c.1980 Yamaha FG-335 II Jumbo Guitar

This is a customer's guitar -- in for a setup and fret level/dress -- but I figured it was interesting enough to post. It's an all-laminate, Taiwanese-made guitar and plays and feels essentially like any typical student Yamaha from the time but the body is a full 16 1/4" wide which makes it closer to a Martin "M" size model's tone (wider bass response) but with the overall feel of a dreadnought. 

Strange bird, indeed!

Also, for an all-laminate guitar (spruce over mahogany) it sounds pretty good, too. Like most laminates, where it fails is in clarity and fullness of tone on the mid and high end. Most laminate guitars tend to have a decent low end but the highs are fairly flat and icey. Still, I wouldn't have any problem bringing this out to gig with as a chord monster for singing with.

Fun back-strip.

While these look like some form of Rotomatic-ish tuner they're of course just plain-Jane, covered open-gear tuners.


David Harrison said...

I bought one of these, second hand, in 1981. It was built in 1979. It was never a great guitar, but easy to play and travelled with me all over the place until some 10 years ago I lent it to a friend as I had a better solid body guitar by then.

About four years ago she was leaving the country and gave it back. Figuring it needed a clean and some fresh strings, I restrung it and played it. I was amazed by the clarity and depth of the sound. I couldn't account for the character that had appeared in the meantime. I had played it a lot, and it was certainly 'played in', but only ever sounded like a mid-level guitar might... but something had happened. Something amazing.

A little research on the net led me to find lots and lots of people with similar experiences. It seems that around this time, many of these FG-335ii models started to open up and reveal a complex sound. It's always had med/light strings, and I have an L R Baggs pick-up in it now, and I couldn't be happier. In fact, I have bought another, for peanuts, that appears never to have left its previous owner's lounge. The second one hasn't been played anything like as much as my old faithful, but there's still an unmistakable blooming in the sound.

It's an open secret that these guitars are cheap, abundant, and uniformly excellent for the price. My absolute top tip. I've recommended them to my students here in London, England for some time and anyone who has managed to pick one up has been thrilled.
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Anonymous said...

I was just able to pick one of these up for about $150 used...probably a 1980 or so. It is AMAZING, beautiful tone. Exactly what you're saying, somehow in the years, it has become something brilliant. The treble strings can be overwhelmed by the bass a bit, and the guitar can mush some when you really bang on it, but my god. What a beautiful sound.