We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Casey
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Casey » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:51 pm

The 1988 AY is the CY127CE, slim line with a single cutaway and electronics. I'll be playing it amplified at my son's outdoor wedding in June. Very exciting!

Back then I only dabbled in classical and was mostly playing fingerstyle jazz. It doesn't stand up to full bodied guitars that well but is very playable and versatile on top of being beautifully built.

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Jorge Oliveira
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Location: Cascais, Portugal

Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:03 pm

Hi everybody. I own since 1992 a cedar top Aria A558 manufactured at Nagoya, Japan. It has no serial number and no date of manufacture. However, it has a number engraved on the top of the transverse bar - 870611 - which is where, in Japan, the manufacture date was set at the time. I'm assuming, then, that its inception date is June 11th, 1987. As for its characteristics, please have a look at this site for a complete list of Aria classical guitars.

Here is a picture of the guitar:
Aria A558 (1987).JPG
There is no indication of the luthier responsible for it (if ever there has been one). The trebles are really fantastic and the basses are OK, nothing special. The sound is not as powerful as my other guitar, the Hermanos Camps Master, but it is a mellow one, quite pleasant (I fitted it with D'Addario EJ46FF, HT Pro-Arte Carbon, Dynacore Basses, strings). The strings have a very low action (they don't buzz, though) and it is indeed a pleasure to play with it. It is my studio guitar.
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1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/51, Spr, RW B&S, Tokio, JPN (under repair)
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40
1987 - Aria A558, 650/51, Ced, lam RW B&S, Nagoya, JPN
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CAN Ced, MDG RW B&S, Banyoles, ESP

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:20 pm

Jorge Oliveira wrote:Hi everybody. I own since 1992 a cedar top Aria A558 manufactured at Nagoya, Japan. It has no serial number and no date of manufacture. However, it has a number engraved on the top of the transverse bar - 870611 - which is where, in Japan, the manufacture date was set at the time. I'm assuming, then, that its inception date is June 11th, 1987. As for its characteristics, please have a look at this site for a complete list of Aria classical guitars.

Here is a picture of the guitar:

Aria A558 (1987).JPG
There is no indication of the luthier responsible for it (if ever there has been one). The trebles are really fantastic and the basses are OK, nothing special. The sound is not as powerful as my other guitar, the Hermanos Camps Master, but it is a mellow one, quite pleasant (I fitted it with D'Addario EJ46FF, HT Pro-Arte Carbon, Dynacore Basses, strings). The strings have a very low action (they don't buzz, though) and it is indeed a pleasure to play with it. It is my studio guitar.
That's a nice one. Did you buy it new or used? To my understanding Aria A558 was a "high end" model in the early 70s, could be wrong there. Ramirez inspired and 654 mm scale?

/Jon
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1997 - Dragan Musulin
2004 - Alain Raifort Grand Concert
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt Torres

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:20 pm

rinneby wrote: That's a nice one. Did you buy it new or used? To my understanding Aria A558 was a "high end" model in the early 70s, could be wrong there. Ramirez inspired and 654 mm scale?

/Jon
New or used? I'm not sure, Jon. I had a guitar manufactured in Portugal, an Amares, that I had taken with me to Mozambique. In the early eighties, my house was burgled and the guitar was robed (together with my whisky :evil:). Having returned to Portugal end of 1988 I was half-heartedly loking for a replacement and a brother of mine at Oporto, Portugal, - he plays Portuguese guitar, Coimbra style - told me about this guitar he had seen in a local shop of musical instruments and, having tried it, thought it would be a good one for me. So high is my trust in this brother of mine that I asked him to buy it for me straight away, without even trying it myself ... and I never regretted it :D .

More recently, I came to notice that the top presented some scratches underneath the varnish, which, for sure, were not done by me, which led me to question if, indeed, it was a second hand or not. Trying to establish the date of manufacture, I searched the Internet, and found that Aria models with no serial numbers had probably been built in the early 70s. So, that was it, as I guessed,certainly, I was not the first owner. However, more recently, having stumbled in Scot Tremblay's Topic Aria A552 Guitar...?, I came to realize that the instrument might not be that old (in fact, it seems to have been built in 1987), and therefore, may be I was its first owner. But I'm not yet fully convinced... :)

If you click on the site I indicate above, you will see that, indeed, the A558 model was one of Aria's "high end" model. Above that you have only the A559 and the A560. The length of the scale is 655 mm. As a curiosity, its price at the time, 1992, was 100.000,00 Portuguese Escudos (roughly € 500,00, at the exchange rate of the Euro when it replaced the Portuguese Escudo: 1,00 € = 200,51 PTE), but I got a discount and paid only 82.500,00 Portuguese Escudos (a hefty sum of money at the time :)).
Last edited by Jorge Oliveira on Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/51, Spr, RW B&S, Tokio, JPN (under repair)
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40
1987 - Aria A558, 650/51, Ced, lam RW B&S, Nagoya, JPN
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CAN Ced, MDG RW B&S, Banyoles, ESP

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artdecade
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by artdecade » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:39 pm

Have any Japanese luthiers adopted or modified the Smallman lattice?
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Ben B
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Ben B » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:50 pm

I've got a yamaha cg101, cgx101, and a g-100a...
also a model no. 600 s.yairi.
I've yet to properly date/identify the yairi or the G-100a,
but the G-100a(nippon gakki, gold letters on brown label), has by far, ...a sound to which the others can't even come close to matching. ...not even close

Grooveman JS
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Grooveman JS » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:02 am

rinneby wrote:
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
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
Antonio Picado Concierto DT

montana
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by montana » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:02 am

Grooveman JS wrote:
rinneby wrote:
Grooveman JS wrote:

+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
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Had a ferret leave his claw marks in my guitar. Guess he will always be with me.

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:24 am

artdecade wrote:Have any Japanese luthiers adopted or modified the Smallman lattice?
Not that I know of. But some people think modern guitars from Sakurai sounds lattice braced, even though he has own unique builds. Maybe he's inspired by Smallman in some way?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWDt-7gbiYI

/Jon
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1997 - Dragan Musulin
2004 - Alain Raifort Grand Concert
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt Torres

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

dandan
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by dandan » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:51 am

Pretty sure the Kohno design Sakurai uses predates Smallman. The whole design is much more traditional. The thickness of the top is much like a traditional build. I often refer to the Kohno design as a semi-lattice design, but I could also refer to it as parallel bracing. The sound is unique. I think the best way to describe it is piano-like.
1969 Rokutaro Nakade A9
1966 Sakazo Nakade model D
1977 Aria AG80 (Masaru Takeiri)
1988 Hiroumi Yamaguchi SS

Julian
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Julian » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:43 am

My first handmade guitar was Asturias John Mills Model No.20 (now Renaissance) which I bought from Eli Kasner in Toronto in 1984. The guitar accompanied my life journey for some 16 years.

Then I bought a Masaru Kohno No.20 circa 1978 which was good but some how my Kohno No.50 was surpassing the Kohno No.20 's tone quality, so I let it go. It was with for some 5 years.

Eight years ago I was able to purchase a Masaru Kohno No.50 circa 1981 in MINT condition after about some 10 years hunting. This was very coincidence and luck was on my side. The tone is superb with great balance and sweet. The most beautiful guitar. Then as a spruce preference, I traded my RIchard Howell (cedar) after Fleta model with Sakurai-Kohno Maestro circa 2004. No point of keeping both, I chose to part with the Maestro. I still feel the Kohno No.50 is still legendary.

About four years back, I had the opportunity to buy Yamaha GC70C. Liona Boyd offered me her guitars at ridiculous price as she was moving back to the Beach area in Toronto. At the time I was just completing my commission for my 1956 Fleta copy (model owned by John Williams) built by Richard Brune. I though naahh....my wife will lock me in my guitar case if I was getting two guitars at the same time, so I gave up the great Yamaha GC70C owned by Liona.

Luck is still on my side. I recently acquired Yamaha GC71 circa 1984(spruce/ BRW) which I bought from a shop in Osaka. The guitar is still in Singapore with my daughter which I will pick it up next month. I would hope it would be a good one as Japanese made guitar is feeble on the bass side, not all though.

Julian

p.s. In fact, the great Japanese guitar I had ever played was a Masaki Sakurai (model ??) cedar top that I played in 1985. I think this Sakurai was at par with Miguel Rodriguez 'Church Door' belonged to my teacher I used to play. So open and easy to play despite 660mm scale.
Masaru Kohno No.50 - 1981
Yamaha GC 71 - 1984
Gary Southwell - 1997 ex. Julian Bream - a bench copy of 'Hauser 1940'
Oskar Graf - 2000
Fritz Ober 'Hauser 1' - 2007
Richard Brune 'Fleta 1956' - 2011
Andrea Tacchi 'Bouchet' - 2014

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Philipp Lerche
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Philipp Lerche » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:11 pm

A very interesting thread ! thx Jon & the others :)

Oh btw... my second guitar was a Kasuga G-312 which I still own. :P
"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done."
Bruce Lee

Best regards
Phil

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:30 pm

Julian wrote:My first handmade guitar was Asturias John Mills Model No.20 (now Renaissance) which I bought from Eli Kasner in Toronto in 1984. The guitar accompanied my life journey for some 16 years.

Then I bought a Masaru Kohno No.20 circa 1978 which was good but some how my Kohno No.50 was surpassing the Kohno No.20 's tone quality, so I let it go. It was with for some 5 years.

Eight years ago I was able to purchase a Masaru Kohno No.50 circa 1981 in MINT condition after about some 10 years hunting. This was very coincidence and luck was on my side. The tone is superb with great balance and sweet. The most beautiful guitar. Then as a spruce preference, I traded my RIchard Howell (cedar) after Fleta model with Sakurai-Kohno Maestro circa 2004. No point of keeping both, I chose to part with the Maestro. I still feel the Kohno No.50 is still legendary.

About four years back, I had the opportunity to buy Yamaha GC70C. Liona Boyd offered me her guitars at ridiculous price as she was moving back to the Beach area in Toronto. At the time I was just completing my commission for my 1956 Fleta copy (model owned by John Williams) built by Richard Brune. I though naahh....my wife will lock me in my guitar case if I was getting two guitars at the same time, so I gave up the great Yamaha GC70C owned by Liona.

Luck is still on my side. I recently acquired Yamaha GC71 circa 1984(spruce/ BRW) which I bought from a shop in Osaka. The guitar is still in Singapore with my daughter which I will pick it up next month. I would hope it would be a good one as Japanese made guitar is feeble on the bass side, not all though.

Julian

p.s. In fact, the great Japanese guitar I had ever played was a Masaki Sakurai (model ??) cedar top that I played in 1985. I think this Sakurai was at par with Miguel Rodriguez 'Church Door' belonged to my teacher I used to play. So open and easy to play despite 660mm scale.
Thank you Julian for your interesting writeup. I'm looking forward to your opinion on the GC71!

/Jon
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1997 - Dragan Musulin
2004 - Alain Raifort Grand Concert
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt Torres

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:32 pm

Philipp Lerche wrote:A very interesting thread ! thx Jon & the others :)

Oh btw... my second guitar was a Kasuga G-312 which I still own. :P
Thank you Philipp! I've never tried a Kasuga, but I've heard they were are actually pretty good guitars for the price back then.

/Jon
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1997 - Dragan Musulin
2004 - Alain Raifort Grand Concert
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt Torres

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

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artdecade
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by artdecade » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:35 pm

rinneby wrote:
artdecade wrote:Have any Japanese luthiers adopted or modified the Smallman lattice?
Not that I know of. But some people think modern guitars from Sakurai sounds lattice braced, even though he has own unique builds. Maybe he's inspired by Smallman in some way?

/Jon
I need to watch that video soon. It looks very interesting. Thanks for posting it.
dandan wrote:Pretty sure the Kohno design Sakurai uses predates Smallman. The whole design is much more traditional. The thickness of the top is much like a traditional build. I often refer to the Kohno design as a semi-lattice design, but I could also refer to it as parallel bracing. The sound is unique. I think the best way to describe it is piano-like.
The Kohno does have a very piano-like sound. Many of the Japanese luthiers add unique touches to traditional designs. I suppose I was just curious if any of them had taken a look at the modern Smallman and brought their own innovation into a modified design. I am sure it would be interesting to see what someone could come up with that bridges both styles rather than just cloning the Aussie construction.
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