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REQUEST FOR VINTAGE YAMAHA FG INFO


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WANTED – Data from your vintage Yamaha FG guitars. See the end of the post.

 

I’ve been collecting data on vintage Yamaha FG acoustic guitars for a few years. This past May Yamaha deleted their Yamaha Guitar Archive web page, pushing me to start a forum to share the info that I’ve collected, including all the data from the Yamaha Guitar Archive. I’ve written other articles on: the history of the Yamaha FG 1966-1981 & FG-3XX series; vintage Yamaha truss rod adjustment procedure; vintage Yamaha neck reset procedure; replacement nuts & saddles; Yamaha FG weights; Japanese emperor date codes; Republic of China date codes; and I’m working on many others.

 

My latest interest is decoding the mystery of the 6 & 7 digit serial numbers. It’s widely known that the 8 digit serial numbers start with the year as the first number. But the 6 & 7 digit numbers (located on the neck block) are just sequential numbers used by all the guitars they built, not just the FG’s. I’ve also found there are internal date codes that will reveal when the guitar was made.

 

Serial Number located on the neck block.

 

Serial_Number.jpg

 

Date Code located on one of the interior sides of the guitar.

 

Date_Code.jpg

 

I’ve started a list of guitars I’ve found (including 3 of mine) with the model number, the serial number, and the date code, which will allow the 6 & 7 digit serial numbers to be grouped into a range for each year, allowing any 6 or 7 digit serial number to be cross referenced to the year it was made.

 

On YouTube I found a guy in Japan who’s posted short videos of many vintage FG guitars, with the year, model number, partial serial numbers, and in a most cases the internal date code. He’s obviously used the internal date codes to determine the years. I sent him a message asking if he saved all the information for these guitars, but I don’t know what will be lost in the language translation, of if he’ll even get back to me.

 

With this, and other data I’ve been finding, I’ve discovered even though Yamaha says the first Red Label models imported in the US where in 1968, I’ve found many Red Label FG guitars made in 1967. I’m also tracking the Green Label FG’s, the earliest models (1966-67) only made in Japan, that share the same pool of serial numbers. I’m looking for the transition between the Green and Red labels. I’ve also found the Green Label FG’s have a different truss rod cover, with “Reinforced Neck” on it, very different than the one you normally see. That cover made it onto the earliest FG’s imported into the US, before changing to the familiar one.

 

Red_Label.jpg

 

Green_Label.jpg

 

Truss Rod Cover on Green Label and very early Red Label FG's.

 

Truss_Rod_Cover_Reinforced_Neck.jpg

 

Regular Truss rod Cover used on Red Label FG's.

 

Truss_Rod_Cover_Regular.jpg

 

 

 

WANTED – Could you please add to this thread with the following data from your vintage Green and Red label Nippon Gakki FG guitars that have serial numbers less than 8 digits, located on the neck block? I have 100 serial numbers so far, but only 28 of them also have the internal date code.

 

Model number.

 

Label color.

 

Serial number on neck block.

 

Internal date code (I use flashlight and a cheap USB endoscope with my cell phone, or my cell phone camera if the strings are off.) This is very important to establish the date range of the serial numbers.

 

If it has the old style “Reinforced Neck” truss rod cover.

 

Any other information you’d like to share about the guitar.

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT I might as well collect the early Taiwan numbers too. They have 2 sets of numbers, the 8 digit on the cross brace and a 7 digit on the neck block. The early 70's models have a T in front of it, the mid 70's -1 models dropped the T.

 

 

Thank you for your assistance.

Edited by CTGull
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Hi, I got the following info from the old Yamaha archive back when I first got my FG-500. The label is red. The truss rod cover is the silver and black one like the second one you posted. Sorry, but I couldn't find that mysterious internal date code, but the date I have is based on the info that Yamaha had up on their old site. In addition to what follows, might I add that this is an amazing sounding guitar.

Yamaha FG500 Serial Number - 20408187

Made April 08, 1972 #187

Year(s) Sold: 1969-72

Original MSRP (US$): $320.00

Top: Solid Spruce

Back Laminated Jacaranda (reputedly Brazilian Rosewood)

Sides: Laminated Jacaranda (reputedly Brazilian Rosewood)

Neck: Mahogany

Fingerboard: Ebony

Bridge: Ebony

Body Depth: 96-116mm

Color(s): Natural

Finish: Gloss

String Length: 637mm

Included Accessories: HSC

Notes: Hand Crafted

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Nice guitar!!!! I'd love to find one of those!

 

Yea, the 8 digit system is easy and straight forward. The way it should be.

 

I had done some research on Jacaranda. Technically, it's not even in the same family as rosewood, so it's not rosewood. But it sure looks like BRW!!! I'll take it!!

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I'm not going to be a whole lot of help I'm afraid. I have a red label Nippon Gakki FG-150 that I bought new in either 1969 or 70. As I recall I paid a hundred dollars for it with a cheap clapboard case. A few years ago when I did the saw-off-the-neck-and-make-it-a-bolt-on reset I drilled thru the serial number on the head block. The last three digits are 644, the rest is obliterated. It does have the t/r cover like your lower picture.

 

I think I have the serial number written down somewhere but it honestly doesn't matter, it is a cheap guitar that happens to sound pretty good and with the reset is pretty playable. Some day I will sell it, hopefully to someone who is more interested in a getting a good cheap guitar that its pedigree.

 

CT, from time to time Yamies come across my work bench, I'll try to get whatever info I can.

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Thanks!! The most important thing is the internal date code. Someone working on guitars would have the most opportunity to find that since you kind of have to remove the strings to do it. Unless you have a USB endoscope camera like I found.

 

Do you know of any other sources where I could possibly find this info?? I could try contacting people selling guitars on Reverb and eBay but I'm sure I'd get a lot of rejections and it would take a ton of time.

 

Edited by CTGull
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Thanks!! The most important thing is the internal date code. Someone working on guitars would have the most opportunity to find that since you kind of have to remove the strings to do it. Unless you have a USB endoscope camera like I found.

 

Do you know of any other sources where I could possibly find this info?? I could try contacting people selling guitars on Reverb and eBay but I'm sure I'd get a lot of rejections and it would take a ton of time.

 

I forgot to tell you, I looked for the date code and couldn't find it - just using a flashlight and mirror and there are some corners that are kind of hard to see into. However if its on a side from the neck to the middle of the lower bout I couldn't see it. I was reminded, however, about how lightly this guitar is built (which might be part of the secret) and the fact that the inside is finished (back and sides, probably before the top was put on.

 

As far as trying to get that information, about all I can suggest is periodically posting a request on all the major discussion groups, including repair forums. Logically anyone working on one would be able to check it for you but getting folks to remember is going to be hard to do.

 

 

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I forgot to tell you, I looked for the date code and couldn't find it - just using a flashlight and mirror and there are some corners that are kind of hard to see into. However if its on a side from the neck to the middle of the lower bout I couldn't see it. I was reminded, however, about how lightly this guitar is built (which might be part of the secret) and the fact that the inside is finished (back and sides, probably before the top was put on.

 

As far as trying to get that information, about all I can suggest is periodically posting a request on all the major discussion groups, including repair forums. Logically anyone working on one would be able to check it for you but getting folks to remember is going to be hard to do.

 

They are hard to find. I use a flashlight and my cell phone camera zoomed in. Even then they can be light or smudged. A USB endoscope attached to my cell phone works great but the resolution is a bit coarse.

 

Can you suggest major & repair forums to post in? I've done it in the AGF and the huge thread on TDPRI.com. http://www.tdpri.com/threads/69-71-y...151311/page-28

Edited by CTGull
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The two lutherie forums that I frequent are the Official Luthiers Forum

 

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/

 

and the Musical Instrument Makers Forum

 

http://www.mimf.com/

 

OLF has a subforum on repair and would probably be a good place to put your request, MIMF does not. While the both cover aspects of musical instrument construction, I tend to think of OLF as more "chatty" and down to earth, MIMF often has esoteric discussions by folks who really get into their building.

 

I did a search for "yamaha neck reset" at OLF and got 20 hits, "yamaha serial numbers" gave zero.

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I tried to register for the OLF to find the username & email address where already in use! I joined almost exactly 5 years ago, 1 day off. I just made my first post.

 

Almost all of the hits for "Yamaha neck reset" are in 1 thread. The typical epoxy & cut the neck off talk.

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I'm still looking for serial numbers and date codes. I'm up to over 350.

 

I've found date codes in all of my Yamaha's except for the 2 Red label Taiwan models. But they are in the Tan & Black label Taiwan models, although the year numbers are different due being referenced to a different countries Emperor.

 

I've expanded the search beyond the early Red label Nippon Gakki models, to the Taiwan models also. I've gotten many serial number sets (they have 2 sets of serial numbers) and I'm working on figuring out when each of them changes to the next. The shorter Tan label with only the model number (no reference to Taiwan) seems to have only been used for 2, maybe 3, months. It's very rare.

 

I've written a detailed article and am waiting for a friend to read it thru.

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We have a Yamaha FG-230 red label,  number inside by neck appears to be 919438, regular truss cover.  We do not play, and as you can probably tell know nothing about guitars.  Found this forum because we are trying to find more out about it.  Hope this helps your list.

On 9/12/2017 at 5:38 PM, CTGull said:

WANTED – Data from your vintage Yamaha FG guitars. See the end of the post.

 

I’ve been collecting data on vintage Yamaha FG acoustic guitars for a few years. This past May Yamaha deleted their Yamaha Guitar Archive web page, pushing me to start a forum to share the info that I’ve collected, including all the data from the Yamaha Guitar Archive. I’ve written other articles on: the history of the Yamaha FG 1966-1981 & FG-3XX series; vintage Yamaha truss rod adjustment procedure; vintage Yamaha neck reset procedure; replacement nuts & saddles; Yamaha FG weights; Japanese emperor date codes; Republic of China date codes; and I’m working on many others.

 

My latest interest is decoding the mystery of the 6 & 7 digit serial numbers. It’s widely known that the 8 digit serial numbers start with the year as the first number. But the 6 & 7 digit numbers (located on the neck block) are just sequential numbers used by all the guitars they built, not just the FG’s. I’ve also found there are internal date codes that will reveal when the guitar was made.

 

Serial Number located on the neck block.

 

Serial_Number.jpg

 

Date Code located on one of the interior sides of the guitar.

 

Date_Code.jpg

 

I’ve started a list of guitars I’ve found (including 3 of mine) with the model number, the serial number, and the date code, which will allow the 6 & 7 digit serial numbers to be grouped into a range for each year, allowing any 6 or 7 digit serial number to be cross referenced to the year it was made.

 

On YouTube I found a guy in Japan who’s posted short videos of many vintage FG guitars, with the year, model number, partial serial numbers, and in a most cases the internal date code. He’s obviously used the internal date codes to determine the years. I sent him a message asking if he saved all the information for these guitars, but I don’t know what will be lost in the language translation, of if he’ll even get back to me.

 

With this, and other data I’ve been finding, I’ve discovered even though Yamaha says the first Red Label models imported in the US where in 1968, I’ve found many Red Label FG guitars made in 1967. I’m also tracking the Green Label FG’s, the earliest models (1966-67) only made in Japan, that share the same pool of serial numbers. I’m looking for the transition between the Green and Red labels. I’ve also found the Green Label FG’s have a different truss rod cover, with “Reinforced Neck” on it, very different than the one you normally see. That cover made it onto the earliest FG’s imported into the US, before changing to the familiar one.

 

Red_Label.jpg

 

Green_Label.jpg

 

Truss Rod Cover on Green Label and very early Red Label FG's.

 

Truss_Rod_Cover_Reinforced_Neck.jpg

 

Regular Truss rod Cover used on Red Label FG's.

 

Truss_Rod_Cover_Regular.jpg

 

 

 

WANTED – Could you please add to this thread with the following data from your vintage Green and Red label Nippon Gakki FG guitars that have serial numbers less than 8 digits, located on the neck block? I have 100 serial numbers so far, but only 28 of them also have the internal date code.

 

Model number.

 

Label color.

 

Serial number on neck block.

 

Internal date code (I use flashlight and a cheap USB endoscope with my cell phone, or my cell phone camera if the strings are off.) This is very important to establish the date range of the serial numbers.

 

If it has the old style “Reinforced Neck” truss rod cover.

 

Any other information you’d like to share about the guitar.

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT I might as well collect the early Taiwan numbers too. They have 2 sets of numbers, the 8 digit on the cross brace and a 7 digit on the neck block. The early 70's models have a T in front of it, the mid 70's -1 models dropped the T.

 

 

Thank you for your assistance.

 

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I have a Taiwan made FG-340 ii

serial on neck block 3112242

i purchased used in 1995, was told it was likely a 70’s vintage, but seller did no know for sure.

I would love to know the made on date.  The Yamaha serial number guide doesn’t seem to acknowledge the existence of a 7 digit serial number.

Many folks with more experience than me have commented on how big and beautifully resonant it sounds.  Compares well alongside much more expensive guitars.

Cheers.

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Hey Mr. Surly, and welcome.

Yamaha dating can be pretty hit and miss. I think you're likely looking at an eighties date, but the link might help zero in. It's the best date of manufacture resource I know of. There used to be a "Guitarchive" where you just populated a field, and it spit out a date, etc., -- but it, and other info were sometimes wrong. I miss it tho. Not all Yamaha guitars can be dated even to a year. They reuse most serial numbers every ten years, and sometimes the all important letter is missing. 

http://mycoolguitars.com/mij/yamaha-guitars/yamaha-guitar-serial-numbers-dating-your-guitar/

Somebody may have more helpful knowledge, but that's all I got. 

I'm a big Yamaha fan. There's some real gems out there. 

Good luck, and Season's Greetings!

Edited by Blind Dog
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My mothers guitar that she says was purchased ~1970:
FG-75
Red Label (Common)(Nippon Gakki)
Serial 1436235
Bell shaped truss rod cover

I could not find a date code

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5 minutes ago, fgtrtd said:

My mothers guitar that she says was purchased ~1970:
FG-75
Red Label (Common)(Nippon Gakki)
Serial 1436235
Bell shaped truss rod cover

I could not find a date code

Are there any letters before the numbers? 

 

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Hi, just bought a Yamaha FG-150 red label with the “Reinforced Neck” truss rod cover.   The serial code is 618423. Unable to locate any other numbers in body.  Guitar is in decent shape, but will need some work.  I hope the information is helpful, and if you are able to ID anything from that, let me know.  Thanks!

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