Yamaha may have had over 70 new products on show at NAMM but its guitar launches were pretty low key, and there were no red hot new electrics on offer, save for a lone Pacifica. In fact the stars of Yamaha’s guitar offerings were enhanced acoustics – the new A Series, led by the flagship A5.
The A5 is available with a solid mahogany or rosewood body and features scalloped bracing for increased projection and enhanced bass, as well as a beautiful new vintage natural finish, a new neck finish and a bound headstock with vintage-style tuners. The A5 comes with a hardshell case. The A5’s solid Sitka spruce top benefits from Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.), Yamaha’s patented process that uses precise control of temperature, humidity and pressure to alter the structure of wood at a sub-cellular level, transforming it into the same material as would be found on a guitar that has been played for many years. Benefits are said to include increased resonance, greater midrange and high-frequency responsiveness and bass sustain.
The A5’s new preamp features Studio Response Technology (SRT), which models the characteristics of vintage large- and small-diaphragm condenser microphones and the ambience of a professional studio environment, producing remarkably vivid and natural acoustic tone. The low-profile controls include Master Volume, Treble, Bass/Acoustic Feedback Reduction and Mic Blend/Mic Selection. Yamaha has also significantly updated the A1 and A3 model guitars. Both instruments are available with mahogany or rosewood bodies (the A1 in laminate, the A3 in solid), in either dreadnought or concert shapes, with a choice of vintage natural or tobacco sunburst finishes. Both also feature solid Sitka spruce tops, scalloped bracing and a new neck finish. The A3 model adds an A.R.E.-treated top, an SRT preamp and a hard gig bag to the package.
Yamaha also showed a new ‘silent guitar’ model, the SLG200NW, a new F Series entry-level acoustic in a limited edition, several new LX models and a sole newcomer from Line 5, a Variax Shuriken baritone – its first foray into signature models, in this case with Steve MacKay from Twelve Foot Ninja.