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Yamaki Acoustic Guitars

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.

Rare Yamaki Acoustic Guitars

When talking about Japanese made acoustic guitars people tend to think of Yamaha, Takamine, and Alvarez as being the major brands of acoustic guitars that are made in Japan. Those three companies are the three major companies in Japan that have been and still are making acoustic guitars. But there is also a pretty rare brand of guitar out there that you might run into, and that is the Yamaki brand of acoustic guitar. If you do see one, and it's in playable or repairable condition at all, then I seriously suggest that you buy that guitar if you are financially able to.

I've seen exactly two of these guitars ever. I liked both of them very much. I became acquainted with one recently, and couldn't have possibly been more impressed with that guitar. The other one I'd seen once belonged to my grandfather, and I nearly bought it from him at one point. Basically, the two Yamaki acoustics that I've had my hands on both belong to uncles of mine, and one of those uncles at one point or another had owned both of them.

I can't speak for how truthful or accurate this next thing is, but the story that I was told was that the way that Yamaki was displayed on the headstocks of their acoustic guitars looked so similar to how Yamaha was displayed on the headstocks of their guitars that Yamaha sued, and had the Yamaki company to change things. Here's what I know for certain, I like Yamaha acoustic guitars, and I consider them to be fine guitars, and especially if you buy one of their L Series guitars. However, I'm positive that the Yamaki guitar I played recently was better than any Yamaha acoustic guitar that I've ever seen or played, in fact, it was a very comparable guitar in quality to the Alvarez acoustic guitar that I fell in love with once at the North Texas Guitar Center, but a fancier guitar.

A Very Nice Yamaki Acoustic Guitar.  It Looks Like a Martin D 18 Copy

A Very Nice Yamaki Acoustic Guitar. It Looks Like a Martin D 18 Copy

If you know guitars and you look at that picture of the Yamaki acoustic guitar up above, then it's clear that that guitar is a copy of a Martin D 18. You can't really know how good a quality that guitar is from the picture, and while it's hard to tell whether or not it's a solid wood construction guitar, I'm betting that that is exactly what it is. The thing that is most clear from that photo is that the guitar features a spruce soundboard. From the looks of the thing, I'm betting a that it's a solid spruce soundboard, a hallmark of a great acoustic guitar.

The Yamaki Deluxe Acoustic Guitar.

The Yamaki Deluxe Acoustic Guitar.

The Yamaki Deluxe Acoustic Guitar

Now, looking at the fine photo above we see an example of the Yamaki acoustic guitar model called "The Yamaki Deluxe." This guitar more resembles my Uncle Tom's guitar than does the other photo, and the reason for this is that the soundboard of this guitar is clearly a different wood than the spruce soundboard in the top photo. The soundboard on the Yamaki Deluxe model is clearly Western Red Cedar, and that is what my Uncle Tom's Yamaki flat top guitar features as a soundboard.

If you recall that I mentioned something about having two uncles with Yamaki acoustic guitars, that's correct. My Uncle James owns one as well, and that would be the one that my grandfather used to own. I've not seen that guitar in years: I hope that cleared up any confusion that I might have created.

The Yamaki acoustic guitar that my Uncle Thomas owns would more be a "Super Deluxe" or something; it's a more decorated model than the Yamaki Deluxe in the photo above. The sticker that should be visible inside the soundhole of his guitar is absent, but Uncle Tom's Yamaki flat top has an abalone inlay up the fingerboard the likes of which would be seen on a Martin D-42, or a Martin D-45.

A Very Nice Yamaki Acoustic Guitar

Western Red Cedar Soundboard

I've no idea why Yamaki as a company seems to use Western Red Cedar as a soundboard on some of their best guitars. I don't have any problem with it. The very fine Yamaki flat top that my Uncle Thomas owns has what are definitely solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides, a solid Western Red Cedar top, a rosewood fingerboard, and lots of Martin style abalone inlays for fret markers up the neck. It's more than a thousand dollar guitar any way you slice it.

Here's the deal about Western Red Cedar as a soundboard and tonewood. It's outstanding for that purpose. I've always been told that cedar wasn't used so much for flat tops because people using a heavy pick attack when playing will tend to overdrive and distort the notes with cedar. So cedar, having more excellent tonal characteristics when played lightly, was most often used for guitars that a fingerstyle player would more likely use. I didn't have that problem at all though, not with the Yamaki dreadnought. I played the thing with a tortoise shell pick, and every note rang loud, clear, and true.

You may wish to dowload this image, and then blow it up to read it - further help towards identifying a Yamaki guitar's specifications

You may wish to dowload this image, and then blow it up to read it - further help towards identifying a Yamaki guitar's specifications

The History of Yamaki Acoustic Guitars

Sometime in the late '60s, Daion began exporting Yamaki guitars to America, where they were well received. By the early '80s, however, Daion felt that the Yamaki Martin-style guitars were getting lost among similar instruments from other Japanese builders like Takamine, Yasuma, and C.F. Mountain, so they redesigned the entire acoustic line and started building acoustic-electrics and solid-body electrics as well as oddities like double-neck acoustics.

They dropped the Yamaki name and rebranded their instruments as Daion guitars. Daion began an extensive advertising campaign to introduce the new line around 1982, but this was a time when musicians were more interested in the new MIDI-equipped synthesizers than in guitars. In 1984 Daion stopped importing guitars to America and soon went out of business. Yamaki, on the other hand, survived the downturn of the '80s and now makes parts for other Japanese guitar companies.

From browsing forum posts and looking at YouTube videos, the consensus among owners and players is that Yamaki acoustic guitars are top notch. I recall liking both Yamaki acoustic guitars that I've played very much. The one I played recently was a superb instrument that would be comparable to rosewood and cedar flat top steel string guitars by C.F. Martin & Co. which sell anywhere from $1,700.00 to $3,000.00 new.

The particular guitar that I played could possibly be comparable to more expensive models than the prices listed above if the backs and sides happen to actually be Brazilian Rosewood rather than East Indian Rosewood. I'm mostly certain that that guitar was East Indian, but again, several forum posts seemed to indicate that Brazilian Rosewood was most often or very often used with Yamaki guitars.

These guitars are rare, and somewhat hard to find nowadays. If you bump into one at a flea market or yard sale you should definitely grab it. It's either a keeper already, or worth repairing.

Some Yamaki History

Yamaki Guitar Identification Guide - An Old Advert.

Yamaki Guitar Identification Guide - An Old Advert.


barry st martin on August 26, 2020:

Hi folks... I have a Yamaki AY396S. I purchased it from the original owner who worked at a music store and bought it around 1974 as per his recollection. The AY catalogue I reference below mentions it in the small print, however there is no picture of it. The small print says all solid woods...for the professional muician... I do like finding this interesting reference material. Thank You


Kuba on July 12, 2020:

I looked through your comments but wasn't able to go find mention of the yamaki I have. I have a ay433s 12-string acoustic. Any thoughts ?

Jhoelsch1 on June 30, 2020:

Hi guys,

I looked through your comments but wasn't able to go find mention of the yamaki I have. The model says f230y. It's a yamaki custom 12 string Anyone have insight on this one?

Andy Block on May 26, 2020:

I have an Ay734S, which I got from my brother who use to teach at 'the guitar store' in Vancouver in the 1970's and played pro around town. So it's a good one. I once asked him if it was as good as a Martin and his reply was 'it is as good as some Martins'.

It has the cedar top and rosewood back and sides. The headstock has the Yamaki name inlaid and the fingerboard has stylized inlaid crosses, rather than dots.

It is showing its age with some crazing and a few dents, which happens when a guitar gets played. It is a great guitar and I would never part with it.

Dexter McRae on May 26, 2020:

I am

The proud owner of a Yamaki Custom with a model number I can’t read...it’s Western Red Cedar top, rosewood back and sides. Black binding on the neck and headstock,cream color binding on the body. Single zipper on the back so I know it’s not a 135. Any help?

nic on May 18, 2020:

anyone got any info on the ay 472s 12 string? randy?

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 14, 2020:

@KazJapan - well, you're more than welcome to do so.

Lots of questions here.

KazJapan on May 14, 2020:

I also interact with Japanese YAMAKI guitar fans. So I can answer any questions I can.

Archetypal Rocker on May 14, 2020:

What is a Yamaki Special? I own one, it is a dreadnaught. Are Yamaki guitars still being produced?

KazJapan on April 27, 2020:

Hello. I am one of the big Yamaki guitar fans in Japan. I am so happy that Yamaki's guitars are loved so much in America. I have several Yamaki guitars, but the one I really like is the Yamaki F150. If you find one, please play it.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 22, 2020:

Thanks Randy. I'd really like to answer the questions, however, I've only seen 2 Yamaki in my life.

So I'd love to help, but I just don't have the answers, and it is hard to find such answers online.

Randy on February 21, 2020:

There are a lot of questions here about Yamaki guitars. If you have one, keep it and play it. I have 19 of them and these are great guitars.

Kevin carignan on December 20, 2019:

I have 2 Yamaki AY337S acoustics. I can't find any info on this model. Solid red cedar top. Rosewood back and sides. Binding,top.back,neck headstock. 2 piece back with perfilling down center. Tuners sealed with Yamaki name.Rosewood veneer with Yamaki on headstock in gold continuous writing script . Any info would be appreciated. I live in Saskatoon Saskatchewan ,Canada

John on October 24, 2019:

I have a YW-35,have serial number but can’t find a list of serial numbers for it.Id like to know how old it is.

Gøran on July 23, 2019:

I have an yamaki yw-25

John McA on May 21, 2019:

Has anyone heard of a Yamaki GC 20. Didn’t see any mention of this anywhere

OGB on April 06, 2019:

I have a Yamaki ym-600 that says saga on the neck top and Yamaki co Ltd since 1954 made in Japan inside the body. Does anybody know much about it? Thank you

Guy Shad on April 05, 2019:

I have a Yamaki AY372S Ser #141120. Bought it in 1979 (probably from Long and McQuade Vancouver). I played it frequently for a couple of years until life got in the way. Carried it with me in my van to Toronto and all the way down to Mulege BC Mexico. I didn't play it for 30 years. Then two years ago I pulled it out of the closet thinking "I should sell this". Well, just before putting it on Craigslist I threw some new strings on her. I credit my sweetheart for getting me right back into music. I play it every day now for at least a couple of hours. I have a Martin D28 too but I come back to the Yamaki all the time. It has a voice that, as the old ads suggested, "a singing" guitar. I put D'Addario extra lights (10's) on it. It always cuts through any other guitar in the group I play with. I love it! I would never sell it now. It sounds better and better all the time.

Jamie on March 25, 2019:

Anybody heard of a Yamaki (Custom) Western model A436S?

My folks bought it new in 1971, in Victoria BC, with a hard case, and it was rarely played (kept strung, though).

Looks like a solid spruce top and solid rosewood bottom & sides.

I can't find any references to this model number in the old guitar catalogues and messages below. Wondering if it's worth having a luthier do a couple of cosmetic repairs on the spruce top. It's otherwise mint.

Bill on March 07, 2019:

Ray I have same guitar serial no 130510 what’s yours? Just trying to date mine TQ Bill

Raymond L on February 16, 2019:

I have a AY370S yamaki I bought new in the 70s still playing it.excellent guitar.

Mike D on January 11, 2019:

I have a 110 from the mid 80s

In good condition. Is it worth anything?

Gard Bertrand Hansen on December 15, 2018:

I bought a Yamaki YW-40 in Japan back in 1976 and it’s still one of the best guitars I’ve ever played..I simply love that guitar..

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on November 21, 2018:

Lets keep it sort of secret now, Stageboy007. haha

stageboy007 on November 21, 2018:

Im a touring guitar tech of three decades, and a collector of "lawsuit era" guitars. Was at my local pawn shop today, and caught something different in my glance thru the usual firewood..... Yamaki AY231. Mind Blown. Ive played alot of endorsee guitars over those years, this Yamaki is right up there with them. Incredible sound, with perfect intonation. Very rare to find.

New brand in the collection!

Peterjy333 on October 27, 2018:

I have a Yamaki AY 433S 12 string guitar which I purchased in the 70's ( guessing 74-76 ) and have always owned since new. It does not have the paper label I notice in some but it does have a piece of wood that says ( singing sound by YAMAKI since 1954 AY 433S )

This has very little hours on it as I gave up to early but kept the guitar. Was always in a hard shell case. Just curious what this might be worth today. Any rough guesses.


maxwetho000 on September 30, 2018:

Do you know anything about the custom line? I picked up a Yamaki No. 125 Custom guitar last night for $50 at a thrift store and the sound is absolutely incredible. I don't know much about it, but I think it is a solid redwood cedar top with what I think are rosewood sides and back (not sure if it is solid or laminate, but the sound is so warm and amazing so I am not too concerned either way). One of the tuners is on its last leg so I am going to try and get them all replaced, but overall I think I found a real gem!

MYRIAM on September 29, 2018:

Thank You.

Sharjeel Ahson on August 22, 2018:

I own Yamaki F 118 and love it. I bought Taylor too but Yamaki is another level.

JAlexander1951 on March 28, 2018:

I'm happy to have my fingers together much less worry about my head too! chuckle chuckle

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 27, 2018:

That absolutely works, and had I had my head together earlier, I would have thought to say just post the links from CL.

JAlexander1951 on March 27, 2018:

Thanks, I am wondering if this link to my ad might work.


Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 27, 2018:

JAlexander1951. The two ways I know to do this are to post them on Facebook or photobucket. On either site the photos must be set to be public, so anyone can see them. From there you can copy/paste the links to here.

JAlexander1951 on March 27, 2018:

I put my F-225 up for sale on CL today for $300. I'll see if I get any serious bites. I wanted to post a couple of pics here but can't see how to do it. If someone can explain it to me I will. Thanks.

gator on March 20, 2018:

I have a mid 70's (i think) Yamaki, I will post a pic and serial #, hopefully someone knows something about it!

Doug on March 20, 2018:

Sam: the 335 is an awesome guitar. Not sure what you want

to know about it. I have one with such a beautiful redwood

that I am tempted to imagine it is Brazilian but probably

isnt. Redwood comes in so many different colors and

grains. My 335 will easily give any old Martin a run for

it's money. I have mine on a stand, as we speak, right

next to an old D 18

Samual Brent on March 19, 2018:

I have a Yamaki AY335S I bought new back in the 70s. It is beautiful in sound and playability. Can anyone give me any info on it? I bought it at North Shore Music on Lonsdale.

Murray Bowes on March 16, 2018:


I was wondering if you might be able to tell me the year of production of a Yamaki AY376S serial number 221106 ?

thank you

JAlexander1951 on March 06, 2018:

I am certainly not crying over spilled milk. The fingers are there and movable and I can form chords but just unable to press down. Originally, the PT said the nerve sensitivity would likely diminish over the years but unfortunately for me that has not happened. I would go for a year without playing and then make an attempt for several days a week over the course of a month hoping to get some calluses, I even tried using gloves which might have worked on a 6-string but was a disaster on a 12-string. Anyway, I have my fingers so life is still OK. The 12-string is a 225 Custom, The 225 is burnt/etched in on the inside frame along with manufactured by Yamaki. The back and sides look like mahogany and the top cedar or spruce but I'm guessing spruce because the color is so light. Reinforced neck. I actually knew all that at one time, which is when I bought it because I was saving for a Martin. Saving was taking a very long time back in the early 70's for a 19 yr. old kid but I was convinced by the music shop owner to satisfy my desire earlier by getting this supposed copy of a Martin and was never disappointed

Doug on March 05, 2018:

Mr Alexander:

Sorry to hear about the bad luck. I can relate as I am now

battling "thumb arthritis".

re: your 12 string

The first step is to find the model number inside.

Then, if you know your woods, is it a mahogany back

and sides or is it Indian Rosewood?



I have owned two different 12 strings:

AY470S and a 225 Custom.

JAlexander1951 on March 04, 2018:

I have a Yamaki Custom 12 string I bought brand new in 1972 and still in good condition. I cut my fingers on my left (chord) hand for the second time several years ago. I tried many things to rehab my fingers but unfortunately the nerve endings are near the surface and pressing on Strings is simply too much so I would like to sell it to someone who knows Yamaki and wants one in their collection. I haven't decided where to sell it or what to ask. I could use some help and advice. It comes with a hard case that came with it when I bought it. A while back I put on new tuners but still have the originals. Plenty of photos available. Thanks

Doug on February 21, 2018:

Dear Doug;

Enough of the sentimentality...what we really want is for you

to tell us (ie. addicts) about your Yamakis. What are the

model numbers? The "addicts" are always curious to

discover the existence of new "gems".

Here's a story.... a longtime friend of mine told me about

his "magic" Yamaki. Prior to that I had never heard of

them. So I began to search them out, usually on sites

like Craigslist and kijiji. Over the years many Yamakis

have passed thru my hands. Many stayed. Eventually I

came across online in California. I took a chance and had

it shipped (ie. blind purchase). It arrived and had many

issues. What some would call a piece of crap. It sat for a year before I had managed to set aside

a few bucks to have it worked on.

Then it sat again. with some intermittent humidification,

for a few more months. Finally I restrung it with some

EJ 16s and guess what? It really is a magic guitar.

Especially in the early morning or late evening when

sound seems to hang in the air. It is a smaller guitar and

I am a big guy with big hands but man...what a guitar!

Totally investment: roughly $400

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 15, 2018:

Heck yeah, Doug. So awesome when a person purchases a thing and says, 'I'm never parting with this in my life.'

Doug on February 15, 2018:

I feel so blessed to have four Yamaki guitars. Bought and still have my original 6 string from 1975. It will go to the grave with me. Over the years I've been fortunate to purchase three more. Very prized and treasured.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on January 02, 2018:

I guess part of the issue is Yamaki also made beginner level guitars. At the time Yamaki was sold in the US, Martin pretty much only produced top notch guitars.

So if you only ever saw one of the beginner level Yamaki, and didn't know any better, you'd be like the nimrod.

I've seen a cheap-y Yamaki, and a very fine one. I thought they were both terrific.

Doug on January 02, 2018:

Wes: pls block this nimrod.

This page is for guitar lovers. Especially those

with a love or curiosity about Yamaki guitars.

I collect old Martins and old Yamakis,

plus one well known old Yamaha. These Japanese

guitars hold there own very nicely up against

the Martins. Hugh sounds like a crotchety old

man. And that's fine. So am I. Just don't

knock what you don't understand.

Hugh SNYDER on December 31, 2017:

Did real research on this type guitar. It was mas produced to rebuild Japanese ecconomy after WW2.not Real rare at all. There are plenty around.sold at Woolworths and other stores during the late 50s and cheap..

Hugh SNYDER on December 28, 2017:

Thanks for letting me post that and vent.some people think guitars are like fine wine.Ive tasted supposed fine wine.to tell you the truth it. All taste like Mad Dog 20/20 to me.just in different bottles.lol thanks again

Hugh SNYDER on December 28, 2017:

My hippy Friend lost his place to live.stayed here for a while went into and has been in and out of hospital s point is he left a yamaki Guitar here at my house. Serial Number F74. It got knocked off the place I put it.and Broke like the Japanese pc of crap it was.now all I hear about us him crying over that. Guitar.i still have it. Can't tell the difference between wood of the guitar.and A balsa wood airplane you buy at a wall Mart.I think it's over rated. All guitars sound about the same to me. But different from the crying I constantly hear about that stupid guitar. Hippies and guitar nuts.Grrrrr

JEROME SUTTON on December 26, 2017:

I have a Yamaki copy of a Martin D-41. It is a very well built guitar and has a good sound.

Doug on November 27, 2017:

Are you sure that it says Yamaki and not Yamaha?

The number sequence with the suffix doesn't quite

match my experience either.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on November 18, 2017:

Well thank you very very much, Ansel! Making a little music is nearly always worth the doing, regardless of the kind of instrument. :)

Ansel Pereira on November 18, 2017:

I loved reading the detailed information on Yamaki acoustic guitars. I haven't played one, however, I'd love to get playing a Yamaki. I used to play a lot of acoustic early on. I play the electric guitar more often nowadays. Your article has inspired me to play my acoustic more often. Thank you for the wonderful post. Cheers.

Tom P on November 17, 2017:

I owned Yamaki Deluxe exactly like the one pictured and i traveled all over North America with that guitar. I would have it today but alas due to my own carelessness by leaving it out in a party it was crushed by a drunk.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on November 14, 2017:

Sounds like the guitar one of my uncles has. Very good quality Herringbone D-28 copy, but with the red cedar soundboard. It's a friggin' awesome guitar.

Mark McDonald on November 14, 2017:

I was given a Yamaki guitar a few years ago and am astounded by the sound. It is a D-28 copy with a Western Red Cedar top and solid Indian Rosewood back and sides. The sound is deep and rich, better than any Martin I have owned or played in the past. The only problem is the action. Pretty high, maybe needs a neck reset. I am a slide player so it works great for me but not for everyone. But because of the action it may not be right for everyone. The neck is the only indication that this may be a cheaper guitar. Top, back, and sides are wonderful, with deep and rich presentation.


Kyrre Gjerstad on October 29, 2017:

I inherited a Yamaki W140 from my father, it had probably not been used for 20 years or more when I found it in its original hard case. Although the finish was in a terrible condition the sound of it is simply amazing. I have never heard an acoustic guitar sounding like that, maybe it is because of the finish fading away leaving the wood exposed? I have attached two pictures of it.



Doug on August 20, 2017:

A note to those who have recently discovered Yamaki.

I started playing guitar over 50 yrs ago but never took

a close look at what I was playing. Most of those years

were spent playing a Tele. But when I settled down I

took to the cliche "playing an accoustic in the

basement". Not wanting to invest too much when I

felt my knowledge of accoustics was minimal, I started

my "accoustic phase" with a Yamaki (recommended by

an old friend). 25 Yamakis, and 3 vintage Martins

later, I have concluded that there are definitely Yamakis

"out there" that are as good or better than a Martin.

I will be keeping about 6 or 7 Yamakis "forever" as my

new quest is to find a vintage Martin that can "better


down I

Dai Neal on May 03, 2017:

Just here doing some research on a guitar I just played, a cedar topped Yamaky with mahogany back and sides. This guitar has been sitting in its case for maybe 20 years... perfectly in tune and fantastic action after all that time. What a tone and playability... fantastic acoustic guitar.

S Padgett on February 16, 2017:

Fascinating reading all this about Yamaki guitars. I recently found one sort of hiding in a small 2nd hand music shop. Even though it was in the furthest and darkest place to even get to it, had no price and could see nothing on it to indicate what make it was, it stood very clearly out amongst all the other guitars in the shop. I had a look, saw the quality had a play that absolutely bowled me over, I knew it was a gem straightaway. Unique too. The guy in the shop told me it was a Yamaha, on closer inspection I discovered a faint Yamaki sign and the words Singing Sound By Yamaki Since 1954. Inside it is stamped W 300. I put a deposit on it, and after reading all this I'm off back to collect it sooner rather than later! Great price yet again. £200

Randy on January 03, 2017:

Yes, it can be frustrating to not know the model, but at the end of the day if it sounds good, I don't really care. I will just enjoy playing them.

TooManyGuitars on January 03, 2017:

Thanks Randy;

I can relate to pretty much all of your guitars except

for maybe the 386. I had a 384 once that was the

Hummingbird copy.

I had a 331B that I sold and never could figure out for

sure what the "B" stood for.

And, like you, I have a AY333S that is a longterm

keeper as well as an AY331S that is pretty beat up

but also a longterm keeper. And I agree about the

12 strings also. I have big hands so I play them

as 6 strings. And, yes, nothing more frustrating

than having a Yamaki with a faded or missing


Randy on January 02, 2017:


I have:



AY386 Buffalo headstock




AY333 L




Deluxe (faded model number)

AY472 12 string

Deluxe 12 string(faded model number)

Deluxe 12 srting(faded model number)

AY470S 12 string - has both Yamaki name and Daion symbol on the soundhole sticker.

I usually play the AY331B but I also like the AY333. The 12 strings sound amazing too.

toomanyguitars on January 01, 2017:


Just curious. What are your two favorites?

Randy on December 31, 2016:

I now have 15 Yamaki guitars. 4 of them are 12 strings, one lefty and one Buffalo. I played a Daion once and I would love to own one. They really ring!

toomanyguitars on October 16, 2016:

Yes, thought so. I have 3 guitars from the 70 series, and

all have that feature.

Also....to techtalk

a solid top spruce Yamaki is quite rare.

Maybe the B indicates simply that there is something

unusual about the guitar..

Deb Sharkey from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada on October 15, 2016:

I looked up what a V neck is and compared it to all the other styles. I am not an expert but I do believe it is a soft V neck.

Deb Sharkey from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada on October 15, 2016:

What is a soft V neck?

toomanyguitars on October 14, 2016:

I would be curious to know if your AY470S has a soft V

neck. It's a theory I'm working on.

Deb on October 13, 2016:

Back in 2001 I was in Vancouver and visited a Pawn Shop and bought a Yamaki 12 String AY 470S. It appears to be a solid cedar top with rosewood sides and back. It is in excellent condition and came with its original wood hard shell case. I paid $300.00 for it back then because it had a very rich full sound. That is all I know about it and can find no other information on this model.

kilshark on October 13, 2016:

Back in 2001 I was in Vancouver and visited a Pawn Shop and bought a Yamaki 12 String AY 470S. It appears to be a solid cedar top with rosewood sides and back. It is in excellent condition and came with its original wood hard shell case. I paid $300.00 for it back then because it had a very rich full sound. That is all I know about it and can find no other information on this model.

Techtalktoll on September 18, 2016:

Just obtained an ay333b with a solid spruce top that is paper thin - very little scratching on the pick guard so it has little use. I was surprised that there was very little bellying and fret wear. The sound is amazing. The back is Rosewood three layer laminate. Not sure what the middle layer is but an acoustic pickup was installed so I know the middle is a light colour. The 333s models appear to have a truss rod with adjustment at the tuner heads. This one is in the body. I am wondering if the b at the end stands for bone saddle and nut as these look original except for under saddle pickup rework.

Glen on September 13, 2016:

I have a yamaki F115 mint condition sounds like a dream

Doug on September 02, 2016:

Bang on there Chase.

The "W" preceded this Buffalo series but I think you are

totally right that her guitar is likely a Buffalo head with

a laminated top, such that the laminate is targeting

a "country sound" (at least as they perceive it) and

that would be what they are calling a "harder"

sound. Also, the coincidence between the previously

used term "Western guitar" and "a country sound"

shouldn't be overlooked.

If you can find my email address drop my a line

sometime. I am always adding new Yamakis to my

stable...most recently a 303 which I am still


chase842 on September 01, 2016:

Re: AY374W

If you can post a picture that would help to reveal some clues around this. The "AY" at the beginning of the model # implies that the product was built for export to North America (probably Canada). The catalogue page below (see link)would suggest that yours is a higher end Buffalo series (but that is assumption without actually seeing the style of the guitar). Model numbers in the Yamaki line are consistently higher for higher-end builds within the same style. Notwithstanding that it might be a laminate top, your model # suggests a higher quality than average. Possibly reflected in quality of materials and adornments.


Doug on August 31, 2016:

re: "W"

I once had a W 115.

It was a nice guitar. laminated spruce top and mahogany I


Some older Yamaki guitars were labelled "Folk Guitars".

Some of these were solid top and some were laminates.

At the same time there were some labelled "Western".

I believe I read somewhere that the Westerns were said to

be laminates designed for a louder sound.

Now there may be a correlation between Western and "W"

but I do not know that for a fact. That is the thing with

Yamaki. You rarely know for sure. It's all part of the


SJeastwood on August 30, 2016:


I have a Yamaki AY374W / 221010

I am just starting my research and have been reading all your comments.

What does the W mean

It belonged to my late hubby. He just loved it!!!!

Any info would be welcomed.

Haiden S. on June 23, 2016:

I recently got a really beat up yakami w-15. The neck and fretboard was split near the body and the body itself is in cosmetic ruin. Could you perhaps yell me anything you know about a w-15 and if it would be worth it to refinish it?

musichabs on June 21, 2016:

nice Mr. Mole..they are a steal sometimes!!

Mr. Mole on June 20, 2016:

Just found an AY372S in a pawn shop on Vancouver island, for a friend of mine.I am a lefty, if anyone wants to sell a lefty Yamaki, let me know.

I paid $251 , reduced from $300 because of fathers day...got original case and a free set of strings.

An odd thing i noticed, i couldn't sing / excite a single resonant frequency out of the sound hole. It's an INCREDABLY even toned instrument, early no paper label, with super action, perfect evenly spaced grain on the top, at least 80 year old wood, cedar, perfect frets, fingerboard, low action, and just a stellar player.

I have,a very high end luthier friend, will check on the brazilian rosewood back thing and post the results....looks like the back AND sides are bookmatched from one original piece..never seen that. The grain mirrors from the center line and wraps around the sides. It looks like a pretty early one.

Very happy.

musichabs on June 06, 2016:

I live in Alberta Canada...most of the Yamakis i see go for around $300.00..I think the people i got the deals from are not players and just wanted to get rid of them..The Daion was in pretty rough shape with no case..The AY331 has a crack on the lower side that doesnt affect the sound as far as i can tell....I love them both and they are my main players..!

Doug on June 04, 2016:

re: musichabs

Not sure where you live or hang out but Yamaki have become wellknown

now as a "diamond in the rough" in my area. They sell fast and

never for "peanuts". The lowest you would ever see one go for is

$200 and at that price there will be something wrong with them.

What I would like to see on this webpage is some comments from

people who own both Yamakis and vintage Martins (even recent

Martins or Taylors) and how they compare.

musichabs on April 30, 2016:

I just bought a Yamaki AY331 B series Deluxe Folk guitar for $50.00 with case..I love it ! it sounds awesome with nice low action..its my main player now..i have been lucky with my Daion 78 heritage costing only $35.00 ..i had to put $100.00 into it to get it up to snuff but it plays and sounds amazing as well...apparently there are deals to be had...patience is all you need..and a little luck! ps..the Daoins site on facebook has a number of knowledgeable and interesting people with a bevy of fascinating instruments made by Yamaki and Daion!

Doug on April 29, 2016:

Regarding suffixes:

Since last posting I have come across Yamakis (as opposed to Daion)

with "A" , "B" and "L" suffixes.

It turns out that the "L" was a "lefty".

I still don't know what the "A" and "B" mean. There are some obvious

guesses one could make but anyone could do that.

Also, despite having now owned close to 20 Yamakis, I still don't

really know for sure what Deluxe means. Everytime I think I have

it figured out, I come across a counter-example. One thing I am

fairly certain of, though, is that the Deluxes were made during the

second "group/generation" (chronologically speaking).

Topic change: Don't "write off" the laminates. Some of them can

be unexpectedly good.

Anne A on February 17, 2016:

guys and gals , if you are on facebook , we have started a new group " daions online " you are welcome to join and speak in an open chat forum with michael c who started daions online webpage some 15+ years ago he brings a wealth of knowleedge ... michael B who for the last year or more has been logging daion and yamaki ( inc Washburn made by yamaki ) and creating a spreadsheet which is avaliable to view .... but most importantly michael is in direct contact and conversation with the founder of yamaki's son Hiro who was daions head designer ...

Doug on February 06, 2016:


Thanks again. Is that your Heritage that is listed on kijiji? Just

curious. For no good reason, other than simplification, I've chosen

to stick with the original Yamakis and not venture into the Daions and


Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 06, 2016:

That's some good stuff!

It is plain to me that some of you folks have superior skills to me in searching the web. I need to up my search game for sure. Thanks again.

chase842 on February 06, 2016:

Here’s a few additional catalogue pages that illustrate some “AY” models the are suffixed with “B” and "D" and "H" and "T". These are Daion branded guitars that were built by Yamaki. I don’t see anything obvious in the specification sheet that would imply “B”. One thing is for sure… it does not imply lesser quality.




I own an AY078H which is shown in the 2nd link. I wrote about it in an earlier post in this blog.

Doug on February 05, 2016:

Thanks Chase;

The B 30 was, in fact one of the ones I saw.

But I have also seen a couple of AY's listed with a

"B" suffix. It would be tempting to jump to the conclusion

that this might be a "B grade" guitar, but I think that

would be a foolish jump to take.


Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 05, 2016:

Thanks for the links, Chase!

chase842 on February 05, 2016:

Check out this old catalogue page...


The Buffalo series was also prefixed as "YB", like this...


Doug on February 04, 2016:

Hi All;

I'm still on a mission to try to figure out what the heck "Deluxe"

actually means.

And, now a new mission....I have stumbled across some Yamakis

that have the letter "B" as a suffix.

Anyone know the meaning of that?

Tom on August 03, 2015:

I installed a JLD bridge doctor to help stabilize the bridge and to help straighten out the top then I put a new set of Elixir polyweb 10-47 strings on and tuned to D. Wow what a nice sounding guitar, I really like the sound and it is easy to play, easier than the Takamine F400s I bought recently. I am beginning to see why you people like the Yamaki guitars!

I'm hooked, I guess I'll be on the lookout for another in nicer shape maybe?

Tom on August 01, 2015:

Thank you for the replies! Mine does have a 0 fret and it is Indian rosewood back and sides. The back is interesting in that it is book matched but does not have the usual strip down the center on the back as most of the models do in the catalog reference above. It is supposed to be a 1972 model. Other than the bridge problem and top bow and concave it is a pretty solid guitar. The neck is straight and the strings are about an eighth of an inch at the 12 th fret so it is easy to play and it does have a very nice characteristic sound. I am anxious to get new strings on it to see how it really sounds. If I knew how to post picks I would. All in all I'm happy with it for $160 plus reasonable shipping.

Doug on July 31, 2015:


oops...I better wake up.

the photos that Chase gave up disproves the second digit theory.

sorry about that..

Doug on July 30, 2015:


Before I put my two-bits worth in, let me make it clear that I am not

an expert. But I have taken up Yamakis as a hobby, as mentioned in a

previous note.

Having said that, yes, I am familiar with the W series. In fact I

have one currently. It is a W 115 deluxe.

Your guitar is of interest (But, then again, I am a bit of an addict

so they are all of interest). I will check my notes to see if I can find

any reference to it but off the top of my head I'm guessing it has a

zero fret, a laminate top and a mahogany back.

Basically a higher-end lower-end guitar (if that makes sense).

Plus, now that I think of it, I am going to bet that the second

digit (ie. the 2) indicates it's a twelve string. In the higher models

the first digit indicates a 12 string (ie. 4xx)

So, thank you for posting. We may have learned something today.

I am going to go out on a limb and say your guitar is uncommon.

chase842 on July 30, 2015:


I went through all the catalogue pages I have. Only saw 2 references to 'W' models. One was a maple version so I don't think it applies here. Is your guitar anything like the W120 in this link, notwithstanding 6 string?


Tom on July 29, 2015:

I just received a 12 string deluxe Yamaki folk deluxe 1972, model number w 128 or 6? I can't find it in the catalog here and there are no other numbers inside. Can anybody shed some light on this model?

Doug on June 28, 2015:


Your AY379S is probably a decent guitar.

Here's something of interest for "yamaki afficiandos":

After a recent acquisition I now have two versions of the 335,

one is a solid top and the other a Deluxe (ie. laminate).

Note: after a few years of researching Yamaki I have concluded

that "Deluxe" simply means that the guitar has a high quality laminate

top. If anyone has evidence to the contrary please let me know.

I have yet to figure out what "Custom" implies.

gbt on June 09, 2015:

I recently inherited my father's AY-379s. It seems (to me, at least) to have developed a richer sound over the years. I believe he bought it in the mid 70's. There was a music store in a small town west of Ottawa, Ontario which sold a lot of them. He would take this instrument to parties and jam sessions and trade it around with other pickers. He said he played a lot of Martins at those gatherings and he, as well as many of the Martin owners, found the Yamaki to be every bit as good. I used to have a similar Yamaki, a somewhat lesser model, which was destroyed in an accident... I still have the parts, and a skilled luthier might be able to do something with it. By coincidence, my son had an old Yamaki, one of the ones with the funny looking head, given to him by a friend who said she never played anymore. It's in pretty nice playable condition as well.

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