APX500II review by Yamaha

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (59 votes)
Yamaha: APX500II

Price paid: € 280

Features — 7
The Yamaha APX500II is an entry-level acoustic guitar probably made in Indonesia. Here's some features:

- Top: spruce
- Back: nato (Eastern mahogany)
- Sides: nato
- Neck: nato (very comfortable neck, but the upper fret access isn't the best)
- Fretboard: rosewood with dot inlays and 22 frets
- Bridge: rosewood
- Scale: 634 mm
- Tuners: standard die-cast tuners
- Preamp: Yamaha System 65 with tuner, frequency control and 3 band EQ

Mine has a beautiful vintage white finish. It came with no case or gig bag, just an allen key for truss rod adjustment and two AA batteries for the preamp.

Sound — 8
I've always been an electric guitar player but decided to buy a cheap acoustic to practice with. I play mostly rock, but this guitar would suit any style. It has a rich and full sound but tends to become a lot brighter when plugged in. Some people may not like it, so there's always the preamp EQ. I plug the guitar either directly into my computer through a Focusrite Saffire 6 or into the clean channel of my good old Peavey Bandit 112, and it sounds great through both. I usually add a bit of reverb, delay and sometimes chorus.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
My guitar came with a proper setup straight out the box. The action was very low and there were no fret buzzes or dead notes. It was even tuned! I expected the neck to be somewhat hard to play, but with its low action it's actually easier and smoother than most electrics. The only minor flaw I could find was the tight output jack, but it seems to be slightly better now. The tuners were also a bit loose, but hey, it's a low-end guitar, so I didn't expect Gotoh 21:1 locking tuners or something like that.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This seems like a solid guitar and I'm sure it will withstand years of playing. The finish has almost a plastic feeling and it's similar to the one found in high end Gibson electric guitars, which is a good thing. Everything is well built and the strap buttons are solid, although I always prefer to replace them with DiMarzio ClipLocks (my favourite strap locks, be sure to check them out!). I'm not currently doing acoustic gigs, but I would definitely use this guitar live, maybe even without a backup.

Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing for 7 years, mostly as a rock/metal rhythm guitarist. I bought this guitar to practice with and maybe expand my musical styles and I wasn't disappointed. I've never owned other acoustic guitars so I can't compare it, but overall it's a great instrument for the price and very comfortable to play. If you are looking for a cheap acoustic to start with, practice, or even record and play live, I recommend going for this one. If I could go back in time I would definitely buy it again!

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought an apx500ii a few weeks ago as my first guitar. I knew nothing really about guitars other than what the guy at Guitar Center told me. I immediately started taking lessons, but was having a ton of trouble getting good sound out of it. I had trouble pressing the strings down and getting them to not buzz. I mentioned this to the tech at Guitar Center and he said to bring it in. Turns out the factory setup was way off. The strings were way too high off of the fingerboard. That and with 13's stock, it's no wonder I had trouble. He slotted the area where the strings are held (I don't recall the term) to reduce the angle of attack, and also sanded down the bridge a bit. We also replaced the strings with 11's -- Elixir Nanoweb. All of that made a WORLD of difference in how it plays and sounds, at least for this total noob.
    I bought this guitar a month ago... i fell in loved with this guitar since i played it at the first time...