1976 Alvarez Yairi DY57 “Winchester” Dreadnought w/BB Pickup


Most of you know this but don’t confuse the Kazuo Yairi guitars with the “Alvarez” brand. Alvarez are generally decent utility guitars made in Korea or China, but there is no comparison to genuine Yairi’s. Kazuo Yairi builds lifetime guitars in a dedicated factory in Japan. Much like the USA’s Martin guitars, these are heirlooms which can be handed down through generations. The K Yairi company has a history of guitar making that goes back to 1935. Kazuo, now 75 years old, took over the company from his father in 1963 after spending three years in the USA learning how the Americans were constructing & voicing their guitars. He personally oversees around 30 guitar makers in his workshop and their yearly output is in the region of a modest 4000 guitars. Yairi sets very high standards for the timber they use. All woods are naturally seasoned – no timber is kiln dried. Other than the sawmill, no machinery is used in the manufacture of the guitars; no CNC machines or UV spray booths speed up the process. Many guitars are made by a single craftsman; others are made by a team of 3 or 4 makers. The D57 features a solid Canadian spruce top with special hand-sculpted parabolic X-bracing, African mahogany back and sides, noted for its beauty and tone quality, mahogany neck, ebony fretboard with inlaid pearl dot markers, rosewood bridge and headstock overlay, top and back bound in ivoroid binding, soundboard trim and hand-laid wood markquetry rosette in sort of a herringbone pattern, inlaid Yairi headstock logo, Pat. Pending Grover tuners, black teardrop pickguard, plus bone nut and saddle. It has a slender mahogany neck with adjustable truss rod which is set in a magnesium channel for extra strength and stability. This is one of those guitars that just speaks to you when you pick it up with a very warm and natural tone. It also has an pickup under the saddle which is clearly labeled “Barcus-Berry”, which I’m guessing was the factory option listed in the price list, with a 1/4″ endpin jack (pic). Although a passive system, it has a higher output than most and sounds very good amplified. Acoustically, it has a lovely, full-bodied sound and with very comfortable action it’s a joy to play. It reminds me, in all regards, of a nice old Martin D-18. It has a lovely golden, aged patina and some innocuous light dings and scratches in the finish; definitely no cracks or repairs. The DY57 sold for $741 (with case) in in the ’78 price list, including pickup installation, which based on the inflation calculator would be $2645 in today’s dollars. Yairi’s are probably the best value in a true lifetime guitar. Own this one for $899. Includes original hardshell case as well as an old sealed pack of Washburn “Slicks” 12 ga. strings, capo, steel slide, and pitch pipe. You can read all about this model by looking around alvarezyairi.web, the best site in the world for Yairi guitars.


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