This Aranjuez No7 guitar was finished in 1974 at Masaru Kohno workshop. It was top of the line model of that era. Its body was made by Takamine Gakki, its soundboard and final assembly done either by Masaru Kohno himself or one of his apprentices.  

Aranjuez guitars line was founded by Juan Orozco and Masaru Kohno in early 1970s with a designation mostly for Japanese market. They were initially made by Takamine workshop under Kohno’s supervision. From early 1980s through mid2010s they were made by Ryoji Matsuoka workshop. Now they are made again by Takamine.

Since the origin of this brand the very top models were assembled and finished at Kohno’s workshop. The bodies of those top models were made by Takamine or Matsuoka workshops, while soundboards made by Masaru Kohno himself and in later years by Masaki Sakurai.  

The secret of Aranjuez guitars is that they have always offered exceptional value to the player on a budget. Top Aranjuez models sound better than many other guitars sold by leading Japanese makers at 2 times higher prices. Currently the very top Aranjuez model 725 (still being assembled and finished by Masaki Sakurai) is priced 250 000 yen. It sounds better than many other guitars sold in Japan for 500 000 yen.

This Aranjuez No7 guitar was priced 70 000 yen while yearly starting salary of Japanese college graduate was around 75 000 yen. It however sounds much better than Kohno No10 from the same year (priced 100 000 yen). Only Kohno No15 (priced 150 000 yen) could be considered as equal grade instrument. I am sure that many players would favor this Aranjuez No7 over any Kohno model.

What is also very important to mention is that while all Aranjuez models of that era had Cedar tops, all Kohno models had Spruce tops. Regardless of what some sellers believe and claim in their listings, Masaru Kohno wasn’t making Cedar top guitars until 1985. Those Cedar top models were made in very limited numbers (perhaps by special order only), their soundboards look very dark, rosettes and bridge decoration is different from those used on regular Spruce top models. In some sense this Aranjuez No7 guitar can be considered as Kohno 15 with Cedar top.  

This truly majestic guitar offers exceptional volume and response combined with very romantic tonality. Its trebles are super sweet, round, yet very crisp. Basses are deep and full of overtones, yet relatively clean. All notes are well balanced, note clarity and separation fantastic, sustain amazing.

I am sure that every experienced player will agree that this guitar beats many “hand made in Spain” $15000+ guitars available on US market.

This guitar remains in overall excellent condition. Besides few ultra-light marks on its body this guitar looks and smells like-new.


Top: High Grade Solid Cedar/cashew lacquer

Back and Sides: Solid Latin America Rosewood /cashew lacquer

Neck: Mahogany

Fingerboard: Ebony

Tuning Machines: high grade gold plated

Scale: 660 mm

Nut Width: 52 mm

Nut & Saddle: Bone

Current action is set to 3.30 mm under E6 and 2.80 under E1 with plenty of extra room on the saddle.

It will be shipped in lightly used luxurious archtop hard shell case. 

The key to understand value of vintage Japanese guitars is to acknowledge galloping devaluation of Japanese yen in 1960s & 1970s. This devaluation was somewhat slower in 1980s. The best measure of this devaluation is Starting Yearly Salary of Japanese College Graduate (SYSJCG).

SYSJCG in in 1965 was 19 600 yen, in 1969 – 34 600 yen, in 1970 39 200 yen, in 1972 – 62 300 yen, in 1975 79 200 yen, in 1977 85 200 yen and in 1980 - 100 000 yen.

During 1960s and most of 1970s model numbers of Japanese guitars were strictly interconnected with their prices in Japanese yen. In late 1970s and during following decades model numbers were no longer strictly associated with their prices. Many Japanese guitar makers introduced model names instead of model numbers. Others were still using model numbers with addition of letter abbreviations or other symbols.  

The best and only logical approach while evaluating real value (real grade) of vintage Japanese guitar is to compare its price in Japanese yen with SYSJCG during the year guitar was made.

Any guitar priced 100 000 in 1970 (labelled usually as No10) would be priced 200 000 yen in 1975 (relabeled to No20 or 2000), 300 000 yen in 1977 (labelled as No3, No30 or 3000). Starting in 1977 Masaru Kohno introduced his model No50 priced at 500 000 (skipping theoretical model 40). Soon other famous Japanese luthiers did the same. By 1983 Kohno started using model names instead numbers and was raising their prices as he was pleased. Naturally soon other Master luthiers did the same.

Knowing all of that, you can bet on that Masaru Kohno No50 made in 1982 is practically the same quality as Kohno No15 made in 1972, or Kohno no20 made in 1975 or Kohno No30 made in 1977. I know it for a fact.

The lowest grade models currently made by Matsuoka workshop are M75 and MH75. They are commonly considered as “beginner guitars”. Matsuoka model M30 made in 1973 is simply far, far better instrument. It is naturally better than model M50 made in 1977, model 80 made in 1982 or model M100 made in 1990. At present, the highest grade Matsuoka models are M300 and MH300. They absolutely stand no chance in competition with model M150 made in 1975… or model M200 made in 1977.

It is very important to mention that if modern era luthiers are using 40 years old woods to make a classical guitar, its price is at least $8000

Product Specs

Excellent (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
Brand Aranjuez
Model 7
Finish Cashew Lacquer
Categories Classical
Year 1974
Made In Japan

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Victor's Guitar Gallery

Alpharetta, GA, United States
Joined: Oct 2015

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