The Vantage Timeframe
“Vantage” (and “Avenger”) are/were registered trademarks for Jam Industries Ltd, Montreal/Canada.
Registration of the “Vantage” trademark in Japan (Matsumoto/Nagano).
The Vantage concept was an initial motivation on the part of an established company (matsumoku kogyo)
to design and build a product line that would reflect its own pride and expertise of manufacturing
abilities (From the 1980 “marketing manual”, published by MTI).
The Vantage line was developed by Mr. Matsura in cooperation with the canadian distributor Marty
Golden (Jam industries) and the US distributor Ernie Briefer (Music Technology Inc., NY)
Contract JAM industries/Erikson Music(CAN) – Matsumoku (JAP)
1978-04-20: Filing in for registration of the “Vantage” trademark in Canada Vantage was developed for the north american market first.
“Music Technology Inc.” (MTI) became US-distributor.
1979-06-08: “First use in commerce” for the “Vantage” trademark in the USA (registration filed in 1980-10-31)
(MTI was holding the rights for the US market until 1989)
First VANTAGE guitars at music stores (CAN, US) Canada possibly earlier (early 1979 or late 1978??)
Jam Industries/Erikson Music (Montreal): CAN
Music Technology Inc.(New York): USA
Paiste Distribution (Hamburg): GER, Switzerland
(Mexo: Germany 1984 – 1986)
Dynamic Musical Enterprises (Chatswood, NSW): AUS, NZ
Stack Music (Bexhill, East Sussex): UK
Musik Hofrichter (Vienna): Austria
Codim-France (Lyon): France
+ Distributors in Sweden, Italy, Japan
Vantage slogan: “Sound by design”
MTI slogan 1980: “The Must Line To Have For The 80’s” (1982 slogan: “Born to rock”)
1978/79 – 1984:
All Vantage electrics made by Matsumoku/JAP
Acoustics made by Katoh, Terada, Ida (and other japanese companies)
Chushin (Matsumoto/JAP) also started to build Vantage electric guitars for Erikson Music / MTI
Matsumoku kogyo had to close after the Singer (sewing machines) company, who partially owned Matsumoku, nearly went bankrupt.
Matsumoku couldn’t afford to buy itself out of Singer. Land and equipment of the company were sold.
A memorial stone at a park in Matsumoto/Nagano reminds of the former guitar production.
That same year, Samick began building Vantages and then purchased the Vantage trademark.
1989, April: MTI cancelled their rights. Coincidentally, Samick had a relationship with Matsumoku dating back to the 1970s, where they were tutored by the Japanese manufacturer, so they were a fitting new home for Vantage.
There seems to exist a gap between japanese and korean Vantage production! No 1989 Vantages!?
Start of korean and (later) indonesian production of Vantage guitars by “Samick”.
Samick kept the classic Avenger X (and later reissued the AV), while re-creating the VLP Spirit as the DL, and the VSH as the 635V. However, it was largely a new lineup, mostly consisting of contemporary “superstrats”.
At first, a new pointy, “reverse” headstock was used, but in 1991, all models returned to classic Vantage headstock designs.
Notably, there was only one neck-through model offered (the 928), which was a superstrat, unlike the neck-through models that Vantage is now known for (Coincidentally, Samick had built neck-through guitars in the style of those classic Vantages under various brand names during the early 1980s).
Filing in for the registration of Samick’s “Vantage lettering” trademark (US)
1990 – 1998:
Amps, mixers, microphones, aso. wearing the Vantage label
End of “Samick” Vantage production. Due to economical conditions and increased prices from Korea.
Erikson Music stopped international business
Production ended by 2000.
After 2000 there are some models for sale with “Made in Chinae” on the label.
A special thanks to the guys at The Guitar Gallery Forums – The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku-site for shareing their information and knowlegde. And Samick Wikia for holding us updated on the korean production. Thank you guys..