In 1951, Matsumoku was founded as "Matsumoto Mokko" (In English: Matsumoto Woodworking Company) by Mr. It was a family owned woodworking business that specialized in building tansu and butsudan.
On the other hand, shortly after the World War II (1939-1945), the Singer Corporation had established a Japanese subsidiary, Singer Sewing Machine Company, Japan, and set up production facilities in Nagoya.
However, because it mainly manufactured guitars under contract, the role of Matsumoku was largely unknown outside of Japan's guitar making circles until its name began appearing on neck bolt plates, headstocks, and sound hole labels in the late 1970s.
Matsumoku produced guitars, or parts of guitars, for Vox, Guyatone, Fuji Gen Gakki, Kanda Shokai (Greco), Hoshino Gakki (Ibanez), Nippon Gakki (Yamaha), Aria and Norlin (parent company of Gibson). Penney sold Matsumoku-built Skylark guitars through its catalog division.
The top-of-the-line early 1980s models were made by both in Korea by Cort Guitars (early neck-though models) and in Japan by Morris / Moridaira (neck-through models, set-neck Washburn Eagle copies, and decent Gibson Les Paul copies).
Several of Matsumoku's early archtop guitars survive, most owing their basic designs to Hofner, Framus, and Gibson.
Most guitars produced by Arai such as the Aria Diamonds (not to be confused with the Aria Pro II Diamonds), Lyle, Conrad, Maxi-Tone, Japanese Epiphone, Univox, and the other pre-1976 guitars often had serial numbers usually on the neck plate (I imagine so dealers could track warranty, etc.).
Unfortunately the number was arbitrary and had little to do with when the guitar was produced.
After Arai joined forces with Matsumoku, the serial numbers began to have some bearing on the guitar's production year and rank in production sequence.
Serial numbers on these guitars were arbitrary numbers and did not indicate date of manufacture.
Matsumoku Industrial was contracted to build its sewing machine cabinets, and in 1951 Matsumoku became a partially owned subsidiary of Singer, Japan.