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Old 10-12-2009, 08:00 AM
TwoMartinMan TwoMartinMan is offline
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Default Yamaha FG-331 from 1979. Wow.

I managed to pick up...for a ridiculous price...a like-new, 1979 Yamaha FG-331. The dimensions are close to a triple 0 with a one piece soft V shape neck, 1 3/4" nut width, w/b/w/b/w binding around the top and back, full gloss finish, and beautiful D-28 style purfling down the back of the body. I'm assuming the top is laminated since the Yamaha website does not say it is solid. (Very little info on the website.)

This is one beautiful guitar. It has a bass projection better than many solid topped dreadnoughts I've played. It really sings....and that's with the stock plastic nut and saddle. I plan to replace those with bone and some bone pins, too. Sustain and note separation are excellent.
This thing has sat in its case in a closet for 30 years and looks like the day it was bought new. I can't get over how great it sounds and plays.
I'll post some photos ASAP.

When some guys say "They don't make 'em like they used to"...I think this is what they must mean.

Anyone out there have or seen one of these FG-331s?...or know any more about them?
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Last edited by TwoMartinMan; 10-12-2009 at 09:24 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2009, 10:24 AM
JLS JLS is offline
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I have three that I'm working on right now. I have one as my favorite personal guitar. Remarkable instruments. They respond really well to a good setup, especially a good fitting bone saddle.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:43 AM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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I got a 1979 FG331 in trade for an Oscar Schmidt Hollow body electric fairly recently. I wanted a guitar I could leave out on a stand all winter for those quick pickup and play situations. Man was I surprised how well mine sounded. I keep looking to see if it is laminate as well even though I know it is! I also love small body guitars and the Yamaha FG331 is a very comfortable guitar to hold. When I measured the nut on mine, I get 1 11/16" but it has a neck profile that seems to work with a narrower nut. (Similar to Martin but a bit more comfortable to me.) I am also very impressed with the Yamaha brand open back tuners. They look very retro cool and hold the strings in tune quite well.

I want to upgrade to bone as well but have to wait awhile before doing that. What I did do to mine on the cheap was used Tim McKnights plan and some of the photos from other members to make a "Soundport" in my Yammie Lammie. It really does make it nicer from the players perspective. This isn't something I would ever do to my Gibsons or Taylor, but the Yamaha was the perfect guitar to try it on and I LOVE it. Matter of fact, I have been keeping the Yamaha in DADGAD lately and giving it a bunch of play time even though my others are still out on stands until it get's too dry. Then the Yamaha will be played even more! They sure do know how to make a laminated guitar sound aweful good! Maybe the 30 years of aging has helped?

Here are some photos.....





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Last edited by lofapco; 10-12-2009 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:54 AM
Rickjes Rickjes is offline
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NICE................I've heard some real good sounding all laminate guitars..as a general rule solid tops sound better..but made right...proper bracing and thin tops on some laminates are very good..indeed...ENJOY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:19 PM
Buck62 Buck62 is offline
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Sweet!!!

Old Yammies are awesome.

They're relatively cheap to buy, and are usually under-rated or dismissed by those who prefer to throw around wads of ca$h for some sort of elusive, perfect tone.

I expect Yamaha Junkie to chime in soon, at 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...




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Old 10-12-2009, 12:56 PM
BULLSPRIG BULLSPRIG is offline
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I have an FG-335 purchased around 1979 and its a great all-purpose acoustic. Meaning, haul it on vacation or strum it around a campfire. What I can't believe is how well it holds its' tune. The tuners are not bad at all!! Only problem I have is it seems to have a very narrow neck and slender fretboard/nut design. I like narrow up to a point, but this guitar is about as sleek and unforgiving as you can get. If I haven't played it in a while, there's about a 1-hour breaking in period before I can play without clashing notes together.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:15 PM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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Buck was right! Here I am! My favorite is a Yamaha Lam.
I haven't scored a 331 ....yet
Welcome to the family!
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:18 PM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamaha Junkie View Post
Buck was right! Here I am! My favorite is a Yamaha Lam.
I haven't scored a 331 ....yet
Welcome to the family!
I figured you would pop in here too.... I think the FG331's are not that easy to find as they were only made for a few years from what I have heard. (1978-1982???)
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:03 PM
TwoMartinMan TwoMartinMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lofapco View Post
.... I think the FG331's are not that easy to find as they were only made for a few years from what I have heard. (1978-1982???)
The Yamaha website says the FG-331 was made from 1977 - 1981.
I was working on the action tonight. Got it down nice and low for fingerstyle playing with no buzz when pick strumming. It can definately use a compensated bone saddle to replace the straight plastic one. Great sound and projection. Photos ASAP.

Someone wrote about a 1 11/16" nut and open back tuners. Mine is definately 1 3/4" nut and closed back tuners.

I'm surprised you don't have one of these yet, Yamaha Junkie!!
A "must have" I think.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:06 PM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lofapco View Post
I figured you would pop in here too.... I think the FG331's are not that easy to find as they were only made for a few years from what I have heard. (1978-1982???)
Oh I have seen them. Just if I scored every model I have spotted I wouldn't have a place to put them.
It was tough I broke up the collecting a bit this summer and got rid of a few I will miss but I am still in the game. Looks like I have a LL35 on the way
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:03 AM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoMartinMan View Post
Someone wrote about a 1 11/16" nut and open back tuners. Mine is definately 1 3/4" nut and closed back tuners.
That is strange as mine is also a 1979 built guitar and has the smaller nut and open back Yamaha tuners... Here are a couple more photos of mine taken by the previous owner. (I do a better job of stringing up my guitars...)







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Old 10-13-2009, 09:10 AM
pickoid_1 pickoid_1 is offline
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Does anyone know how the FG-331 relates to the SJ-180? My first "real" guitar was a Yamaha SJ-180 that I got for Christmas when I was in 6th grade. That would have been... 1980. It's a 000-size guitar, all laminate, made in Taiwan. It looks nearly exactly like the FG-331 pictured in this thread, except the truss rod is accessible through the soundhole (no TRC on the headstock) and there is no backstripe and no binding on the neck heel. The tuners have closed backs but are not sealed. I've had it with me for all these years, and it has a ton of wear. Fret wear, fingerboard divots, nut needs to be replaced, etc. Having said all that, it still plays pretty well - no problems with the neck, and the action is great. The sound is very bright, and louder than might be expected. It works pretty well for fingerpicking (if only the neck were wider...). It's my office guitar, and it's right here under my cubicle desk as I type this. Just wondering where it falls in the hierarchy of Yamahas. It was pretty cheap when it was new... maybe $125 or so. I got to pick it out, and I remember that my choices were the Yamaha and some Hohner dread. I insisted on the Yamaha!
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:15 AM
TwoMartinMan TwoMartinMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pickoid_1 View Post
Does anyone know how the FG-331 relates to the SJ-180? My first "real" guitar was a Yamaha SJ-180 that I got for Christmas when I was in 6th grade. That would have been... 1980.
Funny you should post this. I was in a pawn shop yesterday and they had an SJ-180. I couldn't help but notice it because I thought it might be another FG-331 until I saw the label. The Yamaha website says the SJ-180 was made between 1981 and 1985, and the site refers to it as a "semi-jumbo".. which seems odd in that it measures out to be in the triple 0 size range.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:47 AM
pickoid_1 pickoid_1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoMartinMan View Post
Funny you should post this. I was in a pawn shop yesterday and they had an SJ-180. I couldn't help but notice it because I thought it might be another FG-331 until I saw the label. The Yamaha website says the SJ-180 was made between 1981 and 1985, and the site refers to it as a "semi-jumbo".. which seems odd in that it measures out to be in the triple 0 size range.
Yes, it's definitely close to a 000. The date range you quoted made me do a little more thinking. It turns out I had my math wrong. I would have gotten the guitar for Christmas in 1982, not 1980. I'm not quite as old as I thought I was...
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:46 PM
TwoMartinMan TwoMartinMan is offline
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Default Photos of my FG-331

Here's some photos of my FG-331, showing the closed tuners. I measured again, very carefully, and sure enough, the nut width is 1 3/4" on the money. Can you believe this thing is 30 years old?


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