Unknown Vintage Japanese Classical Guitar
31st Street Vintage Guitars
Here we have a fine classical guitar of unknown make, likely from 1970s-80s Japan. Some clues to its country of origin include its weight, the thickness of the soundboard, and the tell-tale ebony strip that you find on many Japanese classical necks. The thick soundboard is telling because Japanese luthiers and the salesman who peddled their products overseas learned that the thinner, louder tops would warp and buckle in foreign climates. The solution was to make laminate tops, still of hardwood, but with added flexibility and stability that could withstand the drastic barometric and temperature changes. This also explains the increased weight in many Japanese classicals. There is also a manufacturer serial number stamp on the inside heel, which was common in the small shops across Japan that were building classicals for export. Japanese or not, this guitar is a fabulous piece, with a cedar top, a rosewood back and sides, and an ebony fretboard that feels great. The rosette was handmade, not a sticker, and the tie-block ornament was also handmade with what appears to be a bone outline. The mahogany neck is fairly straight, but the action is a bit high toward the 12th fret, though there is some room for the saddle to come down and correct that issue. The biggest cosmetic issue is a fairly noticeable finish scratch in the top near the bridge. There are also some dents around the binding and a couple scuffs on the back of the neck, but they do nothing to impede play. Finally, the sound of this guitar is VERY mellow and buttery smooth. Even with a decent ponticello attack, this guitar is smooth as silk, and in this player’s opinion, it would make a great instrument for an accompanist or for players with a natural bent towards treble. Sorry, no case with this one.
Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.
Nut Width: 2”
8/10 (excellent) c.1970s-80s Made in Japan*
*Based on our luthier's inspection, not 100% certain
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