1978 Yamaha SA 2000 YN
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This is a stunning 1978 SA 2000 in very rare YN, natural finish and in absolutely amazing all original condition.
In 1977 Yamaha introduced an entirely new version of their venerable SA line of acoustic electric guitars. These were called 'Super Axe' as seen on the headstock of some models, but what makes them really special is that these were the first Yamaha's to closely emulate the ES-335, which all SA's since have followed. Prior to this only two models were actually semi-hollow body, and while beautifully designed, you would never mistake one for an ES-335.
The initial models were the SA 700, SA 1000 and the top of the line SA 2000, which is what this guitar is.
Looking at the literature from the time, Yamaha did a lot of engineering and research for these guitars, matching materials and components and then producing many prototypes which were tested by musicians of the day for feedback before the production guitars were finalized. This attention to detail shows up in many of the features of this model.
The pickups on this guitar are model specific, stamped with SA 2000 (see pics) and are date coded to August 8th, 1978. Pickups sound fantastic, with a wide range of tones available between the neck and bridge pickups. I would describe these as a true vintage semi hollow body sound able to deliver on blues, jazz or classic rock. Another nice feature of the pickups on this model is the Yamaha tri-mount used only on the higher grade SA's of this era which allows you to adjust the pickup’s angle to keep it parallel to the strings.
The SA 2000, being the top of the line model of its day has a beautiful jet-black ebony fretboard with real mother of pearl, split block inlays unique to the SA 2000. Ebony fretboards feel very smooth compared to Rosewood. It also features gold hardware, four ply binding on the body and five ply binding on the head stock. Hardware and pickup covers are gold plated on this model.
The neck profile on this generation of the 335 inspired SA models is big. Comparing to Gibson's the profile would be close to a 59. The guitar uses set neck construction, with the neck being one piece solid mahogany. The wood Yamaha used at this time, especially on its higher models, is exceptionally nice.
Construction of the body uses four ply birch and beech laminate for the top and bottom. Center block is the same construction as found on the original ES-335's, with a hard maple center block sandwiched between spruce blocks with kerfs cut into them. The center block runs the length of the body, fitted between the top and bottom of the guitar. This semi hollow body construction, whose origin is from the original ES-335's, allows for a fuller, fatter sound than a solid body, eliminates the distortion that a full hollow body suffers from at high volume and delivers plenty of sustain with the bridge and tail piece mounted into the center block.
How does the SA 2000 sound - well in my opinion it lives up to its top of the line status, able to produce some fantastic thick sounds when you roll the tone back on the neck pickup and solid classic lead tones from the bridge.
How do these Yamaha SA's compare to other Japanese made 335 inspired guitars? The Yamaha's play, sound and look great with the consistent level of quality construction vintage Japanese guitars are renowned for. If you spend time looking into the finer details of the Yamaha's, it becomes clear that Yamaha did much more engineering and testing compared to the other brands. This makes sense given the size of the company, and scope of what Yamaha manufactures compared to niche Japanese guitar manufacturers. While the Japanese guitars of this era all shifted to emulating the pinnacle of the American made guitars, which for the 335 is 58 to the early 60's, most makes focused on trying to produce guitars as close as possible to the originals. As you play more of these guitars it becomes clear Yamaha's approach was a little different with the SA models. Their guitars remain true to the originals in many regards, but they were not bound by trying to produce exact copies, rather they strived to produce the best guitars they could and were willing to make improvements or enhancements based upon putting guitars in the hands of musicians and incorporating their feedback.
The 1977-82 335 inspired Yamaha SA's are fantastic vintage Japanese guitars.
Just ask anyone who has played one.
Condition wise this guitar has been beautifully preserved, all original, right down to every screw. The guitar has been completely gone over: fretboard cleaned and oiled, frets polished, neck relief (truss rod), action, intonation, tail piece and pickup height all adjusted, nut relief checked, nut slots cleaned and grease, harness pulled and pots, jack and switch all cleaned. Guitar was cleaned and polished as well. It plays and sounds fantastic with no buzzing or dead spots anywhere on the neck. Fresh set of D'addario 10-46 strings installed. The guitar needs nothing and will come with an original Yamaha case.
Really amazing example of a very hard model to find in this finish and in such fantastic condition.
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