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A number of years ago I saw a beat up classical guitar for sale in a YWCA in Singapore. It was labelled Ryoji Matsuoka M20. It was missing strings, had a cracked headstock, an area of the top had almost worn through, and it had clearly been played a lot. My gut feeling was that it might be something special, so I bought it and took it home to clean it up and restring it. My gut was right.

Since buying the M20 I have kept an eye out for Matsuokas and purchased a number: M17, M20, M30, M30L, M50, MG-50, and a couple of flat tops - Herring-bone and (D) 80. Reviews, Images, sounclips and videos will be added over the next few months.

1970s Advert:

R. Matsuoka - The Signature Series...A new standard of excellence in handcrafted classical guitars.

Ryoji Matsuoka is an artist ...a luthier. He designs his classical guitars for concert performances and handcrafts them with meticulous care. To create a tone and brighter sound, he uses exquisite woods and seasons them naturally. No artificial ageing here. The solid cedar topis specially bracedto increase treble projection, matching jacaranda backs and sides aid in tonal development and enhance the beauty. Ebony fingerboards with nickel silver frets assure perfect intonation. If you're ready for a superior classical guitar, experience the Signature Series.

Price/Value of Ryoji Matsuoka Guitars :

If you look at the 1970s Matsuoka & Aria catalogues you find that the model number corresponds to it's price in Yen. M20 = 20,000 Yen, M30 = 30,000 etc. Likewise for the flat tops - D40 = 40,000 Yen, D80 = 80,000 Yen etc.

My belief is that this price relates to the quality of materials, rather than the build quality. So if you see a D200 you can expect the guitar to have fancy inlays, more attention to bindings, deluxe tuning pegs, and striking wood grains.

This shouldn't put you off buying a lower model number though! Personally, my favourite Matsuoka is one of the M20s I have.

Having spoken to another owner of a number of Matsuokas, his favourites were his M20 & his M60 which he said were pretty much on a par with each other.

If you're looking for an estimate of how much you could sell your Matsuoka for, I can't help much i'm afraid. I've watched the prices on ebay and other sites for a fair few years now and the trend seems to be that there is no trend! Some days a Matsuoka can go for a pittance, but on a small number of occasions i've seen them go for more 1000 USD.(and actually sell at the price).

My first & favourite Matsuoka cost me 30 singapore dollars (about 10 GBP) but I wouldn't sell it for 1000!

What I can say is:Iif you see one going for a pittance, just buy it!

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