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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.
I was wondering about the model scheme. I have come across the M designated models but the one I have is a No. 60 (from 1980). I have read elsewhere that these were higher end guitars but I can't find much info on them. Does anyone know??
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Yes it is a higher-end guitar, near the top. Can you post some pictures including the back of the neck.
 

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I have a beloved Ryoji Matsuoka No.586S. It's the only one I ever encountered. No "M" or "AM" prefix. Label style indicates it was built between 1970-74. Given its construction (figured Brazilian RW, double ebony neck reinforcements), projection and sound, I believe it to be near RM's best work. Unlike most RMs I've seen, mine is constructed with a full Spanish heel neck join.

I'd appreciate any further light you can cast on its origin.

Brown Wood Rectangle Font Wood stain
Brown Amber Wood Orange Material property
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
568 is a export, higher end. Ive not seen it hand written before though. S may mean Spruce. Ebony double reinforcement was used from 72 to 75.
 

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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!
I’m Irish and Scottish and I have MH 80 Matsuoka from 1970s. The same guitar is selling on Reverb for $2,000.00 US. I have mine up for sale at $1,400.00 Canadian .
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I’m Irish and Scottish and I have MH 80 Matsuoka from 1970s. The same guitar is selling on Reverb for $2,000.00 US. I have mine up for sale at $1,400.00 Canadian .
:D Ive gotten a few since that post, along with a few other hand made classical's from the era of the great small shop builders in Japan. Would love to see some pictures though!
 

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568 is a export, higher end. Ive not seen it hand written before though. S may mean Spruce. Ebony double reinforcement was used from 72 to 75.
The main reason why makers started adding an ebony strip was for stability and the fact that quarter sawn mahogany with no run out started to become scarce at the end of the 1960's. The US embargo on Cuban and other Latin American exported mahogany made it so that Honduran wood was strip mined. Logging became a horror show in Honduras with unregulated harvesting or worse systematic exploitation by international pirate companies who had an in with the ruling class and the political pull to grease the right pockets of the military dictators of the time.

Custom order guitars from small builders and even Yamaha and other big factories like Martin charge a premium on orders because little is left of the best quartered flat sawn mahogany. I suspect that soon supply problems will start to make them offer only alternative woods and lamination of the mahogany necks even for their most expensive custom order guitars.

Right now decent mahogany it is almost impossible to obtain for necks and even back and side sets so most builders also use lamination and charge a premium for guitars built with a single slab. Like Jacaranda, very soon high end cosmetically perfect mahogany will become a thing of the past especially for guitar necks. All the makers are starting to use stained back and side sets that would never have been considered for use on a Martin or Gibson steel string.

The less expensive Japanese guitars of the time turned to Philippian mahogany and even similar species which were not even closely related. It is just too bad that they didn't also use the less expensive woods with decent builds, but there were a few who used non traditional woods and created some incredible guitars that were sold locally but were rarely exported. The enigmatic Yairi and Aria factories even used some woods from Japan and Korea for domestic guitar production as did Matsuoka. Some of their non standard domestic guitars show up now and then and they can be stellar with radical designs and wood choices like Zebra wood.

In the late 1970's I had a special order Tama TC 8 that had a solid Engelmann spruce top, ebony fingerboard, laminated neck and Zebra wood back and sides. It only cost 500 with the case at the time and was sitting in the warehouse because non of the retailers wanted to stock the guitar so I took a chance and ordered it on spec. Unfortunately I fell on hard times so I had to sell it but it was one of the best classics I have ever owned and my teacher wound up buying it because it blew the doors off his custom Larivee classic. Which really sucked and had no character or concert quality whatsoever, if you do find a Larivee classic from that time period chances are it will not sound any better than a cheapo Yamaha. I know I tried out over 20 of them before I decided to take a chance on a really obscure Tama guitar built in the Kohno factory.

I have always wanted to take the back off a cheap 1000 dollar Larivee classic from that time and tune the braces because his factory formula was as bad a 400 dollar Yamaha classic and most of them really suck.

To sell high end classical guitars the Japanese makers had to use nothing but a very dwindling supply of wood that was dominated by the big makers. Wood that had to be re-sawn and used laminated so they solved the problem by re-enforcing the long flat neck blanks with strips of ebony or other stable hard wood dyed black or what was termed "ebonized wood".

The R. Matsuoka classics of that era are gems but are still poo hooed by the Ramirez crowd who point at the laminated neck with distain and claim that the top is built with "the wrong spruce" because the wood was not harvested in Switzerland during the full moon then blessed by the Pope after he taped on the tree with a hammer. Only then should the Luthier be allowed to make the guitar.:p At least according to the classy guitar aficionados.
 
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