Yamaha FG-420 Acoustic 6 string guitar-

by Ken
(Ontario, Canada)

Please settle a dispute.
This guitar was bought new approx. 1980.
The label says FG-420, made in Taiwan.
Ser# 50528193
I want to know if this guitar is laminate or not?
How can I tell?
It is in superb condition. Does age affect the quality
of sound on this guitar?

Ken

ANSWER

Hi, Ken--

Here is the Blue Book description of the guitar:

FG420A
- dreadnought-style body, spruce top, nato back and sides, round soundhole with a multi-ring abalone rosette, multi-ply body binding, nato neck, 14/20-fret bound bubinga fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, nato headstock overlay with logo and leaf design inlay, three-per-side chrome tuners, rosewood bridge, black pickguard, available in Natural finish, mfg. 1989-1994.

From this description, we can assume that it is NOT laminate.

As for your question about the sound, most players will say that a guitar's sound improves with age as the wood ages.

Lynne




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Comments for Yamaha FG-420 Acoustic 6 string guitar-

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Sep 28, 2017
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A spruce top is not a solid spruce top.
by: Anonymous

I worked in the retail instrument industry for 10 years and in that time had many dealings with yamaha.They are actually,in the conservative price point,some of the most consistent acoustics for the money.The FG series(First Guitar)is a wonderful line of instruments.I must inform all who are certain it is a solid spruce top that this is NOT the case.The top on the 420 is a laminate.ALL FG SERIES acoustics that DO have a solid top ALWAYS have the designation S at the end of the model number I.E. an FG 420S would be a solid top,while the FG 420 is the laminate top version.You may trust that this information is sound and learned over 10 years of selling Yamaha products among countless others.I have also owned 2 yamaha FG acoustics.Both were the solid top versions and the difference in tonal quality is significant,while the natural wood,over time,actually improves if the instrument is cared for properly.A laminate top will soynd the same 10 years down the road as the day you bought it.Less volume,less warmth,less overall balance.But that does not mean a laminate is not right for the right person.I just happen to believe if you can afford the solid top,there is no reason whatsoever to buy laminate.

May 18, 2017
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fg-420-C
by: Denis

I have this guitar and it is brilliant and it seems never to go out of tune once set on a night and is also ok the next day.

Oct 23, 2016
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FG420 vs FG420A
by: Anonymous

It seems the "A" was added around the same time as the headstock logo was changed. It changed from a dove to a Y leaf.
laminated or not the FG420 is a great sounding guitar and ages very well ….get one

Feb 02, 2016
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Yamaha FG420
by: Anonymous

Like another comment-bought my Yamaha FG 420 made in Taiwan on Jan 2nd 1987 for 231 Canadian at Sherwood Music Kitchener. Not sure if store still exists but my guitar does and I also love it. Still have sales slip for it. Could not find on guitar but on sales slip the number starts with first 2 being 61. Another strange coincidence my name is Ron

Dec 16, 2015
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What is a FG-420LA Worth?
by: Anonymous

Does anyone know what a Left Handed, acoustic Yamaha FG-420LA in new condition would be worth or where I could find the info.? Thanks much!

May 31, 2015
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Yamaha FG 420
by: Anonymous

THe guitar will be a laminate . Even the early FG180 guitars were and they were excellent .Nothing wrong with that !

Feb 08, 2015
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S/No
by: Banacek60chord

PS Ken. If you squint, you'll probably find the serial no. starts 8o, not 50. There's a full key on the web.

Feb 08, 2015
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Construction
by: Banacek60chord

This guitar is a solid spruce top and will mature with age. The rest of the box is very nice laminate and there's nowt wrong wi' that. List price when new was about $300 as near as I've been able to find out.
Get one.

Dec 25, 2014
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Yamaha 420
by: Anonymous

I've owned my fg420 since 1990 picked it up in a pawn shop it's my favorite guitar for the fact it has stood the test of time and the rowdiness of my youth from throwing it across the room using it for a boat paddle and just plain abuse. This guitar has been played the top is laminate the wood from the sound hole is going away from use you can see the grain runs opposite direction it's a ply. I don't look at my guitars as a piece of fine furniture but a tool to get the job done the frets on this guitar need replaced the back is beat up the head stock corners are worn down I had a d28 cutaway Martin built for me in the custom shop it was junk I literally threw it in the trash after I destroyed it I had sent that guitar back to Martin 2 times to have the neck fixed their warranty sucks this old yamaha has been a true friend we grew up together

Oct 21, 2014
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FG420A
by: Mr. Fix

The anonymous contributor stating the tops are laminate, ie. ply. I think is mistaken. Without doubt the sides will be and probably the back but not the tops. They all, these days, in the case of solid, claim to be 'spruce' but in actual fact are more often 'yellow pine', which is preferable as it has a less 'brittle' tone.
Any one volunteer to have their top core drilled to test.
Will Yamaha not provide the information?

Jul 07, 2013
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YAMAHA FG 420
by: Anonymous

Hi
I bought my Yamaha new in January 1987 for 231.00 Canadian. It has the multi ring around sound hole. Made in Taiwan, also has the white bird under the Yamaha name on headstock. I love this guitar!!!!! Ron

Feb 28, 2013
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GUITAR
by: Andy

Hi, I have a left hand yamaha acoustic fg 420 LA which i bought in 2001 for £135. just wondered if it has kept its value, not that i want to sell it. i have tried a few shops over the years for info but noone of them could give any backround. cheers Andy

Jan 04, 2013
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Fg 420
by: Mario Rossi

I have a fg 420 as well. It has no "A" but what l
Do have is a white bird on the head under the
Yamaha name. It also had a trim line in the centre
at the back of the body of the guitar. Can you
Comment on that. Thank you Mario

Dec 19, 2010
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dont fear the laminate.
by: Will

It's laminate. Most Yamaha's were. The cool thing about it is that they made laminates that sound amazing.

Also the description would say solid spruce top or solid back and sides. Also, NATO wood is used as laminate, not solid.

May 19, 2010
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not solid
by: Anonymous

It is a laminate. It has to say solid spruce not just spruce for it to be solid. Also yamaha at that time annotates solid guitars with an 'S'.

Nov 06, 2009
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Yamaha FG-420 6 string-guitar ser# 50528193
by: Ken

Hi Lynne:
There is a multi ring formation around the
sound hole of the guitar I asked you to settle
a dispute about. There also is pearl inlay on the
fingerboard.For some reason, I didn't think the
rings were there. I dug out the guitar to double check and sure enough the rings are there.
Once again thank you for your help.
This guitar is in excellent condition and I will
sell it for a reasonable price.

Ken

***

Ken--

Glad I could help!

Lynne

Nov 06, 2009
Rating
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Additional query re:Yamaha FG420- 6 string guitar
by: Anonymous

Hi Lynne:
I want to thank you for your valuable response. It is valuable to me.
My only concern is that you mentioned FG420A.
The label on my guitar simply says model FG420, made in Taiwan.And of course, I included the serial number just in case it is helpful.
Can you please comment.

ANSWER

It is the same guitar. The 420 and all of Yamaha's FG series gained the "A" suffix in 1989. The fact that yours has no "A" just means that it was made between 1985 and 1989.

That is probably why your has no multi-ring abalone rosette also. It was most likely added during the massive 1989 overhaul of the entire FG series. The Blue Book lists only those made from 1989 to 1994. Information on the FG 420 before 1989 is sparse.

From the Blue Book:

"Yamaha has also changed the series several times since the original red label guitars were introduced. We were unable to compile any information on the FG Series between approximately the mid-1970s and the late 1980s because there are no catalogs available for that time period."

Lynne


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