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I’ve run across a copy from the Japan Music Trades magazine that included an interview of Sadao Yairi and his son Hiroshi. The time frame appears to be 1973. It lists Yairi Gakki MFG as his company. There’s quite a bit of info, so for now I will only add some pertinent names and dates, etc.  Will add info as time allows~

Sadao Yairi was born in 1908.

In 1923 he entered the employment of Suzuki Violin Mfg., Co., Ltd. He worked there making violins until 1932 when he left to start his own business. In 1935 his son Hiroshi was born, and this was the milestone in his life to become independent.

He rented two buildings, lived in one and the other became his first guitar "factory". He made only flat top steel string guitars at this time.

In 1940 he saw one foreign made "gut" guitar and heard the sound it made and was completely fascinated with it. "This is a real guitar" and he began to study the gut guitar. "I wanted to made guitars as good as the foreign ones, but in those days I did not have the money to buy the machines." "It was also difficult to control the materials." Sadao Yairi spent most of his spare time towards this "new" guitar, working day and night.

Yairi Gakki was successful and had reached the peak during the early 1940′s. He had 7 workmen and the monthly produciton of guitars were around 100. The situation did not continue due to the war in Japan,Yairi Gakki had been completely shut down and all the equipment and workers ended up working for Kasuga Gakki Mfg. Co. in Kaizugun, Gifu.

At wars end in 1945, Sadao left the Kasuga factory, and once again started out on his own. Starting from scratch it took him 5 years to get back on his feet. New workmen and tools were brought in, but they had no experience in making guitars, so he had to TRAIN them first. It was frustrating for him, in that it was easier for him to make the guitars himself than train the new workers.
 
Once again he concentrated on steel string flat top guitars, slowly adding in the new "gut" guitars. By 1960 production of gut guitars had increased and made up half of the total production. Only in 1965 the production of gut guitars had made it into the main line. Monthly production reached 500 guitars and the factory was at full capacity. 

 
Sadao Yairi changed how he used his first name several times in his career…early models used Sadao, later you would find Sada, or S. Yairi.
SADAO

…. to be continued….

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Comments on: "Sadao Yairi History … continued…" (24)

  1. Very, very interesting to me, both about Sadao and Hiroshi. My weekly guitar lesson is today and I have been practicing on my 1970 Wilson with "H. Yairi" name inside. Love it! I can\’t wait to read more. Thank you. MoscowSam

  2. Hello Sam!Glad to see you here~ As I\’ve said, I\’m getting more info not only on Sadao and Hiroshi history, but have also got more translations done, in regards to the "business" and processes they used and felt strongly about.So, come back and check for updates.. and new info! Pass the link on to others you think would find it interesting too.Regards,yl

  3. Hi Dianne,
    Thank you so much for doing all of this research! I have two Yairi guitars and love them both.
    The newest one has a letter S above 3744 on the heel block inside sound hole.Would you know what year this would be? I took the first two # to be 1962 but the sec # 44 not sure how to read them
    Thanks …Lyle

    • Hi Lyle,

      You don’t say, but if it has an S along with numbers on heelblock, that should make it a Sadao Yairi model, not Kazuo Yairi. So, you wouldn’t use the same Emperor coding method to tell the year. I could give you more info if I had good photo’s of it… otherwise, I’d take a guess that it was an early 1970′s model. How about a label? The info on that would help also~ or a photo of it. If you can get photo’s, send them to yairi_luvr@comcast.net

      yl

    • Hello Lyle,

      Looks to be a 1974 9109, as to size it does appear to be smaller than a full size dread, but I haven’t found any literature yet that lists the data on this model. I have one though and mine has the cinched in waist like a 00 or 0m size. Top would be solid Spruce, back and sides are most likely East Indian Rosewood (laminate), the grain is too straight to be Brazilian.

      I do see that it has had a problem with loose bracing, which is what caused the two cracks on either side of the fingerboard, down into the sound hole. This usually is from improper storage where at one point it got too hot and the glue holding the bracings came loose, and the string tension caused the top to give way, with the whole thing sliding downward. If it hasn’t already been repaired it can be by someone that knows what they’re doing.

      The case is the original too.

      yl

  4. hi..
    i have a yairi gakki ltd guitar that i just won on ebay…
    i can’t find any real info on it…it has a one piece neck and is original spanish cedar,.. there is a small paper with japanese characters and a piece of tape over it on the back of the headstock.
    can anyone give me a hand? thanks…

    thanks for all the great history research.. its fascinating..
    here’s what’s on the label:

    YAIRI GUITAR
    Hand Made
    Made in Japan
    YAIRI GAKKI LTD.
    NAGOYA
    NO_ B-8 AD_ 69 D

    • Hello Tim,

      What you have is an old Sadao Yairi classical model, not Kazuo Yairi. I would need photo’s to give more info, but I’ve found that Sadao Yairi rarely used anything other than Spruce for the tops and Mahogany for the necks. I’ve seen some of the B series models before, most were from the mid to late 1960′s with either a blue or greenish label. Kazuo Yairi’s factory has always been in Gifu, where Sadao had his factories in Nagoya.

      If you can send photo’s I may be able to help more~

      yl

  5. thanks so much for the quick reply….
    here is the ebay description for the guitar. there are some good close up pics if you scroll down. i hope it works.. otherwise i will post when i receive the guitar..

    tim

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&_trksid=p4340.l2557&rt=nc&nma=true&item=270734125566&si=%252ByT9yXMk%252FRQXTfXgU%252B3LLj1AuEE%253D&viewitem=&sspagename=ADME%3AX%3ARTQ%3AUS%3A1123

    • Hello Tim, That link didn’t work, but I may have found the auction (number doesn’t match but it is the same model and year). Was the seller from Lima, Peru? Let me know if it’s the same one and then I’ll tell you what I think on it. IF it isn’t the same auction, then we’ll have to wait for you to send me the photo’s. yl

      http://yairiguitars.spaces.live.com/

  6. hi
    if its the one that says final sale sada yairi gakki…that would be it…

  7. oh.. and yes its lima peru…

    • Yes, Tim ~that is the same one that has been up on EBay several times. I believe the first time it sold for $300, and for some reason he put it up again for more. No idea if the seller didn’t come through or maybe he returned it? I don’t have any catalogs that show this model, however I do know that almost all of S. Yairi classical models had Spruce tops, solid. The back and sides would be laminates…looks like Mahogany (African Ribbon Mahogany or possibly Sepele) difficult to tell from the photo’s. I have friends that own B series, and like them a lot….but, they also got them for under $100. You can tell it’s not a mid or high level model due to not having Ebony fingerboard, cheap tuners, and plain inlays. I can also make out in the photo of the back, that it appears to have not been stored properly…you can just make out the flaws around where the flash hits it. I can’t give you much more info because the pictures don’t show everything and most are too far to make things out clearly. Not sure how much you ended up paying for it, but it certainly wasn’t worth the $750 listed in the last auction. I also believe that I wrote the seller and asked a few question and also gave him the same info I’m giving you~ he NEVER responded, not a good sign. Hope this helps some~ yl

      http://yairiguitars.spaces.live.com/

  8. luckily i paid 290.. probably too much from what you say..
    if i don’t like it i suppose i can easily sell it here in sf for what i bought it for.. oh well.. he did respond to my questions.. it does have a solid top but he insists its spanish cedar.. it does look like spruce from here…
    thanks so much for checking it out for me
    i really appreciated it and will let you know how it sounds…
    tim

  9. Hello Dianne:

    About 10 years ago, tucked awaybehind the counter, I saw it in the acoustic guitars department at Sam AshClearwater FL. I knew the place well and all the employees at the store knew me quite well too, so my initial thought was: “why are they hiding this one from me?” I made my way behind the counter to reach for the instrument and I took it back to sit on a stool and try it. The moment I struck the first note I knew I had something really special in my hands. I’ve had by then the opportunity and been fortunate enough during over 22 years to play very much all kinds of guitars up to the very unique and best of the best, but nothing really comes close to the sweet, powerful, loud, clean and natural sound I could hear from this remarkable guitar. And as I played Bach, Albeniz, Tarrega and Rodrigo, I could feel an intense emotion like if I was about to cry. I could not stop playing for I think over an hour until I ran out of classical repertoire. After a few people that had gathered around stopped clapping, Chris, the sales guy there, told me the guitar was made in 1969.

    For years I have searched the internet trying to learn more about the story of my guitar. Not until recentlyI was able to come across your blog. I would like to thank you so much for the information you have made available. I would like to know if there is anything more you could tell me about it. I sent you an email attaching some pictures of it. The tag reads:

    “HAND MADE

    Wilson Guitar

    AD. 1969

    MADE IN JAPAN

    NO. 004 Hiroshi Yairi

    H. YAIRI LUTHIER

    CLASE 855”

    Thank you again in advance,looking forward to hear back from you.
    Regards,

    -Erix Pizano

    • Hello Erix,

      Sorry for the delay…but have had issues with internet connection and hacked e-mail accounts. Seems to be okay now~

      Oddly enough I own a very early 1968 Sadao Yairi, 700 that looks very much like this one! Solid Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides (laminates). Mine has an Ebony fingerboard and I think bridge (if I recall correctly), where yours look more like Rosewood. Same headstock shape, inlays are very close.

      Hiroshi made MOST of the Wilson models, under his Father’s supervision. Most will have a supervisor stamp on the inside back, and if it hasn’t faded away, you should be able to make out his name there. So , I’ve found the Wilson models ranging from CLASE 850 to 857, never saw any higher than that yet. I have quite a few Wilson models from 1968 up to 1974…and they vary, even within the same model numbers.

      If your Wilson 855 is even close to my model 700 then I totally agree with you on its sound/quality!

      Also sent via e-mail with photo’s of my 1968 Sadao Yairi model 700

      Regards,
      yl

  10. Hi, I have a Sada Luthier 750s from 1973 but cannot find any info about it. Could you tell me more about this guitar? Regards, bw

  11. Okay, here’s what I found.. these were mid level models costing around $425 in the mid 1970′s. Tops were solid Spruce. Some had 2 piece backs, some 3 piece with varying woods. Yours appears to be 2 panels of Indian Rosewood, center panel of Jacaranda (laminates). Fingerboard and bridge look like Ebony. Celluloid binding and inlays. Pearl dots on fingerboard.

    I’m unsure of what the S stands for, as you don’t see that on later models. Only thing I can think of is that on early models, he tried designating what season they were made, so S would be summer, but this was usually found on the heelblock, not on the label.

    Sadao was a master at making changes! I’ve lost track of how many times he changed the name of his logo, or company. SADA, S. Yairi, Sadao Yairi, Yairi and Son, etc. etc. Even on this one model, he has SADA as the logo, yet the truss rod cover is S. Yairi.

    I am curious as to what the stamp to the left side of the label says~ probably where it was sold, and most likely an export. It’s possible that if export, the S after the model number may have something to do with that too.

    As to the damage on the headstock, a luthier should be able to repair that.. but, as you say it doesn’t have anything to do with how it plays..so, that’s up to you.

    Hope this helped~
    yl

  12. Jaque Rasmussen said:

    I have a 1969 Saduao Yairi Classical Guitar. It appears to have a cedar top and rosewood back. A 700 series. Was going to trade it in for a new Mini GS Taylor. Also have a Takamine Hirada that I could take to trade-in, instead. Do the Saduao Yairi guitars have a superior collectability? In other words, should I hold on to it?

    • Hello Jaque,

      I’d need to see photo’s of the guitar, top/back/label, front of headstock to be sure which you have. If you wish to, you can send photo’s to yairi_luvr@comcast.net

      Here’s the problem, most people including people that own music stores and sell instruments know little to nothing about Yairi guitars (especially Sadao)… so while it is a medium level guitar, they probably wouldn’t give you much on a trade in. Same logic goes on collectability, since most people have no idea as to who Sadao Yairi was, at this time there really isn’t much of a “demand” for them.

      However, they are becoming more popular than they used to be.. so, in time they may end up being great collectors items. At this time, depending on what model/year (and condition) one has, they can sell for between $225 and $600+.

      Keeping all this in mind, if it were me I’d hang on to it. If later on down the road you stil wish to sell it you would probably get more then for it than now.

      Good luck,
      yl

  13. I have a H Yairi almost new 1975 Serial # 8359 Model # GL 600 ..Kani.Gifu, Japan. After reading other comments I wonder if I should just keep it or if possible sell it. I will not ever play it . One time I thought I would learn but didn’t….now getting older and not interested. Maybe I should donate it to a young person…can you give me some direction. Don’t have the ability to send picture…old computer…Thanks, Barbara

    • Hello Barbara,

      What you have is a K (Kazuo) Yairi model GL600, oddly enough I have a friend that is asking if I will sell one of mine to him, so if you are interested in selling he might be the one.

      If you don’t play at all, then I’d sell it. Problem will be that without photo’s, you’ll be limited to a local sale as most people want to see what they are buying.

      Price wise, and of course, depending on condition value could range from $300 up to $600.

      Good luck,
      yl

  14. Hi, I have a Sada Luthier A100 classical guitar but cannot find any info about it. Could you tell me more about this guitar? Regards, bw

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