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Now here’s a very rare and interesting guitar. Daion were a Japanese company operating from the famed Matsumoku factory for a short period in the early 1980s. The Daions were very high quality, and full of innovative features. Daion, for whatever reason, was a shortlived brand, and very few people have ever even heard of this definitely underrated company.

They manufactured a range of electrics, basses and acoustics which were often very different to the usual guitars available from the bigger companies. One of the better known Daion models was the semi-solid ES-335®-like 555 Headhunter, which featured an innovative third cutaway on the bottom of the body.

Daion also made acoustic guitars, including the highly individual Caribou and Gazelle series, with a similar bottom cutaway to the 555 Headhunter. The Caribou and Gazelle were Daion’s response to the upcoming amplified acoustics market, and this is a rather exceptional example of the Caribou. A page from the 1981 catalogue can be seen here, and also in the 'more pictures' link below.

Australian rock fans may recall seeing Dragon using one of these in the 1980s. This example, serial number 281154D, was a one-owner guitar when we purchased it, the previous owner having purchased it in the early 1980s. It is in very good condition for a guitar of its age. It shows a bit of playing wear with a few small dings on the front but minimal scratches or buckle rash. The guitar has a barely-visible repaired crack on the left-hand bass bout (as shown in the 'more pictures' link below). This repair was performed master luthier Steven Gilchrist 16 years ago. It is very stable and does not affect the tone or playing condition of the instrument, and is quite difficult to see, even when you know where to look.

The guitar also had a black self adhesive pick-guard added about 20 years ago to minimise wear on the solid cedar top. The thin body design is amazingly loud, due to arched back which projects sound, and brass nut and bridge. Frets show light wear and the guitar plays well.

These guitars were advertised as having the following features (see the advert page in the 'more pictures' link below)

  • Solid Cedar Top
  • Oval Sound Hole
  • Figured Maple Headstock veneer
  • Maple Sides
  • Figured Maple Arched Back
  • Cutaway Design
  • Negative Bottom Design for new appearance and jack clearance
  • 3 piece Maple/Rosewood Neck
  • Bound Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Brass Nut
  • Brass Bridge Compensated
  • Schaller Style tuners
  • Electric Acoustic with built in transducer pickup
  • Volume and Tone Pots

This vintage MIJ (made in Japan) guitar is an acoustic/electric, and even though it has volume and tone controls, it is a passive design, requiring no batteries. Plugged into my AER AcoustiCube3 acoustic amplifier, it sounds astoundingly good! It comes with a worn but very solid red plush-lined hard-case, which has done its job well in protecting the guitar for its entire life.

Sold to Frank


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