The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-26-2004, 02:06 PM
lindakoy lindakoy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 21
Default Anyone heard of a Kasuga?

I know someone who bought one at a garage sale 10 years ago. She took it to a music store and showed it to the guitar tech and he begged her to let him go to garage sales with her..lol. He said it was Martin quality, but she hasn't been able to find a thing out about this brand anywhere.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-26-2004, 07:23 PM
jim_n_virginia jim_n_virginia is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 746
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindakoy
I know someone who bought one at a garage sale 10 years ago. She took it to a music store and showed it to the guitar tech and he begged her to let him go to garage sales with her..lol. He said it was Martin quality, but she hasn't been able to find a thing out about this brand anywhere.

This is quoted from Vintage Guitars and Guitar Blue Book.

Kasuga produced guitars of both original designs and designs based on classic American models. While the quality is medium to good it is generally the "reproduction" models that are found in the music stores. One reader wrote in to report that his Tele-style model plays "pretty good, and has a good feeling neck."

In May of ’72, a portentous advertisement appeared in The Music Trades. In an ad stretching across the top of a two-page spread, drawn cartoon-fashion with a jet soaring from Japan to the United States, the headline read, “Kasuga Guitars Come To America.” Kasuga was a guitarmaker established in Nagoya, Japan, in the late ’60s. In ’67, Tommy Moore, the successful musical instrument merchandiser from Ft. Worth, Texas, and one of the founders of Hondo, visited Japan in order to strike up a guitarmaking deal. With only a voucher of credit in his pocket and no contacts, Moore hooked up with a Mr. Kaku, who steered him to Tokai Gakki. Tokai had become very successful in Japan making and marketing the Pianaca, a keyboard harmonica used in Japanese schools. On December 15, 1970, Moore and Tokai Gakki entered a joint venture called Tokai USA Inc., and Tokai began making private label and OEM guitars.

Tokai quickly found it couldn’t keep up with demand, so it found a factory that could meet its quality standards: Kasuga. Another joint venture was established between Tokai USA and Kasuga called Kasuga International. Marketing offices were established in Singapore, Zurich, and Frankfurt. In ’72, these guitars began to come into America.

In December, ’72, an ad touted the Kasuga line, copies of the most popular Gibson, Fender, and Martin acoustic and electric solidbody designs. Presumably these included Telecasters. These were sold under the Kasuga name (briefly; a notice of Kasuga acoustics appeared in Guitar Player in September, ’72) and carrying the monikers of various importers, as in the ’60s.
__________________
--jim in virginia --

2002 Taylor 810e
1996 Flatiron Festival F
1906 Friedman Bros. fiddle
Yamaha AW16G
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-26-2004, 11:07 PM
lindakoy lindakoy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 21
Talking

Thanks so much Jim. I almost didn't expect to get any reply, much less such a detailed one. I'm sure my friend will be very happy to get some info on her guitar.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-27-2004, 05:39 PM
Thin Crust's Avatar
Thin Crust Thin Crust is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mesquite, NV
Posts: 3,307
Send a message via Yahoo to Thin Crust
Default

Wow Jim...great history lesson.
__________________
John

Petros, Paragon, Bashkin, Claxton, and Bourgeois
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-29-2004, 08:40 AM
fnesnor's Avatar
fnesnor fnesnor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Muskegon, MI
Posts: 1,258
Default

Never heard of 'em.
__________________
Ron
2006 Custom OM 28
2010 Martin MMV
2014 Gibson L-00
Certified Fretting Technician
Guitar Builder
Galloup School of Luthiery 2006
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-19-2008, 05:41 PM
the-plasterer the-plasterer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2
Talking I found a Kasuga in the trash

While riding past a house where an old man had died, I saw several items placed out at the street for the trash. Two guitar cases were there. I was curious, so checked it out. In one was a Kasuga guitar that was in pretty good shape, so I brought it home. It has the number F200 and date 1968 inside on the label. That is older than anything I have found on the internet since I have been looking. What is the story of Kasuga before 1970? This is a nice guitar with a good sound, nice feel to the neck. I am looking forward to getting new strings on it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-19-2008, 06:37 PM
Buck62 Buck62 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago, Il
Posts: 1,747
Default

Here's something that article won't tell you...

Kasuga was one of a small handful of Japanese guitar manufacturers that built guitars in it's own facility (Kasuga Gakki).

Almost all the other brands of Japanese guitars from the now famous "copy era" were manufactured in one of three factories... Hoshino (Hoshino Gakki), Matsumoku or FujiGen (FujiGen Gakki). Matsumoku was originally a sewing machine factory that made copies of Singer sewing machines. When the copy era took off, approximately half of the factory was converted to a guitar making facility and they did so until the entire factory burned down in 1987.

I'm kind of a semi-expert on Japanese guitars from the copy era and I've owned many of them over the past 33 years.
__________________
'Common-sewer' of unrefined guitars.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-19-2008, 06:58 PM
benplaut benplaut is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
Posts: 248
Default

Not to thread jack (please let me know?), but does anyone know anything about "Mei Mei" acoustics? I've got a 10YO Mei Mei classical on loan from a friend that despite being the cheapest of cheap in finish and wood (no grain in the back!), sounds absolutely fantastic. Crisp and loud, with a great deep & dark quality to the tone.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-19-2008, 07:33 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 20,576
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fnesnor View Post
Never heard of 'em.
That's not surprising - they never got marketed as Kasugas over here in North America, so far as I know. If they did it was only briefly.

Where you will have seen Kasuga instruments, for certain, is if you owned or played any Made-In-Japan Kentucky mandolins, particularly the less expensive ones. All of those less expensive models, and I believe their Gold Star banjos from that era, were made by Kasuga.

I saw a lot of Kasuga instruments when I played some bluegrass festivals and clubs in Japan in 1985. The really serious Japanese players were playing Martin guitars and Gibson mandolins and banjos, but the average band members and parking lot pickers had Kasugas.


Wade Hampton Miller
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-19-2008, 09:09 PM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Western New York
Posts: 6,094
Default

Kasuga's were of a so so quality guitar of the mid seventies - that were really not that popular .I bought one for my brother-( a classical) it looked great but never had a great tone. i sopose maybe just this one was mediocre .Im really not complaining , i dont think we paid 75-80 bucks for it new with a case back then .
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-19-2008, 11:35 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 20,576
Default

Tony, I know that among the Kasugas I saw in Japan and the Kasuga-made Kentucky mandolins from that period there were definitely different quality levels. Some were all plywood, some were solid topped with laminate backs and sides, and I know they made some all-solid mandolins. I presume the same is true of their guitar line, but don't know for certain.

Even the all-solid wood Kasuga mandolins that I'm aware of, though, were pressed into the arched shape, not carved. So they weren't top quality.

Anyway, it's likely that the ones that you saw in your area were from the lower end of Kasuga's quality levels. I heard and played a couple of good-sounding ones when I was at the Takarazuka Bluegrass Festival.


Wade Hampton Miller
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-20-2008, 07:01 AM
andrewrg andrewrg is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Exeter,UK
Posts: 1,025
Default

I played a few Kasuga acoustics when I lived in London during the 60's/70's. As I recall they were somewhere in the food chain between Eko and Harmony.
__________________
'Somewhere there's music
How near, how far
Somewhere there's heaven
That's where you are...'

Martin D-28
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:25 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 20,576
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewrg View Post
I played a few Kasuga acoustics when I lived in London during the 60's/70's. As I recall they were somewhere in the food chain between Eko and Harmony.
It may well have been that their better quality models stayed in Japan and were sold only to the domestic market.

I'm not making any great claims for those that I played in Japan, except that they were pretty good intermediate grade instruments. But that still sounds better than what some of you have described.


whm
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:37 AM
mcphersonnut mcphersonnut is offline
There is none like you.
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Southern California.
Posts: 2,194
Send a message via AIM to mcphersonnut Send a message via Yahoo to mcphersonnut
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thin Crust View Post
Wow Jim...great history lesson.

Yes ..............
__________________
Thank you for your grace
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-29-2008, 08:38 PM
the-plasterer the-plasterer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2
Wink Kasuga guitar

Thanks for all the info on Kasuga guys, I was surprised to read it all. The one I have may have been one of those mid-range quality sold in Japan. It sounds pretty nice. I bought a new set of Martin light strings and put on it yesterday. It isn't as good as the old Martin I learned to play on 34 years ago, but considering I found the thing, I won't complain. I think the old guy that had this one was a Viet Nam vet, so maybe he actually brought it back from Japan. At any rate, I gave it to my son for Christmas. He is quite happy with it. So all is well that ends well.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=