Yamaha is on a never-ending pursuit to inspire players to find their unique sound and express their own distinctive, individual musical art. The original FG180 became a bestseller in America, setting a foundation for the development of the L Series and the A series, as well as the FG Red Label series in 2019.
Yamaha leverages their second-to-none technology and traditional luthier craftsmanship to offer high-end acoustic guitars that rival other premium guitar manufacturers. In fact, Guitar Division said of Yamaha, “Their high-end professional grade guitars are made with attention to detail, and even down to their midrange and beginner series you will see quality at least as good as any other popular brand.” Meanwhile, Sixstringacoustic.com observed, “Throughout its history the company has been dedicated to providing novices and professionals with the high-quality guitars, without being too much of a hit on their wallets.”
There may be a number of artists you never knew played a Yamaha Guitar. Since the 1960s, Yamaha acoustic guitars have influenced and inspired many top musicians.
Designed to John Lennon‘s exacting standards in 1977, his custom CJ52 is constructed with a red dragon inlaid on the black body of the guitar. According to Guitar World, “The inlay work employed a traditional Japanese technique called Maki-e, a style of inlay not usually employed on musical instruments because it requires the use of a high-humidity steam kiln that wreaks havoc on the music-making properties of wood. Yamaha’s custom guitars builders found a way to pull it off, creating the dragon from a drawing by Lennon himself. The instrument is the most expensive Yamaha guitar ever made.”
Lennon formulated the idea of that guitar after playing Paul Simon‘s Custom CJ52. Jimmy Page toured with a CJ52 from the 1975 Led Zeppelin World Tour to the 1998 Page/Plant “Unledded” Tour. In addition his own fondness for the Custom CJ52, John Denver often performed with his beautiful L-53 throughout the 1970s (check out that beautiful Yamaha headstock in the video above) Bruce Springsteen‘s CJ52 from 1987 became part of his musical identity at the height of his popularity.
Yamaha made American music history as “Country Joe” McDonald played an FG150 on stage at Woodstock (you can glimpse it briefly around 1:26 in the video below). James Taylor incorporated his L-55 Custom and FG2000 into his exceptional albums and tours in the 1970s.
Yamaha’s current cache of artists is no less diverse or impressive. The acclaimed singer-songwriter Butch Walker, who plays an FGX5, was named by Rolling Stone as Producer of the Year in 2005. He speaks about his producing guitar in this video interview. In addition, David Ryan Harris is an accomplished solo artist and guitarist who tours and records with John Mayer using his Yamaha FSX5. He showed off the Yamaha A5R ARE in a series of videos for the brand.
Yamaha continues to capture the imagination of rising artists, including The Arcadian Wild’s Isaak Horn and Stillhouse Junkies’ Fred Kosak. Don’t miss our Yamaha x BGS Artist Sessions with both bands below.
Yamaha is not finished with their never-ending pursuit of the masterpiece. Senior luthier Andrew Enns in Yamaha’s Calabasas, California, custom shop is teaming up with the master technicians in Hamamatsu, Japan, to develop even more advanced acoustic guitars that will soar to even greater heights. The bluegrass community eagerly awaits their next level guitars that are expected to set a new standard of tone, quality, and playability.
Singer-songwriter Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and the Devouring Mothers, who plays a Yamaha LL16 and CSF3M, said in a recent interview with the brand, “I believe every guitar has a soul; not quite a consciousness but pretty close to it.” When it comes to beautiful custom instruments, we couldn’t put it better ourselves.
Discover more about Yamaha Guitars and their custom shop at YamahaGuitars.com