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Old 12-05-2011, 04:51 PM
theaxeman theaxeman is offline
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Default Bought A Pair of Vintage Yamahas, An FG-110, and An FG-75

After doing extensive reading here on the forum, I decided to look for some vintage Yamaha guitars to use for slide blues. I wanted one to tune in Open D, and another to tune in Open G.

If you have read any of my other threads, you may have noticed that I have a preference for smaller bodied guitars. I did not know that these older Yamaha guitars were smaller bodies. After doing some research, I discovered that the FG-75 was considered a "folk" guitar, so I started to look for one.

I found and FG-75, and an FG-110 that both are small enough for me to play.

I got the FG-110 first off of Craig's List. I called the seller and asked him to measure across the lower bout, and what he told me was close enough to go try it out.

Here are the specs on the FG-110:

Upper Bout - 10-7/8"
Waist - 9-18"
Lower Bout - 14-7/8"
Depth at tail - 4"
Depth at neck - 3-3/8"
Frets to the body - 14
Body Length - 19-1/2"
Total Length - 39-1/2"

From Yamahas database:
Year(s) Sold: 1967-1974
Original MSRP(US$):$99.50
Top: Spruce
Back / Sides: Agathis
Neck: Nato
Fingerboard: Bubinga
Bridge: Bubinga

EDIT: The FG-110 uses a form of X-bracing.

The serial number on this one wouldn't match the online wizard, so I contacted Yamaha. They said that it was unavailable to them as well, but was likely to have been made in 1970 - 72 range.

It is a Red Label, Nippon Gakki, "Made in Japan" model. I was blown away by it. Tons of volume, sustain, and good rich sound. I was very pleasantly surprised.

I'll post the pictures of the FG-110 here, and will follow with the FG-75 in the second post. The second picture of the label below is really of the mark over the label and off to the side. From my research, I believe that is a Japanese signature of the luthier. If anyone can read Japanese, they can verify that for me.











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Last edited by theaxeman; 12-05-2011 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:16 PM
theaxeman theaxeman is offline
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The second guitar I bought also off Craig's List is an FG-75. It too is a Red Label, Nippon Gakki, Made in Japan guitar.

It took me a week to arrange a time to meet with the seller after confirming the width measurement of the lower bout. I had the same reaction from this guitar. Tons of volume, sustain, and good rich sound.

I couldn't believe that I had found 2 of these guitars that had straight necks, and no need for a reset, with very low action. I might even need to raise it a little to play slide on them.

Here are the specs on the FG-75:

Upper Bout - 11-1/8"
Waist - 9-5/8"
Lower Bout - 14-5/8"
Depth at tail - 4"
Depth at neck - 3-3/4"
Body Length - 19- 1/8"
Total Length - 39-1/8"
14 frets to the body

From Yamaha's database:

Year(s) Sold: 1968-1974
Original MSRP(US$): $109.50
Top: Spruce
Back / Sides: Agathis
Neck: Nato
Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
Bridge: N/A
Notes: Folk Guitar Classic Type

EDIT: The FG-75 uses ladder bracing with longitudinal braces on the sides of the sound hole.

The serial number on this one worked in the Yamaha serial number wizard, and shows it to have been made on January 28th, 1972. It will turn 40 years old next month.

They are both beautiful guitars, and I am very pleased to have found them.

Here are pictures of the FG-75, and one shot at the end of them both together.

I included a shot of the serial number just under the edge of the sound hole, but wondered if it was possible that this one had a signature as well. The little circle in that shot may be a signature in the form of a "chop" rather than a hand written signature. Those with more knowledge can let me know.













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“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ― Aristophanes

Last edited by theaxeman; 12-05-2011 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:28 PM
bobby b bobby b is offline
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Thats a real nice pair. Lucky you!! I have been lookin' locally for one of these but no such luck.

I love some of those old Japanese git's .... I picked up an old (1971) Yamaki "Folk Deluxe" for not too much, and I tell ya, it rivals guitars that are $$thousands more.....seriously amazing.

Enjoy!!!
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:30 PM
bananas bananas is offline
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I`ve seen Yamahas that had signed labels...I think yours may be something written by a previous owner...never seen one that was signed like the one you got is, every one I saw was signed just on the label and they were all higher end models. I`ll ask my wife if she knows what that is, she`s Japanese.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:08 PM
theaxeman theaxeman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby b View Post
Thats a real nice pair. Lucky you!! I have been lookin' locally for one of these but no such luck.

I love some of those old Japanese git's .... I picked up an old (1971) Yamaki "Folk Deluxe" for not too much, and I tell ya, it rivals guitars that are $$thousands more.....seriously amazing.

Enjoy!!!
Thanks! I was a amazed!! They are much more than I expected.

I feel like I was blessed in finding these two with such ease.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bananas
I`ve seen Yamahas that had signed labels...I think yours may be something written by a previous owner...never seen one that was signed like the one you got is, every one I saw was signed just on the label and they were all higher end models. I`ll ask my wife if she knows what that is, she`s Japanese.
Thanks! I would appreciate knowing what it is, if it is anything.
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“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ― Aristophanes
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:41 PM
Bwana Bwana is offline
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I also have a "vintage" FG-110 Red Label, identical to the OP's . I bought it new in Okinawa, in 1970, for $45 case included. It has a serial # 1093389. It has been a closet queen for the past 40 years, has great sound and I am going to spend the $ to have the neck reset.

I have not researched the serial #, but it may give someone else an indication of when their git was produced.

Bwana
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:21 PM
theaxeman theaxeman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bwana View Post
I also have a "vintage" FG-110 Red Label, identical to the OP's . I bought it new in Okinawa, in 1970, for $45 case included. It has a serial # 1093389. It has been a closet queen for the past 40 years, has great sound and I am going to spend the $ to have the neck reset.

I have not researched the serial #, but it may give someone else an indication of when their git was produced.

Bwana
By all means, get that thing fixed and play it again!

The serial number on my FG-110 is # 1139028, so if the sequence holds true, mine was built some time after yours was, which would fit within the Yamaha CSR's time table of 1970 - 72. I understand from research that the serial numbers were used in sequence for every stringed instrument Yamaha made, not just guitars. That would put mine at 45,639 instruments later than yours.
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Luna Americana Classic AMP-100 "Parlor" 2012 Model
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Goya GG-161 1971 Model
“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ― Aristophanes
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:57 AM
JLS JLS is offline
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Default I am going to spend the $ to have the neck reset.

Good fer you! They're worth it.

When I reset them, I convert them to bolt ons.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theaxeman View Post
The second picture of the label below is really of the mark over the label and off to the side. From my research, I believe that is a Japanese signature of the luthier. If anyone can read Japanese, they can verify that for me.
Signature? To me it looks more like someone spilled shoyu into the guitar.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:12 AM
Masao Masao is offline
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Axeman, the 'signature' on your 75 maybe the maker or just a QC guy. Cannot tell without a closer and full look. And that 'signature' looks like what the Japanese call a 'hanko'. In Japan, hand signatures are not considered to be legally binding. Registered hand made stamps (hanko) are legally binding signatures. Hanko's are usually circular or square - mostly red but sometimes black colored. I have my dad's hanko (used for legal stuff).

I have a FG-110 that i bought in Japan back in the 60's. Tonight i will take a look and see if that has a 'hanko' and possibly what it says.

Ken (Jpn American who lived in Japan 18 yrs)
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:56 PM
theaxeman theaxeman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sachi View Post
Signature? To me it looks more like someone spilled shoyu into the guitar.
Very well could be.

I don't think it is a spill though. Much too deliberate a marking.
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Vantage VS-25SCE 1992 Model
Luna Americana Classic AMP-100 "Parlor" 2012 Model
Cort Luce L900P 2011 Model
Goya GG-161 1971 Model
“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ― Aristophanes
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:00 PM
theaxeman theaxeman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
Axeman, the 'signature' on your 75 maybe the maker or just a QC guy. Cannot tell without a closer and full look. And that 'signature' looks like what the Japanese call a 'hanko'. In Japan, hand signatures are not considered to be legally binding. Registered hand made stamps (hanko) are legally binding signatures. Hanko's are usually circular or square - mostly red but sometimes black colored. I have my dad's hanko (used for legal stuff).

I have a FG-110 that i bought in Japan back in the 60's. Tonight i will take a look and see if that has a 'hanko' and possibly what it says.

Ken (Jpn American who lived in Japan 18 yrs)
Thanks so much for the information Ken. I have read books, that talked about these types of signatures, but wasn't aware of what the Japanese called them. I'll try to remember what a "hanko" is from now on.

The "signature" on the 110 still has me puzzled. Not terribly important, but it has my curiosity peaked.

It is a deliberate mark of some kind, I just don't know what, and may never know.
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Vantage VS-25SCE 1992 Model
Luna Americana Classic AMP-100 "Parlor" 2012 Model
Cort Luce L900P 2011 Model
Goya GG-161 1971 Model
“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ― Aristophanes
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:12 PM
Masao Masao is offline
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Sorry for the delay. I looked at my red label FG-110. It has a serial number of 644042 or 644942 (6 digits).

I used a mirror to look inside but found no marks, signatures or 'hanko'. To be honest i was a little surprised to see the 'hanko' on the brace of your FG-75. Because one puts the 'honko' on the label and not on the wood. This is because a 'hanko' on the wood might bleed and make it hard to read (remember a handmade hanko needs to show distinctive marks for authentication). If i had to guess someone put that 'hanko' after they purchased it so they could identify this guitar.

As to the 'mark' on your FG-110, that does not look like a signature to me. That 'mark' does not look like any Japanese hiragana, katakana, romaji or kanji. It sort of looks like a 'T' but it is not good. All Japanese are taught English (6 yrs - Junior Hi to High School) so anyone would have known how to make a proper 'T'. It vaguely looks like the Japanese character for 'person' (hitoh) but again it does not look correct (angle and lengths). If i had to guess someone spilled something but what do i know. I suppose someone who is not Japanese made the 'mark' but again the 'mark' does not make any sense.

Sorry i could not be more of a help.

Ken

Last edited by Masao; 12-06-2011 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:13 PM
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Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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The mark is nothing to do with manufacture. I have seen hundreds of signed Yamaha's. its always at the label and deliberate. Not wild and large like your mark. Maybe signed by someone quitting that day!
If you like the small bodies try a FG150. Same as the 110 pretty much but with much better tuners.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:54 PM
k.crabbe k.crabbe is offline
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Nice guitars Axeman. I love the look of the FG-75. Something about those rounded shoulders.
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