Welcome to my site dedicated to vintage Japanese guitars and a few other interesting instruments. I have been buying, selling, and collecting for over 30 years, have had many guitars pass through over those years. In 2015 I decided to build a website with some of the ones I still have. I've been playing a long time, certainly not pro level but I enjoy playing out with family and friends and have played at some of Portland's most iconic music venues.
ABOUT VINTAGE GRECO GUITARS [my favorite MIJ]
they are very high quality, considered by collectors the best of MIJ guitars
were originally sold only in Japan so the production numbers are low compared to other MIJ such as Ibanez, which was-is sold world wide and actually built at the same factory as Greco for a time
Greco made more different versions of American guitars than any brand to this day. Tokai, Fernandes, etc. made some copies, but if you want a vintage MIJ version of a Danelectro, Gretsch, certain Rickenbackers, Gibsons, and Fenders your only option is a Greco
Greco has a history with Led Zeppelin and Fender that no other MIJ brand has, I have some historical information spread throughout this site
They are close enough to the guitars they copy that parts are mostly interchangeable, making them a perfect platform for a custom guitar, you will see several I have modified into one of a kind beauties
First up is a 1973 Greco FB900 non-reverse, an interesting copy because they did not non-reverse the headstock like the Gibson. These were one of the first attempts at making a MIJ version of an American guitar. They were only produced in 1973, not many made, are considered highly collectible.
Ibanez sold a rebranded version, also highly collectible.
1973 GRECO FB900
1973 Greco RD 650 set neck
Super Real FA 6120
A fantastic copy of the
1958 Gretsch 6120 shown below
BLACK was not an option in 1958. Apparently Chet Adkins was the only person to get a special made black guitar. The Greco is very beautifully black.
1988 Greco J600E
excellent copy of a
Gibson J160e as used by John Lennon
1980 GRECO Limited Edition GoldTop, precurser to the Super Real
1975 'Spacey Sounds' Telecaster with Bigsby
1958 Harmony H55 with Gibson P13 pickup factory installed
According to the serial number this Greco was made in November of 1981.
I have no idea what this is, I'm guessing it was a custom order or a prototype that never went into production? Based upon the interior routing it looks to be totally hand built.
Greco offered a "ORDER MADE ELECTRIC GUITARS" service begining in October of 1972 where you could order anything from a custom truss rod cover to a one off completely custom hand made guitar. The guitar above is likely one of those 'order made' guitars, the only other option is it could have been a prototype that they did not put into production. I have no idea...
Greco Order Made Guitar form below
Back to my guitar...The wood on the back is unlike any other guitar I have, absolutely high end and beautiful. The serial number is inlaid, similar to the 'ANNIVERSARY' on my Greco EG52-G. The tuners are not original, I can see traces of screw holes that were filled in. For more detailed pictures go the the Reverb listing HERE:
Since I have no idea what it looked like from the factory I decided to modify it with 'Greco' embossed pickups, a Bigsby, locking tuners, and pickguard.
This is the only example I have found that is clearly factory labeled 'ORDER MADE'.
After the 1972 Greco Order Made service came the 1976 Greco Project Series – the first custom shop building high end guitars, and long before there was a Fender or Gibson Custom Shop.
In late 1976 Greco announced the creation of a custom shop line of guitars that it called Project Series. This was a decade before there were Gibson (1986) or Fender (1987) Custom Shops.
More info on the Greco Project Series can be found here: https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/77-greco-se-1200-project-series-custom-shop.491809/
translated to English
1973 Greco - Canda
the craftmanship is absolutely amazing
Below: Jimmy Page with his 1960 Gibson Black Beauty
Right: 1980 Greco Black Beauty with Bigsby
1958-59 Fender Telecaster was a transitional year. 1958- early 1959 had the 5 screw 1 ply pickguards as shown on right picture below. 1959 was the year the Telecaster Custom came into production as shown on left picture below. For a brief time you could buy a 1959 Telecaster Custom with a 5 screw pickguard. Very rare to find one.
In 1982 Fender bought out Greco and all guitars were branded as Fender Squire MIJ. But for one year Greco build the beauty below, a copy of the1958-59 Custom with a 5 hole single ply pickguard. This is the 1981 Greco CT 600, a very rare guitar for sure.
I read that gold is always a good investment, so I bought gold.
I was in Seattle 4-9-2019 on business, took a slight diversion to Emerald City Guitars, a well known vintage dealer. They had a beautiful 1959 Gibson Les Paul Burst, slightly out of my price range, but then I spied a 1958 Fender Deluxe Tweed just like Neil Young uses and this one even had an extension cabinet. I tried it out, and about two hours later decided I wanted it, but I got a nagging feeling I should check on my car. I went outside and around the corner and my car was gone. Been towed. Three hours of my life I will never get back later I had my car just in time for a dinner meeting. Later that night I emailed the store and said "Hi this is Mick whose car got towed, I will buy that amp under these terms: The price we discussed plus I want a picture of me holding that 1959 Gibson Les Paul Burst plugged into that amp, text me back and I'll come by and seal the deal". I did not hear back, decided to stop by the store anyway. When I started talking to the sales gal the owner walked up and asked if I was the guy who sent that email, apparently it made him laugh, he agreed to my terms and I got a picture holding a different '59 Les Paul $347,500 guitar! That amp was built in June 1958, I was born June 7, 1958. My forever amp. Made up for my car getting towed...
So the picture is a genuine 1958 Mick holding a genuine 1959 Gibson Les Paul Burst plugged into a genuine 1958 Fender Deluxe Tweed with custom extension cabinet that I just bought! This was definately the coolest experience at a guitarshop that I have ever had!
Video of that1959 Les Paul!
1973 Greco N55
copy of a Gibson ES-175
with embossed pickups
1990 EG57 'Mint Collection'
Solid Gold Guitar
LYRE VIBROLA TAIL
To your left is the Gibson Lyre tailpiece as found on Firebirds and SG guitars.
To your right is the Greco version. Typical of Greco the attention to detail is fantastic.
1988 Greco WFA 140 'White Falcon'
There are two unique models of the
Greco White Falcon:
WF140 and WFA140.
1977 GRECO MD 900
I don't yet have one of these, but I wanted to share this interesting bit of history. It explains why the Greco version headstock looks like a Les Paul / Melody Maker style headstock.
Taken from Reverb, full article is HERE
"In the late 1960s, a funky guitar believed to be at least part of a Moderne surfaced at a shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Noted luthier and shop owner Dan Erlewine bought a guitar that had a Moderne body, a replaced Melody Maker neck, and a crude black refinished paint job. This was in the earliest days of vintage guitar collecting knowledge, and Erlewine claims that he thought it was just an Explorer at the time.
The seller told Erlewine that he got the guitar from his father who had the Melody Maker neck installed at the factory in Kalamazoo. After doing some work on the odd guitar to make it sellable, Erlewine sold it to Ann Arbor Music in downtown Ann Arbor.
Doug Green, now known as “Ranger Doug” from the group Riders In The Sky, was a University of Michigan graduate who moved to Nashville and became one of George Gruhn’s early employees. While back home in Michigan, Green spotted a guitar in the window of Ann Arbor Music store that he thought resembled the collectible Flying V and Explorer guitars. Green bought the guitar and brought it back to George Gruhn, who immediately chastised Green for buying such an obvious fake. The guitar was sold to a Japanese businessman and remains on display (not for sale) today at one of the guitar stores in Tokyo’s famed Ochinomizu guitar store district."
Picture left is the guitar in the Japanese guitar shop, it really exists! Did Greco use this guitar for their pattern? Sure looks like they did! This would literally be the only example to copy, and it was right in Japan on display.
Eddie Money's lead guitar player [white shirt]
is playing a
Greco MD 900
1978 Greco EG 600 Custom 'Ace Frehley' model
1975 Greco TV500 Les Paul DC
Gibson copies with single coil pickups. These seem to be hard to find guitars, I have not seen more than a couple for sale ever. It would be nice to know actual production numbers, but that info is lost...
1980 Greco JG700 'Super Real' Jaguar
1980 Greco JM700 'Super Real' Jazzmaster
both of these guitars were in production only about 6 months and then stopped because Fender had bought Greco out. Very low production numbers.
more historical info on how Greco became Fender Squier MIJ in the early 1980's
1988 Greco RJ-85
Copy of a Gretsch Duo Jet
from the 1981 Greco catalog
the EG52-G and EG54-G guitars are likely the most rare of any models listed in their official catalogs.
notice that neither has a purchase price listed.
One day while I was searching for Greco gold tops on google the image below popped up. It was an expired ebay listing from 2015. I had never heard of this model, but it was too late anyway. The listing had ended and I assumed it was purchased by a collector and would never be seen again.
It seemed to be an opportunity lost forever...
About a year later I came across that ebay listing again and opened up the 'description' box and this is what I found [see image below]. I started to think maybe the seller read this and decided to keep this guitar. I contacted the seller, and sure enough, he still had it! He sent some pictures and of course I had to ask...
I asked if it was for sale and he said yes, we brokered a price, he put it on ebay,
I hit the 'buy it now' button, it is now in it's new home with it's fellow Greco
guitars where it will be loving played as it was meant to be. I'm not sure what actual collector value it has, it is a one off and it was in the Greco catalog,
so it should have more value than a custom order guitar that is not shown in
the catalog. Doesn't matter anyway, I'm not an investor, I'm a guitar player.
If anyone has info on this guitar please email to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1981 GRECO EG52-G
LIKELY THE ONLY ONE IN EXISTENCE
P-90 pickups sound fantastic. Plays like every other Greco I own, top notch quality.
Not a name but an acromym for Tokyo Electric Instrument and Sound Company
1966 TEISCO Del Ray ET 312
1973 TEISCO Del Ray G 300