james tyler guitars - japan


At Winter NAMM 2016, we introduced James Tyler Guitars Japan as our mid-priced line of guitars.

This project has been spearheaded and managed by Daisuke Kitahara, who owns and operates Kitahara Gakki, Inc., our official Japanese distributor since 2006. Daisuke is a good friend of James Tyler, and they’ve been business associates for over 25 years. Daisuke attended Berklee College of Music in the early ‘80s and has been playing James Tyler Guitars for years. Daisuke knows good guitars and he knows JTG.

Daisuke first approached James Tyler three years ago about developing a lower priced Tyler line for the Japanese market, and James told him to go ahead and run with it. Daisuke then spent the next year searching, looking at factories, and interviewing the factory owners throughout Japan until he found a factory that would build the guitars the way we wanted (instead of them telling us how we should do it). 

Daisuke settled on Aska located in Nagano. One of the owners from Asia came to Los Angeles and spent time with James Tyler at his shop observing and learning his processes. James gave them his computer cad models so they could build the guitars exactly the same as we do. Aska then spent the next year tooling up, building prototypes and dialing in the studio elite and classic models. They have dedicated an area of the factory and specific employees to build these guitars exclusively. Several of the Aska craftsmen also came to our Los Angeles shop and spent time learning how we do things. 

"When I first opened the case of the final prototypes and held the guitars, it completely creeped me out. I couldn’t tell the difference between these guitars and the USA guitars built here in Los Angeles. I’ve shown these guitars to a few of my best dealers worldwide, and they are all completely blown away." — James Tyler

This started out as a line that was only going to sell in Japan, but after James saw the first production models, he thought it made sense to sell worldwide. This new mid-priced line of guitars has already been selling in Japan since 2014 and is doing very well. We are now in the process of expanding them to our dealers around the world.