In 1966, Yamaha entered the global guitar market. Since then, Yamaha has been producing numerous models of both electric and acoustic guitars. So, is Yamaha a good guitar brand?
According to guitar experts, Yamaha is considered a top brand for customers with varying budgets. Yamaha produces good sounding, easy to play, and high quality guitars at prices to meet any budget. Through their refined manufacturing process, reliable and durable guitars are produced.
Continue reading to learn more on what makes Yamaha a good guitar brand, if they hold their value, as well as the best Yamaha acoustic and electric guitars for a beginner.
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Is Yamaha a Good Guitar Brand?
Yamaha guitars offer a variety of high quality models with varying price points. The majority being lower in cost yet professionally made. The combination of these two important aspects creates a highly playable guitar and justifies Yamaha as a good guitar brand.
Aspects that make Yamaha a good guitar brand:
- Price Points
- Guitar Availability
Let’s look into each of these aspects of Yamaha that make it a good guitar brand.
1. Yamaha Quality
Because Yamaha makes an extremely wide array of products, their manufacturing has become fine tuned and consistent. There are very minimal manufacturing hiccups that cause bad products to be sent out. Because of this, their guitar manufacturing is one of the best in the world. This is the case even with their more inexpensive guitars.
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All of this manufacturing experience results in consistent guitars no matter where you pick one up. Every Yamaha guitar I have played is always very consistent and has a predictable sound, similar to PRS.
2. Yamaha Price Points
Yamaha price points are one of the biggest signifier of it being a good guitar brand. The quality of their guitars can warrant higher prices without raising suspicion.
In fact, after doing a blind sound test with some guitar friends, they could not tell the difference between my Yamaha FG800 and Taylor 314ce. That is the difference between a $210 acoustic and a $2,000 acoustic. Although, Yamaha continues to keep prices low on most of their models.
In doing so, beginner guitarists who want a quality guitar without having to spend half a paycheck have an easy choice with Yamaha. Many higher-priced brands, who I will not mention, keep prices high so their brand remains “premium”.
This is the case even for guitars that are knowingly sub-par. Yamaha keeps the prices low because of their manufacturing experience and high product turnover. In doing so, their margins are lower per sale but the volume of sold guitars make up for that.
3. Guitar Availability
A common issue that plagues small guitar shops is the inability to carry big brands. This is because some brands require large orders and upfront contracts to carry their products.
Brands like Gibson and Fender are known for playing hardball with small dealers, often leading to small shops not being able to sell their products and missed sales.
Yamaha is not like this despite being a large brand. Yamaha guitars can be found everywhere. From large chain guitar shops like Guitar Center to small locally owned music stores. Any guitar store and any website you walk into / search likely carries Yamaha guitars in any country.
Where Are Yamaha Guitars Made?
Yamaha electric guitars are made in Indonesia and the majority of Yamaha acoustic guitars are manufactured in China and Indonesia. For the premium hand-crafted guitars, these are made in Hamamatsu, Japan.
The more inexpensive Yamaha guitar models are made in Indonesia. These guitars often have a yellow / tan label in the inside of the guitar denoting that they are made in Indonesia.
For the Yamaha guitars made in China, these are more expensive and are made with higher craftmanship than the guitars made in Indonesia. These guitars often have a green label denoting they are made in China.
For Yamaha guitars made in Japan, these are the highest quality and best performing guitars in the Yamaha lineup. The premium and coveted red-label series are made in Japan as well as premium classical guitars. Only handcrafted guitars are made in Japan which have a 26 or 36 in the model number. Some models include: LL-26, LL-36, LLX-26, LLX-36, LJX-26, LJX-36, LS-26, LS-36, LSX-26, and the LSX-36.
Do Yamaha Guitars Hold Their Value?
After buying a new Yamaha guitar, the owner can expect to hold 70-80% of the original value once re-selling. A $300 Yamaha guitar can be re-sold for $225. Yamaha guitars are made of higher quality materials, allowing them to retain more of their value over an extended period of time.
Although, vintage guitar collectors are not necessarily going to be paying high prices for older Yamaha’s like they do with Fender and Gibson. That being said, Yamaha is not an investment guitar.
Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitar for Beginner
The best Yamaha acoustic guitar for a beginner is the Yamaha FG800. At a price of only $220, the FG800 delivers a full sound that can be played right out of the box. The guitar stays in tune and has a low-mid action height with no fret buzz.
Many beginner acoustic guitars have a laminated or plywood top. When a guitar has a laminated or plywood top, it can constrict the vibrations resulting in a diminished sound. The Yamaha FG800 has a solid wood top, allowing the vibrations to truly ring out and deliver a full sound.
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The guitar comes in many different finishes and even a smaller concert body style. Enjoying your guitars appearance goes a long way in sticking with it. If you hate how our guitar looks, you are much less likely to play it off the cusp.
Often the case with inexpensive acoustic guitars is fret buzz. This was not the case with the Yamaha FG800. This aspect surprised me as I was expecting some. The lack of fret buzz certified my position on the Yamaha FG800 being the best Yamaha acoustic guitar for a beginner.
Best Yamaha Electric Guitar for Beginner
The Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012DLX Electric Guitar is the best Yamaha electric guitar for a beginner. This guitar costs $209 and you cannot go wrong with this choice. The build quality on the components are very good, especially for the lower price. The construction and narrower neck make it an easier guitar for beginners to learn on. The frets are smooth and the action is low right out of the box.
With an immediate low action and smooth neck, beginners can rest assured that the playability of this guitar is great right out of the box. Intonation was set well and tuning did not seem to be an issue for the couple months I have been playing this guitar. For this price, you cannot beat the quality.
Are Yamaha Guitars Underrated?
Yamaha guitars are underrated and have been since their inception in the mid-60’s. Specifically, their electric guitars are underrated. Yamaha is one of the least expensive guitar brands where a guitarist can get a high-quality electric guitar at a fraction of the price.
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The Yamaha USA Pacifica series especially are notably underrated. The playability of this guitar combined with the perfect craftmanship / manufacturing make this guitar severely underrated by guitar heads.
It wasn’t until I got one that I realized just how special this guitar is. It competed against my PRS Silver Sky for play time and I had a hard time deciding which was more fun to play. This is a $200 guitar versus a $2000 guitar we are talking about.
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