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Acoustic Guitar - Yamaha APX500

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Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 28
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So after Christmas, I have a bit of cash and a bit of GAS. I've been planning on buying an acoustic guitar for awhile now for various reasons. The main ones being that I don't have an acoustic currently, and I don't always want to plug my electric into my amp when practicing but I feel like I'm playing the electric too hard when unplugged. By too hard I mean that it seems to be causing some buzzing that wouldn't necessarily be there if I wasn't hitting the strings so darn hard in order to be able to hear what I'm doing.

I'm probably looking to spend between $200 - $300 dollars on this guitar. I'd like something that is fairly small for an acoustic as I'll probably be using this as my main guitar for the foreseeable future and I don't have a ton of space to be playing a rather large guitar at the moment. Also, based on some of my browsing it seems like an acoustic-electric makes sense since there seem to be a bunch available in the price range I'm looking at. I probably won't need to plug it in very often, but I figure the built in tuner that many a-e guitars have is a nice feature. Plus, I figure a smaller acoustic that I can plug-in if need be is a good compromise in case I do need to play it in situations where it otherwise would be drowned out.

To get to the point, based on my online browsing and Guitar Center trip, I think I've settled on the Yamaha APX500 Thinline Acoustic-Electric. I played around a bit with the one GC had in stock today as well as a few others just to have a comparison. I really liked the Yamaha for the price range its in and it seems to fit my other criteria. I'm also drawn to the look of this guitar for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on. Anyway, does anyone have one of these guitars or has anyone played one and can comment on them? Any other suggestions for the price range I'm looking at? The overwhelming majority of reviews I can find for this guitar are positive and I've always heard good things about Yamaha's guitars in general, but any comments or suggestions on this would be helpful. I considered the Jasmine ES33C especially as it comes with a hardshell case, but I'd really like to be able to play the guitar before purchasing it and the Jasmine doesn't seem to be something anyone in the area stocks.

While I'm asking for your opinion on the guitar itself, I'd like to get opinions on the color as well. For quick reference, if you don't feel like searching for it - Unfortunately, GC didn't have the color I'd like to get at the moment, but they are hoping to get some in shortly. I almost ordered the guitar online either from their website or a competitor, but GC's website isn't expecting these until tomorrow and the salesman I spoke with thinks that the store may get the other colors in once their warehouse gets them. Obviously, I'd rather play the guitar I get before I buy it but the only one the store had at the moment was the black version and I just can't get used to the dark wood color of the bridge against the shiny black of the guitar body. Although I did enjoy how the guitar sounded when I played it. Based on the pictures I can find online, I'd have to say my preferred color of the guitar is the "dark red burst". I like the violin sunburst and natural as well, but the blue burst has the same problem for me as the black color. Comments, thoughts?

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 7833

I don't know anything about the guitar, but I agree with your order of preference for colors.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1630

Hi bluesy. I think that the Yamaha would be a good choice, although I haven't seen one or played one in over a year. I like the red though. I used to be familiar with their feeling and sound, and I researched and played every one, till I gave up on looking at them altogether and told myself if I get a thin body - it'll have to be a Fender. There's your competion, with improved Telecoustics and Stratacoustics. These are the ones. Pay no attention to price which is MSRP. They sound okay to me, but I'm going for a full size body instead, when I'm ready. I have just put it off indefinitely, but I know when I get one, it has to have a big boom, and tickle my tummy and send shimmers through my arms, which the small bodies can't do.

I respect your choice and the Yamaha APX line seems to have virtually invented this small body concept, and taken over the market. There were Profiles and Ovations before them, now Jasmines, all from the same genious of a marketing company, Kaman Musical Instruments, who does Takamine also. But Yamaha jumped on the bandwagon about a decade ago and took it to the next level, maybe the top? Their price and features of the model you have chosen look very, very attractive or appealing. That's 5 different guitars that I owned multiple copies of, and all were good. We kept the first 1970 - 71 Yamaha, my son has it still.

One last thing in my 5 or 6 cents' dissertation, I took one last crack at getting either the Fender Telecoustic or a larger Sonoran-type with my favorite headstock (6 in-line Strat, resembling a giraffe's head :shock: ) and closed the book on that for now. BTW, I would have needed the Tele-coustic for it's sound, it is slightly more full, with it's upper body bout, than the Strat-acoustic with it's two thin horns. In the shopping process, at a different store I tried an Aria which was very, very good. I would recommend that, in a surprise twist here. The full size Aria's in that particular outlet were all poor and falling apart - the owner of the store came over and asked "Wassup?" Then he agreed with me that his entire Christmas inventory were flawed, and ready for the dumpster. He has to ship them all back -this is true. So, no more Aria in my shopping cart. But the baby Aria, like a Baby Taylor, was real beauty, (it was as if it came from a different factory, which is quite possible, Aria is just another stamp, not a manufacturer) and had projection and a little vibration into my anatomy. :lol:

That led me to try one more smallish guitar, the Cort, which I already knew would be very fine, and it was - outstanding!

So, this all happened 2 days ago, on the 26th, that's recent! There was too much for me to process, until I get the right acoustic which has rather large shoes to fill, namely the loss of my old friend, 1973 Gibson SJ Deluxe. That's a long story not for your thread, since a friend wanted my guitar, and it was Christmas, and of course he got it or bought it, signed, sealed, delivered.

To finish this, I knew I had to have another Tele, so focused on that, or nailed it and bought it on boxing day. That wasn't hard. I'm still off-topic, but can play mine & daughter's Garrison A/E for awhile longer, and will get an acoustic... Breedlove by mail when the weather warms up, or a Taylor, if in stock, when another store, where I bought my first guitar 40 years ago and many more, has an upcoming sale.

Returning to your quest & detailed issue, I'd take that Yamaha if the price is right, or try a Telecoustic if you want something a little more radical, yet familiar? Aria is the same price. Check a Cort only if you can spend more - I think you get more? 8)

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3995

I played those guitars and they have a very nice neck, it is very quick and easy to play.

On the other hand, if the preamp isn't mandatory, you could consider just an acoustic: the money for the electronic could be used for improve the guitar components or wood. You can always add a mic to the guitar if needed.

New Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2

I found this link is very useful to discover more info about APX500

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 53

I bought one for my son for Christmas, 2008. I doesn't sound too bad acoustic, but $300 on a better acoustic would have been a better investment, IMHO. However, my son is twelve so the smaller body size is nice for him. He prefers to play plugged in and it sounds good on a Roland MicroCube. He and a friend played a couple of songs at a school function so I guess having the pickup worked out.

This year he wanted an electric so in retrospect, I think I should have looked for a small bodied acoustic with a solid top and maybe added a pickup later. But for the money, it has been a pretty good guitar and he really likes the looks of it and plays quite a bit and that is what really matters.