When this concert guitar was made in 1976, it was the top model offered by the master luthier Masaru Kohno– when he was at the very height of his career.
There is some confusion out there as to which Kohno was the “top” concert model at any given date in height of Masaru Kohno’s career– from the early 70’s to the late-80s’. No confusion here– as there is correspondence (from August 2011) directly from Masaki Sakurai to us, regarding this guitar. Masaki Sakurai (nephew of Masaru Kohno, who in fact worked along side Masaru Kohno when this instrument was made in 1976, and now of course runs the “Sakurai/Kohno” shop, since the death of Masaru Kohno in 1998) confirms that this guitar was the top model available from Kohno in mid-1976. (Don’t be confused– a later, for example 1980 No. 30 Kohno is not a top Kohno model from that year. By 1980, the top model was a No. 50.)
The confusion arises because Kohno had, in the early 70s until the late 80’s the custom of making his model numbers correspond to the guitars’ price in Japanese Yen. Hence, this guitar, a “No. 30”, in mid-1976, was priced at 300,000 Japanese Yen, and was the top model (a very expensive guitar in 1976). The confusion arises because as the inflation-prone 70’s continued, everyone adjusted prices upward. When inflation kept advancing, Kohno model numbers were something of a moving target, and the “top model” number changed upwards over time. Over time the top model moved up to No. 30 (this guitar), and then later No. 50 (starting in 1977). Kohno finally stopped using numbers in the 80’s and then called the top model the “Professional J”, and on, with more variations of “Professional”.)
In any case this guitar, was the top model made, when it came from the Kohno shop (correspondence from Masaki Sakurai confirming this, will be supplied). But the real proof is in the playing. This instrument stands along with the best brazilian rosewood/spruce concert guitars from any maker, anywhere, any period. Crystal clear brazilian trebles. Wonderful resonance, combined with superior string separation.
- Hand-signed on label by Masaru Kohno, and dated 1976
- Solid European spruce top
- Solid Brazilian rosewood back and sides
- 660mm scale length
- Nut: 52mm
- Mahogany neck with 2 ebony supporting strips
- Ebony fretboard
- Gold engraved Gotoh tuners
- One repaired crack on back of guitar
- Crack-free top and sides. There are various nicks, dings, and scratches.
- Finish is naturally worn off, through playing, on the center section of the back of the neck– giving it a very fast feel in the left hand.
Note on Kohno playability: While short scale lengths are in vogue today, many “vintage” guitars from the great makers (Ramirez for instance with their typical 665mm or even longer scale length guitars in this era) especially from the late 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, are longer scale. This guitar is a comfortable scale at 660mm, and it’s important to note: the original Kohno design, that is continued even in today’s models, was intentionally different from the high-end Spanish concert guitars of the day which had high action and beefy necks. From the Kohno factory the action was set low on guitars. The necks were moderately thin in profile and shaped for very fluid playability. So at 660mm scale length, with its slim profile neck, this is an easy-playing Kohno.