Tom FallonBack Yaaad makes ‘em and fixes ‘em when you break ‘em!
Seventeen years ago, a man came to Japan who would make the place his yaaad. David Leonard, originally a carpenter and a cook back in his home city of Boston, came to Japan with both a love of woodworking and music. Ah, but perhaps that’s a bit of an understatement. Let’s scratch that term “love” and replace it with “intense passion”. But, regardless of quibbles over terminology, Dave had what it takes to establish Nagoya’s one and only Back Yaaad Guitars.
Following his family across the globe, Dave found a variety of work; trying his hand at everything from cooking at restaurants to building houses and – welcome to Japan – teaching English. But six years ago, Dave had an epiphany. He realized that he wanted to pursue his dream; the dream to build fine handcrafted guitars and restore antique ones. So, he decided to sell his English school, pack up the place in Toyohashi, and head for bigger things in Nagoya.
Here in Nagoya’s east end shopping and dining district, Motoyama, Dave has done what no other foreigner has ever accomplished. Through the sweat of his brow, the skill of his hands, and the uncompromising dedication in his heart, Dave has established the first ever gaijin-owned guitar making and restoration shop in Nagoya, Back Yaaad Guitars. He explains that woodworking has always been a passion of his, and since he started playing guitar some twenty-three years ago he found a truly rewarding creative outlet in modifying and repairing his and his friends guitars. Now with professional schooling and a genuine apprenticing experience under his belt, he is two years into a more than solid foundation to take everything to the next level.
Now, by this point some of you are reaching for your electronic dictionaries, scratching your furrowed brow, and trying to figure out what in the name of all manners of English is a “yaaad”. Well, let us illuminate the origins for the uninitiated. When in the lovely city of Baaaston, one must pronounce their vowels with a certain elongated flair that is truly unique. Mr. Leonard – along with many other fine Americans, including a whole slew of my cousins – speaks with just such an accent. Thus, that “r” that most of us dig into when saying “yard” transforms the linguistic experience into that push-off-the-tongue pronunciation: “yaaad”
But, now you’ve lost focus! Back! Back, I say! What you need to know is that we have a truly unique treasure in our midst. Back Yaaad Guitars is fully equipped to make both high quality handcrafted acoustic and electric guitars using the finest materials and tools. Dave admits that he is partial to making acoustic guitars because it allows him more artistic expression through woodworking, but he also enjoys making and restoring both electric guitars and bass guitars as well.
I can personally guarantee that he puts time, love, and pride into his work. Just last year I brought both my Fender Stratocaster electric and my Gibson acoustic guitars to Back Yaaad Guitars. Due to years of neglect they were afflicted with a whole list of problems. Dave looked both instruments over, and with a confident nod said, “No problem.” He took good care of them, straightened them out, and now they sing like a couple of angels. I was, and still am, a satisfied customer.
Visit Back Yaaad Guitars in Motoyama. Bring in your broken guitar for an appraisal or just have a look at some of Dave’s handy work. Even if it’s just for a casual visit, make Back Yaaad Guitars one of your “must see” shops in Nagoya.