I am very interested in finding out more about the link between the Terada factory and El Degas guitars (a related brand seems to have been marketed also under the name El Torres, the resemblance of which to El Degas is very strong [see, for example, here: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/other-l ... brand.html
]). Till I came across the information provided by Whooper here, it was a bit of a mystery where exactly they were made as little information on them is available. The eldegas.com site is a very useful resource for proud owners of the guitar like me but, apart from providing a few interesting tidbits of information and pictures, it does not do much to solve the mystery of their origin.
Is Whooper still on the forum? It would be wonderful if he might be able to provide some further information.
Here is what I know so far about El Degas: El Degas was a so-called white label import sold mostly, as far as I can tell, in Canada (where most of the remaining copies are located on the second hand market) where it was distributed by the Canadian branch of the then well-known but now defunct New York-based company Bugeleisen and Jacobson (1901-1975). The Canadian branch still exists and is know today as B&J (http://www.bjmusic.ca/
); it was bought by Kaman Musical Corporation in 1994 which subsequently incorporated into Fender in 2004. The ones made in the 70s and early 80s were produced in Japan and were of excellent quality though little / no information on serial numbers, origin, etc. seems to have been kept or, at least, is still available today (if Whooper can fill this gap, I would be glad). It is very likely that they were made in one of the well-known OEM factories (some believe Matsumoku or Fujigen or, as Whooper has suggested here, Terada) where, as is well known, Les Paul copies and other models were produced en masse for various companies which then placed their own labels, headstocks, etc. on them (e.g. Aria or Ibanez). This was the era of the so-called 'law-suit' guitars which, as is also well known, were most often of very good and in many cases better quality than the originals made at that time by US companies like Gibson, many of which were going through a bit of a low. In the eighties, the production of most such guitars, including El Degas, seems to have shifted to factories in Korea with resulting slippages in quality.
Interestingly, in the 60s, B&J marketed Japanese imports under the name Winston (cheaper) and Kent (better quality) made by Guyatone. It is possible that some El Degas guitars might have been made by Guyatone, although the Terada connection may have superseded that possibility. Another interesting point to note is that B&J seems to have sought to give the brand some musical 'cachet' by labelling it with a name of Spanish origin. This seems to have been a trend at the time: B&J's brands were competing with rival Japanese imports with equally Spanish-sounding names such as Ibanez, Greco, El Maya, and so on. To boot, the Goya brand of acoustics (made in fact by several Swedish companies, Hagstrom, Carlsson-Levin, Bjarton) was distributed by B&J's great rival the Hershman Musical Instrument Company, also of New York, in response to which B&J marketed its own brand of acoustic under the name Espana (which was also made by Hagstrom and later by a Finnish manufacturer, Landola).
Any further information would be gratefully received.