Purchased from: private sale
Features — 9
- Made in Japan 1988/89
- Superstrat shape
- American Basswood Neck:
- Maple Fretboard Pickups: passive Focus-SH1T (Ceramic)x2, Focus-SS1 (AlnicoV)x1 Bridge: Rockin 'Magic II ProTuner tremolo, one good feature of this tremolo is you can just fed the strings through it and not have to cut the balls off them
- Gotoh Frets: 24 Jumbo
- mine is black finish
- one volume knob
- one tone knob
- 5-way pick up selector switch
- split coil switch
Sound — 8
Mainly it's a shred guitar, metal guitar, since the neck is nice C shape and has 24 frets it is great for Greg Howe type jazz fusion rock and also any sort of metal, hard rock, Chris Poland Megadeath type metal riffs solos.
I use a a Carvin XV212 amp, its an old ols tube amp which does have a nice warm tube sound and the pick ups on the Yamaha sounded great through it, nice sustain on the notes. Strings 10-52. You can split the humbuckers with a coil split switch.
On the bridge it is fairly rich sound easy to get pinch harmonics to screaq, the neck humbucker gives a great warm tone. The single coil sound is typical of a normal strat.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guy I got it from was a guitar repairer who had re fretted & the action is the lowest I have seen on a guitar next to my Jackson PC3. Pickups adjusted close to the strings on the bridge, not so much on the neck and middle pick ups they were backed away from the strings.
The tremolo for me is a little stiffer than what i like and the volume knob is a little stiff. I can't for some reason pull the arm out of the tremolo but I will work on that later. Pickup selector works fine, no noise from it it has one volume one tones know and a split coil switch.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guy who had it has gigged extensively with it and recorded it. It is a workhorse guitar built to play and built to last. All the hardware seems fine. As I say the tremolo response is a little stiff for me but it works fine. I could have 2 springs on the block instead of 3 I suppose. I would use it without a back up with the 10-52 but if I went to 9's I would have a back up. The finish is pretty good, some scuff marks on the back is all that is noticeable. The strap locks are typical strap locks which I imagine replaced the originals by the previous owner.
Overall Impression — 8
I play shred, metal and it is great for sweeping arpeggios and crunchy riffs. It really is quite effortless to play. I never thopug I would say it but it shreds easier than my Fender HM Strat because the neck is thinner. Depending on who you read the Yamahas in the '80s/'90s were designed by the same team as Ibanez so it is similar I guess. I have been playing 20 plus years and have Jacksons, Charvels, Godins, Peaveys, Fenders, ESP's, B.C. Richs and put this along my Jackson PC3 and Charvel 650XL and Fender HM Strat.
I would definitely track down another one of these is stolen or lost the best value for money I have found. People diss on Yamaha because they are not in your face all the time but with a roster of players like Chris Poland, Mike Ster, Blues Saraceno, Ty Tabor Craig Goldy, and other I don't know why Yamaha didn't keep it reputation for quality instruments.
I love most of it, the neck is a pleasure to play, fat sound the 2 humbucker config the shape and the contours of an arch top similar to my LTD MH250. Tremolo is good, I have read other people rave about them, it stays in tune with whammy abusse but as I said a little stiff for me.