Purchased from: Craigslist
Features — 9
Long story short, I noticed a guitar in my collection wasn't getting much use so I put it up for sale on Craigslist, and within a few days I received an offer I could not refuse: to trade my 2009 Hagstrom Swede (made in China) for a rare 1984 Yamaha SG1000X (made in Japan). I did some research and verified the SG1000X is indeed a rare guitar. I got in touch with Yamaha Customer Support who stated the guitar was only made for one year (1984), and its distribution was limited to the Kanto Koshinetsu region of Japan. Likewise, I reached out to Ken from K STUDIO (kstudio.co.jp) who told me Yamaha only made 150 SG1000X electric guitars total.
The Yamaha SG1000X features a double cutaway Agathis solid body with a black glossy finish and a belly cut contoured back. It has a Mahogany neck with a 24.75" scale length that is hand-set and glued in. The Rosewood fingerboard has a 13" radius with Mother of Pearl split triangle inlays and 22 medium jumbo frets. The headstock displays the legendary "SG flower pot" inlay in white binding. The "top" of the guitar's body and fretboard are both outlined with a layer of white binding while the headstock has 5-layer binding of alternating white and black, and the 2-ply black and white truss rod cover displays "SG1000X" in gold script. The previous owner swapped out the two original stock Spinex SG1000X humbucker pickups for a set of Lace Sensor - Brent Hinds signature "Hammer Claw" pickups. Controls for the pickups are provided through four black speed knobs with grooves for grip: two push/pull coil splitting volume knobs and two tone knobs, as well as a three position pickup selector toggle switch. The guitar is outfitted with gold plated hardware that includes Yamaha Japan non-locking Schaller style tuners, a locking nut, and a Floyd Rose style locking tremolo bridge. The guitar also came with a tremolo bar, the stock pickup set, and original Yamaha hard shell case.
Sound — 10
This Yamaha SG1000X with Brent Hinds signature "Hammer Claw" pickups suits my high gain, punk rock style perfectly while being quite versatile as well. The "Hammer Claw" pickups yield a bright attack with a velvety midrange crunch and proportionate lows all along with extremely responsive dynamics. The entire spectrum of tones produced by the pickups sounds incredibly clear, while muffling sounds thick and heavy. These pickups are naturally a good fit for any rock or metal genre, and are flexible enough to find their way into just about any style. I have been using the SG1000X with my Fender Mustang 1 v.2 amplifier equipped with an eight inch Fender Special Design speaker, a variety of adjustable reverb and delay settings as well as chorus, flanger, tremolo, touch-wah, vibratone, pitch shifter, phaser, and step filter effects. Fender's Mustang line of modeling amplifiers emulates a number of iconic Fender amplifier models in addition to mimicking a variety of popular non-Fender amplifiers. With the amp connected to a computer while using Fender Fuse software you can see which amplifier each preset is emulating. The non-Fender amplifiers all have familiar looking grills and knobs, but (no logos) that look similar to Marshall, Vox, Orange, Crate, Peavey, Mesa Boogie and Silvertone amplifiers.
After nearly two months' of playing the SG1000X I assure you it is much more than just a high gain hottie. Put in the right hands this guitar can fit into any music style. Overall, the neck pickup has a deep, full, rich and warm sound that is not too overbearing while the bridge pickup is bright, glassy, and crystal clear. According to my subjective ears, a decent Ska tone can be pulled out of both pickups played together through a clean amp. The neck and bridge pickups sound well balanced and complement each other when selecting both pickups played together (3 position toggle switch in the middle position). An authentic surf guitar tone can be dialed in through the bridge pickup played on a clean channel that's saturated and dripping with reverb. With the "Hammer Claw" pickups sounding so clean and crystal clear I'm sure a more than mediocre jazz tone can be drawn out of the neck or both pickups together. Again, the "Hammer Claw" pickups have potential to fit into any style of music. Aside from the feedback that usually occurs when both hands are off the guitar's strings and in close proximity to an amplifier that's cranked up loud enough to piss someone off, the pickups are not noisy at any other setting.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I cannot speak on how well the factory set-up the guitar since I am not the original owner of this thirty three year old guitar. However, prior to our trade the previous owner had the guitar professionally set-up by Steve Lynch at Lynch Guitars in San Mateo, CA with string action that is nice and low to my liking and no noticeable fret buzz. Checking with a straightedge the neck relief appears to be set flat while the bridge height and radius both look and feel properly set. The pickups were professionally adjusted prior to my tinkering with them and have since been set to the height recommendations found on the Lace Sensor website. No manufacturing flaws have been found. The guitar feels extremely solid with everything securely in place and nothing feeling even remotely loose. There are numerous scratches, a few dents, and a hairline fracture in the finish affecting the cosmetic appearance of this thirty three year old - players grade guitar. But, blemishes aside, Yamaha's SG1000X is a fine example of Japan's legendary craftsmanship, and is perhaps the most well-built guitar I have ever laid my hands on.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Due to its dense, solid feel and high quality hardware, I am confident that the Yamaha SG1000X is a reliable guitar capable of enduring routine live performances. The hardware has withstood the last thirty years of playing and in my opinion each component looks like it could do thirty more. Both strap buttons appear to be original and are secured solid to the guitar's body. The finish shows no signs of wear from thirty years of playing aside from the previously mentioned blemishes due to mishandling. And although this looks and feels every bit like a highly dependable guitar, if I found myself preparing for a live performance I would still feel compelled to bring a backup guitar to avoid stopping the show while I replace a broken string.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this guitar is a good match for rockers of any genre or anything set to high gain. With the right pickups installed this guitar can be a good match for any style of your choosing. I have been playing guitar for twenty two years as of the writing of this review with the other guitars currently in my collection being a Gretsch G5120 Electromatic hollowbody, an Epiphone Sheraton II semi-hollowbody, and a three pickup Epiphone Les Paul Custom Black Beauty with a 6-position toggle switch. I had plenty of time to think things over and asked a list of questions prior to our trade and I am more than satisfied with the product I received. If this guitar was ever lost or stolen it's hard to say I would buy another Yamaha SG considering all the other guitars available and tempting me on the market. I am partial Japan craftsmanship and would most likely try to get another guitar that was made in Japan. I am not a fan of the Floyd Rose style bridge which I quickly blocked off. With that said, the only thing I wish the guitar had is a tune-o-matic style bridge and stop bar tailpiece in place of the Floyd Rose. Last, I compared the Yamaha SG1000X to the three other guitars in my collection and rank the SG1000X number one based on its extremely solid, high quality build, the clear sounds produced by its Lace Sensor pickups, and the comfortable feel of its 13" radius neck.