Yamaha SL800 Studio Lord Red Sunburst 1976
Yamaha SL800, red sunburst, made in Japan 1976. These Studio Lord LPs are definitely a Topshelf favourite, guess why? If you guessed it's because they're stunning, terrific, brilliant guitars... congratulations, you win the game. This particular example dates to 1976, the first year of production of the series, and is one of the top spec models. The basic differences over the SL380 and SL500 that this initially significantly outpriced in it's day are higher grade woods and better pickups. That might sound like a small difference, but it adds up mightily to the ears. This has that gorgeous bell like clarity you hear on true 50s Les Pauls; it's that almost Telecaster-esque chiming definition and sparkle paired with an airy, open and harmonically complex midrange. It takes a good LP to sound great on a clean tone, and this cleans up absolutely beautifully. With drive, of course, it's another world of awesome: rich, warm, articulate and creamy with heaps of punch and body. The unchambered mahogany body lends this a reassuring weight; there's some tasty grain on the back too. The plain maple top has some lovely visual details and looks all the better for a few marks of honest wear. Somehow, these still slip under the radar as MIJ Gibson style guitars go; so do yourself a favour and shack up with one of the best while it's looking for love.
Model: Yamaha SL800 Studio Lord
Made: Japan, 1976 (serial 1023)
Finish: red sunburst over plain maple
Body: high grade mahogany, plain maple top, unchambered
Neck: maple, 2-piece, rosewood board, 24.75" scale, 15" radius
Mods: strap pins replaced, bridge replaced with Gotoh relic AB1R style, cavity cover removed
Neck pickup: covered PAF-style humbuckers, splittable
Case: vintage vegan leather gig bag
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. Headstock has some dimples on the end and back. The neck has some visible rub wear and small dimples on the back as well as discoloured binding from play, but it's smooth (very!) in the hands. The back has widespread light scuffs and surface scratches and a few minor dimples but no major marks. Note the electronics cavity cover is missing, a standard LP one doesn't quite fit so I had trouble sourcing a replacement. The sides have light scuffs and dimples all around the body, plus some extra holes near the front strap pin and some little chips on the shoulder and near the jack. The front ha a few little dimples on the top horn, near the knobs and on the elbow area as well as widespread light scuffs and dimples and play wear on the guard and horns; no major marks though. Overall: good condition (7/10)
Playing condition notes: Action is low, neck is straight, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electrics tested and working properly. Frets look good, bit of wear but they're pretty even with no major buzz issues, 8/10 for fret life left. Wearing fresh 10/52 Moonshiners strings.