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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life Guitar Mystery Solved, Atlansia Guitars

It's not often that I find an answer as to who made a particular guitar within a week or two, but in the case of the Life guitar, that's what happened.  It seems Life badged guitars (which is a horrible name for a guitar) were made in the late 1970's-early 1980's in Korea and are not Japanese! 

Now to an apparently well-known, still in existence guitar manufacturer, Atlansia.  I did not know that this wasn't a Matsumoku badge until I did a little research and discovered it was connect to the Matsumoku story due to the current president of the company, Nobuaki Hayashi.  Hayashi was the creative engineering genius behind many of Matsumoku's extensive catalog, particularly the Aria badge.  Some Aria Pro II guitars designed by Hayashi carry the old H. Noble signature...something to be proud of if you own one of these early Hayashi designs!

As to when Atlansia came into being as a corporation, that's a little vague.  The Atlansia company website claims 45 to 40 years of history depending on what page you're on.  That would peg the founding of the company around the late 1960's early 1970's period.  Other sources claim Atlansia came into being only 30 years ago, or in 1981.  There are a few examples of Atlansia guitars before that date made in the late 1970's that may have been the beginning of Atlansia production, but that still wouldn't account for for the 40-45 year claim. Perhaps Hayashi is counting his years at Matsumoku or the company just wasn't making badged guitars until the late 1970's.  There's some evidence that Atlansia made guitar parts during the early 1970's and perhaps that explains the discrepancy.

To look at the extensive catalog of Atlansia guitar design, it's fairly innovative, especially in later designs.  Hayashi has clearly grown in his work over the decades and it shows in both his bass and electric models. The out-of-the-box jumps he makes in creating visually inspiring guitars is something to behold.  Here's just a few pics of modern Hayashi design to whet your appetite:


Atlansia Concord DX bass...can't you just picture that axe in your hands? 

This is a recent Hayashi concept model. It's a 7-string guitar which is just experimental at this stage. 

 This is the Atlansia Peleske model electric.  Wicked!

The Atlansia Solitaire ARS bass...I have no clue how you'd play this one. 

The strange Atlansia Oxford HBX2 bass 

An Atlansia Garland bass guitar
 

Just compare the above to all those old Aria Pro II designs we all know and love.  It's amazing that Hayashi has kept his designs evolving over such an extensive period...and a tribute to his mastery of guitar manufacturing art.  Atlansia guitars are still made and sold exclusively in Japan, which is a shame if you ask me.  I can't believe they wouldn't find a ravenous market here in America. 

Atlansia guitars.  Made in Nagano, Japan.  An amazing evolution from a former Matsumoku designer!

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