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Will
08-10-2007, 10:40 AM
Im on the hunt for a 335 style guitar and I wonder about these Yamahas as an alternative to the Gibson.Im looking for quality and Im not fond on chinese and the like guitars and dont want to spend as much as Gibsons command at this time.
What do you think about Yamahas?
Are they reliable and rival 335s well in sound and fit and finish?

tone4days
08-10-2007, 10:48 AM
the 2000s were spectacular guitars ... i wish they still made them ... a clean used one would be worth looking for ... i have no idea how the newer 2200s compare - probably still an excellent value ...

so are the heritage 535s (as a high-quality alternative to gibson)

Martin Horne
08-10-2007, 11:16 AM
Back in the 80s a friend of mine was selling them in his store so I tried out a few. I thought they were great guitars; build quality, tone, and neck shape were all excellent.

LaXu
08-10-2007, 11:25 AM
I've got a SA-1200S, which is essentially the SA-2000 but with a solid spruce top and less fancy visual trinkets (dot vs block inlays, no headstock binding etc) and have been very happy with it. It sounds very nice and plays well.

If you can find a spruce top one, I'd definitely get it over the maple top model. It can be identified by the S at the end of the model name, SA-2000 is the maple top one, SA-2000S is the spruce top model. I think the spruce gives a bit mellower character to it.

Other nice features are in the electronics department: The tone pots are push/push coil splits so you can get twangier tones out of it too. The tone pots also work unusually. On 10 they're out of the circuit and when you turn them to 9 or less they work like regular tone pots. Nice if you need a bit more bite. The bridge is also the best Tune-O-Matic I've ever seen. Very precision fit, more intonation range than regular TOMs and saddles are held more securely, without rattling C-clips or retainer wires.

One thing I've noticed about the old SAs is that the finish can lift on the body and neck, causing patches that look hazy as if the guitar is slightly dirty even though it isn't. It doesn't cause any problems other than cosmetics and isn't very noticeable. See if you can spot it in the pictures below.

Mine also had a warped neck but the guitar was refretted and the neck straightened and planed and now it works like new. The nut needed some work and the bridge pickup coil split had a cold solder joint that was fixed so apart from a new nut and frets it's got all original electronics, tuners etc that still work good as new. I bought the guitar for little money when I was in Japan so even after all the repairs it still cost me less than the general value on the used market in Europe. The pics are pre-refret.

http://www.saunalahti.fi/laxu/pics/yamaha_sa-1200s-01.jpg
http://www.saunalahti.fi/laxu/pics/yamaha_sa-1200s-05.jpg

Neil
08-10-2007, 12:40 PM
I had an old one. Played nicely and was well made. It did have the foggy finish problem. pickups sounded great. It was very heavy. coil tap (or was it series parallel?) switch was useful, too.

the ibanez as200 is nice also. i had 2 of those. well made, nice tone, very elaborate finish and thin neck.

Don L
08-10-2007, 12:57 PM
Very nice guitars.

go7
08-10-2007, 02:56 PM
Excellent guitars.Good Luck!

james russell
08-10-2007, 03:33 PM
I played and performed with an SA-2000 throughtout the eighties. I liked it better than my mid-sixties Gibson 335 (kind of a clunky dog), and an Ibanez Artist 335-sized semi-hollow. Sometimes the Yamaha necks can be a little on the narrow side, so be aware of that when shopping. Excellent build quality on those guitars. Good luck in your search for a keeper!

Gene
08-10-2007, 04:47 PM
I have a SA2000S from 1980 or so. I have to say, this guitar has been the best 335 type guitar off the rack I ever played and owned. Matter of fact, when Thornton visited me in NYC so I can try his guitar, the comment on the Yamaha was very high. It has a carved spruce top! None of the laminate stuff. Alas, the new SA2200 is beautiful but I have heard not as well made as the ones from the 80's.

gitarboy
08-10-2007, 04:54 PM
I have a SA-800 from the early eighties in a natural finish that I'm gitting ready to sell... just great guitars... especially the early ones...

Steve :)

LaXu
08-10-2007, 06:13 PM
I have a SA2000S from 1980 or so. I have to say, this guitar has been the best 335 type guitar off the rack I ever played and owned. Matter of fact, when Thornton visited me in NYC so I can try his guitar, the comment on the Yamaha was very high. It has a carved spruce top! None of the laminate stuff. Alas, the new SA2200 is beautiful but I have heard not as well made as the ones from the 80's.

The SA2200 models I've seen and tried are IMO just as well made as the old ones. I'm not sure if the old maple top models were laminated or carved like the spruce top models but the new SA2200 is laminated. Beautiful guitars and I think they feel very much like the old ones. Same kind of comfortably chunky neck. The only thing missing is the excellent bridge that they still offer on the SG2000/3000 models though.

phatster
08-10-2007, 06:27 PM
I have a sa-2000 in a sunburst finish,I got a decent deal on it because the neck had been broken.The repair was very well done but psychologically I know its not perfect!:BITCHI have 4 semi-solid guitars and this is my favorite.I like it as much as a 335 I had 35 yrs ago!!IF you find one BUY IT!!:AOK

Lucidology
08-10-2007, 06:30 PM
/Wow, brings back memories.. I had a blonde one once..
One of the best 335 types I've ever had...
Great neck indeed ...

Paul Conway
08-11-2007, 03:08 AM
Funnily enough, I tried one last night, having recently tried a Heritage 535, Gibson 335 and a 333.

The Yammie was better than the Gibbos by a country mile (the 333 sounded like it had rubber bands for wound strings), and was as good as the Heritage. I preferred the Yam neck - a little deeper and wider.

I just wish they made them in a wider range of colours - cherry red and black.....

Really nice ax.

Will
08-11-2007, 04:57 AM
Thank you all for your answers.

It seems its an aestimated guitar,so I will go to try one from a guy on monday,will let you know my impressions.I guess this is a 76-79 model according to the guy I phoned and a 4? ply laminated top.Can anyone confir about top plies?

Laxu,
Very interesting wht you told about tone pots.So it means on 10 they are like a boost or the like or just out of working?Which brand are they? Are volume ones good enough to keep or s it worth replacing them by CTS?

Regarding pickups I read theyre hot (a bit abrasive maybe?) I suppouse because to split on half to achieve a single coil style sound....What about replacing by a Seth Lover/Classic '57 or any boutique PAF style?Anyone replace them?

I see you like hardware, is brass made?

phatster
08-11-2007, 07:42 AM
The years you are looking at are a little different than the early 80's guitars.This is not a bad thing.I believe the pick-up options were more straight forward,regardless the pick-ups are definitely worth keeping,I strongly recommend you give them a good audition before switching.

LaXu
08-11-2007, 02:18 PM
Laxu,
Very interesting wht you told about tone pots.So it means on 10 they are like a boost or the like or just out of working?Which brand are they? Are volume ones good enough to keep or s it worth replacing them by CTS?

Regarding pickups I read theyre hot (a bit abrasive maybe?) I suppouse because to split on half to achieve a single coil style sound....What about replacing by a Seth Lover/Classic '57 or any boutique PAF style?Anyone replace them?

I see you like hardware, is brass made?

The tone pots are those no-load type things so when on 10 the signal just bypasses the tone pot afaik. I have no idea about brands because I haven't disassembled the guitar, had a tech fix it when it was refretted. Treble bleeds were added to the volume pots at that time too to keep the tone getting darker as they're turned down. Considering the electronics are nearly 30 years old and still work good as new I'd say there is no need to replace them. Besides finding push/push no-load pots might be tricky.

The pickups aren't low output by any means but we're not talking about metal pickups or anything. Probably around the same output as say, SD '59 Model or something. I see no reason to change them.

I have no idea what the hardware is made of.

Aside from possible repairs I don't think the SAs need changes.

Will
08-15-2007, 11:00 AM
I finally tried the Yamaha. Good sounding a bit heavy maybe but comfortable neck. Pickups are good but not great.Im intrigued which are those Yamaha branded gold turners,Im guessing how Grover Imperials will be pretty instead of but not sure if they fit,did anyone replace the turners?

LaXu
08-15-2007, 11:16 AM
They sure look like Yamaha branded Grovers but again I see no reason to replace them. Work perfectly fine.

Michael T
09-23-2007, 05:29 PM
I'm selling an SA2000s. Really good guitar, but I have Anderson Atom AS right now.

stout-hearted
09-23-2007, 05:38 PM
I've played a couple of 2000's back in the 80's and really thought they were fine guitars. Couldn't afford one then. But I did buy an 800 and it was my main guitar for 15 years before I had a hunger to play solid-bodied guitars again. A few years back I snatched an 1100 model with a Duncan 59 and a PRS Deep-dish and that was such a sweet playing and sounding guitar, but I was on this quest to keep buying and selling to work my way up the ownership ladder. That 1100 was as great sounding as any I've owned and if I stumbled on another at the right price - I'd be keeping it.

tonedaddy
09-24-2007, 02:02 AM
Sometimes the Yamaha necks can be a little on the narrow side, so be aware of that when shopping.

Good advice.

The early Yamaha SA/SG guitars were offered in at least 2 neck profiles, a thin (about a 60's LP) carve and a nice fat (about a 57 or 58 LP) carve. I had 1 SA2000 and 2 SG2000's, and played probably 8 more when they were being offered. Each fell into those 2 neck profiles.

So if you're buying one sight unseen, you'll want to know which profile you're looking for.

thomasguitar
08-28-2009, 11:07 AM
Just love mine. SA2200!http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3533/3862353337_13e08db96f.jpg