We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

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

Post by Geordie » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:19 am

dandan
Have you tried the old dodge of shining a light into the sound hole? Doing this in a darkened room will show up the bracing if it's spruce. If cedar, the wood is too dense to be able to see the bracing.

dandan
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by dandan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:24 am

Geordie wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:19 am
dandan
Have you tried the old dodge of shining a light into the sound hole? Doing this in a darkened room will show up the bracing if it's spruce. If cedar, the wood is too dense to be able to see the bracing.
I'd forgot about this trick. I'll give it try next time I change strings. Thanks!
1966 Sakazo Nakade D
1969 Rokutaro Nakade A9
1977 Aria AG80 (Masaru Takeiri)
1997 Hiroumi Yamaguchi A-I

dandan
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by dandan » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:43 am

After performing the torch test I have concluded the top is in fact cedar. Thanks for the tip!
1966 Sakazo Nakade D
1969 Rokutaro Nakade A9
1977 Aria AG80 (Masaru Takeiri)
1997 Hiroumi Yamaguchi A-I

Geordie
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Geordie » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:20 pm

Glad to help.

bellemeade
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by bellemeade » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:33 pm

I own a Kohno 15 which is powerful deep, clear and beautifully articulated. Also I keep as a "beach" guitar a little jewel, a Yairy Soloist from the early Sixties, the sweetest thing. I am a great admired of these two luthiers.

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StuMayes
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by StuMayes » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:14 pm

Some lovely Japanese wood in this thread! 8) :D

My own are more modest value-wise, but love each for their specific qualities.
The 80's Kasuga has a dark, strident timbre and seems to prefer tuning to E-flat, lovely ebony neck which must be unusual to get on a sub £200 2nd-hand guitar. Top right is a 1974 Takeharu with a very nice solid spruce top, the tone, neck angle and action seems more flamenco negra than classical to me, but it's still labelled as a G120, so who knows what's going on there.....in the foreground is a 1976 Takeharu with a cedar top and a lovely rosewood fretboard. Altogether, I think I paid under £500 for the lot.

Image

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Beowulf
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by Beowulf » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:48 pm

A nice collection. It is Interesting that Kasuga apparently made guitars for Yamaha in the 80s/90s. The headstock is quite similar to the one on my 1971 Yamaha GC-10:
DSC06976 copy.JPG
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1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

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StuMayes
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by StuMayes » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:56 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:48 pm
A nice collection. It is Interesting that Kasuga apparently made guitars for Yamaha in the 80s/90s. The headstock is quite similar to the one on my 1971 Yamaha GC-10:
Hmm that's interesting indeed, perhaps tht's why this one has an ebony fretboard.....surplus Yamaha wood stock?

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

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:40 pm

This story is about my Ryoji Matsuoka No.50 (1976), acquired at an on-line action in Japan, almost a year ago, exactly on January the 24th, 2018. I must say that when it came into my hands, and after "my" luthier, Christian Schwengeler, cleaned it, adjusted its action (I prefer it towards the lower side :)) and changed strings, well, it was not a bad instrument at all but, to my surprise, its voice was not as powerful nor its sound was as good as my Ryoji Matsuoka No.40 (1979), a supposedly inferior instrument. Indeed, the No.40 had a quite noticeable deep, louder voice and richer harmonics, although the notes were not that well separated (perhaps because, also, of its good sustain). The notes in the No.50, however, were clearer and the trebles more vibrant, though I didn't like the "thump" of the A bass, it was too strong when compared with the other basses (the body resonance is A). In summary, it was a reasonable instrument but not at the same level as the No.40 and, because I wanted to try other Japanese luthiers and also there are so many instruments my wife tolerates here at home :D, I decided to sell it. I asked, then, Christian if he could do it for me. He graciously accepted but, though he advertised it in various channels - the Delamp Forum included - and received some enquiries, the fact is that by Summer end last year, no one had taken it. I decided, then, to keep it but asked Christian to refinish its top to clear some dings, which he did. The old varnish was scraped and replaced with a thin coat of Shellac. The result can be seen in the picture:

R. Matsuoka 50 com Shellac.jpg

The Shellac changed the colour of the cedar top, it is no longer so "dark". But the surprise was in its new sound. After fitting it with new strings - Knobloch Carbon CX400, High Tension - and playing for a few days the guitar seemed to have "opened" and acquired a new voice, much better than before, crystal clear, more balanced (the strong A is no longer so strong) with a very good separation. I recorded a piece by Sor for another thread in this guitar and you can hear it here . I hope you like it as much as I do.

To conclude, I'm so impressed with this "transformation" that I'm seriously considering to do the same with my R. Matsuoka No.40 :D. May be it keeps its strong voice but the notes will open and separate a little bit more, who knows? Any advice?
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1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/52, Spr, IN RW, Tokyo, JP
1976 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.50, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CA Ced, MG RW, Banyoles, ES

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eno
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by eno » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:34 pm

Jorge Oliveira wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:40 pm
To conclude, I'm so impressed with this "transformation" that I'm seriously considering to do the same with my R. Matsuoka No.40 :D. May be it keeps its strong voice but the notes will open and separate a little bit more, who knows? Any advice?
I had the same experience with refinishing my Takamine C136S with shellac, the change and improvement in the sound was quite amazing.
As far as I know Japanese luthiers never used shellac because it would quickly deteriorate in Japan's hot and humid climate. So basically every Japanese guitar has a hidden potential of sound improvement if it gets refinished with shellac.
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 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:01 pm

eno wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:34 pm
I had the same experience with refinishing my Takamine C136S with shellac, the change and improvement in the sound was quite amazing.
As far as I know Japanese luthiers never used shellac because it would quickly deteriorate in Japan's hot and humid climate. So basically every Japanese guitar has a hidden potential of sound improvement if it gets refinished with shellac.
I don't know about other Japanese luthiers, but the Yamaha luthiers started to use shellac on their best instruments in the 1970s and still do today.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

es335
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by es335 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:10 pm

eno wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:34 pm
... So basically every Japanese guitar has a hidden potential of sound improvement if it gets refinished with shellac.
Masaru Kohno actually rated his cashew top finish higher than shellac. Well adapted to Japan's special climate conditions and thus almost every in the world, applied equal thin and maintenance free! IMHO the finish I do like most!

It's said that he once received one of his guitars with a shellac refinished top and was so upset that he was not satisfied until being allowed to refinish the guitars top with the original cashew finish. :wink: :D

... but for all the rest I do agree! :D

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eno
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by eno » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:04 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:01 pm
I don't know about other Japanese luthiers, but the Yamaha luthiers started to use shellac on their best instruments in the 1970s and still do today.
I would guess that was for export models only, no?
es335 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:10 pm
Masaru Kohno actually rated his cashew top finish higher than shellac. Well adapted to Japan's special climate conditions and thus almost every in the world, applied equal thin and maintenance free! IMHO the finish I do like most!

It's said that he once received one of his guitars with a shellac refinished top and was so upset that he was not satisfied until being allowed to refinish the guitars top with the original cashew finish. :wink: :D

... but for all the rest I do agree! :D
Interesting :) Well, Ramirez didn't like shellac either...
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 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:18 pm

eno wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:04 pm
Beowulf wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:01 pm
I don't know about other Japanese luthiers, but the Yamaha luthiers started to use shellac on their best instruments in the 1970s and still do today.
I would guess that was for export models only, no?
In the Japanese catalogue, the specifications for the GC70/70C and GC71 (all of which cannot be exported as they have Brazilian Rosewood back and sides) indicate French Polish Shellac finishes.
Last edited by Beowulf on Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

ChristianSchwengeler
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Re: We who love Japanese classical guitars - Delcamp

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:56 am

Jorge Oliveira wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:40 pm

To conclude, I'm so impressed with this "transformation" that I'm seriously considering to do the same with my R. Matsuoka No.40 :D. May be it keeps its strong voice but the notes will open and separate a little bit more, who knows? Any advice?
It can go both way, for the better or the worse, and it is not really possible to predict this. There is some consensus that in many cases the finish is a part of the instrument and this is often taken into consideration when the instrument is built. Your Matsuoka Nº 40 is allready a very nice instrument and I would not refinsish it, risking turning it worse.

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