Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hyper Guitars, Shin Okubo (ハイパーギターズ)

Posting this somehow escaped me in the past, so let me just quickly say that this place is truly bizarre. They have a no-photo policy, which could only inspire me to stand artfully next to a display cabinet and take a panorama of the most important parts of the shop. This is the best vintage guitar store I've been to in Japan, and realistically also in the world. There's that Strat-o-crazy place in Kanda that I've never been to, you might want to hit that as well on your tour of vintage American guitars prices in multiples of $10,000.

The Mosrites on the far left are half real ones (including one signed by Nokie!) and half new-production fake ones, made in Japan but still sadly expensive. Panning right (as I did while taking this forbidden picture), you have a whole case of Les Pauls, mostly 50’s-60’s gold tops, and 335’s, nicely divided into red and sunburst. I don’t play these, even though I should, so I can’t comment. The first half of the case after that is the Tele’s. There were 10 Tele’s of provenance, by which I mean “from the 50’s”, including a Broadcaster (the name of which inspired the lawsuit which changed the name to Telecaster, but Fender eventually got their revenge by buying lawsuit winner Gretsch 50 years later and moving their production to Japan and then China). I played a ’53 Tele, I think is was, a little beaten on, distractingly so in case of the now-completely-unfinished neck, but reasonably priced at only 200 Hummings, or $20,000.

After that we go into the Strat section. Only half a dozen pre-CBS custom color strats, what a disappointment, but then a full 10 50’s sunburst strats so you can decide if you’re more of a 56, 57 or 59 guy. After that some Gretsches, but no one cares that much about them. There are other parts of the shop. I guess you can see the Rick basses on the floor. Who cares? There were a couple nice acoustics – I played a 1939 OOO-28 that said “ask for price”. It turned out to be a refin; without that detail I figured it would be 300 Hummings, which is why I asked to play it without asking the price. They have a little room that you go into to try stuff. Stuffed with old Marshall heads and their big inventory of original tweed Fenders. It’s pretty soundproof, so both times the clerk came in to bug me to stop playing the guitar I was on, I was lost in a reverie and he scared the bejesus out of me.

Worth it for the experience, although not for the friendliness or the prices.  

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