Frequently Asked Questions.
Surprisingly enough we get asked a number of questions quite often, so we have put this page up to make it easier for you to get answers to them, and to stop you from asking them!
Did fire and/or earthquake destroy the Matsumoku factory?
No, this qualifies as an urban myth. The factory was owned by Singer (Originally they made wooden cabinets for sewing machines) and when they ran into difficulties they closed the factory.
neither destroyed by fire nor earthquakes, it was Singers depression
that brought about the closure of the plant in 1987" (Interview with
Shiro Arai, founder of Aria guitars,
Guitar Buyer Nov 2006)
The factory closed in February 1987
Does the Thunder I sound better than the Thunder IA?
This is pure seller hype. If you turn off the active circuit in the Thunder IA, it is a Thunder I - same woods,same pickups etc, there is no difference in the sound.
Is the Thunder I much rarer than the IA?
Seller hype again. The Thunder I was sold widely through home shopping catalogues as well as music shops, and as it was cheaper may have outsold the IA. It is certainly not much rarer, both models are extremely common.
How old is my guitar?
Most Matsumoku Westones can be dated by the serial number, usually found on the back of the headstock.
- 7 digit serials are the most common - the first digit gives the year it was made eg a serial number beginning with 2 indicates a guitar made in 1982. It is possible that the second and third digits give the month
- 5 digit serials appear on some models and it seems that the first two digits give the year and the last two the month. These are not really serial numbers, just production dates, and are not unique - 84009 is extremely common
- 8 digit serial numbers appear from late 1987, in the format NN NN NNNN (eg 87 10 0001), it seems the first two digits give the year and the second two the month. Any guitar with this sort of number was probably made in Korea.
- Later models (1987 onwards) have no obvious serial number (May have originally been on a sticker on the guitar), these are also Korean made
How much is my guitar worth?
This is the single most frequently asked question, and one I personally wish people wouldn't ask, as there's no real answer apart from -
- If you are selling - try selling it. When someone buys it, you'll know how much it was worth.
- If you are buying, or looking to buy - how much are you prepared to pay?
There are too many variables for anyone to be able to give any sort of figure. The value depends on the desirability of the model (don't expect as much for a low-end Spectrum as a Prestige), how many are available second hand, the condition of the guitar, whether or not it has been modified or has parts missing, what country the seller is in etc.
A rough idea can be obtained by searching completed listings on Ebay, which is probably more accurate than prices in shops, which are the price the shop is trying to sell the guitar for - Ebay prices are what people are prepared to actually pay. I've seen several Ebay listings that say 'I saw a shop selling a Concord I for £450'. Even if it's true, the shop wasn't selling it for £450, they were displaying it with a £450 price tag. At that price, they'd never sell it.
Even ebay prices will only give you a very rough idea. Below are some minimum/maximum prices, all based on sales on ebay.co.uk (Prices in pounds sterling) from 2005/2006:
- Prestige 250 - min £150, max £500
- Rail bass - min £175, max £365
- Thunder IA - min £82, max £191
- Rainbow I - min £150, max £282
As you can see, there is no way to predict a price for any
model (So please don't ask!)
Where can I get a (Insert model name) ?
Ebay is probably the best place to look.
Why isn't my (Insert model name) listed here?
The list on the main index page isn't exhaustive, the models listed are the ones I know about - there may be models I've never heard of, so if you know of a model that isn't listed here please tell me about it. There are some exceptions - this site only deals with the Westones made between 1981-1991, primarily by Matsumoku in Japan, so the Westones (Corsair and Cutlass) made in the UK in the late 1990s and the Westones currently being made in Korea (Which seem to be cheap copies of other makers designs - Strat, SG, Les Paul copies etc) will not be featured here. I also have no plans to include the Electra-Westone models as they seem to have been just a rebranding to introduce the Westone name to the US market, and there is already a site covering those models (See the links page for details).
I have a wiring problem, do you have wiring / circuit diagrams for (Insert model name)
I will be adding more wiring/circuit diagrams , but obviously I will only be able to include them for the guitars I currently own. If anyone else has any wiring diagrams, please send them in and I'll include them on the site.