The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Samick by S. Yairi S7 Steel String Natural, 1989


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This is an unusual piece – a 1989 Samick by S. Yairi S7 Steel String guitar with Cedar top and Indian Rosewood back and sides. While it’s an interesting and high quality instrument, it also illustrates a point in the history of guitar building in Japan, Korea — and Northern Ireland.

Shown here is a Samick by S. Yairi S7 model dated to June 1989. This cedar topped, Rosewood bodied guitar has many features carried from Yairi’s then-recent contract work with George Lowden. The body shape and depth have strong immediate visual references to Lowden guitars, as well as the fingerboard end shape and the wider top purfling. The neck is three layers of Mahogany with Indian Rosewood as spacers, head plate, and bridge. The fingerboard is Ebony. The tuners are Schaller models with faux-pearl buttons.

Overall, this guitar is in good condition and working order. It also has a passive under-bridge pickup installed to an endpin jack.

Samick was founded in 1958 to import Baldwin pianos to South Korea, and within two years were building their own. In 1965, they began building guitars, mostly for Korea but with some for export. Business became very good and now Samick is one of the largest musical instrument builders in the world, with their own brand names and for other builders like Fender, Gretsch, Epiphone, Silvertone, Greg Bennett, Washburn, Ibanez, and so on.

Sadao Yairi and his family have been building guitars in the Nagoya and Kani areas of Japan for decades, with distinct brands like S. Yairi and K. Yairi. Kazuo Yairi is a cousin to Sadao, both learned from Kazuo’s father (also named Sadao), and the two businesses are separate. Until 1971, Sadao Senior built guitars with his son and nephew under the name Yairi & Son.

In the early 1970’s, both Sadao and Kazuo Yairi began building under contract. One of those contracts was with Alvarez Music from St. Louis Missouri, and these were labelled Alvarez-Yairi. Ultimately, the contract ended up with K. Yairi.

From 1980 to 1985, the S. Yairi workshop produced about five thousand guitars, both steel string and nylon string classicals, designed by George Lowden from Northern Ireland. These were successful in many ways, but as 80’s musical progressed (or not!) into electronic areas, demand for all acoustic instruments plummeted. S. Yairi needed to consolidate into a larger factory, and George Lowden decided to take this new knowledge and set up his own new plant in Bangor, County Down. That mostly ended the S. Yairi involvement with Lowden, except for the instruments seen here.

With continuing business pressures due to electronic music, S. Yairi declared bankruptcy by 1988 and went to work for Samick in Korea. Clearly, Sadao Yairi brought more than guitar making skills with him to Samick, as is visible here there were also significant design influences from George Lowden. But that went both ways, as Lowden took knowledge of production techniques from Yairi and used them in his new plant, and hired Mitsuhiro ‘Mickey’ Uchida as technical manager.

Sadao Yairi died in the early 1990’s and was succeeded by his son, Hiroshi.

Price: $1,500.00 CAD
  • Model: S7
  • Year: 1989
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 8906048, built during June 1989 at Samick Eumseong-gun, Korea.
  • Country of Origin: Korea
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 14/02/2024

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.664lbs 2.12kg
  • Scale Length: 25.59in 650mm
  • Nut Width: 1.744in 44.30mm
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