Info on 78/79 Matsumoku 335 Clone?

Axeman16

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I picked up this Memphis branded 335 clone, ive been having trouble finding info on.

It appears very similar to an aria pro 2 es 700 but has some variances that dont appear on the aria models. The memphis logo and inlays are mop, it has fret edge binding, 2 screw trc, bridge posts are the abr1 type threaded directly into the body, and different pickguard bracket.

The center block looks like mahogany and is wider than the bridge posts and one piece from neck joint to tail. the neck is 3 pieces with a scarf joint and seperate heel, and there is a volute. has a short tenon no extension or screw in pickup cavity.

The tuners are interesting they have a rotating sleeve between the gear casing and the key to adjust the tension. The bridge appears common on es clones from 77-79.

The pickups have been difficult to identify as well. I havent removed the covers however the base is stamped 180426 which matches maxons code as april 1978. There is no stamp or other markings on the back other than the date. it has a grey lead and removing one of the pole pieces it appears to have the a thin clear bobbin ive seen on some early maxon pickups 73-75 but nothing dating towards 78 that seems similar.

I have yet to measure the pickups. It has full size pots and green chicklet caps. Really nice guitar not sure on the value ive only seen one that is identical here https://reverb.com/item/4301951-vintage-1980-memphis-es-335-custom-matsumoku-japan-high-quality-fretside-binding-best-335-hands-down (link notworking copy and paste) aside from the knobs. Plays and sounds phenomenal, has the mid 60's narrow nut thats taken some getting used to.

If anyone has more info on this guitar or the pickups id love to hear it. Heres a few pics
AD7CE448-F5CE-4D1F-8A7A-1BC4BC719C01.jpeg 95EBB388-F49B-4FA1-A1ED-44EA7FFBD34E.jpeg 8E8EB9B3-23F6-4618-9226-A7371E38696A.jpeg 239D378A-BEEF-4599-91B3-2238336D47DA.jpeg 543F5F08-EBED-411C-8CA7-A0F1D4FB68D7.jpeg
 
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Ohjay

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I'm not so sure this was made by Matsumoku. I can't recall ever seeing a guitar made by that factory that had a scarf joint or a separate heel.
They did manufacture a lot of brands but in general their construction methods were mostly identical so it would be weird if they did a massive alteration to their production line to accommodate Memphis with a guitar with scarf joint and separate heel.
 

JDZ

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Doesn't look like Matsumoku, which had raised tenon with phillips head screw - see pic.
20180425_211943.jpg


Pickups look like 70's Maxon. I have a very late '79 Greco with similar cavity route.

Do you have a picture of the headstock?
 

Axeman16

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JDZ

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Pickups look like early 70's Maxon, I have a 1974 Greco with similar pickups. I don't think Maxon made pickups like this as late as 78.
 

Ohjay

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Doesn't look like Matsumoku, which had raised tenon with phillips head screw - see pic. View attachment 364732

Pickups look like 70's Maxon. I have a very late '79 Greco with similar cavity route.

Do you have a picture of the headstock?
Yup, they even did this on 335 guitars.
If, for some reason, this 335 is a neckthrough design then it would explain the lack of tenon and screw. But I really doubt it is a neckthrough 335, plus it doesn't explain the scarf joint and separate heel.
 

JDZ

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Pic I posted is a 335.

+1 unlikely it is through neck.
 

Axeman16

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the center block is completely solid inside the body, end to end. the chases for the pickup wires are small 1/4 or less drill holes there are no open channels like on some jap 335s. the mohogany center block has solid maple spacers on the top and bottom to match the curvature of the top and back they appear to taper from roughly 1/4" at the ends to 1/2" in the center
 

JDZ

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Gibson went to the big relief in bridge cavity in the early 60's to make it easier to assemble (reduce costs); some Japanese models follow that. Early Gibson's just have the hole for the pickup wire; as do some Japanese models.

Original 335's block runs full length of body, but for a time Gibson moved away from that.
 

Axeman16

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interesting it appears to be a clone of a mid 60s 335 with the narrow nut and trapeze tailpiece but has the late 50's solid block body construction
 

warmachine

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Hmmmm. Memphis is an odd one when it comes to researching. I’ve seen atleast two higher end Memphis 335 copies on ebay in the last 2 years. Idk if they had a scarf joint, but they had the fret edge binding, 2 screw truss cover and die cast tuners. Here is the ebay item # for the most recent one that apparently had a neck warp 142688507290 The one from 2017 was black and I believe it sold for $625 and was in mint shape. I recall 40+ people bid on it!

There is this 3 screw truss cover version with Gotoh tuners and no fret edge binding on ebay right now (wow! trying to get $1,300+)

Penco, Ventura, Aria seem to be the most common 335 copies I’ve seen on ebay with the trapeze tailpiece.

Who here is in the know about the Pharaoh model series Memphis had? That seems to pinpoint the highest degree of quality from that brand. Solid top Les Paul and double cutaway Les Paulish guitars. There was a big body jazzbox to. Surprisingly there was a copy of the Ibanez Custom Agent. I am unsure if 335 copies were part of that lineup though.

I’d say this predates those, but so little info is out there on Memphis except there low level stuff.
 
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Axeman16

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warmachine

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bumping for more info hopefully!
I’d like to hear more on this to. Only way I seek info at this point is to do google image searches and view the associated link if it looks to be a match.

There is a a forum at the site Ibanezcollectors called “Other copies”. I’ve gotten great info from posting there in the past. Try it!
 

warmachine

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Semi hollow and hollowbodies seemed to be a specialty that only specific factories in Japan did like Kasuga, Matsumoku and Terada.
 

Axeman16

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thanks, ill check it out.


TO MOD - The other single cuts forum needs a sub forum for other vintage mij guitars. anyone who knows anything about japanese guitars hangs out in that part of the forum, hence why any mij related content is usually posted there and usually ends up getting moved to this forum.
 

BadPenguin

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If the pickups are original, then it's NOT an Uncle Matt. In the early 70's, Terada built Electras for Matsumoko under contract. Same name, same logo, different parts. (and generally lower quality.)
It's possible that your Memphis was a Terada build, again licensed by Uncle Matt. I've seen way too many Aria's, Electra. Westone, etc that did NOT have the scarf joint, and many from the Ibanez plants that did.
 

Axeman16

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i have found some information possibly pointing towards fuji gen as the factory that made this guitar. definitely isnt early 70's, hardware construction and finish are much too high quality
 

JDZ

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The pickups look like early 70's Maxon.
Take a look here: https://jk-guitars.jimdo.com/grecoのハムバッカーたち/

Code looks like '78 on it though, but I thought they stopped making pickups that look like those in '75 or '76.

Route in cavity doesn't look like Fujigen.
Fujigen routes had the lobes in 70's and 80's.

You should try to get a pot code to date the guitar.
 


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