MMK pickups .... revisted

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MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by Steve777 on Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:20 pm

A little while ago, I opened a discussion on MMK's specifically to ask what MMK stood for. Well, I have an email from Maxon Japan ( Nishin Onpa) that states that MMK stood for Matsu Moku Kogyo. So, well done Polly .... !

Actually I was asking them whether, in a dusty corner in Japan, there lived a forgotten pile of these old PU's ? Here below is their answer. Interestingly, they are / were aware of coil problems. In view of this, I would advise anybody about to do a swap out to keep their original PU's, broken or otherwise. They can always be re-wound !!

Email :

We made a special investigation for you.



Some models of Epiphone, Vantage, Aria and Washburn branded guitars (pricing from middle class to high-end) were manufactured by Matsumoku Kogyo. Their sales were weak and they tried to manufacture other wooden products such as Buddhist altar, wardrobe and domestic sewing machine. Eventually this company went bankrupt in Feb. 1987. Some of the employees of Matsumoku Kogyo were hired by other guitar companies in this area. Most of them are retired, so it is very difficult to gather information. MMK means Matsu Moku Kogyo. They didn't manufacture pickups themselves. They purchased pickups from Keiyo, Goto, Nisshin Onpa, etc.



Some of the employees from Keiyo, Goto and other failed companies established a company called Kariya and they still manufacture and sell pickups. However, they cannot manufacture 70 and 80's vintage pickups. They don't have the mold any longer. (The mold got old and probably it was thrown away.) Considering Matsumoku Kogyo was bankrupt and other pickup companies were also bankrupt, we don't think there is any stock item at factory.



Failure rate of disconnecting problem with coil in 70 and 80's pickups seems to be high. We have heard that someone rewinds coil in business.



Best regards,



Miyuki

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by Barry on Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:04 pm

Great info Steve!
Good on ya and thanks for chasing this down! king

It's a shame that so much good technology and talent from the 70's and 80's has just faded away with little or no record. I have a similar experience, but even more frustrating, trying to get info on MIJ El Degas instruments. Talk about obscure! Same deal...no body left to refer to, no records, not even specs, and damn few catalogue references.

At least with Westone the critical mass of devotees is greater and what can't be found seems to be made up for with talented folks like yerself!

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by Steve777 on Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:47 pm

Hi Barry,

As a once classic car enthusiast (Triumph GT6's x 4) , I am very familiar with the process of tracking down difficult parts, as well as the original manufacturers, to have parts put back into production or replicated. You could say, all I am doing is what comes naturally. All a bit of a challenge that sometimes has a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Its quite amazing what some warehouses have buried at the back that they are unaware of until someone prompts them.

If we could find the suppliers to Matsumoku that would be a start. We can knock the pickups on the head for the moment, but there is all the other hardware. I might dig at this a little longer.

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by anaerobe on Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:25 pm

Good story with some first - rate info. Thanks! Smile

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by Steve777 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:39 pm

Why, thank you Cousins !

Maxon have also sent a 2005 article on the early history of Antoria and Ibanez guitars that just so happened to have Maxon pickups instaled if anybody is interested. PM me with your email and I will forward it on.

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by corsair on Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:45 pm

How the hell did I miss this??!! Good work, Steve and much appreciated!

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by jim on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:36 am

Digged up this old post. Thought it was a sticky. Not so.
Neither is the other one that discusses MMK's in depth. Can't find it anymore Sad

Anyway there is a Thunder II for sale in Poland as of now. I was surprised to find it has a Maxon stamped PU in it. Good photograph too! I thought you guys might wanna have a peek at it. Very interesting! What do those numbers on it mean ... Follow this LINK to see the actual listing and the complete guitar.



And digging through the archives of this auction site I found other interesting things, Like unidentified #2 had been listed 2 years ago for example. That would make it the fourth we know of I think.



And the same one on a different date with a different picture. BTW it was listed 3 times!



Just for the record.


Last edited by jim on Fri May 24, 2013 3:56 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : my image provider closing down - substitute workaround)

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by corsair on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:45 am

Hmmmm... not the first time we've seen Maxon marked pups in Matt gear.. and 1500 zlotys is about A$450, so not cheap....

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by jim on Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:08 am

corsair wrote:Hmmmm... not the first time we've seen Maxon marked pups in Matt gear.. and 1500 zlotys is about A$450, so not cheap....

Itīs certainly a firstimer for me to see īm installed in a Westone, Iīve never heard about it as long as I can remember. And itīs a nice picture! Maxon writes in the mail to Steve they didnīt makeīm themselves ... :?:

I donīt know what the other guitar sold for. I like it anyway and maybe thereīs more of īm out there somewhere. Hope someday a happy owner will visit us with some more info on them, the installed pickups for instance, so we know more about these oddballs.

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by Barry on Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:56 am

jim wrote:Digged up this old post. Thought it was a sticky. Not so...
Your whim is my command. It is now!

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by Ro_S on Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:31 pm

The e-mail cited at the beginning of this thread claims that the Matsumoku factory did not manufacture its own pickups; however, this runs directly contrary to what is stated in a 'Music UK' magazine special article in 1984 explicitly about Westone guitars. 

The said 1984 article [not sure whether I am allowed to link it] talks about the history, operations and manufacture of Westone guitars.  It clearly states that the Matsumoku plant did both R&D and manufacture of the pick-ups used in Westone guitars.  


Can anyone cast any further light on this?

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

Post by corsair on Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:49 pm

Possibly means that they - Matsumoku - did the research into what they wanted from a pickup and then contracted the actual manufacture of such out to specialist companies.
Makes sense to me....

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Re: MMK pickups .... revisted

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