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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone play or own any of these? They encourage you to play on, to my ear they sound so good that they force you to take musical chances because something amazing may come out the sound hole!

Their export guitars are also a bit of an enigma to me. I am hoping someone here can shed some light on Ryoji's models numbers for export guitars. I have a AM561C , the C is for Cedar I figure AM might mean American market? Based on the serial number I think mine is a 1972.

If anyone here owns one it might be interesting to compare features and model numbers? And if you dont I recommend trying one of his guitars if you get the chance..

The store label in this guitar is pretty famous too, in its day!

I love this guy's guitars, and have an Aria coming soon that I suspect he built too.[URL=https://s1376.photobucket.com/user/Stephenlouis/media/20190625_0743351_zpsfwcvidux.jpg.html][/URL]
 
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I did come close. This was in a local e classified. He originally had it in as a classical, for cheap campfire price.

I was torn between gas & karma. At first he thought I was trying to talk him down. He changed the ad' to dread' and put the price up. It was still far too low. I was happy to give him that, but he wisely decided to put it on a more appropriate site, and at a more appropriate price. He did sell it quickly -- to somebody who knew what it was worth & paid up.

It doesn't keep me awake, and it didn't get destroyed at the beach, by some Prius driven millennial too lazy to pull his shorts up.

 
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I got mine sort of the same way that you did not, but opposite outcome to your story. It was advertised as a beat classical guitar ( and the bridge was lifting) He had a picture of the label in the add, on "facebook" I told him I would like to come out and see it, and I asked him if he knew what he was selling. I told him he was underpriced. He told me to come to see it. I did, He was a nice happy early 20's flip flops, pot smoking, go lucky well off kid in a nice victoria suburb. Very nice. I played it with the old strings on it, and again asked if he was comfortable with the price as it is low. he said "ya man, no problem, ill never play it and you can " I said, "thank-you very much", handed over 150 cash, put it in my car and drove home a happy fellow.

I am hunting a M70 or higher, but Im cheap, curse my Scottish blood!
 
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My karma was richly rewarded. I get some pretty cool chit given to me, so I don't screw with it.

A famous Canadian oil painter, sold me a '78 L series Yamaha, for the price of a pair of sneakers. I was candid about it being worth far more. He laughed and said, 'You said you would take it so fast, I did a little research online -- there's nothing. I paid $1500 used in early '80s, in Japan, but nobody knows what it is. If you know what it is ...'.

The neighbourhood was so affluent, I loaded the guitar, and I told Mrs. Dog -- Get us outta here! I knew if anyone saw our mini van, in that hood, that early on Sunday morning, we would be stopped. Even tho' I'd been honest, still felt like I stole it.

Got given a minty '78 D-35 Guild once too. I was in basic training in '78 so I figured karma was squaring up.

I lyk if I run across an M70. I'm trying to stay off e classifieds tho.


6 min's and counting :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since 1986 Matsuoka Co. was managed by Ryoji's son and also great luthier Toshiaki Matsuoka. Soon after Ryoji's death in September of 2014, his workshop's website disappeared from internet and production of "made in Japan" Matsuoka guitars ended. As of today, all brand new Matsuoka guitars available on Japanese market are made in China. Available models are: M70(MH70) through M180(MH180).


In early 1970s Matsuoka guitar models were labelled as No. xx without letter M at the beginning. This system changed in 1975/76 when Matsuoka changed his label design and started making regular M xx models along with more luxurious and higher priced No. xx models. No.50 or No.60 guitars from that era (mid1970s) were made differently and were of much higher grade than regular line M50 or M60 guitars.

Until 1975 models No.50 and No60 were made with figured Brazilian Rosewood double backs (2 layers of laminated woods, not glued together) with double sides (outer layer laminate, inner layer solid wood) and Ebony fingerboards. Many of them were made with ornamental extras & often with nicely carved headstocks. In mid to late 1970s regular models M50 & M60 were often made with laminated straight grain Brazilian Rosewood b/s. Matsuoka model No. 80 from 1973-1974 was made with solid Brazilian Rosewood b/s, while No. 80 from 1978 was made with solid Indian Rosewood b/s. Regular model M80 from 1978 was made with laminated Indian Rosewood .
Original Matsuoka bracing can be described as simplified lattice bracing (2 horizontal cross braces, 6 thin vertical parallel braces + one light diagonal treble brace). Spruce top is so thin that one can see the outline of individual braces.

Double back Ramirez guitars made in 1960s and 1970s, were sold at prices equivalent to today’s $10000. Since mid1960s many guitars made by Japanese luthiers were built that way. Double construction back and sides greatly eliminate damping of the sound by player’s body, hence greatly enriches and amplifies the sound.

This guitar can easily beat not only many more expensive guitars made by Japanese elite luthiers of that era but also many modern era guitars made by Spanish elite luthiers and priced $8000+. This Matsuoka No60 offers high volume combined with simply breathtaking tonality. Its basses are "cello-like" (deep, somewhat metallic, with a bounty of overtones). Trebles are round, ultra-sweet, yet ultra-clear. All notes are well balanced with superb clarity & separation, and superb sustain.

This guitar was priced 60 000 yen in 1975, when Starting Yearly salary of Japanese College Graduate was 79 200 yen. Very similar construction guitar made by Hiroshi Tamura was labelled as P100 and priced 100 000yen.

What it really means is that this No60 guitar was way underpriced for what it really represents. The major reason for that was that in those days Ryoji Matsuoka wasn’t considered as leading guitar maker and was still greatly dependent from his distributor Mr. Shiro Arai. Therefore, while fighting for his independence, Matsuoka had to produce wonderful instruments but price them very moderately. This promotional campaign was actually a very successful one. The greatness of Ryoji’s guitars was recognized by many international players and this led to great profits in following years.

It is very important to emphasize that due to total lack of material guitars with high grade Brazilian Rosewood laminates are no longer made in Japan. Even those made with single layer laminates b/s are available only by special order and priced at least $4000. The truth is that guitars with backs & sides made from high grade Brazilian Rosewood laminates sound very close to far more expensive guitars made with solid Brazilian Rosewood.



It is actually very hard to find guitars with solid Indian Rosewood b/s that, regardless of their price, would sound better than guitar you are looking at.

Real Value of Japanese Vintage Guitars

The key to understand value of vintage Japanese guitars is to acknowledge galloping devaluation of Japanese yen in 1960s & 1970s. This devaluation was somewhat slower in 1980s. The best measure of this devaluation is Starting Yearly Salary of Japanese College Graduate (SYSJCG).

SYSJCG in in 1965 was 19 600 yen, in 1969 – 34 600 yen, in 1970 39 200 yen, in 1972 – 62 300 yen, in 1975 79 200 yen, in 1977 121 200 yen and in 1980 - 163 000 yen.

During 1960s and most of 1970s model numbers of Japanese guitars were strictly interconnected with their prices in Japanese yen. In late 1970s and during following decades model numbers were no longer strictly associated with their prices. Many Japanese guitar makers introduced model names instead of model numbers. Others were still using model numbers with addition of letter abbreviations or other symbols.

The best and only logical approach while evaluating real value (real grade) of vintage Japanese guitar is to compare its price in Japanese yen with SYSJCG during the year guitar was made.

Any guitar priced 100 000 in 1970 (labelled usually as No10) would be priced 200 000 yen in 1975 (relabeled to No20 or 2000), 300 000 yen in 1977 (labelled as No3, No30 or 3000). Starting in 1977 Masaru Kohno introduced his model No50 priced at 500 000 (skipping theoretical model 40). Soon other famous Japanese luthiers did the same. By 1983 Kohno started using model names instead numbers and was raising their prices as he was pleased. Naturally soon other Master luthiers did the same.

Knowing all of that, you can bet on that Masaru Kohno No50 made in 1982 is practically the same quality as Kohno No15 made in 1972, or Kohno no20 made in 1975 or Kohno No30 made in 1977. I know it for a fact.

The lowest grade models currently made by Matsuoka workshop are M75 and MH75. They are commonly considered as “beginner guitars”. Matsuoka model M30 made in 1973 is simply far, far better instrument. It is naturally better than model M50 made in 1977, model 80 made in 1982 or model M100 made in 1990. At present, the highest grade Matsuoka models are M300 and MH300. They absolutely stand no chance in competition with model M150 made in 1975… or model M200 made in 1977.

It is very important to mention that if modern era luthiers are using 40 years old woods to make a classical guitar, its price is at least $8000.

Some relevant info:

Ryoji Matsuoka was well known Japanese guitar maker who has been producing guitars in Nagoya, Japan since the 1960s. Nagoya is Japan’s 4th largest city and a major industrial port city located on the main island of Honshu in Aichi prefecture.
The Nagoya/Aichi/Kani area (Kani is the prefecture next to Aichee) is one of Japan’s major musical instrument making centers. The city and the outlying areas have a long classical guitar making history with many small shops producing guitars. Major guitar and violin makers include Matsumoku Industrial, Suzuki, Takaharu, Sada Yairi, Kazuo Yairi (Kani), Daion, Yamaki, Ibanez/Hoshino, and Ryoji Matsuoka. Additionally, there are numerous small guitar shops and factories that contract to larger firms, such as Yamaha in Hamamatsu.
The Ryoji Matsuoka guitar works was a small scale guitar manufacturer with less than 15 employees. For a few years during the 1960s and early 1970s, Matsuoka produced the higher end Aria guitar models for Shiro Arai, founder of Aria . These Aria models either have Ryoji Matsuoka's name on the label or are marked RM with a red stamp on the neck block. Matsuoka also made some models for Ibanez, including a few steel string flatop and archtop models.
During the early 1970s, Matsuoka produced Fleta, Hauser, Kohno and Rubio. The copies of Kohno guitars with 2 ebony strips in the necks and higher grade spruce tops were made in much greater numbers than copies of other luthiers. They were also sold at higher price.

From 1975 to 1980 the company produced their own line of guitars: the concert, artist and artisan series.
The Concert series includes the M20 (solid spruce top, nato neck), M30 (solid spruce top, mahogany neck), M40 (solid spruce top, mahogany neck). All 3 models have laminated rosewood back and sides and rosewood fingerboards.
The Artist Series includes the M50 and M60. These guitars have better quality spruce tops and were made in several versions. Some of them, less expensive versions, were made with laminated Indian Rosewood or laminated Jacaranda back and sides, ebony fingerboards and plain neck. On the other end of the spectrum there were also all solid versions with Solid Indian rosewood or solid Jacaranda back and sides, with one or double Ebony reinforcement in the neck.
The Old World Artisan Series includes the M70 and M80, made with all solid woods and one-piece mahogany necks.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Matsuoka models included the M50, M60, M70, M80, M100, M150, M200, and M300 with Ramirez style headstock and models MH100, MH150, MH200, MH300 with Hauzer style headstock. All of them were made with solid Spruce tops. M50, M60, M70 were made either with laminated back and sides or as all solid guitars. All other models were all solid wood guitars.

In the late 1990-ties models M65 and M75 with Cedar tops were added to the production line mostly with laminated back and sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To make matters little more complicated, by the end of 1990-ties some Spruce top models were also made with Cedar top without any change on the label. So we can for example encounter model M60 with either Spruce or Cedar top. Most likely each guitar was sold with attached precise specification.



Since early 1990-ties Matsuoka has also been making guitars for Aranjuez label (launched by Juan Orozco) and lower priced cosmetic copies of a Mathias Dammann classical guitars (they were not exact copies). The top Aranjuez model M720 has been made in cooperation with Kohno/Sakurai workshop. Masaru Kohno and later Masaki Sakurai were making tops with their superb bracing, while Ryoji Matsuoka was responsible for all other parts and final assembly. This cooperation continues until today between Toshiaki Matsuoka and Masaki Sakurai. These M720 guitars with Matsuka and Sakurai labels offer exceptional quality of sound at moderate price. They are sold at Guitar Salon International in Santa Monica, CA for $2700.


Found the above on Reverb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I picked up a no.20 today, no.. I bought one, it has to come from Japan still. We will see. Fingers crossed. ( not a M20 but a number 20)

I saw a potentially very early model with Japanese lettering, the label was correct as was ...most of what I saw, but the price was a bit too good, and some of the silhouette and fittings set off alarm bells... so I'll watch that one for a bit...
 

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Hello everyone. Just trying to find information on this make of guitar. I have an 1977, original owner. Back in the day as a teenager who knew it all, I was rather embarrassed to own a Japanese made guitar and removed the paper label inside the sound hole DOH. I have a rare model as the head stock has some beautiful carving to it. In the late 90's the bridge was lifting a bit and a guitar shop caused some internal damage trying to fix it. Bracing came loose which was glued back on.
My research shows it was the MG-50 model but I am uncertain. Serial number is 7702xx

Anyone know how I can post some pictures of this guitar? Sorry, just joined this site today.
 

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@Stephenlouis

thanks, mate for some info about Ryoji Matsuoka classical guitars. Best Regards from Good Old Germany ! :)

Oh yes, I just have bought a classical guitar of Ryoji Matsuoka 41/320 for 220€ last week and only know a little bit about this model: solid top spruce, palisander/rosewood (indian ??) back & sides, fretboard mixed up ebony+ palisander (?), bone nut and saddle, loud and fine sound. I didn´t find more information about this model, serial number is 830703 (date 07 March 78 ??). The former owner said he has bought it end of the 70´s and I am the second owner. The guitar is in almost mint condition.. I don´t know how much it still is worth when the former price was ca. 700,- DM and the label signed with his name. I have found some models at eBay.com but not exactly mine. Hope you all could give more interesting details about it. By the way I don´t find management attachment to insert/upload photos of my model, sorry.

Thank you and have fun with yours !
 

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Anyone play or own any of these? They encourage you to play on, to my ear they sound so good that they force you to take musical chances because something amazing may come out the sound hole!

Their export guitars are also a bit of an enigma to me. I am hoping someone here can shed some light on Ryoji's models numbers for export guitars. I have a AM561C , the C is for Cedar I figure AM might mean American market? Based on the serial number I think mine is a 1972.

If anyone here owns one it might be interesting to compare features and model numbers? And if you dont I recommend trying one of his guitars if you get the chance..

The store label in this guitar is pretty famous too, in its day!

I love this guy's guitars, and have an Aria coming soon that I suspect he built too.[URL=https://s1376.photobucket.com/user/Stephenlouis/media/20190625_0743351_zpsfwcvidux.jpg.html][/URL]
I have a Ryoji Matsuoka model 30 1983 . Can’t tell the difference between models . They all seem to look the same.
 

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Been trying to get info on a Matsuoka M1000 I bought in flea market 13 years ago. Other than ad from a California estate sale, have never seen another. Despite the 1000#, it appears to be of a lower grade. Solid cedar top, lam mahogany b/s. Single piece neck, rosewood unbound fretboard. Poor fret work. Neck finish very smooth & glare but no ebony strip. Top has sunk some, reglued bridge. But plays ok but sound great. No signature or year on label. Appreciate info & advice whether to fix top.
 

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Since 1986 Matsuoka Co. was managed by Ryoji's son and also great luthier Toshiaki Matsuoka. Soon after Ryoji's death in September of 2014, his workshop's website disappeared from internet and production of "made in Japan" Matsuoka guitars ended. As of today, all brand new Matsuoka guitars available on Japanese market are made in China. Available models are: M70(MH70) through M180(MH180).


In early 1970s Matsuoka guitar models were labelled as No. xx without letter M at the beginning. This system changed in 1975/76 when Matsuoka changed his label design and started making regular M xx models along with more luxurious and higher priced No. xx models. No.50 or No.60 guitars from that era (mid1970s) were made differently and were of much higher grade than regular line M50 or M60 guitars....
I got mine in 1996 at a Toronto pawn shop. Great sound (and loud), excellent choice of tone woods, elaborate authentic ornamentation on rosette and bridge. Cedar top, rosewood (Brazilian?) sides and back, mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard. Still every bit good today as 25 years ago when I bought it. Model AM567 with stamp inside "74.824" - a production year and serial number, perhaps?

353899
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
567 is a high-grade export. yours must be spruce top? or it would be followed with a "c" Yes 1974 in my books but some say 1970 4th month. 2 ebony strips in the back? beautiful guitar :)
 

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This thread on Ryoji Matsuoka guitars got me to join this forum. Especially the incredible post by Stephenlouis detailing so much about the history of Matsuoka.

I have one that came to me used in Victoria BC. I’ll post a few photos and details later.
 
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