Need help finding an MIJ custom

Squints17

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I’m sort of a noob when it comes to the MIJ stuff. Its all very confusing as the years and model number vary. Tokai vs Greco vs burny vs Edwards all have their own thing going and it’s hard to know what I’m looking at or for with all the variation. I imagine there is someone here who knows.

I’m looking for a black/gold custom. I’d like to have the double diamond on the open book headstock, mahogany w/maple cap, nitro preferred. Ebony board would be a cherry on top.

looking for something not too heavy and neck wise I prefer something thicker than a slim taper and slimmer than .9.

What brand, year, and models should I be looking for?

thanks!
 

Gtarzan81

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Edwards makes good ones if you can live with poly instead of nitro.

I've had 3.
 

Roxy13

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The old diamond that looks like the one Gibson uses was on Burnys prior to 1989. Grecos prior to 82/83 depending on the model and Aria Pro IIs, at least in the 70s, not sure on 80 or 81.

Most of those were poly finish. I'm not sure if a Greco EGC 1000 Super Real from 80 or 81 has nitro or not.

Burnys had rosewood boards, often dyed black. I think the Greco 1000 had ebony. My Aria Pro II custom has Maccassar ebony, which is striped brown and black.

Burnys are all mahogany. Aria Pro IIs have a maple cap. Grecos can vary by model.

I think the guitars that would tick most of your boxes outside of having the diamond inlay would be a Bacchus Classic Series (fat neck, ebony board, nitro top coat) or the higher end History models like the GH-LCV or TH-LCV (nitro top coat, medium neck, ebony board).
 

Roxy13

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I think I misread a bit. The Bacchus has a neck fatter than you'd like. It's more of a 50s neck.

I only have one Burny singlecut. I would call mine a slim taper.

Grecos and History have a nice medium C that I think is along the lines of what you want. The Arias are all pretty close to that too.

Edwards necks can really vary over the years. My newer ones seem to be more slim taper and the older ones are more medium and I even had one that was a D with big shoulders.
 

Squints17

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You are going to struggle to find a nitro finish and an ebony board.
I figured it would probably be an either or. If the rosewood was dark, I’d probably rather have that with the nitro especially with a long tenon.

I’d consider poly- if the price was way better.
I’m open to either.
 
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brokentoeswalker

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What kind of coin are you willling to drop and what part of the world are you from ?? I'd say there is a MIJ Custom for every budget. Of course specs command price especiallly new. Vintage is a whole different game.
 

Squints17

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What kind of coin are you willling to drop and what part of the world are you from ?? I'd say there is a MIJ Custom for every budget. Of course specs command price especiallly new. Vintage is a whole different game.
Chicagoland.
Budget… not sure just getting started looking. Somewhere between $1-2k probably.

I’m not sure yet as to what’s available and the price range.

I like comfy neck(not too thin), preferred maple cap, long tenon construction, and nitro. The diamond and ebony fretboard are sort of bonuses.

I’m not sure yet as to what’s available and the price range which will help set my expectations and budget.
 
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Roxy13

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Orville and Orville by Gibson should be something you investigate as they were Gibson's MIJs. They definitley have the diamond. As for other specs it varies by model and I haven't have any personally so I can't help, but others here could.
 

Squints17

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Orville and Orville by Gibson should be something you investigate as they were Gibson's MIJs. They definitley have the diamond. As for other specs it varies by model and I haven't have any personally so I can't help, but others here could.
It seems there are some very knowledgeable people on here. So, hopefully I can be lead in the right direction.
 

melt

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FGN Neo Classic LC20 is all mahogany (like the originals), Seymour Duncan 59/JB. I think the neck is medium sized. The retailer here in Sweden: "if you like 60s necks, you're gonna like this one"
No diamond on the headstock and a sharper horn.
 

Goldtopper

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Somewhere between $1-2k probably.
I'm no expert, so feel free to correct me, but I think that for the specs you're looking for, they're going to start at $2k.

10 or 15 years ago you might have been able to find something like that in the $1,200-$1,500 range. But I think that train has (mostly) left the station.

Your best bet would probably be to identify a few models that tick all, or most, of your boxes. And then be very deliberate about checking the Japanese auction sites daily. And expect to wait. Because the dealers know what they can get, so you'll have to wait until someone is selling their personal guitar at a reasonable price in order to get a decent deal.

And then you probably also have to pay fees for a proxy bidder and shipper, as well as potential customs fees.


To answer your question, though, the "Orville by Gibson" guitars are supposed to be nitro. Also have the open book headstock, and split diamonds. The ones that just say "Orville" are poly, though. At least that was what I was able to gather, when I was looking at MIJ Les Pauls.

Good luck on your search!
 

currypowder

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I posted this one on the MIJ Bargain thread a couple of days ago. History guitars are made by Fujigen for the Shimamura music store in Japan. Checks most of your boxes for less than a grand, including proxy and shipping fees.

 

Roxy13

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^ I have that same model. It's a great guitar with an ebony fb and long tenon. But, it does have a thin poly finish and different hs shape and no diamond.
 

Squints17

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I'm no expert, so feel free to correct me, but I think that for the specs you're looking for, they're going to start at $2k.

10 or 15 years ago you might have been able to find something like that in the $1,200-$1,500 range. But I think that train has (mostly) left the station.

Your best bet would probably be to identify a few models that tick all, or most, of your boxes. And then be very deliberate about checking the Japanese auction sites daily. And expect to wait. Because the dealers know what they can get, so you'll have to wait until someone is selling their personal guitar at a reasonable price in order to get a decent deal.

And then you probably also have to pay fees for a proxy bidder and shipper, as well as potential customs fees.


To answer your question, though, the "Orville by Gibson" guitars are supposed to be nitro. Also have the open book headstock, and split diamonds. The ones that just say "Orville" are poly, though. At least that was what I was able to gather, when I was looking at MIJ Les Pauls.

Good luck on your search!
Thanks for the info. The main reason for starting this thread was to get info and set my expectations and realistic budget.
 

BadMongo

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I posted this one on the MIJ Bargain thread a couple of days ago. History guitars are made by Fujigen for the Shimamura music store in Japan. Checks most of your boxes for less than a grand, including proxy and shipping fees.

Yeah I was going to say, it might not check all the boxes but if I were looking for a black custom, I'd give that one a really hard look. Am admittedly biased :laugh2:
 

Squints17

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Thanks everyone for the info so far. Perhaps my 2k and under range is a little low for the initial spec level.
Yeah I was going to say, it might not check all the boxes but if I were looking for a black custom, I'd give that one a really hard look. Am admittedly biased :laugh2:
is there an English version of the site?
 

Roxy13

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Thanks everyone for the info so far. Perhaps my 2k and under range is a little low for the initial spec level.

is there an English version of the site?

You should find the translater on your browser. That's what I do.
 

Davy D

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You can find Edwards LTC models easily in your price range and they check all the boxes (headstock is not exactly a split diamond design if that matters much to you). They have lacquer clear coat over poly color coat. The Edwards ALC models are rarer and are all lacquer. I have a 2011 ALC-130 and it's got a slim taper neck - slimmer than the other multiple Edwards I've owned. And it's checking like crazy. Have also owned 80's Burny Customs. The Burny's generally have dark rosewood boards, poly finishes, and the frets are small in my experience, so if you find one that's been played a lot it might need fret work (but the frets are usually bound). The Edwards have more modern frets and the fret work from the factory is top notch. Edwards can be found that are pretty light. My ALC weighs 8.25lbs and it's rare to see one over 10lbs. Also you're going to find lots of Burny models for sale made in China. I think all the Burny split diamond / lightning bolt headstock models are 80-90s MIJ though.
 

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