpg the Orville by Gibson box holds the mother of pearl Orville logos and the Gretsch box holds the mother of pearl Gretsch logos and the Gretsch guitar in the image has a red painted headstock veneer and the Gretsch mother of pearl logos are being applied as described above.

The chances of another guitar factory making the K Orville custom headstocks look exactly like the Terada Orville by Gibson headstocks for 3 1/2 years are just about non existant.

The 70s Gibson headstock veneers are done in a similar way to the above.
Modern Gibsons use a different headstock veneer technique which is shown in the Gibson factory tour where they use a pre made black fibre (cardboard like) based headstock veneer with the Gibson logos embedded (pressed) into the veneer and the script logos like "Les Paul Model" are decals whose edges are covered by the final finish.
On the faded series where the final finishing is not that thick you can see the "Les Paul Model" decal edges.
They then glue the veneer to the headstock and apply the final finish.

The Gibson reissues are done with a Holly (wood that's a bit like Maple) veneer and the Gibson and split diamond logos are fitted into the Holly veneer after logo spaces are carved out of the Holly using a cnc router (or originally by hand) and then the whole veneer is painted black and then the black paint is scraped off the logos and the script logos like "Les Paul Model" for standards are then applied using silk screening techniques and are not decals.
They then glue the veneer to the headstock and apply the final finish.

Gibson has also sometimes used no headstock veneers mainly for some Acoustic guitars that don't have headstock inlays.

The Terada and FujiGen OBG split diamond headstock inlay positioning is noticeably different so how could Iida or Peerless consistently position the K Orville LP custom split diamond headstock inlays exactly the same as the Terada Orville by Gibson LP custom split diamond headstock inlays for the 3 years that the K Orvilles existed from 1989/1990-1993.
This reason alone is enough to reject Iida or Peerless as having anything to do with making the K Orvilles.

Jim Donahue from Ibanez who visited Terada, FujiGen, Iida and Peerless in connection with Ibanez in the late 1980's/early 1990's never saw the Orvilles at Iida or Peerless when I asked him, and he only saw Orvilles and OBG's at Terada and FujiGen.
Then there are the years the K Orvilles were sold (1989/1990-1993) which mostly correspond to when only Terada alone had the Orville by Gibson contract between 1988 and mid/late 1992.
Why Iida is raised in connection with the K Orvilles is that it makes explaining the K sticker easy but as I've written above the K sticker is from the distributing company Yamano and not from a guitar factory like Terada or Iida.

The K Orvilles are leaving the guitar factory with no serial number at all.
The reasons for the K Orvilles leaving the guitar factory with no serial number at all is that Yamano did not want them dated as the K Orvilles were really made starting in 1988 and not released until nearly 2 years later and once you start this routine you can't just begin to use serial numbers at some point because every guitar made is out of step by nearly 2 years so if Yamano told Terada in 1991 to use a G ink stamped serial number on the K Orvilles then because of the K Orvilles nearly 2 years delay a G 1991 serial number could be on a K Orville sold in 1993 due to the backed up Terada K Orville stocks having to be sold first before the G 1991 ink stamped serial number Orville could be sold.

FujiGen starts making the Orville by Gibson solid body models in mid/late 1992 and FujiGen don't start making the Orville solid body models until sometime in 1993.
So FujiGens no letter ink stamped serial numbers appear first on the OBG's in mid/late 1992 and then they appear later on the Orvilles sometime in 1993.
What happened is that Terada stopped making the K Orvilles around mid/late 1992 as Yamano had arranged that FujiGen takeover most of the OBG and Orville solidbody making sometime in mid/late 1992 and Yamano had a supply of K Orvilles in their warehouses so Yamano didn't need to start Orville production up again using FujiGen until sometime in 1993 because of the backed up K Orville warehouse stocks having to be sold first.

When FujiGen start making the Orvilles in 1993 they are made with a no letter ink stamped serial number.
FujiGen starts making Orville by Gibson models for Yamano in mid/late 1992 but doesn't start making Orvilles for Yamano until sometime in 1993 because of the backed up Terada K Orville stocks.
There is a clear delay between the first FujiGen OBG and Orville serial numbers with FujiGen starting to make OBG's in mid/late 1992 and FujiGen not starting to make Orvilles until sometime in 1993.

In simple terms Yamano always had a large amount of Terada K Orvilles in their warehouses at anytime between 1988 and 1992 because beginning in 1988 the K Orvilles were stored in Yamano's warehouses for a future release date which just happened to be 1989/1990 but could have been any year Yamano chose.
In 1992 Yamano contracts FujiGen to takeover most of the solid body models from Terada, and FujiGen begin by making OBG solid bodies in mid/late 1992 and don't start making Orvilles until sometime in 1993 because of waiting for the Yamano backed up warehouse supply of K Orvilles to run out.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Serial Number Formats.

Y = Year
MM = Month
XXX or XXXX = production number

-------------------------------------------------------------

K Orville Serial Numbers.

Terada Orville K Yamano serial sticker (1989/1990-1993)

K 0YXXXX = YXXXX format.

K 097674 = 9 7674 = 1989 K 007674 = 0 7674 = 1990 K 017674 = 1 7674 = 1991 K 027674 = 2 7674 = 1992 K 037674 = 3 7674 = 1993

------------------------------------------------------------

Orville Serial Numbers.

YYXXXX format.

Terada Orville EB-3 Bass G letter code (1988/1989) G893819 = 1989

YMMXXX format.

Terada Orville EB-3 Bass G letter code (1989/1990-1993) G103819 = March 1991

FujiGen Orville EB-3 Bass no letter code ink stamped serial (1993-1998) 403819 = March 1994

FujiGen Orville no letter code ink stamped serial (1993-1998) 403819 = March 1994

Terada Orville J letter code (1995-1998) J603819 = March 1996

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Orville by Gibson Serial Numbers

YYXXXX format.

Terada Orville by Gibson G letter code (1988/1989) G883819 = 1988

YMMXXX format.

Terada Orville by Gibson G letter code (1989/1990-1995) G103819 = March 1991

FujiGen Orville by Gibson no letter code (mid/late 1992/1993-1995) 303819 = March 1993

Terada Acoustic AG letter code (1991-1993) AG203687 = March 1992

Terada Acoustic G letter code (1991-1993) G203687 = March 1992

YXXXX format.

Terada Orville by Gibson reissue G letter code (late 1992/1993-1995) G3 3819 = 1993

FujiGen Orville by Gibson reissue no letter code (late 1992/1993-1995) 3 3819 = 1993

------------------------------------------------------------------

G letter code = made by Terada
J letter code = made by Terada
K letter code = Yamano sticker and made by Terada
No letter code = made by FujiGen

A few things to note about the above serial numbers.
The Terada G letter code Orville by Gibsons start in 1988.
The Terada J letter code starts in 1995 after the Terada G letter code Orville by Gibsons end.
The Terada K Orville serial numbers end in 1993 and the FujiGen no letter code ink stamped Orvilles start in 1993.
The FujiGen no letter code ink stamped Orville by Gibsons start in mid/late 1992/1993.


Last edited by japanstrat on Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:37 am; edited 9 times in total
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some notes on why the K Orvilles are not Korean.

1. Jim Donahue from Ibanez did not see any Orvilles at any of the Korean factories that he regularly visited (Samick, Cort, Peerless, Saehan/Sunghan etc) in 1991 http://www.stribble.com/showarticle.php?ID=49 he only saw them at Terada and FujiGen around 1993.
The K Orvilles were being made in 1991 so if they were being made by a Korean factory he would have seen them.
The K Orvilles have catalogue and serial number years from 1989-1993.
He visited the Japanese factories less because at that time Hoshino (Ibanez) was mostly having their guitars made in Korea and the only main Japanese factory he would have visited was FujiGen who still made some high end Ibanez models at the time and FujiGen didn't start making the Orville by Gibsons and Orvilles until late 1992/early 1993.
Terada was making semi acoustic guitars for Ibanez starting around 1986/1987 but it didn't last long as Hoshino (Ibanez) moved most of it's guitar making to Korean factories and so he would not have visited Terada a lot.
So when Jim Donahue says he saw the Orvilles at FujiGen and Terada around 1993 and that he saw most of the Orvilles at FujiGen it makes a lot of sense.
Terada made all the Orville by Gibson's and the K Orvilles between 1988-1992 by themselves (no FujiGen) and Jim Donahue didn't visit Terada during this time.
He would have visited FujiGen during this time because Hoshino was still using FujiGen to make high end Ibanez models but there were no Orvilles there because FujiGen was not involved in the Orville making during this time.
From the serial numbers FujiGen was making the majority of the Orville by Gibson and Orvilles in 1993 just as Jim Donahue described when he said he saw the majority of the Orvilles at FujiGen and smaller numbers of Orvilles at Terada around 1993.

2. The K Orville custom LP headstocks match the Terada G serial numbered Orville by Gibson custom LP headstocks.

3. The K stickered Orvilles were made in the years (1989/1990-1992/1993) that Terada was making all the Orville by Gibson models (Solid Bodies, Semi Acoustics and Acoustics).

4. The K stickered Orvilles have no Korean build features like the Cort made no serial Grecos do.

5. The K stickered Orvilles don't have scarf joint headstocks (separate headstocks glued onto the neck) and don't have Korean pots and sometimes the LPs have a 3 piece top which is a Japanese low end feature and not a Korean feature and their custom LP headstocks match Terada's Orville by Gibson custom LP headstocks.
The Cort made no serial Grecos from around the same years as the K stickered Orvilles do have scarf joint headstocks and do have Korean (sometimes COR-TEK) pots and the LPs do have 2 piece tops and their custom LP headstocks do not match the FujiGen made Greco custom LP headstocks.

6. In the late 80s/early 90s the Korean guitar factories sourced pots from Korean electronic manufacturers as there were quite a few Korean electronic manufacturers but the bridges and tuners were sourced mostly from Japanese companies like Gotoh etc as there would have been hardly any (if any) Korean bridge and tuner manufacturers.
As the pots are a non visual feature of a low end guitar it makes sense to source the pots locally so this gives an indication of where the guitar is really from.
So the late 80s Korean Grecos made by Cort have Korean pots and have Japanese tuners and bridges.
The chances of any Korean Greco made by Cort having "Made in Japan" stamped on the pots are really slim.
A lot of the K Orvilles have "Made in Japan" stamped on the pots indicating that they were not from a Korean guitar factory.
http://forum.japanaxe.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=710&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=15

Very likely guitar and pot origins
A 1980s/1990s Korean made guitar with Korean pots.
A 1990s Korean made guitar with Chinese pots
A 1990s Japanese made guitar with Korean or Chinese pots
A Chinese made guitar with Korean or Chinese pots

Not very likely guitar and pot origins
A 1980s/1990s Korean made guitar with Japanese pots
A 1980s Japanese made guitar with Korean pots
A Chinese made guitar with Japanese pots

The only reason the K Orville guitars have been placed in the Korean basket is because uninformed Japanese and overseas guitar sellers who never visited the factories in the years when the K Orvilles were made (unlike Jim Donahue) placed them there because they have a sticker.
This K sticker is the sellers only reason for their made in Korea theories.
As the no serial Grecos show it's just not that simple.
The K sticker was a result of how Yamano were distributing the (K) Orville models.
Some of the no serial Grecos are made by Cort in Korea but some of the no serial Grecos are also Japanese with some even having fret edge binding (a non Korean feature).
There is nothing wrong with a guitar made in Korea.
Cort was making pretty good LPs in the late 80s which is why some Grecos were made there and I'm sure some Cort made no serial Grecos sound better than some of the K Orvilles but a guitar is made where it's made and the K Orvilles happened to be made in Japan.
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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a Terada made G serial Orville by Gibson with a heel cap and a Terada made K Orville with a heel cap.

Orville by Gibson Heel Cap







K Orville Heel Cap





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japanstrat
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terada Orville by Gibson and K Orville pickup cavity writing from the same period, 1992.

1992 OBG "CS" Cherry Sunburst





1992 K Orville "WR" Wine Red









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