The FG-300 was the top of the line non-hand built guitar of that era. All of these models are highly respected and sought after. http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp?t=ac The FG-160-1 BK (Jumbo), I had one of only 4 references I can find. Inspecting a New-To-You Vintage Yamaha FG, Yamaha FG Serial Numbers, Interior Markings, and Labels – 1966 to 1981, Red Label FG’s, Differences Between the EARLY & COMMON Versions, Yamaha Early FG 6 & 7 Digit Serial Numbers, History of the Yamaha FG – 1966-1981 (US Models), Yamaha FG 5 Digit Japan Only Serial Numbers, Deconstructing a 1972 Yamaha FG-160 – 21107695, serial numbers initially consisted of 6 digits, “Yamaha FG Serial Numbers, Interior Markings, and Labels”, http://www.yamaha.com/apps/guitararchives/guitarchive2.asp?t=ac, Added “Inspecting a New-To-You Yamaha FG” Article and PDF. In 1975 the high end FG model (FG-1000 and up) became the L series. I’ve found a couple of rare models not listed in Yamaha’s Guitar Archive (no longer available). Consecutive numbers with the first Green label starting with 52XXXX, then they incremented to 600000 at the start of 1967. Other models included the Classical Folk body FG-325 (obsolete in 1978) and the Folk size FG-330 and FG-331. For over 40 years, millions of musicians have used a The 8 digit number is a serial number and date when the guitar was made, YMMDDUUU. Another rare one is the FG-75-1 BK (I’ve only found one example), with the same black body and while pick guard like the others. The 45 refers to the 45th year of the SHOWA emperor era (1926 – 1989), which is 1970. It has a spruce plywood top, rosewood plywood back and sides, split fretboard inlays, a fancy engraved pick guard, and a saddle with individually adjustable saddles (for intonation) and the whole assembly is adjustable for height (action). In 1978 a mid-range series (both Jumbo) was introduced featuring the FG-750S (solid spruce top, mahogany plywood back and sides) and the FG-770S, the first all solid wood non-hand crafted model, with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Plywood is a wooden board consisting of 2 or more layers glued and pressed together with the direction of the grain alternating, typically 90 degrees. It has been assumed the first digit is the year, but the remaining 5 digits do not fit any other dating systems. Three models with mahogany plywood back & sides (all Jumbo); FG-335, FG-335L (the first left hand model), FG-340, and FG-336SB. On one of the sides you should find an ink stamped date code, such as 45.12.28, which has the format YEAR.MONTH.DAY. This is because of the uncontrolled climate (temperature and humidity) on the ships carrying them to America. The 6 digit serial numbers grew to 7 digits in 1969. The FG-140 is a “budget” version of the FG-180. You will notice 2 serial numbers inside most of the Taiwan models (8 digit number on the brace under the end of the fretboard, and a 7 digit number starting with a “T” on the neck block), except for the first few months of the Taiwan Red label guitars, they only have the 7 digit number beginning with “T”. In 1975 most of the existing models numbers had -1 added to them, on a black rectangular label. The 7 digit numbers are sequential, used by all guitars, no relation to the date. Another, possibly rarer model, is the FG-110-1 SBK (Folk). And 5 models with rosewood plywood back & sides (all Jumbo); FG-345, FG-350W, FG-365S, FG-375S, and FG-351SB. I don’t think so because the first few months they didn’t have the 8 digit number on the brace. They changed to the Red label at the start of 1967. Although that is actually not true. I’ve only found 3 references to this model. They also introduced 2 models with pickups, FG-110E (Folk) and FG-160E (Jumbo). The FG-140, FG-150 & FG-180 continued with the wider flared headstock shape. Three 12-String models were also introduced (all Jumbo), the FG-312, FG-412SB (cherry sunburst), and the FG-512 (rosewood plywood back & sides). It is also X braced, although the braces are laid flat. There were a few different Taiwan labels during the 70’s. Hand crafted models FG-500 and FG-550 (12 string) were added in 1969. The 5 digit numbers are the same as the 8 digit numbers but don’t have the 3 unit numbers on the end. Yamaha FG Serial Numbers, Interior Markings, and Labels – 1966 to 1981. https://usa.yamaha.com/.../guitars_basses/ac_guitars/fg_redlabel/specs.html The plywood of vintage Yamaha guitars were made differently than today’s plywood. The FG-75 has a classical guitar size body, with rounded shoulders. I’m wondering if these may have been factory seconds, maybe ugly grained wood, and they just sprayed them black to be able to sell them. The FG-350W became the new flagship model, replacing the FG-300, featuring an adjustable 1 piece saddle. In 1972 new models were added. It had been thought the dual serial numbers were because some of the parts were made in Japan but they were assembled in Taiwan. In 1968 the Yamaha FG line came to America, consisting of the FG-75, FG-110, FG-140, FG-150, FG-180, FG-300 and the 12 string FG-230. Plywood pretty much guarantee that won’t happen. Beware of inflated prices and misstated descriptions on eBay. All 4 of the models used Jacaranda plywood for the back and sides, which is similar to Brazilian rosewood, but actually Jacaranda is not in the rosewood family. All models introduced in 1981 and later have the truss rod adjustment accessible through the sound hole. In 1977 a new line of FG-3XX guitars was introduced. It also has a 12 fret neck with no truss rod (this is the least expensive FG Yamaha made), and a classical style bridge with a thru saddle slot. It is all black except for a sunburst top, with a white pick guard. The FG Junior is a 3/4 sized guitar modeled after the acclaimed Yamaha FG Series The JR1 has a smaller body and shorter neck, perfect for young players or those with smaller hands Yamaha craftsmanship and a spruce top give this compact guitar an authentic acoustic tone Great for … The first is the familiar red label with the Nippon Gakki removed. I’ll concentrate on models imported into the US, there were many other models not imported but have made their way over here, initially brought back by US military stationed in Japan, and more currently eBay. I consider “vintage” Yamaha FG series acoustic guitars to be models made between the years 1966 and 1981. It is assumed all guitars (not just the FG’s) being built shared these numbers. The serial numbers initially consisted of 6 digits. A site dedicated to identifying and repairing vintage Yamaha FG acoustic guitars. It has “ladder” braced (bracing perpendicular to the strings) instead of the normal “X” bracing all modern steel string guitars have. Followed by models Fg-580, FG-630 (12 string), FG-1500, FG-2000 and FG-2500 (12 string slot head) in 1971. But many people still question that they aren’t actually solid wood, because they don’t sound like plywood guitars, especially the earliest models. These are all very beautiful guitars! FG-1500, FG-2000 & FG-2500 are very rare and can sell for many thousands of dollars! These are the years where the truss rod adjustment is in the headstock. The inside will be different, even though it looks like solid wood. The bridge pin holes are arranged in an arc, instead of the usual straight line, although the early 70’s models made in Japan (not for export, Tan rectangular label) have the pins in a straight line. The FG-110 and FG-150 are Folk size guitars, similar to Martin’s 000 size. All being Jumbo size. yamahavintagefg.com/history-of-the-yamaha-fg-1966-1981-us-models There was also another 12 string model added, FG-260 (slot head, made in Japan). The combination of all tone wood plies and very light bracing gives them the sonic appearance of a solid wood guitar. Laminate is a wooden board (in the case of guitars) consisting of 2 or more layers glued and pressed together with the direction of the grain in the same direction. Starting in September 1972, there were 4 slightly different Tan labels, over a period of 3 years. It is a “budget” version of the FG-150. All the layers of the top are tone wood, not a cheap wood filler. The back and sides are also 3 plies, with the inner ply being a different wood (filler). To add to the confusion, starting in 1972 guitars made in Japan, not for export, also have a Tan label, which says Nippon Gakki. FG-45 (¾ scale guitar), FG-160 (Jumbo), FG-165S (Jumbo, Sunburst), FG-170 (Folk), FG-200 (Jumbo), FG-210 (12 string slot head Jumbo), FG-280 (Jumbo), and FG-295S (Jumbo, red sunburst). There are other differences on the headstock; the Yamaha logo is smaller, the headstock shape has a slightly flared shape (wider at the top), and the truss rod cover is bell shaped and says “REINFORCED NECK”. But the outer plies are both tone wood. But it’s the only way to figure out when they were made, since the serial number is a sequential with no relation to date. Although they used the bell shaped “REINFORCED NECK” truss rod cover until mid-1968, a way to visually date the earliest FG’s.
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