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More than 48% of guitars produced in Japan come from Nagano. For more than half century the guitars born in Nagano have been highly appreciated both in Japanese and overseas music scene. In recent years, the center of guitar manufacturing in Nagano has been consolidated in Chushin area, and the high-end guitars built by acclaimed luthiers and master craftsmen are gaining global popularity.
First staged in 2019, Shinshu Guitar Festival, an exclusive exhibition of electric guitars and basses took place on November 14 and 15 at Shinmai Media Garden in Matsumoto. The first event drew 1,500 visitors, but this year in difficult time of the pandemic, the organizer set it out under strict control of visitors based on appointment system, sanitation and temperature check at the entrance.
Around 800 visitors about 70% from outside of Nagano enjoyed the exhibit of 150 models from 12 local brands in Nagano, tried favorite models and talks in person with the builders. In coincidence, the guitar makers provided visitors with demonstration of high-end guitar building and talk sessions at the 6th floor site at Parco Shopping Complex in Matsumoto.
Mikio Ohta, a member of the executive committee and manager of Shimamura Gakki Parco Matsumoto Store said, “It’s an event to let people outside of Nagano, Japan’s utmost guitar building and high-quality standard of guitars produced here. At the same time, the event focuses to vitalize local guitar business.
“The appointment system worked very well. We saw serious visitors came, and the exhibitors reported that they had excellent business talks with prospective customers. Actually, we achieved over 10 million yen sales, exceeding the results of the last year.”
The proceeds from the charity auction held at the event is planned to grant to local autonomies to be used for local disaster support programs.