Review: Yamaha FS-TA TransAcoustic

(Image credit: Yamaha)

Recently GW reviewed the excellent Yamaha LS-TA TransAcoustic, a high-end model with Yamaha’s innovative TransAcoustic technology, which allows a player to enjoy built-in effects like reverb and chorus without any external gear or amplifiers, while also preserving the overall aesthetic of the acoustic itself. The TransAcoustic involves an actuator — a device mounted inside the sound chamber of the acoustic that transfers the string vibrations, processes and amplifies them throughout the body, generating surreal reflections of lush room or hall reverb and a chorus that nearly mimics the shimmer of a 12-string. A stunning achievement; however, the $1K price tag seemed a little steep for some players. But here we are now, with Yamaha's new FS-TA — a concert-sized acoustic with the same TransAcoustic technology at nearly half the price and with all the top-notch craftsmanship Yamaha is known for.

My FS-TA appeared in an attractive brown sunburst, with a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides and new scalloped bracing that firms up the low end and mids and also projects more volume. The TransAcoustic technology is adjusted via three slim controls for reverb (hall and room), line out volume/TA switch and chorus. The TA is powered by two AA batteries in a concealed compartment by the endpin jack. You can run the guitar into an external amplifier whether you use the TA technology or not.

Without the TA powered up, the guitar sounds like a great acoustic that punches above its weight. But turn that TA sucker on, and… well, the guitar becomes something else. I have a friend named Marty who’s kind of a guitar player. He’s a balance of wonder and honesty when I show him something new. A good way to express the shock and awe of hearing the FS-TA is best conveyed through him:

Marty: Looks fancy.
Me: Pretty cool, right? (strums it)
Marty: Dig it.
Me: (turns on TA and plays “Wonderwall”)
Marty: What did you do!? The guitar…it came alive!
Me: That’s the TransAcoustic bit.
Marty: It’s like you’re playing Carnegie Hall — from inside the soundhole! I want it.
Me: You can’t have it.
Marty: I don’t like you, Riario.
Me: You and everyone else. See you next time. —Paul Riario

DIRECT PRICE: $599.99
MANUFACTURER: Yamaha, usa.yamaha.com