The Yamaha guitar has been around for over 60 years and the company itself for over 100 years. In 1887, Torakusu Yamaha made his first reed organ and began taking orders to make more. In 1897, the Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd. was founded with Torakusu as president of the company.
For the next 40+ years, Yamaha’s company made organs, pianos, harmonicas, furniture, phonographs and finally their first acoustic guitar in 1942. In 1965, a year after The Beatles made their legendary Ed Sullivan Show appearance, Yamaha began production of solid body guitars. In 1966, they started to make the electric bass as well.
By the 1970’s, Yamaha started to grab the attention of major artists such as Carlos Santana and Bob Marley because of the instruments great quality and design. The Yamaha guitars were being built to produce a powerful warm tone with amazing sustain. Also, the “Broad Bass” was introduced in 1977 and quickly caught the attention of famous bass players throughout the world including Paul McCartney.
By the end of the 80’s, Yamaha opened up a factory in North Hollywood, California. Here they started making guitars where they called on some professional guitar players to help them out and advise them on what they would like to see in their guitars.
One of the reasons behind the success of the Yamaha guitar is the targets that they shoot for in their design. Every guitar must have a balanced tone and response and the bass and treble must complement each other.
A very important move for Yamaha was the introduction of the dovetail neck joint to their design in the 1970’s, which provides the best neck to body contact. The neck joint is made with timber, which helps to resonate vibrations easily from the neck to the body producing the balanced tone and response.
Yamaha also strongly believe that the blending of different kinds of quality wood is extremely important to produce a great sound. The outcome of blending these quality woods, are the highs last longer and the guitar player is able to control the note texture at all times.
Another important part of construction of the Yamaha guitars is the types of lacquer that they use. They work closely with the lacquer producers to make sure that they get the best type of lacquer that is right for their guitars. Yamaha want to make sure that their guitars both look great and have every chance to breathe.
Because of all these great design features, many artists have used and still prefer to strap on a Yamaha guitar on tour and in the recording studio. Some of the great artists that have played Yamaha guitars over the years are Michael Anthony, John Denver, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Brian May, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Bob Seger, Billy Sheehan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor.