Old Yamaha Acoustics

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lowplaces, Jul 21, 2018.


  1. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Edit: the FG 335 was offered from 1977 until 1981, not 79 through 81 as I stated in my op below



    Just finished restringing and setting up my '79 Yamaha FG 335.

    D'Addario EJ18 Heavy Gauge .014-.059, tuned a half step below standard.

    An old buddy of mine I met at a local Folk Festival stops by every once in awhile trying to flip old acoustic instruments. He had brought several Yamahas by the house but as is common with the older ones they need a neck reset.

    He brought this one over one day and I noticed that the top wasn't raised behind the bridge as is common with older Yamaha flat tops. He strummed it a little bit and it sounded quite nice. What jumped out was how loud it was as well. There were some friends of mine here and as I was checking it out I went out to the front porch to get away from all the chatter, and I was very blown away by how it sounded. My neighbor was one of them in the living room and a couple of minutes later he came out on the porch and said he could hear that guitar awful well inside the house. He wanted to buy it but I said no, this one's mine !

    Seems they were made from 1979 until 1981. If you ever see one, and it does not need a neck reset, this model is well worth checking out. I've had several offers to buy it but it's a keeper.

    0721181555.jpg 0721181556.jpg 0721180350c.jpg 0721181620a.jpg 0721181552.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  2. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    I have an early 70's FG580, made for sale in Japan. Needed a reset, but I'm too cheap, so it got a JLD Bridge Doctor that took me 15 minutes to install. Now it plays great, sounds huge, and eats new Martins for breakfast...
     
    lowplaces likes this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    JLD Bridge Doctor...interesting product.
    How does it correct for a neck that needs a reset:
    JLD Bridge Doctor | stewmac.com
     
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  4. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    That bridge doctor is some sort of truss assembly ?

    I think I saw them talking about that on the acoustic guitar for him a few years back.
     
    dan1952 likes this.
  5. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Yeah that's it.
    What happens is the bridge is tilted when the top of the guitar raises up behind the bridge from the string tension and the neck side of the bridge sinks a bit.

    That device corrects that issue and eliminates the need for a neck reset.

    There are other reasons you would need a neck reset but that corrects the reason due to the bridge.
     
    74hc likes this.
  6. FG Yamahas are a lot of guys' first box guitar, they've sold versions of them for years, and are generally pretty serviceable axes. The eerie thing about acoustics is every so often you get one that just has that magic blend of the right pieces of wood, built on the right day, etc. You could line up 10 consecutively serial numbered Yamahas or Martins or Taylors or Alvarez-Yairis (the Yairis are the greatest overlooked box guitars out there) and it would go like this:

    5 or 6 of the would sound good . . . .

    1 or 2, not so much . . .

    . . . . and the 1 or 2 that are left would be obviously louder, better sounding, etc.

    And it's really surprising in a way because good builders use carefully dried wood, even great guitars start out on the CNC, they're very consistent in their build. It's down to the magic of wood.

    I worked in a store and we had a $200 FG hanging next to a $2500 D41 Martin, and any time somebody was trying out acoustics, we'd yank the Yamaha out of the room if we thought they might be a player to buy the D41: It smoked it ! 5 years later when the Martin was played in, probably not, but it was sure no contest when they were both still green.
     
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  7. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    I have a friend who has a Martin D-18 and he's kind of arrogant and never compliments anybody else's gear.

    He loves my Yamaha although and keep trying to buy it from me.

    I keep telling him that if he would let me put the same set of strings on his as I have on mine and tune it a half stop low his would probably sound better than mine but he won't listen.
     
  8. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
  9. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Flattens the top, thereby changing the neck angle.
     
  10. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    It flattens the top, thereby changing the neck angle.
     
    lowplaces likes this.
  11. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Right, but the correction is made at the bridge area. By bringing the top back flat the bridge is no longer angled.

    The neck angle in relation to the body is the same as before the top was distorted and the same after the correction.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
    dan1952 likes this.
  12. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    My very first guitar was a Yamaha FG-50. I think I paid $50 for it brand new in 1972. That thing sounded good, was indestructible, and served me quite well as I transitioned from a beginner to an intermediate to a professional musician. Sometimes I kick myself for selling it, as it was the perfect beater instrument that you could leave out in a corner of the living room to grab on a whim.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
    lowplaces likes this.
  13. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    Over time, the string tension twists the wood holding the bridge on. The top wood sinks lower toward the sound hole, and bellies up below the bridge. The main block of the Bridge doctor attaches to the underside of the bridge inside the guitar, and a dowel insterted into the new block, pushes against the tail block of the guitar, counteracting the twist. Seems pretty ingenious, I’ve got a 12 string that could use one, I’ll have to try it out...

    At any rate, it doesn’t directly affect neck angle, it lowers action by correcting the bellied top, and lowering the bridge in relation to the neck. Resetting the neck would be a much more time consuming process to compensate for the problem, the bridge doctor alleviates the actual problem causing most playability issues on old acoustics. Generally speaking, the neck angle didn’t change over time, the problem is the bridge moved in relation to the neck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  14. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Using a straightedge to determine the neck angle, the neck angle changed back to normal. I've been working on guitars for 40 + years. The Bridge Dr. works wonders! Okay, I wouldn't use it on a pre-war Martin, but it sure works on a $500.00 70's Yamaha.
     
    lowplaces likes this.
  15. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Very well explained! Much more likely that the top moves, rather than the neck joint changing.
     
    Nickweissmusic likes this.
  16. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Not saying you're wrong. Once the top has been returned to being flat the neck angle is now correct.

    I suppose I'm just thinking of it in a different way. For example if a neck has too much relief resulting in high action, adjusting the truss rod to the proper relief lowers the strings as a consequence. Even though adjusting relief of a neck is not the way to set action.

    Again, you are correct. The proper neck angle was achieved/returned without actually removing the neck and resetting it.
     
  17. Here's my trusty old Yamaha FG-180-1(Black label)
    I bought it brand new (on time) about 1975.
    I had the Dean Markly pup installed around 82.
    Used it for 20 years performing by either me or my buddy Olen. Great guitar.....loud.
    Yamaha front.jpg Yamaha front.jpg Yamaha back.jpg
     
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  18. 48thStreetCustom

    48thStreetCustom

    Nov 30, 2005
    Colorado
    I've got an FG430 I bought new in 1982. It sounds great. Seems to get better with age. I've written countless songs on it in the past 36 years.

    The new FGs have scalloped bracing so the top resonates more. I was told years ago that the standard bracing is pretty hefty so they don't get damaged while on the boat from Japan. But that might be BS.

    Here's the scalloped bracing on the left.
    bracing_acoustic_charactaristics02_400x338_4623d119af5e50d4193e9c7b71804c0e.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
    lowplaces likes this.
  19. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Looks nice !

    How is the pickup ?
     
    dan1952 likes this.
  20. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    East Bay, N. Ca.
    My wife plays a CJ818SB. The CJ stands for Country Jumbo and it is also pretty loud. These were somewhat budget guitars but after all these years it sounds great. Deep with a nice low mid timbre.
    20180527_135500.jpg
     
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 28, 2021

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