Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shopping for Guitars in Tokyo’s Ochanomizu District

Aloha!

I travel to Japan quite a bit for business, and have spent plenty of my off hours prowling various cities for guitars, but there is one place that has more guitars than I have ever seen anywhere else in the world – the Ochanomizu neighborhood of Tokyo.

Most tourists that are shopping for electronics in Tokyo stop off at Akihabara, which is only one stop away from Tokyo station. There are barely any musical instrument stores there, but disappointed musicians only need to head one train station further to find nirvana, at Ochanomizu.

There are at least dozen large shops here, including a Big Boss, but surprisingly no Ishibashi store. All of them are packed to the gills with inventory, with not a square inch of empty space on the walls or floor. And this is not cheap stuff, either. There is every type of popular collectible American guitars from Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker, as well as plenty of Sadowsky Metro, Atelier Z and high-end ESP custom instruments. Of course Fender Japan is well-represented, too.

And it is not just guitars and amplifiers in Ochanomizu, either. There are entire shops dedicated to violins, ukuleles and wind instruments, too. I could spend an entire day looking though these shops and still not see everything – it is a total sensory overload.

The only thing I was a little bummed out about was the scarcity of second-hand instruments. The new inventory seemed to outweigh the used stuff by about a ten to one ratio, maybe even more. But most anything else that anybody is looking for can be found here.

If you want to see Ochanomizu for yourself, It is only a few steps from the Ochanomizu station which is served by the Soubu Line from Akihabara or the Chuo line from Tokyo station. You will not be disappointed!

Mahalo!

7 comments:

  1. I'm living in Tokyo now and I really want to start learning bass. Can you please recommend a good and reasonable bass for beginner?

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  2. Hi. You cannot go wrong with a Japanese-made Fender Precision or Jazz Bass. You should compare to see which one is more comfortable for your left hand. If you have small hands the Jazz will be a better fit.

    I recommend buying secondhand from one of the bigger stores, and make sure that you have 7 days to bring it back in case there is something wrong with it.

    Thank you for checking in, and let me know what you decide to get!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your reply! I'm a girl so I'm also concern about the weight of the instrument too,so I think I will go check for a second-hand Jazz bass. By the way, I'm left handed, should I look for a left handed bass or just practice with a normal one?

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  3. Hello! Be sure to try a few different basses, as the weight varies greatly between instruments -- even the exact same model can have up to 1 kg difference. You should try both right and left handed basses to see which is more comfortable for you. If there is not much difference I would go with a right-handed bass, as there will be many more basses to choose from. Less than 10% of the basses and guitars that are manufactured are left-handed.

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  4. Hi, how are you, I'm going to Tokyo next month, and I'm looking to buy one guitar, do you know if this place have some ESP, Charvel, Jackson, Ibanez, Washburn, flyingV guitars? Please of some one can respond me, I really want to make some plans before I go and what store I will find this kinda brain. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, how are you, I'm going to Tokyo next month, and I'm looking to buy one guitar, do you know if this place have some ESP, Charvel, Jackson, Ibanez, Washburn, flyingV guitars? Please of some one can respond me, I really want to make some plans before I go and what store I will find this kinda brain. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have always had good luck at Guitar Planet. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete