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The dreadnought shape has the sound that most people think of when acoustic guitars are mentioned. Yamaha is no stranger to this design and sound, however they’ve added a special addition to this classic. And it’s straight-up wizard sorcery. Or maybe not. But close.
What makes this so unique? With a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, there’s nothing really new there. The neck is shaped quite nicely. White binding ties in the beautiful rosewood fingerboard with nice smallish fret markers. A clear pickguard sits below the sound hole, and the entire instrument has a clear-as-glass gloss finish. Overall, it’s well made with the quality that Yamaha’s known for.
Acoustically, it has an excellent balance, with plenty of low end that is big and rings true. The mid-range is nice and tight, while very familiar in tone. It’s got that punch that D-style guitars are known for. It plays like a dream, with excellent fretwork, and an overall comfortable feel. Chords are big and rich, and there is plenty of cut when digging in single notes, without getting brittle.
So, here’s where it differs. It does have a Piezo pickup in the bridge, with a simple bespoke volume control. Push and hold it, and a little green LED inside the guitar lights up. Beside the volume control is a reverb knob, and the other side, a chorus knob. Yes, onboard effects, Plug it into the PA/mixer/Acoustic amp and the acoustic signal now has some excellent effects. HOWEVER…
When it’s unplugged these effects are still available. YES, the reverb and chorus come through the sound hole. Magic. It’s like these little effect gnomes live in the guitar. Both the reverb and chorus are suited for the acoustic guitar areas, and using the guitar unplugged with them engaged makes you think you’re getting punked. They don’t go anywhere into the ridiculous area, they’re calibrated to bring that extra dimension that makes sense to the instrument. Want that modulation to give that extra shimmer, without having to get a 12 string? Yep, it’s got that. A nice dimensional reverb that can give you that extra depth that works with an acoustic? It’s in there. It is quite odd to hear these effects coming out of the sound hole in a truly acoustic setting. It’s a refreshing and overall excellent usable feature, that’s implemented tastefully well, either through the sound hole or a PA/acoustic amp.
For a singer/songwriter this plays and sounds fantastically, and the effects offer up an inspirational quality to make the player want to keep writing, because it sounds so good. Using this for gigs is a no brainer. Performers that lug around some effects box to add chorus and reverb, could easily dump that part of their rig with this guitar. Yamaha always builds well-crafted instruments, and the added effects take things to a new level on this guitar.
straight up magic sorcery going on in the sound hole.