Yesterday, I tried about 30 guitars in small music shop before finding this baby, which I had initially passed by because looks did not jump out at me.

I wanted strat-type guitar w/ whammy bar, which I've never had. Was hoping to find one cheap but good quality. The music shop was small, had maybe 15 strat-like guitars with whammys including a few Fender American and MIM strats. I tried them all and this was the one that had best intonation, no fret buzz, everything tight & solid. I had never read anything about Yamaha strat clones, so this was a big mystery for me.

There's some kind of very shallow crack on the body around the input jack, and I found a post by another owner of this guitar claiming this is "common" to this model (?) However, I pushed, pulled and prodded, and the body was rock solid around this area, and it seems to be a purely cosmetic defect, as the jack is very solid. The tone knobs are nice and solid, switches feel good, tremolo works good, tuning pegs work great, guitar stays in tune when I'm using tremolo (some kind of Floyd Rose, may or may not be licensed, it's my first tremolo so I cannot compare, except I was able to push and pull to change pitch by over two semitones, and guitar came back into perfect tune.)

I'm guessing this is what's called a floating bridge? I noticed if I tried to palm mute, I'd inadvertently push down on tremolo bridge and change pitch. I found if I did very soft palm mute, this did not happen, so I got to learn some delicacy on this, as I like this technique. On the plus side, I guess I could get add some interest pitch-shift effect using my palm rather than tremolo, which might have a musical application down the road.

I tried another tremolo that had the locking nut or whatever, where you have to unlock nut to tune guitar...that just seemed a hassle for my first tremolo, and fortunately this does not have that, tunes just like any guitar I'm used to playing. So really, it's a very hassle-free tremolo, does not take guitar out of tune, just what I was looking for. (I know consensus is locking nut is an upgrade, but not for me, at least not yet.)

The pickups are Yamaha labelled, matching, so presumably are original. The set up is HSS, so I guess it would be like Fat Strat copy? Five way switch and three knobs - volume, tone & mid-boost. Never had midboost, did not play with it yet, just turned all knobs up all the way when I tried it through amp.

It has a small black switch above the knobs that is a coil-split to turn the humbucker in the bridge position, which is pretty cool added feature. I like that, gives me an added layer of tonal options.

The guitar feels like it has the same build quality as my brother-in-law's American made Strat, just what I was hoping to find. The price came to $270 plus tax with no case, a lot less than a quality American Strat, so I was happy. When I got home, I tried to look up info on this guitar and it was HARD. Nothing on Ebay, not open or closed listings, to tell me if my price was reasonable. I finally found some info, but not on valuation. I get the feeling these are so under the radar, they might be found at pawn shops or second hand music stores or garage sales for less than I paid, but that does not change fact that the guitar was worth every penny I paid and then some, based on flat-out build quality.

I saw two Youtube videos of people playing SE612's from the 80s. I do not see the coil-split switch on those (unless my eyes are just that bad), so maybe the "A" designation at the end of my model -- SE612A -- is a reference to the added coil splitting. From my research (detailed more below) and from serial no., these were made in Japan, not the Taiwan factor that Yamaha also had in operation at the time, from '86-89, but nothing in the serial no tells me which of those years it was built.

Yamaha Front.JPG
Yamaha Back.JPG
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Last edited by krm27 at May 7, 2014,
very nice
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Grats man! I couldn't see the pictures very well, but +1 on that description. I felt like I've made one by hand after reading it!
This model was made in Japan from 1986-1989, not Taiwan as I had initially thought. I've since the following specs on an advertisement for this model guitar. However, not sure mine is same year as that ad, so mine may differ. Here's the specs from the ad:

Body - Basswood
Neck - Maple (satin finish)
Fingerboard - Rosewood 22F (350R)
Scale - 25.5"
Nut - Height-adjustable locking nut
Bridge - RM Pro w/ pitch Rise adjustment
Pickups: Power Focus active Pickups (YLG-S1ZB x2 & YLG-H1ZB x1)
Master Vol., Master Tone, Mid-Boost
5P - pick up selector switch
Electronic Coil Split switch
Chrome Hardware
Four color options (including cream white, which is mine)

Mine does not have a locking nut, but it has some kind of chrome "bar" that all six strings go through between nut & machine heads. But otherwise matches all above specs.

And there's no truss rod access from headstock behind nut... There is a gap in front between end of neck and body that has a hole that might fit some kind of tool, could that be different way to adjust truss rod, or is there just no truss rod and this is a different way to relieve neck? Not an issue now since the intonation is perfect and it has no buzzing, but curious, never seen electric guitar with no truss access behind nut.

Serial No. 5N22166

Bernie Sanders for President!
Last edited by krm27 at May 7, 2014,
It definitely has that cool mid-to-late 80's look.

A friend of mine has an Epiphone made around the same time as your Yamaha, that looks insanely similar. Same color, same pickup configuration, same controls layout... But his Epi has sharkfin inlays and a hockey-stick-style reversed headstock. One day I might take it off his hands.

HNGD, these guitars are awesome!
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It was interesting to read this!

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