Mention Mac Yasuda's name to serious guitar players and chances are they'll recognize the Newport Beach resident as the guy who owns one of the world's premier guitar collections.
The Japan native fell in love with the stringed instruments, and purchased his first collector guitar--a battered old Gibson--after moving to the United States in 1970. In recent years, he has collected hundreds of rare instruments, some of which cost $50,000 or more.
Yasuda, who developed a hankering for Hank Williams and other country singers, has performed on his own at the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville. He has cut a CD, "A Tribute to Hank Williams," which included support from the Drifting Cowboys, Williams' original band. Yasuda is also taking a turn as publisher, with two books in the works about, naturally, guitars. One tome deals with vintage guitars in general, the other focuses solely on his growing collection.
The guitar man is also taking a spin as salesman, with his own line of guitars.
Not surprisingly, the Mac Yasuda Guitars line won't come cheap. The upscale instruments, aimed at professional musicians, will cost from $3,200 to $8,000.
The guitars are being made in Hermitage, Tenn., by Crafters of Tennessee, which makes the Rich & Taylor banjos. "They're in production right now," said Greg Rich, who's designing the Yasuda line.
Greg Johnson covers retail businesses and restaurants for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5950 and at email@example.com.