We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
User avatar
spronev
Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:03 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by spronev » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:52 am

Hello from one more lover of vintage Japanese guitars. Here is the list of guitars from Japan that I've had in the past. I've kept this to vintage guitars only (no later than 1990). I think that the later ones are not as good and I've had a number of them to compare.

1970 Yamaha GC-5 (two of them actually) - excellent sound, crisp and with good sustain (spruce)
1971 Kohno 10 (cedar) - balanced abd milder due to the cedar top, good sustain abd volume
1972 Aria AC-40 (cedar) - very nice and light guitar, built like a Ramirez but sound was livelier and more open
1972 Mitsuru Tamura 600 and 800 - recently bought (cedar): 600 is fan braced and quite light, 800 is Ramirez braced; both have warm Spanish sound
1972 Yamaha GC-6D (spruce) - crisp and crear sound but a bit too cold for my taste
1973 Aranjuez 6 (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Kohno from the same time but with a bit less projection
1973 Hideo Ida 10 (spruce) - very expressive and loud, good sound definition and projection, not as well balanced as Kohnos though
1973 and 1977 Masaru Matano 600 - still have the 1973 (cedar): Ramirez braced: warm Spanish sound
1975 Masaru Matano 500 - still have it (cedar): fan braced: warm Spanish sound, quite light
1975 Teruaki Nakade C15 - for sale right now :) - great volume and projection, very solid sound better then most professional-level guitars I've played
1975 Kazuo Yairi CY-130 - (cedar) - built just like a Ramirez and sounds just like one from the same time period
1976 Msaki Sakurai 10 - (spruce) balanced with good sustain and unexpected softness for a spruce top
1977 Mitsuru Tamura 3000 - (spruce) this one had a very high quality sound: balance, projection, ability to vary the sound, etc
1980 Cervantes 500 (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Ramirez from the same time, very nice guitar for the money
1980 Yamaha GC-30B (spruce) - needless to say, a professional sounding guitar but for the money (and less money) others can be had too
1980 Cervantes 800 (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Ramirez from the same time but not as well balanced as others from this shop I've had
1981 Takeo Koba (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Ramirez from the same time, very nice guitar for the money
1982 Kohno Concert (spruce) - not as good as 1970s Kohno guitars I've had and played but still a very good guitar, less balanced
1984 Yamaha GC-10C (cedar) - very nice guitar for the money with good volume and sustain
1984 Yamaha GC-15 (spruce) - very nice guitar for the money with good volume and sustain
1988 Kazuo Yairi CY-140 - (cedar) - built just like a Ramirez and sounds just like one from the same time period
1989 Asturias AST-100 - (cedar) - built like a Ramirez but sound was tighter and crisper, not as soft

Svilen

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:24 am

spronev wrote:Hello from one more lover of vintage Japanese guitars. Here is the list of guitars from Japan that I've had in the past. I've kept this to vintage guitars only (no later than 1990). I think that the later ones are not as good and I've had a number of them to compare.

1970 Yamaha GC-5 (two of them actually) - excellent sound, crisp and with good sustain (spruce)
1971 Kohno 10 (cedar) - balanced abd milder due to the cedar top, good sustain abd volume
1972 Aria AC-40 (cedar) - very nice and light guitar, built like a Ramirez but sound was livelier and more open
1972 Mitsuru Tamura 600 and 800 - recently bought (cedar): 600 is fan braced and quite light, 800 is Ramirez braced; both have warm Spanish sound
1972 Yamaha GC-6D (spruce) - crisp and crear sound but a bit too cold for my taste
1973 Aranjuez 6 (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Kohno from the same time but with a bit less projection
1973 Hideo Ida 10 (spruce) - very expressive and loud, good sound definition and projection, not as well balanced as Kohnos though
1973 and 1977 Masaru Matano 600 - still have the 1973 (cedar): Ramirez braced: warm Spanish sound
1975 Masaru Matano 500 - still have it (cedar): fan braced: warm Spanish sound, quite light
1975 Teruaki Nakade C15 - for sale right now :) - great volume and projection, very solid sound better then most professional-level guitars I've played
1975 Kazuo Yairi CY-130 - (cedar) - built just like a Ramirez and sounds just like one from the same time period
1976 Msaki Sakurai 10 - (spruce) balanced with good sustain and unexpected softness for a spruce top
1977 Mitsuru Tamura 3000 - (spruce) this one had a very high quality sound: balance, projection, ability to vary the sound, etc
1980 Cervantes 500 (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Ramirez from the same time, very nice guitar for the money
1980 Yamaha GC-30B (spruce) - needless to say, a professional sounding guitar but for the money (and less money) others can be had too
1980 Cervantes 800 (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Ramirez from the same time but not as well balanced as others from this shop I've had
1981 Takeo Koba (cedar) - built and sounds just like a Ramirez from the same time, very nice guitar for the money
1982 Kohno Concert (spruce) - not as good as 1970s Kohno guitars I've had and played but still a very good guitar, less balanced
1984 Yamaha GC-10C (cedar) - very nice guitar for the money with good volume and sustain
1984 Yamaha GC-15 (spruce) - very nice guitar for the money with good volume and sustain
1988 Kazuo Yairi CY-140 - (cedar) - built just like a Ramirez and sounds just like one from the same time period
1989 Asturias AST-100 - (cedar) - built like a Ramirez but sound was tighter and crisper, not as soft

Svilen
Excellent writeup, much appreciated. You are at least one step ahead of me :guitare: I see you are quite a fan of Masaru Matano. I have one of his guitars actually, a Clase 600 from 1978, but sadly I haven't played it very much. Overall nice build quality and the sound is crisp, loud and very responsive. Scale is 650 mm and nut is 51 mm.

I have two high end Ryoji Matsuoka's coming up, a No.60S (not sure of year) and a No.80 (the highest model ever made) from 1973 - Both with double ebony reinforcements, like Kohno. My expectations are growing for each day I have to wait...

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:51 am

As a side note I just picked up my old Yamaha GC-3D from 1972, that I've not played very much due to its 658 mm scale. Stupid me... I played La Catedral Preludio this morning (thanks to spronev's excellent youtube videos ;)) and it was actually easier on my hands than the 650 mm ones. The tone was also very sweet and warm with great sustain even on the 15th fret and above. Solid Ezo spruce, solid Indian rosewood, African mahogany neck and ebony fretboard. I'm in love again!

Image
Yamaha GC-3D - 1972

/Jon
Last edited by rinneby on Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:12 pm, edited 6 times in total.
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

Grooveman JS
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:56 am

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Grooveman JS » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:54 am

The moment I picked up a Kohno guitar; the playability, the clean & balanced tone acorss the 6 strings; of course the power & projection....in addition to this; the build quality is impeccable. For the price one would pay for this level of an instrument; its unbeatable. I was playing lots of guitars for to decide on my sole concert level classical guitar; the moment i picked up a Kohno guitar; I'm a believer in Japanese Classical Guitars.

I'm ready to reaffirm this as I just returned from my guitar trial trip in Japan. Amongst lots of other guitars, I want to say that I was introduced to some other Japanese guitars whose name label I couldn't even remember but i don't think its any of the ones that forumers have described above; they were all quality instruments. When i picked up a Sakurai Kohno Maestro, It overshadowed the rest of the Japanese guitars that i played there.
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

User avatar
spronev
Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:03 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by spronev » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:29 pm

rinneby wrote:
spronev wrote:Hello from one more lover of vintage Japanese guitars. Here is the list of guitars from Japan that I've had in the past. I've kept this to vintage guitars only (no later than 1990). I think that the later ones are not as good and I've had a number of them to compare.


Svilen
Excellent writeup, much appreciated. You are at least one step ahead of me :guitare: I see you are quite a fan of Masaru Matano. I have one of his guitars actually, a Clase 600 from 1978, but sadly I haven't played it very much. Overall nice build quality and the sound is crisp, loud and very responsive. Scale is 650 mm and nut is 51 mm.

I have two high end Ryoji Matsuoka's coming up, a No.60S (not sure of year) and a No.80 (the highest model ever made) from 1973 - Both with double ebony reinforcements, like Kohno. My expectations are growing for each day I have to wait...

/Jon

I like Matano's guitars a lot and have two of them now as per my write-up above. My advice with his guitar is to get one from the early(er) 1970s. My 1974 model 500 and 1973 model 600 are both much better in sound and balance than the more recent ones (late 1970s and 1980s).They are both 660 mm scale but to me 660 is the same as 650 when I play them side-by-side.

Svilen

User avatar
Casey
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:49 am
Location: Florida

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Casey » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:43 pm

A 1988 Alvarez Yairi was my college graduation present, I've enjoyed it for 28 years now.

Holy crap that's a long time when you actually see it written down.

User avatar
jhapgood
Posts: 288
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 12:59 pm
Location: Oklahoma, USA

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by jhapgood » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:32 pm

I still own a 1976 Alvarez Yairi CY-120, which makes 41 years! A gift from my father that I will always treasure. Still sounds pretty nice, but looks rough from all the "love" it has received those many years!

Kind Regards,

Joe
2008 Jose Ramirez 2NE
"So Much Music, So Little Time."

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:46 pm

Casey wrote:A 1988 Alvarez Yairi was my college graduation present, I've enjoyed it for 28 years now.

Holy crap that's a long time when you actually see it written down.
And yet so young in terms of vintage! What model is it?

All the best

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:19 pm

Grooveman JS wrote:The moment I picked up a Kohno guitar; the playability, the clean & balanced tone acorss the 6 strings; of course the power & projection....in addition to this; the build quality is impeccable. For the price one would pay for this level of an instrument; its unbeatable. I was playing lots of guitars for to decide on my sole concert level classical guitar; the moment i picked up a Kohno guitar; I'm a believer in Japanese Classical Guitars.

I'm ready to reaffirm this as I just returned from my guitar trial trip in Japan. Amongst lots of other guitars, I want to say that I was introduced to some other Japanese guitars whose name label I couldn't even remember but i don't think its any of the ones that forumers have described above; they were all quality instruments. When i picked up a Sakurai Kohno Maestro, It overshadowed the rest of the Japanese guitars that i played there.
Both Kohno and Sakurai are, as we know by now, the most regarded luthiers in Japan, rightfully so. But I'm sure there are other luthiers to emerge from this very country in time to come. We (who know where to look) will also continue to find vintage guitars that holds their own against the old masters. Both Kohno and Sakurai has, from the 70s and forward, their special sound. This speaks both for and against them, in my opinion. Yet I must confess that I've never played a Sakurai/Kohno Maestro.

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

Grooveman JS
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:56 am

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Grooveman JS » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:32 am

rinneby wrote: Both Kohno and Sakurai are, as we know by now, the most regarded luthiers in Japan, rightfully so. But I'm sure there are other luthiers to emerge from this very country in time to come. We (who know where to look) will also continue to find vintage guitars that holds their own against the old masters. Both Kohno and Sakurai has, from the 70s and forward, their special sound. This speaks both for and against them, in my opinion. Yet I must confess that I've never played a Sakurai/Kohno Maestro.

/Jon
Hi Jon I'm sure there're other makers in Japan who can hold their own against the big names like Kohno; I was just suggesting in this particular case, amongst the Japanese guitars that I tried for the 2 days ......after repeatedly comparing amongst the guitars, I was most impressed with the Sakurai/Kohno Maestro.....it overshadowed the other guitars that were offered to me to try. I'm sure there're other good Japanese guitar makers around; its just that I've not had the opportunity to play the ones that are mentioned here in this thread.
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

montana
Posts: 1292
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:46 pm

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by montana » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:53 am

Love your cat

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:56 am

joelmalit wrote:The very first Japanese classical guitar that came into my possession is my best guitar. I spotted it in 2011 in a surplus shop along side with some other old Japanese guitars. It used to have a slightly bow and twisted neck/fretboard, some popped-up fretwires, broken tuning pegs, some cracks between the sides and bindings, and the guitar itself was totally covered with thick vintage dust. It was unbelievable that I bought this guitar and until today.... I'm a bit confused to think of a reason why I bought this.
Looking at the pictures my instinct tells me this guitar is related to Sadao Yairi. Zen-On or possibly Shiro Aria is also an option, but I may be wrong. Have you translated the label? It looks lovely vintage by the way.

/Jon
Last edited by rinneby on Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:05 am, edited 5 times in total.
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:38 am

montana wrote:Love your cat
And the cat loves the Kohno.

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

Grooveman JS
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:56 am

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Grooveman JS » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:25 am

montana wrote:Love your cat

+1 Yessss Jon......Nice Tabby; reminds me of mine....just past on
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

User avatar
rinneby
Posts: 580
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:52 am
Location: Sweden

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:53 am

Grooveman JS wrote:
montana wrote:Love your cat

+1 Yessss Jon......Nice Tabby; reminds me of mine....just past on
Thank you, cats are always nice to have around. Except when they use your new guitar as a scratching post...

/Jon
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1973 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.80
2004 - Lars Jönsson Torres SE 114

You are the instrument, not the guitar

Return to “Luthiers”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], ivan, khayes, printer2 and 146 guests