Monday, November 3, 2008

Den outing (no 1) - Tokyo

So - I was in Japan for a couple of weeks with Charlotte and Kay in October, in Tokyo and Kyoto, with trips to Nagano, Hiroshima and Osaka (with our most excellent JR rail passes). I laughed, I cried, I got very tired - this holiday had everything. Whilst I didn't have guitars and pedals on my mind for most of the time, as there was just too much other stuff competing for my attention every time I opened my eyes, I did entertain the possibility of getting a guitar in Japan - I didn't really really want one, as I'd only just got the LP Jr this summer, but it seemed silly not to look at what was available, and take advantage if possible.
I did some research in advance, wanting to find older used guitars rather than shiny new ones or high end vintage guitars, so originally planned to avoid the big Ochanomizu guitar strip in favour of smaller shops elsewhere, but after wasting one afternoon looking for pawn shops in the suburbs I didn't have much time left, so I decided to go look there anyway, as it was close to where we were staying. It was quite dizzying, see hundreds of guitars everywhere. So many strats, teles and les pauls and copies, and not much else... I was hoping to see ESP, Burny and other Japanese makes, but these were few and far between, and a lot of the stock was aimed at beginners. I didn't go in any of the major vintage Gibson places as I'm not fussed with that stuff. It was interesting to see the prices of the lower end stuff - reasonable looking tele copies for about £55, but any name makes (even Epiphone) were not any cheaper and sometimes more expensive than UK /web prices. I went into about 10 shops, some 3 or 4 floors, but only one had anything really tempting - these Danelectro DC-59s, in a place called something like Big Boss Guitar Freak Emporium: I liked them, but not sure how much. They looked brand new, so I guess they are NOS (new old stock) from the 1998-2003 Korean period, as the new Chinese ones are quite different (and quite horrible). At about £200, it was good deal but not a bargain. I took the photo and looked at it a few times over the next week, and worked out I'd have time to return on the last day and get one if I wanted, and fit it in my luggage if I took the neck off. These guitars are allegedly in the "getting hard to find" bracket if you believe dealers, but really, they are still easily found in a range of colours. I'll get a Danelectro sometime, and probably a 90s one, but this just wasn't my time.