We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

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

Post by madrilla » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:19 pm

What about Japanese guitars being made today, any information or opinions on them?

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Beowulf
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Beowulf » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:05 pm

eno wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:57 pm
well, I have good speakers too but prefer good quality headphones like Coss but it's still not like the live sound. I guess to have a good recording of $5000+ guitar you need a $5000+ mic and audio equipment.
That could be...my system is worth more than my guitar. For comparison: if I play a concert grand piano at a reasonable level on my system and move elsewhere in my home, it sounds as though the real thing is playing in the other room. In reference to real sound, the lowest notes on the guitar E (~82 HZ) and D (~73 Hz) have wavelengths from 12 feet to over 13 feet. Thus to get the sense of the real instrument in the room, not only the speakers, but also the room itself should be up to the task. Listening to oneself play and then listening to a recording are very different sonic experiences. I will try listening to your recordings on my system and see what sonic differences are apparent...at first blush, I did not notice a very wide dynamic range in the sound samples. But I suspect you were seeking to play each instrument in a similar manner?

To compare a few:

The '67 Kohno has a bit bigger voice than many others and it seems particularly responsive to vibrato (1st excerpt).

The '01 Bernabé has the biggest voice and apparent projection and has a more piano-like sound.

The '69 Nakade has a nice sweet voice and sounds well balanced.

When listening to recordings, louder will tend to be preferred/sound better so this may favour the Bernabé which was noticeably the loudest through my system. Each instrument is unique and thus may require adjustments to playing style (e.g., attack, use of dynamics, etc.) to bring out the best that one can get from the instrument. There is a fascinating exploration of the sounds of different guitars in "Antigoni Goni meets Hauser (for the first time!)" on Youtube: What I found very interesting was her assessment that one of the guitars did not sound very good when played with a rest stroke: Santos Hernandez 1924.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

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eno
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by eno » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:35 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:05 pm
To compare a few:
The '67 Kohno has a bit bigger voice than many others and it seems particularly responsive to vibrato (1st excerpt).
The '01 Bernabé has the biggest voice and apparent projection and has a more piano-like sound.
Kohno 67 is a real bomb and very responsive to any nuances including vibrato. But personally I dislike its "throaty" kind of tone. My favourite of Japanese ones is Takamine C136S, it's not as responsive as Kohno but I really like its deep and rich bell-like tone (again, not captured in the recording because its sound really opened after I made the recording).

Bernabe has a subtle blend of ethereal pearly lute-like tone that I particularly love but that is not well captured in the recording. And it's has the widest and reachest range of overtones and resonances (which are also hard to hear in the recording) and immediate response. Also it's the easiest to play although the action is not particularly low. Similar to Hernandes, the rest strokes sound a little dull with the "pearly" tone almost gone so I rarely use them on Bernabe.

I would say the Kohno and Takamine C136 have more "human"-like voice (good for romantic music etc) while Bernabe has "angelic" one.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Takamine C136S 1976
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967

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Beowulf
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Beowulf » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:28 pm

eno wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:35 pm

Kohno 67 is a real bomb and very responsive to any nuances including vibrato. But personally I dislike its "throaty" kind of tone. My favourite of Japanese ones is Takamine C136S, it's not as responsive as Kohno but I really like its deep and rich bell-like tone (again, not captured in the recording because its sound really opened after I made the recording).

Bernabe has a subtle blend of ethereal pearly lute-like tone that I particularly love but that is not well captured in the recording. And it's has the widest and reachest range of overtones and resonances (which are also hard to hear in the recording) and immediate response. Also it's the easiest to play although the action is not particularly low. Similar to Hernandes, the rest strokes sound a little dull with the "pearly" tone almost gone so I rarely use them on Bernabe.

I would say the Kohno and Takamine C136 have more "human"-like voice (good for romantic music etc) while Bernabe has "angelic" one.
Fascinating that the "immediate response" of the Bernabé doesn't take as well to rest strokes. I wonder if it has something to do with the quick response of the soundboard and reduced harmonics with a heavier stroke? It will take quite a while to get accustomed to my new GC82S (after 45 years playing only the GC-10) and I can tell I will need to adjust my attack and weight and really listen to what the instrument "wants".

I will check out the Takamine C136S in another listening comparison...it is quite impossible to try and compare more than 2 or 3 at a time.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

henders
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by henders » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:16 am

eno wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:18 am
henders wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:51 pm
Not even close? You have a lot of nice Japanese guitars. What about a blind sound test? Your best three Japanese guitars and the Bernabe. One short piece or fragment, then a separate post identifying guitar a,b,c,d. Would be interesting.
Earlier in this thread I actually posted links to soundfiles of quite a few Japanese guitars plus Bernabe, but sorry, it's not a blind test. But having a fair quality sound recording equipment I was amazed how much the recorded sound is inferior to the live one. Most of the subtle beauty of the live sound is lost in the recording.
Thanks I’ll check them out.

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:49 pm

Here's my newly acquired Rokutaro Nakade A2 from 1962. Solid spruce top, solid Indian rosewood back and sides and ebony fingerboard. According to the seller there are no cracks in the woods and the guitar weights in at 1,1 kg. Soon on it's way to Sweden:

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1962 - Rokutaro Nakade
1992 - Manuel Bellido
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt
2017 - Tobias Braun

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

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eno
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by eno » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:46 pm

Congrads, Jon. It looks very similar to my A1 1962, same rosette and construction. I was lucky to not have those cracks in the finish but on the other hand it had delamination in the backboard that produced terrible buzzing. After fixing the delamination, in spite of being a lower-end model, it now sounds pretty good.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Takamine C136S 1976
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:57 pm

eno wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:46 pm
Congrads, Jon. It looks very similar to my A1 1962, same rosette and construction. I was lucky to not have those cracks in the finish but on the other hand it had delamination in the backboard that produced terrible buzzing. After fixing the delamination, in spite of being a lower-end model, it now sounds pretty good.
Interesting. Can I see some pictures of the A1? Looking around the net it seems like A2 was the top model in -62 (haven't seen any A3 or A4 for example), but I could very well be wrong, DanDan has to enlighten us. The B- and C-models from this era looks like cheaper builds. It's also important to understand that a low number in the early 60s doen't necessarily mean very much in terms of quality, due to the rapid inflation of the Japanese Yen in the 60s and 70s.

/Jon
Last edited by rinneby on Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1962 - Rokutaro Nakade
1992 - Manuel Bellido
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt
2017 - Tobias Braun

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 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:46 pm

I've no idea! All I can say is it's obviously solid woods. 20,000¥ was a decent amount of money in '62, so certainly not a low end model, but maybe not the highest. Not many survivors from this early and the early numbering system was a bit all over the place, with different combinations of letters and numbers.
1966 Sakazo Nakade D
1969 Rokutaro Nakade A9
1977 Aria AG80 (Masaru Takeiri)
2015 El Vito Concert RC

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musguitar
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by musguitar » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:20 am

Hi Jon, dated post yet very curious. If you can still recall-- why the warning not to bid on the 'Masaji Nobe'? thanks.

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:42 am

musguitar wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:20 am
Hi Jon, dated post yet very curious. If you can still recall-- why the warning not to bid on the 'Masaji Nobe'? thanks.
In August 2017 I wrote: "Dear Friends. Please don't bid on the Masaji Nobe (that ends tomorrow) on the Japanese auction site."

I guess that is what you are referring too? It was simply because I wanted to bid on the guitar my self. However, I didn't win :)

Kind regards
/Jon
1962 - Rokutaro Nakade
1992 - Manuel Bellido
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt
2017 - Tobias Braun

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

Ruki1414
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Ruki1414 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:20 pm

Hello,

here is my 72er Hiroshi Tamura P50. My already 5th old Japanese lady (two Yairis, two Matanos). Probably the best sounding one. Great sustain, singing overtones, loud and well-balanced sound.
Cedar top, 655/52.

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Ruki1414
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Ruki1414 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:24 pm

Oops, i pressed the submit button by mistake.

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Best regards,

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James A. Showalter
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by James A. Showalter » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:10 am

These are awesome guitars both the '62 Rokutari Nakade and the '72 Hiroshi Tamura.

I really like the fractured finish look of Jon's '62 Rokutari Nakade. A guitar of that age will always show its character and the fractures are like the face of a wise old soul. A voice that old just sings with authority regardless of its tonal purity.

James
1972 Ryoji Matsuoka, NO 18
1990 Takamine C132S
2014 Sakurai Kohno Pro-J
Martin Guitars (D28, MC28, D12-28, J-40)
National Resonator Guitar
Les Paul

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rinneby
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by rinneby » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:29 am

James A. Showalter wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:10 am
These are awesome guitars both the '62 Rokutari Nakade and the '72 Hiroshi Tamura.

I really like the fractured finish look of Jon's '62 Rokutari Nakade. A guitar of that age will always show its character and the fractures are like the face of a wise old soul. A voice that old just sings with authority regardless of its tonal purity.

James
Thank you James, and agreed. However, if this guitar shows promise maybe stripping the finish and apply French polish will take this guitar to the next level, while maintaining it's integrity. Future will tell :)

/Jon
1962 - Rokutaro Nakade
1992 - Manuel Bellido
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt
2017 - Tobias Braun

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

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