A new guitar brand has appeared on the Zaimokuza coast of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, a place known as a famous windsurfing spot. NOBUWORKS is a new guitar brand that has been inspired by the vast ocean and the overwhelming technology that has been used to manufacture windsurfing boards for many years.

The guitar is overwhelmingly easy to play, allowing you to play phrases you couldn't play before! A guitar that is not only easy to play, but also has a deep nostalgia that can be described as a guitar for experts.

A windsurfboard and a guitar!

Builder Nobu Yoshida works as a musician and windsurfs at a windsurf store on the Zaimokuza coast of Kamakura, where he also works as a windsurfing instructor on weekends. However, in spite of his busy schedule, he has not changed his single-minded passion for making guitars, and he continues to work on his handmade guitars without a moment's pause. We asked Mr. Yoshida, who leads such a superman-like life, to talk about the relationship between windsurfing and guitar craft.

A few microns can make the difference between winning and losing in the severe world of windsurfing.

Mr. Yoshida: "I also work on boards used by the Japanese Olympic windsurfing team. Windsurfing boards are very delicate things, and the shape of the arch on the back, the angle, the finish of the paint, and other factors make a huge difference in how the board perceives the surface of the ocean, and thus the speed and comfort of the ride. When it comes to professional competitions, a micron-level difference in finish can sometimes be the difference between the sexes. For this reason, I have tried hundreds of different techniques, painting methods, and paints for surface finishing. The accumulation of such know-how is reflected in NOBUWORKS guitars.

  • Board made by Mr. NOBU
  • NOBU Yoshida with Shin Tomizawa, Japan's representative in the RS:X class windsurfing at the Olympics

Dynamic woodworking technique

Certainly, guitar making and woodworking are inextricably linked, and there are many famous builders with furniture-making backgrounds, such as Fender Custom Shop's master builder and Jackson's Mike Shannon. We asked Mr. Yoshida about this connection. Mr. Yoshida said, "Certainly, woodworking skills are essential in guitar making. I have seen many examples of excellent furniture makers who became excellent guitar builders, and I have a lot of respect for such people. Similarly, our windsurf boards require the same or even higher level of precision. Playability, in particular, is a deciding factor. The similarities between windsurfboards and guitars are that they must match the player's quick passions and linearly respond to those dynamic needs."

And to Lasting Value

Kamakura is a place with many wooden structures, including shrines and temples, that have stood for a thousand years. How does this environment influence guitar making? Yoshida: "I think it is a very inspirational and blessed environment. I can't believe that wooden structures made 1,000 years ago are still shining brightly over time. It is very inspiring. I hope that the guitars I make will continue to be played for many years, if not years. That's the romance of making guitars here."

I don't think these guitars are for everyone, so if people who like this kind of thing play them (laughs)
Mr. Nobu Yoshida

One day, we received an image of a new model under production from NOBUWORKS. Moreover, Mr. Yoshida had established a new workshop in conjunction with the development of the new model. Excited with anticipation, we headed to the new workshop for an interview.

Image of "Karin," a new model under construction, received from Mr. Yoshida

We visited Mr. Yoshida in a building near JR Ofuna Station. When we opened the door, we were greeted by NOBUWORKS guitars shining in place of a signboard.

Going down the stairs, we found a reception desk, which looked like a studio. The studio is 18 tatami mats in size and was built so that the customers can check out the finished guitars in the studio immediately after they are finished.

When checking the finished product or making adjustments, the band members join in to check the sound in the ensemble as they work, making this a truly site-oriented workshop.

We were also shown the inside of the studio, which was under construction at the time of our interview. It was completely soundproofed and spacious enough for band rehearsals.

And here is the newly built studio. The smell of wood gives off the atmosphere of a newly built building. Basically, the store studio does the large-scale cutting and painting, while the fretting, installation, adjustment, and finishing are done here.


The room is modern and clean, as is typical of a new workshop. Rare woods and templates were placed on the table.

Drawings on the wall and the new model under construction.

The top arch is being cut out. Can you see the steps in the stair-like top? These steps will be finished into smooth and beautiful arches with a four-sided planer.

The arch is gradually made smoother and smoother. The only way to create a beautiful and resonant arch is through experience, and NOBU's skill with the planer is magical and fun to watch.

He showed us the colored image of the arch. He said, "I can actually imagine the color of the finished product as I work to create a beautiful arch.

The fret finish is also beautiful. The fret edges, in particular, have a significant impact on playability, so the fret board is treated with extraordinary care. The time and effort spent on the fretboard is well worth the effort.

The control cavity is also divided into small rooms, which is a testament to the fine woodworking technique, and at the same time, a pleasure to look at. It will be interesting to see what kind of wiring will actually be incorporated into this.

This is NOBUWORKS' original sustain block.

He is also very particular about Floyd Rose, and has a collection of tremolos and sustain blocks from all eras. Since the sustain block has a tremendous effect on the sound, it was designed through a variety of experiments and repeated trial and error. Installing this NOBUWORKS original tremolo block dramatically improves not only the sound, but also the sound separation and the rise of overtones.

Here, we listened to a sound source that was recorded using NOBUWORKS guitars. In a word, it is "an electric guitar sound unlike anything I have ever heard before. It has a sharp rise, a tight attack, and mellow overtones, yet it also has thickness. Rich midrange and extended sustain. It sounds like a collection of all the words of praise often found in guitar catalogs, but it really does have all the characteristics of an electric guitar that is said to have a good sound. It sounds like the rise of a mid-60s Strat mixed with the fatness and sustain of a Les Paul Custom," I said, and Mr. Yoshida grinned.


Since this was a good opportunity, I wanted to visit the workshop at the Windsurf Shop in Kamakura. When I told Mr. Yoshida that I would like to visit the windsurf shop's workshop in Kamakura, he said, "Sure, I'll go there now. It takes about 20 minutes by car, so why don't we go there now? Soon after, Mr. Yoshida drove us to the workshop. Needless to say, we had a great time talking about music in the car.

When I asked Mr. Yoshida when he started making guitars, he gave me a surprising answer. He replied, "Yes, that's right. My parents bought me an electric guitar when I was in junior high school, and the next day I took it apart and stripped everything down to the paint. I guess there was something about it that I wasn't satisfied with. Since then, I have had many guitars, but I was never satisfied with any of them, so I decided that the only way to make the guitar I wanted to play was to make it myself."

We were curious to know where he learned how to make boards, a skill that is highly regarded by the intermediate level players who now make up the majority of the market.
I was doing this in the same way as I do with guitars," he said. But I thought the existing boards were a little different, so I started making my own." He answers without hesitation. And then he actually made it, and he was so obsessive about it that it could be described as persistence. Mr. Yoshida does not talk about the hardships he went through, but rather talks happily about them. I think I saw a glimpse of his genius.

The studio we are building now can be used as a location for music videos, with elaborate walls and lighting, and in the future we would like to be able to shoot there as well. Mr. Yoshida's dreams are endless. And his attention to detail is as insatiable as ever.

While we were chatting happily, the car arrived at Zaimokuza Beach in no time.

I was immediately guided to his workshop.

The workshop had the dignity of a place that has been worked on for a long time, the exact opposite of the new and clean workshop we had just visited.

The workshop produces only one board a month. It may not seem like a lot, but it seems that it takes that many days to ensure uncompromising and meticulous workmanship. Of course, the same passion is poured into the guitars.

Powder made from various types of wood. It is used to recover scratches on rare woods and for inlay processing. In some cases, it is blended into paints, resins, and adhesives. The tools also show the age of the wood.

Mr. Yoshida lovingly picks up each of the tools and happily explains about each one. During the day, he devotes himself to making boards, and guitar making seems to take place mainly at night after the store closes. On weekends, he is out on the water as a windsurfing instructor, and he also works overseas as a musician. One wonders when in the world he sleeps. He says with a smile in his eyes, "Well, I hardly ever get any sleep. I was surprised to see the look in Mr. Yoshida's eyes as he said with a smile, "Well, I hardly get any sleep. There was no sign of fatigue at all. They are youthful and radiant, sometimes smiling with the innocence of a child. He seems to be enjoying everything he is doing right now. He puts his all into everything he does and truly enjoys it. This vitality must be one of his talents.

The store also offers custom-made wetsuits. It was raining unfortunately, but I could see the ocean from my window.

The arch of the body top was finished more smoothly and beautifully. The treatment of the frets is also perfect.

The inside of the cavity was completely sealed and finished like this. In addition to the normal output, NOBUWORKS' original S.A.W system (Sonic Air Wave) was installed to directly output the body's sound. This is a unique specification.

The first thing that surprised me when I picked it up was the texture of the neck. My first impression was, "What the heck is this? was my first impression. However, after less than a minute of playing, I felt that the roughness of the neck was more familiar to me, and I began to feel comfortable with it. It is strange that, although it is the first time I have touched the neck, I feel familiar with it as if I have been playing it for a long time. According to Mr. Yoshida's explanation, the roughness of the paint will fade as the neck is played, and after about six months of playing, it will change to fit the player's hand shape and playing style, transforming into a perfectly comfortable neck. Mr. Yoshida actually allowed us to touch the neck after six months of playing, and we could hardly believe that it was a recent one, as it had transformed into a vintage-like texture. He hopes that you will enjoy the pleasure of playing and developing the neck yourself.

On the right is a model that has been played. This painting process uses a special paint and coating method developed after years of experimentation, which cannot be imitated by any other method.

The raw sound is very solid, and the low-frequency resonance is especially pleasant to the body, perhaps due to the sustain block. I immediately plugged it into my amp. I set the gain a little higher and turned it up loud. A very sharp and pure sound came out. The response was so fast that I was a little confused. It was like when I changed from Celestion to Altec's 417. The sound was tight for such a low frequency range in the raw sound. Of course, there is more than enough low frequencies, but there is no unnecessary resonance and the low frequencies are not violent. This is probably the result of the setup. The front pickups are Duncan Cool Rails and the rear is SH-14 Custom5, but the specs of the pickups were not decided at first. The output is not too high nor too low. The output is not too high nor too low, and the juicy output is the best part of the guitar. The playability of the guitar is impeccable, and although it is very easy to play, it is difficult to master, and I was able to experience the depth of the guitar, reminding me that it takes a great deal of skill to bring out the full potential of this guitar.

S.A.W System

This time, I switched to the S.A.W system, in which the amp is set to clean mode to directly output the body sound. The sound from the pickups is completely different from the sound from an electric acoustic or full acoustic, but it is also a strange sound with a woody tone. In a way, it is "a sound that sounds kind of nostalgic, but actually I have never heard it before. The whole guitar sounds microphonic, and it seems to be a powerful tool for recording.

Finally, I asked Mr. Yoshida about his recommended settings. He answered, "I don't have any specific recommendations, but I myself like hard rock music from the 80s, so I think that kind of sound is suited to that kind of sound. My guitars seem to go especially well with equipment from that era. When I play a JCM800 with an old RAT or OD-1, the sound is incredibly pleasing. So maybe it's not a guitar that everyone likes, but I'd be happy if someone who likes that kind of sound-making could play it."

At the age of 14, he picked up his first guitar at a friend's house. At 15, he asked his parents to buy him a guitar, but the next day, he stripped off all the paint and tore the body apart. The next day, he stripped off all the paint and tore the body apart. He modified the tremolo, pickups, circuitry, etc. by hand, and shaped the neck grip in his own way, using an iron stay he had at home as if he were a hacksaw. At the age of 17, he built a guitar with LEDs embedded in the position marks to make the neck glow.

He began building guitars out of wood, and has been using his experience to create his own style of guitar building using a variety of original tools. He has a strong commitment to a style in which he performs the final process himself, incorporating the results of his research in other fields, such as painting to make the grain of the wood appear closer and applying a special rough, rough coating to the neck grip.

In 1998, he left the apparel planning and production department where he had worked for 8 years and went to Canada by himself. After returning to Japan, he worked at a long-established windsurfing shop. On weekends, he teaches windsurfing at sea, and on weekdays, he develops and produces windsurfing boards under the "NOBUWORKS" brand, which is the same as the name of his guitar brand. The boards, which are clearly oriented in a way that makes them difficult for even the world's most famous brands to market, have gained a large following among this group. The company also provides board maintenance for Shin Tomizawa, Japan's Olympic windsurfing RS:X men's representative (Beijing and London).

His musical activities include producing and performing music for commercials. (In 2011, he collaborated with "Claire Johnston" and "Mango Groove" on his song "PARTNER". The band has a close relationship with President Nelson Mandela and has performed at Queen's Freddie Mercury memorial concert, sang the national anthem at the Rugby World Cup ground center, and is well known among South Africans.


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