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.
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.
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.