APX500 review by Yamaha

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (101 votes)
Yamaha: APX500

Price paid: £ 245

Purchased from: Dolphin Music

Sound — 9
The sound quality is very impressive impressive for this guitar, considering a) the price b) the thinline body and c) it's an electro-acoustic. Firstly, though its hardly a cheap guitar it was certainly one of the best sounding guitars in its price category that I've tried. The thinline body does result in the guitar being lacking in lower end sounds, though the volume, tone and high end sounds are all very impressive. I'm also impressed by the overall quality and brightness of the sound given its an electro-acoustic, as I've tried many electro-acoustics which were quite poor as a result of focussing too much on being either acoustic or electric. The sound does differ quite significantly when amplified, as you can imagine, but the sound remains bright and full of high end range. I play mainly folk/punk songs acoustically and this song suffices for those. I would like it to offer more in low ends, but obviously the thinline design makes this basically a physical impossibility. Regardless of that, it has a very bright, crisp and distinct sound, not lacking in volume as much as you'd expect for a guitar with a thinline body.

Overall Impression — 9
I own a cheap electric guitar and have to say this has been great as a transition to acoustic playing. I've never been a fan of dreadnaughts and when looking to get an acoustic was initially looking at a Folk sized guitar. As it was I got this one, after being impressed by the practicaly thinline body, which still sounds very good. Its not a 'perfect' match for the types of music I play, but equally it's not very far off. The sound does lack low end, bass but with the electric capability you can create a deeper sound thanks to the onboard EQ and amp. Anyhoo, sound wise its great acoustically and thanks to the body and decent sound when amplified it makes for a great transition guitar from electric to acoustic. If I were to look at replacing it for similar price I'd definately get another, or might eve look into stretching for the more expensive apx700 model. I compared it to several other Folk sized and thinline acoustics, as well as one or two dreadnaughts. I liked the body size which makes it very playable, equally it has some great features (electrics + tuner) to make it more alluring than plain acoustics. So yeah, great guitar, has areas where its not so good, but on the whole I think about the best electro-acoustic in the price range, and certainly a great option for anyone wanting a smaller bodied guitar or wanting to move from electric to acoustic playing. Not perfect, but very good.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I've only had it a little over a week, so I can't give any guarentees as to long life. It looks and feels fine though. I've had other instruments before and this seems at least as durable as they did when I first got them, if not better. Cos of the on board electrics I am a little worried about not knocking it over, but as I haven't done that so far I can't judge how it will react ;) Otherwise, the finish looks like it'll last, the strap + cable input areas look very solid and if I gigged with it - which I hope to - I'd be happy to without a backup.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I've no complaints in regards to the action, although its maybe slightly on the low side, but really, if it is, its only a preferance of mine. The finish is excellant, looks great, not a scratch on it. In fact, generally looks great, very professional looking, well marked frets etc. The fit's very good as well. Nothing's loose, the tuning pegs are fine, the electrics look aliright so far and the lead input is very secure.

Features — 10
Made in Indonesia (not sure about the year). It has 22 frets, of which they're all just about playable thanks to the cuttaway body. Not sure about the fret sizes, but the whole neck is very playable. I have quite short stubby fingers, but have had no problems with fitting my fingers into difficult chords or anything. The body is one of the most notable things about this guitar. It's a thinline, cuttaway accoustic. As a result its very easy to play, quite light and in some ways similar to an electric guitar in its feel. My guitar has a sunburst finish, though I believe there's a wide range of colours available. THe finish is to a good standard, and the whole guitar is finished to a very professional looking degree. Being an electro-acoustic, this guitar comes with some on-board electrics. It has volume and 3 EQ controls. It also has a very handy tuner on board. This is a really useful feature and one which lets you appear to possess perfect pitch when tuning up ;)

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    One of the best electro acoustics ive ever played. highly reccommend if you play rythm guitar or if you just want to learn punk or folk songs. tuning is brilliant. long life.
    Just bought this guitar yesterday without looking at reviews first. Tried MANY different a/e guitars at the store from $3000 models to my range which was $300-600. I was thrilled the one I fell in love with was at the cheap end! I was sure I'd pay more. The sound without amp caught my ear first. It's not as big as the dreadnoughts, but it's lovely just the same. Plugging it in was a another brilliant delight. Couldn't believe I'd found what I wanted in a concert size guitar and at that price range. It's the perfect guitar when the novice has learned & enough to need the leap up. It beats out almost all in it's range and competes with higher end models... not highest, but up there.
    Oh.. one more. After buying the APX500 without reading reviews, I scoured the internet to see if I was total idiot with a horrible ear. Was thrilled to find almost every review I found HIGHLY favorable. Reverse validation??