Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Komehyo Guitar Shop, Nagoya Japan

Good day!

When you hear the name Komehyo, you think of the Japanese chain of department stores, right? No? Hmm? Well, I do. It seems like the last place to go to find a great guitar shop, but you will be surprised.

The Nagoya Komehyo guitar has expanded so much over the years, that they finally split the guitars and cameras off and gave them their own location in Nagoya’s Osu Kannon market. Right there next to the souvenir shops, clothing stores and Brazilian food joints.

Komehyo has an impressive selection of American Fender and Gibson guitars, as well as their Japanese-built equivalents. But, where this shop really shines is with their selection of used guitars.

This is a great place to find second-hand Japanese instruments at fantastic prices. As I have said before, vintage American guitars are pure gold in Japan, and used Japanese instruments are seen as an inferior good. Which is funny, because the quality of these instruments is often times better than their U.S.-made counterparts. Pretty much, you can expect to pay $350 to $300 for a nice Telecaster or Jazz Bass, and around $500 for an Aria Super Bass. Not too bad, really.

Their new location is much more spacious and clean, and also sells drums, brass and woodwind instruments. The staff moved over from the old location, and they are super-friendly. Just ask, and they will get a guitar down for you, and let you look it over. Their English skills are pretty limited, but all of your negotiations can be done with a calculator.

If you want to try one out, they will find a cord/amplifier for you to use. If someone is already trying out an instrument, they will put you on a waiting list. It is a pleasure to listen to others trying out instruments while you are waiting. These guys practice like mad men, and they have the chops to show for it. Which also reminds me to always check the frets carefully on any guitar I am thinking of buying. Sometimes they are worn down to nubbins.

There is no repair counter at this location, but there are a few pretty good ones within the Osu Kannon market.

The shop is easy to find via subway. Just take the Tsurumai Line to the Osu Kannon Station, use exit 2, and head west though the temple and market a few hundered meters and the shop will be on your left.

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