Penco Guitars

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Industry Musical instruments
Founded 1974
Defunct 1978
Headquarters Nagoya, Japan
Area served
Products Guitars, Bass guitars, mandolins, banjos
Owner Hoshino Gakki

Penco was a brand of guitars manufactured circa 1974 to 1978 in the same factory (Hoshino Gakki) in Japan as the Ibanez guitars and was distributed by the Philadelphia Music Company.


The Penco brand was of relatively high quality. Their acoustics were all laminates (meaning they had a laminate top, back, & sides.) Penco made Martin and Gibson style acoustic guitars. Reverse engineered and built to spec, Penco produced some of the closest replica's of the Martin D-28, D-41, D-45, and D-45 12 models in existence today. Penco also made bolt neck copies of Les Paul electrics, SG guitars and basses, Rickenbacker 4001 basses, Stratocaster/Telecaster copies; and the odd mandolin and banjo. They also made 12 string acoustic guitars. The Penco brand was also put on "lawsuit" Korina-finished Explorer styled guitars. These were identical to the Ibanez Destroyer and the Greco Destroyer of the same period. The Ibanez line was distributed on the West coast of the U.S., the Greco was exclusively for Japan, and Penco was distributed on the East coast of the U.S. There is bit of variance between the Penco acoustic models depending on what year the guitar was manufactured. A Penco A22M may or may not have an adjustable saddle via thumbscrews. Also some of the models have book matched backs while others maybe tri-backed.

Added: Penco acoustics had solid spruce tops and laminated backs and sides of maple or rosewood depending on the model. The A24 is a 12 string acoustic guitar, with a solid - but relatively thin - spruce top, rosewood sides and back and a mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard. They had a zero fret and a screw adjustable bridge modeled after the Gibson Heritage Jumbo bridge of that period. They sold new for around $140 in the mid 1970s.

Penco sold the following models:

5502N Strat, A-8M A-12, A-13, A-14 JD, A-14M, A-15JD, A-16, A-170, A-18, A-19, A-19JD, A-20 12, A-22 M, A-230, A-6, E-70, ES Copy, Howard Roberts, J-200, Les Paul Copy, Les Paul Custom Copy, SG Copy, Strat Copy