#1
Being a pretty lazy guy, I didn’t want to work even when I could have gotten lots of easy money to buy a great guitar. So I had been stuck with a second-rate Ibanez electro-acoustic for over two years until I decided to set my sights higher. I have spent the last half year researching and finding all the options to fit my criteria which included OOO style, fully solid wood, and a price below 5000 CNY (approx. 730 USD). The choices were initially the Parkwood PW320M, Epiphone Masterbilt EF-500R, and Guild GAD-30. I personally think the S.Yairi beats all three hands down, and I’ll explain why later. I had plenty of bad luck in trying to get a new guitar, such as the Parkwood PW320M that I bought having its neck snapped in transit, because the couriers were careless. But in retrospect, I’m glad that happened because I know now that I wouldn’t have been happy with it, and I got a full refund anyway.

Features: (for the price, 9/10)
Guitar: S. Yairi YO-28
Year: 2008
Body Style: OOO
Soundboard: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back and Sides: Solid Rosewood
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard and Bridge: Indian Rosewood
Soundhole Rosette: Black/White Multi
Body Binding: Black/White Multi
Nut and Saddle: Bone
Nut Width: 1-3/4"
Scale: 650mm/20f (16 inches)

S.Yairi is related to K.Yairi, of Alvarez fame. He used to make Lowden guitars before. S. Yairi guitars are usually made in Japan, but they moved one of their production centers to China in the early 2000s, and the one I own is made in China, though don’t buy into that “China produced items are crap.” The quality is pretty top and I only paid 3800 CNY (560 USD) for it, and it included a hard case. The total price (plus shipping and service charge to send the money) came to 3900 CNY (570 USD).

Sound: (9/10)
This guitar blows all other guitars in its price range out of the f***ing water. I had gone to my “local” music store, which actually takes around 3 hours to get to, many times to try out the guitars there. I was underwhelmed by the Guild; it has a far too shallow body which translates into low volume and the mahogany tone wasn’t what I was after. I used to be totally crazy about Taylor guitars until I actually spent some time with them and ended up not really enjoying their tone that much. The Epiphone was my favorite, but also far too shallow-bodied. The S. Yairi has a nice deep body, lots of volume, and the rich natural reverb tone that solid rosewood has, while still maintaining complete clarity on each string that fingerstyle guitar demands. However, it doesn't work quite so well for strumming, as the sound is too spread out.

With my old guitar, I always had to struggle to get more sustain by letting everything ring out; but with this baby, sometimes there is just too much sustain, the notes just last forever. I am replacing the factory plastic bridge nuts with bone, to better compliment my bone nut and saddle, and perhaps bring out a few more sparkling highs and even more clarity and sustain. I also removed the pickguard (which some say lets the top vibrate more, increasing volume) and added a homemade scratchboard, which I use for the Thomas Leeb songs I play.

Action, Fit, Finish & Reliability: (6/10)
When it arrived, it had a bunch of little spots of glue on the bottom and back of the guitar. I was so enthusiastic that I ended up scratching the finish off the bottom of the back of the guitar, and now there is a big area with abrasion marks, but at least it’s at the back out of sight. But I wasn’t too happy it arrived like that. The action was fine initially but I changed string gauge immediately anyway and fixed a slight backbow on the neck, so it didn’t really make a difference. However, when I changed from the custom light (.011) that it came with to light (.012) the action was quite high even though it was supposed to be set up for .012s, and I didn’t like that one bit for a new guitar. I went and bought a few new bone saddles and I’ve got them and the action set up nicely. But what really upsets me is that the neck is either not straight where the neck meets the body around the 12-14 fret, or those frets are too high, which produces a huge amount of fret buzz when tapping these frets. This area is higher than the rest of the neck and fretboard and I don’t think this is easily repairable, but I guess you can’t expect a 560 dollar guitar to be perfect, though perhaps it was caused during the several hundred miles delivery route. The bridge also appears to be coming off slowly, and might need to be re-glued in a few months.

Impression: (8/10)
My only regret was that someone bought the guitar I was going to get just a week after I told the guy I was going to buy it. It was a YOE-28, which is exactly the same as mine only with an ebony bridge and fingerboard, but for the same price. Maybe one day I’ll hunt the guy down and take back what was rightfully mine. I hadn’t played this guitar before buying it, so that was perhaps a slight risk, but I’m satisfied with it overall, and can’t think of anything I’d rather trade it for, except maybe a higher end S. Yairi. I’m a fingerstyle guy, and this guitar suits my wants perfectly. So far I haven't played a guitar with a more desirable sound. But if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting the urge to play some guitar now.


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#2
Pretty guitar, but if I may ask...

What is the purpose of that monolithic black piece of plastic? (or whatever it is)


Is it some sort of pickguard?
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#3
Quote by Chance125
Pretty guitar, but if I may ask...

What is the purpose of that monolithic black piece of plastic? (or whatever it is)


Is it some sort of pickguard?


yeah, when i first saw it I was like "whoa, thats one ugly ass cutaway"
Where the hell did slide guitar go!?!
#4
Well, I guess my review was pretty long-winded so you didn't bother to read and find out but it's a scratchboard. I use it when I play Thomas Leeb songs (check out his song Desert Pirate on youtube, I play it a lot at gigs), and I want to write some songs that incorporate it into it as well.
#5
You'd probably get a better sound out of a raw spruce scratchboard, which is what Thomas uses. I believe someone over at Lowden sells them.
#6
woowoo very nice guitar, i am buying a K. Yairi AY-65 custom, its made in kani gifu japan, very beautiful sound and looks. and since im here in japan i wanna buy a japanese guitar i think yairi is deffinately the way to go. maybe one day ill tour kazuos factory too we will see =D great review man
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#7
Quote by Wheresmypeanuts
woowoo very nice guitar, i am buying a K. Yairi AY-65 custom, its made in kani gifu japan, very beautiful sound and looks. and since im here in japan i wanna buy a japanese guitar i think yairi is deffinately the way to go. maybe one day ill tour kazuos factory too we will see =D great review man


Yeah, I was in Japan last month and was told I could have gotten a good K. Yairi, which are definitely better quality than S. Yairi for half I price I got this for. Instruments are so much damn cheaper over there then where I live.