Tag: Alvarez-Yairi

Alvarez 5014

Alvarez 5014 Made in JapanAlvarez 5014, made in Japan in 1973

I recently found a 000-sized Alvarez for my friend Wolf. It’s a really nice little guitar that we both were impressed by. These guitars were made in Japan for the US market and imported by St. Louis Music in Missouri, the guys behind Westone. According to Wikipedia and Alvarez own site it was the legendary Kazuo Yairi that founded the brand in 1965 to make cheaper Yairi guitars for the US market. Having said that, it’s still unclear if all Alvarez guitars were really made in the K. Yairi factory in Kani, Gifu in Japan or outsourced on other factories in Japan, see Jedistar. These early 1970’s Alvarez are a bit different to the later Alvarez-Yairi guitars that got famous in the late 1970’s and 1980’s when musicians like Crosby, Stills & Nash and Bob Weir endorsed them. Not only is the label inside and head inlays different, but they also seems to have their own models, the later Alvarez-Yairi are exact copies of the Yairi models of the time but made for export to the US. Since there is a sticker with a serial number inside that correspond perfectly to the Emperor code that K. Yairi uses things point towards the Yairi factory. As with everything made in Japan during the 1970’s, there are some questions we might never find the answer too. Either way we have an awesome Japan made Martin 000-18 copy that Wolf is very excited to play, especially with my Bill Lawrence A-300 in the soundhole.

Alvarez 5014 Made in JapanAlvarez 5014 Made in JapanThe serial number starts with 48 which signify the 48th year of the reign of emperor Shōwa, which was in 1973. You can check the serial numbers of your Yairi or Alvarez here

Kazuo Yairi

Master Luthier, Kazuo Yairi Dies Aged 81

I just found out that Kazuo Yairi died earlier this month at the age of 81. As I mentioned before, I would love to one day afford a K.Yairi and big reason for that is the philosophy of Mr Yairi himself:

Good materials are hard to find so it’s better to make guitars through limited production by hand instead of mass production. Trees are very important “precious” things so we should make good use of them. Guitars made with “heart” are the best use of trees.  Kazuo Yairi

Martin D-45 copy, 1976 K.Yairi YW-1000
The most beautiful Martin D-45 copies in the world, a 1976 K.Yairi YW-1000

Japanese guitar catalogues

Morris catalogue Japan 1976

I’ve recently come across I pretty good source for old catalogue scans for Japan made acoustic guitars. It’s called oldguitar and has about 50 different Japanese guitar brands represented, some brands has more scans than others and most of them are in Japanese but it still pretty nice to see your guitars in old catalogues. Unfortunately I only managed to find my Morris W-40K. Yairi TG-40 and Suzuki Three-S F-120, my Morris WL-35 and Kiso Suzuki WE-150 seems a bit harder to track down.

Morris W-40 1973
Morris W-40
Made in Japan by Terada 1973

Morris catalogue Japan 1975Morris W-40 in the Morris catalogue for Japan 1975

K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977
K. Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977

Yairi TG-40 Japan Catalogue 1970'sYairi TG-40 in a Japan Catalogue from the late 1970’s

Suzuki Three-S F-120
Suzuki Three-S F-120
Made in Japan 1976

Suzuki Three-S catalogue USA 1979Suzuki Three-S F-120 in the Suzuki Three-S catalogue for USA 1979

Kiso Suzuki Violin Co. LTD. WE-150
Kiso Suzuki WE-150
Made in Japan 1970’s

Kiso Suzuki Violin Co. LTD. catalogue Japan 1976My Kiso Suzuki WE-150 seems to be a mix of the W-150 and then WH-200 in this catalogue from Japan 1976