Most of the best Japanese replicas were built between 1978 and 1995 in the Fugi-gen Gakki factory by Japanese luthiers, these include the "lawsuit" guitars and forced Fender and Gibson to license this factory to produce their branded products in Japan. In many cases, these Japanese Fenders and Gibsons are of higher build quality, finish and tone than the US made versions.
Orville by Gibson, Orville, Greco and Burny were all mainly produced by Fugi-gen Gakki.
Orville by Gibson
Orville by Gibson were the Japanese manufactured Gibson Les Paul, fully approved and authorised by Gibson USA. The Japanese made guitar was actually a closer copy of the 1959 LP than the Gibson USA guitar being produced at that time.
The Japanese models usually had a long tenon like the 1959 LP's, the US Standard version did not.
The vast majority of ObG's were made at the Fuji-gen factory,
The Orville by Gibson Les Paul Reissue series (LPR) 1993-1994, were the top of the range Japanese produced Gibsons, they all have stock Gibson USA electrics and pickups, nitrocellulose laquer finishes, blank truss rod covers and fret edge binding, and were only made from 1993 to early 1995, they also tend to have the fattest necks of all the ObG's. These are rare, and the ObG Reissue flametops are even rarer.
The Orville by Gibson Les Paul Standard series (LPS) 1988-1994, do not have fret edge binding and have "Standard" on the truss rod cover,..but are otherwise identical to the ObG reissues.
There are some ObG LPS models which were produced in very limited numbers, like the 54 LP (stoptail and P90's), and some Limited Edition runs of (usually) 50 guitars like the LP TV Yellow Junior.
The Limited Edition Guitars usually came with their own hardcase, but all other ObG's were sold with a ObG gigbag, and so as a result ObG Original Hardcases are very rare.
Most of the ObG flametops are laminate, but there are some solid flametop guitars, these are rare.
Most ObG flametops are usually quite understated, and any ObG with a highly flamed or quilted top is unusual.
Orville by Gibson's used the premium wood available to the luthiers.
Orville's are essentially the same guitars, but with Japanese electrics and Orville P.A.F type pickups, (which are very nice) they are finished in poly not nitro, some Orvilles were issued with Photo-flametops, and K serial numbers were assembled in Korea.
Most Orville by Gibson and Orville guitars have the long neck tenon which is faithful to the "holy grail" 1959 Gibson Les Paul (which is what all these guitars were trying to replicate). This feature is only available on the current Gibson Historic reissue series and is considered to be a superior method of neck/body joint giving better sustain and overall tone.
From early in 1995, Orville by Gibson was discontinued, and in 1998 Orvilles were rebranded as Epiphone by Gibson (Japan).
These were only produced for 2 years up to 2000, the Japanese Epiphone's are really Orville's with a different headstock inlay.
There were no replacements for the Orville by Gibson models, and as such these are becoming very sought after.
The Greco Super Real Series EGF.
1980 and 1981 only.
Model EGF-850, EGF-1000, EGF-1200, all feature flametops, fret binding and nitro finish, with a long tenon, the necks on these are of the fatter 59 kind.
As these were only produced for 2 years they are rare.
The rarest are the EGF-1200 which feature the fabled 'DRY Z' pickups,and are amongst the best regarded of all LP replicas.
The Greco Super Reals have the fattest neck of all the LP replica's.
Greco Mint Collection.
Model EG59-85 upward, have Nitro finishes and some limited edition series,(very rare) have fret edge binding, with high quality electrics and Greco P.A.F type pickups(apparantly DiMarzio USA made..). The EG59-100 and EG58-120 have DRY pickups and 50,s style necks, the EG58-120's also have fret binding and are the equal of the high end EGF-1000 and 1200 Super Real's in every way.
The later years, 86-90 the high end models have Seymour Duncan pickups as stock.
All these guitars feature a long neck tenon, currently only available in the Gibson Historic Series.
Some Burny Super Grade models follow the same construction techniques as the above, some do not have the long tenon, but all have poly finishes,and the higher spec model have fret binding.The most common are the RLG and FLG-90's, the RLG and FLG-120's are much rarer, and are highly flamed and highly sought after.
The highly regarded,(and rare)Tokai "Les Paul Reborn" was only produced for one full year (1978/9) before Tokai were forced to change the name to Reborn, then Reborn old (very rare 6 months production only..), then in 1980, Love Rock.
The Love Rocks from 1980-1981 are made to exactly the same specs as the Les Paul Reborn and Reborn Old, but the latter have more rarity value.
The Tokai's were produced elsewhere in Japan, but are of a similar quality to the Fugi-gen guitars.For lots more info on Tokai guitars, visit
Produced for only 2 years 1982 and 1983, these were the domestic Japanese version, only for sale in Japan, the Squire JV were the export models. The Fender JV have Fender hardware and Pickups and nitro finish on the ST-85 and ST-115 models.
For more info on Fender JV series Guitars see:
I bring you all these guitars for sale in the UK.