GIFU – Guitar craftsman Kazuo Yairi, whose acoustic guitars have been used by musicians including Paul McCartney and Carlos Santana, died of multiple organ failure at a hospital in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, last Wednesday, his family said Sunday. He was 81.
A native of Kani, a town in Gifu Prefecture, Yairi left for the United States in 1962 to learn guitar-making and established Yairi Guitar after returning home in 1965. In the late 1960s, he began collaborating with instrument maker St. Louis Music and jointly introduced Alvarez-Yairi guitars, still handmade at the Yairi factory in Kani. His guitars are also used by top Japanese musicians, including Keisuke Kuwata and Masaharu Fukuyama.