Yamaha RS320
Yamaha RS320

RS320, LP-Shaped Guitar from Yamaha in the Revstar series.

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strat'man 01/04/2018

Yamaha RS320 : strat'man's user review

"A Yamaha-style, doublecut Les Paul!"

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Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Anyone
For a specs list you’d be better served on any online dealer’s website, but in a nutshell it features a nato body and set neck (nato being some sort of mahogany), with a rosewood fretboard that features a rather flat radius (approx. 13), making it perfect for bends. The neck is I think a C-style (reminiscent of a Strat, not a thick Gibson-like neck) with a 43mm nut width and a 24.75” scale like a Les Paul –the perfect neck for small to average-sized hands.
Regarding the electronics, you get 2 high-output HH3 ceramic humbuckers, with one volume and one tone controls (the 320 offers no “dry” switch).

Featurewise, there’s nothing particular, except for the fact that anyone knowing of Yamaha’s value-for-money is bound to know the manufacturing quality is going to be excellent… and this is indeed the case on this model too!
I must admit the pictures didn’t seem so tempting to me, then I found a great deal (177€new vs. the usual 300€ price tag), and I opted for buying it, considering I would be able to return it in case I wouldn’t like it…
But from the unpacking, I was blown away by the crafting quality worthy of a 500-to600€ instrument (it doesn’t pale compared with a Mexican Strat or entry-level Gibson)… Nothing in common with a Harley Benton 450+ (which is a nice guitar by the way, but the finish is somewhat irregular and sometimes even funny). In this case, the guitar’s finish is very good, and the guitar’s precision keeps with the seriousness of the way the instrument was built.
Of course, you’ll have to set it according to your own tastes, mine had the strings a bit too high and the neck too curvy which caused some fret buzz, so I set it so as to have lower strings (simply by lowering the bridge) and no more fret buzz… I also lowered the humbuckers, and yet I have more output now!
The guitar is easy to work with and very pleasant (especially after I reset it). The body’s ergonomics with no slant in the back (only on the RS320) is no problem at all; the guitar feels comfortable both for the hands and against the body…
Unplugged, the guitar sounds very bright, deprived of any roundness… which is fine for me who likes edgy sounds even with humbucker-equipped guitars (I mostly play blues, funky blues, rock, rhythm’n’blues…). Anyway, the pickups do most of the sounds, while the wooden parts are mostly here for sustain and to allow the pickups to take the strings’ vibrations (this in not a piezo-equipped acoustic guitar).
The pickups mostly sound incisive and edgy (a bit like my Ibanez GAX30), with a great clarity in clean sounds!
As for overdriven sounds, their precision allows to avoid the “muddiness” of many low-end pickups (whether alnico or ceramic-made).
On other guitars, I’ve used Seymour humbuckers sh1, sh2, sh4, sh5, Gibson 490', Burstbucker, Schaller Golden 50, Ibanez super 58... And frankly, I don’t consider these pickups to be inferior to the aforementioned, I even tend to prefer them due to their punch and clarity… and the rest is in the guitarist’s fingers!
As far as I’m concerned, I’m no longer into that “arms race” stuff, well I mean this pickup upgrade race… I don’t see myself replacing these Yamaha pickups which are really great! If I want more or less this or that, then I tweak my amps’ settings.

Back to the way it’s manufactured: I’m really astounded by how precise the tuners are and how the guitar perfectly stays in tune!

So, in the end, I’m literally in love with this atypical-shaped guitar (which mixes an SG and a double cut Les Paul), not for its shape but for its many qualities (ergonomics, ease to play, sound, manufacturing quality, and finish with a very good-looking metal black paint and perfect lacquer)., which to me is the most important as it makes it very pleasant, to the point that it’s hard to leave it down!!! :-)
There are many good guitars these days, but Yamaha’s manufacturing quality is really excellent and affordable, both for entry-level and high-end guitars, and you always have the feeling to get a well-thought and well-made instrument (I’ve owned Pacifica 112j, 112v, 311h, 612v, 611h and a RGX TT, but this Revstar is my favourite, the one which suits most my sound expectations and I also prefer the shorter scale…).

So in the end, give it a try (preferably well-set with strings not too high ;-) !), and you’ll see how good it is!
Aesthetically, that’s not the kind of look I’m into, but the more I look at it the more I like it (also because I know what it has inside!)… I believe the Revstars’ so peculiar shape is the reason why there are so many of these available at sale prices (I don’t believe many people will choose them for the way they look), which in the end is a good thing as this is a very well-made guitar! (and yet it’s only the entry-level model, the rs320…).
I’ll probably buy another Revstar (likely an RS502 equipped with P90s) when I find a good pricing… for now, I’m having a lot of fun with this rs320 which is so easy to play and has all the qualities of a great guitar!