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  #1  
Old 02-01-2012, 10:27 PM
bigD77 bigD77 is offline
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Default Vintage Yamaha Help

After recently adding a 1980 Yamaha jumbo to my collection, I've been bitten by the vintage Yamaha bug (i read about this disease in other threads).

Im looking to add a smaller bodied older yamaha to the collection, however, when i search I primarily get threads and pages about FG180's.

Any insight into which models I should be keeping an eye out for would be very helpful...and those who own, please chime in with your thoughts of yours.

As a specific side note, I did run across a FG152, that I can find very little info about.

Any and all help would be much appreciated!

-Shawn
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2012, 03:26 AM
naolslager naolslager is offline
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My favorite (older) Yamaha is the SJ-400S. It is the solid-top version of the SJ-180. Both are approximately a 000-size guitar with a 1.75" nut, etc. While the SJ-180s are readily available via Craig's List and eBay, the SJ-400S is somewhat difficult to find. An SJ-180 can be bought for less than $150 typically. The SJ-400S (S = Solid Top) usually go for $400-500.

One more cool option is the FG-331. This is the predecessor to the SJ-180. The 331 has the truss rod adjustment at the headstock and some ornamentation running down the middle of the back at the seam. The 331s are usually less than $200.

Google search "yamaha archive" and this will help you determine dates of manufacture, material, etc. All of the above were made between approximately 1977-1985.

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:34 AM
thedarkestnight thedarkestnight is offline
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My dad gave me his CJ-818 and I think it sounds great. I played a FG-410 that was one of the best sounding Yamaha's I have ever played. I think the FG-180 is a little over hyped these days. There are many great Yamaha's out there with out the red label.

Last edited by thedarkestnight; 02-02-2012 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:10 AM
Weird Snake Joe Weird Snake Joe is offline
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The "S" in "SJ" isn't for "solid," but "small," as in "small jumbo." The SJ-180 is all lammie, and a pretty darn good one, too. Probably one of the last "true" FG150-like Yamaha made, with the mahogany neck and back and sides pairing. A Taiwanese model to boot, IIRC. All bargain if you can find one that didn't get a lot of mileage or suffer from the neck issue.

The FGs weren't all dreads, though they started becoming that way some point in the late 70's/early 80's. There are some models that are in between the full-body (think FG-300) to 000-like shape are deceptively small for that moniker. The FG-180, FG-335 come to mind as examples...
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:38 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Here's a timeline of many (not all) early models:



If you want to know more, insert the model number into this identifier page: http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararc...hive2.asp?t=ac
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:42 AM
naolslager naolslager is offline
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actually the "S" in SJ-180 is for semi-jumbo.

The suffix "S" in SJ-400S is for solid top. The SJ-180 is all-laminate.

There is also the aforementioned "CJ" which is for country jumbo.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:44 AM
bigD77 bigD77 is offline
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Default Any Personal favorites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by naolslager View Post
actually the "S" in SJ-180 is for semi-jumbo.

The suffix "S" in SJ-400S is for solid top. The SJ-180 is all-laminate.

There is also the aforementioned "CJ" which is for country jumbo.

I'd love to find a SJ-400s, but as mentioned, theyre super hard to find! It would be the perfect compliment to my CJ-838s.

The FG331's look like theyre the logical option because of decent reviews and relatively low prices.

Im really looking for something with a shorter scale and it looks like even the dreads have that.

Im a bit intrigued by the fg-152...any info on the "Ezo Spruce" top?

Thanks for all the replies so far!
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:49 PM
naolslager naolslager is offline
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There's an FG-331 on eBay right now.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:07 PM
pg60 pg60 is offline
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I bought an FG-336SB brand-new in 1979. Makes me feel awful old to hear that described as 'vintage' but it is what it is. Not a red-sticker model but a very sweet guitar that kept me happy for 25 years until I found this forum ;-)
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:43 PM
kjcole kjcole is offline
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Steveyam,

Where does the green label FG-360 fit into your chart? Early 70's? Yamaha's app lists it as 72-74 (built in Japan) but with rosewood fingerboard and bridge. I've seen more that were ebony fretboard (bound) and ebony bridge. Truss rod as well. All laminate D-28ish dreadnaught. Also, any clue if Yamaha used epoxy in the neck dovetail on these???
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  #11  
Old 02-02-2012, 06:15 PM
bananas bananas is offline
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Ezo spruce...used on all the Yamaha Dynamics I have and seen listed in their old catalogues. All I know is it comes from Hokkaido.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:27 PM
GHS GHS is offline
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I agree the older Yamahas were real good guitars at any price. To find one today that does not need a neck reset could be a problem. This could add quite a bit to the total price ( guitar,fretboard work, finish work, reset), that you would be right in the new L series range or used Martin,Taylor zone. I have two from the seventies that I keep because I had them when I was young, but they are wall art now.
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Last edited by GHS; 02-02-2012 at 06:28 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #13  
Old 02-02-2012, 06:44 PM
xntric xntric is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pg60 View Post
. . . kept me happy for 25 years until I found this forum ;-)
That's me and my 1979 FG-331 . . . still think it's pretty amazing, for what it is.
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2012, 06:50 PM
bananas bananas is offline
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Yeah older Yamahas means the steel string models? I have a bunch of real old Yamaha nylon strings that have no neck problems at all...and mine go back to the early `50s.
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2012, 07:19 PM
naolslager naolslager is offline
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The only older Yamaha I had any issues with was a 12-string. It was still playable but the action was high enough to drive a Yugo under.
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