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  #1  
Old 12-20-2010, 02:34 AM
LeftyHunter LeftyHunter is offline
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Cool Yamaha FG-335 Dreadnought Owners Thread

I know alot of you own em even if you own more expensive guitars so i thought id give us FG335 yammy owners a place to discuss these guitars made from 1977-1981.

I wanna know if and what upgrades you've made to it such as maybe adding a bridge truss, shaving down the bridge & saddle, and stock saddle and/or upgrades.

Would love to get this discussion started by saying i welcome all advice & opinions.

Also i'm shure many have seen this article about breathing new life into a FG-335 but here it is for those whom haven't.


Quote:
Originally Posted by luthiers opinion
THIS REVIEW IS NOT ON THE F-335 ACOUSTIC GUITAR. IT'S ON THE MUCH OLDER (AND PLENTIFUL) USED FG-335

I'm gonna let you in in a little secret.... On Epinions, you typically read unbiased reviews on products from people who are simply consumers. Well, I am not simply a consumer, nor am I a seller of Yamaha products. I am an experienced guitar repairman. This gives me (and now you) a different perspective on the Yamaha FG-335. My epinion is that the 335 has a wonderful "hidden" secret. This secret is that the FG-335s can usually be bought dirt cheap (especially if they don't play well due to a bellied or warped top, or neglect) and then, with a few simple proceedures, be modified into a KILLER acoustic guitar. Not many other guitars on the used market have this ability, which seems to be undeniably consistent in the older FG-335s.

I have personally owned at least twenty of these guitars in my career as a pro guitar tech, and I have also worked on hundreds of customer's 335s, so I am quite familiar with them. What I, and several other Luthiers I know find SO amazing about the FG-335 is the consistency of quality (while the f-335s have a more desirable solid top, these instruments are considered "entry level"). The old 77-81 FG-335 are the PERFECT guitar to be given a second life that's often much better than it's first. What I mean by this is, the playability can be MUCH improved once the guitar has been played for several years, THEN, do what I've listed below, and what you'll typically get is an astonishingly great instrument.

So, what I typically do to make FG-335s play great (and I know several other Luthiers who like to do this exact same mod) is install a bridge truss after shaving down the bridge and saddle, This flattens any warp on the guitar's soundboard and allows for nice low action while the truss contributes support of the thinned bridge. I also compensate the saddle which usually yeilds excellent intonation due to the extraordinary saddle compensation angle on these guitars. I also cut the nut slots to the correct depth, and I often cut string ramps into the bridge to maintain decent string break angle over the saddle. This helps the guitar to be louder. Once the bridge truss is installed, adjusted, and the top has relaxed enough for the top to flatten, I then adjust the neck for 0 relief (or slight relief if it buzzes too much). Sometimes I do a fret leveling and dressing as well, depending on the fret and neck condition.

All this sounds complicated, but it really is about 2 hours of work if you know exactly what you're doing. The repair cost is about $30. for the person doing it, and about $80-100. if you can find a repairman that knows this mod and can do it without wasting time. An independent repairmen who understands this repair will typically be less epxensive than bringing it to a repair facility to have the work done, but if it's done correctly, the guitar will be priceless to you, and should last another 25 years before needing help again.

Anyway, what you typically end up with is a rock-solid guitar that has great tone, excellent intonation, just a tad of fret slap (growl) from lower action, and TONS of mojo. It'll be a guitar you just can't put down.

Occasionally a FG-335 comes into my shop with a totally ineffective truss rod, a badly warped neck, just plain bad neck angle, or some other catastrophic issue. These guitars are usually better off being turned into a wall hanger at Applebys.

It is also important to know that if the guitar's bridge is separating from the top or the soundboard is badly warped behind the bridge... both of these issues will be TOTALLY solved by the installation of the bridge truss, therefore, this IS what you want to look for in the candidate FG-335 guitar you'll be doing this mod to (because it will play so poorly, it will be dirt cheap to purchase). Typically a good candidate 335 will either be a decent player to begin with or once was a great guitar. This is what makes it worthy of this modification. Some of the best modded 335s I've ever seen look totally beat from being played to death, but they're absolute KILLER instruments.

The odd thing is how consistently you can do this mod with 335's. No other manufacturer I can think of allows a formula like this to work so often and so predictably.

Please bring on the post !




LH =)
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2010, 05:51 AM
Kitchen Guitars's Avatar
Kitchen Guitars Kitchen Guitars is offline
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I have one FG335 and had 2. The old Mahogany neck really adds to the old woody tone. Never moded one though
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:48 AM
LeftyHunter LeftyHunter is offline
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thx for posting Kitchen Guitars,

lol i forgot to add i havent owned a guitar in 10 years but just bought a left-handed 1979 FG-335 w/case both in great shape for 150.

i took some pics but they were so bad i refuse to post.


now to try and tweak my camera and give her another shot
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:57 AM
cssraad cssraad is offline
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Default 335 mods

Hi all,

I bought a FG335 a few months ago. It had a bellied top which made the action quite high. I installed the JLD bridge truss which did a good job of flattening the top behind the bridge but it only made a small difference in front of the bridge. The action was also improved slightly by installing the truss..

Next I shaved down the saddle and adjusted the neck relief so it was dead straight. The action is now about 3mm at the 12th fret which is pretty good I think. I could proably get it down a little more by shaving the bridge but I don't really think I could do this properly so I'll leave it as is. I also plan to change the plastic saddle for a bone one and replace the plastic bridge pins with eboby. It already sounds great but I'm sure it'll improve even more once I'm finished.

I haven't experimented with the bridge truss tension to improve tone. It's wound pretty tight as it is to flatten the top and I'm not sure hown much more I could tighten it without doing damage!

Anyway, it'dbe great to hear your thoughts on any of this. I hope this particular thread takes off as these really are fantastic guitars.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:43 AM
pablojones pablojones is offline
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Bump! I'm about to do some mods to my fg335. I love this thing!
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2012, 07:51 AM
leatherguy leatherguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pablojones View Post
Bump! I'm about to do some mods to my fg335. I love this thing!
If you would, please...school me on the FG335. It seems to be a crowd favorite.
One of the better sounding older all laminates or what?

Thanks.
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2012, 11:12 AM
JLS JLS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cssraad View Post
I haven't experimented with the bridge truss tension to improve tone. It's wound pretty tight as it is to flatten the top and I'm not sure hown much more I could tighten it without doing damage!
JLDs do not sound good, when they are cranked like that. I never use them to take out a belly, only for tonal improvement, and longterm stability; Yamahas seem to react very well to them, when they're used in this manner.

Like most Yamahas, your FG335 will need a neck reset at some point, if it doesn't already--when you mention taking the saddle down, that makes me think this might be so. I've done many, many resets on these older Yamahas, and they are well worth the $ to have this done. I always convert them to bolt-ons, as well.

I don't currently own an FG335, though I had one for several years-- this may change if things go the way I want, on an ebay auction...
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:24 PM
Legolas1971 Legolas1971 is offline
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I had one about a year ago. I did some mods to it but it really
needed a neck reset and wasn't willing to do it. So, I sold it. But
it's a very cool guitar and probably worth investing money into it....

It's supposed to be the "copy" of the Martin D-35 but sounds nothing
like it......
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2012, 06:33 AM
cssraad cssraad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legolas1971 View Post
I had one about a year ago. I did some mods to it but it really
needed a neck reset and wasn't willing to do it. So, I sold it. But
it's a very cool guitar and probably worth investing money into it....

It's supposed to be the "copy" of the Martin D-35 but sounds nothing
like it......
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLS View Post
JLDs do not sound good, when they are cranked like that. I never use them to take out a belly, only for tonal improvement, and longterm stability; Yamahas seem to react very well to them, when they're used in this manner.

Like most Yamahas, your FG335 will need a neck reset at some point, if it doesn't already--when you mention taking the saddle down, that makes me think this might be so. I've done many, many resets on these older Yamahas, and they are well worth the $ to have this done. I always convert them to bolt-ons, as well.

I don't currently own an FG335, though I had one for several years-- this may change if things go the way I want, on an ebay auction...

It's great to finally see some action on this thread!

JLS - when I originally installed the bridge truss I thought the guitar just had bellying behind the bridge but the whole of the top from the soundhole back was arched slightly (I didn't know too much about it all at the time - I'm not too much better now!). I suspect one of the braces has come unglued inside! I haven't had the time or inclination to look into this further. The guitar still plays well. I've backed off the truss tension and it's made no appreciable difference to the arching of the top but I don't think a neck reset is necessary yet! The problem of high action was solved by reducing the saddle height and doing some ramping on the bridge to maintain a decent string break angle over the saddle. As I say it plays well and I'm very happy with it.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:14 AM
delb0y delb0y is offline
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I love my FG335! No mods. Haven't ever even adjusted the truss rod. theguitar was a birthday present back in 81. The frets are a little worn now but it's still eminently playable and it sounds great, really nice and mellow. I currently have it tuned to an open D chord and am working up a version of Little Martha (amongst other things). Once done I'll record it and post it up here. Meanwhile there's old videos of me playing Vestapol and Pallet On Your Floor on the Yamaha at the link below along with a bit of flatpicking (a first stab at crosspicking) which gives an indication of what she sounds like.

Kind regards,
Derek
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My acoustics:
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  • Manouche 'Moreno' Modele Jazz
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  • Tanglewood TW-40
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:37 AM
Claytone Claytone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delb0y View Post
I love my FG335! No mods. Haven't ever even adjusted the truss rod. theguitar was a birthday present back in 81. The frets are a little worn now but it's still eminently playable and it sounds great, really nice and mellow. I currently have it tuned to an open D chord and am working up a version of Little Martha (amongst other things). Once done I'll record it and post it up here. Meanwhile there's old videos of me playing Vestapol and Pallet On Your Floor on the Yamaha at the link below along with a bit of flatpicking (a first stab at crosspicking) which gives an indication of what she sounds like.

Kind regards,
Derek
O.K. Derek... Tell the truth now... Did Alfie teach you to play the guitar???
Great sounding guitar... Now if Alfie could sing...
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  #12  
Old 07-08-2012, 01:18 PM
Saturated Saturated is offline
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Hey all.. I'm fairly new here. Cool to see a few threads here on the FG-335.. Ive had mine since the late 70s and its the only acoustic that I've never sold or traded. Right now the only acoustics I have are a Baby Taylor and the FG. Mine has never had anything major done to it but I have adjusted the neck a few times. For what ever reason I just love the way it plays and sounds and try as I might I have yet to really find another lasting player. My grandmother bought it for me one day, being afraid I would only play electric (must have really scared her! lol), so maybe that connection is part of it.

Ive always wondered if there were people out there still playing these guitars.. anybody have recordings done with them? I would love to hear what other ppl can get out of one..
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:37 PM
DennisC DennisC is offline
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I was just given an old FG335 beater; without strings and a hole in the back. Looked pretty rough. I was going to use it as a cadaver to learn more about repair. Thought I'd string it with some almost new EJ-19s I had in the drawer out of curiosity. Wow! I was totally unprepared for the sound from this old veteran!

Last edited by DennisC; 07-15-2012 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:48 PM
Gasworker Gasworker is offline
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I have a 100% original FG335. I have the original bill of sale. It is in perfect condition with the exception of a couple of small dings. I used to pull the bridge pins with pliers and have the marks to show for it. It has a little bit of a belly and I had it looked at by the local luthier who adjusted the truss rod and sanded the saddle. It is very playable and I still play it every day in the summer. I put it away for the winter in solid case with a humidifier. Thanks for this thread.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:35 PM
djeffcoat djeffcoat is offline
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I bought my lefty FG-335L new in 1980 for $220. I replaced the tuners with Grover Rotomatics, installed a Martin Thinline pup, changed to a bone nut and saddle and added ivory bridge pins. It sounded great when I bought it and sounds even better today. It has just a couple of scuff marks on it, otherwise it looks new.

Don
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