I also one of the vintage Takamine classical guitars lover. I just bought a mint condition but it was used Takamine No. 8 presumably made in early 1980 from Hokkaido guitar shop.
I read Takamine history from a guy called "Victor Kowalczyk" as Reverb.com seller & e - b a y seller as Victor's Guitar Gallery, or e - b a y seller's ID "victork1962 whom claimed himself as very knowledgeable about Japanese handcrafted guitars & its history and here was what he had wrote on Takamine hand crafted guitar history.
here was the link to the original listing of Takamine No. 8 classical guitar:
(Mod edit .. commercial link removed)
Search for 1983 Takamine Hirade No8 in mint condition on the Reverb site
This guitar was made for Japanese domestic market. Models distributed in USA and other western countries are not sold and almost unheard of in Japan. Specifications for exported models are provided by importers and priced accordingly by Takamine Co. Models made for the Westerners had to look great and have name Hirade printed on the label in order to emphasize the fact they were made in Japan and make them more “mystique”.
Models sold in Japan never had Hirade name on their labels and they were never signed by anybody. Everyone in Japan knows that Mass Hirade, a pupil of Masaru Kohno, became a Master luthier at Takamine Co. in 1968 and lead this company to the position of a leading guitar maker in the world. It is very likely that Masaru Kohno invested in Takamine Co and became either its owner or co-owner. Masaru Kohno was very actively engaged in production of Takamine classical models until late 1970s. All higher models had simplified Kohno bracing and Kohno style rosette. The very top models had Kohno style purflings and decorated bridge.
Currently top Takamine classical models are:
#39 (Solid Spruce, solid Latin America Rosewood, all Kohno style decorations) with MSRP 360 000 yen (which translates to at least $4500 in US distribution)
#37 (Solid Spruce, Solid Indian Rosewood, with Kohno style rosette) with MSRP 160 000 yen (which translates to at least $2500 in US distribution)
#32 (Solid Cedar, Solid Indian Rosewood Back, Laminated Indian Rosewood sides, Rosewood fingerboard) with MSRP 75 000 yen
This guitar was made in early/mid 1980s, before Takamine started to install truss rods in the neck of classical guitars. This kind of label was used in guitars sold in Japan and several other countries, where there is no need to emphasize the name HIRADE for marketing purposes. Since early 1990s Takamine guitars produced for domestic market, had different design, much smaller labels installed on the right side of the center brace.
These "domestic" guitars have different serial number system than the one used on exported guitars. On this particular guitar it begins with digits 91 which in theory mean year 1991. This is however only a pure coincidence.
This guitar is similar model to the one distributed earlier in US with the label Hirade H8. It’s definitely higher grade instrument than H8SS model distributed in recent years. It is built from higher grade woods and its top is finished with lacquer, instead of polyurethane. Eaxctly the same guitar made in 1990s would be labelled as No10. If it was made today it would be labelled as No 15.
This guitar was most likely stored for over 20 years and remains in absolutely mint condition. Although not played much (if at all) it has impressive volume and quite mature sound. It is very responsive and easy to play.
The greatness of this guitar is so well known, that I will stop my advertising endeavors right here.
Top: High Grade AAAA Solid Spruce Back & Sides: Solid Rosewood
Neck: Mahogany Fingerboard: Ebony
Scale: 650 mm Nut width: 51 mm
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