Worked on this Yamaha A series guitar this past week.
The A series was launched a few years back as a dedicated stage guitar. It’s got the SRT pickup system with onboard preamp and a host of other features like a slim neck and cutaway.
The AC1M is the entry model of the A series featuring a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany body. This is probably the tried and tested combination of tonewoods for an acoustic. In fact, this combination hardly ever fails.
Do not be fooled. This guitar is very well made, with nice wood binding on body and fretboard. The finishing on the back of the neck is also great, giving that bit of sheen but without the stickiness you’ll find on lesser guitars.
Here’s a look at the SRT 66 analog pickup system. It has a very clever battery system that uses two AA size batteries and not the block of 9V thing. Just look at the beautiful binding here.
On to the project. The guitar came to me strung in HD Light Elixirs (13-53 gauge) which I felt was unsuitable for both the guitar and owner. We had a good chat and owner (super nice guy) seems to place much priority in playing comfort.
The neck also seem to have more relief than needed. I suspect the heavier strings may have caused the up-bow.
My recommendation in this instance is to go for 80/20 light gauge (12-53) for comfort and playability. It may not be a lot of difference for some players, but it is true that 80/20 strings create less tension than phosphor bronze types, thereby requiring less power to fret the strings.
Let’s start with Bearclaw Special. Tender loving care for all them guitars!
We started with about two days of dehumidifying with the aim of bringing down the top a little. The HD Lights do not do any favours to lightly built guitars.
Time for some fingerboard moisturising. 0000 steel wool and lemon oil are the stuffs needed. Bob sits by to wait for the lemon oil to dry.
I gave the truss rod a half turn to straighten it out a bit. The supplied tool by Yamaha is great! Remember, righty-tighty, lefty-loosy.
Nut slots were lubed with pencil. Good ol’ pencil lead. 🙂
Bone saddle over plastic
These drop-in bone saddles are great to enhance the tone of Yamaha guitars. These guys need a 75mm saddle that’s not too easy to find.
We got a nice serpentine compensation here. Some attention was required for the B string. Saddle height is also important. If you go too low, prepare to hear buzzing and loss of tone.
Alrighty, it’s almost done. Just a wee bit more rounding off to match the fret radius and sanding to get the correct height. We’re having 3/32 inch at 12th fret capo on 1st. Plenty of meat here on the saddle. You get great tone this way. 🙂
Body clean and shine, put in some fresh Elixir 80/20 lights. Nice, bright sounds from the guitar. Very comfy to play now. Roger is smiling away here.