Regarding this particular S. Yairi Clase 800 classical guitar, the pictures attached below hopefully will tell you most of what you want to know. As you can see on the label, the date of manufacture was 1972, and the apparently hand [not stamped] signature is clearly Sadao Yairi's.
While I haven't found reliable specs, I'm pretty sure the top is high grade spruce stained [or aged] to a darker amber, while the back and sides are Indian rosewood. Yairi was famed for his matching laminates, and although the inside and outside grains seem to be the same, I'm guessing the sources are correct re the back and sides being laminated--they sure could've fooled me!
The fretboard is clearly rosewood rather than ebony, as is presumably the bridge. The neck and headstock look like solid mahogany, which one of the more knowledgeable guys online says was very expensive to produce but increases sustain. Speaking of the bridge, it may not be original [although I see no sign of movement] simply because there is an after-market piezo pickup under the [too-thin] saddle, accessed through a jack visible in the treble side bottom of the guitar.
Condition is very good for a 43-year-old guitar which has clearly been played. There is slight wear visible below the sound hole, some "armpit polishing" on the bass top side, and a few dings and bruises throughout. The neck finish is somewhat worn, but the headstock is in great shape and the original tuners work well.
The apparently original hard shell case is also in very good vintage condition. The purple interior is worn in a few places, the tolex is dinged on the edges and peeling a bit [if I have time, I’ll re-glue it before shipping], but the latches and hinges all work and the handle is solid. Structurally it's fine and offers great protection for this fine 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. Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have made every effort to describe and illustrate this outstanding guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. Please read the description carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before purchasing this guitar. Its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing.
Thank you for your interest in this cool guitar.
Notes on the Yairi luthiers of Japan: From the late 1930's to the early 1980s, Sadao/Sada/S. Yairi Guitars of Nagoya were among the very best guitars manufactured by Japanese luthiers. Master Luthier Sadao Yairi was born in Japan over 105 years ago. Pre-1980 S. Yairi Guitars are as masterfully made as any you may find. The deservedly well respected Kazuo/K. Yairi Guitars are a faithful echo both in design and in quality to the older S. Yairis. After Sadao Yairi’s bankruptcy, his assets and brand name were sold off, and although a relationship to the original S. Yairis is claimed, no relationship can be discerned in the less impressive quality of the “S. Yairi” products offered from the late 1980’s onward.
Both Sadao Yairi and his brother Giichi (Kazuo Yairi's father) started out making violins for Suzuki Violin Co. Both left to start their own factories making guitars; Sadao left in 1932, Giichi in 1935.
Sadao only got interested in nylon string or what he called "gut" guitars after Kazuo returned from Spain and started making classical guitars. Sadao did not make them until the late 1950's or early 1960's; prior to that he only made steel string guitars. Some say there was bad blood between the two at some point, but the only thing I ever saw from Kazuo was a statement that basically said that Sadao and he did not have a joined business venture and one was not connected with the other.
Sadao Yairi and his son Hiroshi also built for a few U.S importers in the 1960's and 70's. The Acoustic Museum site says that S.Yairi made Lowden Guitars from 1980 to 1985 under licensing from the boutique guitar-maker George Lowden; they also made identical guitars under the S. Yairi name. The guitars are the same as Lowden guitars, with the exception of the S. Yairi logo on the headstock & label in the body. Sadao’s son Hiroshi and his nephew Kazuo also made guitars for Alvarez and in China.
Sadao Yairi initially employed a model numbering system using the word “clase” to indicate the model number. During the early 1970s, clase 900 was the top model, so this clase 800 guitar was 2nd from the top. All three of the top models -- the 700, 800, and 900-- had laminated rosewood back and sides. Some people believe that S. Yairi classical guitars are finer guitars than comparable Kazuo Yairi guitars of the same period. Most just say that they each have a distinctive sound and use different construction methods.
S. Yairi guitars have a distinctive Japanese influence, while K. Yairi classical guitars are either based upon Torres bracing and construction or Ramirez - Madrid school guitars. Some early S. Yairi classical guitars have dovetail neck blocks and do not use a Spanish slipper heel; they also have an odd interior flying buttress neck extension that I have only seen on Japanese guitars.
Some early S. Yairis employ a one piece mahogany neck instead of crafting the neck with a laminated heel and a separate head. Most folks agree that the one piece neck increases sustain, but it was very costly to produce. Most also consider Sadao and Kazuo Yairi guitars to be of a much higher quality than guitars made by Hiroshi Yairi -- sold under the Wilson label.
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 FREE; 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.