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Vintage MIJ guitars are fantastic instruments. There are literally hundreds of brands produced at various factories, some still building guitars to this day. There is a lot of historical information online, virtually none of it from the actual people who were involved with these factories and brands as they are all long gone. There are no official records produced by those people either, not even model production numbers. There are many vintage MIJ FB groups, all have a few self proclaimed "experts", but they have to rely on the same unsubstantiated information that you can find yourself. Many of the "facts" conflict with other "facts" and there is really no way to prove which is more correct as there are no official records to set the matter straight. Here is an example: Below is a page from a 1974 Ibanez catalog featuring pictures of guitars with unbranded headstocks. 


So the logical question arises: Are these unbranded guitars Ibanez? If so, are all unbranded vintage MIJ guitars Ibanez? If not, why are unbranded guitars pictured in the official Ibanez catalog? No one has ever given me a clear answer with supporting documents, just opinions and guesses that many people have accepted because they come from the FB "experts". If you ask ten FB "experts" you'll get ten different opinions, and I say opinions because the only people that have the absolute facts are the ones who designed and approved this catalog, and they are long gone. Everyone other than those people are just guessing, just like they do with other historical information. 

This website is no different, I have information taken from the internet that seems to be reasonably correct, but I don't guarantee the accuracy because literally no one can. As for FB "experts", I had an experience where one called my Greco listed on Reverb a "Tiesco body with a Greco neck". Even after he realized his claim was stupid he did not back down, this from a person that thinks he has a Face Book Greco PhD. 

I mostly collect Greco, I have an extensive collection including the only EG52-G Les Paul that Greco made, and as far as I can tell no other 1952 LP copies were made by any other brand either, just the one Greco, which was made for a catalog shoot and the catalog describes it as not a production guitar you could buy.

I still have most of the guitars featured on the site. I play in a few bands, I'm an amateur player but have a good time and I use a different Greco every time, which is what they were made for. I also modify some of them, parts are usually interchangeable with aftermarket suppliers, the metric non-USA parts seem to fit best. 


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

Greco is not a "Lawsuit" guitar. The brand that was threatened with a lawsuit was Ibanez, but it did not go beyond the threat

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 


1988 Greco

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.

6120 01.JPG
6120 02.JPG
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...
order made 01.JPG

Greco Order Made Guitar form below

This is the only example I have found that is clearly factory labeled 'ORDER MADE'.
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.


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.

- Taken from  Read the entire article at Guitars of Japan by clicking the above link

More info on the Greco Project Series can be found here:

images (2).jpg

translated to English

1977 Greco EG 1200 Project Series

1973 Greco - Canda
202 Hummingbird

the early acoustics were branded CANDA
1975 Greco 
202 Hummingbird
This guitar is a huge step up from the 1973
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.
 same model with a maple neck 
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

1977 EG 450 with metal serial number plate

a few other examples of this metal serial number system

greco metal serial 2.JPG
greco metal serial number_edited.jpg

1970's Hohner Telecaster Short Scale Bass

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.
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1988 Greco WFA 140 'White Falcon'


There are two unique models of the

Greco White Falcon:

WF140 and WFA140.


The history of the Greco Gretsch copies seems to be heavily tied to the 1980's history of Gretsch. 


There is some slightly conflicting information about the dates, but the following is a pretty close narrative of the events leading to the MIJ Gretsch and the Greco copies.


After selling Gretsch to Baldwin the brand was quickly ran into the ground for various reasons, and they ceased all production around 1981. The Gretsch family bought the brand back around 1985, and looks like their first guitar was a cheap 3/4 size "Traveling Wilbury's" tribute made in Korea. They then looked to Japan to start production on their previous high quality models.


In 1988, Japan’s Fuji-Gen factory began building the first MIJ Gretsch guitars, and since the 1990s the Terada factory in Japan has been building the pro-line Gretsch guitars. But the Fuji-Gen factory is where Gretsch and Greco meet.

When Gretsch  started their first run of guitars in 1988 Greco also did a short run of various Gretsch copies, also built in the same Fuji-Gen factory, which I assume were strictly for the Japanese Domestic Market like their other guitars. At this time they had stopped building Fender copies [1981] but were still making Gibson copies and other brands as well.

What this says is that the earliest MIJ Gretsch were made in the same factory as the Greco Gretsch guitars, likely side by side as they did earlier with Greco and Ibanez. If you know the history of the early Ibanez brand they were the exact guitar as Greco [sold only in Japan] but branded Ibanez [sold world wide and why Gibson brought the threat of lawsuit], sometimes with slight cosmetic differences but essentially the same quality build.

So I have to conclude it is the exact same guitar build quality as the Gretsch branded version and would play just like a Fuji-Gen built Gretsch of the same year.

Looks like the Greco branded guitars were a one year only run, likely only for the Japanese market, meaning the production numbers were low, and why you don’t see a lot of them come up for sale and why they are collectable.

I have three Gretsch copies, my favorite is the black 6120 Chet Atkins model. They all are typical Fuji-Gen super high quality, that’s why Fender and Gretsch used this factory to build their guitars and we all know the MIJ Fenders are considered very high quality instruments.

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."

gibson modern in japan.jpg
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
1 bobber.jpg

1978 Greco EG 600 Custom 'Ace Frehley' model

Greco's version
Gibson's version

Greco 1989 VB-65

bass amp is a 2019 Music Man 115-B made and sold in Italy, which I had factory rewired and shipped to the US

In 1989 you could also buy a
Greco VB-165,  a beautiful German made Hofner bass branded as a Greco.

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
squier japan.JPG
1988 Greco RJ-85
Copy of a Gretsch Duo Jet

from the 1982 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:

1981 GRECO EG52-G


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

1974 Fernandes FTE-62 YS
Telecaster Custom
Based upon the late early 1960's Fender Custom Telecaster
This is a very heavy guitar, not like my other telecasters
very high quality and attention to detail

a few greco les paul headstocks

in the early 1970's you could custom order personalized truss rod covers. These are unique to each guitar and are not real common. Notice the script is the same.
truss rod cover.JPG

Michael Sweet playing a Greco Les Paul Custom

sweet greco.JPG


SD-65 S

with factory installed




just over 370 Gibsons were produced making it one of the most rare of Gibson guitars. No idea how many of these Greco copies were made. Nice demonstration video I found on YouTube showing all the tonal options. 

2008 fender aerodyne MIJ


1975 fernandes burny custom


1975 Greco TD 500

On stage at the White Eagle Saloon

in Portland Oregon

1973-74 EG 420 B
Last of the bolt on neck Les Paul style, came with beautiful 'Gneco' embossed pickups that sound fantastic. I actually removed the pickups and put them into an early 1970's Gneco strat to make a custom HH strat, which you will see later.
1979 Greco EG500CR
Factory Greco tremolo mounting plate and Greco tremolo 
Looks like Greco built mounting plates way before Vibramate!
This plate attaches the tremolo piece without any permanent modifications to the guitar, just like the Vibramate plate. It even has a 'Greco' logo stamped on it. 

1982 Greco Firebird

Above is as purchased, right is after modifications. Looks like this guitar was build by Tokai, I say this because there is no serial number on the guitar. 
Greco used Tokai to increase production. Still MIJ.

First time playing it at practice. I was surprised at how comfortable it is to play. It is much thinner than a Les Paul and less heavy. It also has easier access to the top frets.

1989 Greco EGS56-65 Mint Collection

1988 Greco EGR54-60 Mint Collection 

At band practice playing Hash Pipe by Weezer.
Sound is slightly off track, don't know what happened.
I like Weezer. It rhymes with Geezer. As in Old Geezer playing Weezer.


1979 'Super Sounds' Strat. Based on the Fender1971 model, which introduced the 3 screw neck plate and bullet truss rod that could be adjusted without removing the neck. This Greco version is very rare.
Looks like a warranty card? Comes with a tool to adjust the truss rod and a tool to adjust the neck without shimming, a micro adjustment.
BELOW: 1977 'Early Sixties' Strat. Based on the 'L' series model made 1962-65. I plugged this in and immediately was surprised by the tone, sounds just like SRV, the only strat I've ever had that really captured that tone. It is very heavy, maybe that's why? SRV played an 'L' series strat. These are also on the rare side, very low production numbers. 

Randy Bachman playing a Greco GR 505

this guitar was in pretty bad shape, electronics were DOA, but it had the kind of feel that only comes with a well played instrument, no fake factory 'relic'ing' on this one. It is just what I look for in a guitar that I modify for playing.
Seymour Duncan pups, Jimmy Page style wiring, looking Kluson tuners, new bridge and tailstop- all new except the wood. Did a light fret file, sanded smooth the rough edges on the body, installed Schaller strap-locks. Turned a Greco Super Real into a Greco Super Real Nice Player. And I have less than $1,000 total into this beauty!

GRECO is a brand of guitar that started production  around 1960, they were made in Japan at the FujiGen and Matsumoku factories. The first attempt at making a copy of the American brands was an oddly shaped telecaster guitar, the KF-190.

These came out in 1967, then came a copy of a Hofner Beatle Bass, then a copy of a Gibson Les Paul, although it had a bolt on neck.  By the early 1970's Greco got serious and the telecaster, stratocaster, and Les Paul copies were really good quality instruments. It wasn't long before they were as good as the real thing, but most people would not know this because Greco was sold only in Japan- they were

not exported at all. This meant they were less concerned with copy right issues, and because of the small market, the production numbers are fairly low. This has made Greco the vintage Japanese guitar of choice for collectors. Greco made copies of more guitars  than any other brand, all very high quality. The factory that

made Greco also made Ibanez, which was widely distributed around the world.

Greco guitars are now readily available, sold by Japanese shops on ebay, Reverb, and other sites. Having owned Gibson and Fenders, I can say the Greco versions are at least as good if not better, and they are certain to become harder to find at the current reasonable prices as they get bought up by collectors. 

1995 Tokai ULC-95 wine red Les Paul gold hardware

1978 Greco EG 700 tobacco burst Les Paul
Left: 1987 Greco EGC Mint Collection with 2 piece maple  flame top.
Right: 1978 Greco EGC 700 with 3 piece maple flame top.
Drums in background are a 1970's Ludwig Vistalite kit.

1970's TV commercial

early 1970's Greco HH Strat
on stage at the Analog Cafe Music Theater
This is not a factory built guitar. One of my first Grecos was an EG420 Les Paul style, the bolt on neck Les Pauls, and it had these beautiful sounding embossed pickups, but the guitar was not that great. I also had this old stratocaster that had a fantastic feel, but the pickups sucked. I saw an ad for an HH Fender strat and the lightbulb went on. I bought a custom made HH pickguard with no pre-drilled control holes, I then drilled the control holes spaced away from the bridge pickup, because I always hated how close that volume control is to the pickup, always turning my volume down accidentally. I had to remove a lot of wood to make the pickups fit. I combined 2 mediocre guitars into one super fun guitar. 
1989 GRECO EGW 80
based upon the 1988 gibson custom lite les paul.
left picture is original. gold hardware, black trim, nice enough but i don't really like gold hardware so i decided to hotrod this one. right picture is what i ended up with. it was nice before, but now it is an absolutely stunning beauty that plays fantastic. it is one of a kind!
part of the reason this model is unique is the width of the body. left picture shows the comparison with a standard les paul. the reduced width actually makes a huge difference when playing, part of the reason it is my favorite LP. i installed genuine 1971 vintage gibson embossed cover t-top humbuckers, the sound is incredible. the pickups cost more than the guitar, but even with new locking tuners, bigsby with vibramate plate, and trim, i still have less than $2K into it.
the twins
 1988 GRECO RG100 6 string  
1989 GRECO RG120 12 string 
beautifully built guitars. it is sometimes hard to find one for sale because RICKENBACKER shuts down every "for sale" they find citing copyright infringements. online side-by-side reviews always say that the GRECO is the better guitar. No surprise there...
Check out the You Tube video
of a beautiful blond RG120, in japanese of course!
with DiMarzio pickups
bridge = PAF 30th anniversary
neck = EJ custom
1977 GRECO PB600
precision bass
i gave this to my bass player friend to tune up and he decided to keep it!
these two Greco's in action. my son is the drummer. drums are not Greco...
the Greco goldtop trifecta
left = 1978 EG800GS
middle = 1977 EG700GS
right = 1978 EG600GS
everyone including me thinks the P90 pickup guitar sounds the best.

 early 1970's GRECO top loader telecaster  - no holes through the body.

before they had serial numbers so it is impossible to date exactly. based on the 1958-59 fender toploader, which sells for $20K plus. this one is in mint condition. slightly smaller than later models. outstanding quality.

firebird and thunderbird
the firebird has the correct banjo style tuners not found on other japanese copies.
you tube
video demo 
of a Greco


Led Zeppelin touring Japan in 1972 are ambushed by Greco, Peter Grant steps in.