Up for sale, a 1969 Masaru Kohno No. 6 classical guitar in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with a hardshell case. One of the most prominent and influential figures in Japanese classical luthiery, Masaru Kohno began his tutelage in Madrid in 1959 at the workshop of revered Flamenco and classical luthier Arcangel Fernandez. After returning to Japan to refine his craft, Kohno entered and received first prize at the Liege Concours National de Guitares a few short years later in 1967. The chairman of the adjudicators at the competition was the “Stradivarius of the classical guitar,” Ignacio Fleta, who remarked that Kohno’s guitar was “very much like his own.”
This No. 6 was crafted just two years after that landmark competition (the first time Japanese classical luthiery was given significant attention on the world stage), produced at the absolute height at Kohno’s career, and features a ladder-braced spruce top with Indian rosewood back and sides and a mahogany neck capped by an ebony fingerboard. The body measures 368mm (14 1/2“) across at the lower bout, with a depth of 95mm (3 3/4“), yielding strong projection. Tonally, this guitar is warm and sweet, with an airy openness befitting an instrument of this vintage, and there’s a dark, rich expressiveness to the tone that hearkens back to the “Spanish sound” guitars produced by the legendary luthiers like Fleta and Torres (unsurprising considering Kohno’s tutelage and inspiration). The trebles have a vocal-like smoothness, with plenty of harmonic complexity in the midrange. This Kohno weighs 3lbs 5oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with normal tension strings and ideal action.
The mahogany neck has a substantial D-shaped profile carve with generous, inviting shoulders, measuring .885” deep at the 1st fret and .955” at the 7th. The ebony fingerboard exhibits light finger wear into the wood from frets 1-3, with corresponding faint wear on the slender fretwire at the same frets. This guitar plays cleanly in all registers with a straight neck. The scale length measures 656mm, and the hand-carved bone nut measures 52mm in width. The headstock sports an Indian rosewood veneer, and the original brass open-gear tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.
The rosewood bridge sits flush with the top on all edges, and the hand-carved bone saddle has room for future adjustment. Current action at the 12th fret measures 11/64” on the bass side and 9/64” on the treble side. The bridge and soundhole rosette both have ornate mosaic patterns, and string spacing at the bridge measures 58mm. The dated label is visible through the soundhole.
Well-kept and crack-free, the top sports a gloss French polish finish, while the back and sides are finished in lacquer. Cosmetic wear is limited to a handful of minor nicks and scuffs on the body as a whole, largely relegated to the top along the strum path and along the treble-side rim. The neck profile retains its smooth lacquer gloss, with some light palm wear and a few shallow marks along the treble-side shoulder that has no impact on playability.
An Aranjuez-brand molded hardshell case is included, and all but one of the latches is functional.