Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

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Andos
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Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by Andos » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:04 pm

I've been handed this 1970 Yairi Gakki by my younger brother to fix up. He bought it 15 years ago because he liked the sound of it. Like listening to magic was how he described it.
20201103_201507.jpg
A few years back he left it in a car. The top finish bloomed,
20201103_200855.jpg
And split on both ends of the bridge wings.
On the bass side from the tail to the waist and on the treble side from 50mm behind to 25mm forward of the bridge.
(That's how it is now)
He took it to a luthier and had the top bloom sanded out and revarnished, and some stitch plates glued to the underside of the bass side split.

And low and behold, the guitar lost its magic! So it sat in a cupboard for the last 6 years.

He wants me to put the magic back in it.

I can't think of any way of fixing this other than a re-top and I'm not sure of the best way of going about that. Any suggestions or advice will be greatly appreciated!

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kiwigeo
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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by kiwigeo » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:13 pm

That looks like a cedar top.....I have a K Yairi flamenco with a similar looking top. My guitar is a 1970's instrument and it has also lost it's "zing". Cedar tops usually "play in" alot quicker than a spruce top but in some guitars the pay off is they "play out" a lot sooner than a spruce top.
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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by seeaxe » Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:17 pm

imho, fwiw, etc etc

I have always been impressed by Yairi guitars. I think there was a couple of them, maybe father and son?? n They do sound great.
Anyhoo, I would agree that the top has had its day (leaving it in a hot car will do that) and no rescue attempt of the existing top is likely to be successful.

If you do re-top it, it will almost certainly never sound as "magical" again because that might have had more to do with your brother's state of mind then, than the actual sound of the guitar!! I would have a go anyway, its probably going back in its cupboard if you don't.

You'll need to remove the fretboard of course. Would be nice if you can salvage that. There's a chance he used hide glue, either way heat will generally do it. And the bridge.

Once the fret board is off, I would use a router with a purfling cutting bit to very carefully trim away just the soundboard edges leaving the sides and kerfing intact. Keep going until you can see the transverse braces and cut through those with your trusty Japanese saw as close to the sides as possible. You can be a bit more brutal around the neck probably as you wont get your router in there.

Remove the top as carefully as you can so you can copy the bracing pattern as closely as you can. You can check thickness of the top wherever you need to by drilling holes in it, as the old top is now junk. Id go a bit thicker to give yourself leeway for sanding and finishing.

What kind of finish does it have? Might be a factor in the sound.?
You cannot of course replicate the timber, but there's only so much you can do. Hence big disclaimer to your brother.

Good luck and please post pictures, Id love to inside one of those
Richard

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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by kiwigeo » Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:28 pm

Yairi Gakki is Sadao Yairi. The other Yairi was Kazuo Yairi. Hiroshi Yairi was Sadai Yari's son and the guitars he made usually bore an S Yairi label.
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Mark McLean
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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by Mark McLean » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:47 am

If the sound changed after being exposed to heat it might be because glue failure has resulted in some of the braces being loose, or the bridge unglued and poorly coupled to the top. Those issues would be fixable, so check carefully inside with a mirror and feeler gauges. I doubt that the refinishing alone would drastically changed the sound of the guitar - unless it is ridiculously thick. The cleats on the soundboard crack repairs could be dampening if they are too heavy. Can you tell us how they look, or take a photo (phone camera inside the guitar, with flash)? Check all of these options before you so to the more extreme option of pulling the top off.

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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by Andos » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:46 pm

Ty for your replays.
Spot on Martin,
It was build by Sadao and I was wondering if it is a cedar top. It doesn't look or feel like any of the spruces that I've handled, which is not many!
20201103_201518~2.jpg
Mark,
A few of pics from inside. The cleats look bloody enormous to me. But I've never had anything to cleats before so I'm not really in a position to judge.
20201104_131857~3.jpg
20201104_131100~3.jpg
20201104_135906~5.jpg

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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by Andos » Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:27 pm

Richard,
The binding strip is of the same wood as the sides. I'm hoping to save it and reuse it. At this stage I would rather avoid routing it off.

Here's a virtual slideshow of the underside of the top.
I did try a video but it wouldn't load.
Starting at the bass side ltb
20201104_131905~2.jpg
20201104_131857~2.jpg
20201104_131100~2.jpg
20201104_131318~3.jpg
20201104_131848~2.jpg
20201104_131842~2.jpg
20201104_131837~3.jpg
20201104_131831~3.jpg
Finishing at the treble side ltb
Hope this is of some use for you.

Ando

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Mark McLean
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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by Mark McLean » Thu Nov 05, 2020 5:05 am

I agree, the cleats are much heavier than they need to be. They could be part of the problem and youcould reach inside with a sanding block and take them down to half their current thickness to see if the resonance of the top changes. The bracing looks OK, but looks can be deceptive. Probe along the edges of each brace with something thin but solid like a palate knife or a feeler gauge to make sure that they are still attached to the soundboard.

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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by TallDad71 » Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:46 pm

kiwigeo wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:28 pm
Yairi Gakki is Sadao Yairi. The other Yairi was Kazuo Yairi. Hiroshi Yairi was Sadai Yari's son and the guitars he made usually bore an S Yairi label.
She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
Or

Yairi Gakki is Sadao Yairi. The other Yairi was Kazuo Yairi. Hiroshi Yairi was Sadai Yari's son

Now repeat out loud 10 times. 😝🤣
Alan

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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by kiwigeo » Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:46 am

TallDad71 wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:46 pm

Yairi Gakki is Sadao Yairi. The other Yairi was Kazuo Yairi. Hiroshi Yairi was Sadai Yari's son

Now repeat out loud 10 times. 😝🤣
Having a Japanese wife and speaking the language also helps :mrgreen:
Martin

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Re: Yairi Gakki repair - your advice please.

Post by blackalex1952 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:33 am

Having a Japanese wife and speaking the language also helps
I have a Japanese/Aussie friend who is also pretty well liked in the country circuit. He has one of Joe Gallachers guitars. He often speaks with a terse military voice in Japanese .
When asked he is saying things like 'I love you ' and '
it's your shout mate!'
As to the Yari,
I'd also check for loose braces, thin or replace the cleats at the correct angle and check the soundboard curvature for cold creep. Backs are less hassle to remove and replace..so the solution might lie in back removal. Its the first time I've heard is cedar loosing it's tone from ageing. So chech the curves first and for loose braces. It might just need the right curved braces use the old ones? Ross
"Everything I say on the topic is based solely upon inexperience and assumption!"

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