|What a great instrument!|
|Product Experience||I own it||Closest Store||Port Coquitlam British Columbia|
|I have been playing guitars for a long time and went to a large music store (again) with sufficient cash to purchase an above average all-solid electric acoustic guitar (another guitar - I have bad G.A.S.). After extensive research on the internet and some previous hands-on tests at other stores, I had narrowed my search to concert/grand auditorium size guitars from Taylor, Yamaha and Martin.
These manufacturers produce great guitars for fingerstyle players, with good quality control and sound projection.
Unfortunately, guitars from Taylor and Martin cost 3 times more than similar ones from Yamaha manufactured in Asia. Taylor and Martin make great guitars but their instruments are overpriced. The consumer is paying for salaries, benefits, overhead costs in the US, which are significantly higher than in other parts of the world. QA/QC is still the same, as companies such as Yamaha and Ibanez are well known for their quality control and wonderful instruments. Actually, a friend of mine went to a store a few months ago to purchase a $3,000 Gibson Les Paul but turned it down after we noticed a big finishing flaw at the cutaway (something you would expect from a very cheap guitar). Just because it is US made it does not mean that you are getting the same quality control offered to the stars that endorse the products and make you think that you are getting the same thing.
However, I had already decided to purchase the guitar based on sound, playability and materials, not price. And I tested numerous guitars, unplugged and plugged, one after the other, comparing the sound projection, action, neck profile, mid range, highs and lows, sustain, and so on.
The AC3M had the original strings from Yamaha (FS50BT) and I chose the mahogany back and sides to give me a better projection for the mids and a more balanced sound throughout all registers. The open pore neck feels like an old guitar, or an old friend. The guitar comes with a relatively low action and it is a pleasure to play. The sound projected very well with the original strings and I was thinking how much better it could get with a brand new set of the right strings for this instrument. To my ears and playing style, the Yamaha sounded slightly better and had better sustain when compared to the Taylors and Martins. However, this is a personal preference and the other guitars also sounded very good.
Each manufacturer has its own characteristics, dynamics and feel. I am a big fan of all three of them but could not justify paying 3 times more for a similar instrument simply because it was made in the US. I purchased the AC3M. Great playability, great sound, quality and what a beautiful instrument. The big surprise happened when I changed the strings. I installed a new set of Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze, gauge 12-53, and the guitar came to life, with a huge projection, sustain and dynamics. WOW. I couldn't be happier. The guitar also came with a case, manual, wrench and two batteries.
My advice is that you take your time and give Yamaha a try. The A3-series is a serious all-solid instrument for the serious player. A friend who plays with his band in local venues also bought an AC3M and is extremely satisfied with this guitar. Famous guitarists like Joe Bonamassa, Lee Ritenour and others play Yamaha high end guitars. There are videos of Don Alder and Lee also playing the A3-series on stage.
Try one and you won't regret it. As previously mentioned, sound is a personal preference but one can not deny the fact that Yamaha is rocking the world with high quality instruments at affordable prices. Kudos to them and lucky us!|
Posted by Dr. N on Jan 1, 2013