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Collectable Guitars pt 28 – Daion Guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Now here’s one you might not have heard of.

Daion were an old 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.

They had a range of electrics, basses and acoustics which were often very different to the usual guitars available from the bigger companies.

Daion GuitarsOne of the better known (and I use that term loosely) Daion models was the semi-solid ES-335-alike 555 Headhunter, which featured an innovative third cutaway on the bottom of the body.

The central solid block was a sandwich of maple and spruce, with ten grooves cut into each end for increased resonance. It also included a coil split function for each pickup and through-body stringing, a first for semi-hollow guitars.

The company also made two lines of solid-body twin cutaway guitars. The Savage utilised a bolt-on neck and two humbuckers, or three in the case of the Barbarian from the same line.

There was also a bass, similar in looks to a Gibson Ripper. The other run was the through-neck Power series.

This had the SG-alike Power Mk.X and the Mk.XX, which looked similar to a Westone or Ibanez Musician. These also had two humbuckers.

Daion also made acoustic guitars, some, in the Caribou and Gazelle series, with a similar bottom cutaway to the 555 Headhunter. There were even 12 string models.

Daion Power Solid Body Guitars

The Caribou and Gazelle were Daion’s response to the upcoming amplified acoustics market, while the Legacy and Year series were standard high quality acoustics.

Daion, for whatever reason, was a shortlived brand which never really took off.

Very few people have ever even heard of this underrated company, which is why, in the rare event of a Daion of any type coming up for sale, it never generates as much interest as it probably should.

Daions sell infrequently, so prices are unclear. I found a Daion Acoustic which sold for $850 a couple of years back, but Ebay searches didn’t bring up any guitars at all. I would guess the 555 semis would be worth between £500-1000 and  if the trickle of enthusiastic players is to be believed they are worth every penny of whatever figure they sell for.

77 Comments

  1. Peter says:

    I have a Daion D125E semi acoustic guitar. Sunburst top.
    Pick up is in the bottom of the neck.
    Average condition. A couple of small dings in body.
    Sounds and plays beautifully.
    Anyone interested?

  2. mario says:

    hi peter….
    could you send me some pictures??
    regards, mario.

  3. neil says:

    i own a daion year series,the 8o/12.i’ve had it for over 15 years,and its been everywhere with me.i love this ld 12 string.records beautifully,aswell.i’d necer let it go at any price

  4. Vic Blake says:

    I have a Daion Mugen Mk1, dreadnought accoustic which I bought in 1986 brand new for £100. What a buy it was. For playability and tone it is way up there with the top name guitars. How on Earth Daion did not manage to corner the market I shall never know. The guitar has been with me everywhere and is well and truly ‘played in’. I have since bought a Gibson and it compares very favourably. I couldn’t bear to sell it and still often prefer to use it as it’s faster and snappier. If my experience is anything to go by, and if you come across one, buy it.

  5. Martin Yelswel says:

    I have a Mugen Mk1 which I have had on long term loan from a very good friend. The hilarious thing is I have been looking at buying a Vintage VEC800 Electro Acoustic as I wanted something I could plug in for gigs so I don’t have to sit near a mic. The Mugen sounds amazing really really full but is a bit battered and up until about half an hour ago I never realised it had a pickup in it under the bridge. My mate never told me but he did say that it was used by some band called Steel Eye Span. If this pick up works and I will try tomorrow then I don’t think I will be replacing it as I am not bothered what it looks like just the sound which as I said is awesome it’s about twice as loud as anything I have tried and incredibly sensitive. So much so that is pretty hard to play quietly. Shame it’s a bit battered though I suppose, mind it is probably 30 years old. It also has flat frets which makes it really fast for bar chord stuff.

  6. ladell gore says:

    I HAVE A BARBARIAN SERIES ELECTRIC GUITAR IN VERY GOOD CONDITION. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET THE MOST MONEY FOR IT…MOST GUITAR SHOPS ONLY OFFER 150-300 DOLLARS…ISN’T IT WORTH MORE??? I ALSO HAVE THE ORIGINAL CASE..ALL BELONGED TO MY LATE HUSBAND…I COULD REALLY USE THE MONEY. THANK YOU…OH YES…IT IS BLACK..I CAN GET THE MODEL NUMBER IF NEEDED.

  7. rolf says:

    I have a Daion POWER MARKXX in very good condition. I don’t use it anymore so if anyone is interested…?
    I can provide pictures and serialnumber if requested!

  8. Stefan says:

    Hi,
    I recently purchased a Daion Power Mark X-B (fretless) with original case for 400 Euros on Ebay. I was a bit lucky ´cause the seller spelled it “Dayon”, so most of the Daion hunters seem to have missed it. It is a wonderful instrument and I will keep it surely for a long time.

  9. mario says:

    hi rolf, i am interested in the markxx. could you send me some pictures?

  10. Steve says:

    My wife was given an Electric guitar, we are just trying to identify it, it has been said its a 80s ESP-F250 but the headstock is really strange (to me anyway 🙂 there are no markings on the guitar at all because a previous owner painted it Orange!
    it is most probably a cheapo but it would be nice to know something about it other than its Orange lol any assistance would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you

    here are pictures of the Guitar

    http://img837.imageshack.us/i/hpim0253.jpg/
    http://img43.imageshack.us/i/hpim0254u.jpg/
    http://img52.imageshack.us/i/hpim0255e.jpg/
    http://img13.imageshack.us/i/hpim0256o.jpg/
    http://img220.imageshack.us/i/hpim0257q.jpg/
    http://img534.imageshack.us/i/hpim0258c.jpg/

    The plates are plain black and the headstock tuning keys alternate chrome / black top to bottom

    once again thank you for any assistance anyone can give me

    stevenwood71@yahoo.co.uk

  11. flyssy says:

    interesting guitar Steve, I’ll put it in the main blog to see if anyone can identify it..Flyssy

  12. rudy says:

    To rolf…is it a bass?how much and where are you?

  13. sam says:

    i have a daion acoustic L-99 with og case my grandpa gave me , he was a finger picker so the old copper strings that were on it when he bought it back in 83 are still on it minus the b string now since i use a pick, just asking what kind of strings would you suggest i buy for this old beauty? p.s. DAION’S ARE THE SHITT YO

  14. Barry Foster says:

    To Ladell Gore: Do you still have the Barbarian? Where is it located. I am in Texas. How much are you trying to get for it?-Dr. B

  15. Athan says:

    Hi all,
    I have a Daion D125E semi acoustic with a sunburst top. Would love to know how old this brilliant guitar is and what its worth. I recently dug it out of the cellar and restrung it with some new Elixir nanoweb strings. It sounds frikin awsome!!!

  16. Taylor says:

    I have a Rare Daion Power Mark X I’ll let go of, call or text me at 501-580-7001 Taylor

  17. Ian says:

    Hi

    I have an 80 W twin neck semi acoustic for sale with original case.

    Looks and plays great.

    I’m based in the UK.

    Ian.

  18. Andrew says:

    Hi Ian,

    I might be interested – could you send me some pics & details?

    Cheers,

    Andrew
    (I’m in the UK too)

  19. Karen says:

    Hi, I have a Daion SG copy. The colour has a remarkable resemblance to Angus Youngs” Gibson. I paid $200.00 for it from Ebay Aust. It has no visible serial number. Does anyone have any ideas? I would like to know more about it, cheers KG

  20. Bobby Stahr says:

    @ Steve…you r wifes guitar bears a striking resemblance to my 1959 Supro 3/4 size guitar…you might check around the National/Supro boards.. …

  21. Barbara says:

    I have a L999, just learned a little about it this morning. I get it out every now and then. I do like it a lot.

  22. geoff says:

    I just bought a lefty daion strat copy off ebay. It just has daion on the headstock, and serial number 880708126 on the back of the headstock. no other markings. Has an amazing sound. Any imfo?

  23. Darren says:

    I’ve got two Daion Rockson MDL’s, both Strat style, one is a natural finish one fitted with a set of Kinman pickups but otherwise it appears original, and a black one that’s all original that I’m in the process of doing a bit of a resto and re-finish on as it’s a bit rough around the edges and needs some electrical attention.

    I’ve also started a blog tracking the Daion guitars I see come up for sale in Australia, purely for interests sake as these are widely unknown guitars, but are a quality instrument and play very nicely.

    http://daionguitarsdownunder.blogspot.com.au/

    Cheers
    Darren

  24. Rob says:

    Hi, I have a Daion 81 Gazelle acoustic which I’ve had for about 25 years and to be honest I’ve hardly used it because shortly after I bought it I switched to playing mandolin/mandola and have rarely picked up any of my guitars since.
    If I remember rightly I paid about £500.00 for it. It was second hand and had been brought back from the USA to the UK.
    It is in excellent condition and a very unusual instrument which us what attracted me to it.

  25. Andrew says:

    I just thought I should let you guys know – I’ve just put my beautiful Daion ’78 Heritage 12 string on UK ebay – goes live tonight (Monday) at 6.30.p.m.

  26. Simon Hudson says:

    I have a Daion Mugen Junior, purchased in 1982 while I lived in South Africa. To this day it is my favourite instrument and I have never played anything under about £2000 that is its equal.
    If ever the house caught fire it would be the first thing I saved,(after my wife and daughter).

  27. elvin says:

    DAION WERE NOT MADE AT MATSUMOKU . THEY ARE A SPECIALIST BRAND MADE AT THE YAMAKI FACTORY DEDICATED TO BUILDING DAION – BIG SOUND

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