Oswego Guitar Maker Gets Warm Welcome in Japan
Apr 19, 2016 11:00AM ● Published by Shannon Antinori
DeMont Guitars owner Nate DeMont, left, with Fujigen Guitars founder Yuichiro Yokouchi, wife Stefanie DeMont and Shoji Yokouchi. (Photo provided by Nate DeMont)
An Oswego guitar maker recently got the rock star treatment during a whirlwind trip to Japan.
Nate DeMont founded DeMont Guitars in 2008, offering vintage guitar restoration, custom-built guitars, guitar parts and lessons. While his guitars are made here at home, DeMont has long had a love of Japanese instruments, including Guyatone guitars.
In 2014, DeMont partnered with Guyatone to launch Japan DeMont, which now handles engineering and distribution of DeMont’s guitars overseas.
“We’re bringing back a vintage Japanese guitar brand and making it in the United States,” DeMont said.
Last month, DeMont and his wife, Stefanie, spent 10 days in Japan, meeting with famous guitar makers and musicians, and touring some of Japan’s biggest guitar factories. DeMont and his wife were also invited to the family home of Fujigen Guitars founder Yuichiro Yokouchi.
“The house itself is 400 years old,” DeMont said, adding it was a rare honor to be invited into a family’s home. Founded in 1960, Fujigen remains a family-owned company, DeMont said.
“Everyone there just really took care of us,” said DeMont, who was also a guest of honor at a party in Tokyo featuring famous musicians, Japanese comic book editors and guitar makers.
DeMont was even invited to take the stage with the band.
“That was a little intimidating, because I’m only a mediocre (guitar) player,” he said with a laugh.
“It’s odd how popular we are in Japan when most people here don’t know about us,” Demont added, although that’s beginning to change.
The company continues to grow at home in Oswego. DeMont founded his second company, DeMont MFG LLC, last May to handle the manufacturing and building side of the business.
“I didn’t realize how many supporters we had (in Japan) until they threw us that party,” DeMont added. “It was really encouraging to see people excited about what we’re doing here."
For more information on DeMont Guitars, visit the website, and check out photos from DeMont's Japan trip on Instagram.