EG1935 SA-1 The Samick 3

The Japanese market is unique in that Gibson and Fender's trademark copyrights do not apply there. Therefore, other manufacturers can use their designs, as long as they are only sold within Japan.

Samick made a play for this market starting in the mid 1980s, even going so far as to create brands just for the Japanese market (Meriken, Hot Licks and Nashville), but found it difficult to compete with well-established domestic Japanese brands. By 1991, they began dwindling down their Japanese Market-specific lineup and by 1996 had condensed to a single international lineup.

Dating Japanese market models can be very difficult because most did not include serial numbers at all. For examples using a 3-way box switch, a production date may be ink-stamped on the side of the switch. Only by 1992 did they finally start including serial numbers, following their standard Serial Number format.


1990 JDM 001 med

1990-1991 Japanese Market Catalog (NT-2P shown)

Meriken lineup:

Hot Licks lineup:

  • PJ
  • SSH (Strat style)

Nashville lineup: