Yamaki Acoustic Guitars

Updated on October 15, 2018
Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

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. | Source

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.

Yamaki Guitar Identification Guide - An Old Advert.
Yamaki Guitar Identification Guide - An Old Advert.

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    • profile image

      Kuba 

      32 hours ago

      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 ?

    • profile image

      Jhoelsch1 

      13 days ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Andy Block 

      6 weeks ago

      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 profile image

      Dexter McRae 

      6 weeks ago

      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?

    • profile image

      nic 

      8 weeks ago

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

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

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

      Lots of questions here.

    • profile image

      KazJapan 

      2 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Archetypal Rocker 

      2 months ago

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

    • profile image

      KazJapan 

      2 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      4 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      Randy 

      4 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Kevin carignan 

      6 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      John 

      8 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Gøran 

      11 months ago

      I have an yamaki yw-25

    • profile image

      John McA 

      13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      OGB 

      15 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Guy Shad 

      15 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Jamie 

      15 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Bill 

      16 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Raymond L 

      17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Mike D 

      18 months ago

      I have a 110 from the mid 80s

      In good condition. Is it worth anything?

    • profile image

      Gard Bertrand Hansen 

      19 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      20 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Lets keep it sort of secret now, Stageboy007. haha

    • profile image

      stageboy007 

      20 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Peterjy333 

      20 months ago

      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.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      maxwetho000 

      21 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      MYRIAM 

      21 months ago

      Thank You.

    • profile image

      Sharjeel Ahson 

      23 months ago

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

    • profile image

      JAlexander1951 

      2 years ago

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

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

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

    • profile image

      JAlexander1951 

      2 years ago

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

      https://spacecoast.craigslist.org/msg/d/1972-yamak...

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      JAlexander1951 

      2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      gator 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Samual Brent 

      2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Murray Bowes 

      2 years ago

      Hello,

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

      thank you

    • profile image

      JAlexander1951 

      2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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?

      Doug

      p.s.

      I have owned two different 12 strings:

      AY470S and a 225 Custom.

    • profile image

      JAlexander1951 

      2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

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

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Hugh SNYDER 

      2 years ago

      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..

    • profile image

      Hugh SNYDER 

      2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Hugh SNYDER 

      2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      JEROME SUTTON 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      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 profile image

      Ansel Pereira 

      2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Tom P 

      2 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      Mark McDonald 

      2 years ago

      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.

      mdm@sonic.net

    • Kyrre Gjerstad profile image

      Kyrre Gjerstad 

      2 years ago

      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.

      https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6VZwCLDmfMwNi1E...

      https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6VZwCLDmfMwU2Jl...

    • profile image

      Doug 

      2 years ago

      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

      them".

      down I

    • Dai Neal profile image

      Dai Neal 

      3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      S Padgett 

      3 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Randy 

      3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      TooManyGuitars 

      3 years ago

      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

      sticker.

    • profile image

      Randy 

      3 years ago

      @toomanyguitars

      I have:

      AY331B

      AY370S

      AY386 Buffalo headstock

      AY331

      AY374S

      AY333

      AY333 L

      A-333

      Custom

      YW15SB

      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.

    • profile image

      toomanyguitars 

      3 years ago

      Randy;

      Just curious. What are your two favorites?

    • profile image

      Randy 

      3 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      toomanyguitars 

      3 years ago

      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..

    • profile image

      Deb Sharkey 

      3 years ago from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • profile image

      Deb Sharkey 

      3 years ago from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

      What is a soft V neck?

    • profile image

      toomanyguitars 

      3 years ago

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

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

    • profile image

      Deb 

      3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      kilshark 

      3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Techtalktoll 

      3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Glen 

      3 years ago

      I have a yamaki F115 mint condition sounds like a dream

    • profile image

      Doug 

      3 years ago

      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

      assessing.

    • profile image

      chase842 

      3 years ago

      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.

      http://www.oldguitar.jp/catalog/yamaki/yamakisings...

    • profile image

      Doug 

      3 years ago

      re: "W"

      I once had a W 115.

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

      believe.

      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

      "cult/mystique".

    • profile image

      SJeastwood 

      3 years ago

      Hello

      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.

    • profile image

      Haiden S. 

      4 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      musichabs 

      4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Mr. Mole 

      4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      musichabs 

      4 years ago

      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..!

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      musichabs 

      4 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Anne A 

      4 years ago

      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 ...

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      Chase:

      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

      Buffaloheads.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      chase842 

      4 years ago

      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.

      http://daion.client.jp/catalog/DAION_02.htm

      http://daion.client.jp/catalog/DAION_03.htm

      http://daion.client.jp/catalog/DAION_04.htm

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

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      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.

      Doug

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thanks for the links, Chase!

    • profile image

      chase842 

      4 years ago

      Check out this old catalogue page...

      http://www.cats-eyes.biz/catalogue2/yamaki3/yamaki...

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

      http://www.cats-eyes.biz/catalogue2/yamaki2/yamaki...

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Tom 

      4 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Tom 

      4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      Tony/Chase

      oops...I better wake up.

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

      sorry about that..

    • profile image

      Doug 

      4 years ago

      Tom/Chase;

      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.

    • profile image

      chase842 

      4 years ago

      Tom:

      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?

      http://dreamworks.fc2web.com/yamaki_daion/guitar_F...

    • profile image

      Tom 

      4 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Doug 

      5 years ago

      gbt:

      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.

    • profile image

      gbt 

      5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Paul 

      5 years ago

      Sorry, after looking at it again the serial number is YW30M

    working

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