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  • Yamaha SE guitars? Anyone have any experience?

    I've seen a few of the lower end models (they seem like cool shred guitars with a single/hum combo).



    Anyone actually have one? I can't seem to find any reviews online.
    Originally posted by fu2jobu"1999 was all about me wanting to find Lou Bega and giving him a few good bitch slaps. "FS/FT - LTD Mirage guitar with EMG pickups. (MIJ)http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Electric-Guitars/FS-FT-LTD-Mirage-guitar-emg-pickups/m-p/36167161/highlight/false#M290782

  • #2
    They were nice at the time,felt good,PAFvoiced humbuckers,many favors.
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    • #3


      I own three Yamaha SE models -- SE-150 (single humbucker, vintage tremolo unit), SE-250 (bridge humbucker, neck single coil, proprietary two-point tremolo unit), and a SE-350 (bridge humbucker, middle single coil, neck single coil, proprietary two-point tremolo unit).

      These are mid-80s vintage, very Fender-Strat-like body shape and contours (i.e. -- nothing like a Pacifica), heavy all nato construction (Asian mahogany), painted necks, all made in Yamaha's Taiwan factory.

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      • #4
        I see a lot of the cheaper ones for around $100 or so and have been very tempted.
        Originally posted by fu2jobu"1999 was all about me wanting to find Lou Bega and giving him a few good bitch slaps. "FS/FT - LTD Mirage guitar with EMG pickups. (MIJ)http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Electric-Guitars/FS-FT-LTD-Mirage-guitar-emg-pickups/m-p/36167161/highlight/false#M290782

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        • #5






          Quote Originally Posted by chimi
          View Post

          I see a lot of the cheaper ones for around $100 or so and have been very tempted.








          I see used SEs around from time to time. Unfortunately they all look to be either modified or battered. Mine are basically time capsule specimens that I've hung onto for years.



          Actually, I own one more SE that I initially forgot about.



          It's an SE-203M, which is the same as the rest of my SE models except it has 3 strat single coils and a contoured neck joint, vintage tremolo unit, clear poly finished maple neck, and a maple fingerboard.


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          • #6
            So the higher the number the better the model? Or are the numbers just arbitrary with these?
            Originally posted by fu2jobu"1999 was all about me wanting to find Lou Bega and giving him a few good bitch slaps. "FS/FT - LTD Mirage guitar with EMG pickups. (MIJ)http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Electric-Guitars/FS-FT-LTD-Mirage-guitar-emg-pickups/m-p/36167161/highlight/false#M290782

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            • #7
              The number system is Quality Level - number of humbuckers - number of single coils. So, a 203 model would be one level up from cheapest and have 3 single coils.
              Originally Posted by buddhapaugh


              Rocking the spandex AND the depends!

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              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by Yarbicus
                View Post

                The number system is Quality Level - number of humbuckers - number of single coils. So, a 203 model would be one level up from cheapest and have 3 single coils.




                Not to be a smart-ass, but what you're talking about is grade, not quality. They're all the same quality. It's a little pet peeve of mine.

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                • #9






                  Quote Originally Posted by koiwoi
                  View Post

                  Not to be a smart-ass, but what you're talking about is grade, not quality. They're all the same quality. It's a little pet peeve of mine.




                  Whatever you say, chief.



                  I have to say that the SE series is my least favorite of the Yamaha. They just feel like a clunkier Strat and done of the colors are truly awful. This is coming from a die hard Yamaholc, too. I just prefer the PAC and RGX guitars.
                  Originally Posted by buddhapaugh


                  Rocking the spandex AND the depends!

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                  • #10
                    Well a while back I posted here about the SE603MA I got on eBay a couple of years ago. Really cool guitar. The only caveat being Yamaha's RM Pro bridge on some models that is a propiertary design which often will have missing or worn parts.







                    IIRC I posted this 1988 catalog page from the active models in the higher end SE line.



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                    • Jkater
                      Jkater commented
                      Editing a comment

                      k_strat wrote:
                      Well a while back I posted here about the SE603MA I got on eBay a couple of years ago. Really cool guitar. The only caveat being Yamaha's RM Pro bridge on some models that is a propiertary design which often will have missing or worn parts.



                      IIRC I posted this 1988 catalog page from the active models in the higher end SE line.


                      Wow! the 1212 has a through neck. I love that heel. sleek as hell.


                  • #11






                    Quote Originally Posted by k_strat
                    View Post

                    Well a while back I posted here about the SE603MA I got on eBay a couple of years ago. Really cool guitar. The only caveat being Yamaha's RM Pro bridge on some models that is a propiertary design which often will have missing or worn parts.







                    IIRC I posted this 1988 catalog page from the active models in the higher end SE line.







                    Nice! Yamaha active circuits are great and maple boards are more rare.
                    Originally Posted by buddhapaugh


                    Rocking the spandex AND the depends!

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                    • #12
                      I own both an SE150 (swapped out the pup for a Dean Mountain of Tone, swapped out the bridge for a GFS, & Gotoh tuners), plays & sounds great.

                      And also a SE700HE w/ 2 Spinex steel pole piece HBs,coil splitting, all stock, and what he said about trying to find locking trem parts for them. This guitar is heavy but sounds good to, just don't play it often.
                      Certified Yamaholic

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                      • Lonnie99
                        Lonnie99 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thread revival! Just picked up an SE350H at a pawn shop for $42.80.

                    • #13

                      I Actually have two Yamaha SE-350 guitars.  I originally bought a red model as a backup guitar to my Strat, and to my astonishment, the guitar sounded wonderful.  The strong point is the Humbucker which has the coil tap making it a single coil.  I almost always use the Humbucker mostly in it.   The guitar along with other single coil types suffers from the 60 cycle hum, but I never changed it.  It became more of a workhorse guitar.  Once the strings were locked both at the bridge/ tremolo and at the Nut, I rarely if ever needed to tune it during a show.

                      I found a White model on ebay a few years ago and paid probably 125.00 for it and it was in almost mint condition.  Wonderful instruments.......  Over the years the Red one has had an issue in that it's frequency has changed and I don't get as much as a gulpy sound from the Humbucker and not sure if it is the coil tap switch / volume control or the pickup itself.  I have been considering perusing Ebay for one which I can use as parts...

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                      • #14
                        I have to say that the SE series is my least favorite of the Yamaha. They just feel like a clunkier Strat and done of the colors are truly awful. This is coming from a die hard Yamaholc, too. I just prefer the PAC and RGX guitars.
                        As a Yamaholic myself, I could not disagree more. I bought an SE612a a couple years ago for under $300, HSS configuration, and it blew away the USA made Fender Strats I was considering at under 1/3 the price. 1985, I think. Made in Japan, not Taiwan. I was so impressed by these older Yamahas that I proceeded to get a 1989 Pacifica 712 and a 1990 Pacifica 912; however, neither of those impressed me, both were made in Taiwan. They were okay, but the SE612a was like a piece of art. The one-color curved body is really exquisite, makes the more squared off models seem clunky and ugly to me. The trem system was set up really nice so I could go up or down with ease and it stayed in tune very well (though missing the locking, height-adjustable nut piece, the tuners are good enough to stay in tune well when using tremolo bar).

                        I sold the two Pacificas and bought a second SE612 -- not a 612a (no active battery-boost) in the gun metal blue and it also looks great; however, some one set it up with an extra spring on the tremolo making for a very tight pull, with the result that you cannot flex it into the body cavity (i.e., pull up on the arm) but only can push down...but that limitation (if you call it that since most people tend to use the trem in just that direction anyway) was somewhat offset by the fact that when you push down on the trem, the notes REALLY dive, so the same push on both these 612's will make this blue one dive a lot further. So, basically, it has more range than my other 612, but only in one direction. Great for dive-bombing and really extreme trem, and the other is great for more nuanced warbling and using trem both directions. So both have their places.

                        The electronics on these two 612s are different. The 612a has a switch for coil splitting the bridge humbucker whereas the 612 you push / pull the tone knob for the same effect. And the 612a has an extra knob "mid-boost" which I guess is linked to the 9 volt battery it takes to give it active boost. The pickups are also different. The 612a has covered pups with Yamaha logo on them, very clean look. The 612 has exposed poles on the pups, more raw look.

                        Oh, I should add that I kept exploring Yamahas, had an SG1500 for a while and sold it, and bought an SJ550HR about six months ago. The SJ is a rare beast, looks a LOT like a telecaster body shape, but again one-color and more rounded / sculpted, like the way the SE was a more rounded/sculpted strat body shape in one color. The result is, to me, a thing of beauty. Also made in mid-80s in Japan, with similar fast neck, great frets. No trem, and it comes with two humbuckers that are coil split or tapped or whatever. Sometimes I like to palm mute a lot and a trem system gets in the way for that, and this SJ fits perfectly. So my "keeper" guitars are the SE612a (white), the SE612 (blue-gun metal) and the SJ550HR (eggplant/purple/brownish). The color of the SJ is hard to describe and moves between brown and purple based on lighting but is mostly a cool eggplant color.

                        I saw a really cheap red SE150 on Ebay and was sorely tempted since it has the same beautiful body / clean look as the SE612 and I like the simplicity of one pickup for a change, but I'm concerned if it's made in Taiwan that I won't like it. From my experience, I've been happier with the Japanese factory's output. (The SJ was also made in Japan.) I've seen some higher end RGX's / RGZ's that were very nice looking from late 80s, early 90s, but have not personally played one. Since I was disappointed with the mid-high end Pacificas I tried, I'm wary of the RGX's and RGZ's.

                        Given the quality of these SE612's, I'm actually very interested in trying an even higher end SE like the SE912 or SE1212 or SE1221 or SE921 or SE903 or 1203 (actually not sure just what all combinations they made) to see how those compare to SE612...my guess is they would be pretty amazing if they are better build quality or higher end parts, woods, etc., compared to the SE612's.

                        Ken

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by ken2esq View Post
                          As a Yamaholic myself, I could not disagree more. . . .
                          It's nice that you like Yamahas but resurrecting a two year old thread isn't the best way to say so. The discussion has essentially been dead since December, 2012.
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