Guitar Stories: A Chance Encounter With The Yamaha LLX26C
True story. I got a call the other day from Alex Skolnick. He was in town with Testament for a show at the Fox Theater in Oakland.
He had somehow ended up with an extra acoustic on the road, and was hoping I’d take the 20-minute drive over to meet him at the tour bus so that he could hand me the extraneous guitar to hold onto while he toured the country. Seems he didn’t want it subjected to the extreme winter temperatures of the gear trailer and there was no room for it in the bus itself.
And, of course, he wanted it to be in a home where it would be lovingly cared for and played on occasion until he could retrieve it. Well, who am I to say no to such a request? And the thought of having the chance to strum a bit on Alex’s guitar was somewhat appealing, I must say.
What I didn’t realize until I got it hope and pulled it out of the case, was that the neck was like butter, the pickups crystal clear, the tone, so full and resonant. Yep, I was hooked. There’s no way in a million years my chops could compare to Alex’s, but I can appreciate a finely made musical instrument, and this sure is one!
The LLX26C is handmade by Yamaha in Japan, with a solid spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. It’s body is a little larger than I’m used to and it has a cutaway, with a mahogany and paduak neck and ebony fingerboard. But what impressed me the most were the acoustics of the internal pickup system.
Its A.R.T (Acoustic Resonance Tranducer) three-way pickup system allows you to control the level of each pickup individually and is structured in such a way that that it dampens excessive vibration from the topboard while picking up small resonances to achieve ideal sensitivity and outstanding dynamic balance. It truly delivers a special result that was immediately clear from the moment I plugged it in at the songwriter night I co-host for the West Coast Songwriter’s association.
With vintage-inspired brass tuners and a gorgeous hard-shell case, this guitar is fitted for some fine finger action. It even smells deluxe.
After filming a lesson with John Butler (coming soon!) I was inspired to try an alternate tuning on this guitar and work on a new song (also coming soon!). Having an extra guitar around the house can be handy!
Here I do some simple strumming on the LLX26C as I perform a brand new song called “From The Inside Out,” which I co-wrote with Sharyn Cassidy for a SongTown USA class I just finished. Don’t be alarmed, part of the assignment was to write from the “male” perspective!
Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of Guitar World's Acoustic Nation. A singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area, she's also a veteran music industry marketer, and has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Dean Markley, Peavey Electronics, SIR Entertainment Services, Music First, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com, producer of the She Rocks Awards and the Women's Music Summit and co-hosts regular songwriter nights for the West Coast Songwriters Association. More at mad-sun.com.