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Tech: yamaki guitars

ollaimh 29 Sep 12 - 05:52 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Sep 12 - 12:20 PM
ollaimh 01 Oct 12 - 12:11 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Oct 12 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 01 Oct 12 - 04:59 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Oct 12 - 05:52 AM
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Subject: Tech: yamaki guitars
From: ollaimh
Date: 29 Sep 12 - 05:52 PM

does anuone know the history of yamaki guitars. i have heard a lot of rumours about them but i was wondering about which were solid wood made and which had what kind of woods different models were made with and of course how do they sound?


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Subject: RE: Tech: yamaki guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Sep 12 - 12:20 PM

It's a bit complicated. The Yamaki factory turned out a number of different ranges. I'm very fond of the Daion/Mugen ranges.

I think the Yamaki factory actually closed in 1984.


I found this on the net, however

"Dyna Gakki were established in 1972 at Nagano and currently build some of the Fender Japan models and also build some of the Gretsch models as well. Dyna Gakki made the Yamaki/Daion/Joodee/Founder solid body guitars for Daion and also made Greco guitars for Kanda Shokai. wikipedia. There were two brothers and one started the Yamaki acoustic guitar factory and the other brother started the Daion distribution company.

The complex story of Yamaki guitars is entwined with the histories of a number of other Japanese music companies. In the late 1940s, brothers Yasuyuki and Kazuyuki Teradaira started working for Tatsuno Mokko, an instrument-building firm that later split into two different companies, one of which was called Hayashi Gakki. In 1954 Hayashi Gakki was bought out by Zenon, a large music distributor. In 1962 Yasuyuki left Zenon to start an instrument distributor he called Daion, which means "big sound" in Japanese. In 1967 Kazuyuki left Zenon to produce classical guitars under the name Yamaki, an auspicious Japanese word meaning "happy trees on the mountain." By the early 1970s, Kazuyuki expanded the Yamaki line to include a large number of steel-string guitars, many of which were based on C.F. Martin and Co.'s designs and were distributed exclusively through Daion. Along with Yamaki guitars, Daion sold instruments from Shinano, Mitsura Tamura, Chaki, and Hamox, some of which were built by Yamaki at various times, and Harptone guitars, which they imported from the US.

Sometime in the late 1960s, Daion began exporting Yamaki guitars to America, where they were well received. By the early 1980s, however, Daion felt that the Yamaki Martin-style guitars were getting lost among similar instruments from other Japanese builders like Takamine, Yasuma, and C.F. Mountain, so they redesigned the entire acoustic line and started building acoustic-electrics and solid-body electrics as well as oddities like double-neck acoustics. They dropped the Yamaki name and rebranded their instruments as Daion guitars. Daion began an extensive advertising campaign to introduce the new line around 1982, but this was a time when musicians were more interested in the new MIDI-equipped synthesizers than in guitars. In 1984 Daion stopped importing guitars to America and soon went out of business. Yamaki, on the other hand, survived the downturn of the 1980s and now makes parts for other Japanese guitar companies."


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Subject: RE: Tech: yamaki guitars
From: ollaimh
Date: 01 Oct 12 - 12:11 AM

i was wondering more about specific models. i couldn't find any on line stuff about which were which. there were solid wood models and buffalo head models and even a few brazilian rosewood models--according to rumour. i've seen a few that sounded great but don't know the model specifications, which may not be easily obtained outside of japan.


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Subject: RE: Tech: yamaki guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Oct 12 - 04:26 AM

You will find specific information on the Mugen Mark I to mark V by googling them, and also on the Daion/Mugen year series (THE 78, THE 80 and THE 81 and the twin-neck THE 80W).

http://daionguitar.com/acoustic.php

Mostly all-solid although I think no brazilian rosewood. The THE80 and 81s although having solid tops had a very pretty veneer on the tops. I assume by "buffalo head" you mean the ones with the engraving on the headstock that might be a stylised tuning fork, or might be a stylised representation of the head of longhorn cattle.


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Subject: RE: Tech: yamaki guitars
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 01 Oct 12 - 04:59 AM

I bought a Daion Heritage 78 in 1981 and I've still got it. Lovely guitar. The nut and saddle were both brass which made the sound very bright though it tended to cut the sustain slightly, in my view. The body and fingerboard bindings were, I think, maple and yes, there was a veneer on the top (which was cedar or a variety thereof) more strength. The top was quite light and the braces were scalloped.

I had a choice at the time between the Heritage 78 and the Legacy 999. The Legacy was lovely guitar, arguably more individual than the Heritage (which was a fairly conventional dreadnought). The Legacy had a much smaller lower bout and a more waisted profile. It also had position markers on the binding (if memory serves) and the Daion logo on the fingerboard at the fifth fret. Very elegant guitar. Probaby closest to something like the Gibson Nick Lucas or the Martin New Yorker 12-fret (though it was a 14-fret model). Haven't seen one in years.

My understanding is they went out of business because they were priced too low to make a profit given the quality of the construction and materials. The Heritages turn up on Ebay from time to time but the Legacies are a much rarer beast.


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Subject: RE: Tech: yamaki guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Oct 12 - 05:52 AM

The "brass" is in fact (I think) a brass alloy, harder than brass. I find the sustain on my THE 78 and THE 78/12 absolutely huge (Max has played my 6 and agreed on that), and they are both full of bass as well but also with a shimmering top end. I'm sure that neither of those has a veneer on the top, rather the top is dyed to resemble mahogany but is spruce or cedar.

Do NOT overstring the THE78s - my 6 I bowed by putting 13/58s on so it now sports a bridge doctor, and my 12 had been strung with 13/56s (in concert, on a 12!) from new when I got it and also now sports a bridge doctor.

It's the top bout (not the bottom) that is small on the L9, L99 and L999.


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