The Japanese Pearl Drum company bought the Hayashi acoustic guitar company in the early 1970s, and began selling Pearl branded acoustic guitars made by Hayashi. There were also Pearl Export Series solid body electric guitars and basses made by Matsumoku from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. The Pearl Musical Instrument company also sold a range of effects pedals and solid state amplifiers in the 1980s.

Source:  Jack Westheimer Pioneer of Global Guitarmaking. By Michael Wright. Vintage Guitar Magazine

Source: Pearl Guitars...brought to you by Matsumoku and Hayashi

Source: 1983 Pearl Effects catalog

Knight guitars

Knight acoustic guitars are handmade by Jeremy Knight in Grants Pass, Oregon. Jeremy Knight started working on guitars in 1993, repairing a classical guitar that had been run over by a car! Since then he has specialized in steel string guitars. Knight offers four standard steel string body models: the SJ-Concert, Dreadnaught, Solo, and Jumbo, but custom guitars are also an option.

Source: Knight guitars website (17 November 2017)


Yakima was a house brand of Willis Music in the 1980s. Yakima acoustic, electric and bass guitars were most likely made in Korea - some Yakima models are identical to Hondo ones suggesting both were made in the same Korean factories.

Source: Yakima guitar neck plate

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk was a German Amplifier company. Kitty Hawk Amps were available in the 1980s and 1990s and were distributed in the USA by LPMG (Latin Percussion). While these were good sounding amps, by the late 1990s problems with potentiometers and output transformers meant lots were returned for repairs. LPMG eventually discontinued the distribution agreement.

Source: Kitty Hawk catalog 1997

Source: Kitty Hawk - the Gear Page


Victory Amplifiers is an English company which produces tube amplifiers designed by Martin Kidd (the ex-designer of Cornford Amps).  Victory launched in 2013 with three all-valve models the V10 10-watt 1×12 combo; V50 50-watt two-channel head and V100 100-watt two-channel head plus associated 2×12 and 4×12 speaker cabinets. All handbuilt in the UK.

Source: Victory Amplifiers website (13 November 2017)

Kingsley (amplifiers)

Kingsley Amplifiers was founded in 2000 by Simon Jarrett as a hand made tube guitar amplifier designer and maker. Although their first amplifiers were inspired by classic Vox and Fender-type circuits, all their products feature a combination of classic and original circuit design, with an emphasis on circuit simplicity, high quality and simple but useful features. The Kingsley Deluxe 30 was awarded the Guitar Player Magazine Editors Pick Award in 2001. Since then they have been busy refining their products and offering new designs - they now offer a full range of guitar amplifier models, from the low power Deluxe 1 up to the full featured ToneBaron.


Fender Prodigy electric guitar

The Fender Prodigy was a Superstrat with designed to compete with Ibanez RG and Jackon/Charvel models of the era. When first introduced in 1991 the Prodigy had a Fender classic Synchronized tremolo system - although the Prodigy II released in 1992 had a Kahler 2720 Spyder double-locking tremolo. The Strat shaped body has more offset curves and slightly sharper horns than a traditional Stratocaster. The single volume and tone knobs controll a Fat-Strat pickup configuration - with a humbucker in the bridge position and two single coils.

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Kay Kraft

Kay Kraft guitars and mandolins were made by Stromberg-Voisinet in Chicago from the 1920s onwards. Kay Kraft carried on into the 1930s and later as a brand of the Kay Musical Instruments Company which was established in 1931 from the assets of Stromberg-Voisinet. These Kay Kraft instruments are notable for their bolt-on necks and unusual Venetian body shape, but there were also conventional looking jumbo acoustic guitars and banjos.

Source: Kay Kraft catalog 1932

Source: Little Brother Blues -1930s Kay Kraft, Recording King, Deluxe and other bolt on neck designs

Stromberg Voisinet

The Stromberg-Voisinet Company was one of the big Chicago stringed instrument makers who mass produced instruments, often for other companies which were marketed other brand names. It had its origins as the Groeshel Mandolin Company, founded in Chicago in 1890, but was renamed to Stromberg-Voisinet in 1921. Henry Kay Kuhrmeyer joined the company in 1923 and went on to become its president. In 1928, with the help of other investors he bought the company. A new company, Kay Musical Instruments was formed in 1931 from the assets of Stromberg-Voisinet.


Kasuga was one of the oldest Japanese guitar makers - established in 1935 in Nagoya by Kazuyuki Kasuga. By the 1960s the Kasuga factory was making acoustic and electric guitars as well as mandolins and banjos. Kasuga exported instruments under the Kasuga brand name in the 1960s and 1970s but usually the instruments they made were badged as other brands - like K Country for acoustic guitars. Kasuga made their own RK Herby and Heerby brand guitars and also OEM instruments for other companies. By the 1980s Kasuga was completely an OEM brand manufacturer making instruments for ESP, Burny, Headway, Saga and Yamaha. The movement of OEM guitar production to Taiwan in the 1990s led to a sharp downturn in business but Kasuga carried on for a while producing violins and bouzoukis. In 1996 production finally stopped at Kasuga's Nagoya factory.

Source: translation of Kasuga history

Source: Kasuga catalogs 1970s-1980s

Kendall (Colin)

Colin Kendall has been building stringed instruments since the 1990s, specialising in acoustic guitars and folk instruments. Colin formerly worked with Steve Jones as Jones Kendall Guitars, producing resonators and other guitars, he now creates a wide range of handmade instruments including mandolins, mandolas, citterns and bazoukis using traditional methods and materials. Kendall works from his basement workshop in Bury, Greater Manchester and has a strong presence on the UK folk festival circuit.

Source Colin Kendall website

Jordan (Electronics)

Jordan Electronics was initially a division of the Victoreen Instrument company, making radiation dosimeters. Jordan Electronics then became a division of the Phaostron Instrument and Electronic Company of Pasadena, California. In the late 1960s and 1970s Jordan Electronics made a range of solid state amplifiers as well as the Boss Tone Fuzz effect and volume/fuzz pedals. The Jordan Electronics brand later became a division of International Music Corp of Fort Worth, Texas, who distributed Jordan amplifiers.

Source: Jordan Electronics catalogs 1969 - 1972

Jim Kelley

Jim Kelley Amplifiers were made by Kelley's Active Guitar Electronics company from 1978 to 1985 in Tustin California. The Jim Kelley amplifier had three position power switch which selected output power of either 30 or 60 watts by switching two of the four output tubes in or out of the circuit. A reverb control on the back panel controlled a Hammond three-spring short decay reverb unit. Cabinets were available in a variety of rare and exotic hardwoods as well as vinyl covered birch plywood. Kelley also offered a power attenuator unit to allow the overdriven tube sound at lower volumes. The Jim Kelley amplifier was reissued by Suhr (under license from Kelley) from 2012 to 2017.

Source: Jim Kelley catalogs

Source: Suhr website - Jim Kelley


Venutra was a brand of guitars, basses, banjos & mandolins distributed by C. Bruno & Sons from the late 1960s to early 1980s. Ventura guitars were typically good quality copies of the popular American designs and were made in Japan by the OEM factories.

Source: Ventura catalogs 1968 to 1982

Source: Ventura fan site (archived 2013)


Jen Electtronica was a company in Pescara, Italy who made electronic musical items such as organs, wah-wah pedals, fuzz boxes and ring modulators in the 1970s and 1980s. Jen made products for other companies & brands including Vox, Gem, Elka, Crybaby and Gretch.


The Giulietti Accordion Co. was founded in New York in 1923 by Luigi Giulietti. Giulietti was born in Recanati, and emigrated to Chicago in 1914. The company was taken over by Luigi's son Julio following the death of his father in 1950, and the name changed to Giulietti & Son Accordion Co. The Zerosette company made accordions for Giulietti & Son so when Giulietti decided to sell guitars they turned to Zerosette for manufacture. Giulietti guitars and effects were sold under the JG (Julio Giulietti) and Juliett brand names. There were also Giulietti amplifiers. The Giulietti Accordion Corporation was active until at least 1984, at which time it was located in Westfield, Massachusetts. In 1996 Julio Giulietti died but in 2010 the Giulietti brand was revived by Petosa.

Source: Fetish Guitars - Zerosette

Source: Petosa website

Jennings (Electronics Industries)

The Jennings Organ Company was founded in Dartford, Kent by Thomas Walter Jennings following the Second World War. Initially Jennings' main product was the Univox electronic keyboard. The company was renamed Jennings Musical Industries (JMI) in 1958 as they began to offer other musical equipment. 1958 saw the launch of the Vox AC15 amplifier followed in 1959 by the Vox AC30. In 1964, to raise capital for JMI's expansion, Tom Jennings sold his controlling interest to the Royston Group, a British holding company, and the American rights to the Thomas Organ Company. 

Martin lawsuit acoustic guitar logos

In 1970s Japan there was a healthy industry making copies of the popular Martin dreadnought acoustic models. These are often referred to as "lawsuit guitars" because Martin contacted these Japanese manufacturers in the 1970s (or early 1980s) asking them to stop copying their logo. I don't know whether there was ever an actual lawsuit. Many of these copies had logos that also copied the Martin style. Here are some of the ones I have found so far:


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