Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Super Guitar Shop Big Boss, Nagoya Japan


While wandering the Osu Kannon temple and market, if you are lucky you may find the Super Guitar Shop Big Boss. This is surely an awkward name, but they got it right. There are plenty of crummy guitar shops in Japan that sell the lowest-grade crap on the planet, and you will find none of it at this Nagoya gem.

Name your favorite guitar or bass, and Big Boss probably has it in stock. They have all of the popular US-manufactured instruments from Fender, Gibson, Musicman, Paul Reed Smith, Rickenbacker and Lakland. Of course, you will take it in the shorts if you buy them in Japan instead of the US. The real finds are the Japan-only models from Fender Japan, Gibson/Orville, Tokai, Musicman EX, Sadowsky Tokyo and Jackson Japan. They have colors and options you will not find in the US, and the craftsmanship is first rate. There are no ugly surprises with these guitars.

Big Boss is THE place in Nagoya to special-order a guitar from ESP, the Godzilla of Japanese guitar companies. They have racks of body and neck blanks just waiting for you to pick them out and have them made into your dream guitar. If you are impatient, they have quite a few already built, but be prepared to spend anywhere from $1000 to $6000 to pick up one of these beauties.

This shop is comparable to the giant Ishibashi chain of stores in its selection of accessories, effect pedals and amplifiers.

There also is a full-service repair shop that can handle everything from simple set-ups to major repair jobs. I have never needed to use their services, but it looks like a first-class operation.

The only thing this shop is lacking is a healthy selection of used instruments. That is not too unusual for a higher-end shop.

As in all of the nicer Japanese guitar shops, do not just grab a guitar off the wall. They are attached by clear plastic tethers, and your reckless actions will surely damage something and cause great embarrassment to you and your country. Ask one of the employees for help, and they will remove the tether, and find a cord/amplifier for you to use. If someone is already trying out an instrument, they will have you wait your turn. There is no Guitar Center thwackity cacophony in Japan.

In the bigger Japanese cities many of the shop workers have very nice English skills. This gross generalization is proven untrue at every guitar shop I have ever been to there. Communication is reduced to pointing at things and poking at a calculator. Do not let this deter you from shopping. The guys at Big Boss are friendly and eager to help out. Do not be surprised if they let you pick out a set of strings or a strap on the house if you buy a guitar.

There are two good ways to get to the shop via subway:

1. Take the Tsurumai Line to the Osu Kannon Station, use exit 2, and head west though the temple and market about ½ kilometer to the shop.

2. Take the Meijo or Tsurumai Line to Kamimaezu station, use exit 10, and head north on Otsu-Dori for about 300 meters. Big Boss will be on your right.

4 comments:

  1. I like your blog a lot, sir.

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  2. Got my Mx Explorer by ESP there in 07 great guitar and shop love it
    Jordan Australia

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  3. Thaks for checking in, Jordan! They are awesome, aren't they?

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  4. Ya I was there a few years ago, Found it by accident. Still want to go back bad!

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