1968 Yamaha FG-180 Red Label Jumbo Flattop Guitar

Yeah, there's obvious reasons people love old "red label" Japanese-made Yamahas -- durability, tone, and playability being the three you can count on. Once these are setup properly, they're just plain-great guitars and perfectly suited to backing-up your voice as they usually have plenty of low-end and good, punchy mids. Because they're ply-bodied, too, they're practical and tend to be very stable over their lifetimes.

The only main disadvantage of ply for the top in this guitar style is that the high-end notes don't have the punch and ring that you'd expect from something like a D-18 or J-50, so they're not the best choice for someone who's doing instrumental work 24/7. I've owned several Yamahas in the past of similar style, though, and have found them to be great chord-rocking workhorse guitars for singing with. They also sound very lush when fingerpicked (which is how I like them best).

This one came in via a friend of mine who's swapping-around his gear and needs a 1 3/4" or wider nut width these days. He was the original owner and the guitar is very clean and even has its original, Yamaha-branded hard case along in tow.

My only work was to give it a fret level/dress, cut string ramps in the bridge, and set it up. It has a set of 12s on it and it plays with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret -- spot-on. The saddle is very low to the deck but there's no ski-jumping at the fretboard extension so I'm not worried about it structurally. Many more miles could be had out of it adjustment-wise by sanding the arc of the bridge down about 1/16" and then buffing back up.

Specs are: 25" scale, 1 11/16" nut width, 1 7/16" string spacing at the nut, 2" spacing at the bridge, 12" radius to the fretboard, mild-to-medium soft C/V neck shape, 16 1/4" lower bout, 11 5/8" upper bout, and 4 1/2" side depth.

Woods are: ply spruce top, ply mahogany back/sides, mahogany/nato(?) neck, and rosewood board and bridge. The guitar appears all-original.

It looks like there may be a few fills of finger-divots on the fretboard, but it's also possible they were filled/touched-up when it was made. I'm just noticing a few patches of brighter-red/brown discoloration here and there.

A cool, Gretsch strap button is installed at the heel.

There are a couple of scratches here on the bass side of the neck.

The original, Yamaha-branded hard case is in excellent shape.


Warren said…
Had one for years! Great guitar!!