Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Yamaha G-250S Classical Guitar


The guitar enthusiast market has just started opening up to old Yamaha guitars during the past couple of years. This would include many of their acoustic and electric guitars produced from the 1960s through at least the early 1980s. I personally started talking up what great electrics they had in the Weddington and SA2000 guitars around ten years ago and have watched their prices on the used market triple since then. They now regularly go for over $1,500 dollars.

Yamaha red label steel strings acoustics (noted by a red label in the soundhole) from the 60s to early 70s, often referred to as a poor man’s Martin, used to sell used for around $100 to $200 just three or four years ago. They’ve been steadily creeping up since then, and several models now go for $400 to $600. I have no doubts that the prices on them will double again in the next couple of years. They’re just terrific sounding guitars and are worth every bit of it and then some.

A couple of their classical guitars produced during the 60s are already going for nearly $2,000. Frankly, I think the price is unjustified for those. I’ve heard a couple of nice ones from that era, but none that would justify that price. It wasn’t until the 70s that Yamaha started producing some extremely good classical guitars that were also inexpensive and are still a real bargain today. The better 70s models had solid spruce tops with laminated rosewood backs and sides. Necks were generally made from nato or mahogany. The lower priced models had solid cedar tops. And any honest builder will tell you that it simply doesn’t matter whether or not the back and sides are laminated. Laminated backs and sides tend to sound the exact same as solid wood and some will argue that they’re stronger and will last longer. D'Aquisto used laminated backs and sides for nearly all his famous archtop jazz guitars because he said it was easier to get good consistancy of woods in laminates. The back and sides of a guitar contribute very little to an acoustic guitar’s tone. (The one exception is cypress which produces a sound with very little mids.) They’re just there to form an anchor for the top and neck and also to produce an air chamber to push the sound out. They don’t really vibrate at all. For instance, Taylor makes a line of guitars: 214, 314, 414 etc. right up to 914, all utilizing spruce tops but with backs and sides from several different kinds of wood from mahogany to rosewood, and they all sound so much alike that most days you would be very hard-pressed to tell the difference between any of them. (I own one.) But as far as laminates go, think of it like this: If you were ever in an old building made of cinder blocks (including the inside walls) that had solid wood floors and thin wood paneling on the walls, was there anything about walking into that room that would make you think that the paneling had cinder blocks behind it? Nope. You would never even know if someone hadn't told you. The sound of cinder block is not reflected in any way. It's the same with laminated guitar backs and sides. It doesn't matter what's on the other side of that laminated wall. And the laminate itself is thicker than most people think. There are a handful of guitar makers in the $5000+ range that use laminated backs and sides by the way for the same reason D'Aquisto did.

It’s all about the tops kids. It’s getting harder and harder to find good spruce from which to make guitar tops nowadays. On sub-$1,500 guitars the spruce tops are often made of wide grain that’s twisted and not terribly musical sounding. Not all spruce is equal. The good stuff is saved for guitars costing twice that. Classical guitars have often used both spruce and cedar for tops along with redwood now and then. Now we’re seeing many steel string guitars made with cedar too. The problem with cedar is that it simply isn’t as strong as spruce and has a tendency to crack over the years. This is especially problematic with the greater tension of steel strings. If you keep a watchful eye on Ebay you’ll quickly notice that most of the guitars listed with cracks have either cedar or koa tops.

Kids today often think they’re getting a bargain and a great guitar because it’s listed as being made with solid woods all around for under $1,500 when in reality many of these guitars have twisted grain spruce tops or weak cedar and koa. A guitar with laminated backs and sides that has a truly great spruce top will sound better and last much longer. Alhambra and Cordoba are making great headway in the new classical guitar marketplace with very good inexpensive guitars made just like this in the $1,000 range, but with mid quality spruce for the tops. We can do even better and for less money.

Yamaha, Yairi, and a handful of other manufactures were already making guitars with rosewood laminated backs and sides along with top grade spruce tops decades ago. They often had plastic saddles and nuts to reduce costs, but those are easily swapped out for bone etc. (I think tusq sounds better myself, and bone is very inconsistent depending on its density.) They’re abundant on the used market and also very inexpensive at this point. Really, really good classical guitars can be had for just a couple of hundred bucks if you know what to shop for.

This particular Yamaha you’re looking at is a 1977 G-250S (I believe the S stands for spruce). This was Yamaha’s second most expensive classical guitar between 1977 and 1981. It sold for $300 new back then (about the equivalent of $1,200 today). The G-255S was their flagship model and sold for $360. As near as I can tell the G-255S was made from the same woods except for a jacaranda bridge whereas the G-250S had a more traditional rosewood bridge. The G-255S models are so hard to find that I’ve only actually seen one. The G-250S models come up on Ebay and Craigslist regularly though and can be had at an astoundingly low price. I rescued this particular one from Craigslist in St. Louis for $100.

Take special note of the medium grained spruce and how silky it is. You just can’t find spruce of that quality anymore on a guitar costing less than $3,000.




























I have a YouTube Video where you can hear how this guitar sounds stereo mic'ed with a pair of Oktava MK-012 mics.


Old Yamahas are a great deal children. Look for models made between 1977 — 81 starting with the letter G such as the G-235S, G-240, G-245S, G-250S, and G-255S. Those all had spruce tops, rosewood backs/sides, nato necks, ebony fretboards and are the cream of the crop in my opinion. They also had the longer concert scale size of 260mm with a 52mm nut width. Also, in 1981 they came out with the G-260S model which is essentially the same as the G-250S. They made those through 1984, and they're also very fine guitars. Here is a YouTube recording of the G-260S. In fact the next few YouTube recordings I'm going to list are all by the same gentleman who apparently collects these old Yamahas. I think you can immediately hear the consistency in how great these guitars sound.

G-260S


G-245S


G-240


G-235


Print advertisement for the G-255S

334 comments:

  1. I have a G-250S Model bougth for 30€ a couple of years ago. I was a lucky dog. Since then i had many other guitars to play, never played one wich was similiar in sound etc. than the G-250.
    You can play "hard" songs (blues/rock), with powercords etc. and get a really fitting output. But also fine/calm songs like , "bridge over t.w." or "unchained melody" and the result is still amazing.
    Especially the bass strings are very loud, but still clear. I would never sell th G-250s
    B.A. from Cologne

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  2. Hello,
    what do you think about late yamaha G series guitar version II perhaps:
    G 240 II ?
    http://www.ebay.de/itm/Konzertgitarre-YAMAHA-G-240-II-Fichte-Kult-80er-klangstark-TOP-/160699866963?pt=Gitarren&hash=item256a755f53

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  3. Yamaha still makes good guitars. They have the same problem as other makers in that it's getting harder and harder to find good spruce for tops, so the top-grade spruce is generally saved for the more expensive guitars. That doesn't mean you can't find a good top on a less expensive model (and therefore a good sounding guitar). It just means you'll have to look through a lot of inexpensive guitars before you find a really good one. I sure wouldn't mail order an inexpensive guitar these days.

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  4. Hello,
    Do yamaha guitar G-260s is a later model guitar yamaha G-250s and-255s G?
    What are the differences?

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  5. They were all manufactured during the 70s, most at the same exact time.

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  6. Yamaha G 255S has cedar solid top.
    Yamaha G 250S has selected spruce solid top?
    Yamaha G 245S has spruce solid top.

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  7. Sorry, not true. Every guitar I listed came with a solid spruce top, inclduing the G 255S. Not only does Yamaha say it has a spruce top in their web archives, but you can find print ads for that guitar on Ebay all the time where it states right on the front page that it comes with a solid spruce top. Do you honestly think they're going to stick their flagship guitar with a cedar top?!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1978-Print-Ad-Yamaha-G-255S-Classic-Acoustic-Guitar-/190564753783?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5e8b6177

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a G-255S for sale on Ebay right now.

      Delete
  8. Source:
    http://www.acousticguitar.com/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=008590

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  9. Like most people, he doesn't know spruce from cedar when he sees it. They look a lot alike. But Yamaha doesn't lie about their guitars. Nowhere do they ever mention any G 255S guitars being made with cedar tops. Common sense ought to tell anyone that they're going to use spruce for their top of the line model.

    Go to the following web page:

    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp

    and paste:

    G255S

    into the "model #1" search box and hit the "Submit" button. It will tell you every piece of wood in that guitar.

    And I've just added a copy of the print ad to the bottom of this post where it also says the G-255s comes with a spruce top.

    Please don't spread misinformation around about these fabulous guitars.

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  10. Ok. you're right (G255S), but guitar Yamaha G255SII has solid cedar top.

    See your link:
    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp

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  11. That's why I said to stick with the 70s models and go no later than 1981. What you have is from the next generation of guitars that started in late 1981 and went through the mid 80s. I can't vouch for those. That doesn't mean you can't find a good one from that era. I'm just saying that you seldom find a bad one from the late 70s.

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  12. I have a G-250S from 1979. I sometimes wish I could get the highs to pop a bit more, but there's a lovely sound to the instrument that exceeds the Yamaha reputation. Can't tell you how often people have turned their noses up to it when they see the label, and never hear the warm sound it makes.

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  13. I would say the 2nd and 3rd strings on mine get a bit rubber-bandish sounding (maybe spongy would be a better term) past the 7th fret, but that's really its only fault. On the rare occassion I find a guitar that has a more even response across the entire fretboard, it seldom has the robust tone of the Yamaha. I played a 1982 Michael Cone OP-52 a couple of weeks back that sounded as good and played even better, but it was nearly $4,000.

    Actually, I think Yamahas have a sound very similar to the higher end Ramirez models. They aren't quite as responsive as a Ramirez, but the tone is there.

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  14. Hi, I've just come across your site and congratulate you - it's a great site and has been been very useful. I have a G-250S that I bought years ago (new) and couldn't work out where it fitted in the Yamaha family. Now I'm clued up! The reason for my comment is that my main guitar is a 1966 Ramirez 1A - Brazillian/Cedar top and while I appreciate where you're coming from on the similarity of tone, I have to tell you that, side by side, they are miles apart. The 1A has far, far more sustain, clarity and volume. You really do get what you pay for! However, for ease of playing, the Yamaha wins - it has a great action and 1A's were built with relatively high actions in those days. I was going to sell the G-250S but thanks to your site I'm now keeping it for practice - it's a great guitar. Regards, Roger.

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  15. A Ramirez may be a tad louder and certainly more responsive. It may even have more sustain. But I would never say "far" more. Both Yamaha and Ramirez shine in their low-end, and do indeed sound very similar in tone. The differences are mainly in playability in my estimation. In fact I would put these old Yamahas head to head with the less expensive Ramirez models like the current R2. I might even rate my G-250S OVER an R2 in certain tonal aspects. But then again, the spruce on my Yamaha has had 35-years to mature.

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  16. Hey, nice info, thanks a lot. I have a G250-S 1982 and it is very good and remarkably stable. I bought it new all those years ago and nowadays I can't find a guitar to touch it for less than $2000.

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  17. Same here, and I've been really looking.

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  18. Though I must admit that I have played a couple of the GC series that weren't bad for around 1800$. But the G260s still wins ( perhaps because it has improved over the forty years I have owned it). I think to really make it worth buying a new guitar I would have to go to a handmade for several thousand and not being a professional it hardly seems like a justifiable expense.

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  19. I have the same guitar, the yamaha G250S that i bought in the year 2002 second hand for $120. Only recently did i start realizing how precious and amazing this guitar is, when i decided to trade it in for a 'better, more high end' guitar.

    I just got back from guitar center and played all sorts of guitars from $200 to $1000 Rodriguez Model D, Cordoba C5, C3, C7, Ovation, Ramirez. The most expensive one i played was the Ramirez Model D for $999.

    This guitar easily out-performed all of them for tonal response, loudness, sensitivity and sustain. Basically, (even though you might not understand this) i felt like this guitar had 'soul' and personality/ history. The other guitars just felt too 'fresh' or bland.

    I played all the classical guitars i could, and in the end, my guitar won! So i saved myself a bunch of money and am totally happy with this guitar.

    Its the G250S, spruce solid top, rosewood sides.

    So thanks for this blog, and helping me appreciate what a treasured guitar I have. Its been treated pretty roughly by me over the years, and knocked around, but it sure is one tough, solid guitar! Apart from some minor dings and scratches, it is perfect.

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  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J3qDVLNako

    Above is a link to an instrumental i performed with this guitar in my home studio. Dynamic mics were used in the recording, so it doesnt do justice to the true beauty of this guitars tone.

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  21. I am a bit confused about the serial number. it is 00814146 made in taiwan.

    Does that mean its a 1980, August, 14, #146 ? Im trying to figure it exactly when it was made. Any help will be appreciated.

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  22. Hi King,

    Yours is from August 14, 1980. I honestly don't know how they figured the production number. I read somewhere that, depending on the year, some months they started production numbers with #500 and others started with #300. Obviously there must have been some years (at certain factories anyway) that started with #1 since yours is such a low number. It appears that none of their guitars were produced in numbers more than 500 in any given month. Since yours was made on August 14th (right in the middle of the month) and numbered 146, it would appear they made around 300 per month of this particular guitar. The guitar was made 1977-81, so there were no more than 14,400 of them ever made, or at least that's a pretty fair guess.

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  23. Hi

    Im a beginner (started this past Jan 2012) and love playing guitar. I just started learning classical with my instructor. My instructor has brought me miles in a short time and I trust his instincts. Not to start an argument here - I hate product name dropping...just passing this along - he told me with my budget (US$500) to look for used Cordoba/Rodriguez's Models C7-C10 etc. He went on to say OR any old Yamaha. I lucked out and found a G250S on CL yesterday and picked it up for $200. It has one very small surface crack (1/4") on the top and other then that it is like new and hardly used. The seller assured me this guitar was rarely used. It is one of the best sounding classical guitars Ive heard (the seller played some beautiful songs when I was purchasing). He promised to take a refund if, after I have it checked out I wasnt satisfied. So far - Im keeping this gem.

    Two questions:

    #1 Serial Number is 70223104 Anyone know the year / place it was manufactured?

    #2 The seller used and recommended using D'Addario EJ31 Classics Rectified Hard Tension strings. What is everyone's input on best strings for this guitar?

    Thanks!

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  24. Hi,

    Yours was finished on May 23, 1977. The G-series were all made in Taiwan back then.

    I've never played a Rodriguez I liked. Cordoba's C10 is a very fine guitar though. I'd put it up against just about anything. It really is that good. The cedar models don't have that deep bass like the Yamaha, but they're better balanced with nice mids. That's always a trade-off with classical guitars though. The spruce tops tend to give you great highs and lows, but the mids are a bit lacking. The cedar gives you a nice even balance across the board, but the lows just don't growl at you or sustain like with a spruce top. The cedars are often more playable, but I just love that deep bass of spruce.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for info! I noticed that immediately - the deep, very clean bass tones. But at the same time the highs are crisp also. What type of strings do you recommend for this guitar?

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  25. I'm partial to Daddario Pro Arte strings. They seem to work well on just about any classical guitar. I like the normal tension set - EJ45. And they're easy to find. Everybody stocks them.

    You can use a tighter gauge too, but I doubt that low tension strings would work very well. You may have noticed that if you try to tune down a half or whole step that the sound turns to mush, so I'm relatively sure this guitar won't tolerate low tension strinsg very well.

    Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Thats actually what both my teacher and the pro shop suggested and I purchased - the AJ45's. Ill throw em on and see how they sound after a few weeks of stretching. :) Thanks again for all your info and advice. Much appreciated. Mike

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  26. Interesting reading and sensible questions and comments (quite rare I'm finding in these blogs). I have a G-231 which oddly sounds better to me than the G-250S of a friend of mine (the tracking down of which was what got me here). The quality of the subsidiary woods is not as high--mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard--and I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the top is laminated, but is nice and bright without being harsh. My only complaint is that the bass lacks what I like to call whoosh, a sense similar to what one experiences around low organ pipes of feeling rather than hearing the sound. Which brings me to my primary reason for writing: do you or do you know people who play with the bracing? Back in the late fifties I had a brand new Martin OO-28 (or "21"? What was then marketed as the "Josh White" model) that a friend and I (he ran an instrument shop in Berkeley, CA and was very good with instruments) planed down the bracing considerably (probably removed about a third of the wood) and the overall sound was greatly improved, especially the bass. He wrote to Martin about it and their answer was, essentially, they then (1959) braced solidly enough to maintain a flat top because people tended to freak when they noticed their top pulling up, but that before WWII they had braced more or less the way we were describing what we had done. They also cautioned us to be prepared to re-glue bridges from time to time...and they were not wrong :) I have a beat up Yamaha G-160 I found in a closet that I experimented on a little, but so far I have been so tentative about it that I have nothing much to report. Any thoughts?

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  27. Yeah, I'm afraid that one has a laminated top. I think laminated tops can sound quite good, but they tend to be fairly quiet guitars. Not something you'd want to play in an unamplified situation, but it might sound fine with a mic.

    I haven't played with the bracing on mine or know anybody who has on their Yamaha either. I did read an article a few months ago about shaving down braces to tune a guitar and to bring out lows or highs etc. What caught my attention was that the guy was doing most of his adjustments with just one or two braces and never touched the others.

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    Replies
    1. This is old news to violin people, but the thickness of the top is what supports the higher notes while the "freedom" of the edges is what allows (by allowing the entire top to move) decent bass; frequencies have length and you tune the top accordingly. So with the braces, one removes little near the center and much near the edges. The trick, as all such things, is knowing the actual dimensions of "little" and "much". Just for S's and G's, we took a Harmony (the original $10 beach party plywood top you can use it as a canoe paddle and not hurt it any Harmony; they DID make better guitars later on) and did the edges of the top with a belt sander taking the thickness down to something less than a millimeter and tapering in from the edges about an inch and a half. It was amazing! An aesthetic disaster from the visual point of view, of course, but acoustically the experiment was a success. The sound remained a bit on the nasty side but it had bass. (To help take care of the awful looks, we Zolatoned the whole thing and another instrument repairer in the neighborhood contributed an inside dorsal back brace from a totally trashed New York Martin--THAT was real--and it was a sensation--"My God, it's a Zolatoned New York Martin!!!!"--at parties for several years after until everybody in town was finally in on the joke.) It's an operation best done with the back off, but my friend was sufficiently adept with dental mirrors and the like......
      You're absolutely right about backs and sides; I'm sure you know the old story about Torres' guitar with the paper-mache back and sides. Yamaha does such a good competent--with all that implies for good and for ill--job at making guitars. My major beef with them is that they're heavy and don't generally balance very well. Even a fairly mediocre Spanish guitar feels better in the hands than any Yamaha but you pays your money and you takes your choice. I do remember playing a really first class Spanish Flamenco guitar which sold in the two grand range back around 1960 (my Martin listed for about $250 at the same time) and that thing just sat in your lap like a pussy cat.
      On another front altogether: recently there was advertised a "Garcia" (Federico Garcia I discovered after a bit of Googling) circa 1970 and beautifully finished in terms of carving and inlays. Never got to actually play it and thankfully someone else bought it (I don't play well enough for anything other than an el cheapo). Ever run across the maker?

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  28. Interesting stuff.

    I've seen a copy of that paper mache guitar before on YT. Oviously it wouldn't last long, but it sounded pretty good.

    I think most of the weight on a Yamaha is coming from those big D-Shaped necks. I don't really care for those too much anyway. I may try to shave mine down to a C one day. But it seems to me that guitars with bigger necks tend to sound deeper, so I'm afraid that taking the neck down may cause me to lose some lows.

    I've heard of Garcias but have never seen or played one in the flesh.

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    Replies
    1. Necks, like backs and sides, shouldn't affect the tone one way or another. Having spent a number of years in the high-end audio business years ago, I can say with some certainty that the ability of the ear to hear what it wants to hear is quite remarkable. It's more true in high end audio, where the type of the music being played and the miking used are more significant than many other alleged variables) even than with musical instruments: that variations in the state of one's strings, in the humidity (and probably even the barometric pressure :)) are far greater than the alleged variations between many guitars.
      I once worked for the man who is the "TH" in the THX audio specification. One day someone brought in a brand new amplifier that was about to become serious competition for the one we were making and somebody right away fed it some pink noise. "TH" happened to walk in the lab door at the moment and announced "It's up a half db at 10K." This is not possible (in theory, the same kind of theory that says bumblebees can't fly), and bets were taken. Output fed through a spectrum revealed that it was indeed a half db up at 10 kilohertz. Those are ears I would trust!
      I tend to stop short on a lot of projects I might undertake by the knowledge that I do not posses the skills to restore the finish to as-new quality. (My old Berkeley friend had that part down pat: he could build a new "Gibson" 5-string neck for a Gibson plectrum banjo that even Gibson had trouble telling from the real thing.)
      The weight is also in the bodies. As with bracing, heavier is easier, and is a great comfort to owners. I remember my first classical guitar, Swedish made Goya circa 1956. It was as heavy as lead and had the thickest finish I have ever seen before or since. I was the laughing stock of the folkies with that piece of furniture with strings :)
      Other than refinishing, my biggest fear with neck shaving would be the possibility of subsequent warping. Everything Yamaha is designed by engineers and that thickness MAY be important to the neck's structural integrity (although I suspect not). Spanish-made guitars tend to have much thinner necks and they seem to stay flat as well as any.

      Delete
  29. The neck density does indeed play a role (however small) in the low end coming from any guitar. Frets Magazine used to have a writer who did clinics back in the 80s, and in part of the show, he would put a wood clamp on the headstock of a guitar to show how it deepened the tone. Of course it's more pronounced on solid body guitars where the body barely vibrates at all and the neck and stings are doing all the work. But get a wood clamp and try it yourself. It's not dramatic, but it's noticable.

    I had a guy once try to tell me that taking the finish off his Strat made the tone better. I just couldn't get it through to him that solid bodies don't vibrate enough to matter. Although I will say that the density of the body seems to effect sustain in the positive. I think that's why Les Pauls sustain so well. They weigh a ton. The solid body serves as an achor for the neck and everything, and I imagine that the the heavier it is, the more able the neck/strings are to vibrate more freely.

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    Replies
    1. I'll give it a try. If there is anything to it, it might well explain Yamaha's choice of neck profiles. I gots plenty of clamps :)

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  30. Good! I don't know that it makes THAT much of a difference, especially on acoustic, but it's one more part of the process.

    I remembered reading a few years ago that Lindy Fralin was talking about experimenting with neck sizes on Telecasters and came to the conclusion that the bigger necks had a meatier sound. I just tried to find that conversation and instead found that he's actually manufacturering a larger neck for teles now. He says:

    "To my ears a bigger neck improves the tone of most guitars. The wound strings get brighter and the plain strings get more solid. After buying several "baseball bat" necks and then shaping them between gigs a little at a time I have come up with a neck shape that is big but comfortable." ~ Lindy Fralin

    But again, this is a solid body guitar where the neck is getting more vibration into the mix. I'm sure a lot of this must depend on the guitar.

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  31. What a great blog! Thanks for all the valuable tips and your wealth of knowledge. I have a 1978 Yamaha G-255S and I'd like to consider switching to a Tusq saddle if appropriate. I've owned several guitars including a cheap one I bought in Spain back in 1973 (though I wish I still had it). Anyway, I'm loving my Yamaha and want to get the best possible sound from it. Do you happen to have the correct measurements I should use for ordering a new Tusq saddle?

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  32. Hi Eric,

    I'm not sure if the G-250S and the G-255S have the exact same saddle measurements or not. They probably do though. Anyway, the following link is for the same one I bought (I think). It measures:

    Thick 3/32", Length 3 5/32", Height 5/16"

    I know the length is correct on mine. Of course you'll have to shave down the bottom of it to get the height you want. Mine's about 1/4" on the bass side and 3/16 on the treble, so you won't have to shave it down much. I don't remember having to shave the thickness but if I did, it wasn't much at all. I can't say for sure if mine is 1/8 or closer to 3/16.

    Anyway, providing your neck hasn't warped or the top dipped down in front of the bridge over the years, the following saddle should get you very close with minimal shaving:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Graphtech-Tusq-Classical-Comp-Low-Saddle-PQ9208-/221021273158?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item3375e4fc46

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  33. I tried the clamp on the neck trick (out by the peg-head). I do believe that it DOES make a difference. Makes no sense and I could be kidding myself...but I don't think so. To be continued...

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  34. Using the search terms "neck mass and bass response in classical guitars" I got to the following URL. A number of interesting posts but probably the most interesting is pasted in below:

    http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewtopic.php?t=66711&p=732023

    There is a tendancy to compartmentalize, alright, and it gives a false picture in this case, I think. Talking about neck vibrations as something separate from the entire instrument is making the neck into a diving board: a flexible member firmly rooted in a massive and stiff base. That's just not the case.

    Try this: hold your guitar up by pinching the neck between your thumb and first finger, right up around the nut or first fret, with your finger damping the strings. Allow the guitar to hang freely. Hold your ear as close as you can to the upper surface of the headstock at the top, and tap on the back surface of the headstock with a finger tip. You should hear a relatively clear, low pitched sound. This is the 'first corpus' or C-1 resonant mode, in which the whole instrument is vibrating like the fundamental of a xylophone bar. There are two stationary 'node lines': one up near the nut, and the other roughly across the wide part of the lower bout. As the headstock and tailblock move 'up', the heel moves 'down'. Often this will be down around C below the low E, or even lower. That's much lower in pitch than any played note, and, since it can't push a lot of air by iteslf, it would not matter to the sound anyway. However, if the neck is stiff, and the headstock light, the pitch of the C-1 mode can be as high as that of the 'main air' resonance, usually somewhere around F#-G on the low E string. When it is that high, it can work with the air resonance to produce sound.

    On most guitars, whether they're built that way or not, the top is slightly domed upward. As the body and neck flex 'downward' the top is on the inside of the bend, being pushed inward along it's length, and the doming makes it puff out (lay a piece of paper on the table top, and push the top and bottom edges toward each other: the middle pops up). This sucks a little air in through the soundhole. Half a cycle later the opposite is happening. If this is going on at a frequency where the air is flowing through the hole anyway, the flow is enhanced. The greater flow through the hole results in a larger pressure change inside the box, and that pushes on the top, which pushes on the neck, so everything works together.

    When this happens the normal 'main air' resonant peak in the output can be split into two, lower peaks, with a 'dip' in between. The 'main air' resonance is not as strong, but it's spread out over a wider effective range of notes. In many cases the bass takes on a particularly 'full' or 'dark' sound. The lower peaks are also less likely to give a 'wolf' note in that range.

    There are, of course, higher order 'bar' type modes of the body and neck together. These are much less active, much harder to predict in terms of pitch, and don't seem to couple with anything to produce sound. They might steal energy from the strings and waste it, but it's hard to say at what frequency, or how much. A stiffer and heavier neck would cut that down, of course.

    I have to wonder if the idea that a stiff and heavy neck is a priori good was just carried over from solid body electric guitars in a lot of folks' minds. We have to remember that we're dealing with an entirely different system here. In our case, the top is the part that's moving the most, and any reasonable excuse for a neck will have, at best, a secondary effect if it's not coupling with something, as the C-1 mode does. On a solid body guitar the neck is the most flexible part, and changes there might well have pretty noticable effects.

    Alan Carruth, Luthier

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  35. I hate DelCamp. Nothing but a bunch of girly-boys. But it's an interesting post I must say and pretty much coinsides with my own thoughts.

    But as you allude to, it's not a very big effect, especially on acoustic. Just something to keep in mind I guess if you plan to shave down a neck one day. It might change the tone a tad.

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  36. Unrelated to our previous discussions: About 10 years ago I ran across a Panasonic steel string acoustic guitar, essentially a knock-off of a Martin Dreadnought in roughly 40 series trim (abalone inlays, etc.). It was in its original hard case complete with bill of sale from the late sixties if memory serves me. Have not since found a mention of Panasonic having marketed anything similar; it was probably a short time quickly abandoned sort of thing. Ring any bells with you?

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  37. I recall a Panasonic guitar amp, and I think they had some kind of cheapo electric guitar with a built-in speaker/amp kind of thing. More like a toy really. I've never heard of them making an acoustic though.

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  38. Maybe I'm rewriting the past:) Seriously, I've been kicking myself ever since that I didn't buy it. They wanted $250(negotiable). I didn't because I don't play steel and the neck was up a bit. It had a truss rod but I wasn't sure whether a rod could bring a neck DOWN or not (anything to offer on that for the public at large?). But it was definitely a thing of beauty, a "let's buy some market share" guitar, no el cheapo.
    On the neck front, I just made another go at a neck straightening with heat on a G-160 and, knock on wood, it seems to have worked. Last time I tried the same technique--two blocks on either end of the fingerboard providing some movement space and a bigmutha clamp--with a hair dryer; this time with a paint stripping gun. Needless to say care MUST exercised with the latter. This one was complicated by the fact that the neck block extension glued to the back had clearly let go (reflecting light off the back revealed a tell tale shaped bump). What appears to have turned out to be a useful "trick" was leaving the strings on but detensioned and pulled out of the way but not so far that the heat wouldn't hit them. Basically when you see the beginnings of string melt it's time to back off. (By the time the finish starts to bubble you're in for trouble. The jury is still out on whether either fix will hold. To be continued.

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  39. I may be wrong, but I think there are some truss rods that are somehow adjustable on both ends, one way pushes up, the other down. Or maybe it was a double truss rod system or something like that. Couldn't begin to tell you who made it though.

    I put a big clamp (not a wood clamp though) on the headstocks of both my Taylor steel and Yamaha nylon last night just for the heck of it. The Taylor seemed to play a tad louder with it on for some reason. The Yamaha sounded about the same. The tone wasn't much different on either of them, but I think the Taylor did have a bit more growl to it. The Yamaha seemed less responsive with the clamp. Things like hammer-ons and pull-offs were tougher to make ring out. The tone sounded the exact same to me on the Yamaha. Maybe that's because the neck is so big to begin with. Who knows....

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  40. So far my neck straightening job seems to be holding. I'm reminded that the guitar as a whole doesn't seem to offer much though: dead G (biggest single issue in classical string response; I've over the years used lots of Savarez wound Gs as a corrective). But overall the tone is harsh and unpleasant. It shows to go you that a builder can pick all the right woods and still lay an egg. At least now I can play it and I won't feel bad when I take it out on the steps to watch the traffic go by (I live in what used to be described as "inner city" Boston until it became trendy, right on a main drag).

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  41. The dead G is pretty much a part of every guitar I've ever played--not just classical. Some are worse than others, but at some point as a young player you just come to grips with the fact that guitars are very unbalanced beasts and don't think about it anymore.

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  42. Nice discussion. I have a g-255s that i bought around 1980. I always assumed that top was cedar because of the darker color, but could it be spruce? It looks like the grain in the brochure and the colors in the videos..
    My serial number is either 1449603 or 1443603, not sure about the 4th digit.
    Do you know wher i could find whatever info is in the serial number?
    i think of selling it once in a while, but it is so beautiful I hate to part with it. Your comments also make me think I should keep it.
    Thanks

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  43. Their serial number page is here:

    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/SerialNumberWizard.asp

    I tried both of your and they came up invalid. I think you're missing two numbers.

    To the best of my knowledge, there were no G-255S models with cedar. In fact, I think the "S" probably stands for spruce.

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  44. I recently broke out my old G240ii, replacing the nut, saddle, and tuners. The sound is lovely. I've started using D'Addario composite classical strings which comes with a cappuchino-colored G string. The composite G string sounds great - no more 'tubby' G string. Some folks complain about the composite G string squeaking but I haven't had a problem. Based largely on this blog, I also just purchased a G245S which has a solid spruce top - it should be delivered tomorrow. The top on the G240ii is laminated spruce but still sounds great. It looks like two layers of thin spruce veneer surrounding a core but I'm not sure what the core's cut from. My guess is that's it's a spruce core since the Yamaha archive says the top is spruce (just not solid spruce). Thanks for the terrific advice!!

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  45. Thanks for the string advice as well. I'm going to try them!

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  46. Thank you for a very informative blog. I recently bought a G-250S (1980) intending to use it as a camping guitar, but once I got strings on it and played it, I realized it's too good for that. (So now I don't have a camping guitar. Oh well.) The bass really surprised me. Oh, and since we're talking strings, I'm a fool for D'Addario composite basses and Titanium trebles. They sound good and seem to last a long time. Thanks again; the blog and comments here are chock-a-block with good information.

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  47. Hi,

    The following will give you info on the construction of any Yamaha. You have to be careful how you enter the model # though. For instance, this will work: G250S but this will not: G-250S or this: G250 S. I know there's probably a hyphen on your guitar's label after the "G", but you can't have any spaces or hyphens in the search box or it won't work.

    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp?t=ac

    Here's the serial number wizard page:

    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/SerialNumberWizard.asp

    And here's a page on how to read your serial number:

    http://faq.yamaha.com/us/en/article/musical-instruments/guitars-basses/ac-guitars/796/4094/

    Thanks for writing! I hope your guitar serves you well.

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  48. What are the main differences between the 245 and the 250? I just got a 245s off eBay and the differences to my 240ii are night and day. In addition to the solid/laminate top, the inside of the 245 is sealed vs unsealed, veneered head stock vs unveneered. The tuners are the same and the decorative cover on the bridge is plain on the 245. It looks like there are two labels inside, one pasted over the other. I wonder if I got a downgraded 250.

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  49. I've never heard of a Yamaha that was shellac'ed inside. Yairi is about the only guitar maker that ever did that. Shine a light inside on the kerfing. If it looks like bare wood, then the inside is probably not sealed and you're just seeing some shiney polish that accidentally got sprayed inside the guitar by its previous owner. I believe all the G235 through G255S models had a veneer on the headstock. The bridges on them all look the same to me too, though I know they were made from different woods. They should all have that cover piece trimmed in white. Here's a G245S on YT. The guy holds the guitar up to the camera about ten seconds into it, and you can see the bridge looks the exact same as my G250S.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTFB0WnaUeQ

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  50. After looking at one or two other g245s's posted on eBay, I see that a veneered head stock is normal. The g240ii does not have a veneered head stock, at least mine doesn't. Regarding the finish on the inside, look at the g255s ad you've posted above, it cites 'an interior finish to minimize moisture absorption'. It looks like Yamaha finished the insides of the 245 and up in the original run. My 240ii is unfinished inside.

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  51. Hmm...maybe I'm wrong, but the inside of my G-250S doesn't appear to be finished. You can see a little of the inside in the photo I posted of the soundhole. Mine is from 1977, the first production year. It could be that the inside finish is just so old that's it's dulled to the point of not being recognizable anymore, but I don't think so. The struts and kerfling just look like bare wood to me. I'm guessing that only the G-255S had the inside finish applied. I've never noticed it on any others. I really don't think they have it.

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  52. My 245s is from a year ending in '8' (1978?) according to the serial number, perhaps the body on my g245s started as a g255s (explaining the double label)? There's definitely a finish on the interior wood. It's less obvious on the lighter woods but in the right light (difficult through the sound hole), the braces et al reflect light the same way as the label and the back.

    The only other difference, aside from the headstock, is that the decorative strip on my bridge is plain, the decorative strip on the g255s has some mosaic figure on it. I'm not totally certain but the fretboard wood on the 245 looks the same as the 240ii - indian rosewood. The 250 and up used ebony according to the yamaha archive.

    I checked out the video, my 245 looks identical as the one there, as much as one can tell in a low resolution youtube video.

    I quoted the ad wrong, it actually says 'an internal finish to eliminate moisture absorption'.

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  53. You never know; maybe it did start out as a 255. Unfortunately for you, a double labled Yamaha doesn't bring back the same return on your investment as a double stamped 1955 lincoln penny. :-)

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  54. Or one of those stamps with the upside down airplane.

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  55. Have you played any of the Grand Concert models, which were (and I think still are) handmade in Japan? My G260 has been such a nice guitar that I was thinking that a Grand Concert model might be a good option for stepping up. But I haven't heard much about them. Have you?

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  56. No such luck my friend. I think it even says Taiwan on the label in very small lettering if you look real close with a magnifying glass. They ceratinly weren't hand-made, and they had laminated backs and sides. Nice spruce top though. They were made in the 80s and sold for around 4 or 5 hundred. They're basically the same as the 70s G-255S. I don't think anything changed at all really. It's a fine guitar though.

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  57. But they still make the GC ( they still make the 21, the 31 and the 41) series and they are definitely hand made in Japan. The ones from the 80s were the GC-5 maybe different. They are definitely solid back and sides and the 41 retails for 1700$ here in Canada. The GC71 cost nearly 12000$ and has to be special ordered, and the history has it that Segovia had two of them. I talked to a guy at 12th Fret in Toronto who said that they special ordered one for a client and it was one of the finest guitars he had ever seen (and he had just about everything).

    By luck I managed to play a GC31C (the C standing for the Cedar top) this weekend. It was very nice. I prefer spruce but the cedar was nice. The back and sides were, I believe, honduras rosewood and were definitely solid. The owner had purchased it in Japan and claimed to have met the luthier who had made it for Yamaha.

    Here is a Canadian link to the new ones. http://www.classicrocks.ca/guitars.html

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  58. PS - More evidence concerning the original GC series here - http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Vintage-Yamaha-Classical-Guitar-GC-20-d-20d-Handmade-Nippon-Gakki-MINT-Amazing-/221118787267?pt=Guitar&hash=item337bb4eec3#ht_4771wt_1196

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  59. Sorry - I forgot one more thing. If you check out the Yamaha guitar archives the various GC models clearly make note that they are hand-crafted.

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  60. You said it was the "G260", not the FG260, and the G-260 models are a laminated back/sides guitar from the 1980s.

    As to the old models from the Nippon era, I would never pay that kind of money for one and don't know anyone else who would. Whether or not they're well made and good sounding, the chances of ever getting your money back out of one would be slim. This blog post isn't about trying to find the most expensive Yamaha guitar you can find. It's about finding an inexpensive gem for thrifty people. We really don't care about the Nippons. I've yet to find one that sounded any better than a 70s G-model, and those can be had cheap and seem to last forever.

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  61. A word of warning about buying a Nippon-Gakki Yamaha. I don't know if it's the same guy doing it all the time or not, but every so often I'll see one of these come up on Ebay with a ridiculous price like this. I've yet to see one of them sell for anywhere near that though. The ones that actually sell tend to go for around $400 if they're in good shape. Obviously someone is trying very hard to jack up the prices on these guitars. I wouldn't play the game myself.

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  62. I own a G260S which, according to the serial number is from '83. It is definitely solid rosewood back and sides and the Yamaha archives confirm this.

    I didn't mean to suggest price was the issue. Sorry if it sounded like I was speaking out of turn.

    I did more research and found that the GC-5 and GC-10 were indeed hand made top of the line in the early 80s and the 10 retailed for about 5000grand in those days. For reasons that are unclear neither model appears on the archive, though someone told me that this is because they were made in such small numbers. Yamaha began to produce the higher number GC models in '84, and those are the ones that they still make. As I said, the top model is still reasonably priced and twenty or thirty years from now I think it will be those that people are talking about as the hidden gems, at least if the one I was able to play is any indication.

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  63. You seem to be reading the specs wrong I think. The G260S does not have solid sides/back. You'll notice that the archive just says "rosewood." If it were solid it would say "solid rosewood." Not only does Yamaha do this, but virtually all guitar makers. When they list specs of their guitars, if they have solid wood for the top, back, or sides, they will always designate it as being "solid." If it doesn't say solid, it's not (although I can think of a couple of rare exceptions like Takamine). This guitar does have a solid top though.

    The GC5S and GC10S were indeed handmade in Japan. Both had solid cedar tops and both had sides and backs of rosewood, but only the GC10S had solid sides and backs. I think you are correct in that not many were made, and I don't recall ever seeing them for sale in any of the local music stores in St. Louis back then (they were made in the late 70s). I don't know what they sold for new, but I would say that $5,000 price tag is nowhere near correct. You could have bought a Ramirez 1A for half that in the 70s.

    Personally I wouldn't own either the GC5S or the GC10S because they have cedar tops, and you just can't get those growly lows out of cedar. That's why you'll almost never find a flamenco guitar with a cedar top. A flamenco guitar has to growl at you, and I really like that in a classical guitar as well.

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  64. By the way, to find those guitars in the archive you have to write them in as GC5S and GC10S. Notice that it says "solid rosewood" for the back/sides of the GC10S. If the back/sides are solid, they will always say "solid" like that.

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  65. BTW: Another vote for the cappuccino colored G-string; does most of what a wound Savarez G does but blends better with the other strings.

    Two additional on "my" Nippon-Gaki: it was a freeby so no subterfuge was intended with the label, and the interiors seems to have been sealed although not actually varnished/lacquered. Unless sealing has an adverse effect on the tone it is probably not a bad idea since it will tend less to accumulate dust which is probably not a big deal on its own but dust tends to attract moisture turning itself into a slightly gooey substance that will have an effect on the tone in the long run.
    Also, as I think I mentioned before, it is not a particularly special sounding beast, although sitting quietly for a month while its strings settled in has made a big difference.

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  66. On the Nippon-Gaki front: A while back I wrote about an old Yamaha I was learning to straighten necks on (combo of heat and clamp; principle simple; "learning" means getting a feel for how hot the neck has to get for the process to work--without bubbling the finish). Guitar in question was a Nippon-Gaki, G160, s/n 925702. The woods are nice ("rosewood" back & sides which appear to be solid). The heel is constructed internally to visually imitate the Spanish style except that it is two pieces (l.o.l.) and the pieces seem to have separated resulting in a slight up-pull of the neck relative to the body, which can also be seen on the outside of the back with a good reflected light. The top almost looks like a laminate until you realize that sound hole has been "lined" for strength(but not knife-edged the way one sees it in really well made instruments). Finish is "matte" in imitation--again--of hand rubbed. I have a later G231 which buckaroo assured me was laminated and I finally got it under a good light and what I previously had mistaken for a lined sound hole was indeed lamination: two thin layers of something and a thicker layer of something else in the middle. It would be interesting to know what the meat in the sandwich is. It is a very nice sounding guitar, especially for playing on the quiet by oneself. Compared to an old Spanish (Admira, Sevilla that I bought in a flea market 20 years ago) I have, it "rings" a bit. Having fiddled with a number of stringed instruments over 50 odd years, the differences between the laminated Yamaha and the Admira are a bit like the differences between a Martin and a Gibson or, on the banjo front, between an old Vega (especially a Tubaphone) and, again, a Gibson. Each good for different types of music and different situations. An interesting thing I noticed--probably old news to most of you--that when I really leaned on the Admira the sound came into its own while the Yamaha started to break up a bit. Buckaroo: I've tried a s/n lookup on the G160 and got nada. You have any info?

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  67. Hi George,

    I don't know a blessed thing about the serial numbers for that G160, but they do have it listed in the archive here:

    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp

    Odd about the pine top, no? I heard a pine top steel string on YouTube once that some guy built, and it actually sounded pretty good, but not much bottom end.

    I also tried putting an "S" at the end--G160S but that didn't come up as anything.

    I can also attest to a composite third string being noticably louder and more natural sounding. Basically it just sounds like all the other strings now. I got a pack of D'Addario Pro Arte Composite EJ45C strings. I generally use the regular EJ45 pack. Anyhow, at this point I've only changed the third string to see how it sounded. I'll get around to changing the others in a day or two. I don't know if I'm gonna like composites in general yet, but they sure to the trick on that third string.

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  68. "It would be interesting to know what the meat in the sandwich is."

    I always wonder about that with any guitar using laminates. The inner/outer woods are almost always the same, and they always tell you what it is, but guitar makers generally just designate the inner layer as being a "filler wood." I wonder what kind of wood gets used most often for that? Not that I think it matters to the sound. I'm just curious.

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  69. Some day someone reading/contributing to this blog will get a chance to get a scrap from a truly broken guitar and will be able to scrape down to the inner wood. I had a chance to do this years ago with a really fine old Martin that had suffered an total catastrophe. What was interesting was that the top had those nice whirly cross figures--almost like iridescence--that I found long ago were way more important than a nice even grain. What we "discovered" was that that grain pattern was associated with fibers that were parallel or nearly so to the two surfaces of the top. If you nick a piece of wood with that grain and try to snap it in two, it resists mightily and when it does break it breaks long, not cleanly. Whirls=long grain=good tone (all other things being equal, of course).

    I was wondering what led you to mention "pine" until I went to the archive web-site. That IS what it says. Odd. I wonder if it is a mistake. I've never heard of a commercially manufactured pine guitar top before. I know a guy with whom I'll check. Later.

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  70. FWIW on "pine":

    by gbcb » Monday 22 November 2010, 04:13 am

    I contacted Yamaha support a while back to ask about the specifications for my GC-7, which I bought second-hand back in 1991 or so, and had always assumed was a cedar top. Apparently not -- I got these specifications in a reply:

    Specifications : GC-7
    Mfg: 1986-1991
    MSRP: $850.00
    Top: Solid Pine
    Back and sides: Rosewood
    Neck: Mahogany
    Fingerboard: Ebony
    Bridge: Rosewood

    I sent another message asking about the "Solid Pine" top and got this response:

    "In this case it probably is really some kind of spruce or pine, very high end. As historically we have also made cedar top classicals, we generally always differentiate cedar from spruce/pine top wood. In the era when this guitar was made the best top wood was EZO spuce which was alternately referred to as EZO pine. This was a rare conifer from the island of Hokkaido, the northernmost Japanese island. This wood is no longer available as top wood in yamaha guitars."

    Thought it was an interesting bit of information. I still haven't been able to track down a proper estimate of the guitar's current value.

    http://www.greatguitars.com.au/Yamaha_GC7.htm <-- This site has one valued at AUD2,250 (USD2,235), but it's made in Japan (mine was made in Kaohsiung, Taiwan) and has a French polish finish; Yamaha support said mine wasn't a top-of-the-line guitar and so probably had a sprayed lacquer finish.

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  71. So somewhere there's a tree in Japan that is sometimes called pine and other times spruce? That's a little weird. Pine and spruce look nothing alike. Anyway, it sounds like the top is spruce for all intents.

    I have a Taylor with back/sides of sapele, and I often see sapele referred to as African Mahogany because it looks a bit like mahogany. However, it sounds nothing at all like mahogany. In fact sapele is somewhat bright sounding, almost like a cross between rosewood and maple. (I really like it though.)

    I guess you have to beware of woods a bit when buying guitars made with woods from overseas.

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    Replies
    1. A knowledgeable flamenco pro who deals in guitars as a sideline knew about 'ezo' and explained it to me. In some languages, pine and spruce are the same word. It's not like German spruce versus yellow pine to make 2X4s in lumber yards. Your assumption with rhetorical question is off base. The reply quoted by Mr. Hand that came from Yamaha would be the information to bank on.

      Delete
    2. I don't think the question is off base at all, although I should probably have used the term "be aware" rather than "beware," as the latter has a foreboding quality to it, and I really didn't mean that. There are a large number of woods around the world that go by the same common name but which have nothing in common sound-wise. You have to research things and literally be aware of what you're buying. For instance, I normally won't touch a guitar with a cedar top, but Japan has a tree called the Japanese Cedar that for all intents and purposes IS spruce just as the pine example I used earlier. The sapele example I used is another good one. If I wanted to mail order a guitar to be used for southern blues (and of course mahogany is the ultimate top material for an acoustic blues guitar) and heard that sapele was an African version of mahogany, I would be very disappointed when my all sapele guitar arrived and it sounded nothing like mahogany.

      Delete
  72. I think the operative tense is there "was" a tree... At $109 MSRP (even in 1970 $) it clearly was not a high end instrument.
    "My" guitar in question, I noticed last night, has a small "Made in Japan" on the back of the peg-head (as well as somebody's social security number scratched in).

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  73. Sorry a couple of your post got caught in the spam filter George. I just found them and published them.

    Social security #? That's gotta be about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of anyone doing.

    Is the Made In Japan authentic? Probably not.

    I just saw a G-240 go on Ebay today for $69. Somebody sure got a deal.

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  74. Just happened to look again at the picture of the Yamaha 250S that opens this thread and what you describe as "silky" is what I was trying describe as "nice whirly cross figures".

    As I write there is a Yamaha 255S in Warwick Rhode Island on Criag's List for $500. Here is the address: mz445-3252980269@sale.craigslist.org

    If the quality of the rosette were indicative of anything truly useful, this would be a great instrument...if...
    Or: Call Les @(401)499-5908

    BTW: While I don't mind people reading what I post, it might make sense to chat one on one and only publish what seems of general interest.

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  75. There's a G-255S at Norfolk craigslist that the owner claims is impeccable for only $80.

    http://norfolk.craigslist.org/msg/3229104883.html

    I'm thinking about buying it.

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  76. Don't know where either "Norfolk" [Mass, Virginia, England?] or you are, but at that price if it were anywhere near me I'd buy it just for a wall decoration!

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    Replies
    1. It was Norfolk VA but it appears to be sold.

      Delete
  77. I don't know which Norfolk either. I just searched for that model guitar and craigslist at Google and came up with that.

    By the way, if you have a YouTube account, you can always send me a message there. My account name is sthugh.

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  78. To whom it may concern: A previous comment was made that the advertisement for the G-255S in my post states that the guitar's inside is sealed. This commenter also claims his G-245S is finished inside. I finally bought an inspection mirror small enough to fit in the soundhole of my G-250S, and low and behold, it also appears to have a finish inside. I can see some small places near the front bout where the person who applied the finish missed. I'll try to post a picture of it over the weekend.

    I doubt very much that it matters to the sound of these guitars, but perhaps the inside finish has something to do with the longevity of them. There are just so darn many of them around!

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  79. Hi to everybody,
    First a very grateful thanks to the creator of this bloc for the thorough
    information provided for these generation of classical Yamaha. I was eager to change my steel strings guitar for a classical one but never I have the feeling I could get a decent one. But from your post I came by what I could call a quantum physic of the universe to find one which is a Yamaha g255s for an affordable price in UK, £250 in good condition very light cosmetic wear. I am not an expert in sound but from my gut feeling this guitar sound fantastic and playable.
    I would like to ask you guys some advices in order to upgrade this guitar, would it be a good move to replace the plastic saddle and nuts to a bone or tusq and which string would be perfect. I do not know which string the previous owner used, but as far as I can see the E, A, D strings wear corrosion marks. Also I found out that the G string does not sound bright. Any advice would be of great help.
    Best regards.
    Chris

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    Replies
    1. I will take a swipe at it from experience with acoustic steel string guitars... Replacing the saddle with unbleached bone improves the sound: more volume and more resonance. Bleached (white) bone is not as dense as unbleached, plus unbleached can be sanded and then polished to nearly resemble yellowed marble. It is harder to cut and finish than unbleached (white) bone. The nut does not play a very important role in tone... most of the tone is from the strings to the saddle to the top, which vibrates and pumps air. But a matching set of bone at the nut and saddle makes the guitar look better, and bone nut slots can be cut more precisely than plastic and wears much better.

      Delete
  80. Congratulations! That is a fine guitar. I've used the original plastic, bone and tusq in my G-250S. The bone was a disappointment, but it may have been this particular piece of bone. Sometimes you get one with a hollow or soft spot inside and then they don't sound good, but you can't tell from looking. I actually thought the original plastic sounded fine, but Yamaha glued them in, so if you want to take them out to sand them down to adjust the action, you'll break them more often than not trying to remove them. I'm very happy with the tusq I have in there now. Sounds great and is easy to work with. Taylor puts tusq saddles and nuts in all their guitars.

    Most classical guitars suffer from a "flabby G" string sound. Using a composite G string helps a lot. Try the D'Addario Pro Art'e Composite EJ45C set. They give you two G strings with this set. The composite one is darker in color. It really boosts the volume and brilliance of the G string.

    Best Wishes

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  81. Thanks for the blog & info. I had no idea what I have had kicking around the house for decades.

    I've been using my old Yamaha for years for camping trips , backyard bbq ,etc and never gave it much thought, let the kids bang on it but the thing is a tank. Lately I've been working on some songs and I ended up at Guitar Center to look at some Ramerez and Cordobas, thinking I might want to invest in a "professional" classical guitar. Even though I love the sound of my old guitar - I just figured that a $750 guitar had to sound better. I ended up deciding that I preferred the sound of my Yamaha - better bass and resonance and all around nicer tone and great volume. So I checked the label and it is G-245s, and it appears to be from 1977 (s# is 71111036). Ha! I've had a solid spruce top al these years and had never even known it. The G245-s is a great guitar and has had 45 years for the top to mature - no wonder it ended up beating out the new stuff on the wall.

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  82. Unrelated to Yamaha, but I was in a local Guitar Center recently (Boston) and tried out a BULGARIAN made guitar, if you can believe it, and it was far and away the best classical in the house! Anyone else have similar experience?

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  83. One of those Orpheus (sp?) guitars? I haven't played one yet. I'll tell you what I just got in the mail that's a real dog though. A Cordoba Koa CE classical. It's the most horrid thing I've ever played! It has very little volume unamplified and is basically useless unless plugged in even though it's nearly a full body in size. The low E is so low in volume it might as well not even be there. The G string is not just flabby--it's out to lunch. And plugging it in only exacerbates the problem. Also, the B-Band pickup system just isn't very good. Very rubber bandy and with plenty of quack. Just a useless guitar. Don't be fooled by a pretty face. I was hoping it would make a good performing guitar, but alas--no.

    By the way boys and girls, the Cordoba has solid woods all the way round. But as I keep telling you, that doesn't mean a thing. My old Yamaha blows this piece of crap out of the water in three notes.

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  84. I don't think I've ever posted on a blog before. Not sure how to not be "Anonymous". I'll add my thanks to rest here for this forum you've created and all the great info. I've played friend's Yamahas since teenager-hood: FG180 and 200 and the FG230(?)12-string(huge neck!)and my brother has a beautiful FG400 or 450. When I took the plunge I ended up with a dreadnought Washburn(1976)that has aged well. But I digress...I just purchased a G250S off the wall of a used book/instrument store here in Tucson after reading your praises of the guitar, (and after playing a few lovely Cordobas there, as well)I did like the Cordobas, but the Yamaha was $150 and they were $650...and I don't play nearly as much as I used to. This is a winter guitar for when my wife and I are down here.
    At home I have a GC3(c) that I bought in Japan in 1981 for about $200. The web link you posted says they were produced starting in 1984, but I know 1981 was when I was in Japan. Could that be when they were exported to the West? I recall they had a line of classical guitars in the store and on an adjacent rack a whole line of Flamenco guitars as well;all Yamahas. GC3 thru 9 or maybe 11. They had a GC3 and a GC3(c). I thought the (c) stood for colored, because it had a red cast to the top.I liked the redder color so I got that one. Now,I wonder if one was spruce and one was cedar. The website also indicated that the GC5 was handmade, but not the GC3.Had I known I think I could have gotten the GC5 for another $50, but nobody in the store spoke any English!! It may mean nothing, but I do have a signature and date handwritten across the label inside my guitar.Thoughts? Opinions?

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  85. The signature is of the person who built the guitar. It should be written in Japanese.

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  86. If anyone is looking for replacement tuners to fit their old 70/80s Yamaha classical guitar, the Gotoh 0940-G will fit perfectly and are very inexpensive. Decent tuners (actually great for the price). I painted the end of each knob screw black with a tiny brush because every part of the tuners being gold in color looked a little odd to me.

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tuners/Classical_guitar/Lyra-style_Gotoh_Classical_Guitar_Tuners.html

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  87. Somebody's trolling this blog for suckers. Got a "post" this morning from "anonymous" allegedly looking for a "plug-in" to stop hackers. Quidado.

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  88. Oh, it happens once in a great while. Fortunately, this "plug-in" post went straight to the spam filter.

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  89. CRAIGSLIST SCORE - I just got a G250S off craigslist for $200. Original owner, original strings, used maybe 6 or 7 times. No dings, original case looks new except for one minor tear in the viny. The top is the silkiest spruce I've ever seen on a guitar. wOOT!

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  90. Regarding tuners, I've upgraded my stock tuners with Der Jung tuners from China off ebay. The 200 series tuners almost align with the existing screw holes (the string post holes fit great) so only a small amount of redrilling is required. These usually go for around $35 after shipping and are a noticeable upgrade over stock.

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  91. I'm the guy who anonymously posted about the finish inside the guitars. Thanks for confirming. The ad says Yamaha did it to minimize moisture absorption.

    My G240Sii isn't finished inside. My new G250S is.

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  92. I'm happy you found a guitar you like. Sounds like a good deal. The Gotoh tuners I mentioned above will fit perfectly with no drilling, but they're just a so-so tuner. Good for the money and better than the old corroded ones I had, but your Der Jungs should be a little better if you don't mind doing the drilling (which isn't that hard).

    I wonder if Yamaha still applies a finish inside their guitars? I'm starting to wonder if this finishing technique is part of the reason the old ones sound so good.

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  93. Really nice blog, Thanks.
    I got an e-mail today with a G-250S made in 1981 for sale....
    Never played, never strung. Mint condition.
    Asking the equivalent of US$ 200.00 ($1350.00 local currency, Trinidad&Tobago, Southern Caribbean island)
    Tel # 1-868-680-6652

    Just wondered if anyone was interested?

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  94. Does anyone know what brand or tension strings yamaha used on these guitars? The stock strings on my G250S sound frigging great and I'd like to find something similar from today's offerings.

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  95. To RO'C - how does someone from Andhra Pradesh, India know about a guitar in Trinidad?

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  96. I have no idea what kind of strings they used back then.

    One thing I hope you'll note is just how good the stock plastic nut/saddle sounds. I replaced my saddle with bone at first, and it sounded very lifeless. (I only changed the saddle because I needed to take the action down a little, and I broke the plastic saddle trying to take it out.) I then changed it to tusq and got the sound back, so I highly recommend tusq if you ever need to change the saddle. The nut material isn't as important, but I would still stay with tusq if I could.

    RO'C might have met this guy in a silly forum.

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  97. I was lucky - the G250S came with an extra factory saddle. I also purchased a TUSQ saddle which I will sand down to lower the action rather than sacrificing one of the two factory nuts.

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  98. Keep in mind that the saddle is glued in. It's tough to get it out without breaking it. You have to heat it up somehow.

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  99. On mine, the nut is glued in, the saddle is loose.

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  100. Then the saddle has probably been changed before. I've never heard of one that wasn't glued in on these old Yamahas.

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  101. I doubt that - not only did the previously owner essentially never play the guitar but it also came with an extra saddle from the factory specifically so one could change the action. This guitar was bought from a store in England according to the sticker on the case, perhaps Yamaha trusts the Brits more than the Americans to do their own setup.

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  102. I've never heard of one coming new with an extra saddle, nor one that wasn't glued in. But as you say, maybe it has something to do with having been shipped to the UK for sale at shops there. Seems odd, but lucky you!

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  103. YB, am not sure if this question en raised before-- what is the difference between a G-255S from G-255SII? I own an SII version. Thanks.

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  104. Yours was made a little later between 1981-85. It had a solid cedar top instead of spruce and the fretboard is rosewood instead of ebony. Also the bridge is rosewood instead of Jacaranda. The backs/sides are laminated rosewood just like the earlier models, and both had nato necks as well.

    I've never played one like yours, so I can't really comment on how good they are. We've had people come through here claiming theirs were quite nice, but I can't really say for sure.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks YB. But your descriptions do not fit the guitar I own. The serial number points to 1980. The fretboard is ebony, i have owned a lot of guitars with ebony fretboard and am pretty sure it is not rosewood; same with bridge. I wish i can post pictures here for you to validate. even email address maybe. This yamaha is louder and has clearer trebles (pianistic) than my RYOJI Matsuoka M50. Thanks.

      Delete
  105. Here's the archives page. Just paste in the model number without the hyphen: G255SII

    http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp?t=ac

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  106. Thank you so much for the link. Maybe you can help me too regarding serial numbers. It is made in Taiwan

    20805031 6

    Yes the 6 is spaced from the first 8 numbers.
    Thanks again.

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  107. Wow thanks again. Then what is that hanging '6' after. u.n 31?

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  108. The first number is the year (the numbers revolved every ten years and they started in 1971, but since we know they didn't make the G-255 in 1972, then yours must be from 1972), the next two numbers are the month (08-august), the next two are the day (05-August 5), the last three numbers are the unit number (031 means it was the 31st guitar made that day). I don't know what the six is. It shouldn't be there. Taiwan did go to a seven digit system in 2001, but they were a combination of letters and numbers--not just numbers.

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    Replies
    1. Here is a picture of a a G255SII that looks exactly like mine. Nice jacaranda looking body. If you notice the fretboard-- it is too black to be a rosewood. Same as mine. Unless Yamaha darkened the rosewood fretboard to mimic an ebony. Here is the link to pictures:

      http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewtopic.php?t=4108&view=next

      Delete
    2. Hello there. Great page! I just got a G245SII with a 9 digits s/n.
      Mine is 20106101 5. It seems there is some mistery about the last digit, that is a bit unaligned and slightly bigger.
      Thank you so much.

      Delete
    3. January 10 - 1982. I don't know what the five is either.

      Delete
  109. The fretboard I saw in that picture looked dark brown. You really can't go by the color though. I've seen plenty of rosewood fretboards that were dark as night. Rosewood has a graininess to it though whereas ebony has an extremely smooth feel--almost like marble.

    The body doesn't look like rosewood. I don't know what to tell you there. It may well be that it's somethng else. Yamaha has had so many different models over the years, many of the same model numbers being made from different materials depending on when they were made, that even they don't know the complete history of their guitars. For instance, if they were running short on rosewood during the month of August--1982, they wouldn't think twice about using something similar. So yes, it may be jacaranda. That's also known as
    Indonesian Rosewood. The properties are much the same. It's often used for fretboards too.

    The sapele backs/sides my Taylor is made from is often referred to as African mahogany. Yamaha made several high-end classical guitars in the late 60s/early 70s listed as having "pine" tops. In reality, they were made from a tree that grows in the orient that's almost exactly like European spruce, but in the orient they call that tree pine. Wood names are often confusing once you leave the USA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YB,

      are you familiar with the YAMAHA's 70s made in taiwan laminate top classical guitars. I remember years back that i use to own a Nippon Gakki and a Made in Taiwan. Sorry I can't remember the exact model numbers, but although both are laminate tops I found the one that is made in taiwan to be clearer and louder. For a student guitar the MIT was impressive.

      Delete
  110. Yes; they've been mentioned in these comments a couple of times. I've never played one though.

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  111. Hi. Love your site. I picked up a G250sii which definitely has a spruce top. It sounds so good I can hardly believe I snared it for a very low price. I am no classical guitarist by any means but I find that playing this guitar is quite addictive, the tone is simply beautiful to my ears. It is the sweetest sounding guitar I have ever owned. I also own a G231 with a laminated top. It also plays well and has a nice tone but my son says it does not sound as sweet and lacks depth. I previously owned an Australian made Maton classical guitar which never played as well as the Yamaha. I have had a bone nut, bone saddle and new tuners installed on the G250sii and know for sure that I will never sell this guitar. Thanks to the information on this site I have myself a stunning guitar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction to the above post. The guitar is a Yamaha G250SA (serial number 81218645 - December 18 1978)). I believe the Australian models often had the A suffix incorporated in the model number. The other guitar mentioned is a Yamaha G231ii (serial number 11218089 - December 18 1981). According to the Yamaha Guitar Archive the G231ii sold for $175, not exactly cheap for a laminated top. In Australia, until recently, we have always paid a premium for guitars so I assume these models were more expensive in their day than the US prices suggested on the Archive. With the current strength of the Australian dollar the situation has been improving.

      Delete
  112. Hi,

    Glad to meet another vintage Yamaha convert.

    I didn't even know that Maton ever made any classical guitars until you mentioned yours.

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  113. https://demontguitars.com/Images/Maton%20F10/watermarked/pages/C45,-C25-&-F10-Classic_jpg.html
    My guitar was the C25 shown in the advertisement. Like the other Maton guitar (CW80D) I owned, it had reliability issues and the bridge began to separate from slightly the body. I sold it to a friend who managed to destroy it fairly quickly. In retrospect I should have had it repaired as they are fetching top prices due to the high quality spruce tops used in the 1970's. The Yamaha G250S plays and sounds better and I do not feel so bad about that Maton C25.

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  114. I suspect that the only reason many old Maton guitars and amps are suddenly selling for a lot of loot is the mere fact that Tommy Emmanuel has made them a famous company--whether they deserve it or not. Most of the steel string players I know who have owned even the newer models with his name on them say they really aren't that great. I've never played a Maton myself. Don't think I've ever seen one in all of St. Louis.

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  115. I have played many of them over the years. They can be pretty bland sounding. Tommy Emmanuel is such a genius that he could make anything sound amazing. We used to watch both Tommy and Phil Emmanuel play the Australian circuit in the late 1970's - early 1980's (a band called Goldrush), Tommy often playing the drums, Phil on guitar. I always thought Phil was a better player than Tommy but Tommy got all the kudos. Go figure???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bCwcOEyk8Y

    http://www.tommyemmanuel.com/2008/03/gold-rush-live-at-last-now-on-sale/


    Cole Clark, who worked for Maton for many years is making some nice guitars using Australian timbers. I have played a couple and they can be a bit hit and miss. Some of them sound great and for us Aussies they are good value. They are probably better plugged in as they are renowned for their pickup system.

    http://www.coleclarkguitars.com/

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  116. I'm sold on the K&K pickup/mic systems these days. I don't know if they've made it to Australia yet or not. They even make a good classical system. They're the only ones I know of who manufacture a mini mic that's worth a darn.

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  117. best blog site for Yamahas!.Ive never really thought of buying a Yamaha before but I tried one that was selling on ebay and I can say that it was love at first site.$250..I was a bit unsure about spending that much on it, but now I have it and have played it I would have payed a bit more to get it.It is the best sounding guitar I have ever played,and in immaculate condition, I love it.Instant family heirloom .Ive been reading about it here and it sounds like it has good reputation amongst guitarists. great links to decipher the serial number too, mine was made on the 23rd March 1981 no 389.

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  118. Welcome to old Yamaha heaven.

    (And all the angels rejoiced. Another one snatched from the jaws of the over-priced empire.)

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    Replies
    1. and the lord said 'said there be music. and there was, and all who own Yamaha's shall be merry'. but do you think i payed to much for it?$250.

      Delete
  119. I'm interested in a g-235ii for $125 CAD. I'm wondering if it has a solid top or not. The yamaha model identifier says that model was made between 81-85 but it doesn't say whether it's solid wood or not. Are they the same specs as the 235 and 235s?

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  120. No, that one isn't a solid top model. If it were, it would say so on the archives page. That is, it would literaly say "solid spruce" instead of just "spruce."

    They non-solid top models aren't bad for the money, but you can find an older solid top Yamaha for not much more on Ebay or Craigslist. The prices are starting to go up, but they're still very reasonable.

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  121. Dave,

    I can't seem to reply right below you.

    Which model did you get?

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  122. it is a G250s made 1981 no marks or dents kept in hard case. I thought maybe its worth a little more than what i payed for it... cheers, and great blog!

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  123. That's my main guitar. I think anything under $300 is a good price for a 250 or 255. In another two or three years these guitars will be fetching $600 and considerably more down the line, especially the G-255S since those are hard to come by and they were top of the line.

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    Replies
    1. thanks chief, that is good to know, not that i want to sell it but just to know what it is worth $. it makes it a bit more special to know that with its age increases its worth .Incidentally, there is G255s for sale on ebay in good nick.in oz though
      link here---
      http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/170979617833?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2648

      it could be worth me investing in the beauty ,hmmm.

      Delete
  124. Welcome to all G series solid top Yamaha players. I thought I would add some information to this excellent blog. I have so much fallen in love with my G250S that I had been on the look out for another. I came across a G245Sii (Series 2) from 1982. It is a nice guitar but contrary to what appears in some places on the web it has a scale length of 650 mm (not the 658 scale length of the G250S). The spruce top is possibly not quite as high quality as the G250S I own, although this is subjective analysis. The G245Sii is a nice sounding guitar. The scale length does make a difference to my ears, although many may not notice. This is worth knowing when searching for these guitars. I think Yahoobuckaroo is perfectly correct when he suggests that the 1970's models are the ones to look out for.
    I do not think the G245Sii is a bad choice (although I have not had it for very long so have not fully evaluated it) . The neck profile seems more rounded, less chunky and a little easier to manage. Of course the shorter scale length makes it more manageable as well.

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  125. Dave,

    I think the guitar is worth it, but if you have time to wait or just want to make a good investment, I would keep an eye on Craigslist where these old Yamahas come up now and then, sometimes very cheap. It seems that half the world has an old Yamaha in their closet.

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  126. Neil,

    It would be interesting to measure the bodies in length and width at the upper and lower bouts, and also the depth at the upper and lower bouts. If the bodies are identicle in size then I doubt there will be a lot of difference in sound, although, as stated before, I DO believe a thicker, heavier neck makes for a chunkier sound in the lower mids.

    Personally, like you, I prefer a shorter scale, and I like a C-shaped neck as opposed to the D-shape. I would be willing to give up a little something in tone for a guitar that's more playable.

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  127. Thanks for the homework. I have some measurements.

    The G250S is 282 mm wide and 96 mm deep at the upper bout. The G250S is 370 mm wide and 99 mm deep at the lower bout. It has a nut width of 52 mm and the neck is 61 mm wide at the 12th fret. The waist width is 242 mm. It has a body length of 486 mm.The serial number of my G250S is 81218646 (December 18, 1978 unit number 646).

    The G245Sii is 280 mm wide and 96 mm deep at the upper bout. It is 367 mm wide and 98 mm deep at the lower bout. The nut width dimensions and width at the 12th fret are the same as the G250S. The waist width is 240 mm. I measured the body length of the G245ii as 487 mm. The serial number of my G245Sii is 20831040 (August 31 1982 unit number 040).

    So the G250S has a scale length of 658 mm with a D shaped neck. The G245Sii has a scale length of 650 mm with more of a C shaped neck.

    In summary the G250S is the bigger guitar by a couple of mm here and there. And of course the G250S has the longer scale length.
    Hope this information is useful.

    The G250S seems to have possibly a better tone but with identical strings you would probably struggle to tell the difference.
    After my analysis and a bit of play time I think I would recommend the G245Sii but I do think it must have a lesser value in dollar terms if you are shopping around for one of these guitars.

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  128. The G-245S-II sounds more to my liking. Honestly, I'd prefer an even shorter scale, say about 240mm, but I just want the neck to be shorter and the body to stay the same. Nobody ever does that though. For some silly reason they always make the body smaller too. I also prefer a 50mm nut width.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for all your info. I was inspired to buy a G-245s from Guitar Center for $150 + shipping. I'll give a report when it comes in next week. I'm mainly a steel string player but I wanted to pick up a classical for some recordings.

      Delete
  129. I look forward to it. And these guitars record really well with just about any 1/2" condenser mic.

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  130. I'm not lacking in fancy-shmantzy microphones and pre-amps. I'll send or post something once I set it up if it's worthy.

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  131. Here's pretty decent recording of the later G-255S II if anybody is interested. The guitar sounds great!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJw9BMJAEBI

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  132. I have just purchased a G250s and find the basses very deep and impressive. I do find the trebles especially the b and e trebles quite shallow and hollow sounding, lacking the depth and richness that I'd normally expect from the solid woods used. The trebles are much better from 10th fret onwards but watery sounding on 3rd to 10th fret. Would replacing the plastic saddle with a bone one improve the tone here?

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  133. Have you changed the strings yet? First, don't use a light gauage string on these guitars. Most classical guitars sound lousy with lights and these are no exception. And even normal tension strings sound bad in the treble if you tune down much at all.

    Try the D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ45C. These are the best I've found, and make sure to use the coffee colored third string. (There are two third strings in the pack.)

    The right strings will make all the difference.

    Last, see if the saddle sits loose in the slot. If it's glued in, then it's a very hard composite plastic. I actually like the sound of it. If it's loose, then someone has already repaced it. Bone is very hit and miss. It's not consistent at all, and sometimes bone will sound much worse than plastic. I would try tusq. I've started using tusq on all my guitars after I got my first Taylor. That's all they use, and I've yet to pick-up a bad sounding Taylor. They claim that tusq is very consistent, and I'm convinced. It's as hard as bone but it won't have any hollow spots.

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  134. Many thanks. Yes,the first thing I did was to put the EJ45C's on. (my favourite strings for some time now) I may well try the tusq. I have a hunch that this guitar just has some inconsistency in places, which would sound even if the best saddle was used. I bought the the guitar for my son who's doing grade 3 guitar, It looks stunning, and for the low price was a bargain. The playability is excellent, despite the one undeniable flaw, which is the chunky neck. Having said that, the neck doesn't really tire the left hand as long as your fingers are relatively long. I believe some people actually like it. Overall, for the price, very, very pleased.

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  135. All the g# notes on my g260s are "wolf" notes- they are louder (not in pleasant way) and tend to howl when played. Changing the saddle has improved the overall tone, and if I could eliminate the howl on the G sharps, I'd have an almost flawless guitar. Does anyone else have this problem, and any ideas on how to rectify it?

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  136. I don't think there's much you can do about that without spending quite a bit of money. It has to do with the way the top is tuned and will mean either shaving down a spot on the under-side of the top, or possibly shaving down a couple of braces. A good luthier might charge $100 + to do it.

    Another possibility is that one of the braces has come loose or split. With a guitar of this age, that's a very strong possibility. But that will still be a $100+ fix.

    ALL guitars have one note that's louder than the others. The top has several places where it's distinctly tuned, and one of those spots will reign as king of tone. For most classical guitars it's G sharp. That's the overall resonant frequency on the majority of classical guitars. Yours may be overdoing it a bit. Or it may be the way you or your son play. Or it could be that your ear is simply very sensitive to G sharp, thus you don't care for G sharp as much as most of us do. It sounds like you might be better off with a cedar topped guitar. Even though they may or may not be tuned to G sharp, cedar tops don't have that deep resonant bass that spruce tops do, and that may suit you better. You might try a Cordoba C7 or C9 or C10. The latter is one of the nicest sounding guitars I've ever played in a cedar top, but they're over $1000.

    There's an excellent video about top tuning you should watch. The man in the video claims that, while most classical guitars are tuned to G sharp, the more expensive master grade guitars are tuned to F sharp. I'm not sure if I believe that or not, but he does show all the resonant parts of the guitar top, and it's very interesting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajn0TmhvwCU

    On the other hand, your son may get used to the G sharp resonance after a while and learn to compensate his playing technique to make up for it like most people do. I would give it some time.

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  137. Thank you. Fascinating film re the guitar top as well. I guess we'll just have to live with the G sharp problem - but I'll check for possible brace breakage. I've also read that placing a piece of blu tac or even chewing gum in an area on the top underneath the bridge may cure the howling g sharps! Worth experimenting with this do you think? Or maybe with time the sound will mellow out.

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  138. I don't know anything about using chewing gum. You might try googling classical luthiers and writing to a couple to see if they know a simple way to cure the wolf tone. One of them may just have an easy solution that I'm not aware of.

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  139. Having consulted a luthier, I was advised to use blu tac (a sticky removable product like plasticene or clay, available here in U.K) in an area just behind the bridge, and it works! You find the spot on the outside first, then stick the blu tac under the top in the same place, and now no more wolf notes.

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  140. Well that's a first for me. I'll have to remember that!

    Glad it worked out for you.

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  141. Any information on the Yamaha G-220A? Does it have a solid spruce top and rosewood sides?
    I located one and don't know if its worth the $114.
    Thanks,
    Johnny K

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  142. Nothing solid in that one I'm afraid. The top is laminated spruce and the back/sides are laminated sonokoling (whatever that is), the neck is nato, bridge and fingerboard are rosewood. It was sold in the early 70s. It MIGHT be worth $100. Some of the older Yamaha's with laminated tops actually sounded pretty good and were reasonably loud for a laminate. I would say it's a good starter guitar, but not much more.

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  143. Thanks, I was getting excited there for a second with that G220A.
    The top resonance was very good when knocking on it.
    Could not hear the string sound though due to paper work w/ pricing on it and a missing string.
    Johnny K

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  144. Bonsoir je possède une YAMAHA G 245 SII pratiquement jamais utilisée , c'est une guitare a table d'épinette pure authentique des années 80 . Pouvez -vous me donner le prix de cette guitare comme neuve !!!!!! merci

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  145. Yamaha G-245SII

    Years Sold: 1981-85
    Original MSRP(US$): $305.00
    Top: Solid Spruce
    Back/Sides: Rosewood
    Neck: Nato
    Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
    Bridge: Indian Rosewood

    Nice guitar!

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  146. I have a Yamaha G-250S...Serial number dates it to June of 1978...I am looking to sell it. What is the best way to sell a vintage classical guitar that is in very good condition?

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    Replies
    1. Craigslist, EBay, or possibly an internet music group. I would hang on to it for a few more years. These guitars are just starting to go up in price. Five or ten years from now you'll probably get three times what you would today.

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  147. I'm in the process of ordering some new strangs and I notice that d'addario is offering a set with "Titanium" trebles. Anyone have a clue what? Whether they do anything?

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    1. You can hear several examples of people playing them at YT. I thought they sounded a bit tinny myself. The D'Addario Pro-Arté DynaCore series comes with titanium trebles, so if you're game to experiment, that might be a good set to test with.

      Right now I have the Pro-Arté EJ45C Composites on. (Not just the third string, but the whole set.) I like them, but I like using just the composite third with the regular Pro-Arté EJ45 strings a little bit better. There's really not much difference though. It's more convenient to just order the EJ45C set, so I may just do that for now on. It's not like I'm John Williams or anything.

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    2. Yeah, I like that"composite" third as well. On my two guitars it seems to live with the others better than the Savarez wound thirds I've used for centuries but still not be dead. I'm restringing now with EJ46s (high tension). This is just for shits and giggles but I may like them. I'll report back.

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    3. I realize most people like the higher tension strings better. I like a little more slack in the strings. It makes doing quick alternate picking a lot easier for me, keeping in mind that I use a hard thumb-pick.

      I'm thinking seriously of selling my Taylor 314 and buying a Godin Duet Ambiance Grand Concert guitar. It really does sound like a mic'd guitar. It should be a great guitar for playing live. And I've mostly lost interest in steel string guitars at this point, although I like them better for certain things.

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  148. The high tension strings are a first for me. Mixed feelings so far. They ARE louder but that's not an issue for me since I can barely play any more (I was quite ill late last year and I'm only now giving it a try again)and I only play in a small room by myself. It's almost a little like--tonally speaking--the strings are trying to "bully" the guitar. (Of course the action is stiffer.) I'll stay with them until they wear out but my gut sense is that I probably should have gone in the other direction.
    There is someone locally trying to peddle a Miguel Angel Lopez flamenco guitar (2008, Granada) for $500. I need it like a hole in the head but I've wanted a flamenco guitar for years (to the point of nearly buying the Yamaha a couple of times knowing that it was about as close to a real flamenco instrument as I would be to a real flamenco dancer were I to don a ruffled skirt). Googling suggests it might be the production line of a family of makers who do hand made instruments, but on the other hand I'd hate to waste a Fleta on me. :) Know anything about them? He would consider trades for "banjo" unspecified. I have a Vega Senator probably from the Twenties that I'll probably never play again (I bought it for a "quick and dirty" neck for a neckless Tubaphone shell I had picked up somewhere and discovered I liked the tone of the Senator a lot better).

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    1. I've been sick too. Had an enlarged heart chamber that made me very tired all the time. Much better now though.

      I don't know anything about that Lopez guitar. I'll tell you a good flamenco guitar for not much money is that Cordoba GK Studio. It's really excellent.

      The only thing about flamenco guitars is that the neck sets lower to the body on them, so if you're like me and use a thumbpick, you'll find the pick hits the top of the guitar a lot while you're playing.

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  149. Hello,

    I have a G250S with the serial number 1286263. Any ideas about the date of manufacture? I don't think I'm smart enough to break the "code" :). The Yamaha site spits it back as unrecognized. It's pretty clear too.The guitar sounds great by the way, thanks for all the info here. My "other" guitar is a Ramirez 2E, also a great sounding guitar. It is out for repairs, so far I haven't had the two side by side for a sound test.

    Dan

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dan,

      Are you sure that serial is right? It should have 8 numbers. Having said that, there was another guy who posted here saying that his also had just 7 numbers. There's nothing in Yamaha's serial number archives page that mentions any guitars with 7 numbers. Sorry, I just don't know what to tell you there, although I'm guessing the first number [1] is for the year 1981.

      I agree the Ramirez 2E is very comparable in sound to the Yamaha G models. I've long wanted a Ramirez 4NCWE MIDI. (I do some DVD soundtrack work with a Roland guitar synth).

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  150. That serial number is pretty clear, the "81" theory sounds reasonable. Funny thing, here in the office all of a sudden, everyone is bringing in their guitars. So, a guy wanted to see a classical guitar since he is just starting out, and wanted to consider the options. I brought in my G231 ii (which I've had for 20 years, sounds quite good actually). As he was looking at the G231 ii, I was reading your blog, then I headed over to Craigs List. By 2:00 PM the same day I had a G250S in my hands, the other guy had a new G231 ii (which I gave him for $50), and everyone was happy. It also has not shown up on the girlfriends "radar" as a new purchase. I left home with a Yamaha in a black case, I came home with a Yamaha in a black case, so far so good, and the 250S sounds great. I'm dusting off my old instruction books, relearning the exercises I had marked off as complete around 1997. I haven't seen anyone play with a thumb pick in a while, when I first started out with acoustic I tried a full set of finger picks for a while, made for a pretty good sound. Thanks again for the info!

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  151. What our wives and girlfriends don’t know won’t hurt us. Good on ya.

    Most classical players scoff at my thumb pick, but I play several styles of music and have been using a thumb pick since the 70s. I think it sounds better than a thumbnail (which is still a pick; it just happens to be made of calcium) and makes quick picking easier without having to tilt the guitar as you move up and down the neck. It makes more sense to me. I don’t use fingerpicks though. I have about 1/4” nail on my right hand fingers. It doesn’t really take that much nail to produce a pretty good tone.

    I hope you like the new guitar!

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  152. I have the G245SII and it looks and sounds beautiful. I have taken pictures of the bracing and found it is a cross between the modern CG and GC series (more of a traditional transverse fan bracing), but it is not like the bracing of the G255S seen the Yamaha advertisement. From what I can tell, the G245S and G250S sound essentially the same with any miniscule difference being related to the typical variance between two samples of the same guitar. The G255S sounds very similar to these other two and is very difficult to distinguish.

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  153. A couple of years ago I purchased a Yamaha Eterna EC-10 at a garage sale for $5.00! The guitar was still in its cardboard shipping box, with paper wrapping still on the strings and all of the factory paperwork. Obviously this guitar was never touched. I understand that these Yamaha Eternas aren't intended for serious guitarists, more or less introductory full size guitars. I was quite surprised at how good my EC-10 sounded for having a laminate top. It's quite boomy and punchy in the bass register, yet a tad flat in the treble range. I replaced the strings and it made somewhat of a difference. I'm guessing that my guitar is at least 25 to 30 years old. The construction quality is quite good for an entry level, factory built classical guitar. It's a great second guitar to have around the house. My 11 year old son enjoys playing this guitar and wants to take classical guitar lessons now:)

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  154. I am interested in a G255S. The Guitarchive says it was sold 1977 - 81. The serial number wizard states this S No 00623025 as June 23 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 or 2000 unit 025, bearing in mind the serial numbers repeat every 10 years. What is right?? Thanks for any advice.

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  155. It was only made from 77 to 81, so it can be nothing else but 1980.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the confirmation. A great blog.

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  156. Great to find this blog with lots of good information on the Yamahas. I am keeping my eyes open for a 70's G-250S with the great solid spruce tops. I have three nice steel strings but am interested in the great sound of good classical guitar. I was thinking I'd have to pay $1,200 at least to get a good one, so finding a Yamaha like this is an interesting and enjoyable. I found a G-245Sii, and bought it for a good price. I really like it!! The serial number is 108220002...a number found by looking in the soundhole. This means its Aug 22,1981....# 2?? The guitar sounds very nice. It has a nice top, but not one of the calibre described in this blog. So glad I found one of the series ....great sound. Here is a soundclip: Thank you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gITIo8T9BY

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    1. The hunt is on...lol. There is a 245S on ebay right now starting bid $180. It is of course 1977-1981 vintage and though the pictures are minimal, looks to have a good top...tight straight grain with silk cross grain...I'm tempted to go after that one. It adds proof to the idea that the 80's tops are AA, and the 70's tops are AAA. This will effect the tone somewhat, and certainly the visual asthetic, as well as command a higher price.

      But the ii that I bought does work for me (for now-lol) because the price reflected the somewhat reduced visual asthetic and tone (well I am assuming tone as well but don't really know)

      Cheers!

      Bill

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    2. replaced youtube above with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnSHlClZS1E better pic and mic placement.

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  157. Just bought a G255S on the bay. Pricey but I feel it is worth it - $687. Very good condition, lovely wood and a beautiful tone. Think it has been under used, so should improve in time and use. Well pleased. Should keep me happy for years to come :-)

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    1. Great! I've played many $2000 Loriente, Ramirez, and Pimentel guitars that didn't sound nearly as good as these old Yamahas. In fact my first classical guitar was a Pimentel, and it couldn't hold a candle to my Yamaha. When you consider that, $700 is a bargain! Also, you can very often find one in near mint condition. And if you can't find one you like in the USA, there are tons of them in the Orient trade papers all the time.

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    2. Good. After reading this very helpful & informative blog, and doing some research I felt confident in buying the G255S, and avoiding some disasters.

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  158. RE G255S. What cloth would you recommend to keep this treasure clean and in its optimum state.
    Thanks
    Jeremy

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    Replies
    1. I just use the old Martin polish cloths that have been around for ages.

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  159. Hello and congratulations to this fantastic blog.....besides my handmade classical guitars I`m actually owning 4 old Yamahas: a G255s from 1980 (thanx for the serial number wizard, Yahoobuckaroo:)), a G245S from 1977, a G228 from 1983 and a GD10 C from the early 90ties.
    I use these guitars every day fot teaching (I`m working as a guitar teacher at different music schools in Germany) and would NEVER sell any of them, even though i know really lots of other really good guitars at that price level. The typically fine "Yamaha" tone of the spruce tops can`t be found on any other guitar; the Alhambra`s, Quenca`s Sanchez and other spanish Guitars are all sounding somewhat "rough" in comparision to the old Yamahas.
    Bought my 255s for 200€ some years ago from it`s first owner in absolutely excellent condition, suppose I would get double if I sold it now... ;)
    Best guitar by far of the non-solids is the 240, had two some years ago and unfortunatey sold them and bought my 245s which sounds thinner and not as full as my 240`s....
    I think this is remarkable to mention here, because normally Yamaha manages to get slight sounding steps between each of their models.

    Hope everyone keeps on playing and pays respect to these great "Working - Horse Guitars" with fantastic all-day qualities!!! I`ll play mine till reaching my rent!!!!

    Greetings to all,
    Tobias

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    Replies
    1. Alhambra's flamenco guitars are better than their classical guitars in my opinion. They have some excellent flamenco models even under $1500.

      By the way, Alhambra makes the lower end Ramirez guitars for them too.

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  160. Happy New Year to all Yamaha owners

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  161. Hi there!
    Great blog on Yamaha Classicals! I have for sale a Yamaha G255S from about 1980 I think..I forget when I purchased it but I have had it at least since 1982 with hardshell case. EXCELLENT condition. Sounds beautiful and I have cared for it well.
    I have been trying to sell it up here in Northern BC Canada and I really don't think people understand how good of a guitar it is? They just keep wanting me to lower the price :( I refuse to go lower than $600 including case because I do know how it sounds and plays and the condition it is in. I used to sell them in the 80's.
    Thank-you for having this blog! It's great. :)
    Karin
    karinsmusic@gmail.com

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