MGR/Joe Taylor 01/27/2003

Yamaha APX4A : MGR/Joe Taylor's user review

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I purchased the apx-4a at a local pawnshop in Parkersburg WV. I was looking for an acoustic-electric that would amplify well on stage without feedback problems. I originally had a kramer strat shaped acoustic on layaway at the pawnshop, but when I saw the yamaha, I convinced the manager to let me purchace it instead. I paid 250 for the guitar with a chipboard case, and immediately bought the yamaha hard case at a local music store for 100.

First of all, the Yamaha was an attractive looking guitar, especially compared to the kramer, which looked like a toy d8} - It has a tobacco sunburst finish, a cutaway, and a smaller, "martin 000" sized body. It is thin in depth, with back and sides that appeared to be an ovation style synthetic at first. Upon inspecting the interior of the guitar, it appears to be an all wood guitar with the sides and back having a black textured finish. The guitar has an under-saddle pickup, volume,treble,and bass controls on the upper bout. The knobs push to retract into the body, so once the settings are made, the electronics are very unobtrusive. The action is low, without buzzes, the intonation is excellent in all positions.the tuners are smooth and stable.
The guitar amplifies very well. Acoustically, the guitar does not compete with a good drednought for "boom", but it the balance is very nice, especially for fingerpicking and english folk playing. Once plugged in, many tonal options are available.

For some players, it might be a plain instrument. The binding is plastic, and the inlay on the headstock is painted.

It is very solid - It has been played outdoors and in clubs throughout wv and southern ohio without any problems. The only preventative maintenance has been tightening the output jack and making sure to change the battery when changing strings since you have to reach inside the soundhole and remove a small plastic box attached with velcro holding a 9volt battery. This box has come lose while playing, which can be distressing while playing, to say the least. I have seen later apx-4a's that have a battery hatch and different preamp setups incluing a mid control. The nut appears to be plastic, a bone or high quality synthetic nut would likely improve the tone.

When all is said and done, this guitar met my needs for a stage acoustic with no reservations. It is fun and comfortable to play around the house and write on. I had the opportunity to play in a local production of Tommy a few years ago, and the director loved the sound of this guitar. It sounds crisp and full, and never feeds back. I would definitely be interested in trying some of the upscale apx models.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com