Yamaha SGV Series Reviews 4

Used to play lounge gigs for my supper many years ago and recently dusted off my old Gretsch and took to the instrument again (just for personal relaxation this time) after about twelve years of inactivity. This prompted the wife to give me a GNX3 Guitar Workstation for Christmas …awesome machine, but that’s another story in itself. Walked into a music shop to buy a floor-stand for my good old Gretsch f-hole electric. Immediately spotted the strange-shaped Yamaha SGV’s on the wall racks, obviously I had to play one. So, got plugged into the store amp and immediately fell in love with the feel and sound of this great little guitar. Left the store with a Vintage Yellow Yamaha SGV300, Floor Stand, Jack, a Yamaha Case and some choice strings. I live in Trinidad West Indies and the prices here are US$460.00 for the SGV800 and US$396.00 for the SGV300

At the store I actually got to try the SGV300 (vintage yellow) and the SGV800 (red metallic candy flake). Both models are exceptionally well finished and beautifully made instruments. The 800 is the deluxe model and comes with white pearl pickguard, gloss finish on the neck, Yamaha medallion on the head, two Pickups and Sperzel type tuning machines. The 300 is the standard model and features a satin neck and three pickups (the bridge pickup is a dual pickup, and can be adjusted to form a humbucker (and variations thereof) from a control knob). Although I would really have liked to walk away with the SGV800 and all it’s nice stuff (the Sperzels in particular), I just could not resist the sound of the SGV300, really nice and suited my playing style perfectly. Also those three pickups and the unique control system really gives one a wide spectrum of tonal adjustment. Got the guitar home and started playing the thing, now I’ve got the strings adjusted really low with no fret-buzz whatsoever. The innotation from the factory is spot-on and did not change as I lowered the bridge.

Not much to dislike, really. Still have the factory strings on (they’re not the best) but will soon change to my favorite Dean Markley “Blue Steel” Cryogenic LT’s. The whammy bar is ok, but don’t expect to do divebombing with it, it’s a bit too subtle for that. The whammy bar arrangement is of the floating type so if you break a string the tuning is out the door for sure. The SGV series comes with a bunch of allen and a box wrench for adjusting the instrument. Also comes with an el-cheapo guitar jack. When selecting a jack for this guitar, it’s advisable to use one with a right angled jack at the guitar end especially if you play in a seated position.

Very well built, comfortable instrument, with some really nice sounds coming out. Seems like Yamaha has discontinued this product so support may be iffy. No mention of the SGV series at all on Yamaha’s website at time of writing and they are very slow to respond to e-mail. I baby my guitars, they are always stowed in their case or on a stand, the Gretsch looks like just out of the store even after 28-years of ownership and use. So the SGV is expected to retain it’s luster for many years to come.

For amplification, I play into the GNX3 and out through a nice pair of Sennheiser headphones, but ….when the wife’s at the hairdresser’s ….the GNX3 is connected to my Citation Nineteen 235W/channel stereo amplifier and out through a pair of Altec Lansing Voice of the Theatre Speakers (Really awesome sound) in the living room. Just felt compelled to write my impressions about this unusual and seemingly not very popular guitar.

Cletus rated this unit 4 on 2004-01-29.

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