Guitar - General/T.Haruo guitars


Gery Hartix wrote at 2006-10-15 14:10:36
I picked out a T.Haruo model T-30 as a Christmas present (to me from my parents who didn't know much about guitars) back in 1978. It came from Sam Ash in Paramus NJ. I still have the guitar and it has aged well and sounds very good.

The salesperson at the time told me that T.Haruo was  popular on the West Coast and they were starting to bring them into the east coast stores at that time. I had never heard of them before but they reminded me of Martins. Well made, good looking and nice sound for about $250.oo new as I recall.

I still have (somewhere) the T. Haruo catalogs with their various lines and quality level guitars with pictures. I wonder if the catalogs have any collector's value since I'm finding that the guitars have something of a cult following. Amazing!

I am a guitar repair guy and in the early 90s, I did a refret on the guitar with a scalloped ivory nut, ivory bridge saddle and installed a Fishman sadlle pickup.

I always felt the tuners were the smoothest of all the guitars I own.

High marks for these guitars- if you can find one.

-Gery Hatrix

earl wrote at 2012-04-09 20:56:16
i'd buy those haruo catallogues.

wanna sell 'em?

my email:

- earl


Geoff wrote at 2012-04-24 19:47:01
T. Haruo guitars were made by Terada in Japan in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  They were distributed by Arai.  I have a T100. Laminated Macassar ebony back & sides.


Tatum Haruo/Dee Tatum wrote at 2012-10-25 18:03:36
Dear Mr. Smith,

It is a pleasure, and an honor, to have come across your Guitar Answers site.  I was particularly drawn to the inquiries regarding T.Haruo guitars, which as both you and Steve (who had inquired to you) pointed out, T. Haruo Guitars had in fact brought about a cult following; a very real cult following, which remains to this day.  You also touched on the mystery, the lack of concrete information, and the "speculative stories" which had surfaced over the years.  I was warmed by the comments relating to the overall quality, and performance of the T. Haruo's; those comments are very accurate, and based on fact.    For years and years, one who searched diligently, would usually be able to locate a T. Haruo somewhere in the market.  The problem was, however, that the owner of the guitar was not interested in selling it.  Plain and simple.  They just would not part with them.

As a huge fan of T.Haruo guitars #I stumbled upon a Model 150 in 1984#, I fully appreciate how the cult following developed, and the reasons why no one wants to part with their T. Haruo.  I read these blogs, and stories, and assumptions for several years, but in 2009, I made it a personal goal to get to the bottom of the T. Haruo story.  A T.Haruo 'owners club' had loosely formed, much with the assistance of Richard Anderson #who had the T.Haruo chain on his Kritmon website#, Stephen Cyr # a luthier who adored and published comments for all regarding his own Model 150#, and Earl Kayoss # a composer and wonderful guitarist to whom you have spoken#.  A couple of the earliest rumors that had circulated widely, which I finally dispelled, were #a# the magnificent back and sides on the Models 100 & 150 were of a rare strand of Jacaranda, from somewhere deep in the Amazon, and #b#T. Haruo's 'english name' was Terry ??, and he was a master craftsman at either Yamaha or some other large Japanese factory.    Both were far from the truth.

The back and sides were in fact Macassar, of the Ebony family, which had seen very limited use in the guitar making world, because being of the Ebony specie, it was rigid, and difficult to form into perfect sides with matching backs.  Pieces of macassar large enough to form a back were not easy to find, but as history tells us, the macassar produced an incredibly warm and sustainable tone generator, both durable and with a beauty in the swirling grain patterns, ranging in color from yellow, to orange, to caramel, to beige, to brown, to chocolate, to ebony black......and all points in between.   Stunning!  Also, there never was a 'Terry' involved.  The name T.Haruo honors Mr. Haruo Terada, who went against the typical tradition of using the maker's last name #i.e. Fender, Gibson, Arai/Aria, Martin, even Terada had their brand in the market, Godin, and on, and on - the list is long#.  Haruo Terada opted to use T. Haruo for many reasons, the most important being a. he knew that the new series of guitars, which not himslf, but his brother Masao had developed, were far above Terada's offerings to date, and needed to be separated as a brand.   And, b.  Terada's OEM business was their lifeline at that time #late 70's/early 80's#, and they knew that these guitars were actually good enough to cause their major customers #ex. C.F.Martin, Gibson, just to name a couple# to reconsider their arrangements with Terada, especially the valuable insight they were bringing to Terada as far as building high quality instruments.  Hence, T.Haruo brand was established, and it was kept as low key as possible.  These factors led to T. Haruo's short life span on the Terada production line # approx. 4-5 years in total#, and it contributed to the fact that finding documented information on T.Haruo was very, very scarce.   I apologize for the long, drawn out offering here, but I will go back to the point.

I did set out in 2009 to find answers.  I spoke to dozens of people in the industry, in both the USA and Japan, spoke with companies ranging from C.F. Martin to Moridaira and dozens of others; I quizzed too many magazines to even begin to list here.  I was striking out across the board.  Not even the managers at Terada factory, in Kanie, Japan. had any recollection, or if they did - it remained their secret.  The brand had never been registered to anyone, which was also unusual, and uninformative.  Finally, in the early days of 2010 as I recall, I was speaking to an old friend, Yoshi Iada, whose original company, Nanyo Boeki had specialized in supplying components for guitar manufacturing and counted most of the established factories around the world, with parts of one kind or another.  The conversation went like this:

DT - Yoshi, have you by chance ever heard of the brand T. Haruo?

YI - #smiling#  Oh yes.  In fact the two men who made those guitars are my uncles.

DT - Yoshi!  Are you serious?  Don't joke around with me, man.

YI - Oh, I'm dead serious.  My uncle Haruo Terada, and my uncle Masao Terada, were solely responsible for the development, and production, of the T. Haruo guitar line.  They were made at their small factory in Kanie, Japan.

DT - Are they still alive and producing guitars.?

YI -  Haruo is near death.  Masao is 80 something, but doing fine.  Very much retired these days.  The factory remains, primarily making semi-hollows these days, and managed completely by Shogo Terada, Haruo's oldest son.

DT - Yoshi.  I am speechless.  I don't know exactly what to say, except - Thank you so much; keep talking; and take me there.

Mr. Smith.  I didn't intend to take up so much of your time, and site space - but, thank you for what you do.  It is my pleasure to know you.  Terada family gave me the rights to the brand shortly before he passed away in summer of 2011, and I promised to carry the torch forward, and to keep that legend which he and Masao had proudly established, as best as I possibly good; and pledged that there would never be a T.Haruo produced, anywhere, anytime, that he would not be proud of.  His son, Shogo Terada, has become my great friend and partner, and will remain a key figure in T.Haruo's future.  Today, some folks know me as Dee Tatum; while others know me as Tatum Haruo; the name that Haruo bestowed to me, which I am honored beyond your imagination, to have upon me.

Gene wrote at 2014-03-26 13:55:39
I too bought one of these T Haruo Guitars from Sam Ash in Paramus, NJ in 1980. I believe it is a T-30, I will check. I think I paid about $200 to $220 which was decent money back then. Just re-strung it this past weekend, and it still plays & sounds very, very nice. It's not for sale. In fact I now have a choice between playing that or a 1961 Martin D-28 and while the Martin sounds richer, the T is MINE forever.

Tattum Haruo/D. Tatum wrote at 2014-06-02 06:15:49
Hi Gene.  So many owners bought their's at Sam Ash.  They were really a huge supporter who helped put T. Haruo in the market of the USA.  What can I say.  If Sam Ash recommended it, you could truct it;   some things have never changed.  Thanks Sammy, Jerry, Paul.........

Matt wrote at 2014-07-30 17:21:07
If anyone is looking to sell their T. Haruo guitars, I am very interested in buying them. I am a player who fell in love with their sweet tones and amazing looks. I have been searching specifically for a T150 for years...but I am also very interested in the other models that are for sale out there. Please contact me at  

Thom wrote at 2016-04-09 15:39:42
Just purchased a T-40 Haruo with amazing Macassar ebony back and sides, very caramel/black and orange. It's simply stunning. It has a depth to the sound I haven't heard before, and it's very piano like in the lows, crystalline in the highs.

Is there a count of how many of each of the models were made, because if the 40 sounds this good, I can only imagine how a 150 would sound.

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J Ross Smith


Find at! Over 20 years of guitar playing, teaching, building, and modifying; have worked as a touring musician, studio session guitarist, engineer, guitar tech, and guitar teacher. Registered member of ASCAP. Registered member of Freelancers Union. I have a working knowledge of music theory and styles, and a taste for all types of music and instruments. If you have a favorite guitar player or style, chances are I share it! If you have a question I can't answer, I'll rely on experienced and knowledgeable people I know to get the correct information for you, and I hope I can help inspire your playing style and tone. Promotional photo by Sebastian Castillo at Castillo Photography, San Diego, CA.


Over 15 years of guitar playing, teaching, building, and modifying; have worked as a touring musician, studio session guitarist, engineer, guitar tech, and guitar teacher.

American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), Freelancers' Union, IAVA (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America).

I have a working knowledge of music theory and styles, and a taste for all types of music and instruments. If you have a favorite guitar player or style, chances are I share it!!!

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