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Dating This Yamaha FG 75 (HELP)


rockabillygirl
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:confused:

I just picked up a vintage FG 75, and i am having a tough time figuring out when it was made. I've read where they were manufactured from 1968 thru 1974. I've read about red labels, tan labels, and how production was shifted to Taiwan in 1972 and red labels were changed to tan. I've also read where some red labels weren't made in Japan, but in Taiwan. Okay, here is something I haven't been able to find info about. My guitar has a tan label, and it says "Nippon Gakki", and it also says "made in Japan". Also, as far as the serial number inside the sound hole, the number is only 5 digits. The guitar looks like all the other FG 75's i've seen (online photos), and when I got it it was covered in a layer of dust. I cleaned it up, and amazingly it looks like it has hardly ever been played, darn near perfect shape, action is low, even the pickguard looks nearly new. The guitar itself sounds great, just like in the reviews. Anyhow, I really do love this little guitar, and am curious to find out more about it. Thanks

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Yamaha had a whole bunch of labels, the very first laminates to follow the S series Dynamics had light green labels, which may appear to be tan these days... as well as lebels that were tan...but there were only two FG models at first. I have an early 70s FG-175 thats pretty nice. It`s not easy getting precise dates for early Yamahas, and my earliest Dynamic goes back to the mid 50s from what I`ve been told on line here, we may have to be satisfied with ballpark dates for em and once the laminate floodgates were opened, there were so many models that it`s hard to keep track of all of them. Don`t let the 5 digit serial fool you, by the 70s Yamaha had been building acoustics for a couple of decades...maybe more nobody really knows for sure. I have a couple of books with extensive articles on Yamaha and even the Japanese authors have difficulty getting data or finding people who are still around that were involved with those 50s and 60s models. I have some older MIJ electrics too and record keeping does not seem to have been a priority even in the 80s. Best we can do is exchange the data we have from our guitars and try to build some kind of base from there.

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Well, the serial # doesn't work at the Yamaha site, the model was made from 1968 thru 1974. I reckon mine falls somewhere in that period. Maybe the label was greenish before, maybe not, I can't really tell. Maybe it was an early one right before they started using red labels.(maybe that would explain the 5 digit serial #) Maybe after they started manufacturing in Taiwan they still made a few in Japan at the old factory. I suppose it really doesn't matter much. I do know this guitar was barely played before I got it, so whenever it was made it spent a lot of time in a case. It almost looks like new. Too bad too because it really is a terrific instrument. My other guitars hate it because it seems to be all I play since I got it :love: . I think I can understand the fanfare over the Yamaha Nippon Gakki FG series. Great sounding instruments, great value. One of these days I wanna try one of those Fg 180's and pretend i'm Elliot Smith :idea:

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I'm not positive about the 6 strings but all I've seen have been 8 digit serial numbers. I also know that I can no longer see all the numbers on my FG150 that I purchased new, I think in '71, ight have been '70 but was definitely purchased over there, so your guitar may be the same way.

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there was more than likely some overlap of label colors, as for serials my oldest Dynamic has a 4 digit number. They did not shift all manufacturing to Taiwan and they still make acoustics in Japan today. Every Yamaha acoustic I have says where it was made on the label...can`t say they all do `cause I haven`t seen em all yet...they don`t all say the country but if it says Hamamatsu I know it`s in Japan...its usually not difficult finding out where they were made unless the label is missing. My books have a very good list of years when certain models were introduced but they don`t mention when they ended.

With the Dynamics the labels went through many changes and finding a ballpark year depends on the label . Like I said once they perfected the laminating process, tons of models came out over the years.

There s a pic of an FG-75 taken from an English catalog in one of my books, they say it has a maple body and spruce top, nato neck with rosewood f/board, and rosewood bridge. Listed at $65.oo new at the time and featured the exclusive Yamaha dynamic bracing system...theres that word dynamic again...I have read the Dynamic guitar bracing system was patented by Mr. Kintoki...but that probably goes back to their beginning which ecidently is early 50s, but Yamaha must have really liked the term dynamic...not sure if the FG-75s had the Dynamic bracing system or the dynamic bracing. Since the pic in the book has English info I`m guessing maybe the 75 was an export model.

Anyhow...since you have the years they were made, and now know what they are made of and how much they cost, you may have to settle for that. I`m not sure how many books were ever written on Yamaha, I only have the 8 volume series called Japan Vintage and they cover some electrics as well as acoustics... a lot more electrics actually... and there may be books that are out of print as well...I look around the used book stores but don`t find much on guitars. Have found 80s magazines with ads for certain MIJ electrics I collect but not much info on em. Man there was some bad hair in the 80s eh?

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I have the same guitar, same lable . Bought mine new 1971

mine has a serial # 40924 Yamaha service could not look up serial number.

M.S.R.P. 109.50 / Top laminated spruce / Back & sides Agithis / Neck Nato / Fingerboard Indian rosewood / made fron 1968-1974 the lable reads :

 

Yamaha

FG-75

Nippon Gakki , LTD

10.1 Nakazawacho Hamamatsu Japan

Made in Japan

 

Hamamatsu is a city in Japan / its where the Yamaha custom shop is located.

Nippon Gakki is the company

The sought after lables are the onesthat clearly state the guitar was built in Japan . The color is not the important factor! Some red lables were not built in Japan.

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:confused:
I just picked up a vintage FG 75, and i am having a tough time figuring out when it was made. I've read where they were manufactured from 1968 thru 1974. I've read about red labels, tan labels, and how production was shifted to Taiwan in 1972 and red labels were changed to tan. I've also read where some red labels weren't made in Japan, but in Taiwan. Okay, here is something I haven't been able to find info about. My guitar has a tan label, and it says "Nippon Gakki", and it also says "made in Japan". Also, as far as the serial number inside the sound hole, the number is only 5 digits. The guitar looks like all the other FG 75's i've seen (online photos), and when I got it it was covered in a layer of dust. I cleaned it up, and amazingly it looks like it has hardly ever been played, darn near perfect shape, action is low, even the pickguard looks nearly new. The guitar itself sounds great, just like in the reviews. Anyhow, I really do love this little guitar, and am curious to find out more about it. Thanks

 

Where exactly in the soundhole did you get the serial number? My 1974 has two numbers in there. One stamped on the top brace that is right under the end of the bottom of the fingerboard adjacent to the sound hole. But there is another serial-looking number stamped onto the neck block which is the square chunk of wood with chamfered edges that is further down (2") under the neck area. That second number is very visable and I have seen it mistaken for the serial number. It is only 7 digits in my guitar whereas the actual serial number up on the top brace is the usual 8 digit.

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Where exactly in the soundhole did you get the serial number? My 1974 has two numbers in there. One stamped on the top brace that is right under the end of the bottom of the fingerboard adjacent to the sound hole. But there is another serial-looking number stamped onto the neck block which is the square chunk of wood with chamfered edges that is further down (2") under the neck area. That second number is very visable and I have seen it mistaken for the serial number. It is only 7 digits in my guitar whereas the actual serial number up on the top brace is the usual 8 digit.

 

:thu: A common mistake.

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I have the same guitar, same lable . Bought mine new 1971

mine has a serial # 40924 Yamaha service could not look up serial number.

M.S.R.P. 109.50 / Top laminated spruce / Back & sides Agithis / Neck Nato / Fingerboard Indian rosewood / made fron 1968-1974 the lable reads :


Yamaha

FG-75

Nippon Gakki , LTD

10.1 Nakazawacho Hamamatsu Japan

Made in Japan


Hamamatsu is a city in Japan / its where the Yamaha custom shop is located.

Nippon Gakki is the company

The sought after lables are the onesthat clearly state the guitar was built in Japan . The color is not the important factor! Some red lables were not built in Japan.

 

Thanks for the information.

 

I got one of these in a trade 2 days ago. It has a tan label with the same Nippon Gakki - made in Japan info as yours. Serial number: 41008.

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The FG75 was a student-sized guitar first introduced in the late 60's. Serial system A6 used from 1946 to 1968 was purely sequential and was composed of 5 digits.

 

Serial system A7, used from 1969 to 1984 for guitars from the Tenryu/Wada factory used a 6 digit system = YYMMXX where XX is the unit number.

 

Serial system A9, used from 1971-2001 for guitars from Taiwan used an 8 digit system = YMMDDXXX where XXX is the unit number.

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my book says...the FG-75 was introduced in March 1969. There is a pic of an English catalog page stating the guitar retailed for $65.oo though they don`t say what year the pic is from, they call it a folk guitar.

Serials may not be as cut and dry as that...I have an early `50s Dynamic with a 3 digit serial, own others with 4 and some with 5, by 1960 they`d reached 6 digits according to info I`ve read. The Yamaha Dynamic web site has a list of members guitars and so far my 3 digit serial seems to be the oldest, haven`t listed my guitars because of the language thing and I`m not going to ask my wife to list 29 guitars...I`m too young to die eh... can`t say there aren`t any other 3 digit serial Yamahas out there, must be some, but so far mine is the only one I`m aware of. How can there be 1950s Yamahas when their factory only came on line mid `60s?...some new data points to Suzuki building some Dynamics for Yamaha, which Suzuki isn`t clear, there were 2 possibly 3 Suzukis making guitars, but the oldest is the Suzuki Violin company. Mr. Hideo Ueda from their automotive division was assigned to develop their guitar factory in `64/`65, seems the FG-75 may have been one of their first export model FGs, there were some Dynamics that were sold overseas as well before that. They say the Dynamic prototype was made in 1952 and in `54 some were made in Tenryu. Of corse this is all subject to change `cause new info is added all the time but right now thats whats what, and data on old Yamahas seems to be difficult for the Japanese guys to gather let alone gaijins living thousands of miles away who don`t speak the language. But slowly more and more is revealed and it`s very interesting for me since I own a lot of old Yamahas and am curious about em. If more comes to light I`ll post what I read.

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The FG75 was a student-sized guitar first introduced in the late 60's. Serial system A6 used from 1946 to 1968 was purely sequential and was composed of 5 digits.


Serial system A7, used from 1969 to 1984 for guitars from the Tenryu/Wada factory used a 6 digit system = YYMMXX where XX is the unit number.


Serial system A9, used from 1971-2001 for guitars from Taiwan used an 8 digit system = YMMDDXXX where XXX is the unit number.

 

So my 41008 serial number places this guitar as being built in 1968?

 

Wow, that makes it 41 years old. It's in very good condition for being that old. I don't think I will feel comfortable using it as a beater guitar as I planned.

 

It sounds pretty good and has a straight neck with a solid neck joint. The frets have some wear but it plays buzz free.

 

I think I may look at trading it for a newer FG (solid top).....

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So my 41008 serial number places this guitar as being built in 1968?

 

It's 5 digits so the serial system is A6 which uses no date codes. Yours is guitar number 41,008 from the time that they started putting serial numbers in 1946 (for the Japan factory, not the Japan custom workshop). What you can be certain is that it was made before or in 1968.

 

I pulled this info from the appendix of "The History of Yamaha Guitars". It explains how to decode all the serials. Unfortunately, it doesn't state the specific year that the FG-75 was released.

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FYI, Yamaha had 17 serial number systems for acoustics, 13 for electrics/archtops/bass, and a sequence code for the SG/SX/BB series. It all depended on what period and which factory/workshop the guitar came from.

 

Makes me wonder how many Yamaha guitars were ever produced since they started.

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heres a little more for youse to ignore...should be noted that data on old Yamahas is constantly updated with new stuff coming out of research by dedicated lovers of old Yamahas in Japan...but don`t take my word for it, buy the books I know they show up on e-bay `cause members at other sites interested in older MIJ electrics have bought them, they feature articles on many builders.

On page 76 of the Japan Vintage guitar volume #1 published by Shinko Music in 2005, they first mention the FG-75 in March 1969, I`ll get my wife to read the entire short blurb to see what else they say. There is an extensive article with pics on early Yamahas from the first Dynamics to the FGs, theres even an interview with Mr. Ueda as well in that book. They have a similar extended article on early L and LL series Yamahas, with dates and construction data in the Japan Vintage series vol. 1 on electrics from page 85 to 103. The FG-75 is mentioned along with the FG-180, 140, 150, 110, 300 and 230 models under the March 1969 date. 1966 was the first year for Yamaha factory made acoustics, prior to that they were evidently made by other builders for Yamaha...hard to say much with 100% certainty before Yamaha opened their own factory, things are sketchy so reading as much as possible is a great but not foolproof way of collecting data plus, it is entirely possible models and serials differed on domestics and exports, I know some Dynamics looked different in headstock logos and colors...on page 76 with the pic of the FG-75, which is by the way in English leading me to believe it was certainly an export, but I am continually surprised here, the FG-75 was listed as featuring the " exclusive dynamic bracing"... their quotation marks not mine...a hint to the early pre FG models?...possibly, I`ve read before the bracing system used on Dynamics was patented by the company. I have a 1948 Suzuki nylon string so their involvement with the earliest Yamahas is not that far fetched, in fact I own several other old MIJ nylons by other makers which bear a resemblance to the `48 Suzuki, they may have had their hands in other brands too. Recently got two more old Suzukis too, no dates on them but they have the same diamond cut bracing as one other I`ve owned for a while so I took a chance with them on line and have been pleased with the results. Didn`t post pics `cause it`s a bit like crying wolf eh, folks get bored of the same old NGD threads, anyways I buy em to please myself not garner accolads from members on web sites but I can tell youse, if you come across an old Suzuki with diamond cut bracing, give it a spin, you may be surprised...the bracing kinda looks like furniture molding, but I have 3 now so perhaps those were a seperate line or something. Anyways...like I said before, when I find more Yammaha data I`ll post it everywhere Yamaha lovers congregate, every little bit helps, however it`s hard for me to say anything I read is certain, reading one or two books on any topic doesn`t make one an expert eh, theres always wiggle room for me.

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heres a little more for youse to ignore...should be noted that data on old Yamahas is constantly updated with new stuff coming out of research by dedicated lovers of old Yamahas in Japan...but don`t take my word for it, buy the books I know they show up on e-bay `cause members at other sites interested in older MIJ electrics have bought them, they feature articles on many builders.

On page 76 of the Japan Vintage guitar volume #1 published by Shinko Music in 2005, they first mention the FG-75 in March 1969, I`ll get my wife to read the entire short blurb to see what else they say. There is an extensive article with pics on early Yamahas from the first Dynamics to the FGs, theres even an interview with Mr. Ueda as well in that book. They have a similar extended article on early L and LL series Yamahas, with dates and construction data in the Japan Vintage series vol. 1 on electrics from page 85 to 103. The FG-75 is mentioned along with the FG-180, 140, 150, 110, 300 and 230 models under the March 1969 date. 1966 was the first year for Yamaha factory made acoustics, prior to that they were evidently made by other builders for Yamaha...hard to say much with 100% certainty before Yamaha opened their own factory, things are sketchy so reading as much as possible is a great but not foolproof way of collecting data plus, it is entirely possible models and serials differed on domestics and exports, I know some Dynamics looked different in headstock logos and colors...on page 76 with the pic of the FG-75, which is by the way in English leading me to believe it was certainly an export, but I am continually surprised here, the FG-75 was listed as featuring the " exclusive dynamic bracing"... their quotation marks not mine...a hint to the early pre FG models?...possibly, I`ve read before the bracing system used on Dynamics was patented by the company. I have a 1948 Suzuki nylon string so their involvement with the earliest Yamahas is not that far fetched, in fact I own several other old MIJ nylons by other makers which bear a resemblance to the `48 Suzuki, they may have had their hands in other brands too. Recently got two more old Suzukis too, no dates on them but they have the same diamond cut bracing as one other I`ve owned for a while so I took a chance with them on line and have been pleased with the results. Didn`t post pics `cause it`s a bit like crying wolf eh, folks get bored of the same old NGD threads, anyways I buy em to please myself not garner accolads from members on web sites but I can tell youse, if you come across an old Suzuki with diamond cut bracing, give it a spin, you may be surprised...the bracing kinda looks like furniture molding, but I have 3 now so perhaps those were a seperate line or something. Anyways...like I said before, when I find more Yammaha data I`ll post it everywhere Yamaha lovers congregate, every little bit helps, however it`s hard for me to say anything I read is certain, reading one or two books on any topic doesn`t make one an expert eh, theres always wiggle room for me.

 

Interesting.

 

My FG75 doesn't have X bracing. There is a straight brace below the soundhole.

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What I've been able to dig up is this:

Tenryu/Wada Factory, Made in Japan, 1946-1968:

#####. 12233. Just five digit numbers in sequence. No year of manufacture can be determined.

 

I believe there are at least 9 numbering systems and with Zenbu's numbers down to 3 there could be a dozen or more just for acoustics.

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trouble is, evidently more than one factory was making Yamahas before theirs came on line so it is possible the different places they built them had their own numbering systems and/or it could be that nobody really knows for sure.

The Dynamics went through several label changes and that helps some in figuring out when they were made, the label, the number of digits in the serial and the model number, so far nobody has come up with a precise method for dating them precisely but they have come up with a ballpark system, and for those of us who own old MIJs, that may be as close as we`re gonna get, and it`s not like I lose sleep over it, all I know is I`ve got old Yamahas with 3, 4, 5 and 6 digit serials and according to what I can gather the 3 digit serial Dynamic places it early `50s and that they reached 6 digits in 1960, I`ve got em with all the labels they went through, got em with the JIS symbol and without...seems it first appeard on the headstock in 1963 so thats another way to ballpark em...got em in every color they came in and almost every model...no #70 #80 or #300 yet and doubt I will considering how much those sell for now, in fact I`ve never seen a Dynamic #300 except in photos so they do exist. I`ve seen three old Yamahas on line that supposedely predate even the Dynamics but they were all in bad condition so I didn`t go for them, no idea who built those. So, I`ve become accustomed to the fact that some questions may never get answered but I`m sure there will be more speculation added to what already exists.

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