I’ve often recommended Yamaha acoustics to anyone looking for their first guitar both because of the value they offer and because that’s what I started out with myself.
However, the value of Yamaha acoustics doesn’t stop at their entry-level instruments, as the company offers many models that deliver surprising bang for the buck throughout their entire acoustic range.
Yamaha’s new AC6R is one such example, providing impressive materials, construction, playability, and performance capabilities of competing professional-quality instruments selling for three or four times as much.
FEATURES: The A6 is the first model from Yamaha’s new made in Japan A Series, and the AC6R is the smaller concert-size body version with solid rosewood back and sides. All materials, which also include a solid Sitka spruce top, African mahogany neck, and ebony fingerboard and bridge, are of very impressive quality with tight, straight grain and deep, rich color.
The decorations are conservative but attractive, consisting of notched-diamond abalone fretboard inlays, two abalone rosette rings, multi-layer black and white body binding with a strip of mahogany at the outer edge, and a curvy tortoiseshell-style pickguard.
The gold-plated open gear tuners, bone nut and saddle, and nitrocellulose lacquer body finish provide a vintage-inspired contrast to the state-of-the-art SRT System 63 preamp and pickup electronics, which offers 3-band EQ, feedback reduction, resonance, tuner, and SRT mic emulation with three presets, focus/wide, and blend controls.
PERFORMANCE: The AC6R’s neck is very comfortable to play, featuring a 1 11/16-inch wide nut, 25 9/16-inch scale length, smoothly rounded fretboard edges, and a flat, shallow C-shaped profile. The cutaway provides unrestricted access up to the 17th fret, and is only slightly rounded to keep the body’s resonance chamber as big as possible while still facilitating playing in the upper registers.
As beautiful as the AC6R looks and as nice as it plays, the main reason to consider this guitar is its gorgeous tone. The concert-size body delivers impressive balance between the bass, midrange, and treble as well as ample volume projection. Individual notes are harmonically complex—a quality not often found in flattops in this price range.
Whereas notes played on the high E string above the 15th fret often sound small and “plinky” on lesser instruments, here they have a bell-like fullness and depth that is enhanced by the AC6R’s outstanding natural reverb-like resonance. The built-in electronics capture the AC6R’s natural tones in outstanding detail while also allowing players to fine tune the overall tonal character.
LIST PRICE: $2,399
MANUFACTURER: Yamaha Corporation, yamaha.com
CHEAT SHEET: The solid Sitka spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck, and ebony fingerboard and bridge are crafted from top grade materials.
Yamaha’s SRT System 63 preamp and pickup system emulates a variety of microphones to provide natural-sounding tone when the guitar is plugged in.
THE BOTTOM LINE: With its impeccable craftsmanship, exquisite materials, and rich, complex tone, the Yamaha AC6R offers an incredible bargain for players who want professional-quality sound and performance.