Seiji and the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen give their opinion on the discount store’s “guitar for those starting to play the guitar”!

You’ve heard of Daiso, one of our favorite 100-yen stores, but have you heard of 3 Coins? Like Daiso, 3 Coins carries all kinds of things, from daily necessities to makeup and clothing and even outdoor grills, but almost all the products they sell are priced at 300 yen (US$2.64) each.

Apparently, they even sell instruments! Our own Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato happened to find an acoustic guitar meant for beginners at 3 Coins. An acoustic guitar!! So he had to buy it and ask a certain resident rock star if it’s actually any good for beginners.

The 3 Coins shop where Mr. Sato found the guitar is the newly opened flagship store in Harajuku, Tokyo. They also sell 3 Coins’ sister brand Asoko there, so they have a lot more products than other 3 Coins stores, including this guitar.

Mr. Sato was absolutely astounded to see a guitar at a shop that famously lists most of its products for 300 yen, but as it turns out, this particular product was not actually priced at 300 yen. Instead, it retailed for 5,000 yen ($44.10), which makes sense, because of course they wouldn’t sell a whole guitar for just a few hundred yen.

▼ The instrument is called the “Guitar for those starting to play the guitar”

Mr. Sato mused that they might have done better by giving it a shorter and more concise name, but he’s no expert in marketing, so he put that thought aside, forked over 5,000 yen, and took one home.

▼ The guitar didn’t come with a case or anything, so he carried it to the office in its large triangular packing box.

The guitar came already strung, so all Mr. Sato had to do was tune it and it was ready to be played. For this, Mr. Sato was grateful. Apparently stringing your guitar is the first hurdle to starting out as a guitarist, and he was glad to not have to struggle with this first step and the discouragement that often comes with it.

Unlike most guitars, this guitar had no logo on its head, which was a bit unusual.

The strings were laid pretty low to the fretboard, which seemed to make them pretty easy to hold down.

The body was pretty thin and made to be a bit smaller than a standard guitar.

Based on all of these observations, and Mr. Sato’s previous experience with playing the guitar, he was able to tell that this guitar had a good feel to it. To get a proper review, though, Mr. Sato wanted to consult an expert. But who could he ask? Just then, at the exact moment when he was wondering this, he heard the sound of the office door opening.

“You called?”


Seiji Nakazawa and the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen!

Humbled by receiving a visit from this awesome person, Mr. Sato asked Seiji and the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen whether this guitar was actually good for beginners.

Nakazawa/Malmsteen: “Let’s see it.”

Nakazawa/Malmsteen: “Oho.”

Nakazawa/Malmsteen: “Hmm…”

Nakazawa/Malmsteen: *thrums guitar*

Nakazawa/Malmsteen: *plays a little tune*

Nakazawa/Malmsteen: “‘Aha! Asoko’s guitar from 3 Coins is a joke!’ …is what I fully expected to say, but actually, it’s somehow a pretty good guitar.”

“It’s well-tuned, and the strings don’t have too much tension in them so they’re easy to play. In the beginning, playing the guitar hurts the fingers because you have to push on the strings, which discourages a lot of people. So I think this is the perfect guitar for those just starting out. And it’s only 5,000 yen!”

As expected of Seiji and the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen! He got right to the root of the question. 3 Coins’ 5,000 yen “Guitar for those starting to play the guitar” clearly has the seal of approval from our resident guitar expert and aspiring rockstar, so if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to learn how to play, consider starting out with one!

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