3/24/2011

c.1981 Daion Caribou Guitar


This is a totally cool guitar. For those in the know, Daion was a high-quality Japanese builder for a few very short years in the late 70s/early 80s. Many of their instruments demand hefty sums and fit, finish, tone and playability are easily on par with Martins or Gibsons from the time. What separates them from "the herd" is the fact that they had interesting, unusual designs, as well.

Take this "special for 1981" Daion Caribou -- very cool oval gypsy-jazz style big old soundhole, an arched back, solid cedar top, wine-red finish, excellent cutaway and a peculiar end pin area that "cuts in" to the lower bout. This was also designed as an acoustic-electric and had a Takamine-style undersaddle piezo, vol & tone controls at the upper bout, and a jack in that "inverted" area. I've since replaced the (busted) undersaddle pickup with a K&K Big Twin, and patched the K&K into the vol/tone controls and original jack... the result is a very realistic-sounding (signal), high-output, totally gig-worthy sweetheart of a guitar.

Tonally this has a very familiar sound comparable to a 000 Martin or J-40 Gibson, slightly sparklier and much punchier (due to the flamed maple arched back and maple sides, though for what it's worth I believe the back and sides are laminate). Volume is through the roof when you dig in and this is suitable as a lead or rhythm instrument. The oval soundhole imparts a "bigness" and "gutsiness" to the tone as well. Very "open."

Yes, and it also plays great, too.

Duh, forgot to mention I also shaved the bridge down about 1/8" to correct action. I forgot to mention it because it looks pretty much just the same as when it came in!



Rosewood board, frets are in great shape, fancy binding. Note the brass nut.


Soundhole has a tiny (invisible in the photos) stable hairline crack on the treble side of the board at the 1 o'clock position.


Certainly a striking guitar -- and the "cutaway" lower bout makes the strap sit perfectly when standing.


The "moustache" bridge definitely gives it that jazzy look. Check out the compensated brass saddle. Big tone!


Fun binding. Note all the pickwear -- definitely been played!



Good quality tuners.


Vol & tone controls work great.


Cool arched, flamed-maple back.






Thankfully they installed a jack as well as an end pin -- I really don't like the "jack as strap button" ends -- they never work quite right.


...oh right, not to mention, original archtop hardshell fitted case. Sweet!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear,

Is this guitar for sale?

B

Antebellum Instruments said...

Hi B,

Long since sold, sorry!

Jake