Which Japanese guitar?

KraftDinner
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Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:20 pm

After about 20 years I have decided to pick up classical guitar again and I've come across this wonderful and helpful forum.

So I've been looking for guitars under the US$1,000 mark and would like some opinions and advice on two used Japanese guitars available in my area:
- Mid-1980's Yamaha GC-31
- 1975 M. Sakurai No. 7

Which would you recommend?

Thank you in advance.

dandan
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by dandan » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:52 pm

How big are your hands? The Sakurai is probably a better guitar, but likely to be have a 660 scale length. If its under $1000 it's a bargain.
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KraftDinner
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:27 pm

My middle finger is just over 3 inches long and my hand span is just over 9 inches.
You're quite right. The Sakurai's scale length is 660mm. Will that be more difficult to play?

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dta721
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by dta721 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:52 pm

KraftDinner wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:27 pm
My middle finger is just over 3 inches long and my hand span is just over 9 inches.
You're quite right. The Sakurai's scale length is 660mm. Will that be more difficult to play?
My (left hand) middle finger is about 3 in., hand span about 8 in. and I find my '76 Sakurai No. 5, also with 660 mm scale lenght, just fine in terms of playability. My only qualm is with Augustine bass strings they seem too short for this scale length, no problem with treble strings. That said, I started with high tension (Blue Augustine), now settled with Savarez Cantiga New Cristal (normal tension) as recommended by Sakurai enthusiasts in this forum for optimum sound (take it with a grain of salt :) ), and it is much more comfortable.

You mentioned having access to both GC-31 and '75 Sakurai No. 7, why not try them both to find out your very own preference?

KraftDinner
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:03 pm

That's so helpful dta721. I do plan to try them both out starting with the Sakurai.

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souldier
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by souldier » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:47 am

What sound profile are you going for? Something more clean and bright or warm and romantic?
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rinneby
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by rinneby » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:01 am

Best thing is to try them both of course. But I would definitely pick the Sakurai in terms of "value" - IF you like it. Playability and sound is the most important, cosmetics comes second.

A No.7 was quite a high number for Sakurai in those early years, he started his own brand in 1975 I think. So it's mot likely e fine guitar.

Good luck!

/J
1964 - Masaru Kohno No.7
2007 - Curt Claus Voigt
2016 - Pete Beer

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

KraftDinner
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:46 am

souldier wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:47 am
What sound profile are you going for? Something more clean and bright or warm and romantic?
To be perfectly honest I never really thought about it from that perspective. I don't mean that I don't have a preference, but rather that I'm not at the point where I can define it in those kinds of terms.
Are there some example recordings that showcase each side of the spectrum to help me define the sound profile I like?

Thanks!

KraftDinner
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:03 am

rinneby wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:01 am
Best thing is to try them both of course. But I would definitely pick the Sakurai in terms of "value" - IF you like it. Playability and sound is the most important, cosmetics comes second.

A No.7 was quite a high number for Sakurai in those early years, he started his own brand in 1975 I think. So it's mot likely e fine guitar.

Good luck!

/J
That's very helpful. I would say that playability is my most important criterion. I frankly need all the help I can get as I only recently got interested again in practicing and playing after decades. At my age I'm afraid I'll get too frustrated by an instrument that's difficult for me to play. The sound comes next but I need help defining what I actually like (see previous post).
I'll be trying them both for sure.

KraftDinner
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:28 pm

Well I finally made the decision and went to try out the Sakurai after trying out some Cordobas at a local store as the Yamaha GC-31 was no longer available. I was impressed and ended up buying it for $900 Canadian. The store had some new Ramirez "advanced student" models for double that price and I honestly preferred the Sakurai over them. The cosmetic condition is surprisingly very good indeed and the playability was excellent. I didn't find the 660mm scale length a hindrance. To my ears it has the best sound projection and quality of any guitar I tried so far. It really stood out.
I'm really happy with it. I'll post some photos and details on the Sakurai fan club thread. Thanks to all of you who helped.

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dta721
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by dta721 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:40 pm

Congrats on your Sakurai No. 7! Looking forward to seeing the photos of your new guitar!

yuri_1973
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by yuri_1973 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:23 pm

Yeah good choice ! congrats for your Sakurai.
I'm a proud owner of a '72 Kohno (also 660mm), and it's an amazing instrument.

KraftDinner
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by KraftDinner » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:12 am

dta721 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:40 pm
Congrats on your Sakurai No. 7! Looking forward to seeing the photos of your new guitar!
Thanks David. I posted them here: viewtopic.php?p=1310333#p1310264

Sankie
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by Sankie » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:28 pm

I love sakurai! Good for you to own such guitar.
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quixilver
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Re: Which Japanese guitar?

Post by quixilver » Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:32 am

Is Kazuo Sato considered as Japanese or German luthier? He's definitely a Japanese but has been residing in Germany for quite some time.
"After food, air and water, classical guitar is the next necessity of life."

1988 Kazuo Sato | 2005 Tobias Berg | 2007 Rolf Eichinger | 2014 Alexandru Marian | 2015 Christoph Sembdner | 2015 Antonio Raya Ferrer | 2016 Masaki Sakurai P.C.

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