KOHNO Model 20 – 1972 – Ronn McFarlane



1972, Japan. Grammy-nominated lutenist, Ronn McFarlane was the sole owner of this guitar, which he used to earn a bachelors degree, before concentrating on the lute exclusively. http://www.ronnmcfarlane.com The guitar has been in storage since 1978. Spruce soundboard, SA rosewood back and sides, 660 mm scale, 53 mm nut, small dot 7th fret marker, mahogany neck with double ebony reinforcement, lacquer finish. Masaru Kohno built guitars to last, and this instrument is still as structurally sound as the day it came off his work bench. Although the maker was highly regarded, Ronn says the sound is what sold him on it. Excellent projection and perfectly balanced, with a tone that is full and refined; very smooth with pristine clarity. Many years of music are yet to be had with this guitar. Ronn recalls playing it for 10 to 11 hours per day. As you may imagine, there are signs of use, but nothing serious. The tuners are mismatched since one on the bass side failed.  Since the tuners have an outdated 40 mm roller spacing,  the bass side tuners were replaced with 3 individual tuners (see photos).  To upgrade to a matching set, John Gilbert tuners have a couple of models of very high quality individual tuners that will accommodate any roller spacing.  One of the models can be seen at:

Individual with Ebony Knob and Abalone Dot

Expected fret wear for a guitar of this vintage, however the finish, being lacquer has held up extremely well. There is a hazy ring about 1 1/2 in. in diameter on the soundboard next to the first string. The finish in the middle of the ring matches the rest of the finish, and I cannot figure out what this ring could be. It looks like it could be rubbed off, but I have not been able to do so. See the photo which makes it look worse than it is since I did my best today to get the light on it so it would show up. In person, if the light is not on it at the right angle, it does not show up.