NEW LISTING! - 14/10/2017, but price reduced from £499 on 12/11/2017.
22/11/2017 - NOW SOLD - To happy buyer from Derby, who came to try & bought!
Just arrived - Selling on commission for a customer.
Amongst regular sales of Classical guitars, also Brazilian, English and Spanish made, I have sold many Japanese made classicals, but this one is a little different....a really exceptional quality, Japanese Classical Guitar, retaining the original internal label reading...."Handcrafted Guitar * N. KUNIHARU * Kuniharu Workshop * Nagoya Japan * Model No. K50 * Serial No. 77004".....whether it can be assumed that the latter may indicate a production dating in 1977, or some other date in the 1970s I can't be sure.
Offering really excellent sound and playability, the guitar has some exceptional quality detailing and fittings, with richly coloured timbers, of the traditional combination of Solid Western Red Cedar top and Indian Rosewood back & sides.
There is a dearth of information regarding N. Kuniharu guitars on the internet, but a fair amount of information about the renowned Japanese luthier Kuniharu Nobe, and the Nobe family of luthiers, including his brother, Masaji, and his son, Masafumi. Speculation about the possibility of a connection is detailed in the Main Description section below.....needless to say if anyone reading this has additional, more extensive information I would be very grateful if they would share it with me.
Stock Number: VTGC1034.
I have sold quite a number of Japanese made Classicals from this period, which are invariably beautifully made with attractive woods and elegant detailing. They are very good sounding and playing vintage guitars, with great character. Of all the ones I have sold, along with the Tama classical I also currently have for sale, this has one has the most exceptional detailing features and fittings, undoubtedly of real style and quality.
Although it has no specific dating on the guitar itself, the styling & fittings, along with the conjecture above regarding the serial number, may indicate that it was made in the late 1970s. My customer bought the guitar in 2012 from the well-known guitar store, Guitar Village, for a price of £800, but is prepared to consider reasonable offers.
This is a really very elegant Classical guitar, quite exceptional amongst the many Japanese classical guitars I have seen, and will provide an excellent instrument for a student or an experienced player. As you will see from the photos the richly coloured woods are beautiful, and the finish retains superb depth of colour. The beautifully grained solid Western Red Cedar top has intricate decorative soundhole Rosette and dark-edged multiple binding. The elegantly carved Headstock has very handsome Rosewood facing. The Rosewood bridge, has smart light-coloured wood binding and Rosewood inlay.
The Rosewood back and sides are also richly coloured, particularly attractively grained, book-matched, with centre inlay stripe, and again the exceptional quality feature of edge bindings on the rear. The matching Rosewood sides have also have side bindings, top & back and end stripe - the whole guitar has the exceptional look of quality!
The dimensions appear to be quite traditional, with a 658mm./25.9" scale...a little longer than the now standard 650mm., which is quite usual in Japanese made guitars of this period, and full width, if slightly slimmer than some, fingerboard, 51mm./2" at the nut, on a reasonably shallow "D" profile neck.
In my internet research on N. Kuniharu guitars I found very little information, and no really obvious link to the master luthier Kuniharu Nobe, other than the similarity of names, which seemed to be contradicted by the fact that all Kuniharu Nobe labels quote Tokyo as the location, not Nagoya, until I came across an eBay listing from a seller in Hong Kong, from which I have reproduced the quotation opposite, under the heading "Hong Kong Seller Quotation", with grateful thanks.
The confirmation that Kuniharu Nobe's father established the family guitar workshop in guitarmaking central, Nagoya, in the 1940s, appears to make the connection between this guitar and the Nobe family of luthiers, which their other labels with the Tokyo location did not...possibly we can view these guitars in the same way as Ramirez "Estudio" guitars, produced for a wider distribution, but in this case made in the Kuniharu Workshop?
The guitar is clearly all original, and having been very well looked after, really does not look to be 40 years old! The condition is excellent, beautiful finish, with only very few minor dings, on the top & back edges, and localised minor scratches, but only noticeable on close scrutiny - all in all, really minor markings for a vintage guitar, from normal usage and in no way prejudicial. The only other "blemishes" are the front & rear strap-buttons, added before my customer purchased the guitar. As it arrived both were cheap plastic type, which I have replaced with more acceptable, good quality Chrome ones. For those who don't like to see strap buttons on a classical guitar, they could easily be removed, followed by a minor filling & finish making good operation.
The guitar has been inspected in conjunction with the highly respected professional luthier & classical guitar-builder I work with, and no sign of past repairs or ongoing issues found. The presumably original quality gold engraved machine heads are working well, set on beautiful Rosewood faced headstock. Playing-wise, there is only the very slightest visible wear to the frets and to the fingerboard.
The action at the 12th. fret is just about spot-on for a classical guitar, at around 3.5mm./4mm., which should be good be for both experienced & student players. With excellently aligned fingerboard, the action would be easily be further raised by fitting a replacement taller saddle, if required, but the guitar plays very nicely indeed, as it is.
The existing strings are aged, and whilst the guitar sounds exceptionally good with the existing stringing, a buyer will want to re-string with their own preferred choice of strings or, prior to sale, I can fit a set of quality USA made La Bella Classical strings, probably 850-B, with Golden Alloy Basses and Black Nylon Trebles.
There is no case included. However, I may be able to supply a Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case, if available, at modest additional cost.
**** OTHER GUITARS****
I have a stock of guitars which is added to regularly, but some tend to take a little time to find their way through my workshop, so if you do not see what you are looking for on my website currently, please enquire - who knows, I may have just what you are looking for!
**** YOUTUBE ****
A search of YouTube has so far failed to produce any clips recorded on a N. Kuniharu classical guitar. If you know of any such clips please do let me know, but meantime I'm afraid that I am thrown back on the Classical Guitar clips from YouTube which I regularly use, and I have embedded one of the Eric Clapton piece "Signe" - cover by Martin O'Rourke ("natrelacoustix") on a much less special Japanese made Kimbara Classical...still sounding good though!