The 3 different "generations" of Navigators from 1976 to mid-1980s (details inside..)

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by H. Sals, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. H. Sals

    H. Sals Member

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    What makes you think mine is Kasuga made?

    From what I have seen, mine looks nothing like the pickup cavities from a Heerby, for example? Pickup cavity doesn't have the weird shaped tabs, is not bare wood (finish added after the pickup routes), etc?

    Thanks! I do believe we are getting somewhere here :dude:
     
  2. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    As I said your control cavity is still Kasuga routed.
     
  3. H. Sals

    H. Sals Member

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    JDB - I'm not disputing your opinion - simply wanted to know what the basis of your belief is?

    Can you just shed some light on why you think my guitar was Kasuga made? I just want to understand your thinking, that's all. Thanks!
     
  4. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    :laugh2: Yeah I know. But that the reason is your control cavity which houses the pots is Kasuga shaped routing.:thumb:
     
  5. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    It's not unusual for new owners to embrace fairly biased views when infatuated with their new gear, but if you still feel the same way in 6 months or a year, I'll be happy to completely dispel your current "humble opinions", with a fairly long list of historical inaccuracies. :thumb:
    ... a list that no MIJ vintage or modern Les Paul, guitar case, or post 1969+1/2 and newer G!bson LP is immune from.

    It doesn't make Navs less worthy, just not what you say they are.
    I own an Edwards PM and have enjoyed owning Kasuga LPs, so it's not a case of me not liking the ESP brand.
     
  6. wulfman

    wulfman ABB Fan Premium Member

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    I have to say that the Navigator I used to own from this period is among the best I have played and had the most going for it in the early-80's "accuracy" contest (where there was no 10/10 winner!). It had a slimmer neck profile than I like so away it went.
     
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  7. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Best sell me your LC-100 in that case. :) (if you still have it, that is)
     
  8. wulfman

    wulfman ABB Fan Premium Member

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    Ha! I still have it and plan to keep it now since I sold my 2012 Tokai custom. BTW, where are all the 1979 and 1980 LC-100's? They don't pop up on YJ like LS-100s and LS-120s. I guess that is a topic for a different thread.
     
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  9. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    LC models, and premium models in particular, are pretty rare, well under 1% of total production
    from what I can gather, so I definitely wouldn't sell it if you don't have to.

    Vintage examples were mostly manufactured amongst small runs of Flying V's and Explorers
    rather than alongside LS models.
     
  10. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    I have logged 3
     
  11. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    As said before in the Nav thread; Kasuga obtained the Burny contract in 1981, which was probably the end of Kasuga Nav production.

    Kasuga produced Burny's up to early 1985 and had a change in tenon style during this period:

    1981-1983 (cavity floor 'lip');

    [​IMG]

    1984-1985 (no cavity floor lip);

    [​IMG]

    As you can see is the first style (pic from a 1981 Burny), exactly the same as your Nav. But the floor routing of the control cavity is different from yours and consistent over the entire Kasuga Burny period:

    [​IMG]


    So your Nav predates the Kasuga Burny period = pre mid 1981.

    This could be consistent with the jan. 1981 Nav catalog where you see both the newer long tenon and the older intermediate tenon side by side, showing the transition from one to the other OR it shows the difference between lower end and higher end models. No matter which it is; Kasuga never used the long tenon, so did not produce those. Yours is Kasuga made.

    PS only the lower end Kasuga Burny's have a heel cap.
     
  12. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    So you think these 2 are the same.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    Yes.
    Maybe a bad comparison because of the angle of the pic, but here's a 1983 Kasuga Burny RLG-90 for example;

    [​IMG]


    The size of the lip is not consistent.
    The angle of the wire routing in the body did change.
     
  14. wulfman

    wulfman ABB Fan Premium Member

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    The tenon position is different between the two, isn't it?
     
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  15. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    Indeed! Didn't notice that.
    So another identifier.
     
  16. H. Sals

    H. Sals Member

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    Interesting - thanks guys!
    Seeing the evidence, yes, I am convinced, as you are, that my guitar was, in fact, Kasuga made.
    Here is what I *now* think:
    Regarding the January 1981 dated catalog, showing the two tenon types: the long tenon LPs are some sort of totally new animal, not Kasuga made, whereas the one on the top (like mine) is Kasuga made.
    Basically, I am pretty convinced that Navigator subbed out the building of the lower-end models (maybe the models under LPS-200?) to Kasuga, and it looks like the higher-end models, starting around late 1980, were made elsewhere (presumably, in-house at ESP).
    Bottom line: every early Nav (from 1976 on up through at least 1981ish and probably beyond) *without* a true long tenon was Kasuga made. The earliest Kasuga Navs had a volute, then no volute with invisible tenon and Heerby style pickup routes, then like mine.
     
  17. H. Sals

    H. Sals Member

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    Queation: Did *all* Kasuga Burnys have the offset tenon like that (located closer to the low E side of the fretboard)?

    Even the earliest Kasuga Burnys (from 1981, if I understand the dates correctly)?

    Also, did the other known Kasuga made LPs (aside from Burnys) from that same era (1981-1983) also have this offset tenon? So, Heerby, etc?
     
  18. H. Sals

    H. Sals Member

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    Not sure if anyone saw this quote from the mysterious "Shinji" from the Japanese guitar forum, back in 2007.

    While I do think that Shinji is a cheerleader for ESP, and doesn't tell the true story, check out his exact quote:

    "ESP was a generic brand for all the products (especially the PA and electronical products) and Navigator was the name of the guitar line.

    At the time and until 1982, the Navigator were a very small production because ESP only had very small workshops and one single factory.
    The production was quiet limited because of this. In 1982 Mr Shibuya bought the Nagoya factory which allowed a bigger production for regular products.
    The custom orders were most of the time done in an other place."

    Note the statement about the Nagoya factory being bought by ESP in 1982.

    Nagoya is a pretty good distance from Tokyo, where ESP was based at the time.

    But guess where Kasuga was based? :)
     
  19. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    Yes to question 1 & 2.

    I don't know of any Heerby's or other Kasuga brands from that period to question 3.
     
  20. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    In the Nagoya area lived around 5 million people in th early 80s and it was one of Japan's guitar producing area's. A lot of lesser know factories stood there but also factories like Kasuga, Terada, Ida, Hoshino and Yairi.

    One of ESP's 6 custom shops is located in Nagoya.
    And Kasuga went out of business in 1996..
     

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