Claescaster

Tag: 1977

K. Yairi YW-130

K. Yairi YW-130 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi YW-130 a Martin D-28 copy made in Kani, Japan in 1977

I recently came over a 1977 K. Yairi YW-130, a beautiful Martin D-28 copy. I’ve been looking for a D-28 copy for a while, just out of curiosity to see the difference between the D-35 and D-42 copies that I have. The Morris W-40 and Morris W-50 both have a 3-part back which gives them a lot of bass and punch in the middle so perhaps a Japanese made D-28 copy would be more bell like and balanced, like a real Martin, and I was right. The K. Yairi YW-130 sounds amazing, really clean and even all over, with awesome overtones that sneaks up on you if you let it ring out. It has a solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides with a simple ebony bridge and fretboard. I do love my Morris guitars and I think it’s a great brand, but nothing comes close to K. Yairi. The old K.Yairi TG-40 that I got a year a go is awesome too, but I think I prefer the sound of the new one. Perhaps my acoustic guitar preferences has slightly shifted from the Gibson sound to Martin.

K. Yairi YW-130 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi YW-130 Made in Japan 1977I didn’t have to do anything to the guitar when I got it, I just changed the machine heads to Wilkinson WJ28NGD open gear in gold which I love. It’s a bit worn and have a few dents in the spruce top that I’m planning to figure out how to soften a bit.

K. Yairi YW-130 Made in Japan 1977I’ve really come to love guitars with the typical Martin volute, just like my Morris W-50, and the double dots on the 7th fret, it’s just beautiful. There is nothing better than a black Ebony fretboard on an acoustic guitar. I thought ebony was like rosewood until I got my Goya T-18 two years ago and it just blow my mind, there is no nicer fretboard material.

K. Yairi YW-130 1970's catalogueK. Yairi YW-130 in a late 1970’s Canadian catalogue, taken from AlvarezYairi

K. Yairi TG-40

K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977K.Yairi TG-40 a Guild D-40 copy from 1977. Every K.Yairi guitar is given birth in Kani, a small community in the beautiful mountainside area of Honshu, Japan.

My new K.Yairi TG-40 has finally arrived, after 40 days stuck in Spanish customs. I have mentioned earlier that it’s a lot easier to import things from Japan to Spain compared to buying things from the US, well that was a lie. I have bought three electric guitars, mainly Greco’s from an eBay seller called Tokyowax. They all arrived within 48 hours so I stupidly assumed that everything from Japan would arrive quickly and without any problems, but no. Tokyowax uses DHL Express and they tend to deliver things within 2-5 days and you pay the taxes straight to them when they deliver the guitar. It wasn’t that easy with EMS Japan, that package went straight to customs in Madrid and spent 40 days in their lazy company. How can anything take that long? K. Yairi could probably have built me a new guitar in that time, if he was still alive. It seems like the only option now when buying guitars on eBay is to use the Global Shipping Program, that worked for my Goya 163 at least. Anyway, the guitar is amazing so it was well worth waiting for.

K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977

It has a really nice tone with great bass response. It easily has the best bass of all my acoustics, even better than my Morris W-40 which has that Martin D-45 bass sound, this is nicer and a lot clearer. I guess it sounds like an old Guild D-40, at least if I can trust the Youtube clips I have seen since I haven’t had the chance to play one myself. It actually reminds me a bit of a Gibson Jumbo, like I mentioned in my Gibson J-45/J-50 post: “The Yairi TG-40 is a Guild D-40 copy, which was introduced in the Sixties as a competitor to Gibson’s J-45. The Guild D-40 became famous as the Bluegrass guitar for their even response over all the strings and I really like the sound of them, it’s actually not too far off from a Sixties Gibson J-45. With a bit of luck it’s going to be an awesome Yairi copy of an Guild which might sound a bit like a Gibson.”

K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977I didn’t have to do much to it, it was ready to play when I got it. However, the pickguard was loose so I had to remove that, clean it up and then glue it back again with my trusty fish glue. When the strings was off I quickly polished the frets and oiled the ebony fretboard. I also installed a jack for my LR Baggs M1 and a strap button.

I bought this K.Yairi TG-40 from a really nice eBay seller called montebell86 who was a pleasure to deal with. The guitar was listed as “Taniguchi Gakki” Japanese guitar shop original model, very rare. Solid spruce top, sides and back in solid mahogany, neck in Honduras mahogany, bridge and Fretboard in black ebony. The label states it was made in 1977 but the serial number starts with 51 which was the 51st year of Emperor Shōwa and puts it to 1976.

K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977I got this K.Yairi TG-40 fairly cheap since the pickguard needed to be reglued and one machine head wasn’t working properly. It also has two cracks, one on each side that has been professionally repaired and can’t be seen from the outside. Since the machine heads needed to be replaced I decided to change them for Wilkinson WJ-309 in gold, just like I did on my Levin 174

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klk2qGeQpr8
Here is a quick little comparison between the K.Yairi TG-40 and my Morris W-40, they sound pretty similar and I don’t think I would be able to tell them apart in a blind test. Well the Morris has a bit more bass and is a slightly weaker on the treble side, I feel that the Yairi is more even over all the strings.

Yairi TG-40 Japan Catalogue 1970'sK.Yairi TG-40in the Japanese catalogue from the late 1970′s. List price ¥60.000, around 420€, which must have been a fortune back in 1977. Then again, this was a fairly cheap guitar for being K Yairi, the top model cost ¥200.000, about 1400€.

Ad of the day

Roy Buchanan in a DiMarzio ad from Guitar Player Magazine, May 1977
Roy Buchanan in a DiMarzio ad from Guitar Player Magazine, May 1977. I love how nothing is actually related to the old pictures of Buchanan playing his Nancy. “Roy now uses a Hamer (not pictured) equipped with two DiMarzio Super Distortion Humbuckers”.

K.Yairi TG-40

Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977
K.Yairi TG-40 a Guild D-40 copy from 1977. Every K.Yairi guitar is given birth in Kani, a small community in the beautiful mountainside area of Honshu, Japan.

Sometimes when I’m left unsupervised, especially on Sunday nights, I end up buying guitars that maybe I shouldn’t have bought, or rather that maybe I don’t really need. I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to find a 1970’s Gibson J-45, I can’t really afford anything earlier, but that would still set me back a at least 1500€ which is really hard to justify for a guitar player on my level. I’ve managed to track down the guitar sound that I love to Gibson’s old jumbo models, think Jackson Browne, and the J-45 or J-50 would have been ideal, I think, it’s hard to know without trying but from all the Youtube clips I’ve been listening to they all have a very similar sound. It’s that dry woody booming bass sound that is unmistakably a Gibson J-45. Now I got a Japanese made Guild D-40 copy instead, it wasn’t really planned but I couldn’t resist, or I got carried away, anyway, it’s mine now. The Guild D-40 has a lot of awesome qualities, it’s a proper bluegrass guitar and was built for their even response over all the strings. I trust that Yairi did a good job 37 years ago and even if it doesn’t sound like a Gibson J-45, I’m sure it will have a lot of warmth and good bass, just what I’ve been looking for. On top of that, it’s a freaking Yairi, I never thought I would be able to afford that and I’ve dreamt of a Yairi since I bought my first Japanese acoustic.

Yairi TG-40 Japan Catalogue 1970's K.Yairi TG-40in the Japanese catalogue from the late 1970’s. List price ¥60.000, around 420€, which must have been a fortune back in 1977. Then again, this was a fairly cheap guitar for being K Yairi, the top model cost ¥200.000, about 1400€.

Ad of the day

Gibson S-1- “Ron Wood” Advert 1977Gibson S-1 advert from 1977 with Ron Wood

Gibson’s S-1 was a guitar that tried to find a niche and couldn’t quite succeed. Created in the late 1970s when the guitar company was owned by Norlin, the S-1 was a hybrid’s hybrid. Featuring three single-coil pickups, a four-position chicken head phase selector switch- plus a toggle switch- but only one tone and one volume knob, and a bolt on the neck, the guitar seemed like an attempt to create an American guitar to outdo the Teisco Spectrum. The guitar was sold from 1976 to 1980, but despite getting Ron Wood on board as an endorsee, he had just taken over Mick Taylor’s spot in The Rolling Stones, almost no one was interested in a Gibson that tried to be a Fender by way of Tokyo. It eventually suffered the same ignoble fate as a similarly designed and marketed Gibson, the Marauder. Taken from The National GUITAR Museum

 

Gibson Walnut SG Standard

1977 Gibson Walnut SG Standard
1977 Gibson Walnut SG StandardGibson Walnut SG Standard made in Kalamazoo, USA in 1977

I recently had the pleasure of having an awesome 1977 Gibson Walnut SG Standard at home to play with. Well the idea was to look over the electronics and make sure it was fit to gig with for Patrycja, a friend of Verushka that I sorted the Hondo II bass for. According to The Guitar Dater Project it was made at the Kalamazoo Plant, USA on December 15th 1977, production number 103. It was great that I got a chance to play around with a Gibson Walnut SG Standard from the Seventies, that’s exactly what I was tempted to get myself, see my previous post about Gibson SG. Luckily I tried one before I bought one and I realised straight away that I still prefer Telecasters, SGs have too much neck for me. It was interesting to try a 1970’s Gibson made in USA just to compare it to all the made in Japan copies in my collection. I have to say that the feel and quality of the Japanese guitars are right up there with the American originals.

1977 Gibson Walnut SG Standard
Everything seems to be original, except one pot, so I thought it was unnecessary to change the original jack just because of a bit of crackle so I cleaned it instead. I cleaned all the contact surfaces with wire wool and contact spray, it seems to be enough. I tightened the pots and all the screws on machine heads, strap buttons, pickguard, pickup rings, bridge and polished up the wood a bit.

1977 Gibson Walnut SG Standard
There was a fairly nasty cut in the edge binding on the 5th fret. You could feel it when you played so I masked it off and then filled it with wood filler, that happened to match in colour, then sanded it smooth and dropped a bit of nitro lacquer over it. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture when it was all done, the last picture is before the lacquer and the final sanding with 2500 grit.

1977 Gibson Walnut SG Standard
Patrycja wanted to keep the dents and scratches to the body and I agreed, it’s nice when a guitar shows it’s real age. However, nobody likes dents in the back of the neck so I did what I could to soften them a bit. I recently learned a great way of removing dents and scratches, or at least making them stand out less. Use a soldering iron and some wet paper folded up, the steam from the iron will make the wood swell and that way make the dent less deep. Sometimes this works extremely well, especially on surface scratches, and sometimes it makes no difference at all so it’s a bit hit and miss but it’s quick and easy and therefore at least worth a try. Make sure you move the soldering iron and just hold it down for a sec to not damage the surface. The last step was to polish the frets and fretboard, put on some lemon oil and then new strings. The action and intonation was already great so I didn’t have to adjust that.

Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan
Roy Buchanan and Nancy, from the 1977 album Loading Zone

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I’m a huge fan of Roy Buchanan. I even got myself a Nancy, well it’s a Japanese Fender ’52 re-issue Telecaster from the late 1980’s but close enough. I was watching Youtube documentaries on my lunch and came across Roy Buchanan – P.B.S. Greatest Unknown Guitarist in the World from 1971. Roy’s life story is both sad and quite amazing, you can read more about him if you click the links above. I love the fact that he had give up on music and trained to be a hairdresser when he found Nancy and that he was kicked out of The Hawks for being too weird. This is the song that made me fall in love with him and I’m still not sure if I’m more impressed by his singing or his guitar playing, Roy Buchanan – CC Rider.

Movie of the day

Jethro Tull Ian Anderson

I really liked Jethro Tull when I was a teenager, especially Ian Anderson’s acoustic guitar playing. The extracts from Thick As A Brick are pretty awesome in this live concert from 1977.

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500
Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500, Made in Japan by FujiGen in August 1979

Yesterday the newest member of my Greco family arrived from Japan. I went a bit bananas last week when I saw that my favourite eBay seller Tokyowax was selling a Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500 so I bought it straight away. These Greco TL-500 are pretty rare, there are about 3-4 Greco TE-500, the Thinline version, for sale on eBay at the moment but I have only seen 2-3 Greco TL-500 for sale in the last two years. I’m not sure if they produced more Thinline copies in late Seventies than normal Telecasters or if people refuse to sell them, but you rarely see these and when you do they are normally very expensive. I got mine fairly cheap since one of the string ferrules on the back was missing. Well I shouldn’t really call it cheap and now the import tax from Japan had increased as well, I had to pay 95€ instead of the normal 75-80€.  I didn’t have to do much to her, everything was pretty well set up already. The frets looked pretty bad so I polished them, oiled the machine heads, tightened all the screws and restrung her. She plays amazingly, even better than my old mistress, my Greco Spacey Sounds TE-500 Thinline copy. It might seem weird that I put my old “Nancy”, my Fender Telecaster TL52-75, up for sale and then bought a new one the same week. The truth is that even though I love my Japan made Fender, I don’t dare to use it since it’s in such a good state. I prefer guitars that are older than me and have a couple of battle scars already. I guess I’m also a bit gay for late 1970’s Greco guitars.

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500
The body has quite a few marks on it but the back of the neck is like new and that’s the only thing I really care about.

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500
The frets looked pretty bad so I masked the fretboard and polished them with 400 and 800 grit and then wire-wool. It looked like they had put the frets on before they applied lacquer to the neck and then after 35 years of playing half of it had worn off. The electronics seemed to be in good order and the guitar sounded awesome when I plugged it in so no reason to mess with that.

Greco Spacey Sounds TE-500N, Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500, Greco Les Paul Custom EG-600C
Greco Spacey Sounds TE-500N 1977, Greco Les Paul Custom EG-600C 1980, Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500 1979