Also known as
March 27, 1961 (age 54) (
Musician, producer, arranger, songwriter
B'z (Since 1988), Tak Matsumoto Group (Since 2004)
Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
Take Your Pick, New Horizon, Thousand Wave, Wanna Go Home, Hana
Sold gibson custom shop tak matsumoto doublecut custom sn tak2113
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, he has also had a successful solo career. Matsumoto ranked first in a 2011 poll on who the Japanese people thought was the best guitarist to represent Japan.
- Sold gibson custom shop tak matsumoto doublecut custom sn tak2113
- Tak matsumoto and his new gibson custom shop signature guitar
- Early career
- 2002 present
Tak matsumoto and his new gibson custom shop signature guitar
Matsumoto's formal education in jazz was minimal, 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 "Thousand Wave" and working 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" by The Beatles, and even though the amp blew out, Matsumoto knew he had his new singer. 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. 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 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 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 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".
Matsumoto has said over the years that he has many favorite artists, from whom he has drawn much inspiration, such as: Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Deep Purple, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. He has also cited a love of classical music, which was the catalyst for the incorporation of strings into many B'z compositions. 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 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 a new tiger-striped, offset double cut model, which incorporates his new, specially wound TM-1 pickups. His Les Paul model was also adapted into an Epiphone made for commercial sale in the US.
In 2010, after the tour "Ain't No Magic" with B'z, Matsumoto worked with guitarist Larry Carlton. They released together an album called 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, and ended up winning the award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
B'z released C'mon in 2011, followed by Epic Day in 2015 nearly four years later, the longest gap between B'z albums in their career.
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.
- 'Tak' Matsumoto Yamaha MGM Signature Model (1986–1989)
- 'Tak' Matsumoto Yamaha MGM-II Signature Model (1989–1992)
- 'Tak' Matsumoto Yamaha MGM-III Signature Model (1993–1995)
- Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top (1991–1998)
- Music Man EVH Signature Model (1995–1998)
- (Mesa Boogie) Mark III head amp (1985–1991)
- VHT 100 watt rack-mounted heads (1985–1991)
- (Mesa Boogie) 2 channel Dual Rectifier 100 watt (1992–1995)
- (Mesa Boogie) 4 X 12 celestion speaker (Rebadged to a Ferrari emblem)
- Rockman XPR (1988–1997)
- Marshall JCM 800 100 watt heads (1994)
- Marshall 4x12's with Celestion speakers (Rebadged "Matsumoto") (1992–1997)
- Peavey 5150 guitar amp (1996–2000)
- Peavey 5150II 100 watt amplifier (2000–2002)
- EMB Audio Remote wah system
- Gibson 'Tak' Matsumoto Signature Model (4 types)
- Bogner Ecstasy Classic 100 watt Amplifiers
- Bogner Uberschall 100 Watt Amplifiers
- Bogner "Rei" 4x12 cabinets (with specially voiced custom speakers)
- Budda Budwah
- Digitech Whammy Pedal
- Taurus Distortion Pedal
- Dunlop 1.00 Guitar Picks
- Sadowsky Tokyo Stratocaster Type (2006, from the Monster's Garage)
Matsumoto has also amassed a substantial guitar collection, including the following:
- 1870 Martin C-7 Acoustic Guitar
- 1937 Martin 000-18 Acoustic Guitar
- 1952 Fender Telecaster (Butterscotch Blonde)
- 1954 Fender Stratocaster (Tobacco Sunburst)
- 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (with 'Soapbar' pickups)
- 1959 Gibson Les Paul Flametop (with PAF pickups)
- 1962 Fender Stratocaster (Fiesta Red)
- 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.
- Thousand Wave (May 21, 1988)
- Wanna Go Home (April 22, 1992)
- Knockin' "T" Around (April 14, 1999)
- Dragon From The West (February 27, 2002)
- 華 (Hana) (February 27, 2002)
- Rock'n Roll Standard Club (May 15, 1996)
- Thousand Wave Plus (October 7, 1996)
- The Hit Parade (November 26, 2003)
- House of Strings (November 24, 2004)
- Ultraman Original Soundtrack (July 20, 2005)
- Theatre of Strings (October 19, 2005)
- Take Your Pick (June 2, 2010)
- Strings of My Soul (June 20, 2012)
- New Horizon (April 20, 2014)
- Electric Island, Acoustic Sea
- '88 ~ Love Story/Love Ya (September 25, 1991) (8th in Oricon)
- #1090 Thousand Dreams (March 18, 1992) (3rd in Oricon) – Music Station opening theme
- The Changing (March 25, 1999) (3rd in Oricon)
- 異邦人 (Ihoujin) (August 27, 2003); features Zard and Matsuda Akiko of Ramjet Pulley (2nd in Oricon)
- 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 (1st in Oricon)
- TMG I (June 23, 2004)
- "Oh Japan ~Our Time Is Now~" (March 31, 2004)
- Dodge The Bullet (December 15, 2004)