Asama Les Paul copy

Apeman

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Hi there everyone, newbie LP player here. Nice to be onboard :)

I recently acquired an Asama Les Paul-type guitar. Any experience with these? It's made in Japan, probably late 70s, and has a tobacco burst body (top, sides and back) with a set neck. The (gold) hardware seems to be mostly Gotoh. The pickups are open blonde DiMarzio Super Distortion-type humbuckers, also marked as Gotoh on the base plates.

I think the neck is made of mahogany but the body is probably something else? The top looks like plain maple, with very subtle flaming from some angles. Could be something else though, I'm not good at identifying different woods. The bottom is similar, with the same burst paint scheme. I don't remember ever seeing mahogany that light, even though I've understood it can be fairly light when untreated.

Looking at the sides and cavities I didn't see any obvious layering (unfortunately I didn't think of looking properly when taking the pickups out). Looking at the top and the bottom, the body seems to be in two parts (split somewhat off-center).

The guitar seems fairly light for a Les Paul. I haven't weighed it but comparing to my other guitars I'd guess at something like 7.5-8lb. It's lighter than my Strat and my Squier CV Tele, and doesn't really feel much heavier than my sub-7lb Baja Tele. It could be chambered, I have no idea how to tell if that's the case. It also strikes me as being on the thin side for a Les Paul, but unfortunately I have nothing to compare to.

The fingerboard feels pretty flat compared to my other guitars, and the neck feels somewhat wide/boatish. Wider but not as deep as my Baja Tele's beck. Bending is harder than I'm used to, maybe because of lower frets or something. The action is not low enough that it should cause bending issues, that said the nut seems cut slightly too low on the treble side. There was some buzzing close to the nut, which was relieved by a slight truss rod adjustment.

The acoustic tone is not too loud, but pretty nice. I also like the pickups, even though they are soon to be replaced by Bare Knuckles (Mule at bridge and Stormy Monday at neck). Compared to my other guitars with single coils, they are darkish and obviously higher output. The bridge humbucker seems pretty weak compared to the neck though, I've had to drop the neck way down in order to achieve a good balance. They do have a nice clear ring to them when strummed softly, kind of like an acoustic steel string. When hit harder, they gather more midrange and lose some of that high end sparkle.

Has anyone seen something similar, based on the description? Asama Les Pauls seem to be quite rare judging by internet searches (at least in the western world), but being an old Japanese copy guitar I guess there could be fairly identical guitars going by other names?
 

GammyBird

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Welcome to the forum!!! We'll need some pictures of that guitar :)
 

Apeman

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Thanks :) I'll try to snap some pics when I get home. I haven't cleaned the guitar at all, so it's not in its most representative shape but I guess you'll get the idea...

A funny thing is I had no intention whatsoever of getting an LP type guitar. I was really looking for yet another Tele, but this odd thing just spoke to me in the store. Kind of like the first Tele I got. That's a scary thought too; is this the start of a new addiction? Will 2011 be the year of the LPs? My bank account is shivering at the thought... ;)
 

Udonitron

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Very nice...almost looks like a Matsumoku made model but not 100%
 

Apeman

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Thanks :) Just checked the weight by the way. The guitar weighs ~7.4lb, just slightly more than my 90s Nighthawk.

I measured the thickness roughly as well, bottom to top binding edge is ~1.7in (slightly thinner than the Nighthawk), with the carved top adding another 0.5in or so at the thickest point.

What would be "reference" body thickness for a Les Paul?
 

BGD

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Cool lookin' guitar. Definitely looks thin. If I had a ruler on me, I'd measure my Burny, but I don't....
 

chrsg88

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I would have to agree with Udonitron about the Matsumoku look. I was thinking along the lines of the Aria Pro II.
 

Apeman

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So what do you guys think about the body wood? Maple or something else?
 

Apeman

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