At the moment, FedEx and UPS express shipments are the only reliable way to ship packages from Japan to the US and have a reasonable expectation it will arrive in any kind of timely manner. Apparently those firms have a fast track with customs or something? Who knows. Customs is swamped right now.
And with FedEx/UPS themselves.
Even these days there is a lot of ‘backroom deals’ going on with shippers and shipees.
My wife works for a company that outfits kids dorm rooms for college.
They were having shipping issues until her CEO called a ‘friend’ at FedEx….the log jam instantly cleared.
Even today in the electronic age, it is still a lot of ‘who you know’.
One thing I do know is that shippers here have very tight relationships with the Japanese takkyubin (express package service) companies like Kuroneko, and companies like Kuroneko have very high expectations on their overseas partners, so maybe that is driving it.
Kuroneko and Sagawa are so good here that I just ship guitars in soft cases wrapped in bubble wrap. This is common for private sales. You could probably buy a piece of cake, wrap it in plastic wrap, put it in a paper bag and ship it with Kuroneko, and have it arrive the next day (domestically) in perfect condition. Free $2k insurance on shipping, too, if anything did happen.
I’ve done that with the post office too and it was fine, but I was nervous about it; not so with the takkyubin companies. People routinely ship their golf clubs and skis to resorts they are going to before heading out, and then pick them up the next morning at the hotel lobby. It’s so good.
One other thing that was interesting.
I got a bass from the UK a couple weeks ago about the same value - import duty =$92.
Import duty from Japan = $0
I was fully expecting an import duty bill on this last one too.
There are a couple of reviews on YT. But production delays have meant that we’re going to be into the New year before they start shipping.
I was interested but I didn’t want to wait 6 months so in the end bought a Fender P Bass.
I’m looking at the purple GZ PJ, same one that you got I think. My biggest hesitation (beyond the price) is the weights listed on the models available (Sweetwater lists weights for specific models that you can pick) are all at least 11.1 pounds (5.03kg) which a good 1.5 pounds heavier than the one you got. That’s a pretty significant difference.
Also curious how you think the PJ compares to the J?
Well they can always change the specs and materials and such, but it’s also possible that the data is simply wrong. I’m measuring them upright on a kitchen scale, so not the most accurate method, but I’m getting around 4.5 kg for the GZ and around 4.2 kg for the DJ.
In terms of playability they are very similar, both have a J-style neck (38 mm nut), but the DJ-4 also has the tapered neck heel, which makes playing on higher frets a lot easier. Obviously the weight makes a difference too, the J is noticeably lighter, but honestly I don’t find the PJ that heavy either. It’s completely manageable. (I only play at home though, and alternate between sitting and standing, so can’t comment on what they would feel like on stage.)