c.1980 Daion "The 80" Dreadnought Guitar

This is a friend's guitar and it was in for a fairly heavy fret leveling, dressing, and setup. At the same time I replaced a non-functional undersaddle pickup with a new K&K Big Twin.

For those not up on Daions, they're a bit of a cult guitar: they're higher-end Japanese instruments made by the Yamaki firm and they were only produced for a few years. Word on the street is that they were sold simply too cheap to justify the production costs so the line was phased out. I believe it, because these are nice instruments that are (from a construction, tone, and playability standpoint) on par with Martins and Gibsons from the same time.

Interestingly, while the general bracing design of Daions is pretty traditional and the neck shapes on most of them have a 60s Martin feel to them, the details are often more "futuristic" or "small builder" in looks and styling. Just look at the oval soundhole and funky mandolin-looking pickguard on this guy!

This model is known simply as "The 80" and was the special model from the Daion line for that year. It's similar to the typical "catalog" dreadnoughts save the mahogany top, burgundy-sunburst finish and of course the oval soundhole.

Brass nut, rosewood headstock veneer, and gold-plated (faded, now) hardware.

The brass inlay in the maple-bound rosewood board looks very cool.

I think the bone saddle is unoriginal as I'm pretty sure this would have shipped "stock" with a brass one.

This guitar has seen a lot of play from its owner. Tonewise it's somewhere between a Martin 14-fret dread and a Gibson J-45. It's warmer and darker than a typical Martin but has a crisp, singing treble like a D-18.

Overall, just a cool guitar, and very rare. These Daions are also built like tanks so they make great instruments for stage use.

1 comment:

Paullouis Van den Broeck said...

I got one here at home, it served me for 34 years now. Decided to buy a seagull and retire my Daion. The sound is still great and I loved playing it.