Tokyo Hiro x Yamaha Guitars

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Tokyo Hiro x Yamaha Guitars

Iconic tattoo artist Tokyo Hiro mixes his Japanese heritage with Los Angeles punk rock to create an original and refreshing style of his own. His Instagram feed is full of beautifully designed artwork and tattoos, and with his rock royalty family and personal style we knew this was a good fit for us.

Hiro was born in Tokyo where tattoos are still considered taboo today. As a young teenager, Hiro received his first exposure to the tattoo word through the music he loved – punk rock. This passion drove him to practice tattooing his friends with jailhouse machines until he eventually landed an apprenticeship with world-famous tattoo artist Bob Roberts at the legendary Spotlight Tattoo shop in LA.

Wanting to collaborate with Hiro on a new guitar, Yamaha approached Hiro about working alongside world-class guitar luthier and designer Pat Campolattano to create a unique custom Revstar in his signature style.

“As soon as I was offered this opportunity I knew I wanted to do a collaboration with Yamaha,” said Hiro. “So, I did some research on Yamaha and that just confirmed it. I’m Japanese, Yamaha is Japanese and does well in the U.S., which is a vibe I believe we share.”

“When I visited the Yamaha custom shop, I felt this craftsman mentality in a totally different world,” continued Hiro. “I knew I could learn something from how passionate Yamaha is about building guitars. Since there was a great deal of mutual respect between us, I said ‘Okay! Let’s do something together!’”

The sky was the limit with the customization plans for this guitar, and the results are stunning. Much artistic integrity and care went into the design, and the proof is in the details. This guitar is no ordinary production model – it was built from hand-selected tonewoods, unique hardware and high-end electronics by Pat Campolattano, who was recently featured in Bass Musician magazine's "Year of the Luthier" article.

“The guitar was an unfinished white wood body and neck that I routed for our specifications in terms of bridge, tuners, pickups, et cetera,” said Campolattano. “The custom features include custom champagne gold metallic nitro finish, hand carved scalloped-bone nut, Kluson tuners with tullip buttons, thorn staple top GT90 bridge pickup and Jescar stainless steel Frets!”

Hiro designed and hand painted this custom Revstar with a classic Japanese-style phoenix, which he found a beautiful metaphor for his relationship with Yamaha.

“I came up with some ideas involving tigers and Japanese evil masks, but in the end I chose to use a dragon and a phoenix,” said Hiro. “The Yamaha logo reminds me of a phoenix, which is a perfect theme for my new relationship with the company, and incorporates our shared Japanese heritage.”

Get lost in Tokyo Hiro’s work, inquire about sporting one of his tattoos, or purchase some of his artwork, all by visiting him on Instagram.