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  • The return of the Yamaha red labels...

    Yamaha has released a new line of "red label" acoustics.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	fg5-4f81162c.jpg Views:	1 Size:	51.3 KB ID:	32510891


    https://www.harmonycentral.com/news/...oustic-guitars


    Are they any good? IDK - they look like they're a bit more upscale than the originals (solid wood tops, etc.) but I'll have to wait until the review unit loaner that I just requested arrives and I have the opportunity to check one out... stay tuned.
    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

  • #2
    I should send you my original Fg-150 for comparison. Oh, and I paid a hundred bucks for it in 1969

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Yamaha 1970.jpg Views:	1 Size:	233.5 KB ID:	32510980
    Last edited by Freeman Keller; 04-25-2019, 07:48 PM.

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    • #3
      Freeman! Get Phil to send you the new model to check out.... what the hey, loan a loaner.... or maybe Phil could drop by for a visit with the new one. Don't know where he is based, but bet you guys could have fun. Make a podcast or something so can write off for taxes... your 69 pic looks just like me then.... I bet I could fool some friends with that (but won't)
      I was kicked out of music class for passing notes...
      Tuned out, turned in and dropped off

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      • #4
        I think it's excellent product management. They've milked most of the mystique out of the old ones, now they're putting a lid in it by re-releasing them with 2019 quality and solid tops. I'd love to try a new FG180.

        Comment


        • #5
          I like how they subtly acknowledge that the original FGs were under- braced which gave them that extra bottom end but caused them to belly so badly.

          Here they're talking about the bracing refinements:

          "With careful measurement and experimentation, we made several refinements that would enhance low-frequency response without compromising durability."

          Comment


          • #6
            I just hope they used glue that comes apart with a little heat and moisture this time.
            Last edited by Freeman Keller; 04-26-2019, 10:19 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
              I just hope they used glue that comes apart with a little heat and moisture this time.
              That's probably something I won't be able to test, but I can definitely ask them what type of glue they're using.

              Have you ever had any issues with your vintage red label Yamaha Freeman?

              **********

              "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
              - George Carlin

              "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
              - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

              "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
              - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

              Comment


              • #8
                I've worked on at least 10 old FGs now and all of them were lightly braced and quite bellied. It's what gives them that strong bass response that made them stand out despite the laminate tops.

                The glue reference from Freeman is about them using epoxy on them which makes it impossible to do a traditional neck reset. They're solid as tanks though.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post

                  That's probably something I won't be able to test, but I can definitely ask them what type of glue they're using.

                  Have you ever had any issues with your vintage red label Yamaha Freeman?

                  My only issue has been that my guitar needed a neck reset and I couldn't do it. I ended up sawing the neck off and converting to bolt on (I did a thread here a long time ago). Sometimes forumite CTGull (who maintains the vintage Yamie web site) claims he can get them apart - I don't even try any more. Which really is too bad since there are quite a few of them out there that otherwise would be pretty nice guitars.

                  From reading your little review its pretty obvious that the new ones are not in the spirit of the original - solid torrefied tops, some sort of electronics with a weird name, and a price than no broke hippie college student could afford. And do the labels say Nippon Gakki?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
                    My only issue has been that my guitar needed a neck reset and I couldn't do it. I ended up sawing the neck off and converting to bolt on (I did a thread here a long time ago). Sometimes forumite CTGull (who maintains the vintage Yamie web site) claims he can get them apart - I don't even try any more. Which really is too bad since there are quite a few of them out there that otherwise would be pretty nice guitars.
                    I wonder what kind of glue they were using on them back then? That really sux if you can't do a neck-reset when it becomes necessary. Then again, they were never super-expensive guitars to begin with... Yamaha probably thought of them as being, or becoming disposable by the time they'd need that kind of work done on them since a new one wouldn't cost much more than the neck reset work.

                    From reading your little review its pretty obvious that the new ones are not in the spirit of the original - solid torrefied tops, some sort of electronics with a weird name, and a price than no broke hippie college student could afford. And do the labels say Nippon Gakki?
                    What you read was Yamaha's news announcement - a press release - my review will come later. I haven't even received the loaner yet, so I haven't played one or even seen one in person yet; I just learned about them myself... but based on their blurb about it, it does sound like it's a higher-end guitar than the very affordable (at the time) originals.

                    I have no idea if the labels say Nippon Gakki on them or not. That will probably depend on who is actually building the new ones, and where.

                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      FWIW My FG500 was made in 1972 and my FG340-II was made in 1979 and neither neck needs a reset and neither has any bellying.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The skuttlebutt is that the glue was some kind of epoxy, CTGull says it releaseds with enough heat and steam but many of us who have worked on them haven't had much luck. I've turned down several - sawing the neck off is pretty invasive but it does work.

                        For a short time I had an old Yamie 12 string - I want to say the model number was FG-230. It needed a reset but I didn't understand that at the time, all I knew is that it was darn hard to play. Sold it and bought a Martin 12 which also needed a reset (but I understood by that time) - what a difference.

                        Old Yamies have almost a cult following - both because they actually sound pretty darn good for a plywood guitar and because it was almost an icon for those of us trying to learn guitar in the 1960's. Walk into any hippie dippie's apartment - there was a Greatful Dead poster on the wall, a half dead rubber plant in a pot and an FG-something leaning up against the wall.

                        It will be interesting to see what you think of it, Phil.
                        Last edited by Freeman Keller; 04-26-2019, 06:01 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Based on the specs and my own positive experience in recent times (both my brother and I play Yamaha LL6 acoustics in our duo) I'd expect these to be fantastic guitars. I'm tempted.

                          Every once in a while we pull out our FG180s for a bit of nostalgia, but they really lack beautiful mids and overtones. We used to think they were amazing.

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                          • #14
                            I taught myself to finger pick on my 1st guitar (FG-230) and I think I remember it priced at $135.00 with a cardboard case. That was late 72.
                            - The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H.L. Mencken

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                            • #15
                              The Red Labels are supposed to be in stores in June or July. Look pretty good and are all solid wood. They as will have scalloped braces That is unjusjual fr Yamaha.
                              Instruments:
                              Custom Dreadnaught Solid Hog

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