Tak Matsumoto

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Tak Matsumoto
B'Z at Best Buy Theater NYC - 9-30-12 - 22.jpg
Matsumoto performing in 2012
Background information
Birth nameTakahiro Matsumoto
Also known asTak
Born (1961-03-27) March 27, 1961 (age 58)
Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
Occupation(s)Musician, producer, arranger, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1981–present
LabelsVermillion Records
Favored Nations
Associated actsB'z, Tak Matsumoto Group
WebsiteOfficial B’z website

Takahiro "Tak" Matsumoto (松本 孝弘, Matsumoto Takahiro, born on March 27, 1961 in Toyonaka, Osaka) is a Grammy Award-winning Japanese guitarist, producer, arranger, composer, singer and songwriter. In addition to being the guitarist and lead composer for the rock duo B'z, the best-selling music act in their native Japan, he has also had a successful solo career. He is only the fifth guitarist in the world to have his own Gibson signature model guitar.[1] The instrumental album Take Your Pick (2010) made in collaboration with Larry Carlton won an award for the Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 53rd Grammy Awards.


Matsumoto was inspired to pick a guitar at an age of 13 when for the first time listened to Eric Clapton's playing on The Beatles song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".[2] Reportedly he bought his first electric guitar at age of 15, a Japanese Gibson Les Paul after hearing Deep Purple's guitarist Ritchie Blackmore play "Smoke on the Water on live album Made in Japan.[1] Matsumoto has said over the years that he has many favorite artists, from whom he has drawn much inspiration, from hard rock particularly such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Van Halen.[1][3] He has also cited a love of classical music, which was the catalyst for the incorporation of strings into many B'z compositions.[4] He has also worked with Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra for many years, and their work often appears on many of the earlier B'z albums.

Matsumoto's attended jazz school,[4] but when he started working as a session musician, and supporting tours like TM Network, his musicianship was cemented. His exposure to a myriad of styles helped him to meld his own unique blend, incorporating elements of his jazz training, blues (his incorporation of the style known as "Kansai Blues" is well known), classical, heavy metal, rock, and ska. Matsumoto's continued his session work throughout the early and mid-1980s with acts such as Mari Hamada until deciding to jump on the emerging solo instrumental trend catching on in Japan at that time. He recorded solo album "Thousand Wave" and worked with future globe headliner Tetsuya Komuro as a touring guitarist for Komuro's band TM Network. "99", a simple instrumental incorporating some blistering fretwork, is considered one of his finest works.

After his solo album, Matsumoto decided to try his hand at starting his own band. With his session work behind him, and a burgeoning production career, he started to search for a singer. After being presented with a tape from an unknown session singer known as Koshi Inaba, Matsumoto was blown away. Their first recorded session was a rendition of "Let It Be" and "Oh! Darling" by The Beatles, and even though the amp blew out, Matsumoto knew he had his new singer.[3] Matsumoto and Koshi formed the duo B'z and debuted in September 1988. B'z has continued to be one of the most successful bands in the history of Japanese music, helped by the pairing of two very different musical directions. Matsumoto always drew his tastes from blues, classical, and jazz, while Koshi preferred rock music. Tak has ongoing friendships with musicians such as Barry Sparks, Marty Friedman, Billy Sheehan, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Martin, Jack Blades, Joe Perry, Pat Torpey, Steven Tyler, and Steve Vai, with whom Tak and Koshi recorded the song "Asian Sky" from the 1999 album, The Ultra Zone.[2] Billy Sheehan recorded tracks for 1999's Brotherhood album, as well as touring (along with Shane Gaalaas) as support musicians for 2002's Green Live-Gym Tour. In 2002, Matsumoto contributed music to two songs ("Don't Stop Music!" and "Koiuta") in Misia's fourth album, Kiss in the Sky. She invited him to be a part of the album after discovering his solo work.

In 2004, Matsumoto formed the "Tak Matsumoto Group" with Eric Martin on vocal, Jack Blades on bass, and Brian Tichy on drums, forging ahead with his own brand of musical genius. Tak played guitar, produced the album and wrote songs while Eric and Jack wrote lyrics. On March, the single "Oh Japan ~Our Time Is Now~", was released. The album TMG I that made Tak go back and forth to US for the recording, was released on June 23. Tak has had this project idea for a long time; the album mixes rock and oriental sounds. The album topped the chart in the first week. Matsumoto energetically kept working. On July 18, 19 and 20, he had a collaboration concert with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall. At this special concert named Tokyo Special Collaboration 2004 Matsumoto Takahiro -HANA-, Tak played B'z hit "Love Phantom" and the solo number "HANA" with only his guitar and Orchestra. Soon after, TMG started its tour rehearsal. From July 30, the "Dodge The Bullet" tour started at Zepp Fukuoka. Chris Frazier who played songs on the B'z album Big Machine joined as the drummer for this tour. TMG had 16 shows in 8 locations including the last show at Nihon Budokan. In November, Matsumoto established his own label "House of Strings" which emphasizes guitarists and string musicians. He recorded again at a studio the songs played with the orchestra in July, and released it as the first House of Strings CD with the same title on the album. It is an instrumental album including Christmas numbers such as "Itsukano Merry Christmas" and "Holy Night".

In 2005, he scored the soundtrack for the film Ultraman: The Next, while the next year wrote the music of "Real Face" for KAT-TUN. According to Oricon, "Real Face" became the Japanese best-selling single in 2006. In 2010, after the tour "Ain't No Magic" with B'z, Matsumoto worked with guitarist Larry Carlton. Together they released an album titled Take Your Pick in June 2010, available in Japan and around the world. The album was considered for nomination for nine categories of the 2011 Grammy Awards,[5] and ended up winning the award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.[6] It also won the "Jazz Album of the Year" award at 25th Japan Gold Disc Awards.[7] Together they embarked on a nationwide tour to support the album, with Matsumoto saying that "felt a little nervous playing "Room 335" with Mr. Larry Carlton every night".[2] In 2016, Matsumoto released a three-track EP called Enigma, followed in 2017 by a collaboration album between himself and Hawaiian artist Daniel Ho, Electric Island, Acoustic Sea.


Matsumoto through his B'z fame is credited for "resurrection and reinvention of the Japanese guitar hero", alongside and in comparison to X Japan's guitarist Hideto Matsumoto for a model of guitarist more interested in technique, technology and equipment, popularising the electric guitar as a mass media product in Japan.[1] Terry Burrows considered him as the "most highly regarded guitarist to emerge from Asia".[8] Matsumoto ranked first in a 2011 poll conducted by Japanese search engine goo on who the Japanese people thought was the best guitarist to represent Japan.[9] In 2019, Matsumoto's song "1090 ~Thousand Dreams~" (1090 〜千夢一夜〜) was named the 51st best guitar instrumental by Young Guitar Magazine in 2019.[10]

Musical equipment[edit]

Matsumoto was given his own Signature Model Les Paul from Gibson in 1999. Matsumoto was added to the Gibson signature artist club as the first guitarist from Asia. He currently holds the record with 7 different signature models produced, including "Model Double Cutaway".[4][8] His Les Paul model was also adapted into an Epiphone.[8] In recent years was released signature model "Doublecut Custom Ebony".[2][11]

Early career[edit]

  1. 'Tak' Matsumoto Yamaha MGM Signature Model (1988–1989)
  2. 'Tak' Matsumoto Yamaha MGM-II Signature Model (1990–1992)
  3. 'Tak' Matsumoto Yamaha MGM-III Signature Model (1993–1995)
  4. Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top (1991–1998)
  5. Music Man EVH Signature Model (1995–1998)
  6. (Mesa Boogie) Mark III head amp (1985–1991)
  7. VHT 100 watt rack-mounted heads (1985–1991)
  8. (Mesa Boogie) 2 channel Dual Rectifier 100 watt (1992–1995)
  9. (Mesa Boogie) 4 X 12 celestion speaker (Rebadged to a Ferrari emblem)
  10. Rockman XPR (1988–1997)
  11. Marshall JCM 800 100 watt heads (1994)
  12. Marshall 4x12's with Celestion speakers (Rebadged "Matsumoto") (1992–1997)
  13. Peavey 5150 guitar amp (1996–2000)
  14. Peavey 5150II 100 watt amplifier (2000–2002)
  15. EMB Audio Remote wah system


  1. Gibson 'Tak' Matsumoto Signature Model (4 types)
  2. Bogner Ecstasy Classic 100 watt Amplifiers
  3. Bogner Uberschall 100 Watt Amplifiers
  4. Bogner "Rei" 4x12 cabinets (with specially voiced custom speakers)
  5. Budda Budwah
  6. Digitech Whammy Pedal
  7. Taurus Distortion Pedal
  8. Dunlop 1.00 Guitar Picks
  9. Sadowsky Tokyo Stratocaster Type (2006, from the Monster's Garage)

Matsumoto has also amassed a substantial guitar collection, including the following:

  1. 1870 Martin C-7 Acoustic Guitar
  2. 1937 Martin 000-18 Acoustic Guitar
  3. 1952 Fender Telecaster (Butterscotch Blonde)
  4. 1954 Fender Stratocaster (Tobacco Sunburst)
  5. 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (with 'Soapbar' pickups)
  6. 1959 Gibson Les Paul Flametop (with PAF pickups)
  7. 1962 Fender Stratocaster (Fiesta Red)
  8. 1962 Gibson SG

Matsumoto is also an avid collector of older guitar amplifiers, as well as an accomplished bass player. Aside from guitars, he also owns other instruments, such as a few sitars, electric and otherwise.[citation needed]


With B'z[edit]

Solo works[edit]


  1. Thousand Wave (May 21, 1988), Oricon ranking: No. 58
  2. Wanna Go Home (April 22, 1992) No. 3
  3. Rock'n Roll Standard Club (May 15, 1996) No. 2
  4. Thousand Wave Plus (October 7, 1996) No. 25
  5. Knockin' "T" Around (April 14, 1999) No. 5
  6. Dragon From The West (February 27, 2002) No. 5
  7. 華 (Hana) (February 27, 2002) No. 4
  8. The Hit Parade (November 26, 2003) No. 2
  9. House of Strings (November 24, 2004) No. 7
  10. Theatre of Strings (October 19, 2005) No. 9
  11. Take Your Pick (June 2, 2010) No. 2
  12. Strings of My Soul (June 20, 2012) No. 4
  13. New Horizon (April 20, 2014) No. 3
  14. enigma (April 6, 2016) No. 4
  15. Electric Island, Acoustic Sea (February 8, 2017) No. 7


  1. '88 ~ Love Story/Love Ya (September 25, 1991) Oricon ranking: No. 8
  2. #1090 Thousand Dreams (March 18, 1992) – Music Station opening theme - No. 3
  3. The Changing (March 25, 1999) No. 3
  4. 異邦人 (Ihoujin) (August 27, 2003), features Zard and Matsuda Akiko of Ramjet Pulley, No. 2
  5. イミテイション・ゴールド [Imitation Gold] (October 8, 2003), features Mai Kuraki and Nakamura Yuri of GARNET CROW, No. 1

TMG (Tak Matsumoto Group)[edit]


  1. TMG I (June 23, 2004) No. 1


  1. "Oh Japan ~Our Time Is Now~" (March 31, 2004) No. 3


  1. Dodge The Bullet (December 15, 2004) No. 8


  1. ^ a b c d Freedman, Alisa; Slade, Toby (2018). Introducing Japanese Popular Culture. Taylor & Francis. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-1-317-52893-7.
  2. ^ a b c d John Katic (September 7, 2012). "Interview: Guitarist Tak Matsumoto of B'z Discusses the Band's First English-Language EP and His Signature Edition Gibson". Guitar World. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists – No.30". HMV Japan (in Japanese). November 1, 2003. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Robyn Weiss (October 30, 2012). "B'z - Rockin' in the USA". Screamer magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Vaughan, Andrew (October 25, 2010). "Multi Grammy Nominations for Larry Carlton and Tak Matsumoto". Gibson Lifestyle. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  6. ^ "And The Grammy Goes To…". Off the Lock. February 14, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Japan Gold Disc Award 2011" (in Japanese). RIAJ. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Burrows, Terry (2015). The Les Paul Manual: Buying, Maintaining, Repairing, and Customizing Your Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul. Voyageur Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7603-4923-6.
  9. ^ "Which guitarist do you think can be a representative for Japan?". tokyohive.com. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  10. ^ "ヤング・ギター厳選『ギター・インストの殿堂100』名演ランキング". Young Guitar Magazine (in Japanese). June 11, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "Tak Matsumoto Doublecut Custom Ebony". Gibson]. Retrieved November 22, 2018.

External links[edit]