Buying in Japan

kavade
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:58 am

Buying in Japan

Post by kavade » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:31 am

Hello folks,

Forgive me if my question is in the wrong place, or otherwise annoying. I am new to this site.

I was looking today, in Ochanomizu , Tokyo, for a cheapish student level Kodaira, and I came upon a an AST 85 that was surprisingly nice.
I wanted to buy it there and then, but I remembered reading somewhere that Japanese guitars are (or perhaps were, maybe this is no longer true)
of two kinds: those built for the domestic Japanese market and those built for export. The article I had read somewhere said that the climate in Japan is sufficiently different from what is found in the States that guitars made for export are heavier and stronger than those made for the Japanese market.
When I return to the States in a couple of years I'd like to take the guitar with me. But that article gave me pause.

I suppose I should just call the company and ask them, but we have just started a ten day holiday here in Japan and the company is closed . And I really liked that Kodaira. For the money, it seemed a very good buy. I'm just itching to buy it.

Can anyone shed any light on this question? I would appreciate any help people can give.

Oh, and also, can someone set me straight on the company? I can't read Japanese (though I've lived here for years - sigh) and I can't get it straight about the relationship between Kodaira and Asturias. Kodaira is the company, Asturias is the model? I'm really confused about this because I thought they were different companies.

Thanks much.

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isleepinabed
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:47 am
Location: Portugal

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by isleepinabed » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:13 am

Both Japan and the United States have all sorts of weather, from cold and snow to tropical heat. I guess it would depend on where in the States you'd live on. The biggest issue is always humidity and that can be controlled with a humidifer.

There could be an issue however with taking a guitar that has rosewood (which the AST85 has), without going through CITES paperwork.

AFAIK, Kodaira is a student line of the Asturias brand, just like they produce their "concert" Wataru Tsuji line.

I can't think of other guitar factory brands that do similar brand distinctions apart from Esteve/Adalid.

lawcch
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:38 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by lawcch » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:00 am

Kavade
It is depend what you want to do with your guitar. Some people are collector of vintage guitars. some loves old stuff or vintage things and some prefer ancient handcrafted guitars especially from Japan. Many Japanese love music and play the guitars.
I do bought a few vintage guitars from Japan. From experience, the Asturias and Koadira are the same company but they market their guitars into different brand. Asturias made for export market and Koadira guitars for domestic market for beginners.
Takamine guitars and Aranjuez brand are better quality than Kodaira. I compared both guitars Aranjuez and Kodaira. I recommend you consider other famous brand like Ryoji Matsuoka, Matano, Kazui Yairi and Yamaha GC classical guitars
Jose Antonio JR200 "Jose Romanillos replicate guitar"
Yamaha GC 7M model
Kenny Hill La Curva model

kavade
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:58 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by kavade » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:50 am

Thank you both for your replies. I will look into other companies. I actually started out looking for a Takamine, but to my surprise I couldn't find any in Tokyo's guitar town, Ochanomizu. But I'll keep looking. I want this guitar primarily to play, so I'd rather have something pleasant, even if not spectacular. As for the humidity, Japan is killer humid, but Southern California where I would be taking it back to, is obviously not.
Actually, I've had several guitars in SoCal and never worried about humidity/temperature - apart from having the sense not to leave a guitar in the California sun , of course! Thank you for pointing out the possible problem of rosewood. I hadn't thought about that. I'll look into that, too.

Tonit
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tonit » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:41 pm

Hi kavade,
I do not know about Kodaira in particular, but there are some companies differentiating specifications between domestics and exports, which I don't think matters so much if you like the MIJ Kodaira.

I have had some cases where I brought my acoustic and electric to many countries in different climates for longer timeframes and luckily they are all intact today after those trips. Especially my Godin Duet Nylon was made in NH and Canada in 1993 that I bought in Japan in 1995 before taking it back to New Engliand for 5 years as of 1997. I further took it with me to LA before going back to japan in 2003. The Godin came with me to Europe in 2010 in a suitcase with its neck detached. All this time it has had no crack or warp whatsoever.

My flamenco was made in drier Spain and has exposed to wider varieties of climates for at least a few months each, like GB humidity and back to Spain, Central Europe, the Balkan highlands. It has had no issue to date. However, the one I bought and stayed in one climate has developped a crack without going anywhere. So at least in my experience a guitar problem is not so closely related to climate changes.

I have had some cracks on my acoustics in my life, and I may (or may not) see when it's coming. The grain would develop a little darker line before cracking right at the line. So you might be able to proactively counteract. More importantly, if you see the darker line in the place where it should not be BEFORE the purchase, you may better off passing it. And it may be noteworthy that, all the cracks I have had took place on spruce tops. My cedar ones has had absolutely no issue, except that I threw my electric on a cedar top and broke it.

I think more student models are especially made a little sturdier to take up beginner abuse to some extent.

I also recall IRW is OK without CITES that is required for BRW, if the IRW is already built into your instrument.
But I am not sure so please verify with credible sources. (Take note of this)

BTW have you got your excise tax back?

Cheers,

kavade
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:58 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by kavade » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:19 pm

Thank you, Tonit. You have some very useful information in your reply. The Kodaira was not terribly expensive, but sounded OK. I am looking for a student model with decent sound, and the Kodaira seemed to fit the bill. But given the replies I have gotten here and from Japanese friends, I'll take my time, even though I am very anxious to have a guitar in my hands again. And your reply raises the possibility
of real differences between domestic and export guitars, so I will need to look into that. Student models are cheap, but they aren't throw away cheap.

I am currently a Japanese resident, so I can't get a break on the tax. But now you have reminded me that the tax is due to go up - a lot-
very soon. So I should get this research done as soon as possible. Thank you, Tonit, for your input. Regards, Kavade

Tonit
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tonit » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:25 pm

kavade wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:19 pm
Thank you, Tonit. You have some very useful information in your reply. The Kodaira was not terribly expensive, but sounded OK. I am looking for a student model with decent sound, and the Kodaira seemed to fit the bill. But given the replies I have gotten here and from Japanese friends, I'll take my time, even though I am very anxious to have a guitar in my hands again. And your reply raises the possibility
of real differences between domestic and export guitars, so I will need to look into that. Student models are cheap, but they aren't throw away cheap.

I am currently a Japanese resident, so I can't get a break on the tax. But now you have reminded me that the tax is due to go up - a lot-
very soon. So I should get this research done as soon as possible. Thank you, Tonit, for your input. Regards, Kavade
O I forgot to tell, I am another Japanese. Ochanomizu was my backyard, kind of.

kavade
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:58 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by kavade » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:41 pm

OH!! Do you have any recommendations for places to buy classical guitars in Tokyo? I was actually thinking that maybe I would go to Gifu
after GW to check out a store there that sells only Yairi. I saw some used K. Yairi in Ochanomizu, but I don't trust myself to buy used. I don't know enough.

Tonit
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tonit » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:47 pm

GG shop and Kurosawa in Shin-Okubo at the top of my head.
But it's been a while and I don't know how they operate today.
Give me a sec I will check.

Tonit
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tonit » Wed May 01, 2019 12:19 am

Yep. They are still in the same old business.

GG shop is operated by the holding business Gendai Guitar Co. founded by late Masaru Kohno and is still issueing the best selling classical guitar magazine Gendai Guitar.
https://www.gendaiguitar.com/index.php? ... anguage=en

It could be included in Tokyo points of interest for guitarists visiting Tokyo IMPO as Kohno was one of the key figures of the earliest Japanese classical guitar culture.

Kurosawagakki Nihon So-Honten in Shin-Okubo is one of the largest classical guitar dealer outlets in Japan. Also, Kurosawa is one of the oldest music stores in Japan. They may have a Torres or Bouchet for six figures but I am not sure.
http://www.kurosawagakki.com/sh_ohkubo/

It's simply one of the largest music stores with the largest collection of high quality guitars, and is famous for its Martin dealership.

There was yet another one caled Espelansa (I am not sure but the owner was Yasumasa Ohara and his wife who both were renowned performers/educators) but they have gone out of business as it looks like online.

I hope this helps you.

Tom
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Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:40 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tom » Wed May 01, 2019 1:51 am

I was amazed by the collections of world class instrument i visited in japan. I was told that half of Fleta produced guitar are in japan.

kavade
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:58 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by kavade » Wed May 01, 2019 2:44 am

Yes, Tonit, that information is a great help! Thank you!

Tonit
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tonit » Wed May 01, 2019 9:55 am

kavade wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:44 am
Yes, Tonit, that information is a great help! Thank you!
Cheers happy shopping

Tonit
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by Tonit » Wed May 01, 2019 1:27 pm

Tom wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:51 am
I was amazed by the collections of world class instrument i visited in japan. I was told that half of Fleta produced guitar are in japan.
That is true. There once was a time we had so big problems how to spend excessive sums that someone even threw millions away in a bush. So some others decided to invest in guitars probably. Thus array of fletas ended up on the other side of the globe.

It sounds like a fairy tale now.

kavade
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:58 am

Re: Buying in Japan

Post by kavade » Thu May 02, 2019 12:31 pm

Hi again folks,
Could I ask for opinions please? I went to Ochanomizu again and played an Aranjuez No. 720 signed by Masaki Sakurai. It was used, from 2008.
I guess new it sold for around 200,000 yen. Used, the store wants, with tax, 118,000 yen. This is more than I had meant to pay. Originally I was just looking for a student entry model. BUT this M. Sakurai is a VERY nice guitar and it fits me like a glove. I loved the way it sounded and how easy it was to play because the dimensions and weight were just perfect for me. But I don't know if used is a good idea. There were some small dings from use and a slight problem with the lacquer that seems original. I would not have noticed these blemishes except the salesman pointed them out.

Anyway, does anyone have advice about buying used? The store has a 3 month warranty on used guitars, 1 year on new. I also played a new Aranjuez 710 for about the same price, and although I liked it I didn't fall in love with it as I did with the used 720. I really really like the used
M. Sakurai.

Am I being silly for hesitating because it is used? Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
Kavade

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