1971 Yamaha FG-180 0000-Size Guitar

This is a customer's old Yamaha and it came in for neck work, a fret level/dress, new saddle, and general setup. The worst of it is that the heel was separating and a "ski jump" was forming over the upper bout. Typical!

After work it plays -- as you'd expect for these popular "red label" Japanese Yamahas -- well and sounds far, far better than it should. These guitars are all-laminate (very thin, lightweight stuff -- this guitar weighs about the same as a 30s Martin) but because of the bracing and build style, the material is well-used and the sound is big, wide, and full.

The body shape isn't really a standard "jumbo" but at 16 1/4" on the lower bout it almost qualifies as one. It's also not really a "dreadnought" or "slope dreadnought" shape with its tighter waist. I rather think it's more like a Martin "M-18" or "0000" shape instead.

The neck is pretty darn straight, but unfortunately the truss rod is non-functional. Keeping in mind the condition of the guitar, the repairs were necessarily budget-minded.

The frets did get a level/dress.

The pickguard also received some more adhesive to keep it snug to the top.

I replaced a non-useful saddle with this nice, new tall bone saddle with B-string compensation.

The old Yamaha tuners (which were a little funky) were stowed in the case and I put on a set of new Kluson-style repro tuners.

Here you can see half of the "budget" neck reset work particular to this guitar. First I pulled the fretboard extension off (I needed to reglue it, anyway) and shimmed-up the joint and glued it. Then I stuck my Dremel in the soundhole and pre-drilled the lower portion of the neck block for this "bolted" helper. Between the two the neck is now stable, glued, and bolted for good measure -- and the fix won't cost my customer the big bucks the job would've otherwise required.

There's that famous "red label."


Warren said…
I have one of these too! I second the fact that these sound way better than expected. Nice tone for the buck.