6/24/2017

1981 Yamaha FG-335 Jumbo Flattop Guitar





Just like the Japanese-made FG-180 I worked on recently, this Yamaha is a jumbo-sized guitar in the pattern of a dreadnought with a wider lower bout. It's also essentially the same guitar as the FG-180, save for minor trim differences and its being made in Taiwan instead of Japan. Yamahas are quite consistent in build quality from the late '60s through the early '80s, so I have to admit I don't quite understand the hype about the Japanese models (of the same grade) being substantially superior. All of the Taiwanese models from the time seem to be about on par.

This guitar needed the "usual Yamaha overhaul" -- a fret level/dress, bridge shave, string ramps, and fresh setup. The neck joints on these old Yamahas don't usually drift to the point where the fretboard extension "ski-jumps," but the whole body gets under enough compression that the angle does become too shallow at the bridge and something needs to be done with it. If the guitars were more valuable, they'd warrant a neck reset, but since cost of repair is a huge issue with less-expensive guitars, they get the shave treatment at the bridge. Fortunately, a shave doesn't have to look bad (or work poorly), and Yamaha bridges are thick, anyway, so taking them down a bit isn't the end of the world.


The all-ply construction means that these guitars hold-up very well over the years. I think I read the serial number correctly -- making this a 1981 build -- but I have to admit that Yamaha serials seem to be all over the place.


The truss rod was thankfully operational as it should be, meaning this got a standard set of 54w-12 lights.


The board is rosewood and has a shallow, 14" radius. The neck profile is a medium C/D shape.





Here you can see the original, sprayed-on finish around the edges of the bridge. After bringing the height down, I sanded, polished, and then added a thin layer of finish on the top. Now the saddle has 1/16"+ of adjustment room, it's compensated, and the strings have 30 degrees or so back-angle on the saddle due to the new string ramps. As a result, the guitar is loud and proud.




The tuners are a little worn-out, but still working just fine.



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