Video: A Guide to The Wonderful World of Lawsuit-Era Japanese Guitars

Burny, Fernandes, Greco, Tokai, Guyatone, Ibanez… there's a great spread of brands from '60s through '70s Japan that were eager participants in the so-called lawsuit era, building and selling quite a few copies of American guitars.

So why say the lawsuit era is "so-called"? Because while these Japanese companies built clones for the better part of two decades—irritating Fender, Gibson, and other originators—there weren't many actual lawsuits.

That said, a "lawsuit" guitar has become a useful shorthand to describe made-in-Japan (MIJ) guitars from the mid-'60s through the '70s that resemble classic models, sometimes in exacting detail. Today, many of these guitars are desirable vintage pieces in their own right, while still being very affordable compared to US-made vintage guitars.

To get an expert's advice on how to find a lawsuit that'll make you happy, we sat down with PTD Vintage's Johnny O'Brien, a Chicago-based Reverb seller that specializes in MIJ gear from this era, though you'll find plenty of great gear from all eras and builders at PTD too.

Learn how to separate the best MIJ models from the rest by watching our video with Johnny. Then check out PTD Vintage's shop, and explore the wonderful world of lawsuit-era guitars at the links below.

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