Some of your Questions

Q. How to choose a classical guitar?

To estimate the quality and value of a guitar, you need a certain amount of knowledge and experience to make the right choice. A guitar is an artefact that produces sound, so you must also have a sense of sound, a sense of artistry and a knowledge of materials.
The main criteria to consider when choosing a guitar are:
Quality of sound. Good balance, pitch in every position and loudness.
Quality of the materials. Quality of the ageing of the materials if it is a vintage guitar.
Playability. The guitar should be easy to play if the neck shape and string height are appropriate.
Artistic value of the appearance. It is a mistake to think that appearance does not matter as long as the guitar sounds good.
A guitar is a musical instrument with the undeniable character of a work of art.

Q. What is a good sound?

The guitar is an instrument of musical expression, so it must have a sound quality that is rich in expression.
A clear, loud sound with a natural reverberation decay.
A smooth, bright, rich and transparent sound when the strings are plucked with a well-polished nail.
An balanced sound quality and volume on all strings and in all positions.
A sound that is sensitive to the position of the touch, the angle of the nails and the force applied; Harmonics clear and transparent.
A guitar with these qualities will be able to express itself dynamically and to produce a wide range of sounds, beautiful chords and melodies.

Q. What is the difference between Kohno, Sakurai and Kimishima guitars?

The Kohno, Sakurai and Kimishima guitars differ in particular in their bracing design. The Kohno guitar bracing, in comparison to the symmetrical fan bracing of the Torres type, expands the high tones with a smooth rise and more depth in the low tones. The Sakurai guitar bracing, based on the Khono bracing, incorporates vibration theory, the result of scientific research with the Shibaura Institute of Technology, and offers a greater and more balanced sound volume throughout the soundboard. So Kimijima designs his guitars incorporating Masaki Sakurai's theory and experience in vibration, while maintaining a sound typical of traditional classical guitars.
Each model is distinguished by the quality of the materials, the drying time of the wood and the internal design.

Q. Do you make custom guitars to order?

Yes, we respond to custom orders, including the size of the guitar, the choice of materials and the design of the rosette.
It is also possible to incorporate special design requests without compromising playability and tone.
Scale lengths of 620 mm and 660 mm can also be specified. Alto and bass guitars are also available.
The delivery period is 10 months after receipt of the order.

Q. What is the difference in price between the different models?

The main difference lies in the quality of the material. The same spruce or Latin American rosewood can be of different qualities.
For example, the Maestro models are made from the best materials and have been cured for over 20 years, while the Special models have been cured for 15 years. An instrument made from the best materials and cured for many years produces an excellent sound right from the start.
For the Sakurai Kohno Maestro and So Kimijima SOL models, the neck of the guitar is connected to the inside of the body, which requires more time and effort than conventional neck construction.

Q. What is the price of a 1976 No. 15 guitar?

From about 1963 to 1982, we used numbers for our models that also indicated their retail prices in Japan. Number 15 was sold for 150,000 yens in Japan, but we cannot estimate its current value.

Q. What species of wood are used for Kohno, Sakurai and Kimishima guitars?

We mainly use Spuce (SP) and Cedar (CD) for the top and Central and South American Rosewood (CSAR) for the back and sides.
We use Ebony for the finger board and cedar for the neck with 2 ebony reinforcements.

Q. What is Central and South American Rosewood?

Central and South American rosewood (CSAR) is a member of the genus Dalbergia in the family Leguminosae (Fabaceae), which is native to Central and South America. It includes Jacaranda, Cocobolo, Amazonian rosewood and, since 2000, Madagascar rosewood, which is an equivalent material to these.

Q. Is the import of Jacaranda prohibited?

In recent years, it has become very difficult to obtain Jacaranda (Brazilian rosewood) because of the Washington Convention, which aims to protect endangered wild animals and plants by regulating international trade. Japan ratified the Convention in 1980. Only timber harvested before the Convention came into force can be imported or exported with the permission of both the exporting and importing countries, and commercial trade in timber harvested after the Convention came into force is completely prohibited. Indian rosewood, cocobolo, Amazonian rosewood, Madagascan rosewood and other Fabaceae species were added to the Convention in 2017.

Q. What is the difference between Hakaranda rosewood, Indian rosewood and maple?

Although there are considerable individual differences, in order of density, German spruce, Engelmann spruce and red cedar. Basically, the less dense the material, the easier the sound is to produce. The mass of the soundboard can also be controlled by the thickness and design of the soundboard. The soundboard also changes over time, it vibrates more easily and the upper harmonics become less pronounced, the sound becomes more transparent.

Q. What is the difference between German spruce, Engelmann spruce and red cedar?

Red cedar is lighter and more elastic in density, so the sound is easier to produce, louder and brighter, but it lacks the weight and toughness of Spruce. Spruce, on the other hand, is a stickier wood, which gives it a heavier, broader sound and a longer life.

Q. Why are there no position marks on Kohno and Sakurai guitars?

Position marks are available on request, but not recommended for the following reasons:
As you know, violins and shamisen do not have position marks. If guitars had position marks, it would dull the sense of how to play the notes. Most professional guitarists do not have them.
On the other hand, position marks can interfere with the use of a capotast. If you want to depend on position marks, why not use small round stickers for this purpose?

Q. Are knots in the wood used for the back and sides of guitars a problem?

Some rosewoods in Central and South America have a lot of knots, but this is not a problem for the guitars.

Q. Why can a guirare produce an abnormal sound?

A guitar is a complex vibrating structure and it can be very difficult to identify the cause of an abnormal sound.
The first thing to check yourself are the strings. The end of a string touching the top or headstock of the guitar can cause an abnormal sound. A gap between the strings and the tuning machines can also cause an abnormal sound and should be tightened with a screwdriver.
A deformation of the nut grooves is also a possibility in the case of an abnormal sound produced with empty strings. Also, strange noises that only occur when certain frets are pressed can have many causes, such as a deformed neck, too low a string height, floating frets, a part of the bracing coming loose, a wolf sound, etc... It can be difficult to determine the cause, so don't hesitate to contact us.

Q. How should I take care of the guitar?

Room temperature and humidity vary considerably depending on the environment and the use of a temperature and humidity meter is important. We recommend that your guitar be kept in an environment maintained at 40-50% humidity throughout the year.
During the hot and humid Japanese summer months, the guitar must be protected from humidity and can be stored in two ways:
(1) Store the guitar in its case and use a desiccant to dehumidify it. In some cases, more than one desiccant may be needed to complete the dehumidification, so check the inside of the case with a hygrometer. Note that a desiccant loses its effectiveness after 1 to 2 months. The performance of a desiccant can be restored by using a microwave oven or other means to remove water from the desiccant.
(2) Store the guitar out of its case in an air-conditioned room. Air conditioning will produce a cool, dry breeze, which will dehumidify the air. Humidity is lower in the upper part of the room, so try to place the guitar as high in the room as possible.
During the winter months it is necessary to take steps to avoid drying out. Avoid placing your guitar in warm, heated rooms. Remove the desiccant from the case and store your guitar in its case and in the wettest room in your house.
Temperatures above 50°C (122°F) will melt the adhesive. Please do not store your guitar in a car in the summer or in a place exposed to high temperatures. As long as you are careful with humidity, your guitar will withstand the cold. Also avoid exposing your guitar to direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Q. Care of the guitars

To clean, soak a towel in warm water with a little neutral detergent and wring it out tightly before wiping. Cleaning means thinning the coating, however slightly. Use a soft cloth and wipe softly. Cashew is a very soft paint, so do not overdo it.
Once every six months should be sufficient.

Q. Care of the tuners

If the tuners squeaks or becomes stiff, you can apply a small amount of silicone oil (KURE 5-56) or grease to the tuner gears with a cotton swab. Do not spray directly on the mechanics or use too much oil as this may damage them.

Q. What type of machine heads are used?

The japanese GOTOH machine heads, (510 Serie model 35G-1600) are used as standar on all guitars.
Machine heads by RODGERS, ALLESSI and SCHELLER are available on request.

Q. Do I have to release tension of string every time I am not play?

Even if you play the guitar every day, be sure to loosen the strings by turning the tuners 2-3 times after playing.

Q. Which strings should I use for my classical guitar?

The quality of strings used to vary greatly. In recent years, research has progressed and the number of defective strings has decreased considerably. Today, the strings of the major manufacturers are generally of good quality. However, we advise you to try different types of strings and find the ones that suit you best.
The standard strings on our guitars are Savarez Creation Cantiga Premium Set Normal tension.

Q. When should I change the strings on a classical guitar?

You have to change the strings according to the frequency at which you play the guitar.
If you play for an hour a day, we recommend that you change the strings at least once every two months.

Q. How to change the strings on a classical guitar?

Masaki Sakurai changes the strings of a friend's guitar himself.

Masaki Sakurai
Masaki Sakurai