Vintage Yamaha Acoustic Guitars: A Guide to Features and Top Models-:Complete Guide

Are you a fan of vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars? Check out this comprehensive guide for all of the information you need to compare popular models and find the one that’s perfect for you!

With a variety of specs, like tone woods and pickups, you’ll be able to pick the best Yamaha acoustic guitar for your sound.

The Yamaha Corporation is one of the biggest manufacturers of musical instruments in the world and they have been producing exceptional acoustic guitars since the late 1950s. Yamaha has a great selection of vintage acoustic guitars that are highly sought-after by collectors and guitar enthusiasts alike.

In this guide, we will explore some of the most popular models produced by Yamaha throughout their history, as well as provide an overview of their unique features, distinguishing characteristics, and prices. We hope to provide valuable information for those looking to purchase a vintage Yamaha acoustic guitar for themselves or for a loved one.

Features of Vintage Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

Vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars come in a variety of styles, including classical, dreadnought and jumbo shapes. Each design has its own unique characteristics, sound and playing feel. To find the ideal guitar for your playing style, it’s important to learn about the available models from Yamaha.

Yamaha offers two series of vintage acoustic guitars—the FG and FGX—and each of these series comes with different features designed to enhance the overall sound and performance. One feature that is shared among all vintage Yamaha acoustics is a solid spruce top. Spruce is a classic tonewood that adds brilliance to the tone while naturally compressing louder notes so they don’t overwhelm softer ones.

In addition to spruce tops, many vintage Yamaha FGX acoustic guitars feature an adjustable truss rod at the neck, allowing players to keep their guitar perfectly tuned even after years of use. This feature also helps counter any bowing that might result from string tension changes over time due to humidity levels or frequent adjustments during setup and re-stringing processes. Other features on some acoustic models include a scalloped bracing at the interior for increased resonance and sustain as well as an ebony bridge for optimal tonal clarity across all strings.

The various models in the vintage Yamaha acoustic lineup also offer different body sizes, allowing players to choose between compact concert-style shapes or larger dreadnoughts for traditional strumming applications or extended arpeggio playing techniques. Many of these guitars are also constructed with comforting curves around their body edges and truss rods so they fit comfortably against your chest when you strum or pick up standing positions as desired by most players today.

Materials used

The materials used to make Yamaha acoustic guitars vary greatly, depending on the model and design. The woods used for bodies are typically spruce, maple, mahogany and rosewood, but some models may use rarer or alternative varieties. Other materials in play include ebony and other hardwoods used for the fretboard or bridges. Additionally, some models will use bone or plastic nuts, along with metal tuners.

More modern designs might also incorporate synthetic materials such as graphite reinforced mahogany on the neck and composite wood for the bridge base and some other parts of the guitar body. While these can provide added strength and sustain in their sound, vintage Yamaha guitars were often crafted from traditional woods only – so these are generally preferred for producing a more classic tone.

Construction methods

Yamaha acoustic guitars are available in several constructions that determine their sound. It is important to understand the differences between them in order to select the model that best suits your needs and preferences.

The different construction methods used by Yamaha are:

Semi-Acoustic: This type of guitar creates excellent sound resonance thanks to its hollow body and sides, so it produces a full, rich tone. Semi-acoustic models use a combination of woods for its neck, fretboard, top and back.

Solid Body: Considered the traditional guitar design, solid body guitars feature a solid piece of wood for their body with no hollow section or sides like the semi-acoustic models. Solid body guitars tend to be heavier and produce sustained tones that travel further than the semi-acoustic ones, so they are often preferred by live performers or recording artists.

Acoustic Electric: Acoustic electric models combine elements from acoustic and electric guitars into one hybrid form that adds extra versatility to their tonal range. They have many of the same features as semi-acoustics but also come equipped with microphones and pick-ups, allowing them to be plugged directly into an amplifier system if desired.

Body shapes and sizes

Yamaha has produced acoustic guitars since 1940 and continues to be a leader in production and innovation today. From jumbo to grand auditorium body styles, Yamaha offers a variety of shapes and sizes to suit various playing styles and genres. While the most popular Yamaha guitar models tend to be dreadnought designs, smaller-bodied guitars still possess great sound quality while being comfortably lighter and easier to play.

The two main body shapes of Yamaha acoustic guitars are jumbo and grand auditorium. Jumbo body shape guitars have bigger size soundboardsand offer greater volume without compromising balance or clarity among string frequencies. They are particularly useful for strumming patterns requiring a lot of volume, like folk or country songs, as well as rhythm accompaniment in many genres. Grand Auditorium is a slightly smaller version of the jumbo body shape with its curves reflecting more of the waistline yet staying fuller on the lower bout for excellent projection capacity. It combines both balance between bass and treble strings as well as projection capacity for solo work or soft ensemble playing.

Split into Sub-Categories (Yamaha Models) The majority of Yale’s acoustic model designations begin with either FG/, LL/ or A/ followed by a four-digit number, such as FG820 (jumbo shaped) or LL36 (smaller than jumbo). F denotes folk guitar models that feature rosewood back, sides & neck with solid spruce tops while L denotes “luthite,” satin finished lamulate top thin bodies followed by a number that indicates estimated scale length in millimeters such as GN93, an all-mahogany guitar with 14 frets & scale length of 903mm -the first is generally referred to classic dreadnought style whereas the last 2 are typically referred to grand concert style-. Grand concert guitars have a scaled down body size but longer scale which produces higher tension when tuned up offering brighter tones while still maintaining balanced basses & trebles frequencies without sacrificing clarity -e.g: LL6D ARE series features abalon inserts in fingerboard& bridge giving it excellent attack power . Lastly A series introduce several new tonewood combinations also featuring full rosewood backs & sides along mahogany tops and all solid woods found on many renowned high ends models such like LL8D ARE ,FS830c , FGX83C , A5R , FS9HARE etc…

How to Identify and Authenticate Vintage Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

When seeking out vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars, there are some key features to look for that can help to confirm the authenticity of the instrument. This guide provides a comprehensive list of features to look for when identifying and authenticating vintage Yamaha guitars.

  • Body Shape: The main body shape is one of the most important identifiers of vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars. Notable shapes include the rather bizarre triangular “Yamaha YG”, as well as more traditional shapes like Jumbo and Dreadnought.
  • Woods: Many older Yamahas were constructed using a combination of spruce tops and mahogany or rosewood backs and sides. Rarely, some models used laminate woods and occasionally walnut or koa woods were used on high-end models.
  • Logo: The distinctive logo found on all Yamahas makes them easy to spot and can serve as a telltale sign for authentication. It should come in either black or silver depending on date of production, with an ‘A’ letter inside a mostly circular shape outlined in an avocado green color.
  • Serial Numbers: Before 1977, serial numbers were located at two distinct points – either on the neck joint plate or by looking under the soundhole (just above where it meets the top). From 1977 onwards, numbers began to appear stamped into headstock rear veneer from left to right side; however some Japanese-made models have no marking at all!

Serial number lookup

When trying to find the year of manufacture of a vintage Yamaha acoustic guitar, it is necessary to refer to the serial number. Every Yamaha guitar has a unique serial number that can be used to determine its year of manufacture, model and country of origin. The first letter in the serial number indicates the production plant of origin. For complete accuracy and to ensure that vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars are properly identified, it is advised to seek professional guidance and advice from an experienced luthier or guitar technician who specializes in vintage instruments.

The specific information required for a serial number lookup includes both numbers and alphabetical letters – this unique series provides detailed information on each individual instrument. According to Yamaha Corporation, corresponding numbers appear in different places depending on where the guitar was manufactured. On most cases the series appears “stamped” onto the instrument on either side of an inner panel located under the sound hole or near one of the machine heads, or possibly even behind them; yet for other models it could be found printed somewhere on one side of its body – usually around or adjacent to its neck plate.

Additionally, online tools such as The Guitar Dater Project (GDP) – provided by Fender – may provide useful indications regarding certain guitars’ age and model; however not all current models are included in its database so results may not always be accurate due errors like misprints or unverified data entries.. This can only be ultimately decided by referring personally to your specific model’s images provided across different sources and engaging with experienced practitioners who often will have more comprehensive access when attempting lookups like these.

Whether you’re interested in selling or just curious about your favourite instrument’s background story it can certainly pay off learning about possible resources you can use for finding these answers for yourself directly – perhaps allowing you discover some hidden gems through exploration!

Physical inspection

When looking at vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars, it’s important to inspect the condition of each model in order to ensure that you are getting a good quality and well cared-for item. Here are some elements to look out for:

-Body: Look for any noticeable denting, scratches or other damage. Also check whether there is any acoustic feedback coming from the guitar when it’s played.

-Frets: Inspect both the fretboard and frets for wear or cramping due to age. Additionally, make sure that all strings sit comfortably in their slots with no buzzing against neighbouring frets.

-Fingerboard: Check for fingerboard twisting or warping as this will indicate unfavorable conditions over time and can be an indication of a faulty instrument. The curvature should remain minimal; a bowed fingerboard indicates likely instability when playing.

-Hardware: Inspect all hardware for any worn out parts, rust or corrosion which suggest unfavorable conditions have been exposed to it over time. Tighten up any knobs if necessary and make sure all components move freely without restriction.

-Strings: Replacement strings should be considered if not replaced recently. New strings will give the best performance possible so check what type of string your model requires before making your purchase decision.

Sound and playability

The sound and playability of an acoustic guitar are two of the most important aspects to consider when purchasing a new instrument. Yamaha acoustic guitars offer a range of tonal characteristics from warm mellow tones to bright clear notes. The company’s selection of solid top and laminated top models deliver a range of sonic profiles that combine rich tone, projection, balance, and sustain. Depending on how you plan to use the instrument, Yamaha offers four body styles including grand concert models for fingerstyle playing and dreadnoughts for strumming. No matter what sound you’re looking for, Yamaha offers acoustic guitars with quality components in both high-end and budget-friendly price points.

When selecting an acoustic guitar it is important to take time to find the right model that fits your needs. As you test out different instruments try playing different styles with both hands – approach chords with downstrokes or use alternate picking techniques while strumming single notes with upstrokes. Whether you’re experimenting with open or barre chords or fingerpicking intricate runs it is important that your guitar influences your playing style rather than other way around. Acoustic guitars should be easy and comfortable to play so feel free to adjust string action until the action is set to your liking giving you optimal feel for fretting and bending strings without any buzzing sounds coming from the fret board area.

While testing out instruments consider the volume level between chords as well as fullness of single notes; some guitars may produce a loud sound but lack incisive clarity needed for intricate passages while other models will deliver rich timbre but lack desired projection when played at lower volumes; look for an instrument that provides good all-around balance between power, articulation, response, volume levels and sustain when tested across entire dynamic range. Finally, listen carefully for any dissonance coming through when right hand fingers picking single strings as overtone-rich tones may risk masking projected resonance on certain notes making solo pieces blend together undesirably instead assert their own individuality regardless if they are part of chord arpeggios or melodic solo pieces in fingerpicking style.

Maintenance and Care for Vintage Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

Maintaining and caring for a vintage Yamaha acoustic guitar should be done periodically to ensure the best sound quality, performance and longevity of the instrument. Cleaning the body and strings of any dust or grime, conditioning the wood and using humidifiers are essential to protecting the instrument from damage from environmental fluctuations. Properly caring for a vintage Yamaha acoustic will keep it sounding great for years to come.

A simple dusting with a micro-fiber cloth is often enough to clean off any surface dirt or grime on the body of a vintage Yamaha acoustic. If more thorough cleaning is necessary scouring pads, fine steel wool and steel swab can be used in small sections at a time to remove tough stains without damaging the finish. Special attention should be taken when wiping down plastic parts such as truss rod covers or pickguard surfaces that can be scratched easily.

Strings should also be wiped down with a micro-fiber cloth regularly to keep them free from dirt and residue build up that can impede playability and affect tone. For proprietary synthetic strings, soap may need to added occasionally depending on usage frequency otherwise warm water will suffice during regular cleaning sessions..

Germany wood such as spruce or rosewood used in vintage yamaha acoustic guitars should be conditioned every few months with lemon oil or similar finish rejuvenators that guard against cracking due extreme dry conditions found in some climates. Do not use polish nor other abrasive cleaners as those are too harsh for use against delicate finishes typically found in vintage designs..

It’s important store vintage yamaha acoustics properly protected from extreme temperatures including high humidity and temperature fluctuations found outdoors or even inside some homes during certain seasons. if transportation away from standard storage areas is necessary then cases made specifically for each model serve best in protecting them from theft, extreme weather conditions, moisture on fabric material inside some cases which can slowly damage strings if constant dampness is present, etc.. A 50/50 mix of Humidipak beads placed inside perimeter of case upon finishing playing will help maintain equilibrium levels by absorbing just right amount moisture These packets when weighed regularly serve as good indicator if it’s time to adjust placement thereby making humidifying process less hassle free.

Cleaning and polishing

When it comes to maintaining your vintage Yamaha acoustic guitar, regular cleaning and polishing is essential for preserving its appearance and keeping it in top condition. Using the wrong cleaning products on your vintage instrument can damage the finish, so taking time to research the best ways to clean and polish your Yamaha is critical. Luckily, there are several easy steps you can take to ensure that its wood stays beautiful, looks great, and remains playable for years to come.

Begin by selecting the right supplies like a soft cloth or lint-free cotton cloth, a mild cleaner such as Murphy’s Oil Soap or wax-free citrus cleaner for stubborn marks or deep-set dirt. Always check the ingredients of a product before using it on your guitar. Once you have gathered your supplies:

  1. Wipe off any excess dirt from strings and hardware with the soft cloth;
  2. Apply a small amount of mild cleaner onto another softcloth;
  3. Use gentle circular motions to work the cleaner into wood surfaces;
  4. Remove any traces of soap with a damp (not wet) cloth when done;
  5. Dry thoroughly with another clean dry cloth afterwards;
  6. With some wax-based polishes (check first!), use a lint free cotton buffer pad or cloth in circular motions to buff out any smudges or marks;
  7. End cleaning by wiping off any excess polish residue with another dry cloth into wood grains that go along grain lines rather than across them in order to avoid leaving stress marks on finish surface!

Changing strings

Changing strings on a vintage Yamaha acoustic guitar is an essential part of maintenance. Strings should be replaced as soon as they show signs of wear or when they start to sound dull. The process of string-changing isn’t overly complicated, but it does take some patience and close attention to detail.

First, you need to remove the strings from the guitar, starting with the top (thinnest) string and working down through the bottom (heaviest) string. Put your finger behind each tuner so that you don’t lose any tension when loosening the tuning peg. Turn counterclockwise until the string is completely free of tension, then remove it from around the tuning peg posts and gently lift off from side to side.

Once all strings are removed from the guitar, use a cotton cloth to wipe dust in all crevices and on top frets/fretboard. Carefully clean around pickups/control knobs/jack sockets without getting liquids inside them.

Now your guitar is ready for new strings! Place each new string in between coils of each tuning post hole – one at a time – beginning at lowest pitch uppermost hole first (string inside coil), like stairs going down in height until reaching highest note E6 on low E6 color flagpost lowermost hole last (string outside coil). Tighten tuners evenly while holding down string at 12th fret to stay in tune till completely tightened then do same with other 3 remaining strings up 1-2 full turns after each one hits desired pitch or close enough right away depending upon design and age of instrument as guitars will sometimes require different turn counts based upon inconsistency over years due to changes in parts while aging through time– just like playing cards handle differently over long term usage with temperature changes, so too can guitars!

Don’t forget: Additionally lubricate bridge pins’ exposed threads with good quality lubricant oil before installing them during set up — this pieces has been left out often many times after delivery usually due manufacturers’ lackadaisical rushing during assembly & just generally flippin old school rulebook pages under pressure but remember this vital component for optimal results!

Storage and humidity control

Keeping vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars in their best condition requires proper maintenance and care. With vintage guitars, humidity can be a major contributing factor to possible changes in the guitar’s sound and playability. Regardless of your climate, it is important to store your guitar in a case and use a humidifier if the humidity is too low or too high. A consistent level should be maintained between 40-50% relative humidity. This is a good rule of thumb to keep your vintage Yamaha acoustic guitar sounding great for many years to come.

Store your guitar in its case when not in use, avoiding direct sunlight or excessive temperatures that may lead to warping and transverse shrinkage over time. You can use products such as soundhole humidifiers that add moisture such as Dampit for Guitars, Boveda Packs, or even some battery operated humidifiers as long as they are specifically designed for acoustic guitars. Be sure to follow all instructions for proper setup and installation for these products.

Keep an eye on the environment where you store your guitar; any fluctuation in temperature could cause damage or catastrophic failure of components over time and require repairs from an experienced luthier or technician specializing in vintage instruments and parts.


When it comes to acoustic guitars, Yamaha has long been a leader in the industry. With decades of experience crafting high-quality sound, Yamaha is known for its appreciable sound quality and fine craftsmanship.

With vintage Yamaha guitar models ranging from small folk instruments to larger bodies, there are many variations ideal for any type of player. Vintage models also provide a wide range of customizations and features that can be swapped out or added on to create the perfect guitar.

Whether you’re looking for an affordable 6 string starter guitar or a 12 string with all the bells and whistles, Yamaha has something for everyone who is looking to add a bit of vintage flair to their collection.


What are the best vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars?

Some of the best vintage Yamaha acoustic guitars include the Yamaha FG-180, Yamaha FG-200, Yamaha FG-300, and Yamaha FG-75.

How can I tell how old my Yamaha guitar is?

You can usually determine the age of your Yamaha guitar by looking at the serial number. Yamaha’s serial numbers can usually be found inside the sound hole or on the neck block, and they usually contain a letter followed by a series of numbers.

Are Yamaha acoustic guitars any good?

Yes, Yamaha acoustic guitars are generally considered to be good guitars. Yamaha has a reputation for producing high-quality, reliable instruments at a variety of price points.

Which is best guitar of Yamaha?

The “best” Yamaha guitar depends on your personal preferences and budget. Some popular models include the Yamaha FG800, Yamaha LL16D, and Yamaha A5R.

Do vintage acoustic guitars sound better?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people believe that vintage acoustic guitars have a warmer, more resonant tone than modern guitars, while others prefer the sound of newer instruments.

Should you buy vintage guitars?

Whether or not you should buy a vintage guitar depends on your personal preferences and budget. Vintage guitars can offer a unique playing experience and can also potentially increase in value over time, but they can also come with their own set of challenges and drawbacks.

Do vintage guitars increase in value?

Some vintage guitars can increase in value over time, especially if they are rare or highly sought after. However, this is not always the case, and the value of a vintage guitar can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors.

What should I look for in a vintage acoustic guitar?

When looking for a vintage acoustic guitar, it’s important to consider factors such as the condition of the instrument, its history and provenance, and its overall playability and tone.

Are vintage acoustic guitars worth it?

Whether or not a vintage acoustic guitar is worth it depends on a variety of factors, including the specific guitar in question, its condition, and its price. Vintage guitars can offer a unique playing experience and can also potentially increase in value over time, but they can also come with their own set of challenges and drawbacks.

Do Yamaha guitars hold their value?

Yamaha guitars can hold their value fairly well, especially if they are well-maintained and in good condition. However, the value of a Yamaha guitar will ultimately depend on factors such as the specific model, its age, and its overall condition.

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