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
, 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:
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
. May be it keeps its strong voice but the notes will open and separate a little bit more, who knows? Any advice?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.