Fujigen, recognised as one of the most important companies in Japanese guitar making, is leading an ambitious move into the guitar business by fast-growing Glasgow-based distributor, CUK.
Fujigen, founded in 1960, was one of the powerhouses of Japanese guitar production during the ‘golden era’ of 1970s and 1980’s, in the latter years producing as many as 14,000 OEM guitars a month for many of the world’s major Japanese and American guitar brands. While it has never had a major presence under its own name in the UK, many guitar aficionados will be aware of its reputation.
Fujigen’s electric guitars will be branded FGN and the brand will be joined by the Slovakian produced Dowina (pronounced ‘Dovina’) acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars, with prices ranging for £300-3,000.
CUK’s move into the guitar business is being managed by former Yamaha specialist Steve Barton, who told MIN: ‘For us, FGN represents a fantastic opportunity – the chance to work with a worldwide renowned manufacturer on a personal level and collaborate to build their brand in the UK & Ireland. The guitar’s are stunning, reputation unquestionable and the 100% made in Japan stamp carries undeniable weight still in today’s guitar market. Samples are on the way from Japan and stock will be ready for September busy season with some extremely exciting products to be announced very soon.’
Barton says he has listened to retailers’ pleas for better margins than they can get from some of the major manufacturers, and is looking for retailers who will work with CUK to establish the brands in exchange for better returns.
Dowina is a family run acoustic guitar manufacturer based in Bratislava, Slovakia. Established in 1979 with the creation of a violin workshop and introducing guitars soon after, the company moved into its current workshop in 2010. Offering three distinct ranges, Antique, Vintage and Master, it also allows complete customisation of tone, wood choices and pre-amps – a service that will be offered to select Dowina dealers, Barton says.
‘Dowina offers a great combination of small batch master craftsmanship and larger scale production run by a father and daughter team bringing great personality and values to what can be a sterile market. We will be specifying some UK only models to support the dealer network and will be offering a refreshing margin opportunity to those who wish to go on the journey with us. The owner of Dowina, Stan, is engaging and has a fantastic history featuring some well known brand names. Demo models are in the UK already and stock will arrive in June.’
Helping Barton handle the two lines will be another former Yamaha guitars colleague, Tim Spurr, who also manages his own guitar brand, Palm Bay, who will be visiting UK and Ireland dealers over the coming months.