Yamaha SA-RR Semi Hollow Cherry Red 1988
Yamaha SA-RR, cherry red, made in Japan 1988. This one is a pretty different animal, but it's all sorts of awesome. Let's start with the shape: in 1968-9 approx, Yamaha were making a guitar called the SA15 (see here!) that was basically this body shape; although the original was a bolt-on fully hollow construction with different hardware. It's absolutely one of the coolest shapes Yamaha ever did, so this little throwback to that is welcome. This one is a different beast though: it's semi-hollow with a centre block, more like a 335, as well as featuring a Tele Deluxe-style bridge and pickup setup. Now: the electronics... you've got a tasty Tele style single coil in the bridge. The neck pickup is a fat, PAF-voiced humbucker, splittable to a single coil via the switch on the lower horn. There's also a piezo pickup attached to the bridge, activated via the push-push tone pot, and blendable into the signal via the notched blend knob. On top of all that, the piezo is driven by an active circuit that also offers a huge amount of onboard volume boost and an active two band EQ, all controllable via trim pots in the back cavity. With the boost cranked, this pushed our usually-very-clean Silverface Bassman amp into a very dirty compressed overdrive; there's a crazy amount of output on offer if you want it. Otherwise with the boosts dialled out the output is a sensible untouched passive level. You can dial in a big, thick, juicy electric tone with either conventional pickup, then add a whisker of piezo to add some definition and note separation into the mix for extra sauce... tasty times. It's a terrific sounding guitar with a heap of tonal options. As with all these vintage MIJ Yamahas, the build quality is absolutely superb. The neck is a treat: straight as an arrow, moderately slim but with a comfortable round profile, tidy frets... awesome. On top of all that, this looks absolutely stellar. What a gorgeous machine!
Model: Yamaha SA-RR
Made: Japan, 1988 (best estimate, serial OK10022)
Finish: dark cherry red gloss
Body: laminate mahogany with centre block
Neck: one piece mahogany, rosewood board, 15" radius, 24.75" scale
Pickup: Yamaha humbucker, TL-style single coil and piezo system
Case: basic non original gig bag
Cosmetic condition notes: mild finish wear. Headstock has some minor chips on the end and front near the low-E peg. as well as some extra holes on the back from previous tuners. The neck is clean and smooth in the hands, minor dimples on the back only. The back has some widespread but minor light scuffs and surface scratches as well as a small chip on the top horn; no major marks. The sides have a few dimples on the top horn and shoulder and some light scuffs near the jack and on the bottom horn. The front us pretty clear, just some dimples around the back edge, especially on the shoulder, and some light play scratches on the guard and top horn. Overall: very good condition (7.5/10).
Playing condition notes: Neck is straight, intonation is good, action is low, truss rod works. All electronics tested and working properly. Frets have a little wear, they're in reasonable shape for their age, 7/10 for fret life left. Setup with fresh 11/49s.