I was given an old Emperador bass by my music teacher about three years ago and I now have the opportunity to trade it with my school for a fretless bass. I know nothing about the Emperador or where it came from, except that it was made in Japan, in the SG style. I've been told that they are collectable, from the 60's/70's and not many were made because of copyright issues. There are some scratches and dents in the body, the red paint has chipped off in one or two places, one of the pickups needs to be repaired as well as some wiring and one of the dials has been replaced, BUT it still looks pretty good and sounds good too (I think). I was hoping someone would be able to give me some information on it, like how much it's worth and if it's worth fixing up and keeping. Thanks

EDIT: Photos added.

Last edited by ookami_dono at Jun 22, 2010,
There seems to be precious little information regarding Emperador as a brand.

From what I found Emperador was an MIJ brand from 1966 to 1969. Apparently they were manufactured by Teisco/Kawai/Matsumoku/etc.

Another source says that Emperador was an entry-level Cort brand, and that original models were MIJ, while later models may have been MIK

There is a market for Japanese copy-era basses, but they're more collectors items then player's instruments. If you were to try and sell it to a collector, it would have to be in decent condition, with most, if not all of it's original parts. If its pretty beat up it might be worth a small amount of money to someone who would be interested in restoring it. Also, it could potentially be more collectible if its a rare, pre-lawsuit instrument.

EDIT: If it feels good in your hands, and its not too much work to fix up, I'd say just keep it. It has character, and some of the old copy instruments out there can be gems.
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I'd say it depends,

whats the sound like on it? is it comfortable to play? do you ever really see yourself wanting to sell it to a collector? and with the fretless, what brand? conditon? have you played one before? do you want it?
(i'll leave it at those few questions)

I added some photos! What do you think?

It's hard for me to answer such questons because I'm really quite inexperienced when it comes to basses, I've only ever properly played the Emperador and this other fretless bass...

I can say that the Emperador's sound and comfort is average, it's mainly because of its sentimental value and style that I really like it.

As for the fretless, even with my small amount of experience I can tell it's superior... it's in excellent condition, sounds brilliant, feels better and smoother because of its lack of frets but unfortunately I can't remember what brand it is.

Ideally I want both, cause the Emperador is probably more of a collector's item while the fretless I would use for actual playing. But in this deal it's one or the other.. And I am leaning more towards keeping the Emperador and fixing it up cause it was my first bass, but this fretless is really quite superior. The one thing the Emperador has on it is age and style.

So... Any advice?
my advice would be to keep it. it appears to be solid and serving you well, and between that and the sentimental value i think it would best to not trade it to your school, as they wouldnt know the story to it.

but then again i love sg basses.
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Why is this other kid willing to trade you a superior fretless for this? Maybe he knows something about Emperadors that you don't?
It's the actual school I was going to trade with, they only want the bass cause it has frets and so it would be easier for learning students... I think the story behind it would be lost on them though so I reckon I'll keep it and fix it up