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Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

I have a couple of Ibanez archtops that have a written (in blue ink) signature on the label inside the guitar. I think the signature is Sugihara. What is interesting is that these two guitars are a little "different" than my other Ibanez archtops, and are, in my opinion, the best of the Ibanez guitars I have owned, quality-wise. Has anyone out there seen archtops with this same signature? Better yet, does anyone have any info on this person, whom I would assume to be someone involved in the building of these guitars? Thanks!
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   


What model archtops are you talking about? Do you think that Sugihara was a "master luthier"? Or just better than the average Ibanez worker?

I have no idea about Sugihara, but trying to figure out the labels is something I've wondered about. Does anyone know whether the signature is from a person who was actually involved in building the guitar or just a quality control person at the end of the production line?

One of my AS200s has the name Mirabuyashi (or Birahuyashi), the label is missing on my other AS200.

The signature on my AS400 is totally illegible. (Must have been a doctor in a previous life.) Both sigs look to be in pencil. There are some other scrawlings on this label, the first part is hard to figure whether they are letters or numbers. The last few are defintely numbers (112 89).

The signature on my GB10NT says it was made by George Benson. Seriously, no other sig. This label has the model number and an extra serial number (does not match the one stamped on the headstock) handwritten on it.
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

John -
The Sugihara signatures (in red ink, not blue) are on a Byrdland and a Johnny Smith. It gets curiouser and curiouser. There are also signatures (M.Tamura) on the labels of my FA-800 and L5 (2471BS). Hey, what a coincidence - my GB-10 was also made by George Benson! And my JP-20 by Joe Pass!

I would assume that these guys were proud enough of their work to sign the label, but as to whether they were the kingpins of the luthier gang, I have no idea. The craftsmanship on all the guitars I mentioned is top notch, so I wouldn't blame them for being proud.
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   


It made me wonder why the factories/workers chose to put signed labels inside the semi and full hollow bodies, but nobody did the same inside the control cavities of the solid bodies.

Have you seen the picture at the end of this thread? Miscellaneous section, BEFORE IT WAS COOL,THE IBANEZ PAST IN PICTURES

Maybe he's mr. Sugihara?
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

I have a new-to-me FA700 that was signed by Tamura. I was talking to a local guitar guru who told me that Tamura was THE archtop guy at Ibanez. Apparently he went to study with D'Angelico during the war (and had some problems getting into or out of the country) and then returned to Japan where he eventually built all of Ibanez's high-zoot archtops.

This guitar guru wasn't sure, but thought that Tamura was the guy that helped Vestax get going with their D'Angelico copies. I'll ask if he knows about Sugihara.

My Johnny Smith doesn't even have a label. Does that mean that nobody built it?
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

I've seen classical and flamenco style guitars that are made by Tamura. All of which have been really cool guitars. Anyone have a FA800 to sell?

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

FWIW, I spoke to my guitar guru aquaintance and he said that Sugihara was one of the folks that worked under Tamura's tutelage. That was the extent of his knowledge.


Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

Thanks for the info, Peter. I wonder if either of those gentlemen is still around making guitars.

Mark Munchenberg
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:03 am:   

All this signature talk got me peering through F-holes last night. I have 4 guitars bearing signatures but none of them is Tamura or Sugihara.

Firstly my Joe Pass carries a hand inked Joe Pass signature with a hand inked serial number that matches the headstock number.

Secondly both my 1986 FG100's carry the same pencil signature. Unfortunately I can't read it.

Lastly my 1981 AS100 has an inked signature which is also hard to read.

I'll try to figure them out and post what I come up with here.


Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 12:06 pm:   

Hi ya, got a 1977 L5 copy model #2460, has the signature of Sugihara, exquisite guitar!
uli ingendorf
Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 9:48 am:   

I just aquired a Johnny Smith Copy from 1977 here in Germany, also with the Sugihara signature,seems he was quite involved with these!Does anybody know how much these are worth in the USA?
John Wright
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 2:47 am:   

Hi,I have a model 2355 (175 copy) that I bought in
1977,and at the same time I also looked at,and
played a Gibson,and I would choose the Ibanez workmanship and quality over the Gibson any time.
I also would like know who Sugihara in red ink is.
Wondering if anyone would know the value of my guitar?
Thanks, J.W.
Jim777 (Jim777)
Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 4:00 pm:   

I know this is an old thread, but I've also got a '78 FA-100 with M. Sugihara in red on the lable. It's a nice guitar, and plays exquisitely. Looks good to boot, too! You see "signed by the master builder M. Sugihara" in a lot of eBay auctions, and I always wondered if he was a master builder or the guy who put in the labels ;-) I guess I'll assume he was a master builder until I see it written somewhere that he wasn't. A few pics for the curious at:

Cooltouch (Cooltouch)
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 5:20 pm:   

I have a 2455NT signed by M. Sugihara as well. I have always assumed that he was the guy in charge of the shop that produced the semi-hollowbody guitars, maybe not the guy who built each one, but the guy who signed off on each one at least. Nothing more than a reasoned guess, though.

I posted a note in the semi-hollowbody discussion group back in November, I think it was, about the guitar. There's a photo of it over there, too. Look for the topic "My 2455NT."



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