A3R Review

manufacturer: Yamaha date: 04/25/2013 category: Acoustic Guitars
Yamaha: A3R
Overall this guitar has a very full, balanced, and warm sound.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 9.6 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.7 
 Users rating:
 9.5 
 Votes:
 2 
reviews (2) pictures (3) 1 comment vote for this gear:
overall: 9.4
A3R Reviewed by: mnl2g, on march 29, 2013
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 900

Purchased from: www.musoscorner.com.au

Features: I've had this guitar for about 5 months now; made in China, presumably in 2012. Features (taken from Yamaha.com and edited):

  • Dreadnought with cutaway body
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Solid Rosewood back & sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard - 20 frets
  • Ebony bridge Comes with System 63 SRT electronics, features:
  • Volume control(duh)
  • 3 band EQ
  • Resonance control
  • Built in tuner (the best I've ever used, display is very bright + automatically mutes output - so you don't have to unplug when tuning).
  • Feedback reducer - haven't thoroughly tested this, seem to work okay.
  • Focus/wide toggle - not exactly sure but I think this suppresses some of the overtones produced when you play a note. Makes quite a distinct difference to to the sound.
  • Mic modelling toggle - models one of 3 different mics based on the pickup sound. There's also a blend option to control the ratio of mic:pickup (with mic modelling) in the final sound. It didn't come with any extras aside from a sound-hole cover, which seems to be of decent quality and is a nice plus. I think you'd be very hard pressed to find a solid wood guitar with a similar feature-set in this price range. I can't give it any less than a 10 here. // 10

    Sound: I mainly play rock, progressive-rock (I play a lot of Thrice), folk, blues etc. I mostly finger pick, or play barre chords with a pick. This guitar handles everything I've thrown at it very well. There's oodles of deep, rich lows; a lovely warm, punchy, defined middle; and a crisp top end that projects very well. I've only played with it plugged in a few times, so I can't really quantify how well all the fancy electronics work at the end of the day; my impressions so far are very good. Overall I would say it has a very full, balanced, and warm sound. There's ample detail but I can imagine you would get more fidelity out of something like a high-end Taylor or Martin. It came with very light strings that I immediately replaced with some light/medium (0.012-0.056) gauge elixirs, it would probably sound a little brighter with lower gauge strings. I'll probably put slightly higher gauge strings in next time I change them as I think this'll help clear things up a little... And my fingers are much stronger than they were when I first got it! // 9

    Action, Fit & Finish: I was very impressed at the workmanship on this guitar. It's not an ornate work of art, but it's a very solid, well made, attractive guitar. The detailing is understated, but near flawless. At first I wasn't very taken by the pick-guard, which seemed a little out of place, but I've since warmed to it; it looks much better in real life than in photos and adds character. The action was set quite low, and I have noticed some very slight clanging of the lowest (tonally) strings when I'm strumming a low Chord VERY hard. I may get the action raised very slightly in future, but I may not. If you prefer a higher action, factor in the cost/effort of getting the action raised before buying one of these. The only things that weren't perfect about the factory setup (apart from the subjective action height) were things like the tuners being slightly uneven in terms of the amount of force needed to turn them - minor stuff that is easily remedied. Two things that may be an issue for some people are the sound-jack and general weight. If you're planning on playing this guitar with a strap, you may want to look elsewhere. It's heavy, and the audio-jack is integrated into the strap button on the rear of the guitar. Meaning you won't be able to install a custom strap lock. // 9

    Reliability & Durability: I must've played my A3R at least 200+ hours since I've got it, and It's held up very well so far. There are a few tiny scratches in the finish on back from friends playing it while wearing belts, but that's hardly the guitar's fault. This is a solidly built guitar and although I intend to look after it (as its sound improves with age), I think it's sturdy enough to withstand hard use. The ebony fret-board is a real boon here, it seems pretty much impervious to wear, which is more than I can say for my previous guitar which had a rosewood fret-board. // 10

    Overall Impression: I've been playing guitar for roughly a year(so I can't play a huge variety of styles, or particularly well); but this guitar has proven very capable of encompassing everything within my ability. I really love this thing. To me it's like the Nissan GTR of guitars, it's an under-priced over-performer. It's very balanced and versatile. I've played so many of my friends guitars since (some Matons and Taylors that cost significantly more), and while they aren't without their merits - they can do some things better - they've never left me feeling jealous. If it were lost/stolen I'd go through the whole process of finding the right guitar again and I'm confident I'd come to the same conclusion; you can't get a more capable, all-round acoustic guitar for less than a grand. // 9

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    overall: 10
    A3R Reviewed by: mymartind35, on april 25, 2013
    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Price paid: $ 900

    Purchased from: Arkansas Musicworks

    Features: I got my guitar directly from the manufacturer. I was the 1st person to play it. It was made in China (so what!). It has 20 frets and a cutaway that will let you reach them all. This is a new neck from Yamaha. It's called an open pore neck (no finish) and it has been crafted without sharp edges to make playing much easier. It has a AAA spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. The neck is mahogany and so is the binding. The neck has an ebony fretboard bound with rosewood and an ebony bridge. The top has been done in a Vintage Sunburst. It has the S.R.T. preamp system. For more info: http://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/musical-instruments/guitars-basses/el-ac-guitars/a-series_guitars/electric/ It has stock Yamaha tuners that work perfectly. The guitar comes with a case and Yamaha feedback eliminator. A hex wrench is also provided for neck adjustment. // 10

    Sound: This is the best sounding acoustic I've played for under $2000.00. I have a Martin D-35 and it plays as well as it. It is loud and I mean LOUD! But it's well balanced and very responsive to a pick OR your fingers. I'm using a Trace Acoustic TA 200S acoustic amp with it and the onboard feedback eliminator works better than any guitar I own. It's also handier than walking over to the amp and turning the the notch filter. It has the SRT preamp and it has a bunch of sounds. Go to the link provided above and it will explain it. Acoustically the tone is great. I played next to a man with a HD-28 and I know he was surprised to hear a guitar that cost 1/4 what his did, be just as loud without playing any harder. As a matter of fact I had lights on mine and he had mediums on his. // 10

    Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came straight from the factory with Yamaha coated strings and it was setup perfectly. My luthier works where I bought the guitar and it needed no setup. Plugged into my Trace Elliot, this guitar sounds great. It's not colored too much by the preamp. It sounds like it does unplugged. The top is perfect and is a very tight grain. The rosewood back is bookmatched and it is beautiful. There was not a single flaw in it. The wood is a deep rosewood and it's a really nice cut of wood. I've owned several laminate guitars and you sure can tell the difference in guitars that aren't. // 10

    Reliability & Durability: This guitar is the 1st Yamaha guitar made for an American customer. Every square inch of this guitar is well made. I will use it without a backup, but I'm going to buy the concert-sized AC3R series also. I truly believe this guitar will last for years. The first thing that struck me was it uses 2-AA batteries instead of a 9 volt. That will save a lot of money. I played for a few years on the road with a band and used just 1 guitar and it's not 1/2 the guitar the Yamaha has turned out to be. For the money, I truly believe you can't buy a better guitar for three times the price. // 10

    Overall Impression: I play several types of music from Gospel, Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Rock, etc. I've been playing guitar for 35 years and I started with Yamaha and I'm back to stay. I sold a guitar that cost twice what this one did, just to buy it. It's 3 times the guitar of the one I sold. I played an A3R while waiting to pick up one of my other guitars. For 3 weeks it drove me crazy until I went back and played it again. My memory didn't deceive me. It played just like I remembered. The one I bought sounded even better, which I didn't think was possible. I liked it so much I ordered the AC3R, the Concert size of the same guitar. Please play one of these before you spend over 2 grand on a guitar that won't sound half as good. // 10

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