'77 Greco SE-1200 Project Series (Custom Shop)

Discussion in 'Non-Fender S-Type Guitar Forum' started by _JDZ_, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    This is a rare one for the Greco fans - 1977 Greco SE 1200 Project Series. Greco Project Series were limited to certain model guitars that had to be special ordered. These came with a special Faultless Case and silicone fabric bag the instrument was placed in. Project Series models could also be ordered with changes to the standard specs.

    SE-1200 was the top Strat model at the time, first introduced in 1977. Body is Sen which is a Japanese ash often with really interesting grain patterns, which the luthiers put to good effect on this guitar. Two tone sunburst finished in lacquer, DiMarzio FS-1 'Fat Strat' pickups, with fully shielded cavity and pickguard. This one looks to be all original except for a new nut.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    SaucyJack, Omar, Nick-O and 6 others like this.
  2. ukoldgit

    ukoldgit Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    69
    Messages:
    6,462
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2018
    Location:
    Wiltshire UK
    A work of art:thumb:
     
    Gunny and _JDZ_ like this.
  3. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    36,535
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    Nice. But "Custom Shop"? That suggests a specific area of the manufacturers dedicated to special custom orders, a bit like Fender do now. But did Greco have this? They certainly didn't make their own guitars, the Greco brand was supplied by various of the well known manufacturers such as Fujigen, Matsomoku or Dyna. Was there really a dedicated "Custom Shop" in any of these contractor's factories that was dedicated to the production of special custom order Grecos?

    It seems unlike the usual Japanese business models of the time.

    As for sen, I agree that it can look a little like ash (sometimes rather more attractive), but I understand that it is not related in any way to ash, it's part of the ivy family!
     
  4. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    Yes, custom shop, back in 1976.

    Mid 70's they made full one-off bespoke guitars if you wanted them:

    [​IMG]


    Project Series, were a line of specific models above the normal catalog, but not one-off builds. They required a special order, from dealers they called 'Greco Special Agent' or had to be ordered direct through Kanda Shokai, Greco's parent company. They described them as a line of built to order guitars that allowed minor changes, rather than full one off custom.

    The orders would be held until they had orders for about 40 guitars, then they would be built together. Diagram in bottom left shows how that process worked and also refers to a Project Series shop, which at this point would have been at Fujigen.:

    [​IMG]


    They also came with a lifetime warranty.


    So they did full custom order or could order Project Series models which were built in batches to a higher spec than normal production models. So better woods, finishes, pickups and construction by their top luthiers were available through Project Series models. Custom shop, Japanese style. ESP started doing the same back then as well.
     
    Gunny, bonedust and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  5. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    5,939
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Location:
    Crappie fishing is coming...
    Beautiful grain.
     
    _JDZ_ likes this.
  6. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    36,535
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    Built to order guitars made in the contractor's main factory is not what I would call any kind of "Custom Shop". I would call them "built to order" guitars, which is a very different thing.

    If there was no separate facility where they were made (and there wouldn't be if Fujigen made them), where is this "Custom Shop"? Can I go & visit it like I can with Fender's Custom Shop?
     
  7. bob_66

    bob_66 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Location:
    England
    Fujigen opened a `made to order ` system in Oct 1972.
     
    _JDZ_ likes this.
  8. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    36,535
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    For which brand? As far as I know, it wasn't possible to buy a Fujigen branded guitar.
     
  9. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA


    That's your definition.
    They do refer to a Project Series Shop in both their ads and catalogs - and yes that would be at Fujigen (who a few years later was making them for Fender)

    No doubt they were built to a different standard, with finishes not used on other lines and work done by senior luthiers. I have a second SE 1200 in natural and both have very similar grain treatment on the top, so they spent a lot of time selecting the wood, matching grain patterns unlike typical production.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    When I first came across Project Series, I inquired in Japan what these were and was told it was - Custom Shop before there was Custom Shop.
    I think that is a very accurate description.
     
    Gunny, Nick-O, bonedust and 2 others like this.
  10. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    Sen can make for some really interesting grain patterns. :thumb:
     
  11. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    36,535
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yes & I'm trying my best to get away from subjective definitions & nail down some hard facts. I don't have an agenda here!

    So I'll ask my question again: For which brand? As far as I know, it wasn't possible to buy a Fujigen branded guitar. So how could Fujigen have any kind of "Custom Shop"?
     
  12. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    You have a very narrow definition and I've provided quite a lot of facts. BTW, very hard to discern you have no agenda...

    In the 70's both Ibanez (Hoshino Gakki) and Greco (Dyna Gakki) did a lot of work together including common models under different names, much of it done by Fujigen. There is an excellent book on the history of Ibanez, written by insiders that covers quite a bit of this. Ibanez the Untold Story

    Fujigen did work for a lot of brands. In Japan, I believe Greco (Dyna Gakki) was the largest at the time. Ibanez made its name in the US, selling Japanese guitars. I don't know what the relationship was between Fujigen and Dyna Gakki, but it was more than casual as Greco stopped selling their Fujigen made Strats when Fujigen started making them for Fender.
     
    Nick-O and Elvie like this.
  13. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    My bad - 'Greco stopped selling their Fujigen made Strats when Fujigen started making them for Fender' - I meant to say Greco (Dyna Gakki) stopped selling Strat models altogether, so they must have had their hand in the pot somehow or would have simply gone to another supplier.
     
  14. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    36,535
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    I wouldn't say "narrow", I would say "specific". By contrast you seem to have an interpretation that is so wide & vague as to be meaningless!

    Were what you call "Custom Shop" guitars made in a specific, separate factory or sub-part of the Fujigen factory? The answer seems to be "no" so that isn't what any reasonable person would call a Custom Shop. They were (apparently) special order guitars with certain different features made in the same factory as all the other guitars of that brand were made. Along with guitars from several other brands too, I assume.

    That is not what I would call a Custom Shop. And apparently, from what you have said, neither Greco nor the manufacturer did either. So why not simply call them "special orders"? That would make sense as it's what Fender do - they make FSRs - Factory Special Runs - but they don't claim that they are "Custom Shop" guitars because they were not made in the Custom Shop!

    The only thing we have here to back up the Custom Shop claim is your comment:

    "I inquired in Japan what these were and was told it was - Custom Shop before there was Custom Shop. I think that is a very accurate description."

    We are not told who said this, so it's pretty meaningless. But it's clear from your quote that there was not any kind of Custom Shop! So why use these misleading words? Except if you have an agenda, of course?
     
  15. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    So, you are tying a physical, dedicated location as the criteria of what determines a custom shop.
    If that is your criteria, so be it.
     
  16. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    I've had many Greco, Tokai, Burny catalogs and ads translated, as in paid for a translation service.

    Here's the Project Series flow they show in their ads and catalogs.
    In your pursuit of facts, your welcome to discredit the interpreter as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    If you need to verify the list of Greco Special Agents back in '77:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. _JDZ_

    _JDZ_ Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Location:
    NY USA
    Meaningless? I didn't realize you had the definitive list of approved sources in Japan across guitar shops and collectors. Or are you saying I've simply fabricated the entirety of Project Series guitars?

    Yes, custom shop before there was a custom shop makes complete sense. Perhaps not to you, but fortunately I am not limited solely to your opinion and allowed to form my own, which I've based on translations of Japanese ads and catalogs, and also making direct inquiries in Japan.

    Have you even heard of Greco Project Series guitars before my post?

    Sorry to get your knickers in a knot because I deviated from your precise definition of what constitutes a custom shop.
    Please don't ever go and look at ESP's Technical House in Japan, it may be a violation of your rules.
     
  19. Kitanoken Shokai

    Kitanoken Shokai New Member!

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2018
    Location:
    Sweden
    The Japanese manufacturers had Custom Shops long before Fender and Gibson had a clue about the concept, that is a FACT. Kanda Shokai is the company who owns the Greco brand since its inception. They contracted different manufacturers at different times and usually stuck with one manufacturer until a better deal came along. Matsumoku and Fujigen did have specific workshops for the Project Series and Order Made lines. To nit pick the wording of Custom Shop is irrelevant, did they (Kanda Shokai) have a specific production workshop/production line for their "Project Series"? Yes they had that, with dedicated master luthiers and their staff running them. If that's not the definition of Custom Shop I don't know what is? This is the best run down of the Project Series time-line and history I've seen online this far, I tip my hat - job well done!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    bonedust and _JDZ_ like this.
  20. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    36,535
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yes, exactly.