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TOSHIHIKO NAKADE MASTER 30 Classical Concert Guitar

This wonderful guitar was made in 1984 by Toshihiko Nakade, one of the best Japanese luthiers on his own, a son of Sakazo Nakade (a luthier described by many Japanese experts as “The Father of Modern Japanese Luthiery”).

Sakazo Nakade together with his older brother Rokutaro apprenticed under Japanese Master Violin Luthier Mr. Kinpachi Miyamoto in 1930’s.

Miyamoto had a chance to examine and measure Andres Segovia's performance guitar while he performed in Tokyo in 1929. Their master never ventured into guitar making, but the apprentices Nakade brothers did. They also went to Spain to study guitar making from the Spanish masters. Nakade guitars are high quality instruments and have a big following in Japan. They were famous in early 60's before Masaru Kohno got famous in the late 60's.

During 1960s both brothers were famous and their guitars equally highly regarded in Japan. Both brothers were selling their guitars at the same price level as Masaru Kohno. I believe that Rokutaro passed away in early 1970’s. Sakazo continued his work until his death in 1993 (at the age of 87). In late 1960’s/early 1970’s he was joined by his 2 sons Teruaki, Toshihiko and later on by his youngest son Yukio. Rokutaro's son Osamu Nakade, also travelled to Spain in early 1960's and started his own workshop after his return to Japan in 1970. Sometime in 1990s Osamu Nakade designed a guitar model with top, back and sides made from bamboo, sold at very high prices.

Out of the 3 brothers (Sakazo's sons) Toshihiko was the first to chose his own path. He went to Spain in mid 1960s, studied at famous Hernandez y Aguado workshop for few years and opened his own workshop upon his return to Japan in 1968.

All Nakade luthiers were making very high grade guitars and successfully competed with Masaru Kohno on Japanese market. Their workshops were never as huge undertakings as Kohno’s workshop hence their guitars were sold outside Japan in quite limited numbers. In fact their guitars in many cases were of much higher grade than Kohno models sold for the same price.

Toshihiko Nakade retired in July of 2021. In recent years his guitars were sold at very high prices and nobody questions their greatness. His lowest classical models were priced minimum 600000 yen (at least $6000 in US distribution) while his model No100 (made with Spruce top & Latin America Rosewood b/s) was priced 1000000 yen (at least $10000 in US distribution). Toshihiko's flamenco guitars were made in very limited numbers and were always highly priced. His latest very top classical guitar models made in 2021 were Maestro (priced 1 100 000 yen) and Aguado (priced 1 430 000 yen).

This guitar was priced 300 000 yen in 1984, which translates to a US retail price of at least $3000 back in a day. It very likely was the top of the line in Toshihiko's lineup of that era. In 1984 only his father, Masaru Kohno, Hiroshi Tamura and Mitsuru Tamura had higher priced models. For other well established luthiers (including Yamaha's custom shop) 300 000 yen was the maximum they could get for their very top models. For many other less prominent makers 200 000 yen was that maximum.  

Today, the same grade brand new guitars made (with Latin America Rosewood b/s) by Toshihiko are priced minumum 1 000 000 yen, which means at least $10000 retail price in US distribution. The same grade guitars made in Spain are priced at least $15000.

As of today, if you wanted to order a brand new guitar with Brazilian Rosewood b/s made by Japanese luthier it would cost you at least $8000. If you would like to place the same order with a leading Japanese luthier, the price would be at least $10000. If you wanted to order (currently) top Yamaha model GC70 you would have to pay at least $15000 for it.

This guitar offers everything that devoted player can ask for: fantastic response, immense volume and breathtaking tonality, combined with superb note clarity and separation, clear piano-like trebles, deep and rich, cello-like basses, all well balanced and magnified by very extended sustain.  

Overall condition of this can be described as excellent for its age. Besides very minor marks within its shellac finish, body of this guitar doesn't bear any significant cosmetic flaws. It doesn't have any structural issues either.


Top: Very Fine Solid Spruce/7 braces fan/shellac

Back & Sides: Solid Figured Brazilian Rosewood/ shellac

Neck: Mahogany with Ebony reinforcement

Fingerboard: Ebony

Scale: 650 mm

Nut width: 51 mm

Strings Savarez Cantiga Alliance Tension Forte

The action is set to 4.20 mm under E6 and 3.50 mm with practically no extra room on the saddle.

This guitar will be shipped in used Hard Shell Case in very good condition.

When contemporary Japanese luthiers are using 40+ years old soundboards to make “all solid woods” guitar it is priced at least $5000USD. Guitars with artificially aged (“baked”) soundboards are priced at least $4500USD. Solid top models with 40+ years old soundboards are priced at least $3500USD. American, Australian and European luthiers usually charge 50% more.

It is a matter of basic education (not beliefs) to realize that 50+ years old soundboard of this guitar alone is worth $2500USD.

The key to understand value of vintage Japanese guitars is to acknowledge galloping price inflation (devaluation of Japanese yen) during 1960s & 1970s. This inflation slowed down in 1980s.

During 1960s and most of 1970s model numbers of Japanese guitars were strictly interconnected with their prices in Japanese yen. By early 1980s and during following decades model numbers were no longer strictly associated with their prices. Some Japanese guitar makers introduced model names instead of model numbers. Others were still using model numbers with addition of letters and/or other symbols.

It is then important to understand that two Yamaha GC10 guitars made 10 years apart are two instruments of totally different class. The same applies to any other Japanese maker/brand.  

The logical way to estimate the true class of any given Japanese made instrument is to compare its price with the average annual salary of wage workers in Japanese private sectors. This salary was: 450 600 yen in 1965 - 825 900 yen in 1970 - 1 868 300 yen in 1975 - 2 689 000 yen in 1980 - 3 163 000 yen in 1985 - 3 761 000 yen in 1990 - 4 107 000 yen in 1995 - 4 082 000 yen in 2000.

Any guitar priced 100 000 yen in 1970 (labelled as No10 or No100) would be priced 200 000 yen in 1975 (relabeled to No20, No200 or 2000), 300 000 yen in 1977 (labelled as No3, No30 or 3000) and 500 000 yen by 1985 (labelled as No50 or 5000).

Starting in 1977 Masaru Kohno introduced his new models No40 priced 400 000 yen and No50 priced 500 000 yen. By early 1980s Kohno started using model names instead of numbers and was steadily raising their prices without changing model labeling. His very top model 50 became model “Special”, and a decade later it became model “Maestro”. Naturally, all other Japanese guitar makers were doing similar pricing (labelling) upgrades.

Knowing all of that, you can bet on that Masaru Kohno No50 made in 1982 is practically the same grade instrument as Kohno No20 made in 1972, or Kohno no 30 made in 1975.

In early 1970s the lowest Ryoji Matsuoka (all plywood) model was 10, followed by (solid top) models 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 and (all solid woods) models 100 and 150. Models 50, 60 and 80 were made with non-solid figured Brazilian Rosewood (double) back and sides and top model 150 was the only one made with solid figured Brazilian Rosewood b/s.

In 1980 the lowest Matsuoka model was (all plywood) 20, followed by (solid top) models 30,40,50, 60 and all solid woods models 80,100,150 and 200. By 1990 the lowest Matsuoka model was M40 and the highest was M300. By 2010 the lowest Matsuoka model was M50 and the top model was M270.

You can bet that Ryoji Matsuoka model 50 from 1980 is of the same grade as model M100 from 2000, model 100 from 1980 is of the same grade as model M150 from 2000, model 150 from 1980 is of the same grade as M200 from 2000 and model 200 from 1980 is of the same grade as model M300 from 2000.

It is important to mention that if modern era luthiers are using 40+ years old woods to make an “all solid” wood classical guitar, its price is minimum $8000.

All vintage guitars made with Brazilian Rosewood are especially precious, including those made straight grain varieties and those with non-solid b/s.

Because response and tonal properties of Spruce soundboards are improving over time, long seasoned Spruces are far more precious than long seasoned Cedars.

It is not very difficult to find out what are current prices of such guitars made by world’s leading luthiers.

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Listed4 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
  • Master 30
  • Shellac
  • 1984
Made In
  • Japan

Victor's Guitar Gallery

Milton, GA, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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