Yamaha SA1200S
Yamaha SA1200S
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content in English
OtterXZY 28/01/2009

Yamaha SA1200S : Recensione di OtterXZY (content in English)


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This beautiful guitar was crafted in Japan and was in production in the late 70's. There has been a limited run of these guitars and finding one, especially vintage is quite rare.

The neck has 22 frets on a mahogany neck and ebony fret board. The neck runs through the body entirely which adds for extra sustain, tone and a nice overall balance between the neck and guitar.

The guitar is primarily made of mahogany with the exception of a rounded maple top, which in combination with the color and finish allows for the wood grain to stand out.

The hardware is gold and is ornate with designs on the tailpiece and on the tuners. The bridge is a stop tail piece with a tune-o-matic bridge system.

As far as the electronics, the guitar is equipped with Yamaha's standard Alnico V humbuckers in both the neck and bridge position. When complemented by the mahogany tone wood in the guitar, delivers a variety of rich tones. To add to this, the guitar is equipped with push-pull tone pots, which allow you to make the humbucker's into single coils if desired. The guitar possess 2 volume, 2 tone pots and one 3 pick up selector switch.


The neck is reminiscent of a Gibson 335. A slightly harder C-shape with a thinner width of the fretboard. This allows for great comping or strumming up near beginning couple of frets and great leads in the bottom half of the guitar.

The upper register of the guitar is very easy to play in. The double cutaway style of this specific guitar allows for full range of motion anywhere on the fretboard.

The intonation and tuning is always right on target. It maintains tuning for an exceptional amount of time and I've only had to re-intonate the guitar one time since purchasing it (over a 10 year period).

The design of the guitar is obviously that of a semi-hollow 335 but when playing the guitar you hardly feel any weight at all. Gibson makes beautiful and great sounding guitars but I cannot attest for the fact being able to stand and play one for too long. This guitar is incredibly comfortable and is kind to you on your shoulders.

I bought this guitar while abroad in London, and I had to play it sans-amplifier for a very long time yet I never regretted having one. The raw power, sustain and acoustic rasp almost you get from playing the guitar unplugged is unreal. Whenever I did feel the need to plug in I'd go down to my local guitar shop and plug in. No matter what amp I plugged into the guitar sounded superb. To achieve great sound from this guitar it is a two step process; pick it up and play.


I have possessed one of these guitars for several years now, I have a model from 1982 and I am never disappointed by what it can do for me. The guitar itself is durable and very ding, scratch resistant which on the whole adds to the ethereal beauty of the instrument.

I like to play several styles of music and I believed that a semi-hollow could complement or help me with achieving my ever wandering tone.

As a jazz guitar it is amazing. From Freddie Green comping to Wes Montgomery licks, you really can't go wrong. The mahogany wood and the neck pick up gives a very ominous dark, thick tone which will satisfy the stingiest of jazz players.

As a rock guitar, it also outshines most. Those who are hard-core Gibson or Fender fans have to give this guitar a try. When using the Alnico bridge pick up, you get a very full tone which can deliver tones varying from punk, classic rock, brit rock, progressive rock and more.

If you are a single coil fan or a fan of having a double cut away (such as Stratocastor), all one needs to do is use the ingenious push-pull pots and immediately you get the twang and tweak of a Fender.

Primarily, I like to run this guitar through my Fender Deville Hot Rod which possess 2X12 Celestion speakers. I also like to run it through a 70's Fender Bass Master amp that has a single 12 inch speaker. I've used a variety of effects on this guitar, fuzz pedals, chorus pedals, wah, EQ and between the raw power of the guitar and the tubes in my Deville, the sound is completely whole and full.

Ultimately, this guitar shines in multiple areas within music. When played clean you get a full-body tone where every note is extenuated. With distortion the guitar handles almost all types. The only thing I could not recommend it for is incredibly over driven distortion such as metal. But one must remember that there is not one perfect guitar that will allow you to play EVERY style of music flawlessly. This guitar covers a wide range of styles, more then most and with that fact, I am more then happy with that this guitar can do for me and my sound.


I have owned this guitar for about 10 years. I bought it back when I was studying in London. I had done some research on the guitar and I have owned many Yamaha guitars beforehand; each one I was extremely satisfied with and to this day refuse to sell. My particular model is from 1982 and I was thrilled to see it such a beautiful condition.

When I first was making my mind up about which semi-hollow to buy it was between this and a 1970's Gibson 335. Most people, including my friends, would call me nuts for buying a guitar from a company who also makes motorcycles over a vintage work of art. I went back and forth for hours playing them side by side. In the end it wasn't about how similar they were, but I was bamboozled that the Yamaha absolutely blew the pants of the Gibson. The Gibson did have exceptional tone but it did two things well, clean and blues. What also sold me to the Yamaha was the push-pull which even for the 70s/80s was quite uncommon.

What I like most about the guitar is how well it plays so many things. I feel like with most guitars, you can't have quality without sacrificing quantity and visa vi. One guitar cannot do everything. But this guitar comes pretty close, just be realistic about your expectations. If you are a person who wants to play with massive amounts of overdrive this guitar will not work for you and may feedback a lot. But if you play clean, blues, jazz, country, mild rock, prog rock and even some forms of rather distorted rock you will not be disappointed.

I paid 850 British Pounds for this guitar (roughly about 1000 or so American dollars). The new models that Yamaha is coming out with that replicate this guitar cost about 1500 dollars. So, inevitably I got a great deal on the guitar considering it was also vintage.

Despite that fact, if I didn't find this guitar in London I would have bought it new eventually. Compare this guitar to a Gibson, Epiphone, Ibanez or any other semi-hollow bodys. All of these companies produce fantastic guitars, but at what price? Gibson makes some of the best guitars but you have to shell out nearly three-thousand dollars or so for their guitars. At that point you are buying the guitar to just have the name on the headstock. I dare anybody to pick up this guitar and be open-minded.

After having this guitar for an extensive amount of time, I couldn't say I wouldn't do it again. Granted I ended up having to live VERY modestly upon spending a lot of money in a foreign city but I would made the same "mistake" over and over again if I could.

Be confident in the fact that other companies are capable of making great sounding guitars. That Fender and Gibson do not completely dominate the market and there sound is the only sound you want to have.