RGS121 review by Yamaha

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (10 votes)
Yamaha: RGS121
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Price paid: £ 70

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 7
Overall it sounds good but there's room for improvement. The pickups are powerful but a bit dark for my tastes. I play blues and rock but not metal. They will easily cope with hard rock\metal riffs but there's a lack of definition when soloing. I'm going to swap out the humbuckers for some Wilkinsons. This should brighten the sound and make it more articulate.

Overall Impression — 9
This is aimed at the metal market but with a pickup swap could cope with most things. It's very Strat like in design and a good platform for upgrades. I'd buy one again but only a secondhand 'S' model. Later versions are made of basswood, agathis etc. Most of the bolt on hardware, pickups etc, could be upgraded to make a very nice guitar because the neck and body are fundamently sound. It's a budget bargain which appears to have been overlooked by the guitar buying community, probably because: (a) it's Yamaha and (b) no magazine bothered to review it.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Has survied 10 years with a few scratches and dents but in good working order. Could be played live and is robust enough to risk without a backup (I wouldn't though). Strap buttons could be a bit larger. The finish was built to last and there's not a lot of fret wear.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The construction is excellent for a guitar that orginally cost 200. Frets are immaculate. Setup up correctly, the trem works well, with only minor tuning problems. Given the Strat like dimensions a Wilkinson trem should just drop in, I might do that too one day. It's finished in metallic blue and still looks good after 10 years of use. If there's one fault its the pickup cavities are cut slightly out of alinement with the neck so the strings could be better placed of the pickup pole pieces but this doesn't seem to affect the amplified sound. Played acousticallly this guitar is very resonant and responsive, more so than my old Strat. As stated earlier it's very easy to play, the very flat radius makes a difference.

Features — 9
Made in Taiwan, Yamaha's serial number site says this is 10 years old. Despite the name (RGX121S) and appearance this is more of a HSH Strat than Ibanez. The dimensions are very close to my 1962 Strat. The neck is similar but slightly slimmer and very easy to play. The trem, almost identical in size to my Strat, is a budget version with a alloy block but works ok. The 'S' models have an Alder body and again the weight is only just lighter than a Strat, probably because of the deeper cutaways and body chamfering. The tuners are Standard Yamaha's but work well enough if strung correctly.

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