When Kazuo Yairi began designing and hand-crafting his guitars in the 1960’s, he was deliberately competing with Martin, Gibson, Guild, and the traditional classical guitar makers of Spain for the higher end guitar market in the U.S. This CY-140 “Grand Concert Master” guitar is an example of the superb quality and sound which he was able to produce using the highest grade materials, the best Japanese craftsmen, and his own modifications of the best American and European designs. Today, the prices of the Alvarez-Yairi acoustic guitars range from $1200 to $5000 and beyond—especially the instruments made with highly-figured Coral, Jacaranda, or Brazilian Rosewood.
This guitar has the serial number (57868) imprinted on the label, but not the date; however, as I understand it the numbers stamped on the neck block (9901 177) indicate that this was the 177th guitar made in January of 1999—the 11th year of the reign of Japanese Emperor Heisa (no, I’m not making this up). By this date only the highest-priced Yairis had solid wood for guitar backs and sides, and this CY-140, while a fine guitar, is not the top of the Yairi line. However, Kazuo Yairi was famous for the sophistication of his laminating processes, as well as for his careful collection of highly figured woods to use in his laminates.
A few notes on Brazilian Rosewood: obviously it comes primarily from Brazil and is also known as Palisander, Rio, and Jacaranda. This wood is now listed as an endangered species by the international CITES I agreement of 1992, so no new Brazilian Rosewood can be cut and no products using new wood can legally be sold. While many makers and luthiers—like Yairi--stockpiled supplies prior to the law’s passage, it is now very expensive to get really nice Brazilian Rosewood, so other highly-figured woods, including Coral and Flamed Rosewood, Coromandel, and other varieties have been utilized because of their beautiful resemblance to Brazilian Rosewood, although these varieties are usually of Indian or Pacific origin.
The CY-140’s solid top is select straight-grained Red Cedar, while the 2-piece back and the sides are made of select Brazilian Jacaranda Rosewood—although I’m pretty sure these are expertly laminated. The 12/19-fret fingerboard is ebony with large nickel silver frets, ending with a bone nut and bone saddle. The wrap-around bridge is rosewood, and the neck and headstock are mahogany. The tuners are gold-plated with pearloid buttons, the rosette is wood inlay, and rosewood and maple binding completes the body. This is one gorgeous guitar, well worth its MSRP of $1900!
Even more impressive is its playability and its huge sound. The frets have very little wear on them, and the neck is quite comfortable for my kind of small hands, measuring 2 1/16” (52 mm) at the nut, with a 664 mm scale.
The years of seasoning of the quality solid top and Jacaranda back and sides make this about as resonant a classical guitar as I have played, with great big bass and clear ringing trebles. Perhaps some of this resonance is due to the transverse classical bracing system, similar to that of the iconic Ramirez 1a. The usual Spanish neck block was modified by Yairi with an internal neck extension for greater strength and stability.
While this guitar no doubt has been played, there are virtually no visible dings, scratches, or bruises anywhere on it. I managed to find a few pinhead dings in the binding, but that’s about it. On a 1-10 scale, I’d say this is about a 9.5, and it’s really beautiful.
The original deluxe arched-top hard shell case is structurally solid as a rock; the hardware all works, and the black plush interior is perfect. More importantly, it fits this guitar like the proverbial glove, looks great, and certainly provides outstanding protection for this valuable instrument.
Buyer pays a flat rate of $55 for insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashier’s checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have tried to be perfectly clear and accurate in describing this instrument, so its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please check out the pictures and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy it.
Thank you for your interest in this beautiful guitar.
Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but all payments must clear my bank before the guitar will be shipped. I will CONSIDER reasonable offers, even including installment payments and trade-ins, but generally since I already attempt to price my guitars very competitively, unusual deals must be unusually sweet.
From henceforth [that's how retired English teachers talk], insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states is $55 due to constantly rising shipping costs unless a specific listing says otherwise; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. I have sold guitars to Russia, Japan, Australia, and over 50 other countries, as well as almost every state in the USA. Since some of my guitars travel thousands of miles, I take care to use lots of packing materials, protect the neck inside the case, and of course de-tune the strings.
I make every effort to describe and illustrate each guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. However, many of my instruments are well-played vintage items which are many years old, and I am not a luthier. One should assume that any guitar will require some set-up to satisfy your personal requirements, and that not every flaw or ding will be seen/recognized/described in the listing. Thus the return of an instrument will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please read the listing carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy.