The C86 Guitar

Sep 28, 2023

The C86 Guitar

The evolution of a musical instrument as iconic as the guitar can be a process full of debates and challenges. So, in this article, we will explore the history of our old C86 guitar model.

Want to know how our C86 Guitar evolved into our Tradicional Guitar? We’ll tell you about it in this post!

The Japanese market and the reduction of the guitar’s draw

The 1A guitar (1st class model) developed by JR III had a 664mm scale, which was part of the whole set that he had studied millimetrically to achieve a balance in all its proportions.

But, despite it being a world-renowned and accepted guitar, our Japanese distributor, Shiro Arai, spent years insisting my father to make a guitar with a shorter scale, 650mm, claiming that Japanese guitarists had a small hands, and it was difficult for them to play with such a long scale.

My father’s response was that he did not understand his insistence on reducing the scale, and that to him it was as absurd as asking that a piano have narrower keys so that pianists with small hands would feel more comfortable. Since no one complained about the size of piano keys, he didn’t see any point in complaining about the scale of a guitar, also taking into account that the difference between the short and long scale was only 9mm spread along the length of the fingerboard.

Creation of the C86 Guitar

It took a few years, about 20 or so, until my father finally gave in, reluctantly, and designed a guitar with the proportions he considered suitable for a 650mm scale. This happened in 1986, which is why he called this guitar the “C86 model,” which had a smaller body than the 664, in keeping with the shorter scale.

The truth is that, although it had a beautiful and delicate sound, this guitar also had less projection, so our Japanese distributor began to complain because he wanted the C86 to have more power, despite knowing that the normal thing was that the shorter scale would mean a smaller projection.

Transformation of the C86 Guitar to the Tradicional Guitar

When my brother, JR IV, took over the workshop, he decided to make a change in this aspect to obtain a sound projection as similar as possible to the 664, despite retaining the 650 scale, so he made several changes to the design and achieved his goal, consisting on a short-scale guitar with a power that is quite close to that of a long-scale guitar.

Thus we stopped building the C86, offering customers the options of what is known as the 1st (1A) 650 Guitar, and the 1st (1A) 664 Guitar.

Later, in the nineties, we decided to call this model a Tradicional Guitar, coinciding with the creation of the Especial Guitar designed by my brother, JR IV, both in both short-scale and long-scale versions.

Before adding the new model, we only had the classical guitar and the flamenco guitar, both called 1st class guitars (1ª class in Spanish), which were known in the guitar world as 1A, but when we started adding new models, we also had to define them with specific names to differentiate them.

Likewise, we had 2nd class guitars (2ª class), which I talk about at length in a specific article on this subject, and which is published on our blog.

As for the C86, which, as I indicated above, we stopped building, we used its template for the studio series that we called R, with the smaller body of the E series designed by both my father and my brother, in the 70s.

Amalia Ramírez

September 1, 2023

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