Posts Tagged ‘yamaha apx900’

Yamaha APX900 Thinline Acoustic/Electric Guitar

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As I mentioned in my review of the Yamaha APX900, I’ve had this thing for Yamaha acoustics for many years. Maybe it’s nostalgia or sentimentalism, as my first guitar was a Yamaha, but I’ve always liked their tone. In any case, I’ve full circle with the Yamaha APX900, and I just couldn’t be happier. This is one killer guitar! With its Mocha Black finish, mother-of-pearl “bookend” inlays, and gorgeous binding, it has stunning looks!

But of course, looks don’t tell the whole story. It plain sounds fantastic! Whether plugged in or unplugged, the APX900 has a magical, creamy tone that I’d easily put up against guitars three or four times its price which, at a mere $699 street, makes this an incredible value!

Unplugged, the tone is smooth and well-defined, and even as a thinline guitar, it’s not so thin that sustain is sacrificed. The body resonates and provides lots of sustain. In fact, it’s smaller size belies the big voice that the APX900 possesses. Here’s a clip:

There’s nothing subdued about that tone. For that recording, I used a Senheiser e609 pointed at the front edge of the sound hole about 4″ away from the guitar. The APX900 has an phenomenally even EQ response. When I played back the recording, I had to do a double-take! Make no mistake, that is the raw recording with no EQ or filtering! It’s amazing!

Plugged in, the APX900 shows even more magic. The first thing I noticed when I first played it – direct into a PA – was that it sounded natural; that is, it didn’t sound like an acoustic plugged into a board, where the tone is completely flattened out, and what you end up with is high, mid-rangy, and lifeless. It’s due to the APX900’s ART or Acoustic Resonance Transducer pickup system, which is a system of three pickups; strategically-placed to emphasize or de-emphasize certain EQ ranges. This lets you dial in all sorts of tones! I’m still discovering the possibilities!

Here’s the same progression I recorded unplugged, but with a solo played on top of it. For the “rhythm” part, I have the Low, Mid, and High faders, plus the under-the-saddle pickup’s EQ set to dead-center. With the solo, I added a touch of the mid, plus more highs to cut through. The result is spectacular!

Again, with this clip, I didn’t adjust any EQ on either track, though I did add some reverb for some ambience and to simulate what I’d do on a PA board anyway. The tone is different from the unplugged sound, but with a little playing around with the faders, I can get very close. But no matter, the tone is still killer, and most importantly, the dynamics are fully retained, and on stage, that’s absolutely critical!

So yeah, I really do dig this guitar. I’m looking forward to gigging with it!

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