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  #121  
Old 11-19-2019, 12:47 PM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Originally Posted by AndrewG View Post
This was a specially commissioned, one-off, gift from Yoko Ono to John Lennon. Evidently the traditional Japanese lacquer finish (Maki-e, gold powder), used was particularly problematic and hadn't been used on a guitar before. Picture quality is poor, but it's the only one I could find.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/359373245258922747/

I don't know if was actually a gift from Yoko, because John worked VERY closely himself with Yamaha Custom Shop to design "The Dragon", not Yoko. She was there with him...but she was always there with him...in life in general...yes?

I have a book from Yamaha about their history of their guitars. I will have to dig it out and find the page about The Dragon. It was EXTREMELY difficult for Yamaha to build due to using the Maki-e art work on the guitar. Yamaha had to do a ton of R&D to figure out the process to build the guitar and use the Maki-e on the guitar.

As of 2017, it was still the most expensive custom guitar that Yamaha had ever made.

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  #122  
Old 11-19-2019, 01:41 PM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
I don't know if was actually a gift from Yoko, because John worked VERY closely himself with Yamaha Custom Shop to design "The Dragon", not Yoko. She was there with him...but she was always there with him...in life in general...yes?

I have a book from Yamaha about their history of their guitars. I will have to dig it out and find the page about The Dragon. It was EXTREMELY difficult for Yamaha to build due to using the Maki-e art work on the guitar. Yamaha had to do a ton of R&D to figure out the process to build the guitar and use the Maki-e on the guitar.

As of 2017, it was still the most expensive custom guitar that Yamaha had ever made.

duff
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Yes, I have the 'History of...' book but memory failed me with the Yoko connection. Let me have a look. Yes, you're right. The Lennons were on holiday in Japan when John visited Yamaha and discussed using Maki-e. A hotel meeting was arranged and the 'Dragon' was born. Apparently using Maki-e involves kilning the piece to be decorated in extremely high humidity, which poses obvious problems.
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Last edited by AndrewG; 11-19-2019 at 01:47 PM.
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  #123  
Old 11-19-2019, 02:11 PM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Yes, I have the 'History of...' book but memory failed me with the Yoko connection. Let me have a look. Yes, you're right. The Lennons were on holiday in Japan when John visited Yamaha and discussed using Maki-e. A hotel meeting was arranged and the 'Dragon' was born. Apparently using Maki-e involves kilning the piece to be decorated in extremely high humidity, which poses obvious problems.

Hey Andrew...yeah GREAT book!

I think I will copy that section about John's Dragon here into this thread, just so folks can get an idea of what Yamaha Custom is all about.

Lest they doubt Yamaha's abilities to build toe to toe with the very best boutique and luthier makers.

It is too bad that there are not better pictures of The Dragon.

Notice too in that book that Bruce Springsteen was also playing a Yamaha mid jumbo, just like Paul Simon's back then, around the Nebraska album time.

So at one point in the 70's/80's, they had John Lennon, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, John Denver, Jimmy Paige, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Bert Jansch playing their steel string acoustics...and still they felt no great need to push into the upper end acoustic guitar market here in North American, or Europe.

Too bad for all of us who did not get to fully experience all the amazing instruments that Yamaha was/is capable of making.


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Last edited by mcduffnw; 11-19-2019 at 04:59 PM. Reason: add content
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  #124  
Old 11-19-2019, 02:27 PM
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Cool story of Lennon, Yoko, and the guitar.

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  #125  
Old 11-19-2019, 02:33 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
So at one point in the 70's/80's, they had John Lennon, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Jimmy Paige, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Bert Jansch playing their steel string acoustics...and still they felt no great need to push into the upper end acoustic guitar market here in North American, or Europe.
Also, don't forget James Taylor, who used a custom LL55 (I believe) and a stock LL25. These were his road guitars for a number of years and he was an official artist for a bit as well. Some clips still remain.

The LL55 in '86:
https://youtu.be/vH1K34kXtV0

The LL25, broken out to wish Yammie a happy 125 years:
https://youtu.be/dWfhE5UEr_M

JT's a class act. He had a relationship with Yamaha, used a number of their products (guitars, pianos, mixers...) but fell in love with his Olson guitars. Regardless, he's still a supporter who always has a Yammie around and takes the time to wish them a happy birthday.
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  #126  
Old 11-19-2019, 04:24 PM
Sgt. Pepper Sgt. Pepper is offline
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And was the playability also a factor? I never got used to the shallow neck on my Santa Cruz OM, even though it was a great sounding guitar.
I loved the Santa Cruz, but over time, the neck's V profile and thinner nut width started bugging me.
It was knee buckling good tone wise, but it was also in need of some repair work, so I decided to move it on and make some cash instead of putting more into it.

The chunky profile and wider nut on the LL16 just became my preference the more I played it, and I love the sounds that come out of it.
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  #127  
Old 11-19-2019, 04:53 PM
sjm1580 sjm1580 is offline
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Originally Posted by Sgt. Pepper View Post
I loved the Santa Cruz, but over time, the neck's V profile and thinner nut width started bugging me.
It was knee buckling good tone wise, but it was also in need of some repair work, so I decided to move it on and make some cash instead of putting more into it.

The chunky profile and wider nut on the LL16 just became my preference the more I played it, and I love the sounds that come out of it.
That's exactly my experience (although not a Santa Cruz). The Yamaha, in my case the LS26 fits my hand perfectly. Sounds good too!
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  #128  
Old 11-19-2019, 10:10 PM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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here are some specs for you, some quick pics taken in the sterile environment of my work-to show some detail in the LS36.
Work is really busy this week, and I am on-call, so I haven't had much time to actually play it. I did check it out extensively last night and took notes of the measurements and such.

The more I handle this, the more it reminds me in feel of the Goodalls I have played/owned. The neck shape is what I would call a thin depth C, which I like a lot. I did not measure the neck depth at the 1st/5th/7th/9th/12th, but a quick visual is that it does not get deep as it reaches the heel-I like that in necks.
I've been playing light weight(say under 4lbs) mahogany(either all or Sitka top)for the last 2-3 yrs, so I'm used to the feeling of a very light guitar. This LS is "chunky" at 4.6lbs to me, but that's really not bad for a rosewood instrument, and its larger than I had figured in the total size, being more along the lines of a deep body OM, standard scale, and I've been used to short scale for these last few years. So, some adaptation will happen, no big deal. I used to love Rosewood, and then over time moved into these light, SS, mahogany guits.

Specs:
weight-4.6 lb
well made bone nut and saddle
Nut width- 1 23/32"
fretboard width at the 12th fret- 2 3/32" (I prefer no more than 2 1/8")
string spacing at the saddle- 2 5/32"
upper bout width- 11"
lower bout width- 14 5/16"
body length total- 19 9/16"
scale- 25.75"
body depth at heel- 3 15/16"
body depth at endpin- 4.75"
fretboard radius-15 3/4"

strings removed, relief adjusted using a notched ruler(to avoid frets) to a achieve a flat fretboard-checking fretwork-no high or low fret, ends well dressed. excellent fretwork.
neck set is spot on using extended luthier ruler(I had read/heard in reviews, that these upper Yamahas had excellent neck sets).
nut slot work is fine and depth is low and correct, which results in ease of playability and no buzz.
I remove any relief not needed for my playing style with any instrument, and found this to set up really low. I think I can go even lower. spec at 12th is currently 2.5/32 low E, 2/32 high e. truss rod is double action.

something of interest is a rolling of the neck binding-to assist in comfort I assume(what most people do it for). satin finish neck. there is a heavier built neck block than typically seen, also thicker wood pieces connect the top and back plates than normally seen.
5 ply neck made up of mahogany and rosewood. front and rear headstock rosewood veneers. satin finish front and rear(gloss headstocks are pretty, but show any and every nick,string swipe, etc-i prefer satin finish on headstocks)
top wood is beautiful,tight grain, silking. Rosewood on the back and sides likewise very nice.
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  #129  
Old 11-19-2019, 10:15 PM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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a few more, along with my trusty Japanese Akita and some "stacking" rocks on our daily creek walk.
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  #130  
Old 11-20-2019, 12:09 AM
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Beautiful, Daryl. Congrats. What a guitar.

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  #131  
Old 11-20-2019, 04:07 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
Hey Andrew...yeah GREAT book!

I think I will copy that section about John's Dragon here into this thread, just so folks can get an idea of what Yamaha Custom is all about.

Lest they doubt Yamaha's abilities to build toe to toe with the very best boutique and luthier makers.

It is too bad that there are not better pictures of The Dragon.

Notice too in that book that Bruce Springsteen was also playing a Yamaha mid jumbo, just like Paul Simon's back then, around the Nebraska album time.

So at one point in the 70's/80's, they had John Lennon, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, John Denver, Jimmy Paige, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Bert Jansch playing their steel string acoustics...and still they felt no great need to push into the upper end acoustic guitar market here in North American, or Europe.

Too bad for all of us who did not get to fully experience all the amazing instruments that Yamaha was/is capable of making.


duff
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Good idea. I'm a big, big fan of Yamaha and I think the more people that get to play the fantastic L-series, the more they will come to appreciate Yamaha for much more than just a mega-corp which builds outboard motors.Their luthiers are truly world class and 'good enough' isn't recognised in the Japanese philosophy. The 'Friday afternoon' guitar doesn't exist and they always strive for the best.
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  #132  
Old 11-20-2019, 04:12 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
Hey Andrew...yeah GREAT book!

I think I will copy that section about John's Dragon here into this thread, just so folks can get an idea of what Yamaha Custom is all about.

Lest they doubt Yamaha's abilities to build toe to toe with the very best boutique and luthier makers.

It is too bad that there are not better pictures of The Dragon.

Notice too in that book that Bruce Springsteen was also playing a Yamaha mid jumbo, just like Paul Simon's back then, around the Nebraska album time.

So at one point in the 70's/80's, they had John Lennon, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, John Denver, Jimmy Paige, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Bert Jansch playing their steel string acoustics...and still they felt no great need to push into the upper end acoustic guitar market here in North American, or Europe.

Too bad for all of us who did not get to fully experience all the amazing instruments that Yamaha was/is capable of making.


duff
Be A Player...Not A Polisher
Good idea. I'm a big, big fan of Yamaha and I think the more people that get to play the fantastic L-series, the more they will come to appreciate Yamaha for much more than just a mega-corp which builds outboard motors and motor bikes.Their luthiers are truly world class and 'good enough' isn't recognised in the Japanese philosophy.
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  #133  
Old 11-20-2019, 04:58 AM
Dbone Dbone is offline
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Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
here are some specs for you, some quick pics taken in the sterile environment of my work-to show some detail in the LS36.
Work is really busy this week, and I am on-call, so I haven't had much time to actually play it. I did check it out extensively last night and took notes of the measurements and such.

The more I handle this, the more it reminds me in feel of the Goodalls I have played/owned. The neck shape is what I would call a thin depth C, which I like a lot. I did not measure the neck depth at the 1st/5th/7th/9th/12th, but a quick visual is that it does not get deep as it reaches the heel-I like that in necks.
I've been playing light weight(say under 4lbs) mahogany(either all or Sitka top)for the last 2-3 yrs, so I'm used to the feeling of a very light guitar. This LS is "chunky" at 4.6lbs to me, but that's really not bad for a rosewood instrument, and its larger than I had figured in the total size, being more along the lines of a deep body OM, standard scale, and I've been used to short scale for these last few years. So, some adaptation will happen, no big deal. I used to love Rosewood, and then over time moved into these light, SS, mahogany guits.

Specs:
weight-4.6 lb
well made bone nut and saddle
Nut width- 1 23/32"
fretboard width at the 12th fret- 2 3/32" (I prefer no more than 2 1/8")
string spacing at the saddle- 2 5/32"
upper bout width- 11"
lower bout width- 14 5/16"
body length total- 19 9/16"
scale- 25.75"
body depth at heel- 3 15/16"
body depth at endpin- 4.75"
fretboard radius-15 3/4"

strings removed, relief adjusted using a notched ruler(to avoid frets) to a achieve a flat fretboard-checking fretwork-no high or low fret, ends well dressed. excellent fretwork.
neck set is spot on using extended luthier ruler(I had read/heard in reviews, that these upper Yamahas had excellent neck sets).
nut slot work is fine and depth is low and correct, which results in ease of playability and no buzz.
I remove any relief not needed for my playing style with any instrument, and found this to set up really low. I think I can go even lower. spec at 12th is currently 2.5/32 low E, 2/32 high e. truss rod is double action.

something of interest is a rolling of the neck binding-to assist in comfort I assume(what most people do it for). satin finish neck. there is a heavier built neck block than typically seen, also thicker wood pieces connect the top and back plates than normally seen.
5 ply neck made up of mahogany and rosewood. front and rear headstock rosewood veneers. satin finish front and rear(gloss headstocks are pretty, but show any and every nick,string swipe, etc-i prefer satin finish on headstocks)
top wood is beautiful,tight grain, silking. Rosewood on the back and sides likewise very nice.
Well, you sir really know how to present a guitar proper. Those pics really do the job of conveying the quality. My god that thing looks good.

You have just officially turned my 8 month wait for my 56 into what will probably feel like a year

I donít directly know a lot about Goodalls, but in looking at their website they seem like pretty special guitars. I have always heard tremendous things about them and their build. I think coming from you having owned a few, your impressions matter and count for something towards a ringing endorsement of these upper tier Yamahas. No doubt. When you consider the price difference, the quality on offer from Yamaha at this level of their line is a relative bargain.

The absolute shame being that the average person will probably never experience one of these puppies for a whole multitude of reasons. In the end I rather enjoy the exclusivity of these Yamahas so itís all good.

Japanese culture on display right there.

So you mention that it is a bit of a chunky build in places, but does it feel lightly built overall in terms of resonance? I keep seeing references to the idea that noises in the room can vibrate the top sorta thing. The 56 Iíve seen was very much like that.

The other thing I would say...I hope Iím actually getting something for my 56 money. In theory it has even better wood selections but after looking at your pictures Iím frankly starting to wonder how that is possible. Lol. The quality of the wood selections on yours look out of this world nice to me.

Congrats my friend. That is a beautiful guitar.
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  #134  
Old 11-20-2019, 05:03 AM
Dbone Dbone is offline
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That sucker deserves its own NGD thread my friend.
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  #135  
Old 11-20-2019, 06:24 AM
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That sucker deserves its own NGD thread my friend.
Nice acquisition, Daryl. I agree with Dbone - that beauty needs its own NGD....
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