Collectable Guitars

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.

83 replies on “Collectable Guitars pt 28 – Daion Guitars”

i own a daion 12 string. i am not sure of the year of manufacture. i bought it used. it is in very good condition and sounds great! could someone out there give me an idea of how much it is worth?……… case, mark II , 12 string, cedar top, rosewood sides and back, rosewood fret board . i was told by a reliable source that it is worth a lot more than i paid for…….thank you and this is a great site!

I own a black savage daion. I have had it since I was 14. that was 28 years ago. This was the second one built. Still plays great.

Hoy Eric,
I had one of those fretless Daions..but swapped it for a synth
I’d be interested to buy…are you far from Sydney Australia?

My wife also has one of the Caribou acoustics
They’re great…and they get better with age
The trick with those is to replace the brass bridge saddle with
a bone or plastic one…otherwise they’re too pingy…


i own a Daion 78 Heritage bought it in 1980. looks like the one O.D.G. has. I’ve never done anything to it , except keep it clean, oil the fret board, change strings & play it. It’s soft on the fingers Plays & Sounds Great. I love it.


I have a Daion 78 Heritage (since new) and a Daion 80 both acoustics …. love them … truly they are underated and unknown. I had a Daion Savage 6 string electric until 2 weeks ago … was nice but let it go

I have a Daion 78 Heritage too, have owned it since February 82, it cost £130 plus £30 for the case then, and I wouldn`t sell it for the world. It isn`t the best sounding acoustic in the world, but put a new set of D`Addario Phospher Bronze 11`s on it, and it has a sound all of it`s own

I own a mint condition Daion 80 that I picked up at a garage sale for CDN $85 with case! The guy selling it said he hadn’t played it in 15 or 20 years. I had never heard of Daion but it looked like a quality guitar. I figured I could resell it and make a few bucks. As soon as I changed the strings and replaced the saddle with bone I fell in love. There is no way I could sell that guitar It plays awesome and sounds awesome!

G’day Daionites.i love my ’78E, I bought it back in ’84 for $200 aus it is an excelant recording guitar and is a joy to just pick up and play.When my muso mates come over for a jam i have it parked in the corner of my lounge room…it dose’nt take long before someone picks it up and plays…”This is great” is oft said. The person who said replace the brass saddle with bone has missed the very reason this guitar is so good !

i had a DIAON ‘THE 80’ ACOUSTIC back in the 80’s funny enough. but had to sell it for food for me belly. now am after one back. if anybody out there that’s got one for sale. let me know. mine had a nice ocean blue colour lining hardshell case with aluminium edges round the case. sold mine for £130 in 1993. o’dear. dont i just wanna wept and cry!.

I had Daion Electric Guitar, But i do not know the year this model was build. The Serial number of this savage guitar is 83244E. Please i will like to know if this model build here in U.S or any where else, and the year thanks. Regard.

I have two 6 string Daion Caribous “The 81” model in natural finish (blonde)and the 12 string ’81 Caribou in wine red. I bought one 6 string new in 1982 for about $600. I love these acoustic guitars and everyone that sees them loves them. I also just purchased the Power XX 6-string in natural…wow what a beautiful lady she is!! I’m looking for a nice 81 Gazelle.

Carl, if you still have that Daion mark XX bass for sale, than let me know. I am looking for exactly that bass:)


PS I sent you a mail.

Hi Daion-fans,
if anyone owns a Daion Savage 4-string Bass (fretted) and would like to sell it please let me know… or if you know someone who…!
I have a Mark-XB that I’ve been playing live as my Bass No1 since the Eighties and would like to find a Savage as an ideal addition.


I have a LEFT HANDED…DAION Caribou…for sale. ( Have to get my collection down to 10) Wine red, original case. Electrics work well. 2 minor sound board dings, No fret or fingerboard wear. No damage or marks to back or sides. Perfect neck and action. Anyone know its value? Anyone interested in buying? Make an offer! I also have a Daion L999 (not for sale)

Karlos, did you see the Savage bass on ebay 2 days ago? It was for sale in the USA.

Bob, I am not lefthanded, but I wonder if I could still play it. Lets start with the pictures first:)


Hello Michael,
Thank you for the hint…
But it’s a pity – no, I didn’t see it.
Do you know for how much it sold?


Hello. I first discovered these guitars when I found one in a guitar shop in Tuscaloosa, Al in the late 80s. It was a six string Gazelle and I had to have it. I bought it for $325 with hard-shell case. The headstock was very unique, as was the rest of this ultra high quality guit, but I was sure I’d seen it somewhere before. 6 months later, I remembered where I’d seen the logo before when I went to see Widespread Panic in SC. JB was playing a blonde Mark X and primarily played this guitar until they hit it big. I’ve see pictures of him with playing a Headhunter 555 in the earliest days of WSP. I tracked down a cherry Mark xx and bought it for $275. When the internet really took off and I discovered e-bay, I became addicted. I’ve since added a HH-555 mint that I unfortunately pain 1750.00 for. Watch out for reserves when sniping on e-bay. I think a fair price for a good 555 is ~ 1250-1450 usd. Still, mine is mint and it plays better and sounds better than any vintage 335 I’ve ever played, so it is worth the money for sure. I also have picked up a mint version of the Mark xx in green and a near mint legacy 999. I highly recommend any daion you can get your hands on, but understand that, while the carribou and the gazells are incredible instruments that are as much of a work of art as an instrument, they are prone to cracking along the neck/soundboard interface. Anyhoo, if anyone is interested in a HH-555, there is a really beautiful honeyburst one for sale by Bruce Diamond at Bruce is a stand up guy from what I can tell. The guitar was on e-bay and had some issues, so I opted not to snag it. Bruce is a luthier, and has really turned this guitar into a beauty, but it is definately not a mint representative of this guitar. He has it for 1250, and he has had it for at least two years now, so if you want one and you are willing to haggle, you could probably get this for ~900-950. Good to see the word is getting out. Take care, Eric.

I had sell a defective Selmer style guitar, a Favino, in the early 80’s. The laminated necks on these tend to move, and it would not be stabilzed, sadly.
So, I bought a maroon Daion Caribou in 1982. Its neck came unglued within six months and the store sent it to an excellent lutier who reglued it. Ever since, it is my favorite acoustic guitar, even though I have an old Gibson, a Martin and an Eastman. The Caribou has been lying around the house for almost thirty years now for me to play whenever I feel like it, gypsy music, blues and jazz. I love it dearly and would buy another if I could find one.

I have for sale:
Daion “The ’79” Dreadnought

Gloss Black finish, Solid Mahogany sides & back, Solid Cedar top.
Rosewood fretboard & Bridge.
Brass nut, saddle, fret markers; “brassoid” binding, trim & sound hole.

Bone saddle & ebony bridge pins, but the original brass saddle will be included.
This guitar is in very good shape with the normal dings & scratches for a 30 year old working guitar.

Gator semi-hard case.


(512) 748-4903

“The person who said replace the brass saddle with bone has missed the very reason this guitar is so good !”

Ah, one of the enlightened…

You see, those brass bridges and nuts were put on a guitar designed with too much bottom end and midrange. That was the brilliance of the Daion design. The result is an extremely loud, but yet superbly clear sounding guitar. It’s a little tinny if you just sit around the house, but get it out and really play it with authority, and it all comes together. They are extremely dynamic for live performance.

I must admit, I am a bit prejudiced towards them. I bought my first one new in 1982! I currently own a four, a red Mk.XX bass, a black Mk.XX bass, a tan fretless Mk.XX bass, and a red Caribou. I also run Daions Online, heheh. drop in for a visit, folks.

Eric from Tuscaloosa, there was another band with a Daion around the Southeast at that same time…. The band was Chain Gang, later BARKING tRIBE. That black Savage was in the Chukker, Egan’s, Solomons/Varsity, Ivory Tusk, the Booth, Jupiter Theatre and some frathouse basement where we got to open up for the late, great Mr Alex Chilton.

Hi Michael B and Neil!

Hey Mike. I might have caught y’all around the SE back then, but…I don’t remember a whole lot about “back then!” Good times no doubt! Hey man, I still have that 81 Gazelle; it was my first Daion, my dad bought it for me, and I just don’t have the heart to let it go. I played the living mess out of that guitar in in college and for years after, and unfortunately, that guitar did not get taken care of like my others. I didn’t really abuse it, but it was well used. I’m sure you are familiar with the small crack I was referring to regarding the gazelles and caribous. My Gazelle’s action is very high. I’m max on the truss, and I’ve done everything I can to to max lower the bridge. Two different folks I use to set up my guits both say that there is nothing to do on it but to remove and reset the neck and that it wouldn’t be worth it. Have you ever dealt with fixing this problem on one of these? Do you have anyone you suggest that understands these instruments and may have some experience working on them? I’d love to return this beauty back to the incredible playing work of art it used to be without dropping a fortune on it in the process. Anyway. I’ll mosey on over to your site; I haven’t visited in a while. Take care, Eric

I know this is lame, but I bought a Daion Performer in 1983. Its a copy of a Telecaster. Tobacco sunburst with Rosewood fretboard,but I recently stripped it back and painted it Butterscotch Blonde.
I’m not sure what wood is used in the body, but its solid with plenty of grain, and it weighs the same as my 1984 US Telecaster. Its as good to play as the “real” Tele, and if it didn’t have the Daion logo you would think it was a Fender. Goes to show they even built quality copies.

I don’t remember why I bought a Tele copy – it was so long ago – but I’m glad I’ve kept it all these years.

I have a really rare Daion for sale.
It’s a model ’80 twin neck 6/12.
Condition is excellent (for the year..approx 1981). Sound is great, playability is great.
There is a slight depression in front of the bridge. I have had it checked by my luthier/tech and the guitar is structurally 100%.
This guitar is almost impossible to find . Even pictures are almost impossible to find.
Contact me for a price…and pics.
also see here for pics.

I’ve been wanting a Daion Acoustic 80 for a long while now, yep pretty rare

Btw earlier this year watching a CNN piece on how the Haitian people are coping with the earthquake I noticed one guy on the streets there playing a Daion, so a guy down in Haiti has one, nice

i have a 1980’s xxx daion in perfect cond. and i would like to know the value
thanks bil

my husband has a chance to buy a daion guitar number 829954d do you know what kind it is or where i can find information on this guitar this is the only information we have thanks

this guitar is a six string acoustic and in excellent condition
i have look every where and can find nothing.

It’s really great to see a interest in these guitars, I own a electric Power Mark XX neck through body pop up VL knobs with pickup selector switch. All original and in VERY good shap, nice guitar but very heavy guitar. This guitar is what a PRS is today as far as build and looks, this guitar was ahead of it’s time for sure if you don’t mind heavy guitars like LP to name one. Say what you want but back in the early 80’s Japan built some really nice guitars that were high end but a little cheaper then your USA brand names and tend to be over looked for that reason. Back then Japan was using some real soild woods. I also own a rare vintage Vantage Bass guitar loaded…wow! Back new it sold for 850.00 when olimbic sold for 1500.00 just to give you a idea. So all you Daion fans even me…I want the Bass so bad like the guitar i have…oh yeah back to fans, feel lucky to own one and keep the brass nut on it please, because if you do then it’s not worth the same money ok…

Peace and many Blessings…

I have a 81 Gazelle, in rather good condition, I’m thinking about selling. Any idea what the asking price should be?

I have a daion twelve string for sale mahogany oval sound hole gold plated keys excellent condition purchased new been in family ever since stored in hard case hardley ever played no frett board ware or scratchs plays and looks great make offer email

I have a Power Mark XX fretless bass that is a player not a show bass. After all as beautiful as they are to look at, they’re strength is playability and sound. It has a groove in the face from picking, yes I know. Sweat on the back of them where the strings go through seem to cause the wood to swell a bit also. I was going to sand, refinish, and seal it but I decided to leave it alone. If anyone is interested in buying it contact me at I’m in Texas, DFW area. Asking $450 (no case).

I have a Daion Mark I/12 string I’d like to sell. Any idea on what I should ask for it? Its an older model with the logo carved into the front of the headstock and Daion on the back. It has a couple of small chips at the tip of the headstock and a few minor scratches here and there. Other than that its plays and looks great, and is solid as a rock.

I own a a 1981 accoustic electric Daion Caribou with the original case. The guitar is a natural color and has a white pickguard with gold hardware. The tone and volume knob are made out of wood. Really cool guitar.

I own a 78 Heritage in pristine condition. The second one I’ve had. Sold the first one (what a fool) Picked it up from a friend who bought it in about 1982 and hardly ever played it… until three years ago it still had the original strings on it. Sounded very dull and lifeless as you would expect it to. I brought it home, cleaned it up and replaced the strings with Elixer lights and used a fairly soft pick on it and couldn’t believe the sound to spring back out of it. The action is still very good. I use it mostly now for finger picking as the sound has filled out in the last few years with playing it again and the tone and volume are great for that style of playing.
I am considering putting a pick up inside it as the body is so alive there is a issue with feedback in a larger venue with a lot of sound on stage. Haven’t decided which model or brand yet but will put it in pretty soon. I’m thinking of a stereo / mixed style with a bridge pick up and an internal mic. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

Lovin’ my Daion… got some pics on MySpace if anyone’s interested…

I sold these guitars from 1978-1982 in Fayetteville, NC. What a trememdous sounding instrument. I have three (3) ’78 heritages which have become my main acoustic and I have two (2) legacy 999 which are also amazing instruments. I keep one of each in my music store in Myrtle Beach, SC to show our many customers the quality and craftmanship of these instruments.
I like showing the younger kids some of the old stuff to keep them in the loop and not let them get too tied up in all the new design. I’d love to find an ’82 Jumbo if anyone knows of one around. Great to hear from other owners about this very, very nice guitar company.

I have a 81 Daion Gazelle in the blonde finish with the original hardcase. Both have been sitting here for years gathering dust- I doubt that it’s ever been played much. I have my prefered guitars for playing. Am interested in selling to good home.

I am thinking of buying a Daion YW 20, searial number- 9102652.
Was this model at the cheap end of their range, any information would be helpful.