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Old 04-08-2012, 10:54 PM
skatalite skatalite is offline
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Default Yamaha FG talk: Considerable difference between laminated nato, and rosewood?

I love my FG730S, which has laminated rosewood back and sides. I want a Yamaha dread with mahogany-like back and sides for a different sound. I know nato is supposed to be mahogany-like, but I've never been able to play a Yamaha with nato (like the FG700 and FG720S).

Can anyone with experience with both describe the tonal differences between the two? Are the nato-equipped Yamahas more mahogany-ish in terms of tone?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 04-08-2012, 11:32 PM
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Well I have an FG700S and I sure do like it. And I have a Martin D18V so I understand what quality solid hog sounds like.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:11 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Ok, I'm talking vintage FGs now, late 60s early/mid 70s Nippon Gakki era. The FGs have a tone all of there own. They're mostly laminated guitars (obviously), so the sound will always be different - not necessarily better or worse - than a solid one. Saying that, you can still detect the difference between the rosewood ones and the mahogany ones. I suggest you try out an FG-140 that has a laminated mahogany back and sides, it's a kinda D-18 copy in effect. My FG-140 came to me with a high action and a bellied top so I did work on the bridge/saddle to lower them, fitted a JLD bridge doctor, and refretted with large frets, plus bone saddle and nut. The action is now fine and the taughtness in the belly has gone allowing the top to make large excursions when asked to do so with a heavy, bassy chord. The bass from that guitar rattles your chest. These 140s are cheap as chips on Ebay. Need I say any more in that respect. My 300 and 360 models (which frankly are the same model with a few different fittings) sound much more like a rosewood guitar, and I love the sound of both of them as much as my Martin D-35. I really do. Actually, the sound is not that different to the D-35 in character, 'big' and mellow, and again, not particularly better or worse, just different.

I don't think it is so easy to tell the difference between laminated mahogany and laminated rosewood as it is with solid wood as obviously the laminated construction shifts the tonal pallet, diluting those woods' characteristic 'tone signatures'. But in the case of good laminate - and Yamaha seem to have nailed the process all those years ago - personally, in general, wrt to early FGs, I have not found the sound to be lacking compared to solid, just different, but not so easy to distinguish between mahogany and rosewood types for the reasons mentioned.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:47 AM
Fret Buzz Fret Buzz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skatalite View Post
Can anyone with experience with both describe the tonal differences between the two? Are the nato-equipped Yamahas more mahogany-ish in terms of tone?
Do I prefer mahog? Yes. With that said in trying out a bunch of current FG730S: overall brighter trebles with darker basses. Trying out FG700's: tighter basses, leaning defintely more towards "airy trebles." I picked one up a few weeks after a pretty thorough try out of a 2011 D-18. I do not feel slighted by my FG700S. It's a great guitar...and yes different...in the way steveyam compares his D-35 to his Yam rosewood lam.

I love my FG700S also...and I also love the fact that someone like yourself with a Larivee and Martin...and yes steveyam and Taylorgyrl aren't simply hyping their way or thinking their way into opinions about Yamaha guitars...but playing them, experiencing them...appreciating them as different and for me someone who sings and plays songs...gig-worthy options. Personally I actually prefer Yamahas over "better" guitars for use with vocals and recording.

Last edited by Fret Buzz; 04-09-2012 at 05:10 AM.
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  #5  
Old 04-09-2012, 05:06 AM
stardot stardot is offline
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Default Yamaha

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Originally Posted by skatalite View Post
I love my FG730S, which has laminated rosewood back and sides. I want a Yamaha dread with mahogany-like back and sides for a different sound. I know nato is supposed to be mahogany-like, but I've never been able to play a Yamaha with nato (like the FG700 and FG720S).

Can anyone with experience with both describe the tonal differences between the two? Are the nato-equipped Yamahas more mahogany-ish in terms of tone?

Thanks!
Just to be clear, the FG720S is listed as having a mahogany back and sides, the FG700 (1972-1974) Jacaranda. The newer FG700S From 2004 up to now has NATO back and sides. The Original FG700 is one of the anomalies that drive us Yamaha nuts in circles, as it DID 100% for sure have a solid spruce top, but no "S" in the model number designation.

Steveyam is correct in all that he says there, and I'm in agreement. Most of the early FG models were mahogany bodied, and it's hard to go wrong with any of them. I'd look for a 140, 150, 160, or if you can find one, a Nippon Ghakki red label 180. As long as the neck doesn't need reset, you are going to like it. The Taiwan 180 guitars are also very good, including the FG180E (3 piece back).
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  #6  
Old 04-09-2012, 06:07 AM
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If you call all Yamaha's Pasta with Clam sauce. A Mahogany/Nato is one tablespoon of fresh Garlic. Rosewood is two tablespoons of fresh garlic. Both are good, both taste different The "reflectance of the inner wood is subtle but different"
IMO what really made the sound different or "better" in the old Yamaha's was when they used Mahogany necks prior to switching to Nato necks. BUT, I admit the 700 series cannot be beat for the dough.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:14 AM
Fret Buzz Fret Buzz is offline
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitchen Guitars View Post
If you call all Yamaha's Pasta with Clam sauce. A Mahogany/Nato is one tablespoon of fresh Garlic. Rosewood is two tablespoons of fresh garlic. Both are good, both taste different The "reflectance of the inner wood is subtle but different"
IMO what really made the sound different or "better" in the old Yamaha's was when they used Mahogany necks prior to switching to Nato necks. BUT, I admit the 700 series cannot be beat for the dough.
I agree with you....
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:42 AM
Weird Snake Joe Weird Snake Joe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitchen Guitars View Post
IMO what really made the sound different or "better" in the old Yamaha's was when they used Mahogany necks prior to switching to Nato necks. BUT, I admit the 700 series cannot be beat for the dough.
Yeah, and you've been saying this for some time. After hearing it, when coming upon older Yamaha's with the 'hog necks, I actually *heard* what you meant. I don't know what it is...density/weight, trim/finish, neck joint, glue...

Is there a reason why Yamaha doesn't extensively use agathis in their FGs anymore?
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:56 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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It's been said that nato is an alternative to mahogany. I really don't think it is a good alternative. It's ok, that's about all. I got nato on my Yamaha CPX-700/12 and it's nothing to write home about visually or tonally.
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  #10  
Old 04-09-2012, 07:08 AM
stardot stardot is offline
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Default Agathis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weird Snake Joe View Post
Yeah, and you've been saying this for some time. After hearing it, when coming upon older Yamaha's with the 'hog necks, I actually *heard* what you meant. I don't know what it is...density/weight, trim/finish, neck joint, glue...

Is there a reason why Yamaha doesn't extensively use agathis in their FGs anymore?
I'd want to guess that Agathis, while not known as a "great tone wood", is still coming from old growth forest which is increasingly under protection.
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TOO Stinkin' MANY GITS!
'64 Strat
'78 Les Paul
Martin HD-28, 2012-000CNylon
Taylor 310K
Larrivee D-05
3 Pizzecci Dread's
FG-730S
FG-375S
FG-180 (5)
FG-300 (3)
FG-360
FG-350W
APX-20
FG160E
Woodsong K100,SW400
Paul Beard GRE
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  #11  
Old 04-09-2012, 07:13 AM
Fret Buzz Fret Buzz is offline
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyam View Post
It's been said that nato is an alternative to mahogany. I really don't think it is a good alternative. It's ok, that's about all. I got nato on my Yamaha CPX-700/12 and it's nothing to write home about visually or tonally.
CPX vs. FG: different body depths.

In a addition to the opinions stated here, there are a lot of reviews of the FG700S...quite a few of them written by folks with high-end stuff. I would urge skatalite to read through them.

Last edited by Fret Buzz; 04-09-2012 at 07:19 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-09-2012, 08:18 AM
Toby001 Toby001 is offline
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I recently purchased an FG730 to compliment my beloved FG700. I had never thought of it the way you put it that the FG700 might lean more toward a mahogany guitar sound, but I guess it does.

I think - in my case anyway - the FG700 has better note separation and is not as muted (for lack of a better term) as the FG730. The FG700 is definitely brighter which I prefer since I strum with my fingers. In comparing my two guitars, the FG700 has nicer overtones and the bass response, when I dig in, puts a huge smile on my face.

The FG730 is a much prettier guitar and it is rich and warm. I still prefer prefer the FG700 over its brother. YMMV. -Toby
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:55 AM
Lazmo Lazmo is offline
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When I bought my fgx720sca, I played quite a few of that model and also a couple of fgx730sca guitars… along with many other brand/models.

I could hear a difference between the 720 and the 730 for sure, both with solid spruce tops but with lam nato b&s (720) versus lam rosewood b&s (730), subtle but definitely there. The 730 was warmer, not by much, while the 720 was more direct and focussed, but not by much. I had to really listen and carefully play each one the same, back to back, to hear the difference.

The 720 I eventually bought was discounted so much (because Yamaha was having a national sale with their main dealers) that I decided that spending the extra cash to get the 730, for something so subtle… was not worth it. A string change would make more difference.

I love my 720… though I’m sure I’d love a 730 too.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:01 AM
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I had an FG730S a few years ago. It was ok, but didn't warm my heart the way the 700S does. I recently acquired a '71 FG-150. I can't believe what it sounds like for an all-lam guitar. Unbelievable.
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  #15  
Old 04-09-2012, 10:10 AM
Markini Markini is offline
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I believe my 2000 Yamaha Compass is Nato. It sounds like a mahogany guitar. Easy to play, great tone, really records well.

I have 12 acoustic guitars and I have sold or traded in my rosewood acoustics (Martins)
I have 1976 Alvarez I keep for sentimental reasons it is Brazilian Rosewood.

Its a personal preference but I just don't care for the tone of rosewood, I am a mahogany guy through and through. And yes nato sounds very much like mahogany.
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