Why I play Bacchus guitars (Shockingly Good!)


Hi this is Tak from Imari Tones.

Today, let me tell you about my favorite guitars.

In my life, I have played MusicMan guitars, Gibson guitars, Fender guitars, Jackson guitars, Charvel guitars, Hamer guitars, Epiphone guitars, maybe some more.

They were all great.

(You can’t go wrong with MusicMan. I will never forget the GoldTop Gibson I used on Karma Flower song. Jackson, oh so familiar heavy metal staple. Hamer definitely one of the best guitars in history. Epiphone, wow don’t underestimate them because if you can’t rock with Epiphone, you can’t rock with anything else.)


But my most favorite guitars I played in my life, they were Bacchus guitars.

They are made by a company called Deviser (technically they are made by Aska company, because the factory and the seller are registered as different companies)


and they build guitars under brand names such as Bacchus, Momose, STR and also they make acoustic guitars under the brand called Headway.


In 2013, I found this Les Paul type guitar and it changed everything about guitar in my life.

This instrument, not very expensive. In fact it was quite affordable.
But it was shockingly good.

Since then, I’m in love with this guitar company.
And now I have 4 Bacchus electric guitars, 1 STR electric guitar, 3 Bacchus electric bass and 1 Headway acoustic guitar.
They are all made by the same company.

We made 3 albums with these guitars, and certainly we will make more.


Great thing about these guitars is, they are very affordable. Actually they are very cheap.

In Japan, we have these historic guitar companies such as Tokai, Greco, Ibanez, Area and Yamaha, but Bacchus is relatively new guitar company. It started in 1990s.

Now their original Headway acoustic guitars, they started making in 1977, but still it is considered relatively new in Japanese guitar building industry.

For that reason, or maybe for some other reasons, Bacchus has been considered cheap low end instruments.
It’s like, Epiphone or Squire. They are considered guitars for beginners.

However, their building quality is unbelievable.

As time went by, more and more people took notice of their building quality and I think they are now becoming staple among Japanese musicians.

Probably in a future, their price will rise. So I will tell you about them before the hype begins.


Bacchus guitars, they make all kinds of guitars.
Strat type bolt-on guitars, off-set type surf guitars, and set-neck guitars such as SGs and Les Pauls.

They are all shockingly good.

But my favorite, apparently, is their Set-Neck guitars.
In other words, Les Paul type guitars.

Actually they are harder to find, because they don’t build many of these types.

They told me, Set-Neck guitars, it takes so much time to build.
That is a good thing because it means they don’t cut corners.

I’m not a guitar builder and I don’t know so much, but to me, it seems like Set-Neck guitars are very difficult to make.
Especially this Neck-Joint job. Having this Set-Neck joint properly done, it seems like very difficult.

In my honest opinion, more than 90% of Set-Neck guitars on the market, are NOT properly done. To me, it seems like, they are not very tight. As a result, they don’t sound right.


Set-Neck guitars are very difficult. I think that’s why some guitar companies like Gibson, are having hard time.
But in my opinion, this company Bacchus (Deviser) is one of the few companies that can do it right.
And certainly one of the VERY few companies that can do it at AFFORDABLE prices.

Now, how is it possible?
How can they do that?

A couple of years ago, I visited their factory in Matsumoto, Nagano and I found out.

Japanese spirit.
Japanese dedication.
Discipline and dedication.

In the factory building, it was like a battlefield yet it was so silent.
Like Samurai practicing his sword skill, everyone was doing their job with incredible focus.

I think their guitars are the best presentation of the best part of Japanese spirit.
That is why their Set Neck guitars are so tight.

And with those guitars properly built, you can play any kind of music.
This thing can do classic rock, but this can also go modern. It can sound sweet, it can sound heavy. Yes it’s a plain and simple Les Paul. But if properly built, it’s very versatile.

Just play one, and you know what I mean.


One more reason I love these Bacchus guitars.

They are very simple and they sound simple.
Probably my English is not correct. But they sound straightforward. 
It sounds just like you play it. No frill, no gimmick, just you and the guitar.

Now it is not necessarily gorgeous sounding.
It does not necessarily sound expensive.
But they sound really honest.
They don’t try to sound expensive.

When you try to make your original music, it is actually a very good thing.
Because it gives you more musical freedom.

If you are going to play, say, Led Zeppelin tribute or that kind of thing, maybe you go for other choices.
But if you want to play YOUR own music, these guitars will give you more freedom.

I think it’s the best way to find your own sound, find your own color, if you know what I mean.


Some things you should know about Bacchus guitars.

They are made by the company called Deviser.
To be more exact, by their child company called Aska in Matsumoto city, Nagano prefecture, Japan.

Other than Bacchus, they also make guitars under the brand names such as Momose and STR.

Momose guitars are more of traditional flavor with higher prices. But great quality. Could be boring for young players though.

STR guitas are built by the master builder Satoru Yatsuzuka and they are of Top quality. These are very expensive. Now this particular one (mine, LJ-2) is actually a cheaper one from lower price line called Sierra Series, but still it has superb quality.


They also make acoustic guitars under the Headway brand. They are not the biggest acoustic guitar company but they have some cult following, with the legendary master builder Yasuo Momose.

Headway acoustic guitars, I love them. But I don’t think they are for all kinds of music because they sometimes sound “Too Beautiful” for some kind of music. But they have some very special quality. Japanese Beautify for sure.


Also, Bacchus guitars has 4 price ranges.

The 1st and the highest is “Handmade Series” which is completely made in Japan. I can say they have top notch quality.

The 2nd is “Craft Series” that is “assembled” in Japan. Some of the basic process being done in their Philippines factory I think. They are also in Top-Notch quality, with slightly cheaper parts and hardwares. “Classic Series” also falls into this category.

The 3rd is “Global Series” that is made in their Philippines factory. Prices are considerably cheaper and not all of their instruments are perfect. But sometimes you can find unbelievably good quality guitars, especially for the price.

The 4th and the lowest line is “Universal Series”. They are basically made in China. They are very cheap. Surely for the beginners. But it seems like their quality control is higher level than other companies and they are often shockingly good.


Now apparently,

One of the best things about Bacchus guitars is their Quality/Cost ratio. 
You can find “Real” guitars for some very affordable price.

I don’t say if you take 500 dollar Bacchus and it sounds as good as 5,000 dollar guitars, but let me tell you, they sometimes do.
Actually, they often do.

These guitars makes me wonder what the economy is.
What the market is.

Good things are supposed to have higher price, aren’t they?
These great guitars at ridiculously cheap prices?
Where is the truth?
I think their quality is somewhere above economy.


Alright, one more last thing about playing Bacchus guitars.

This is because I’m in a Christian band.

I happen to be in one of the few Christian rock bands from Japan.

So yeah, some of you fellow Christians may ask why I play these instruments, because Bacchus is, technically, a name of God.

Why is they called Bacchus guitars?

Here’s the story.

Back in 1990’s, the master builder Yasuo Momose, he wanted to name his new guitar brand after the God of Music.

Just like most Japanese people, he could not speak English.
So he took some English dictionary and looked up “Music God” and it said “Bacchus”.
That’s how they named the guitar brand.

In general, Japan is basically a “no religion” country and I think it’s a pretty natural representation of his passion for making good guitars.

The thing is, Bacchus also means “God of Wine”.
Actually this “God of Wine” thing already reminds me of Jesus,
but to us Japanese, also as a big fan of Japanese Sake (日本酒),
this reminds me of “Matsuo” (松尾大社), the God of Sake.


If you have some knowledge about Japanese Sake, you might have heard about this God of Sake called “Matsuo”.

Now here is the thing.

It’s a history lesson and I don’t know the exact truth,
but in some researches it is said that it was Jewish people who brought brewing technique to Japan.

Yeah, that famous Hata-tribe, again.
It’s written in an ancient Japanese document called Nihon-shoki
It’s also written on the websites of some famous Japanese Sake companies.


So, if they were Jews, who was their God?

Yeah, the God of the Bible. Father God who brought the Jewish people out of egypt.

So it makes perfect sense to me, as a Christian musician, to play these guitars, especially if you consider the Christian History in Japan.

Now how interesting coincidence it was for us to make “Jesus Wind” album, the concept album about Japanese Christian history, with these guitars with God’s name that means “Jesus” in Japanese historic context?! (with modern rockn’roll twist)


If you don’t like it, you can remove this Bacchus logo and put Jesus sticker instead.
But I think it’s cool all the people playing these guitars with the name of God on it.

I think they are praising God, without knowing it.
To me it sounds very much like Isaiah 65:1.

Also quite frankly, as a Christian guitar player, I feel these guitars are Spiritually Clean. If you know what I mean.

Ah, maybe you don’t know what I mean.
But just try and play one of these guitars.

I can guarantee you will be impressed.




  1. Gerd

    Bacchus guitars are awesome…like any guitar made in Japan since 1975, with quality ever-increasing and always stunning attention to detail. There are guitars for any budget and each of them is the best it could be. For any serious and knowledgable guitar connoisseur, Japan is heaven. So many brands and models, variations and colors, playful new concepts, dead-on vintage replica guitars, professional, innovative…it boggles the mind.

    If you spend the money you’d pay for one of the better US made guitars, you get a Crews Maniac Sound, Moon, Sonic, VanZandt…to name a few , and they are so much better than anything you could buy in the USA for that price. They are in fact at least as good as the extremely pricy “Masterbuilt”-level Custom Shop guitars ($7000+) while costing less than the (actually mass-produced) entry-level Custom Shop guitars. But their price is not the point. It’s… let me quote you:

    “Japanese spirit.
    Japanese dedication.
    Discipline and dedication.”

    …that makes them particulary valuable instruments. Yes, Japanese luthiers have to compete in the market too and they are more than capable of it, even mass-produced Japanese guitars are mindblowingly well-made. But if the price allows the makers to dedicate more time to do all the extra steps that sets a luthier-made guitar apart from mass production, if they are given the time to show what skills they really have, you will get something that is much, much more than the sum of its parts.

    Even more, they do it quietly in the background, they often don’t advertize much and for sure they don’t sell very expensive illusions like “brand-awareness” (like said US custom shops basically selling the same mediocre mass-production guitars for twice the price just because it has a color that’s not in the regular catalog, and get away with it because it says “Fender” or “Gibson” on the headstock). You only pay for the true craftmanship, skills, a deep knowledge of the matter and the resulting flawless quality. I admire that endlessly.

    I know that – even in Japan – there are not many people who can truly appreciate these extraordinary human and technical qualities (otherwise Fender and Gibson couldn’t sell a single guitar in Japan) but I sure can appreciate them, which is a gift in itself. In other words, my Japanese guitars make me very, very happy every day, just because they are what they are, honest and true, masterfully built guitars, made by wonderful people.


    • Andrew Smith

      I just picked up a les paul copy ladt weekend that says deviser on it. Bought it brand new for 125. It plays and sounds amazing for the price. I had never heard the name before last weekend. I am one happy man

    • Bob

      The Japanese guy said he was in a Christian band which is rare in Japan.. I wonder what a Buddhist band sounds like that sings about Buddhism..
      Maybe I could start that in America and it will become the next big thing!

      • Tone

        Hi Bob, thanks. Haha, that might be interesting. But if you study it, Buddhism is more like a philosophy. Somewhere between physics and psychology. In reality I think many artists have been influenced by Buddhism notions and ideas. But yes, you can always use those ethnic instruments and chants from Japan and other Buddhism nations. I will say good luck 😉

  2. Jon Lockett

    Who knows ,someday I may try a Bacchus guitar or bass .I have not played many brands of guitars over the years.Almost all have been Ibanez and Jackson.The one instrument I really regret parting with now was a beautiful 1981 Ibanez Destroyer 6 string in the brown-orange cherry sunburst.It was already 18 years old when I bought it and in immaculate condition.But I overspent money in Israel after being at my first kibbutz in 2000.Later that summer I was down to a bit over £100 to my name .I decided to sell the Destroyer and made another £100 so doing.But man how I wish I’d done something else like borrow money or arrange a bank loan.Anything but sell that classic (and quality yet affordable) beauty.

    • Tone

      Hi Jon, thanks! Wow, an old Ibanez Destoyer!? That must have been a great instrument. Because even Eddie Van Halen played one for Van Halen’s first album. It’s a Japanese vintage. I totally understand you regret selling it. But after all, guitars are just tools to make music. Good guitars are nice, but at the end of day it’s all in your heart. So rock on, with your faith, my friend! 🙂

  3. Jon Lockett

    Yes,it’s all about heart.It’s not so necessary to own many expensive instruments.So long as one has reasonably good makes,like guitars that generally sound good and stay in tune most times.I now have another Ibanez Destroyer,a crimson red one I had sent from Japan in 2017.Also a firecracker red Peavey Vandenberg custom built for me in China in 2018 and shipped all for just $600.A real bargain.A blue Jackson Kelly I’m looking to sell.And a candy blue 4 string Ibanez Gio bass.Quite cheap but I love it so am a bit reluctant to upgrade to a better newer bass.I may even wait til I get to Japan and study basses for sale there before possibly acquiring another bass.These days basses are more in my heart to play than 6 string electric guitars.

  4. Jon Lockett

    Yeah,hopefully I get to Japan later this (or next) year.All depends on the Covid Situation.I am thinking maybe a bright red (in body and headstock)5 string Ibanez bass.I can’t wait to check out the hugely stocked Japanese guitar stores.The Vandenberg acquisition was inspired by Seventh Avenue.I was blown away hearing and seeing them for first time at Bobfest 2005.Flo Gottsleben was playing an awesome custom-looking red guitar.I thought later it was the same one he held for a photo in the Between the Worlds booklet.But that turned out (I think) to probably be his custom Sandberg.The Bobfest beauty was a Vandenberg.I only found out by “mistake”.I had pictures of SA at Bobfest and happened to come across an internet picture of a Vandenberg,and I compared pictures and it was a case of “Hey,that’s a Vandenberg Flo was playing!!!”With Ibanez Destroyers I just saw the used one for sale that I bought in 1999 and happened to love the look of it (eccentric Metal shape and fancy paint job) beforehand.Its price (£500) told me it was a very quality make.But the Destroyer wasn’t inspired by any particular band or player.

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