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  #1  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:53 AM
blindeman blindeman is offline
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Default Best Vintage Yamaha's..?

So, I've been watching eBay like I'm sure most of you do. Looking for deals on solid top vintage acoustics. Perhaps not as easy to find as they once were. But, I've been thinking about my old Yammie and I miss having it around. Which got me to thinking, I wonder which Yamaha models are the "best" at representing the brand and are not too rare to find on the market today and won't cost me an arm and a leg? I realize that everyone puts their own value on what an "arm and a leg" means. But, I which models are still a good value versus buying a new FG730 or LL -- which I still want. But, one thing at a time. What are the values in the vintage Yamaha brand?

Any ideas? I tend to like the aesthetics of the models with solid top models with white neck/headstock binding, like the current FG730.

I'm not looking for advice on why I should look at a comparably priced Seagull, or fill-in-the-blank brand. What I'm linterested in is knowing what models you think are worth considering that represent a nice, higher-end, solid-top vintage Yamaha.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2010, 02:41 PM
barrangatan barrangatan is offline
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Since there aren't that many solid top old Yamaha models, so your options a a bit limited. Just off the top of my head there are the FG-365S and FG-375S, and FG-500 and FG-580 (plus I'm sure a few other non-US-import models). However, these are not popular models that come by often on eBay (esp. the latter two), and when they do come up, they almost always go for more money than a new FG730 or even a LL. So unless you are set on a solid top model, and is hot after a vintage Yamaha, you are definitely going to get more bang for your buck if you pick up a new FG730S.

And funny you should mention Seagull. My first 'real' guitar was a Seagull mini jumbo and it was a wonderful guitar esp. for the money. I would personally choose a new Seagull over a new Yamaha for the lightly applied satin finish, cedar top, wider neck and the better tone. But your mileage may vary. Definitely try them both before deciding.

P.S. I have a '72 FG-500 and it's a fantastic guitar. It's the best FGs I have played among the 20 or so I have had or had tried out. Also look for any 70's or 80's L series models also. I would stay away from any FG-180 on eBay as they tend to get way overpriced. Way.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:20 PM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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Having owned an old FG-365S with the three piece back, I can say that it was a great playing and very good sounding guitar. I got it in a trade for an Epiphone SG G400 I had that I wasn't bonding with and then traded the Yamaha for a Fender Blues Jr. amp that I still have. If I hadn't been on an electric kick trying out new guitars and amps, I likely would have kept that around as an awesome beater guitar, but it was very good trade bait for what I was looking for, so it's gone now.....
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:43 PM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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Mmmmmm, collecting old Yamaha's. As said; the intro of solid top was the Fg500. Most of the 70's solid tops were marked with an "S" designation. Some not. My thing was not the solid top. Heck, some of the old all Lam's really shine like the Fg335 and the FG335II. What I always looked for was Mahogany Necks. In the 70's/80's Nato was on the cheapies, Mahogany on the better guitars.
Speaking of necks.Every Yamaha neck I have ever seen includingmy FG1500(I am sure there are others) with the exception of 1 has been a 3 piece neck. The head and heel are glued on. The exception is the LA18. It has a neck made from a solid block. Man, if you like sustain look up the LA18/28 series. They are built specifically to carry on the tone. You can accompany yourself!
The best "value" I think are the 80's Tai L guitars. They usually have finish issues that keep them cheap for what you get. The issue is finish build up around the heel and in the case of the LA series the Bridge plates tend to lift because of finish under the plate. The odd balls are the Japan only market. I have a N500 for sale, heck for the right dough anything is for sale even my LA18. the N500 is Cheap for what it is. Find a Martin with a Ezo spruce top!
Here is the handiest tool for your quest;
http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararc...itarchive2.asp
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:51 PM
guitarmanrlk guitarmanrlk is offline
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I just finished playing my FG-75 Yammie. It is an all laminate guitar, but if you heard it you wouldn't know that it wasn't a solid top guitar. I don't know how the Japanese did it, but my guitar sounds awesome. You can get one for about $120 or less on Evilbay.
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2010, 04:16 PM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmanrlk View Post
I just finished playing my FG-75 Yammie. It is an all laminate guitar, but if you heard it you wouldn't know that it wasn't a solid top guitar. I don't know how the Japanese did it, but my guitar sounds awesome. You can get one for about $120 or less on Evilbay.
I think the 75's are from Indonesia. They do play great!
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:21 PM
blindeman blindeman is offline
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I know, I had a 75. Gave it to my nephew. Why, I dunno. Actually, he's going to college for music. He already takes voice, saxophone, and now guitar. So, I guess it went to a good cause. But, now I'm jonsein' for another Yammie. Don't need one. Just want one
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:11 PM
barrangatan barrangatan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindeman View Post
Don't need one. Just want one
Haha.. welcome to the club my friend. You're in good company here. Old yamahas are wonderful guitar, and many of the best ones I've played aren't solid tops either so definitely have fun checking them out. Also, I"d recommend looking into the older Alvarez guitars (esp. those with the Alvarez script in the head stock as oppose to the logo) and Suzuki (Kiso or Nagoya Suzuki). All are wonderful little gems waiting to be discovered.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:35 PM
Weird Snake Joe Weird Snake Joe is offline
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The CJ 838's are getting harder and more expensive to procure from where I'm looking. One was recently posted on Craigslist in NYC with a case for less than 4 Bennies...no wonder I never had a shot at it. Strangely, there's one on eBay now for over double, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was the same one.

Would it be a sin if I said I thought the 818 > the 838? I know the 838 will win in looks, but the things that a Yamaha lammy can do...yeesh.
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2010, 07:46 PM
owlshead owlshead is offline
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Still have my old FG from 1982...
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  #11  
Old 03-29-2010, 07:57 PM
blindeman blindeman is offline
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Awesome advice, all. Yahama Junkie, that is some great info!

And, I am also a big Alvarez fan. Love the older models of that brand as well.

I may go pawn shopping tomorrow to see what I can find... Fun stuff.
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Current guitars:

Alvarez PD361 (every day player)
Alvarez AD410 (beach guitar)
Taylor 210 (traded for the PD361 above)
Yamaha FG-75 (gave to my nephew; not sure why)
Sigma by Martin (sold; first guitar!)
Martin HD-35 (some day...)
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:05 PM
DreadFred DreadFred is offline
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Been playing a Yamaha from '72 that has been lying dormant for 30 years...sounds OK by me...
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  #13  
Old 03-29-2010, 08:54 PM
sneaky sneaky is offline
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I own 30 old Yamaha Dynamics from the early `50s to the mid `60 when they went out of production...all solid wood and the least I`ve paid for some was $10.00...not a typo...and the most I paid was about $150.00. Recent info on Japanese sites point to Suzuki ot Tenryu as the builders since Yamaha did not have their own factory until the mid `60s...when the FGs were introduced and the Dynamics made their exit. Some guys over here string their with steels, I tried em but find they sound better with nylons, personal choice. These are still great deals since so many people overseas are focused on laminated red labels while the solid wood Dynamics get very little attention. I know they exist abroad since Yamaha did have the #15 which was an export model as were the #30, 50 and 70s. Thing with the Dynamics...ya gotta like at necks...they don`t have the flat wide necks seen on classicals...they are much fatter and rounder, I love em, as you may have deduced by how many I own, they fit my hands real nice.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, then I`ll let my pics speak...





they came in several models and colors...







listed as Ezo tops and maple backs and sides...all solid...






Last edited by sneaky; 03-29-2010 at 09:01 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2010, 09:03 PM
sneaky sneaky is offline
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the Suzukis have been discovered...by me...I have a few of them, some high ends some not, but they all sound great to my ears.


my 1950 Kiso-Suzuki...under $250.00...all solid wood...









my 1948 Suzuki....







Last edited by sneaky; 03-29-2010 at 09:08 PM.
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  #15  
Old 03-30-2010, 04:15 AM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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I love that Suzuki archtop!
I deliberately do not look at old Alvarez, Takamine and old Ibanez stuff! To hard on my wallet!
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