The History of Yamaha Guitars
Introducing guitar products that offer a guide to the history of Yamaha guitars.
1966FG180: Yamaha's first made-in-Japan folk guitar
Yamaha’s first folk guitar delivered to global markets. Rather than copying overseas models, the development team used a proprietary design based on human engineering.See details on this product in the museum1966SG-2/3: Yamaha's first electric guitars
Yamaha’s first electric guitars officially launched in April 1966 under the names S302 and S201, which were changed one month later to SG-3 and SG-2. They featured original designs for the tremolo unit, neck joint system, and pickups, demonstrating Yamaha's penchant for individuality and innovation from our very first models.See details on this product in the museum1966SG-7: Yamaha's symbolic electric guitar of the '60s
Our flagship model with a distinctive body that came on the market as electric guitars started to boom in popularity.1966SB-2: Yamaha's first electric bass
Yamaha’s first electric bass launched in April 1966. It started out as the B201 and changed its name one month later to SB-2, a name shared with our first electric guitar. Its scale length was 850 mm (33-1/2").1966No. 250/500: Yamaha's first guitar amps
Yamaha’s first guitar amps launched in 1966. Two combo amp models at 25 W and 50 W. Model numbers were later changed from No. 250 to TA25 and No. 500 to TA50.
1967Yamaha's first classical guitar series
Crafted by luthiers with direct training in traditional techniques from famed Spanish master Eduardo Ferrer, these guitars exude the original and authentic Spanish style of guitar craftsmanship.1967TA series guitar amps
New models of Yamaha’s first guitar amps, No. 250 (TA25) and No. 500 (TA50). These combo amps were distinguishable by their speaker enclosures.
1968Yamaha's first flamenco guitar series
Yamaha’s first flamenco guitars derived from the GC-5, 7, and 10 and crafted by luthiers learned in traditional flamenco techniques by the famous E. Ferrer.1968SA-50,SA-15(D): Yamaha's first hollow body electric guitars
SA50: A hollow body model with left-right symmetry. The appearance is that of a semi-solid body, but the unique structure uses no center block.
SA15: A hollow body model sharing the same feature of the SG7’s long horn next to the first string and equipped with two single-coil pickups.See details on this product in the museum
1969SG-3C electric guitar
A completely left-right asymmetrical body with no waist and an extended cutaway by the bass side only. The SG-3C featured simpler controls than the SG-5A and 2A, with the addition of a tremolo unit, in a model sold at a lower price point.
1971FG1500/2000/2500 folk guitars
A finely crafted guitar manufactured in Japan and leveraging the best materials, components, and craftsmanship that Yamaha had, sparing no effort in development.
1972FG350E: Yamaha's first folk guitar with pickups
Yamaha’s very first folk guitar with pickups. It had a distinctive look owing to its impressively designed pickguard.1972YTA series: Yamaha's first separate configurated amps
Yamaha’s first guitar amps that included a power amplifier built into the amp head. Other amp heads of the day were preamplifiers only, with the power amplifier built into the speaker cabinet.
1974L series high-end acoustic guitars
The early models in the L series (the L stands for “luxury”) came to represent the best of Yamaha's acoustic guitar craftsmanship with their well-balanced highs and lows, and superb sustain with clear high registers.1974GC30A/B/C custom classical guitars
Yamaha’s strongest achievement in custom classical guitar models born from the mastery of traditional techniques and the design philosophy of Spanish master Manuel Hernandez.1974SG-175: origin of the SG series still sold today
The forerunner to the current SG series, the SG-175 featured a left-right symmetrical body and arrow position markers. A custom-spec model was later produced upon request from Carlos Santana.
1975L-51/L-52/L-53/L-54 ultra high-end custom acoustic guitars
L-51: Top-of-its-class custom guitar featuring Yamaha’s revered craftsmanship with an asymmetrical body and a design concept that emphasized sound quality.
L-52: Top-of-its-class custom guitar leveraging Yamaha’s famed craftsmanship with a jumbo body and a design that emphasized excellent chord balance.
L-53: Top-of-its-class custom guitar featuring a gorgeous design and clear, penetrating sound, evidence of Yamaha’s renowned craftsmanship.
L-54: Top-of-its-class custom guitar made by Yamaha’s dedicated craftsmen, featuring a distinctive design and a sound with a strong country feel.See details on these products in the museum1975Launch of the Special Order System
Based on the L-51, L-52, L-53, and L-54, the 23 spec options in this system let musicians build a guitar which would fulfill their demanding requirements.1975J series guitar amps
The J series were customized for the Japan market with features considered revolutionary at the time, including a model with a headphone jack, and a bass guitar amp model. This series grew to include more than 20 models.
1976SG-2000/1000: the crowning models of the SG series
SG2000: This top-of-line model in the SG series was developed by pursuing the characteristic tone of the SG175 and applying the innovative techniques and technology evolving throughout the SG series. It featured a unique neck-through structure, a sustain plate, and a semi-open humbucker.See details on this product in the museum
SG1000: This guitar served as the longest reigning standard SG model, evolved from the set-in neck and humbucker concepts established in the SG175.
1977CJ series acoustic guitars
A “country jumbo” series distinguished by its large, resonant body delivering great volume with a relatively firm sound quality.1977SF-700 electric guitar
A model with the characteristic bright tone of the SF series, plus 24 frets, a smooth top cut that forms to the player’s body, and a back cut for a left-right asymmetrical design.See details on this product in the museum1977SC-1200 electric guitar
With the SC in its name standing for “Super Combinator,” the SC-1200 was the pinnacle of the SC series with its unique neck-through structure. Features included distinctive bar magnets for the pickups plus the ability to create 13 sound variations with three connected mini toggle switches for the three pickups.See details on this product in the museum1977SA-2000 semi-hollow electric guitar
The left-right asymmetrical semi-hollow body had a center block in this top-of-the-line model emphasizing tone and performance features, such as a three-point adjustable covered humbucker and over-binding frets for ease of play on every inch of the fingerboard.1977BB-1200 electric bass
Our BB series, which many artists played and which is still popular today, debuted in 1977. It was stacked with many original features such as a unique split pickup—for the D and G string the pickup is close to the neck and for the E and A string the pickup is close to the bridge—and machine heads capable of highly precise torque adjustments. The BB-1200, with its through neck design, was our top-of-the-line model.
1978SJ-800 electric guitar
A single cutaway model with a humbucker in the neck position and a single coil bridge pickup to utilize either tone and change between the two with one push of the Bi-Sound Switch. This wide combination of sounds came in a body with a maple top and an alder back.1978AE-2000: the crowning model for hollow body electric guitars
This high-end archtop guitar featured a carved top cut from solid spruce together with the bracing, block inlays on an ebony fretboard, gold parts for the hardware, and tone knobs suitable for coil tapping. The AE-2000 found use in many genres of music.1978BB-2000: a neck-through bass loved by scores of players
In 1978, the addition of the BB-2000 raised the bar for bass guitars even higher, featuring a neck through design like the BB-1200, plus equipped a bar magnet type pickup in the bridge position. This model was popular with many players, from jazz fusion to rock and pop artists.See details on this product in the museum
1979F series guitar amps
Solid state amps were considered to be Yamaha’s tour de force. Models included a myriad of variations, including a 2-channel configuration, a model with a parametric equalizer, and amp head models.1979JX series guitar amps
Models in the JX series met user needs at the time with flexible controls such as a master volume knob and distortion controls.
1980SF-7000 electric guitar
An evolution of the SF series’ set-in neck structure and the original through-neck structure of the SG series, the SF-7000 used an open humbucker and different bridges for each model. It shows Yamaha’s continued development to meet the needs of players and changing trends.1980PSE series: Yamaha’s first effects pedals
Yamaha’s first series of effects pedals launched with the addition of the SB200 system board for combining 12 types of pedals.
1982SG-3000: the crowning model in the SG series
The flagship model of the SG series bearing the “custom” guitar title. Newly developed pickups and a narrow bridge for lighter weight were utilized in this instrument, which was developed to meet the demands of players influenced by the heavy metal music emerging in the early ‘80s.1982BB-3000 electric bass
This best-in-class model pushed the evolution of the BB-2000 further, featuring a narrow neck and a deep cutaway body shape offering easy access to the higher frets. The newly designed split pickup was configured in a reversed layout from other BB series, with the position of the E and A string pickup shifted closer to the neck.
1983CWE series acoustic electric guitars
Yamaha’s first ever acoustic-electric with a cutaway body. The specialized design was predicated on the use of our independently developed pickups, while the guitars featured 22 frets and a thin body with an emphasis on ease of performance.1983GC70/70C/71 custom classical guitars
A tour de force, this series grew out of close collaboration with top performers the world over and incorporates Yamaha’s compendium of expertise in traditional techniques and accrued know-how.1983VX series guitar amps
The VX series featured a broad lineup of combo amps with power output from 15 to 65 W, as well as a bass guitar model.
1984BB-5000: Yamaha's first 5-string bass
Yamaha’s first 5-string bass. The price topped that of the BB-3000, but since there were few high-quality mass produced 5-string basses at the time, this model was adopted by many players.See details on this product in the museum1984PSE-40A system board
10 cartridge-type effects pedals and a dedicated system board for connecting and controlling them. Included stereo connectivity.1984SDS series effects pedals
The launch of the SDS series was an update and expansion of the PSE series, adding the SDS Professional series and New SDS series. The final lineup included 27 models.
1985SESSON512 bolt-on electric guitar
Featuring the "Rockin' Magic II" tremolo unit with its exclusive locking system and newly developed pickups utilizing different magnets for different tones, this model reflected the evolving performance requirements of the continually evolving rock music scene.1985MB-I electric bass
In 1985, the MB series, a medium scale (820 mm) bass, came on the market. The MB-I model showcased plenty of originality in its headstock design, pickups, and bridge.
1986SFX-I electric guitar
An orthodox set-in neck guitar with a carved maple top and mahogany back, and built with newly developed bar-type pickups and a booster switch, the SFX-I satisfied more technical players thanks to its tremolo unit and heel-less, smooth neck joint.1986RGX-1212 electric guitar
The RGX series, with its 3D headstock design, debuted in 1986. The 1212 was a top-of-the-line model with advanced features including a five-piece maple and mahogany through-neck, an ebony fingerboard with binding, a state-of-the-art tremolo, plus pickups with Spinex magnets on a 628-mm scale length guitar.1986RBX-800 electric bass
The RBX series, with its 3D headstock design, debuted in 1986 along with the new RGX series electric guitar. Its modern design included a deeply scooped out cutaway body, a neck joint conducive to great playability, and a bridge featuring fine tuners.
1987APX series acoustic electric guitars
Our unique acoustic-electric guitar marrying Yamaha’s acoustic guitar know-how and electrical technology experience resulting in a high-quality stage performance tool.See details on this product in the museum1987LL100D: Yamaha's 100th anniversary acoustic guitar
Yamaha's 100th anniversary edition was a supreme combination of Yamaha’s accrued acoustic guitar artistry. Limited to 20 pcs.1987YEG-100A: Yamaha's 100th anniversary electric guitar
A limited model sold for Yamaha’s 100th anniversary. Phoenix inlay work accented the beautifully grained top-quality wood and 24-karat plated hardware for an elegant appearance. This combined with the excellent performance qualities, the hybrid pickup system switchable between passive and active, and advanced specs such as built-in LEDs for side position markers.1987HR series guitar amps
The compact HR series managed to offer a low price point and amps suited to the music scene’s interest in heavier sounds at the time.
1988VR series guitar amps
The VR series took the concept of the F series and expanded it to make 2-channels standard and to offer advanced designs, including a model with stereo connectivity.
1989Image Deluxe electric guitar
These models used a solid structure with a semi-acoustic body shape popular at the time. The design was developed in England rather than in Japan, and the lineup featured three models: Custom, Deluxe, and Standard. Shown here is the Deluxe model.See details on this product in the museum1989AR series guitar amps
The AR series boosted connectability with peripherals thanks to RecOut, FX Loop, and Aux jacks. The slanted front of the speaker enclosure was an expression of the distinctive design elements of these amps.
1990Weddington Custom electric guitar
With myriad sound variations thanks to a five-position lever switch and USA-made pickups, this guitar used a new style of set-in neck joint allowing smooth performance even in the upper frets. The model lineup included the Custom, Classic, and Special.1990PACIFICA912: Yamaha's standard bolt-on guitar still popular today
The first guitar in the Pacifica series designed by Yamaha Guitar Development at our North Hollywood R&D center, which opened in 1989. This model was stacked with Yamaha originality in a traditional design.See details on this product in the museum1990Attitude Limited Billy Sheehan signature model
The Attitude Limited is a signature model that emerged from Yamaha’s relation with Billy Sheehan, following the same specs as Billy's custom-made bass. From the first model on, we never deviated from these specs, which included a “woofer” pickup near the neck, stereo output jacks, different fret wires depending on their position, and a wide scalloped fingerboard.
1991AES-1500 electric guitar
This hollow body guitar had an inner block under the bridge only and really sang even at high volumes. It suited various musical genres thanks to the P-90-sized humbucker and Bi-Sound Switch. There was also a model equipped with the Bigsby tremolo.1991TRB Custom: Yamaha's first 6-string bass
A six-string bass with a multi-layer neck through construction and an ebonol resin fingerboard. This top-of-the-line model, with a built-in piezo pickup in the bridge, allowed the artist to create a diverse range of sounds.1991TRB-6P electric bass
The TRB-6P featured a five-piece maple and mahogany neck through construction similar to the TRB Custom, plus an ebony fingerboard, while the body attached to the neck from the sides.See details on this product in the museum1991SR series guitar amps
Responding to trends in guitar equipment in 1991, Yamaha launched a rack-mounted amp head. The 300 W amp head had a relatively high output for the time. We also simultaneously launched a dedicated speaker cabinet.
1993Pacifica Semi Order System for closely matching player preferences
Working from the top model in the Pacifica series (Yamaha’s standard bolt-on guitars), this flexible semi-order system allowed players to specify detailed specs in terms of body material, fingerboard material, inlays, neck shape, frets, and color.
1994APXT1 compact guitar
A concentration of the design ethic of the APX series into a travel-size package, realizing superb portability and a comfortable, compact form.1994AEX-1500: fusing acoustic and electric sounds
This hollow body model offered the dual benefits of fat sound and acoustic resonance thanks to a preamp system that allowed free blending and equalizing, in addition to a neck humbucker and piezo-electric pickup.1994BB-NE Nathan East signature model
This signature model created from Yamaha’s relationship with Nathan East featured a beautiful maple body top with a bolt-on maple neck. The deep, nuanced sound was created by original pickups with hum-canceling coils and a three-band EQ. Also available was the BB-NE SELECTED model, designed using rare figured maple for the body top.1994TRB-JP John Patitucci signature model
Collaboration with John Patitucci led to this signature model that offered tight response thanks to a four-layer body of maple, ash, alder, and maple, plus a maple bolt-on neck construction and low noise double coil pickups. It offers pro-level specs for great performance in tough environments.1994T series guitar amps
These full tube amps were a collaborative project with Michael J. Soldano. They were packed with original features such as seven 12AX7A tubes in the preamp.
1995GL1 guitalele compact guitar
With a smaller body reminiscent of a ukulele, yet performing almost like a six-string guitar, this new mini model offered players the enjoyable sound and performance of nylon strings.
1997PACIFICA1511MS: Mike Stern signature model
This Mike Stern model featured an ash body and one-piece maple neck plus a neck humbucker combined with Hot Rail pickups for gorgeous expressivity in a wide range of styles, from clean tones to blues, rock, and heavy distortion.1997AEX-500 electric guitar
A new style semi-hollow model with a compact body featuring a front humbucker inherited from the AEX1500 combined with a bridge piezo-electric pickup.1997BB Semi Order System: addressing players' exacting preferences
This flexible semi-order system allowed players to specify their exact preferences for body material, fingerboard material, frets, colors, and more.1997DG series: Yamaha’s first digital modeling amps
Yamaha’s first digital modeling amp. Chips replaced the unique operations of tubes to reproduce an array of sounds. Specs included digital technology such as preset configurations, user memory, and MIDI connectivity, while a motorized knob is used for the controls. Interest in this series remains high still today.
1998JR1 compact guitar
A mini acoustic guitar following the design motif of the FG180.
DG Stomp was an innovative digital guitar pre-amplifier that put the power and performance of the DG Series amplifiers into a rugged stomp box design.They could be used as modeling preamps or multi-effects pedals.2000SGV800 electric guitar
A unique model that combines vintage feel with a modern sensibility, making it a true original from the body shape to the bridge, pickups, and controls.2000SBV500 electric bass
The SBV series was a broad overhaul that took the SB-7A from the 1960s and repackaged it in a modern version with various different models, such as the SBV500, 800MF, J1, and J2, which were popular with many Japanese bassists.
2001SLG100N silent guitars
An all-new series of innovative guitars retaining true, authentic acoustic guitar playability while offering ultra-quiet performance and headphone capability.2001AG-STOMP
A preamp pedal for acoustic guitars. Featured mic simulation and auto feedback reduction for more natural sound from acoustic-electric guitars. Interest in this discontinued series remains high today.
An 8-band modulation delay machine supervised by Allan Holdsworth. Its greatest feature is the eight built-in delays, with independent controls for each.
A pedal that reproduces the effects from the other STOMP series and the SPX series, bundled in one unit. It won high praise for its modulation and delay effects.2004BBT series bass amps
Yamaha’s first fully digital bass guitar amp. It offered a compact size and 500 W output with a Class-D amp.
2005 RGXA2: amazing light weight in a unique design
This model achieves both significantly lighter weight and a rich body resonance from the new design, and also features LEDs to show which pickup is selected. The white color tone expresses the reduced weight through a unique appearance that gives the feel of an innovative, advanced guitar.
2006ART pickups: authentically replicating acoustic resonance
A contact pickup system developed with the goal of producing “real acoustic sound” that is a faithful reproduction of an acoustic guitar’s body resonance.
2008Yamaha Original Wood Reforming Technology A.R.E.
Yamaha’s independently researched and developed technology for enhancing wood’s inherent qualities to deliver the rich resonance similar to that of an instrument that has been played for many years.
2009NX series nylon string electric guitars
An electric nylon guitar with a modern design that produces the characteristic warm sound of nylon strings.
2010SRT SYSTEM: replicating the feel of real air space
Yamaha’s most up-to-date pickup system developed to produce studio-quality acoustic sound akin to capturing the nuances of recording in a room with a top of the line microphone.2010SG1820: the new, modern incarnation of the SG series
The newest incarnation of the SG series arranged for a contemporary audience and available in three pickup configurations—humbucker, P-90, or active pickups—to accommodate every genre from classic rock to heavy metal. Other features include body finishes and fingerboard inlays suited to each style.2010BB2024X electric bass
Specially designed for rock music, the BB2024X features a spline joint construction combining with A.R.E. technology, to draw out the inherent qualities of the wood from which the instrument is made, with a body resonance like that of a vintage bass broken in over many years of use. As the apex of the BB series, it relentlessly pursues bolt-on, passive sound, reconciling the string-through design with a bridge that angles the strings at 45º so that they vibrate the entire body.
2011"A" series acoustic electric guitars
An acoustic-electric series with a simple, powerful design and a smooth neck feel, as well as SRT pickups and other features to please purists who desire a real performance guitar.2011THR series desktop amps
Desktop guitar amps developed along the concept of a “third amp.” Digital components offered dynamics and response similar to those from tubes, even at low volume. THR series amps have become extremely popular due to their retro look and feel, and exceptional sound quality.
2012GC82S/C newest flagship classical guitars
The flagship model of Yamaha's classical guitars, with carefully select wood and meticulous craftsmanship that embodies the specialized techniques of both traditional Spanish guitar design and Yamaha’s team of professionals.
2013TRBX series next-generation active bass in a compact body
An active bass with a compact and lightweight body for easy handling, powerful pickups and a preamp for diverse sound shaping that make it compatible with performance styles of a wide range of musical genres. The 305/304 feature a performance EQ for instantly selecting the parameters best suited to your performance, while the 505/504 feature a three-band EQ for switching between an active circuit for nuanced tone adjustments, or a passive circuit for a more organic tone. A battery life indicator is also built in, making it easy to know when replacement is necessary.
2014Newest L series acoustic guitars
The new Yamaha L-Series combines the very best of traditional and modern: a warm, rich tone thanks to A.R.E. technology, timeless looks, outstanding playability, and performance-ready electronics.
2015Revstar series electric guitars: crafted through new design techniques
Yamaha's newest series featuring unique tailpieces and pickup covers, a copper pickguard, and a variety of steel wool finishes, ultimately fusing the design philosophy of custom motorbikes with Japanese technological expertise and Yamaha’s renowned craftsmanship.2015THR Head series guitar amp heads
The THR Head series brought the THR concept to amp heads. The digital amps kept their simple controls and offered a design for intuitive soundscaping by guitarists. The new technology of the ultra-dynamic power amp delivered wide ranging dynamics and acoustic pressure much like that obtained from tubes, bringing out great responsiveness and sound variations from picking style, from the guitar body, and from the pickups.
2016New FG series
The FG series features a state-of-the-art soundboard bracing design developed to produce a new level of richness from mid to lower registers and add a boost in volume.