Shop Spotlight: GLIDE Guitars in Onagawa, Japan

In the tiny coastal town of Onagawa, Miyagi, on the east coast of Japan, a renaissance is taking place. After being 70 percent destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Onagawa has rebuilt itself, slowly cultivating a reputation as a destination for innovation.

From Onagawa’s new railway station down to the beautiful Seapal Pier, Onagawa’s rebirth is evident. Residing in one of the Seapal Pier buildings is GLIDE (Guitar LIfe DEsign) a guitar maintenance, service, and manufacturing facility. While it started as a repair shop, GLIDE is now making its own guitars under the QUESTREL brand name.

QUESTREL SWOOD

We recently had a chance to catch up with GLIDE’s founder, Mr. Kajiya, to learn more about their inspiring business.

Tell us about how and why you started GLIDE.

We started Glide in Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture three and a half years ago. We had a shop there, and then two years ago, we opened our manufacturing facility here in Onagawa Town. We wanted to offer guitars and basses of good value and quality to customers, so we set up the workshop and introduced things like the Plek Machine as a service to our customers. All the instruments we sell on Reverb are given maintenance and attention by the craftsmen working here at the Onagawa facility. Recently, we incorporated the sales department here as well and now operate GLIDE as an online shop.

What is your background, and why did you choose Onagawa Town?

I used to be involved in selling at a major instrument store in Tokyo, where I was responsible for stocking, selling, and maintenance of products. I felt that the atmosphere of Onagawa was very good. The people here are very resilient about the things they have had to face, and I wanted to challenge myself in that same spirit, but in my case, do it by offering guitars.

As an online business, has Reverb been helpful in connecting you with customers?

Through Reverb, we’re very happy to have reached many customers around the world. I’d like to encourage more customers from all over to enjoy the guitars that we give maintenance or restoration to.

Regarding the manufacturing aspect of your company, could you tell us a little bit about that?

Last year, we released the SWOOD under the QUESTREL brand name. It’s a guitar that has a new sound and form, which we evolved from innovation. We gathered together select superlative elements from all over Japan to combine them and realize this innovation. The sound is clear yet heavy, and the form has a sophisticated beauty.

QUESTREL SWOOD Trailer

You can check out the new Swood, as well as a host of highly maintained second-hand instruments all here in Glide’s shop on Reverb.


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