1970s Asahi D-42/D-35-Style Dreadnought Guitar

This is a really impressive dreadnought for its time. I'm pretty sure this was made in the late '70s or very early '80s and it's along the lines of a nice-grade Yamaki, Daion, or late-'70s Tama instrument. It was made in Japan and bears a curious "Asahi" brand at the headstock. I've only seen this brand on cheaper instruments, however, and there's only one other example on the net getting close to the quality of this instrument.

It has a solid spruce top with x-bracing and Indian rosewood back and sides. I'm not sure if the rosewood is ply or solid, however. Considering the linings and trim, though, it's likely solid. The neck is mahogany and has an ebony fretboard. The original bridge was black-painted rosewood, so my replacement is nicer-grade rosewood, too. The bracing is interesting because it takes elements of '50s Martin and '50s Gibson styles and merges them together. Its got a loud, forward sound that suggests the warmth and guts of a '50s or early '60s D-28 but with a bit more of that lush midsy sound of a '50s Gibson. I like it a lot!

More-modern amenities include sealed Schaller tuners and an adjustable truss rod with access at the soundhole. It's quite beat-up with lots of usewear in evidence throughout (lots of small to medium scratches) and has a few repaired, tight, hairline cracks below the bridge on the top, but overall it's in good order. I didn't need to reset its neck and the frets have good height.

Looks-wise, it has styling cues from D-42s with the real abalone/pearl trim around the top edge, soundhole, and sides of the fretboard extension. The back is like a D-35 with a 3-piece rosewood design and has edging in pearl along the panels, too. It looks classy!

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, replacement rosewood bridge install, fitting the original saddle to the new bridge, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: action is spot-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. The neck is straight and the truss rod works. There's slight drop-off (as in "backbow" from the 12th fret on over the body on the fretboard extension. It's so slight one doesn't even notice it and it doesn't change playability, but I like to be thorough.

Scale length: 25 1/2"
Nut width: 1 3/4" ('30s Martin-y sizing)
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20"
Lower bout width: 15 7/8"
Waist width: 11"
Upper bout width: 11 5/8"
Side depth at endpin: 4 7/8"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid rosewood
Neck wood: mahogany
Bracing type: x-braced, tapered rectangular ('50s Martin/'50s Gibson hybrid)
Fretboard: ebony
Bridge: ebonized maple or pearwood, synthetic saddle insert (compensated)
Neck feel: slim C/D shape, ~10" board radius

Condtion notes: three tight repaired hairline cracks on the lower-bout top and one non-issue short hairline crack above the bridge in the same region. Replaced bridge, replaced endpin, but otherwise original. There are lots of small signs of wear with a few bigger scratches and dings on the front. This was clearly loved and played a lot. There's a longer, non-issue, very thin dryness hairline crack in the fretboard around frets 11-15.

Bound headstock, bound board, fancy pearl trim... what's not to like?

There's plenty of saddle height and I've compensated that original bone saddle to improve intonation. One can shim it up/down with saddle shims to adjust action height to taste as the slot is fairly deep.

The new bridge is a standard LMII or StewMac Martin-like replacement of good quality, but I sanded it to match the original's shape and contours.

It has a nice, Martin-style diamond volute at the rear of the headstock.