Fender has honored each of the three member of the Hellecasters band with a signature stratocaster Fender. Jerry Donahue is a Telecaster player, so he “telifyed’ his MIJ signature strat by requesting a metal plate under the bridge pickup. Overall this rarebird (450 made) is considered very well crafted guitar and simply sounds fantastic.
Made in Japan as part of the G series, the G-40V uniqueness comes from its triple coil pickup. Push buttons allow to switch each coil on or off. If you’re interested in hearing how it sounds, one of these rare birds is currently for sale on ebay.
Before Casio came into play, Roland had no real competiton in the Midi guitar market. A total of five models were made by the japanese brand, all at the famous Fuji-Gen factory were Fender and Ibanez models were also produced.
The Casio PG-380 established Casio’s superiority over Roland. Like all the other Casio models, the PG-380 is a superstrat stuffed with loads of electronics; so many in fact the designers had to give up the contoured ‘beer gut’ typical to the stratocaster body. Hear some bits
Designed by Dan Smith to compete against the Jackson models of that era, its pretty safe to say the Fender Katana is one of the Fender guitar ever made. That’s probably what people thought at the time since it was pulled off from catalogs a year after its introduction.
Looks aside, its a high quality model made in Japan. Set neck, Tbx tone control, it has a surprisingly snappy sound despite the dual coils. A much more common squier version with the same name exist. Scott Grove’s Youtube review
Yamaha came up with a new line of guitar called Silent Guitars in the early 2000s. Basically electro-acoustics with a headphone jack, the SLG are available with nylon strings (SLG-100N) or steel strings (SLG-100S). Yamaha also included a set of FX controls: Two reverbs, a chorus and a delay. The Silent Guitar has been designed with travelling guitarists in mind, as the frame can be dismantled easily. Hear it
Originally designed by John Page in 1983, the Fender Performer was supposed to be Fender’s entry point to a competitive metal market, dominated at the time by brands like Jackson or BC Rich. The headstock is somewhat reminiscent of the one of a Fender Swinger and has probably the worst looking Fender logo decal ever produced. The body looks vaguely like a Parker Fly with pointed horns. What’s quite unique to the performer is a pair of slanted humbuckers that are surprisingly versatile. A mini-switch allows to choose between single-coil or humbucker mode. Hear Scott Grove make them purrr!
As the stories goes, this model would have been made with leftover scraps from strats. Not a problem for the Fuji-gen factory who manages to pull out a great sounding guitar in 1985. Sadly, the performer never conquered any crowd and faded out of the catalogs a year after its release.
Made in the early seventies, this amazing Guyatone has an integrated drum machine with five preset drum rhythms that come out straight to the amp! Yours to choose between Slow Rock, Fox Trot, Twist, Bossa Nova and Rock ‘N’ Roll. These are probably cheesy and outdated, but got to try, just for the hell of it…
Apparently from the Vamper series, here is another 60s japanese cheapo with crazy looks and active electronics. The style is obviously borrowed from Mosrites, with a slight touch of Darth Vader… And according to Tym from Tymsguitar, “the neck is AWESOME”.
With their chunky neck and high action, Teisco Japanese guitars from the late 50s might not be qualifying as the not most playable guitars. Yet, their killer looks is enough of a reason for anyone to make room in their collection. This rare GT-70 stands out by featuring a set neck,and, according to Retrofret, “More playable than many would expect”.
Teisco did attempt to break into a more serious market. If you had to have only one guitar from the japanese brand, I should certainly be this highly collectible, innovative, legendary 60s Teisco Spectrum V.