Translation by Tom Ice
Text by Itaru Kanno, 2003

Birth of Caparison Guitars

Caparison Guitars history 1995-2003

Published January 2011

Newer Caparison guitars

TAT Special Amber

TAT Special TransBlack

Horus Yellow Sand

Caparison Guitars was started in 1995 by the (former) Charvel / Jackson division staff of Japan that set out to create a new brand of guitars.

The designers at Charvel created the CDS Series, CDS II Series and Questar Series and the designers at Jackson created the Doug Aldrich Model, Soloist Special, Dinky AXE and Falcon.

We took accumulations of the ideas and opinions of pro guitarists as the plan was to create six models with original headstocks, bodies and position inlays. Next, we tested and created various pickup models. To make a guitar complete, we felt we needed a pickup that fit the guitar. To do that, we tried several kinds of models and narrowed it down to pickups that would suit a professional guitarist. On top of that, we included a Pre Amp CMB (built into the TAT model). We didn't want to aimlessly create a ton of models, but rather focus more on a characteristic sound.

Guitars altered for the professional guitarist are hard to obtain due to the expensive price, and we took that into consideration during our creation process.

Caparison Guitars on Sale

In 1996, the TAT, Angelus, Horus and Angelus FSW went on sale. These were created in Japan with the highest quality control and attention to detail.

The guitars for our endorsees would be made in the same facility as the regular production models. We wanted to satisfy the professional guitarist and maintain that quality for our standard production models.

Signature models

Signature Models on Sale

In 1997 / 1998, the first signature model Angelus-ACE went on sale, followed by the Pete Lesperance signature model PLM-1.

The guitars Ace Shimizu and Pete Lesperance used were made from the same line as the production models. Our goal of producing professional guitarist's guitars alongside production models was met.

We also made a contract with Arch Enemy's guitarist Christopher Amott. Despite not having a long history, we were able to obtain a strong force of endorsees who used these guitars in recordings.

Signature models


In 1999, development for Steve Salas' own model went underway for the Japan Tour. We developed a guitar for Swedish virtuoso Mattias "IA" Eklundh of Freak Kitchen, and he participated in the '99 Gakki Fair with a clinic entitled "Freak Guitar Workshop." (We exceeded our expectations with only Paul Gilbert, the guitarist who was voted No. 1 in popularity by music related magazines, beating out our clinic in participation). We then announced the Mattias "IA" Eklundh signature model "Apple Horn" guitar.

Signature models


In 2000, the Mattias "IA" Eklundh signature model Apple Horn went on sale. We began expanding our endorsee line even more. We started working with Gackt and Fumihiko Kitsutaka (Former Kinniku Shoujo Tai guitarist and current X.Y.Z. -> A guitarist). We then obtained Swedish guitarists Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning of Soilwork.

Signature models


    In 2001, the Gackt signature model Mercury went on sale with a limited production of 100 models. Fumihiko Kitsutaka's signature model FKV also went on sale at this time.

  • In September, in commemoration for the signature model, we held a singing and handshaking event with Fumihiko Kitsutaka at the IKEBE musical instrument store in Shibuya, Tokyo.
  • During the 2001 Gakki Fair, we hosted the Mattias "IA" Eklundh "Freak Guitar Workshop" clinic for the second time. A new signature model named "Apple Horn Sand Stone" was announced. We obtained even more visitors at our booth than last time. We worked together with the Japanese magazine YOUNG GUITAR for the February issue's special DVD. At our booth, we held a talk event with Fumihiko Kitsutaka.
  • Gackt's signature model "Venus" went on sale in September. Guitarists Tom S. Englund and Henrik Danhage from Europe's major group Evergrey approached us at this time, too.

2002 - Introduction of the new Headstock Design

In 2002, YOUNG GUITAR's February magazine special DVD included Mattias "IA" Eklundh's guitar course "HYPER FREAK EXERCISE." The new Apple Horn Sand Stone guitar he used in the video went on sale on March 3rd.

  • On March 20th, we upgraded the controls on the new Angelus, and it went into production immediately.
  • In February, Harem Scarem's guitarist Pete Lesperance released a new album. For the signature model PLM-3, we created a new headstock and body. He used this in July during the Harem Scarem Japan Tour, and the PLM-3 was decided to go on sale in September. We worked with Soilwork's guitarists Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning to create even better sounding guitars.
  • In August, after hearing the fan's reaction to Ace's new model, we decided to sell the Angelus-ACE (Transparent red with black line) in November.

2003 - Completion of Regular Models

In 2003, we worked on completing the regular model line.

  • In March, Anders Björler of The Haunted became an endorsee. The Apple Horn Orange model for Freak Kitchen was made.
  • In April, Christopher Amott's signature model "Dellinger-CA" went on sale.
  • We sent two Horus models out to Andy LaRocque of King Diamond.
  • Tom S. Englund and Henrik Dahnge of Evergrey recorded their new album Recreation Day (InsideOut Music) using Caparison guitars.
  • In July, the regular Horus model was offered in two new colors called Deep Sea and Snow Cloud.
  • Guitarist Nils Norberg of Nocturnal Rites became an endorsee.
  • In August, Pete Lesperance used the PLM-3 on the Harem Scarem studio album Higher.
  • In September, during a tour with Children of Bodom, Peter Wichers of Soilwork used the Angelus-HGS model.
  • During the 2003 Gakki Fair (October 23rd through the 26th at Pacifico Yokohama), Caparison distributed a new catalog for the 2004 lineup. At the booth, the Dellinger model, Dellinger Bass and the rest of the 2004 line were on display. On the 25th (Saturday) and 26th (Sunday), Mattias "IA" Eklundh greeted everyone, and the Apple Horn Orange model was announced during the "Freak Guitar Workshop" exhibit.
  • In December, the Dellinger model went on sale. The special edition Horus models with the Black Forest and Crimson finishes that were announced at the 2003 Gakki Fair also went on sale. Caparison's first gig bag called the ABG-1 went on sale, too. James Murphey of Testament, Death and Obituary became an endorsee during this time.

History origin

The above history on Caparison Guitars was once available, in Japanese, on the old official Caparison web site, run by Itaru Kanno, under the menu item "History". The menu disappeared from the site in December 2003, but the content was still accessible if you knew the file location. This history was still updated "behind the scenes" while hidden from the menus, but was eventually removed completely from the site around December 2004.

The latest version from the old web site is the one used for the translation here.


The Japanese to English translation was kindly supplied by Tom Ice.

Translation by Tom Ice • Jan 27, 2011

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