Guitar maker to stars dies at 81


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.