1970s Yamaha FG-150 "Red Label" 000-Size Guitar

The old Yamaha FG series instruments were all rugged, reliable, and great-sounding. I still suggest them as go-to instruments for the average player up here wanting something to leave out in the house and use all the time. Because they're all ply in the body, they handle Vermont's dramatically changing weather easily and don't need much service to keep them playing their best. Because they also sound good, their owners will play them. It's the best of both worlds when so many folks up here heat with wood and don't have the time or willpower to humidify their instrument creatures.

This FG-150 is a 000-size instrument, more-or-less, and has a more "folksy" body shape compared to the bigger "western" (jumbo/big dreadnought) shapes we're all familiar with in the FG-160 and FG-180 models (among others). I like it a lot for light/medium flatpicking and it excels at fingerpicking, with a clean, punchy, full voice. The only area these old Yamahas start to sound "ply" in is when you're picking lead-style notes on the two plain strings hard. Then you get a bit of that zippy "snap" to the sound rather than a fuller, round sound. For most everything else, though, they're painfully impressive.

This had some work done on it in the past but I continued on with it, ironing-out details, and now it's ready to go and in good order. This particular guitar has a faster neck than your average FG -- it's less clunky and more like a '60s Martin neck with a soft C/V profile.

While I couldn't find a readable date stamp on the inside sides (it's blurry and small), the truss rod cover suggests 1969 to 1972 manufacture as this is a Japanese-made Yamaha.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress and setup work. Previously, someone swapped the saddle to bone and presumably did a neck reset. The frets may have also been replaced.

Top wood: ply spruce

Back & sides wood: ply mahogany

Bracing type: x

Bridge: rosewood

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 52w-12 custom lights

Neck shape: medium soft V

Board radius: 14"

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium

Scale length: 25"

Nut width: 1 3/4"

Body width: 14 7/8"

Body depth: 4"

Weight: 3 lbs 10 oz

Condition notes: it's quite clean throughout and all-original save the saddle and some string ramps I cut into the bridge. The top shows some longer pickwear-style scratches on the upper bout and the body shows mild wear and tear through small scuffs and scratches throughout. Overall, though, it looks great.

It comes with: an old chip case.


McComber said…
Hi Jake. I have an old '69 red label FG-75 (00-size) with deep grooves in the fretboard that people used to laugh at, until you breathed new life back into it for me. I'm grateful to you, because no other repair shop would deign to work on it and I was told to just trash it, more than once. My hat's off to you because It's been "in the family" for a long time and I really love the thing. Like you say, I leave it out by my desk all the time so that whenever I need a shot of guitar it's always there for me. It's rough, tough, and beat up, but still sounds sweet and is a pleasure to play. You really are the best.