Yamaha SA-15 Hollow Body Sunburst 1969
Yamaha SA-15 hollow body, made in Japan 1969. This is a superbly cute oddity from a much cooler bygone era. Yamaha began making electric guitars in 1966, and this model was part of the long-running and very highly regarded SA series. The SA-15 was a fully hollow design that took it cues from somewhere between The Beatles' Rickenbackers and The Ventures' Mosrites. The look is all sorts of awesomeness: the obvious features like the extended lower horn and unique pickguard are all Yamaha originals, and the little details like the not-quite-f-hole, the zero-fret nut, the faux-wood inlay on the tailpiece all add a certain quant weirdness to the overall vibe. It's definitely an eye-catcher, it's only been the shop a day or two and already drawn a lot of comments. This one has had a bit of finish work and a fret dressing by some of our local pro luthiers, so it's now playing super smoothly. The tone is a lot of fun: the single coil pickups have a huge upfront attack and punch, and owing to the bolt on construction and fully hollow construction, this has a naturally short sustain, which is great for surf and indie style stuff. There's a super wide, airy and woody quality to the midrange; it's a disarmingly charming tone that really grows on you the more you play it. The neck is straight and sturdy and a comfy moderate D style shape, so it'll feel familiar to fans of 50s style Strats etc, it's pretty easy on the hands. The hardware is all pretty quirky, but it still holds tune pretty well for an old roller. This is only the second of this model we've ever managed to score, they really don't come around often at all. Things were just cooler in 1969, right?
Model: Yamaha SA-15
Made: Japan, 1969 (serial 12156)
Finish: gloss black
Body: laminate mahogany, fully hollow, thinline depth
Neck: mahogany, stained maple fretboard, 24.75" scale, 12" radius
Mods: bottom side edge refinished, frets dressed, knobs replaced
Pickups: Yamaha single coil pickup x2 (hum-free anisotrophic ferrite)
Case: basic non original gig bag
Overall: minor finish wear. Headstock has minor marks on the end and around the edges. The neck is clean and smooth in the hands, minor dimples on the back only. The back has widespread minor scuffs and dimples, no major marks. The sides have dimples and scuffs all along the top and back edges, plus the bottom side has been refinished from around the knobs to the end of the bottom horn. There's a minor crack in the finish only on the bottom edge. The front has widespread scuffs and dimples, but again, no major marks. Overall: good condition (7/10)
Playing condition notes: Neck is straight, intonation is good, action is low, truss rod works. All electronics tested and working properly. Frets have been freshly dressed, so they're in great shape, 8/10 for life left. Setup with fresh 11/49 Moonshiners strings.