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  • Yamaha FG450S, any good?

    Hi there,
    I currently have a line on a Yamaha FG450S.
    Now I know that the older laminated Yamaha acoustics are highly regarded and everyone on here seems to love the newer solid top FGs, but it's kind of hard to find info on the 450S.
    It's a solid top, obviously, made in Taiwan sometime in the mid 80s, but that's all I know.
    How do these compare to Yamahas newer line-up and what would be a fair price for one?

  • #2
    Anyone?

    Comment


    • #3
      Where are all the Yamaha experts when you need them?

      Have you looked at it, and played it? How is the action? Do the strings sit pretty high off the fingerboard, up the neck toward the twelfth fret? How much of the saddle is still showing above the bridge? Is there any evidence of "bellying", bulging around the bridge area? How straight is the neck? What is the condition of the frets?

      It is an eighties vintage guitar. 20 plus years of string tension and use have likely taken a toll on it. Worst of all, the neck joint may have yielded some to this tension. If so, the guitar needs a neck set... a very expensive proposition. Those old Yamahas can be nice guitars, but if they have problems like these, they are heartbreakers.

      Unless you can be assured that the guitar is sound, walk away from it and find something newer.

      I'm not really qualified to say much about value other than a guess. In good playable condition, it might be worth two, two fifty. If it has above mentioned problems, a hundred or so, tops.
      __________________________________________________ _________
      Proud reject from the HCAG Civil Posters Society.

      Comment


      • #4
        I found the guitar in the classifieds online so sadly no, I can't look at it in person.
        Waiting for some photos of all the significant details at the moment and I'll take your warning to heart and request as much info as possible.
        The seller isn't a guitar player so maybe I can work out a nice price in light of the risks I take by buying such an old guitar sight unseen from a person who couldn't tell if anything was wrong with it.

        Is it really that likely that the guitar might be unplayable? I always thought only the really old laminated Yamahas had a reputation for ****************ty playability because the material and glue used were cheap. Are all Yamahas notorious for the necks warping with time?

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        • #5
          From the Yamaha database:

          SPECIFICATIONS:

          FG450S

          No Model Entered...
          Year(s) Sold: 1985-89
          Original MSRP(US$): $419.00
          Top: Solid Spruce
          Back / Sides: Ovangkol
          Neck: Nato
          Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood
          Bridge: Indian Rosewood
          Color(s): Natural
          Tuners: Chrome
          Notes: Dove Logo, Switched to Leaf Logo in 87


          I'm guessing the seller won't be able to tell you much; try getting a few neck profile photos. OTOH, 20 years is nothing for a Yamaha. They're built like tanks. Odds are, if it wasn't badly mistreated, left outside in the rain, or used as a chew toy, it's going to be playable. It may need a setup, but assuming the neck is OK, it could be a great guitar.

          I've owned similar, MIT, solid-top models from that period (FG-750S and FG-411S). Both were terrific players.

          Still prefer my older FG-180 and FG-200, however.

          Comment


          • #6
            A guitar with neck joint problems is still "playable" I guess, but fretting the strings above the first few frets will be difficult because of the abnormal string height caused by the neck joint problems. It's not so much neck warping as it is the neck joint itself yielding or bending under the pressure of six strings pulling on it continuously for over twenty years.

            It usually costs a minimum of $350 to reset a neck. Additionally, Yamaha guitars were put together with epoxy glue that can't be removed by the usual procedures, and this severely complicates repair attempts. You can see that there is little wisdom in spending more money on repairs than the guitar is worth.

            Problems like these can happen to any guitar. The older the guitar, the more likely problems are.

            I don't want to be too discouraging. It might be a great old guitar. It pays to make sure though.
            __________________________________________________ _________
            Proud reject from the HCAG Civil Posters Society.

            Comment


            • #7
              Problems like these can happen to any guitar. The older the guitar, the more likely problems are.
              OK, I gotcha. Is there any way to diagnose problems like this over the web? Anything apart from the basics that I could ask for or request photos of?
              I mean, I know buying the thing over the internet isn't the wisest move, but I at least want to do everything I can to be as certain as possible I'm not getting a piece of trash here.

              Comment


              • #8
                OK, I gotcha. Is there any way to diagnose problems like this over the web? Anything apart from the basics that I could ask for or request photos of?
                I mean, I know buying the thing over the internet isn't the wisest move, but I at least want to do everything I can to be as certain as possible I'm not getting a piece of trash here.


                Ask the seller for photographs clearly showing the action height at the 12th fret, and the height of the saddle above the bridge. High action and a low saddle means it needs a neck reset. The very best way to tell, is to lay a straightedge on the frets with the strings on, tuned to pitch; the straightedge needs to be long enough to touch the bridge. It should land right on top of the bridge body, or just a hair below.

                Anymore, when I do Yamaha neck resets, I saw the neck off the body with a Japanese pullsaw, after loosening the fingerboard tongue, and convert it to a bolt-on.
                A problem with these later, 80's Yamahas, is the very heavy finish, which has to be scored all the way through to the wood, or it wall crack off in chunks, getting the neck out, though this is mitigated a good bit when doing a saw-off reset.

                Here's some photos of a reset on an FG180: http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm91/yundev/FG180%20reset/?action=view&current=PB180180.jpg#!oZZ3QQcurrentZZ http%3A%2F%2Fs294.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fmm91% 2Fyundev%2FFG180%2520reset%2F%3Faction%3Dview%26cu rrent%3DPB170165.jpg

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                • #9
                  I always thought only the really old laminated Yamahas had a reputation for ****************ty playability because the material and glue used were cheap.


                  Wrong.


                  Are all Yamahas notorious for the necks warping with time?


                  No, but they are notorious for having to have neck resets, which have nothing to do with neck bow or trussrods.

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                  • #10
                    My brother and I use 2 FG450SA dreads as our main "purely acoustic" guitars in our duo. They're basically an FG450S with abalone binding. They sound beautiful and really fill a room in terms of volume. I made a few changes to ours, like bone nut and saddle, plus I ramped the bridge slots to get a good break angle to drive the top.

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                    • #11
                      Requested photos of everything you guys told me to, thanks! I'll post them as soon as they arrive. Fingers crossed it's in good shape, seems like it could be a great guitar.

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                      • #12
                        OK, here's the pictures: http://imgur.com/a/n0DO4/all#0

                        Do those look okay?

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                        • #13
                          Pix no work for me? The main thing I look for is the bound headstock and rosewood overlay. They also have black painted rosewood bridges.

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                          • #14










                            Do they work now?

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                            • #15
                              Those pictures don't tell the full story, but they are probably the best you are going to get. Based on what I see there, the guitar looks to be in pretty good shape. Maybe not perfect, but not bad. The strings look a wee bit high at the twelfth fret, but not too bad. And there appears to be plenty of material at the saddle. A good setup by a guitar tech would probably make a good player out of that.

                              But don't take my word for it. Wait and see what Yamaneck thinks.

                              What is the seller asking for it?
                              __________________________________________________ _________
                              Proud reject from the HCAG Civil Posters Society.

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