Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:36 pm

A friend of mine lent her guitar to me to play, with the potential of buying it from her. She knows very little about the guitar. It was purchased in the early 1970's, but the manufacturer's label fell out of the guitar many years ago. I think the sides of the guitar are laminated because the inside grain does not match the outside grain. The back appears to be solid. Also, the neck has mother of pearl fret locators (which my guitar teacher told me is not usually standard on classical guitars). The only marking I can find is the number 28 stamped on the inside of the sound hole. There was a piece of paper taped to the inside back of the guitar that has Japanese writing, and looks like a scrap of paper from a train schedule, so I am assuming it was made in Japan. Can anyone help me identify the guitar manufacturer, and offer a best guess for a reasonable offer price to buy?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Bax Burgess
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:12 pm
Location: Phila, PA, US

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by Bax Burgess » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:59 pm

Seems to be a fancy model of laminate top. No back strip, really nice rosewood b/s, offhanded number stamp on the tongue brace, nice edging, etc. $350 to 450 US would be my guess, though, it probably sounds better than that. If it is a solid top (add another $150), I doubt that it is concert level, simply due to the lack of a decorative back strip and that number stamp.

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:45 pm

Thank you for the quick response! It does have a nice sound, but I am not familiar enough with classical guitars to know how it ranks with other guitars.

Bill
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:43 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by Bill » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:42 pm

It looks like a stock & trade 1970''s guitar built in a Japanese factory for xport. You can safely say the woods are laminated. What they lacked in volume, & tone, the made up for in playability & durability.
They were such bargains back then, the U.S. wholesalers would buy container size lots and often market them under their own name aka "stencil brand" As retailers we bought them in case lots. They would come 6 in individual triangular boxes in one shipping carton. All of that being said, they were perfectly good serviceable instruments.

Bax Burgess
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:12 pm
Location: Phila, PA, US

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by Bax Burgess » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:59 pm

It looks great. If the action for the treble e at the 12 fret is no higher than 3 mm (fingerings get pretty tough above that, and the saddle doesn't appear to have much height for further lowering), then the right strings would push it in a nice direction. To echo Bill's post, Japanese laminate tops can sound quite nice. Compare one to a concert level guitar, and the differences are immediately noticeable, but if you don't do a side by side comparison, then the laminate sounds fine on its own. I have an anonymous Japanese made Sears Silvertone laminate top that looks pretty much like your friend's, but is a lesser looking model.

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:10 pm

Thanks again, Bax, and I appreciate Bill's info. I measured the 12th fret treble e string action. It is just a tad over 3 mm. My guitar experience is primarily steel string acoustic (Martin D-28). The classical guitar action seemed hight to me, but my guitar teacher is setting me straight on why the action is higher and how I should be pushing down on, not plucking, the strings. I put a set of D'Addario Pro Arte medium nylon strings on the guitar. They sound good to me!

Bill
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:43 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by Bill » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:52 am

It sounds like you are good to go. It should serve you well.

Laudiesdad69
Posts: 1267
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:06 am

I would say no to it if the top isn't solid. Believe it or not it is possible to get a quality classical with a solid top new for around 200 dollars. I should know as I just bought one for myself and two for my son and his wife. Of course it doesn't have the vintage coolness.

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:50 am

How do you tell if the top is solid vs. laminated? I can only go by feeling the inside top surface with my finger. It feels very thin, like it is solid, but I could be wrong.

Bax Burgess
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:12 pm
Location: Phila, PA, US

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by Bax Burgess » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:17 am

The top and bottom veneers should be distinct lines, likely darker and certainly thinner than the center. Varnish, barely spilled over the lip of a solid top, can appear to be veneer.

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:35 pm

I used a mirror and flashlight to look inside the sound hole at the back side of the top of the guitar, and it looks to me like the grain of the back side matches exactly the top grain. The edge around the sound hole appears solid (no glue line or change in color). I think it is a solid top. Thanks for the advice!

User avatar
dta721
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:59 pm
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by dta721 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:58 pm

rdkissinger wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:35 pm
I used a mirror and flashlight to look inside the sound hole at the back side of the top of the guitar, and it looks to me like the grain of the back side matches exactly the top grain. The edge around the sound hole appears solid (no glue line or change in color). I think it is a solid top. Thanks for the advice!
I found that the best way to verify the solid top is looking at the edge of the sound hole to see if the grains running down seamlessly. The posted photo is not clear, however that from the Mystery guitar post, as attached illustrates this point.

Having said that, I would not get too fixated with the "requirement" to have a solid top for you to get it, especially with respect to these Japanese classical guitars made in the 70s. At the end of the day, if the sound of the guitar that inspires you to play over and over again, then, it is the deciding factor!

I found that the single argument of laminated vs solid top as a must to buy not convincing, as other factors such as bracing, types of strings, construction would affect the sound volume and its tone, and most importantly, it's the very guitarist playing that would make the real difference :wink:

As someone suggested a price of $350-$400 for this, if you can find a new, or used guitar in this price range regardless of solid or laminated top, and if it sounds better (to your ears) than this Japanese guitar, then you know what to decide. That said, even if you can find another one that sounds comparable, the vintage guitar would retain its resale value simply due to its history and thus value.
:)
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:37 pm

dta721, thank you for your feedback and suggestions. The grain on this guitar runs seamlessly through the wood at the edge of the sound hole. I definitely like the sound of the guitar.

User avatar
dta721
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:59 pm
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by dta721 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:51 pm

rdkissinger wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:37 pm
... I definitely like the sound of the guitar.
I don't think you got anything to lose going for this guitar! Most people in this forum have more than one guitars anyway :wink: !

That said, would you be curious enough to bring this guitar to a store, e.g. Guitar Center, Musician Friend, and try out a new Yamaha CG192c, then compare to the sound of this old guitar? That way you know better which one you will prefer?

Just a thought,
:)

rdkissinger
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Re: Need help identifying 1970's Japanese classical guitar

Post by rdkissinger » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:43 am

Thank you, dta721, for the suggestion. I see that Guitar Center has the Yamaha CG192c for $499 new. I will see what price may friend offers for her guitar, and if the pricer is close, I will try the Yamaha. Maybe I will try the Yamaha regardless.

Return to “Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar”