This is the lattice bracing that can be found in an Ibanez
catalogue of the Masterclass series of 1980.
Clearly visible is that the headshape and the double
ebony reinforcement for the neck are also there!
It is a well known story that Tama produced the Artwood
steelstring series of that time but as can be seen here
the influence and production of Tama reaches further.
Further in this blog I made a rough design of this bracing
but I made it seen from outside so the one longer brace
comes under the higher strings in both cases!
Nice shot of the head so well known to the Orozco
and Kohno enthousiasts! Let's see what Robert Ruck
the American luthier who is very active in guitar research
too saus in an interview regarding this subject:
"I was very impressed with Masaru Kohno's guitars.
The early ones were very Spanish inside and out,
but he developed a bracing system that was a huge
departure, an early lattice-style bracing.
He had a major cross brace under the soundhole,
and about 2" to 2" and ½" below that,
he had a very light cross brace.
This is somewhat similar to Fleta's two very strong cross braces.
Under the bridge, Kohno had a strap about the width of the
bridge and at least 1.5 mm thick that ran the entire
width of the top, and the fan braces were mitered over it.
It was like a symmetrical 8-fan-brace pattern, except he left off
the outer one on the bass side, so it was an offset 7-fan pattern.
Then, below the fan braces, instead of a closing V
he had another continuous cross brace.
One very rigid fan brace ran under the bass end of the bridge
and mortised over both the bridge strap and the lower cross bar.
The bracing looks like a grid and is very stiff,
but in some ways he frees the top.
Those Kohno guitars sound like pianos! They are very even,
with powerful trebles that sing up to the highest notes,
and much longer sustain than any Spanish-style instrument."
(With many thanks to Johannes Orphal who sent me this
By clicking on this picture you can easily determine the solid
top. Though the fingerboard is very dark it is in fact
a rosewood one. As a cost saving process some of
the Ibanez guitars had veneered sides and back but
keep in mind that the sides from the Jose Ramirez 1A
model are veneered as well and this feature can also
be seen in the nineteenth century french guitars.
The odd thing here is that the inner veneer layer
is also made out of rosewood!
The back of this Ibanez guitar immediately shows us the lack of the
two ebony stripes that are placed in the neck as a
reinforcement as was done on the Orozco, Kohno and
A nice shot of the rozette that betrays its' exquisite
workmanship! The quality of building
is allmost flawless.
Also interesting is to compare the tuners on this guitar with the ones
on the TAMA, Orozco, Kohno and Sakurai examples:
No roses here! But very smoothly working.
The veneered head in the Ramirez style.
Dimensions are very close to the original as
I'm in the posession of a 1981 clase 1A Ramirez.
A nice shot of the sides that are bookmatched.
And of course the label that states this instrument
has been manufactured in Japan.
Kohno, Sakurai and himself in developing a guitar for the
At the end of the seventies when I was studying classical guitar
some students came up with either an Orozco or a Kohno supplied by
the same distributor.
These guitars appeared at the same time which can't be a coincidence
having read lots of other stories.
The only Ryoji Matsuoka - Masaru Kohno connection that I know of is that during the 1970s Ryoji Matsuoka sold a classical model that was a very good copy of a high end Kohno model 50. I owned one --- it was a great playing and sounding guitar. The guitar had Kohno’s trademark double ebony neck support. Kohno copies were popular in Japan after Masaru Kohno won the gold medal in lutherie at the 1967 Liege Concours National des Guitars / Queen Elisabeth International Music competition in Belgium. Robert Bouchet was one of the Jurors. A couple of other Nagoya guitar makers, including Tama, sold a Kohno copy with the double ebony neck support. Juan Orozco of New York also sold a Japanese Kohno copy guitar under the Orozco label. You will sometimes see these instruments for sale on ebay, but beware as some ebay sellers will purport that these guitars were made at the Kohno workshop or under contract with Kohno. According to Masaki Sakurai, Masaru Kohno’s nephew and successor, they were most definitely not made at the Kohno workshop and have no connection with Kohno-Sakurai guitars.