Yamaki Acoustic Guitars

Yamaki Acoustic Guitars. Very Fine And Rare Instruments.

When talking about Japanese made acoustic guitars people tend to think of Yamaha, Takamine, and Alvarez as being the major brands of acoustic guitars that are made in Japan. Those three companies are the three major companies in Japan that have been and still are making acoustic guitars. But there is also a pretty rare brand of guitar out there that you might run into, and that is the Yamaki brand of acoustic guitar. If you do see one, and it's in playable or repairable condition at all, then I seriously suggest that you buy that guitar if you are financially able to.

I've seen exactly two of these guitars ever. I very much liked both of them. I became acquainted with one just this last week, and couldn't have possibly been more impressed with that guitar. The other one I'd seen once belonged to my grandfather, and I nearly bought it from him at one point. Basically, the two Yamaki acoustics that I've had my hands on both belong to Uncles of mine, and one of those uncles at one point or another had owned both of them.

I can't speak for how truthful or accurate this next thing is, but the story that I was told was that the way that Yamaki was displayed on the head stocks of their acoustic guitars looked so similar to how Yamaha was displayed on the head stocks of their guitars that Yamaha sued, and had the Yamaki company to change things. Here's what I know for certain - I like Yamaha acoustic guitars, and I consider them to be fine guitars, and especially if you buy one of their solid tonewood construction L series guitars - but I'm positive that the Yamaki guitar that I played this past week was better than any Yamaha acoustic guitar that I've ever seen or played, in fact, it was a very comparable guitar in quality to the Alvarez acoustic guitar that I fell in love with once at the North Texas Guitar Centre - but a more expensive or fancier guitar..

A Very Nice Yamaki Acoustic Guitar. It Looks Like a Martin D 18 Copy.

Yamaki Acoustic Guitars.

I'm sticking to the full sized photo above - because it's such a beautiful photo. Were I unable to use that one, then I'd not be able or likely to find another photo so comparable. In time I'd like to get a good shot of my Uncle Thomas' Yamaki Acoustic guitar. Hell, if I owned a digital camera I'd certainly do that right away for this hub.

If you know guitars and you look at that picture of a Yamaki acoustic guitar up above, then it's clear that that guitar is a copy of a Martin D 18. You can't really know how good a quality that guitar is from the picture - you don't and can't know whether or not it's a solid wood construction guitar or not, but I'm betting that that is exactly what it is. The thing that is MOST clear from that photo is that the guitar features a spruce soundboard. From the looks of the thing - I'm betting a thousand to one that it's a solid spruce soundboard, a hallmark of a great acoustic guitar.

A Very Nice Yamaki Acoustic Guitar.

The Yamaki Deluxe Acoustic Guitar.


The Yamaki Deluxe Acoustic Guitar.

Now - looking at the fine photo above we see an example of the Yamaki acoustic guitar model called "The Yamaki Deluxe." This guitar more resembles my Uncle Tom's guitar than does the other photo, and the reason for this is that the sound board of this guitar is clearly a different wood than is the spruce sound board in the top photo. The sound board on the Yamaki Deluxe model is clearly Western Red Cedar, and that is what my Uncle Tom's Yamaki flat top guitar features as a sound board.

If you recall that I mentioned something about having two uncles with Yamaki acoustic guitars - that's correct. My uncle James owns one as well, and that would be the one that my grandfather used to own. I've not seen that guitar in years - I hope that cleared up any confusion that I might have created.

The Yamaki acoustic guitar that my Uncle Thomas owns would more be a "super Deluxe" or something, it's a more decorated model than the Yamaki deluxe in the very fine photo above. The sticker that should be visible inside the sound hole of his guitar is absent - but Uncle Tom's Yamaki flat top has abalone inlay up the fingerboard the likes of which would be seen on a Martin D-42, or a Martin D 45.

Western Red Cedar As An Acoustic Guitar's Soundboard

I've no idea why Yamaki Acoustic Guitars as a company seems to use Western Red Cedar as a soundboard on some of their best guitars. I don't have any problem with it. The very fine Yamaki flat top that my Uncle Thomas owns has what are definitely solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides and a solid Western Red Cedar top, a rosewood fingerboard, and lots of Martin style abalone inlay for fret markers up the neck. It's more than a thousand dollar guitar any way you slice it.

Here's the deal about Western Red Cedar as a soundboard and tonewood. It's outstanding for that purpose. I've always been told that cedar wasn't used so much for flat tops because people using a heavy pick attack when playing will tend to overdrive and distort the notes with cedar - so that cedar, having more excellent tonal characteristics when played lightly, was most often used for guitars that a finger style player would more likely use. I didn't have that problem at all though, not with the Yamaki dreadnought. I played the thing with a tortoise shell pick, and every note rang loud, clear, and true.

The Video says "D 35 Copy" but the D 35 is a Spruce top guitar, and this guitar is Western Red Cedar.

Yamaki Buffalo Series - Notice The Unique Shape Of The Head Stock.


Some History Concerning Yamaki Brand Acoustic Guitars.

Sometime in the late 1960s, Daion began exporting Yamaki guitars to America, where they were well received. By the early 1980s, however, Daion felt that the Yamaki Martin-style guitars were getting lost among similar instruments from other Japanese builders like Takamine, Yasuma, and C.F. Mountain, so they redesigned the entire acoustic line and started building acoustic-electrics and solid-body electrics as well as oddities like double-neck acoustics. They dropped the Yamaki name and rebranded their instruments as Daion guitars. Daion began an extensive advertising campaign to introduce the new line around 1982, but this was a time when musicians were more interested in the new MIDI-equipped synthesizers than in guitars. In 1984 Daion stopped importing guitars to America and soon went out of business. Yamaki, on the other hand, survived the downturn of the 1980s and now makes parts for other Japanese guitar companies.

I just think this guy is sort of "cool," really - and he's got a nice Yamaki Acoustic Guitar.

Yamaki Acoustic Guitars, Conclusion

From browsing forum posts and looking at youtube videos, the general consensus among owners and players is that the Yamaki brand acoustic guitars are top notch. I've played two of them in my days, and one just last week. I recall liking very much both Yamaki acoustic guitars that I've had my hands on. The one I played last week was a superb instrument that would be comparable to rosewood and cedar flat top steel string guitars selling anywhere from $1,700.00 dollars to $3,000.00 new, and by C.F. Martin & Co. The particular guitar that I played could possibly be comparable to more expensive models than the prices listed above, if the backs and sides happen to actually be Brazilian Rosewood rather than East Indian Rosewood. I'm mostly certain that that guitar was East Indian, but again, several forum posts seemed to indicate that Brazilian Rosewood was most often or very often used with Yamaki Acoustic Guitars.

These guitars are rare, and somewhat hard to find nowadays. If you bump into one at a flea market or yard sale - you should definitely grab it. It's either a keeper already, or worth repairing.

Yamaki Guitar Identification Guide - An Old Advert.

You May Wish To Dowload This Image, And Then Blow It Up To Read It - Further Help Towards Identifying a Yamaki Guitar's Specifications

Yamaki Twelve String Guitars - VERY Rare Instruments!

Yamaki - The Tone Is FABULOUS.


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Comments 267 comments

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Dude, pawn shops around here are littered with with these things. They can't give 'em away. How many do you need?

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

You really see Yamaki guitars in pawn shops often?? I've only see two of those things ever here in Tejas!

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

No, I was just yankin' your chain. I used to go to pawn shops all the time but haven't for quite a while. They have always had Yamaha's and those crappy Takamine's. Do you think that name has anything to do with some guy in Japan saying "please take a mine"? On another note yea Mav's, kicked those jackasses right back to South Beach! I love it!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author


Here's the problem with pawn shops these days - all those places have computers in them, and they nearly always know exactly what their guitars are worth nowadays.

Somebody could get lucky on a Yamaki though - I'd imagine it would take a bit to try to price one right if you didn't know your stuff.

Yeah - I guess economics determines that I should always be pro Texas sports. I just have a really hard time watching basketball. Most folks can't seem to watch baseball, or that used to be the complaint. Not with me though, I can watch baseball.

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Pawn shops, thrift stores, all that stuff where I used to get killer deals seem to have gotten more aware. Shit man you used to be able to go down to the hills of Kentucky and find some killer stuff for nothing but even the hillbillys are smart now (which is enough to scare the hell out of you). Yeah, don't get me wrong, I was watching the Reds and switching back and forth to hoops. I didn't pay much attention to the NBA this year (I prefer college hoops) but I always watch the playoffs to some extent. What Dirk did to the Heat was legendary. I never tire of baseball man, I played from age 4 to 17, then I discovered pus....ah girls! I get to go to a couple of Reds games again this years. My ex gets great tickets in a section that includes all the food and drinks you want. I hear those same people saying they can't watch it anymore..oh well I'll never get tired of it!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Yeah - it's the information age now. All the information is out there, it's just a matter of knowing where to look, what to look for, and actually deciphering fact from fiction.

Just having Hamilton in the lineup makes everyone on my Rangers better. He's such a psychological booster. I'm betting on Texas being back in the playoffs. ~crosses fingers~

tebo profile image

tebo 5 years ago from New Zealand

I will keep my eyes open for one of these guitars at garage sales etc. I have a cheap guitar but from reading your hub I realize once again that your get what you pay for.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey tebo, - hopefully that is what happens most often; but sometimes at garage sales you can find something that someone has frustrating memories associated it. Other times people assume they know an item's value, and are wrong.

I've heard believable stories about spray painte guitars that were bought at garage sales for ten buck, and turned out to be all solid wood construction Martin guitars that sell for over a grand brand new.

Hell, I'm so. . . ."stupid" that I'd most likely wind up telling such a yard sale host, "Look dude, I can show you online, this thing is worth a hell of a lot more than the ten dollars you were asking. . . ."

I don't often have sense enough to let people be as stupid as they wanna be. Sadly, I'm twice as stupid as I want to be.

A really great guitar can make someone play and sound better - but after a certain level of skill is present. . . .then the issue is more often the player than the guitar.

Jordan 5 years ago

Just a note to the origin of the Yamaki, The name on the head stock looks like Yamaha because it was made by Yamaha. In the late 60's and early 70's Yamaha and Zuzuki were making Martin Copies, and Yamaha was selling them as Yamaki's. Martin sued and stopped Zuzuki but they came to a deal with Yamaha so they would stop the Yamaki but continue to produce models for the US market for Martin. The going price for Yamaki's range from $250 to $500 depending on the model, dispite the fact that they don't come up for sale very often and everyone that owns one loves it.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey thanks for the comment, Sir!

I was confused about that whole thing - I might have been thinking more about C.F. Mountain vs. C.F. Martin. I've definitely appreciated the Yamaki guitars that I've played - if I owned them, it would take a grand to take them off of my hands.

The Dock Spider 5 years ago

I own two 1973 Yamaki Buffalo headstock acoustics. I would not trade them for any other guitar or large dollars.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey - that's the sentiment of most Yamaki owners!!!!

I've only got to play two - but I've not ever got to even see one of the Buffalo headstock models before!

Duffer D 5 years ago

Just bought my first guitar 2 months ago at age 68, and it is a Yamaki Deluxe Folk A-331 built in 1973. Just Love It! Sounds wonderful, and for $39.95 at a thrift store, I'm still scratching my head as to how something this wonderful could end up there. It has a good home now, for keeps...wouldn't part with it for anything.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks Duffer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I used to run around all over to flea markets with my late grandfather (one of em') and that guy was forever finding awesome guitars for nothing - and even though he knew what they were really worth - he'd let em' go to folks for twice as much of nothing.

That's how I met my first Yamaki. I've got an uncle - the grandfather's son, who's got another one that is even nicer.

b;ladedoctor 5 years ago

Great Buy 39.95...I have several Yamaki's all different models...and like it is and always will post...Great Guitar, would never sell any of them. I am looking if anyone would sell theirs.....

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

What's this 39.95 bullshit? You think someone would sell you a Yamaki acoustic guitar for that amount???

That's insane.

Duffer D 5 years ago

When I spied this guitar case in amongst a pile of junk furniture at the local Value Village, I thought I'd check it out. The case is beautifully plush lined, and the guitar inside sounded wonderful, as I stated before. I took it out and looked on the back for a price, but there was none there. So I strummed it a little, and put it back. The case was a rich brown leather and had a Yamaha logo on it, and there on the back was a sticker that said $39.95....NO BULLSHIT!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

That's a heartbeat buy right there, Duffer!!!

I'm piss broke, but if I ever saw a Yamaki for sale - I'd buy it; even if it were one of the cheaper ones in need of some repair...I'd buy it.

Duffer D 5 years ago

Wessman, sorry to hear that you're piss broke. I'm an old retired dude on a very small pension, and the day I bought my Yamaki, I had about $10.00 left in the bank after I paid for it. I had no idea what a Yamaki was worth, but it just sounded real good to me. So I took a chance. It wasn't until I did a little research online that I realized that I had scored a good one. It's nice to have sunshine strike the nether regions once in a while eh? Hang in there...

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks Duffer!!!!

You know, I think retirement is now almost a thing of the past. I'm not sure it's even a thing of the possible future for me.

Oh well, there's no tomorrow to plan for so long as it's today.

Oh well, it's certainly a very interesting time to be alive - no matter who or where we happen to be!

Duffer D 5 years ago

The past is past, the future is not here yet. There is only the NOW. Every day you get to wake up is a good day. Do something nice with it....

Antoko 5 years ago

I have a Yamaki 12 string 1973 that I'm considering listing on E-Bay. If anyone is interested and gives a fair price I could skip EBay. Let me know.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Antoko, send me some good pictures of the thing!


Just title it Yamaki.

Mike 5 years ago

My Yamaki was my first decent guitar bought in 1973. It was stolen in 1979. Great guitar; I miss it!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Gosh I'm sorry to hear that Mike!!!!

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musichabs 5 years ago

Hey..I am about to check out a Yamaki ay438 12 string acoustic. It has a different headstock than the pics posted. It looks more like a classical hollow headstock.Does anyone know anything about these..The logo on the headstock is left to right "Yamaki custom"/ thx.dave

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Well, it sounds to me like what you are describing is a Yamaki that is going to be a nice copy of a Martin S series guitar...and so it's probably got a wider than standard neck, and only twelve frets clear of the body.

In other words - it's more of a fingerstyle player's instrument than it would be a strummer or a flatpicker's style of instrument...but what matters here is whether or not your fingers are long enough for you to play a wide neck S style guitar comfortably.

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musichabs 5 years ago

I think it must be a ay439..I am going to see it on Monday..Here is a link to what i think ihttp://www.oldguitar.jp/catalog/yamaki/yamakisings... is.. I'll post a pic if I end up buying it. thx,dave

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

musichabs - good luck!!! I hope you like the guitar, and are able to purchase it at a fair enough price

Chuy 5 years ago

I just picked up a Yamaki Deluxe Folk W-118 off craiglist. I bought it because it was made in Japan and had rosewood back, sides and neck (I think). A couple tuners are hard to turn and when i opened it up the gear was worn and out of alignment. Does changing the tuners lower the value? Should i try to repair the tuners myself. What are these worth?

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Chuy, don't worry about the tuners in regards to the value of the guitar.

You see, if the tuners are worn out - then that guitar has probably been played a whole hell of a lot, and the more you play a fine guitar - the better it's going to sound.

So in other words - I'm betting that guitar sounds awesome!

I'd think that you could most likely change them out yourself - it's usually just a few very tiny screws, but of course you want to find tuners that are as similar as is possible to the ones on it already, if not exact replacements.

I believe that if you took it to any guitar or music shop that sold guitars (expensive guitars) - that someone there could take a look at it and either sell you the tuners , or order some that would be just right for you.

Chuy 5 years ago

I fixed the tuners and let the new strings mellow a bit. I have a 82 Sigma DM5, made in Japan with spruce top and Mahogany back and sides, which has been my baby this last year. I am afraid to say I think the Yamaki blows it away as far as sound. Brighter and louder. I know the strings are different but I think the rosewood back and sides on the Yamaki really makes a difference. I still love my Sigma but the Yamaki may turn into my everyday player. Its surprising there isn't more of a following for these guitars.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

You'll be picking up the Yamaki instead of that Sigma!!!!

I would never EVER say that Rosewood is "better" than mahogany - there's a lot more to it than that between those two guitars.

You would have to play a D 18, or a Yamaki or something all solid wood with mahogany back and sides for an even comparison.

That Sigma might not have had even a solid spruce top, and I absolutely PROMISE you that it's laminated back and sides - and that makes a HUGE difference all by itself.

Chuy 5 years ago

My model is a Deluxe Folk W 118. I know the top is Spruce ply, but are you saying the sides and back are solid Rosewood? I can't tell by looking at it. I like the rosewood fingerboard.

I did have a Sigma DR7 MIJ that had a similar sound as the Yamaki, that I ended up selling for $285 on CL because it needed some work. It seems to me the Rosewood back and sides add the same unique sound I hear. Either way, I am happy with picking up the Yamaki.

Doug 5 years ago

I bought my Yamaki, new, in 1980. Sounded as good as any Gibson or Martin back then and still does now! It was half the price of the other premium US guitar makers and as a result, I seem to recall learning that Gibson & Martin conspired to thwart Yamaki's efforts to import their outstanding instruments into the US market. Mine is a full size, acoustic 6 string; all spruce - model YW-50W. Rich, full, robust sound and resonance across the tonal spectrum. A joy to play and even better to listen to...

Alas, my playing days are over and time to sell with OHSC w/ plush interior. Both guitar & case in very, VERY GOOD condition. Request pictures via e/amil to: douglas(dot)e(dot)roy(at)gmail(dot)com or just call me: 615/585-7376

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Doug, if you'll put the guitar on Ebay, then you and I can both benefit from that, as I'll have it for sale here, where it can be bid on and the price driven higher.

Chuy 5 years ago

I have been watching some Yamakis on ebay and it seems the demand for Yamakis is very low. Seems not enough people know how good they sound because they are so rare. Most people that hear my guitar say it sounds great but have never heard of the brand.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Chuy, I'd imagine that this is true. I hope that it stays true too, really, as at some future time when I have money to invest - I perfectly intend to buy a lot of them.

Also, Yamaki as a brand made beginner to intermediate instruments along with the instruments that rival the Martin guitars that they copy in a round about, but sometimes unique manner, so knowing the Yamaki model numbers well (which I do not at present) is also important.

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jimmar 5 years ago from Michigan

I seem to be on a collecting binge since I started dinking around with guitars. Yamaki huh? I'll have to keep my eyes open. Thanks for the tip.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

jimmar - they are absolutely FIRST RATE. The solid wood construction Yamaki guitars that I've seen are every bit as good as the Martin D 28 and the Martin D 18's that I've owned!!!!

Chuy 4 years ago

I found a Grande with a 000 body from the mid 1970s. Did some research and Jemar Corp in St. Louis used to import from Yamaki and rebranded them Grande. So it is a Yamaki in disguise. I am waiting on some bone nut and saddle blanks because it still has adjustable saddle. I cant wait to hear it after it is upgraded.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author


You just set my radar off, I'll not forget that, and I'll be looking!

I've got to get a bone nut and saddle for my Japanese Fender F 65, it's a damn nice guitar too - D 28 copy, but it's got a bit more abalone than a D 28.

Anyway - COOL DEAL!

Rusty 4 years ago

I have a Yamaki Custom with a sideways A on the inside and then the numbers 425. I got it from a girlfriend in the mid 70's as a birthday present. Has a great sound. Does anyone know what it might be worth?

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hi Rusty!

There are a lot of other factors involved...most specifically, what kind of shape the neck is in, and how many dings and scratches there are.

I personally don't worry much about scratches, etc - so long as it plays, then it is a winner to me.

I intend to do a lot more research on these guitars. I can tell you from the stats of this article...that there is a heck of a lot of interest in Yamaki guitars - so if you sell it, make sure you get the right price!!!!

Take some pictures from every angle, and ask on an acoustic guitar forum - is my advice.

Pitter 4 years ago

I have had my Yamaki since I bought it new in 76. By far the best acoustic guitar I have ever owned, and of course it now has the perfectly aged tone. Acoustic guitars come and go from my stable, but he Yamaki will go to the grave with me. That's probably why you don't see a lot for sale.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Pitter - ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!

I've got two uncles that own Yamakis (amongst several Martin's each) - and they are certainly damn fine instruments!!!!!

I hope to land a good all solid wood Yamaki one way or another some day!!

I've got a Santa Cruz that will be passed on to someone in the family when I'm gone. I've sold some Martins that I should have kept, but I've also got one of those that will go to someone else in my family when I'm gone too!

Justin 4 years ago

I actually have a guitar that is almost identical to the one you posted first on this article. The only differnces I saw was that the neck on mine is not as worn and that the name given on it is a Grande, model D90. All of the research I have done has told me that these guitars are the same, can you confirm this?

Justin 4 years ago

Just to give you all the info, the tag inside says Grande Guitar Distributed by Leigh Distributing Co Minneapolis Minn Made in Japan.

This guitar belonged to my grandpa and its very important to me, but I just wanted to know more about it, because I was not familiar with the company.

Carolyn 4 years ago

I just bought a Yamaki AY232S the lady at the thrift store in front of me turned it down because it wasn't a very good name. It plays like a dream, and I love it.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stupid people often give the worthy their best deals ...without having ever realized it!

oscar... 4 years ago

honest to god!..i bought one today..at a flea market ,12 strings,super clean,super soft action,great volume!...near mint!..$50.oo dlls!!!!!!..i just knew it felt right in my hands..i tuned it up and the pitch was perfect!..miracles do happen!..some times people dont know what they sell..but i also didn't know what i was buying!!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Congrats Oscar!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes those wild deals are certainly out there!!! I've seen such deals go down. I'm happy for you! :)

ToneHunter 4 years ago

I bought a Yamaki 303S over 40 years ago.

Basically a Martin D-35 copy.

Not sure if Brazilian RW or Indian RW but sounds great.

I just brought home a new D-35 to compare side by side.

Here is the shocking truth:


D-35 first. Good bottom and okay brightness but dark sounding.

303S. Better bottom, brighter, more resonant and louder.

Feel: D-35 plays nicer. 303S truss rod has not been adjusted for over 20 years.


When playing the 303S it feels alive and rings with vibration.

The D-35 feels kind of dead and seems to almost absorb the vibrations.

Age must play a huge role.

Although it is obvious if you look inside the guitars the D-35 is solid rosewood.

The 303S is laminated rosewood outside and it looks like a single piece of mahogany on the inside back and sides. The D-35 are solid three pieced back BUT is has re-enforcement (bracing) glued over the joins back to front and laterally as well.

The 303S just has lateral bracing.

I believe the extra bracing on the D-35 while necessary because of the joining of solid pieces is the reason it sounds and feels deader.

The 303S has a thinner spruce top. I had heard many years ago when Yamaki's were around that quite a few had a problem with the bridge ripping out of the top.

I was lucky and got a good one.


I have been trying to get an idea how much my 303S is worth?

I have looked high and low and have not seen another 303S (S for spruce) anywhere.

I see a few Yamaki Folk models mentioned. I don't think they stack up.

I am not saying the D-35 is not good. It is the benchmark.

I did not realize what a rare gem I have.

I would like to compare to a same vintage D-35.

Has anyone else out there seen a 303S?

It may be as rare as hen's teeth.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey ToneHunter! Thanks for the comment!

Yes age and the amount of time a guitar has been played are both HUGE factors!!!!!!!!!!!

Spend some time with that Martin and it will open up a huge deal for you, and become a cannon, I'm sure!

I'm not saying the Martin is "better." I'm just saying the comparison probably isn't so fair at this point.

Also, are you sure the Yamaki has laminated back and sides???? It could be for sure, and it is proving VERY HARD to track down specifics about Yamaki models...there just isn't much information on the internet about those things!

Also....what I'm seeing is that there is a huge interest in Yamaki guitars...but they're UNDERVALUED on the market.

I say don't sell!!!!!!!!!

Yamaki did make some lower quality instruments...but the way their better instruments are under priced (though rare) makes them compare VERY FAVORABLY to any used Martin you'll find ....I think Yamaki is going to become something of a cult brand of guitar...and their market value will grow!

ToneHunter 4 years ago

Thanks Wesman.

I think you right. Every man has his price though.

I am very curious if anyone else has one of these?

I looked inside with a little flashlight and it is definitely one piece of wood (damn sure mahogany) under the lateral bracing while the outside is three pieces of rosewood of a lighter color than the D-35. Done right this may produce more resonance as I believe the bracing over the D-35 joins may well reduce the resonance. We all know mahogany is a fine wood for guitar bodies and necks. Some even have mahogany tops.

I would like the people who think their Yaks are solid backs check them out by looking at the bracing. If there are some out there it will need to be braced the way the D-35 is.

btw I live in the pacific northwest near sea level.

A great climate for old pianos and near extinct guitars. lol

I took it in to a Long McQuade store (Canada's music giant) and handed the 303S over to the guitar manager and he strummed a few chords and said "Wow!, I've never seen one of these. Sounds fantastic." .

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Well that Yamaki might be Brazilian Rosewood!

East Indian Rosewood is ...pretty uniform in color and grain pattern.

Brazilian, however, can be any color of "reddish" and can even be more orange looking...with while swirls of design all in it.

I wish you'd upload some pictures somewhere, and give me a link so I could see your guitar :)

ToneHunter 4 years ago

Lets try.

If I send an email to yak@wesmantoddshaw.com

can you get it?

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey ToneHunter, do this one: wesmantoddshaw@yahoo.com :)

ToneHunter 4 years ago

They are off to you.

davdoll4 4 years ago

Hopeing my grandson want my yamaki deluxe folk.

He's 7 years old. But he likes drumms

gingahxmama 4 years ago

I own a vintage 1974 Yamaki Deluxe Acoustic Folk guitar, model f12. I've had the guitar forever and it still sounds great. I thought it was just some generic no name brand guitar that just so happened to sound good, got it from my dad who got it from a garage sale for like fifteen bucks. I'd love more information on it. It still has original sticker inside with the intitials of the person who made/certified it.

Ken 4 years ago

I bought my Yamaki in 1976 (slightly used) at McCabe's guitar shop in Santa Monica, THE place for guitars in CA. I have no idea what model it is-- the only identifying tag inside says "The Yamaki Guitar Company" and "140". It's unusual-- it has abalone or mother of pearl inlay on the fretboard at 5, 7, 10 and 12. It is definitely Brazilian rosewood. My daughter just sent it to me after having kept it for 20 years in a closet, and the neck is still as straight as steel rod with no buzz on the strings, same as when the lauthier from McCabe's last fine-tuned it. Anyone know what model it is? The tone is just breathtaking!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Ken, thanks for your comment. I'm hoping that with these comments, etc, I can compile enough information to make a better article the folks who either comment or email me.

No doubt, Sir, that a Brazilian rosewood guitar is worth a ton of money these days, and Yamaki sure made good guitars.

Oh how I'd love to get to hang out in that guitar store you mentioned!!!!!!!

Information on these instruments is just scarce, I am getting more and more information as time goes on, thanks again. :)

Yamaki72 4 years ago

I've had my Yamaki Deluxe Folk Model F115-Y for a very short period but it's my favorite.

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Well, I was convinced a while back to take a chance on a Yamaki that needed some TLC. The 1972 vintage F-115Y Deluxe Folk had a bridge that was cracked from side to side through the pegs, one corner of it was lifting, and the belly was starting to bow. But it looked repairable and I took that chance. Am I ever glad I did!!!

I purchased the instrument off eBay for $187 and spent another $125 in repairs for a total of $312 invested. Pretty darn cheap for an absolute cannon of a guitar!

The lows resonate with authority, the mids have a warm and woody tone and the highs ring forth like a well trained soprano voice. I have two other guitars and they've been collecting dust since I put my hands on this Yamaki. She ain't pretty but she sings damn nice.

And to Wesman Todd Shaw, thanks for hosting this blog.

Any information I find as I research Yamaki guitars I will surely share with you all. And research them I will as I am looking to acquire a few more! :-)

- Michael


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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author


Listen, I gotta shoot straight with everyone viewing and commenting this page.

I've spent some time with TWO Yamaki guitars....hell, just maybe I'll wind up owning one of them some day.

Both are "in the family," but neither is mine.

The first time I got to play the second of the two, I came home, found everything I could, and created this webpage....I'm learning more from the comments and the personal emails I get than anything else.

I just can't find a single truly good resource online for Yamaki knowledge...but I hope to get enough information to either edit this page significantly, or offer one with some REAL facts.

Heck, I sorta figured that was you, Michael, before I even got to the end of the comment! :)

Some of these Yamaki guitars are OUT OF THIS WORLD good, its like finding a great Martin...but for $300 -$500 bucks!!

I'm a poor web scribbler, mostly, but you can bet I'm going to be willing to take just the kind of chance you described soon as I'm able!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

LOL...no fooling you, is there...

I think you should work hard on your uncle so you can have your own Yamaki!!!

There is no one definitive source but the links, pics, catalogs and various sites are putting some of the puzzle together.

No one who has one seems to thing are nothing but fantastic guitars. Mine sure turned out to be.

I have inquiries in on two Yamaki's...one is an AY-331S (Canadian market unit imported by Great West Imports) and the other is an unknown but looks like a YM-500 which is circa 1975 or 1976. More to come...

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Michael ...its a sad tale:

Uncle Tom owns one, and Uncle Jim owns one.

Both these guys own LOTS of great guitars.

The one Uncle Jim owns....I damn near bought from my grandfather at one point for $100 ...maybe 17 to 19 years ago...but I didn't, and so Jim has it.

The one Tom owns is the one I've seen recently, and it is a BADASS....Its as nice as the Martin HD-28VR I used to own, but for the life of me, I can't tell if it is a spruce top, or ...it could be Cedar. I dunno?

It has no sticker.....and Tom ain't a "money motivated" sort of fella....he'll give ya a million if he has it for his own reasons...and wouldn't sell you a .50 cent pop tart for a thousand bucks if he didn't want to...you know.

Anyway...I'd asked about buying his Yamaki one day when....strangely enough, he had a really low opinion of the thing.

I'd never even seen it.

When I did see it....HOLY SMOKE!!!!!!!!!! His guitar is so superb, I don't know what he was thinking the day he said "it sounds like a cardboard box."

I think he realized ....he was just way out there in wrongland that day, and I doubt he'd sell it, but if he did....I'm pretty sure he'd sell it to me, and nobody else :)

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Well, hopefully one day one or both will be yours. Just have those uncles of yours put you in their wills...LOL

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Dumb question...how do you post a picture on HubPages so it shows up vs. just a link?

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Michael, so far as in the comment boxes....you can't.

At least in my two years + messing about here - I've never seen anyone be able to do that, just a link, is all that you can do.

....but I'm assuming you are talking about the comment boxes, if you are working on created a "hub" or blog page/article, then you have to go into a picture or image capsule with the "edit," and then uploading one is what I always do.

I'm trying to shake the cobwebs loose in my head still this morning!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Thanks for the info! I'll send you a pic of my next acquisition.

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seamonster 4 years ago

Nice post on Yamaki, I have my student Yamaha, which I love. I came to this post because I was searching for Yamaha guitars. I will look for them.

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Not to bore anyone but I'm trying to find out if all the AY Canadian series guitars had dowels or if some had a dovetail neck. I just got some pics from a guy up in Vancouver BC and his AY333 has dowels.

Or, maybe another way to look at it is what series (F, A, AY, YM, YD, etc...) had a dovetail neck joint. It may be that the higher end of each series had a dovetail. For instance, an AY333 has dowels but an AY339S has a dovetail possibly?

ughhh...I hate it when history is lost.

chuy 4 years ago

Hey Todd,

I picked up a damaged Yamaki Custom, W135. It has a solid spruce top and a three piece rosewood back. It has about 5 cracks on the face from drying out. I bought it for $20 as a project and have been rehydrating it for the last two weeks. I just glued and clamped it. I will glue the bridge back on in a few days. I cant wait to see if it works out and i can play it. My last Yamaki Deluxe sounded so sweet!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

seamonster - Yamaha does make some very good guitars - but the Yamaki have a well deserved cult following.

Yamaki used Martin designs, but instead of using Spruce soundboards - the builders at Yamaki preferred using Western Red Cedar...which gives them a slightly different tone.

It's pretty special, and the Yamaki guitars out there are kinda rare - if you see one, you stumbled onto something that you might not see again.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hay Michael - I'm working a lot all of a sudden. I haven't had time tp mess with guitars, but with a bit of change in my pocket.....I'm likely to buy one of these off of ebay!!!!!!!

Today there is a nice little selection.

Some days...there are NO Yamaki guitars there, but there are some today!!!!!!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey chuy - TWENTY BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh man! That is something worth buying.

If your restoration doesn't work - there are people that can fix that guitar.

I have no idea where you are, but in Dallas, Texas - I know a master luthier that can handle it!!!!!!!

Having a three piece rosewood back means the guitar is going to be worth repairing!!!!!!!!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Get one, Mr. Shaw!!! :-)

It has been a VERY disappointing few weeks in my quest to acquire another Yamaki. One gentleman, with the aforementioned AY331S, backed out. Another gentlemen, posting a very nice early Buffalo Head YW-50 (Japanese market only) wasn't willing to consider any 0ffers besides his BIN price on eBay nor would he consider any offers after the sale closes. He's just going to repost it. I understand that but it is very, very disappointing.

I'll keep looking, though. I sold my Ovation Elite TX and have some funds available to purchase a Yamaki or Daion. A friend turned me on to a link by which I can see ALL craigslist or kijiji listings from all areas at once so that really has streamlined a widening search.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Michael - are you interested in a twelve string?

I get solicitations sometimes to my email accounts....from this webpage.

The last one I got was a week or two ago...and it was a twelve, I'll forward it to you regardless.

I've been working my little tail off - so I've not been doing my online stuff so much as I'd like to.

Yamaki 4 years ago

Thanks, buddy. Nope, I don't need a 12...I have a hard enough time making 6 strings work! ;-)

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BornLiveDie 4 years ago

Hi Wesman - I have a Yamaki YD-35 bought new in the UK in 1980. Looks and plays like a dream. Definitely a Martin copy, with the 'scrolly' pattern on the headstock. How can I send you some photographs?

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey BornLiveDie - I'd like to have some good photos to use, with your permission, of course.

I hope to get around to doing another article here about Yamaki guitars.

You can mail me at wesmantoddshaw@yahoo.com.

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Starsailor 4 years ago

Hi Wesman- Here is my Yamaki guitar story. I received my Yamaki guitar as a gift, back in 1986. My friend knew I wanted to learn to play guitar and she found one- cheap- at a PAWN shop! I don't know the exact cost for it- but I do know back then we were both poor kids! I still have it. It reads Yamaki Deluxe on the headstock. It also reads Yamaki Reinforced Neck. The label on the inside reads Yamaki Deluxe Folk. No.115. With the date 1972 and the number 6 with 2 more numbers that can't b read. It has some wear to it. It still sounds good. I keep it cased all the time. Thanks for your site about the Yamaki.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Starsailor - that was an outstanding gift!!!!!!!!! I bet that thing sounds as good and plays as well as most any Martin too!

Ben Wiebe 4 years ago

I was offered a YW-30H by a coworker. I am totally new to playing guitar. Any idea how much it would be worth?

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Hey Ben Wiebe. The value of any guitar is determined by it's general condition and what the market is willing to pay.

The YW-30 instruments were a product of the Yamaki/Daion cooperative venture and yours, depending on serial number, was probably made in the early to mid 1970's. Some pictures would be nice and would definitely go a long way to determining value and when it was made. A picture of the headstock will really tell the story.

Anyway, wish I could be more help but historical information on these guitars is a bit sparse. We'll keep working to find more information on them. Wesman Todd Shaw, the blog owner here, can post any pics up you might get of this instrument.

Ben Wiebe 4 years ago

Thanks Yamaki! I will try to email some pics to Wesman Todd Shaw

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bluesy 4 years ago

Hi all.

Just bought a 1978 Yamaki YW-30 for £122.00 via Ebay two days ago. The lady who sold it said it belonged to her sister who bought it second-hand from Chappell's in Bond Street in 1990. The strings were rusty, but I still ended up playing for almost 3 hrs - it sounded really good. That was a good sign. No buzzy frets and it stayed in tune. The very next day, I took the Yamaki to a local guitar luthier/techie to have it looked over and restrung with a set of D'Addarrios EJ16's . He was really impressed by the quality and structural soundness of the guitar. No need to straighten the neck (even though the strings had probably been on that guitar for over ten years!). Intonation was fine. He lowered the action by about 1mm, polished the frets, treated the fretboard with lemongrass oil, tightened the tuners. Guys, I am absolutely in tone heaven right now! This is without a doubt, the best-sounding dreadnought acoustic guitar I've owned. With the additional £20.00 setup cost, this guitar cost £142.00 in total. A class guitar sound to rival IMHO any of the classic dreadnoughts out there. My fingers hurt like hell as I type this out, but I'll be back on it when I log out! I really feel truly blessed to have found/acquired this guitar. You're all doing a great job with your enlightening comments and spreading the word on Yamaki guitars. Thanks to WTS for setting up this post. Enjoy your Yamaki guitars!

mikew 4 years ago

i have a yamaki my dad bought me in the late 60-early 70 its in excellent conditon, can anyone tell me honestly what its worth or where i can look for a fair appraisal?..tks mike

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Hey mikew. Value of any instrument depends on it's current condition, the model number, it's specifications and, of course, the market. What model number do you have?

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bluesy 4 years ago

Hi mikew. Of course, Yamaki is spot on. I'd like to know what model you have. It's a funny thing, the market. When I first came across my guitar on Ebay, I immediately contacted the seller and offered £110.00 even though I was prepared to pay up to £180.00 for it. The seller declined my offer, stating that she had been told by some "expert" to expect around £350.00. I still ended up paying only £121.00 after the auction. Also, I noticed that my model of guitar (YW-30) sold for $48.00 on Ebay Japan a few weeks earlier. Bargain of the Century! Are you looking to sell yours or just have it appraised?

mikew 4 years ago

the model is 373? and condition is excellent

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Yamaki Kev 4 years ago

Hello all! I just purchased the Yamaki YW-50W that doug was selling on an earlier post here. I'm up in Canada and can't wait for it to arrive. It will join my current collection of five Yamakis. That would make four 6-strings and two 12-strings. They are all very different and have their own personalities. All of them are gems and sound awesome!

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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Yes - any pics taken - if one could upload them to Facebook or somewhere online, then put a link to the picture here - this would facilitate the bargaining and appraisals!!!!

Also - concerning any playable solid wood Yamaki, my personal opinion is that these guitars are worth a LOT MORE than the going market prices for them, and anyone doing a comparison to a similar solid wood Martin, Gibson, Guild, Taylor, (and others) instrument would soon see that Yamaki solid wood instruments offer the same to superior tonality and play ability as a lot of these front line manufacturer's comparable instrument.

Basically - the true subjective value of a good Yamaki is about equal to that of a Martin - which is near to one hundred times the market value in some cases.

Then again, perhaps all value is subjective in the material sense :)

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Your last comment makes sense. So does your second one. In between I got lost. ;-)

I do agree...a solid top would be a better investment and I am STILL LOOKING FOR ONE!!!

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Yamaki Kev 4 years ago

Hey Wesman - When you speak of solid wood Yamaki guitars, are you talking about solid wood top back and sides? There were Yamakis built like that more in the early years of production. As far as I know, most of them are still in Japan and command very high prices. I would be surprised if any were imported to North America. Some may have been brought here by owners. The officially imported Yamakis were made of solid tops (laminated back and sides) and also models with laminated tops and back and sides. I have never seen a fully solid Yamaki advertised for sale in North America. That has been my experience. Someone is welcome to correct me on that! Yamaki used a laminate process on their tops that makes them essentially a solid top as far as quality and sound is concerned. Laminated Yamakis may not be considered as "valuable" as solid top ones but your ears would not know the difference. I own both types and can state this with certainty.

Randy King 4 years ago

I hane a AY-379s Yamaki, bought it in 85 whem i was 15 at a second hand music store in Ottawa Ontario for 99.99. it was all icould afford at the time. It had a crack from the bridge straight down to the bottom base. it has never affected the sound or gotten worse. Was always afraid to let anyone try to fix it. I"ve played it every day and do believe it sounds better than when I bought it . Never knew anyone that could tell me much about it. The sound is better than any guitar I've ever heard play,and the feel is classic comfort to play it. Could'nt dare ever ever part with it , except for a million. maybe. Would like to know more about this model AY-379s. Its not mentioned in the spec sheets posted. i sent pic's of my guitar to Todd Wessman for his research. thanks for keeping these amazing guitars alive guys!! Randy.

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musichabs 4 years ago

Hey ..I just bought a 1978 Heritage Daion 12 String !! I feel legitimate in posting here as they are a close brother of the Yamaki..It sounds amazing with the ancient strings it had on it..i am getting it set up right now with a bridge redo(the one on it when i bought it was glued with carpenters glue and 3 screws...yess..screws...yikes) anyhow ....except for the screw rattle it still tuned up nice and sounded loud and sustained amazingly with the brass nut and saddle....I can't wait to get it back from the luthier.. the best part is it cost me only 35.oo!!! Dave oh..the yamaki i posted about possibly buying earlier last year did not come to fruition..it was in horrible shape unfortuneately and couldn't have been saved..i was very dissappointed but then ...the right one came by!!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Randy King - The AY379S is a Canadian market only instrument imported from Japan by Great West Imports. They had offices in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. The "S" designates a solid Canadian cedar (possibly Western Red Cedar) top. From there the options expanded with the model. It would be interesting to see a picture of your guitar to see what the back wood is, what tuners you have and what purfling is on the fingerboard.

I have not seen a picture of one on the catalog pages I've found either but I stumbled across an old Japanese guitar catalog index with links that I am exploring now. If I find anything relevant to your model I will post it up here.

My first Yamaki purchase was a F-115Y Deluxe Folk that had a cracked bridge and a slight bow in the belly. A local luthier who came highly recommended replaced the bridge, the saddle, adjusted the truss rod and put on new strings. What a difference! So if you find a good luthier, you might want to go ahead with the repair.

musichabs - That's a nice acquisition! Good luck with the repairs and let us know how things turned out!

Randy King 4 years ago

Thanks for that info! much appreciated! hope you liked the pic's ! guess it is finally time for those repairs, will start shopping around for a good luthier for the job. will post back for sure. thanks again.

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Randy King - Wesman Todd Shaw sent me the pics of your guitar. Your AY379S is a keeper! Information on Yamaki guitars is not as complete as we would like to see it. We do have some information on the company and the instruments produced but not for every model. Now on to the instrument and what I could find out + some educated guesses.

First, the label - You'll notice that in addition to the Yamaki name, it has a stylized representation of a tuning fork. That is the Daion logo, reputed to be the exclusive distributor of Yamaki guitars. That addition to the label places your guitar in the late 70's to early 80's, just before Daion's importer in the US went bankrupt. I would offer the educated guess that your guitar was produced in 1980. By the time the 1981 line was introduced, the Daion emblem actually began to show up on the Yamaki guitar headstocks.

The bankruptcy of their US importer was the beginning of the end for Daion as a business and also, ultimately, Yamaki as an instrument maker. Interestingly enough, Yamaki survives today as a make of guitar components although they do not produce entire instruments.

As I said earlier, your AY379S was produced for the Canadian market with a solid cedar top, rosewood sides, a 3 pc rosewood & spruce (or jacaranda) back, bone saddle, and what look to be Grover friction-less tuners. It appears to be patterned after their Deluxe Folk guitar models due to the size which is certainly not a "Jumbo".

Any other information I could offer at this time would be pure speculation. I will continue to research all Yamaki acoustic guitar models and I will be more than happy to share what I find here on the Yamaki Guitar Hubpage.

Randy King 4 years ago

Wow! All these years knowing virtrualy nothing about what I had and now this! The history, and details you provided me with is astounding! Going to be chewing on that for a while! Cant possibly thank you enough! Look for Yamaki's people! there out there!

Backfixer 4 years ago

I have 2 yamaki's. a AY337s which has been my go to for over 35 years and an AY470S 12 string. The 6 string stands up to anything I have played.

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Hiya Backfixer! Those are very nice guitars! I've not done much playing on a 12-string (I can barely handle 6!) but I love the sound they produce.

Camster 4 years ago

I have an AY 337s as well and love it.

Yamaki 4 years ago

Congrats, Camster! That's a fine guitar!

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Hi Folks - just came across this site so I decided to sign up!

I've been interested in the history of Yamaki ever since I acquired a 2nd hand gem from a co-worker in 1985 in Toronto. Familiar story... he got it as a present on his 9th birthday but never pursued playing. It sat idle for 12-15 years until the subject of guitars came up one day in the office. It's definitely a D-28 knock-off, but I've been unable to determine a date for it. There is no sticker inside, just a branded etching of the company name and a model # A339. I knew I had a keeper the minute I picked it up. Solid top (not sure if spruce or cedar although it's colour would imply cedar), Indian rosewood sides & match-book back. Volume, tone, sustain, and action are everything I want.

Had it professionally serviced about a year ago to address a bowed top (rather common with these) and a cracked saddle. The luthier inserted a "bridge doctor" to flatten the top and gave it a split saddle to perfect the intonation. Best money I've ever spent! I've fallen in love with my Yamaki all over again!!!

Anyway, very glad to have found this discussion. If anyone knows anything about the "A" series, I'd love to hear about it. I have scoured the internet for years but have come up empty on my specific model. And one last thing... since I didn't see this anywhere in this discussion, here is a web site I came across years ago with a ton of pics of Yamaki guitars and catalogues. Unfortunately it's in a Japanese character set, but the links all works. Have fun!


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Yamaki 4 years ago

Welcome to the conversation, chase842!

The A series Yamaki guitars were produced in the 70's. They have an AY cousin, a line of guitars produced for the Canadian market and imported through Great West Imports in Canada.

The A series guitars feature a cedar top, as you surmised, and the 339 model also featured rosewood sides. If you have gold friction-less tuners and Mexican shell position markers on the neck, then I'd suspect it was made in the early to mid 70's.

It would be interesting to see the configuration of the Yamaki logo on the head stock and whether or not you have a bone or plastic nut. Both of those characteristics tend to be a bit more accurate for dating purposes than just the model number.

In any event, you have a fine guitar and I am pleased to read you had it repaired! My F-115Y Deluxe Folk had a similar issue but I took a chance and rescued it. I'm glad I did!

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Thanks for the feedback, Yamaki! Interesting that you ask about the logo on the headstock. I have never seen another model with exactly the same style logo as my A339. (Of course, I've never seen another photo of an "A" model either.) It is a very simple block font (mother of pearl inlay), in a tapered vertical pattern. The nut is bone (original), and the tuners (original) are silver, frictionless, and are marked "YFG". They are crazy good... the guitar stays in tune forever. I have some pics on my laptop at home that I can put up for you (assuming I can figure out how :-)

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Yamaki 4 years ago

You are welcome! Let me look at some other information on that particular style logo. It should provide some additional information on that model.

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Similar to the AY series, the A series was an early to mid - 70's model. Given the vertical nature of your logo, I'd guess your guitar was made prior to 1976. It appears that Yamaki stopped branding their guitars with the vertical letters in response to Yamaha's objections regarding certain patent issues even though the A339 was a direct copy of the Martin D-28. That's a fine guitar and I am glad you are enjoying it.

Kate 4 years ago

I just inherited a beautiful Yamaki from my Gramps.... I can't figure out what the model number is, it only says A339 on the inside, any ideas?

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Kate!!!! Are you kidding? I've been looking for another of these "A" models ever since I got my A339 in '85. If I provide my email would you send me some pics of your A339 to confirm it's the same as mine? Unbelievable!!!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Kate, the A339 is the model number of your Yamaki guitar.

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Going to check out a 12-string this weekend. Model # AY476S. D-35 like dreadnaught with a slotted headstock. Can't wait to try it out!

kate 4 years ago

@chase842 sure!

kerrt 4 years ago

Anyone have info on the buffalo headstock series? I have to '73s with that headstock? They both are unbelievable acoustics. I play live with them all the time.

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Yamaki 4 years ago


Here is a link to some Yamaki catalogs you might be interested in. The Buffalo headstock models are certainly unique and, like all Yamaki guitars, fantastic acoustic guitars.


Can you find a model number on your guitar?

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musichabs 4 years ago

Hi....Can I just ask if anyone has had any experience with the truss rod on a Daion 78 Heritage 12 string? It appears that the end where you would normal insert the hex key is flat. I am wondering if it is broken or if there is another tool to do this adjustment? I have have a terrible buzz on the 9th to 12 fret on the b string. thx,dave

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Kate, here is my email address for pics. chase842@sympatico.ca The other option would be to put some up on a public link (like Picasa or Flickr) and provide the link for everyone to have a look.

Also, do you know anything about how your grandfather acquired the guitar?

kerrt 4 years ago

The model number of one is AY374W

kerrt 4 years ago

the model number on one is AY374W

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arbanjoman 4 years ago

We recently acquired (yesterday) a Yamaki guitar. I have been scouring the internet for information and have been disappointed at the lack of info available. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Here's what I do know about this guitar. I can't find a pic anywhere of this exact design. The headstock has a unique shape....very different from any other Yamakis I have found online. The "stamp" inside the guitar reads "Singing Sound by Yamaki since 1954" and "G40". If G40 is a model number, it's not coming up on any searches. Help please! I would be happy to email pics if that would help. Thank you!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

I'd love to help do some research on your guitar, arbanjoman. I've found models up to G30 on old catalog cuts and believe I can dig a bit deeper. If you can send me a picture of the headstock front, label, bridge, back panel and the headstock rear; I'll get on it.

Send pics to yamaki72@comcast.net

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arbanjoman 4 years ago

Thanks so much, Yamaki. I'll take some pics and email them to you this evening.

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Thanks to Kate for the pics of her A339. It is identical to mine in every detail. That makes exactly 2 of the "A" numbered series that I've ever seen anywhere, and it turns out they were both obtained in Ontario. Kate's A339 is in great condition!

Also, I recently purchased a 12-string (AY476S) and immediately delivered it to a local luthier. There had been some repairs done previously: the headstock had clearly broken right through to the back of the neck; and a crack at the soundhole which made me consider not purchasing. But when I strummed it, I knew I was taking it home. It has the most incredible ringing sustain!!! I was happy to spend less than the asking price, which allowed me to get a professional to ensure it's health. Very happy!!! Can't wait to get it back from him.

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Yamaki 4 years ago


Thanks for the pictures! That is an interesting model. I've found information up to the model G35 so I'm getting close!

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yamakikerry 4 years ago

I have two 1973 buffalo headstock series acoustics. Are they valuable? One is pretty much mint condition the other has some minor cosmetic blemishes. They both play amazing.

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Yamaki 4 years ago


Having some model numbers would certainly help with the value question.

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yamakikerry 4 years ago

The mint one's number is AY374W the number is burned or stamped in the wood, the one I picked up last year has a number on a paper label. It is AY370W.

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eggweed4 4 years ago


I have a Yamaki ay361 6 string acoustic. I have had it a few yrs. Never had a lot of time to learn to play but the first thing I noticed was the incredible sound. When I picked this up 7 yrs ago a quick online search told me I had something nice. I will sell it. I live in Ottawa Ont. If your close and interested yr welcome to see it and play. I will send pictures also if your interested. Don't ask me any real tec questions as I really don't know a great deal about guitars. The guitar to me is in good condition no cracks, few scratches and neck looks straight. When I was keen on learning to play I bought a nice Norman acoustic. It was the best sounding to me in the store at the time for 400 dollars...mistake brought it home and guess which one I always picked up to play...lol Finally I came to the sad realization guitar playing is not for me, no time to learn and keep up with it. I am not desperate to sell but keep asking myself why keep it. Items are only worth what somebody is willing to pay but is the pay worth the parting ....just rambling ..lol

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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario


I live in Ottawa and would love a chance to see this guitar to consider for purchase. Please email me chase842@sympatico.ca

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Yamaki 4 years ago

yamakikerry and eggweed4,

The AY series Yamaki guitars were designated for the Canadian market and were patterned after their Japan-only and other exported A series guitars. An "S" after the AYxxx model number denoted a solid cedar or spruce top. Interestingly, some AY guitars were built with cedar solid or 3-ply tops vs. the traditional spruce. Others used spruce depending on the model. As with the tops, the sides and backs were made with either rosewood or jacaranda wood from South America. Jacaranda trees fall into the same family of trees as rosewood.

Then there are the upper market AY series, such as your AY361, eggweed4. Identified as a "Jumbo Western" (similar to a Gibson J50 series Jumbo) it featured a spruce top with maple back and sides. The guitar in the link below may look familiar to you.



Your AY guitars were also built for the Canadian market. The W designation may denote a spruce top with rosewood, maple or mahogany back and sides.

Unfortunately, any information I could provide beyond that would be pure conjecture on my part. I have not found any specific information on AYxxxW series beyond AY335W. You might take a look at this image http://www.oldguitar.jp/catalog/yamaki/yamakisings... and let me know if any of those look similar to your guitars.

Alternately, you can email me some pictures and I can do some additional research. No guarantees I'll find anything but I'll be glad to dig further.

There HAS to be a box full of original Yamaki plans & specifications squirreled away in someone's office, storage area, old factory backroom or contract assembler's home in Japan that is just waiting to be discovered!!! For now, we just have to go with what we know or can find.


eggweed4 4 years ago

Thank you yamki72.

Have sent you a email with pics. It does look the the Jumbo Western. Feel free to post anything about the pictures. I am sure others would be interested to hear your opinions. I know I am :]


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chase842 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Very happy to report that I am taking possession of a YW-30H (copy of Gibson Hummingbird) as pictured in the YW page of the '80 Japan catalogue. My son was is working in the city that the seller is from, so he was able to assess it for me. Said it was in great shape. Can't wait to hear it!!!

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Yamaki 4 years ago

Congrats!!! Sounds like a great guitar!

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themonsheshe 4 years ago

I own various versions of these guitars. I personally feel like I'm stealing them from people at 3-400$

The main reason behind the diminished price of these, is that Yamaki never really sold much in the US. In fact they are even rare in Eastern Canada. These guitars are easier to find in Vancouver BC. If you are interested in obtaining one check the local craigslist.

They are Martin knockoffs obviously, but I own one that i wouldn't trade for a new martin.

Yamaki 4 years ago

I'm right there with you on that one! Even with the repairs I felt I had stolen the Deluxe Folk I have. I got over it... ;-)

Most AY Series I see for sale are in BC, which is understandable as the AY guitars were developed specifically for the Canadian market and imported into the country on behalf of Yamaki by Great West Imports. I believe, and I'll have to look to be sure, that Great West had offices in Vancouver, BC; Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto.

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chase842 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Hi Folks.

After patiently waiting for my 12 string to be fixed up and set up, I finally got it home this past weekend. I am so happy with this guitar. I've wanted a 12 string for a long time, and this Yamaki AY476S (D35-12 copy with open slotted head) is exactly what I had hoped for! The technician put some D'Addario EJ35 11-47 silk and steel strings on it, and it literally plays like silk! Already put about 6 hours in :-)

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Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

chase842 AWESOME! Got any pictures?

Yamaki 3 years ago

It would be great to see pictures of that instrument!

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chase842 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Here's a link to a couple of pics of the AY476S. Apologies for the grainy quality... only had a phone camera for use. Will put up better pics at a later time.


There is quite a bit of cloudiness in the finish, but the luthier assured me that it's structurally rock solid. The volume and sustain are incredible. Luthier installed a new ebony bridge & bone saddle, and a bridge doctor to correct some belly lift.

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Brice11 3 years ago


My mother in law gave me this guitar its a Yamaki and i am trying to find info on it but its seams to be hard to find. Its in really good sahape and sounds good. i thinks its a 70s model it has an A and F-150 with inside of it. if anyone has any ideas could you please let me know thanks

Yamaki 3 years ago

What you have is an early F-150 Yamaki Jumbo Folk model. This model features a 3-ply spruce top, rosewood back and sides. If the headstock lettering is vertical between the ribs then it was made around 1973. If the lettering is horizontal across the solid headstock then it was made before 1973. I'd be interested to know if it has the words "Deluxe Folk" on the head stock as well.

If you want more detail, you can send me some pictures by email and I'll have a closer look. Give me pics of the label or model branding inside the box, the head stock, the sides and the back. I'll be able to nail it down a bit further for you if you like.

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Brice11 3 years ago

It doesn't say delux folk but I would be more than happy to send out some pics just let me know an email so I can do so. Thanks for your time

Yamaki 3 years ago

Send your pictures to


And I will be glad to take a look.

Wayne 3 years ago

I have a yamaki model YM800 which I brought home from a trip to Japan early 80,s

It is for sure a solid spruce top but unsure Or rosewood back and sides are solid

but the grain does match both sides. Three piece back and Grover tuners

Years ago I sold a marten D28 and kept my yamaki- did like the marten neck better as was ebony and the feel was better but yamaki was superior.in tone.

Yamaki 3 years ago

Nice guitar, Wayne!

Rosewood was a common side and back material for most of the Yamaki line. Some jacaronda showed up on some solid and 3 piece backs as well.

The Grover tuners were a great upgrade and they seem to last forever.

jerry james 3 years ago

i have a daion yamaki electric acoustic the 78 would like to know about it. nice guitar love it.

Yamaki 3 years ago

jerry james,

The Daion/Yamaki 78 was part of their "Year Series" introduced in Japan in the late 70s'. The 78 was the introductory model of the line. There is very little information on this series of guitars except it appears to have been a 2 year series, with the 78 & 79 models built as a jumbo guitar 6 string and a 12 string for each year.

I've only seen pictures of the guitars. They appear to be mahogany with gold toned tuners, simple dot embellishments on the rosewood fretboard and a rosewood Martin style bridge.

I'd love to get some pictures of your guitar including the edge of the wood at the sound hole, the back, the sides and a closeup of the neck & headstock.

If you are so inclined, send some to me at


ps: it appears they retailed for around $400 when new in the late 70's.

John Cage 3 years ago

I just bought a Yamaki Acoustic YW-30. I would like to have some opinions about this model please. Thanks.

Yamaki 3 years ago

Hi, John Cage. What do you need? History, construction materials, other information about the guitar?

Yamaki 3 years ago

John Cage - I did a bit of research into the YW line of guitars and here is what I found. It was introduced in the late 1970's (around 1978 as far as I can tell from the old catalogs) and initially consisted of 8 models - The YW15, YW20, YW25H/R, YW30, YW50, YW30-12 and the YW60-12; with the last two being 12 string guitars sporting an open headstock design.

The YW30 initially sold for 30,000 Yen which translated into around $200 or so US dollars in 1978. No much detail is known about construction material but from the catalog cuts, I suspect yours has a very light color to it, with simple black dots on the fingerboard and a distinctly shaped pick guard that comes to a point, curving back towards the bridge?

I cannot read Japanese but I did find a data sheet that has quite a bit of information on the YW line. I haven't had it translated but please feel free to do so if you are so inclined.

Also, if you would like a more detailed review of your guitar, please send me some pictures! Show me the neck, tuners, headstock, back, sound hole, the edge of the wood at the sound hole, the bridge and the fingerboard. I'd be glad to look them over.

My email address is yamaki72@comcast.net

harryd123 3 years ago

I have one vertical letters on headstock abalone? Can plug into amp where strap attaches. Volume knob on upper left side body above where neck is joined. Only i.d. is 140 in black letters on back inside bracing. Two piece matching back separated by fancy inlay strip. Sweet tone but not very loud, maybe cause the strings are fairly heavy and have not been changed for god knows how long 15 yrs. maybe. Previous owner played it quite a bit in first position. Neck is scalloped from use. 6th and 5th strings a little too close together compared to 1st through 4th. Forgot when I bought it but had to because of the sweet tone even though I was more of an electric than acoustic player. Not super knowledgeable about i.d.ing woods but top has redish cast more than blond. Would that indicate red cedar? Top has several cracks but no bowing and bridge has no separation or distortions. It's one of those guitars that makes you wanna keep picking it up even though my fingers are sore... Any comments on what I have here or ??? Thanx for any info you can provide. Mid 70's? I think I paid about $265 or so.

Yamaki 3 years ago

Based on your description, harryd123, I would hazard a guess that what you have is an F-140 Folk guitar. I'd have to see pictures of the head stock, sound hole, tuners, back and sides of the instrument to be sure.

This model initially appears in the catalogs I have around 1973. It was not amplified originally from the factory from what I can tell but amplification could be added at any time, very easily.

If you would like me to research your instrument a bit more, please send pictures to yamaki72@comcast.net

rd 3 years ago

Kazuyuki Teradaira wanted to make the finest acoustic classical guitar possible. He founded Yamaki to finance that goal. Kazin...his original line...G-Series Classical. Yamaki F-Series....Both lines capable of eclipsing the Yamaha/Taylor/Martin US market. GJ Gould was a fancier of this consortium, from here it's second hand but all the hoopla about lawsuit guitars trying to make a case for this one or that one. Mr Gould and Yamaha must've had an occasion to disagree. He asked 'Kaz'uyuki 'Kazin Classical to build a better Yamaha for import into the US no headstamp and call it the G55

rd 3 years ago

It would also follow that the misnomers Kazin Bros. Made in Israel and other what I believe to be misconceptions about the Kazin/Yamaki joint venture got started. But I could 180 out. Couldn't be coincidental that the contracted word 'Kazin' is Turkish for child. Well we couldn't have that...who wants an axe made in Turkey.....Eugen

g55 #12 3 years ago

If you can find this one in a catalog give me a shout.

Cedar,rosewood,mahogany...no binding in or out...wonder what the bracing looks like. Camp differs on binding...some say strictly aesthetic.

Does favor a Yamma Hamma...


Yamaki 3 years ago

It could be a Concerto 90 with a Gould label but I cannot find anything to show there was ever such a joint venture by the two firms.

rd 3 years ago


'In 1967 Kazuyuki left Zenon to produce classical guitars under the The name Yamaki, an auspicious Japanese word meaning “happy trees on the mountain.”'

'By the early 1970s, Kazuyuki expanded the Yamaki line to include a large number of steel-string guitars, many of which were clearly based upon C.F. Martin and Co.’s designs and these were distributed exclusively through Daion.'

Kazuyuki left Zenon in 1967 to produce classical guitars. Depending on the version of the bros. history you subscribe to dictates what you perceive happened between the time he left and created Yamaki. The ad in the link above coupled with the accepted ''Gould history" lends creedence to support my belief. Kizan was the name Kazuyuki produced classical guitars under from 1967 until he created Yamaki for the US market circa 1970. An advertisement for "Kizan'' after Yamaki was well established would speak volumes. Additionally the G/GC prefix ' grand concert'-series guitars, many classically styled, elude positive id under the Yamaki badge. All the research I've seen including the attached ad indicates a Kizan guitar was.....a G-prefixed classsical. This, based on machine translated copy and not much of it makes it debateable....tell Darryl I said du huh

rd 3 years ago

forgot the most compelling aspect....the comparison of the guitar for sale to the Model G Kizans in the add and the grand concert Yamakis'. No ?

burri 3 years ago

“Kizan” is an export trademark by YAMAKI.

“Kizan” meaning is many mountains.

“YAMAKI” meaning is like a “mountains many”.

I have two Kizan GF240.

One Kizan is stamped as YAMAKI in a sound hole.

My Kizan GF240 is like a YAMAKI AY343S.

It is YAMAKI F-170 equivalency with the domestic product.

Solid Cedar Top with Jacaranda(center mahogany) for Three pieces back.

But one Kizan GF240 looks like plywood Top to me.

These guitars do a good sound of the balance very much.

I want to collect more Kizan GF240.

Please refer to it.

from Japan

uzd 3 years ago

Looking for info on EurAsian imported acoustic guitars paper labeled with Gould/G.J Gould/Gould & Sons/Guitars and Such. Many have ties to Yamaki/Kizan as evidenced on the importers label or branded on a brace. Of particular interest are those branded w/serial # however model # is displayed only on importers label.


oneopinion 3 years ago

Gould G55 was most likely built by GJ Gould and has no import affiliation.

uzd 3 years ago

I've yet to see a Gould label that read manufacturer as opposed to 'designers' of finely handcrafted guitars. They were wholesalers,importers and designers according to their paper.

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Johnpc 3 years ago

Hi guys, just enquiring about my Yamaki. Don't know of any others n no-one I know has heard of them. I bought mine in 1984 from a friend in Kuwait. Still playing it and it sounds great. It's an F-1150 and looks like the one in the great west imports picture with the abalone shell inlay.

Yamaki 3 years ago

Sounds like a great guitar, Johnpc. If you have some questions about your guitar, send me an email and some pictures of the body, neck, label, headstock, back and tuners. I may be able to help.


Bruno 3 years ago

I just bought a Yamaki Bruno model y-30 serial acoustic guitar and I can't find any information about it or that it's mentioned on any site or in any blogs. Does anyone have any information about this?

Slytlyuzd 3 years ago


Are you still interested in a circa 70' classical Yamaki/Kizan?

slytlyuzd 3 years ago

Grande Concert Classical Guitar by Yamaki/Kizan offered for sale. Imported by G.J.Gould, the G-55 was designed and constructed to rival the concert guitars of the 70's. Whether it was George's wizardry or that of the highly respected Kizan GC classical consortium the uniquely braced powerhouse has few peers.

This one is number twelve of.........

The frequency response is amazing across the spectrum. Watch video on You Tube on Torres 'screamer' tops...this unassuming full size cannon retains same ability to generate highs and lows quickly and with power.

jimby65 3 years ago

Hello, I just found a Yamaki Deluxe 12 string guitar on the street today. This lady walked it to the curb with a "free" sign on it and set it against a light post as I was driving by. I stopped and picked it up. It is an AY431 folk model made in 1974 as it says on the paper label inside . Neck seems straight and the bracing is not separated. The body is in really nice condition with no bad scratches on it. One peg is missing and the nut is chipped on the end. Would this guitar be worth fixing up.

Yamaki 3 years ago

The AY series guitars are a cedar 3-ply top (unless the model number is followed by an "S" which denotes a solid top), with rosewood or mahogany back and sides, Grover tuners, rosewood finger board and bridge. These older guitars are well worth the effort to revive and play. I rescued an F-115 Folk that had a cracked bridge and a bowed belly. A local luthier put it right and the sound is fantastic. I'd at least get some quotes on fixing the guitar before you make your decision.

jimby65 3 years ago

Thanks for your input. I am looking for a luthier to have a look at it now. How much would be a good amount to spend on it. This will be my first time getting a guitar restored. What is an AY431 worth theses days anyway?

Yamaki 3 years ago

There is no reliable market for these guitars. It seems you can get up to $400 or more for a good AY series guitar and you will also see the lower F models almost commanding the same price. For free, which is a good price by the way, I'd spend up to $200 or a bit more. You'll still make money on it if you decide to sell it.

jimby65 3 years ago

Don't want to sell it. Just didn't want to put $300 into a $100 guitar. Was quoted $175 to bring it up to snuff. Dude said it was in really good shape and I was lucky to have such a good find. Will post pics when it is sounding good. Thanks again.

David Bentley 3 years ago

I've played my Yamaki since 1977 or 8 all over the world. I see there is a bid of $50 for the one here. If you put two more zero's on you wouldn't buy mine.

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chase842 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario


Been out-of-the-loop for a bit. Just wanted to chime in on the '78 Heritage discussion from several months ago.

I now have one of these. It's beautiful, and the tone is awesome, particular the bass end.

I have the 'AY078S' version, which as you would know, is the version exported to Canada. This guitar features a solid Canadian cedar top with mahogany stain, and mahogony back/sides. It has: rosewood fingerboard & bridge, a brass nut, brass saddle, brass dot inlays in the fingerboard, soft-V neck, maple binding on the body and fingerboard, maple rosette, and carved Daion logo in the headstock with gold plated Yamaki tuners. Very unique and very well made.

dsh 3 years ago

Just bought a yamaki deluxe folk for 160


sm6jesse 3 years ago

Great thread, been searching a long time for this info. thanks!

A few years ago I bought a Yamaki 12 String.

Model number A440S.

Label says "Hand Made YAMAKI"

Has a Date stamp 1971

Headstock is cutout like a classical guitar.

Name is vertical, mother of pearl maybe.

Looks like a truss rod under label "yamaki reinforced neck"

Rosewood back and sides, looks solid, Cedar top or dark spruce?

It has a pickup in it, not through the endpin but at apex of lower curve.

It has some damage by the neck/top

I haven't seen any quite like this one online and was just wondering if anyone has some insight into it?

thanks so much, driving me crazy not knowing!


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Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Jesse, I sure wish I could tell you for sure the back/sides were solid. Somewhere on these comments a man insists that nearly all Yamaki sold in the US were of laminated rosewood back/sides.

Almost certainly the top is cedar. The Yamaki I've got to know has completely changed my opinion as to how a cedar top can sound...as I'm a flatpicker, not much of a fingerpicker.

While I put together "most" of this page, the man who gave me the catalog images continually finds more and more info, and perhaps he'll chime in at some point.

Yamaki 3 years ago

Mr. Shaw, your confidence in me is misguided. ;-)


The "S" designator at the end of your model number does indeed indicate a solid top across the entire AY line. The AY designator identifies the line of Yamaki guitars imported to Canada through Great West Imports Ltd.

However, before I can offer a definitive analysis of the top, back and side materials, I would need some pictures sent to me. My preference would be to receive pictures of:

1. the label and/or any stampings inside the body of the guitar,

2. the headstock,

3. the sound hole (looking at the edge of the material)

4. the neck front, (yes, there is a truss rod behind that plate)

5. the neck back,

6. the back of the body and,

7. the sides of the body.

I'll be glad to give you a definitive evaluation of your guitar. You can send the pictures to:


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Yamaki 3 years ago

My apologies. I'd like to amend my comments above and remove the reference to AY and Great West Imports Ltd. I obviously misread the information, Jesse.

Send me the pictures if you are so inclined and I can fill you in on the details of your A440S

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chase842 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Yamaki & Jesse

The A440S is quite interesting to me since I have a 6-string model A339. It is a cedar solid top (notwithstanding there is no "S" at the end of the model number). These "A" models (not the "AY")are extremely hard to find.

I have a theory that the 'AY' series for Great West Imports is actually a derivative of the 'A' series, and production of the 'A' series pre-dates the 'AY' series. I say theory because in 20+ years of research on Yamaki I can't find a single catalogue picture of an 'A' model, and I've never seen one for sale. I'm thinking that the few 'A' models that exist in North America were likely acquired outside of the continent and relocated here. Or, if they were exported directly to N.A. then it probably pre-dates the GWI contract.

Jesse: I would also be very interested to see the pics of the A440S. (chase842@sympatico.ca)


Bobby 3 years ago


Just want to point out that the picture you have above of the Yamaki Folk Deluxe is my guitar! Not just the same as, but is the actual guitar on my balcony!

I dont mind you using the pic, I was quite surprised to see it though.

I also have a 1974 Yamaki 135, it is a Martin D35 copy. I had it shipped from Japan a couple of years ago. It is an amazing guitar, build quality and sound are fantastic. It is definetly a keeper. Here are a few pic links of it.



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Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Howdy Bobby,

Thanks for being cool about it. Here's the skinny: When I started out here on Hubpages making articles....nobody was expected to credit photos, and ...I honestly had no concept of it being right or wrong. I thought, as did lots of others of us...the web was just wide open.

Obviously, that's bad thinking. If I can do something for you insofar as promotion of a web page goes, or if You would like me to use one of those specific backlinks under the photo as a credit, let me know.

Bobby 3 years ago

Hey no problem, glad you liked and used the pic.



CMK 3 years ago

I have a Yamaki Deluxe six steel string guitar that I am trying to sell as the attorney-in-fact for an elderly gentleman. He bought it new in Canada in the 1970s. It is model 331S. It looks to be in good shape - in a hard case for many years, probably rarely played. What would be a reasonable asking price for it?

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Yamaki 3 years ago

CMK, I'd have to see some pictures of the guitar for an accurate valuation. If you can get some, and would like a simple analysis of the instrument, please email them to me at


Reinat 3 years ago

My guitar looks like thes ones, but it's not a "Zenon", it's a "Zen".

Does anybody knows anything about it?

Randy 3 years ago

Tomorrow I will pick up my 5th Yamaki. Just missed #6 today.

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GMPUG 3 years ago

Hello. Today I purchased an AY431S, for $75CDN. It's a 12 string with horizontal Yamaki on the headstock. The rosewood bridge has lifted and there is 'belly-bulge'. There are also a few cracks in the solid spruce top. The finish has cloudiness. This one has a bone saddle, but a plastic nut. It has mohogany sides and back. Vintage (2x) 6 inline tuners. There are the numbers'120512' stamped inside near the neck truss. The woman I bought it from said she purchased it new in Ottawa Ontario in 1975. She played it for a few months in church youth group when her strap broke, and it crashed to the floor causing the crack in the top. She then put it into the case and never touched it since. It still had the 40yr old factory strings on it! I haven't played it because of the lifted bridge. I will order a bridge doctor and fix it myself, and remedy the bulge. Currently I own a 66-68 Teisco archtop, Epiphone AJ100, Yamaha FG-J, and now my Yamaki AY431S. Depending on what everybody says about Yamaki, I may unload the lot and keep the AY! I did own a Yamaha FG460S-12, and it was always my favourite guitar, so I will compare this Yamaki to my 460-12. I've never met this cloudy finish syndrome before. What promotes the onset of this condition and can it be remedied? I will post a link with photos when I get a chance. Best regards; GMPUG

Yamaki 3 years ago

Congrats on your purchase! The cloudy finish syndrome is just a breakdown of the final top finish to wood bond. It can be remedied by a re-finish. My F-115Y didn't have the finish issue but it did have a cracked bridge and bowed belly. A highly qualified luthier here replaced the bridge and remedied the bulge issue with a little work.

Good luck with yours!

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GMPUG 3 years ago


Did this work? Do you see all 10 photos?


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Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Howdy GMPUG - I clicked your facebook link, and I got "content currently unavailable."

It could be you would need to adjust your privacy settings for that particular photo album, or it could be a simple and common Facebook server error.

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GMPUG 3 years ago

Hello Wesman Todd Shaw. Thanks for helping. Maby this link works.


And the top of the AY431S is solid cedar...not spruce as I had mentioned.

It was manufactured in 1975.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Sure does! Awesome!

steve 3 years ago

guess i'm lucky i got my yamaki six stringer for $200 and helped a guy i played with round up horses for two days. she was made in 1970 it has #140 inside, no label, some friends i play with told me it's worth around $6000, my luthier friend said "ya and a little more". then i picked up a yamaki 12 string on e-bay about 10 years ago for $199, had to send it down to my luthier and have some work done on it so it cost another $280, but well worth it. it was made in 1972. both a very sensitive to any temp or humidity change but they play and sound great. hope some of my grand kids learn to play so they stay in the family.

Leo 3 years ago

I've got a perfect 12 String Yamaki 220S Folk that I bought for my daughter 10 years ago. I just put new Elixer strings on it. I don't play it much so if someone would like it and will use it I'd be glad to deal with you.

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Wesman Todd Shaw 3 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Hey Leo, you should upload some pictures of the thing to photobucket or to a public facebook album and post the links here...that always helps!

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musichabs 3 years ago

Im finally posting about my daion 12 sting..got the bridge reglued and the frets that were lifting set..its my main player now..! I absolutely love it...I am currently eyeballing a Yamaki ay270 ..waiting to hear back from the seller..anyone have any experience with these? thx,dave

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MDales 2 years ago

Hi - I'm from Canada and am going to sell my Yamaki AY 433 12-string guitar. It is pictured on the above old advertisement poster you have posted - and it is 'not' a 433S unfortunately, but it still has in incredible sound.

( funny thing is I remember having a copy of that old poster when I got the guitar new in 1972) If I send you photo's can you advise me on the price I should be asking? Any advice would be appreciated - thanks.

Omar Ortega 2 years ago

Hi man!. I was looking for information about Yamaki. Let me tell one thing... Last Sunday in Peru I was in a place called Plaza 2 de Mayo (Lima) and I found YAMAKI YM400 they was selling it but... they have removed it original finish. It has no damages, Do you know how much will it worth? Is it a tottally wood guitar?. Let me know.

LH 2 years ago

I have a Yamaki, bought at Gene Leis Guitar Studio,Manhattan Beach,CA., back in 1972 or 73. It is in perfect condition, as is the case. I am open to selling.

Jeff M 2 years ago

I'm so glad I found this forum. I've had my Yamaki so long I actually forget how I acquired it! Sometime in the 80s, I think I traded another guitar for it. Anyway, it's a 12 string that to my shame had sat unstringed for quite a while until i decided to finally put strings on it last week. Wow. What a sound. I forgot how much I liked that guitar. The model is AY474S, which i have not seen posted on this forum. Any idea about that model?

NSK 2 years ago

We bought a 12 string 471S Yamaki at a flea market for $120. It was way out of tune but after a tuning it sounds great. Any idea what year it would have been built? What are some good strings to put on it? Thinking of D'Addario. Open to ideas.

JohnM 2 years ago

I have had a Yamaki AY377S since the 70's. ANyone know how this differsm from other AY series Yamakis? Soes anyone know where i can find the serial#?

Jeffrey 2 years ago

Just this past Saturday purchased an AY078s at a garage sale for $10!!! It is in very good condition. A few small dents and scratches, sounds simply amazing! I had no idea what this guitar was, just that it seemed to have a solid top and I was willing to pay $10 for solid top!

It has Yamaki on the back of the headstock and no sticker inside. just the model and serial #231027 Anyone have an idea what year this would be?

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chase842 2 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario


It's possible you have a guitar made by Yamaki for DAION as part of the "Year" series. There were 2 models representing 1978: "The 78(C)" (C=Century) and "The 78(H)" (H=Heritage). These were exported to North America as "AY078" models. Check the catalogue page at this link to see if yours looks like either "The 78(C)" or "The 78(H)".


I acquired a AY078S (Heritage) a year ago. (In the "AY" model #s, the "S" indicates that it has a solid top.) It is beautiful to hear and see. Stunning solid maple binding on body, neck, and rosette. Brass (yes, brass) nut, saddle and dot inlays. The tone is incredible. Best bass response in any guitar I've played or heard. A real collectible!

Abdulla 2 years ago

Hi everyone.. I own a Yamaki Model No. AY232 which I haven't seen anyone mention nor talk about. It looks like a Martin D-18.. it's a beautiful and amazing sounding guitar.. Honestly I've played on pretty much every expensive guitar you'd think of.. But this yamaki is unbelievablely comfortable.. Best guitar I've played on with the pick N' flick technique.. Played on the John Mayer OM Martins.. It's as good but old I swear.. I need more information about the guitar because I couldn't find anything about it online. There is a number on the sticker insid the guitar right above the model number of the guitar which is"00694060" . Any info would be truly appreciated.

Omar 2 years ago

Please let me know if someone has information about the YM400 is solid top or completely solid and how much does is worth now. Or just information about the YM series. Thanks a lot.

johnnyt11 22 months ago

Hi there, I have a Yamaki guitar and am trying to find out more about it. It is a Joodie (6 string) and is a lovely looking instrument with a gorgeous tone. The frets are decorated with six Mother of Pearl inlays as is the outside edge of the body and inner rim. The model number is YW40M and was made in Japan by The Yamaki Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. Can you tell me more regarding age, value etc?

nixkotzen 22 months ago

Hi there. Please someone let me know more about my yamaki yw-20. I'm really curious about it. It really sounds great! Can you tell me more about its age, how much it worth right now. Thanks

ManyGuitars 22 months ago


I have taken on "Yamakis" as a bit of a hobby. And am interested in

unravelling all their little mysteries. Anyone else that is interested,

please respond. For example: What does the Deluxe designation really

actually mean, if anything? Also, can anyone teach me/us how to know

for sure if the top is a laminate or a solid?

thanks in advance...

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chase842 22 months ago from Ottawa, Ontario

There no definitive answer for knowing if a Yamaki has a solid top, except if the model # starts with 'AY'. Any 'AY' model that ends with 'S' (e.g. AY476S) is a solid top. The 'AY' models were imported to North America by a now defunct import company called 'Great West Imports'. In fact, any AY model that ends with 'S' is often solid Canadian Cedar.

But there were many models of Yamaki that never made it to N.A. Other distribution companies had exclusive distribution rights to other areas of the globe. Daion Co Ltd was the domestric distributor (they of course also had Yamaki make many guitar models as Daion). Great Music Co. Ltd held distribution rights to many other areas including Europe.

I've researched Yamaki guitars for 20 years (basically ever since the internet became public). The best way to determine whether the top is solid is by examing all the old catalogues that are posted on the net. There are many of them. This link will give you a few:


In many cases the text on the pages of these catalogues is Japanese, so that is still problematic for most. Rule of thumb: if there isn't an explicit reference to "solid" then it probably isn't. Another clue would be the relative price of the product line. All the higher end models are solid top. At the highest end of the product lines, often the models are solid top & body. Very difficult to find any of those in North America.

David. 21 months ago

I have a Yamaki AY 337 S. I do not play it but bought it from a customer at her garage sale. It is in phenominal shape and always wondered how much it was worth. I had a guitar player tune it and it sounds great!!

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ManyGuitars 21 months ago


Thank you for your input. Basically, like you, I have been relying on

those old catalogue pages as well. Plus the "S" suffix on the AY models.

But there are other non-Ay models out there. so I am hoping someday

to have someone teach me a different method. Anyone out there

knowledgeable on this topic?



If you have been researching for 20yrs you will be a valuable

source of info for all of us "newbies". I've been researching Yamakis

for about 2 yrs. A typical story whereby a friend of mine had one that

had a surprisely good sound and volume, relative to the market value.

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chase842 21 months ago from Ottawa, Ontario


Always glad to talk "Yamaki".

Yes there are many different models prefixed by many different letters, but anything other than an "AY" in North America is rare. Those would likely have been brought across the pond (from Europe or Pacific rim). This is directly linked to specific companies having distribution rights for those areas. One could basically say that "AY" means "built for shipment to North America". If you see a non "AY" model for sale on eBay, most often the seller is in Japan.

I own a Yamaki model A339 (not AY) that is also solid Cedar top with 2-ply rosewood back & sides. I bought it second-hand from a guy in Toronto in 1985. A real D28 knock-off if ever there was. In my years of research I have only ever come across 1 other of the same, and that was a result of this blog. A woman very near to my location has one in even better condition than mine. I cannot say for certain, but I am of the opinion that both hers and my A339 were brought here as samplers to promote the Yamaki name in N.A. before the "AY" production began. In all the catalogues that I've combed through, there just isn't an "A" model anywhere.

The reality of Yamaki quality (relative to price-point) is actually indicative of a more widespread reality of the era in which they were produced. Japanese luthiers typically were generational, having been exposed to their elder wood craftsmen through the decades. Earlier generations were extremely skilled producers of violins, and when the acoustic guitar acquired wider popularity in the 50s & 60s, younger craftsmen began focusing on guitar production. The master skills coupled with a cultural attention to detail and quality that Japan was renowned for in the 60s to 80s, has led to this upsurge in interest about Japanese produced guitars from that era. Unfortunately, the business model was not sustainable vs mass production combined with cheaper labour costs out of China.

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ManyGuitars 21 months ago

Hi Chase;

I have read somewhere that the "A Series" preceeded the AY

series. Now I don't recall if that was considered a fact or a theory.

If the importers had other brands to catalogue, it might make sense

to add the "Y" to simply indicate Yamaki.

I know of one fellow with an A333.

Your A339 is especially interesting/puzzling because there actually

is an AY339S listed in the catalogue.

And what is even more interesting is that the one in the catalogue

looks like another Yamaki that I have. It is a 315. (ie. same head stock

script AND the same pearlshell fretboard mosaics; and the same

pattern (ie. nothing in the 1st fret).

Bizarre, isn't it? These are the types of things that make

Yamaki so intriguing.


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ManyGuitars 21 months ago


re: price

Generally speaking your guitar should be an above average

Yamaki, depending on the condition. There are basically two factors

for "condition": a) the obvious scratched, gouges, cracks, clouding,

etc and b) the less obvious twisted/bent/bowed neck or top; plus

the wear on the actual frets (usually in the first five frets).

An average price would be $300, adjusted accordingly to a)

and b) above. so...a range of between $100 and $400. But

the $400 would only be for perfect shape and of special interest

to a particular buyer. Most often $350 is the max .

Hope that helps.

Anyone out there that has a different experience is more than

welcome to supplement this "analysis".

Are you in the U.S. or Canada? That can make a difference also

as either way it usually narrows your "customer" field.



Paul 21 months ago

I'm working on a Seismic Vessel and I found a Yamaki Acoustic 6 string down stairs, not sure what type, I have the number from the inside XW30M then underneath it has 140202, it is a beautiful playing guitar, I wonder how much it would cost to buy one for myself?

Paul 21 months ago

Sorry, after looking at it again the serial number is YW30M

gbt 20 months ago

I recently inherited my father's AY-379s. It seems (to me, at least) to have developed a richer sound over the years. I believe he bought it in the mid 70's. There was a music store in a small town west of Ottawa, Ontario which sold a lot of them. He would take this instrument to parties and jam sessions and trade it around with other pickers. He said he played a lot of Martins at those gatherings and he, as well as many of the Martin owners, found the Yamaki to be every bit as good. I used to have a similar Yamaki, a somewhat lesser model, which was destroyed in an accident... I still have the parts, and a skilled luthier might be able to do something with it. By coincidence, my son had an old Yamaki, one of the ones with the funny looking head, given to him by a friend who said she never played anymore. It's in pretty nice playable condition as well.

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ManyGuitars 20 months ago


Your AY379S is probably a decent guitar.

Here's something of interest for "yamaki afficiandos":

After a recent acquisition I now have two versions of the 335,

one is a solid top and the other a Deluxe (ie. laminate).

Note: after a few years of researching Yamaki I have concluded

that "Deluxe" simply means that the guitar has a high quality laminate

top. If anyone has evidence to the contrary please let me know.

I have yet to figure out what "Custom" implies.

jarrod 19 months ago

Tom 19 months ago

I just received a 12 string deluxe Yamaki folk deluxe 1972, model number w 128 or 6? I can't find it in the catalog here and there are no other numbers inside. Can anybody shed some light on this model?

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chase842 19 months ago from Ottawa, Ontario


I went through all the catalogue pages I have. Only saw 2 references to 'W' models. One was a maple version so I don't think it applies here. Is your guitar anything like the W120 in this link, notwithstanding 6 string?


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ManyGuitars 19 months ago


Before I put my two-bits worth in, let me make it clear that I am not

an expert. But I have taken up Yamakis as a hobby, as mentioned in a

previous note.

Having said that, yes, I am familiar with the W series. In fact I

have one currently. It is a W 115 deluxe.

Your guitar is of interest (But, then again, I am a bit of an addict

so they are all of interest). I will check my notes to see if I can find

any reference to it but off the top of my head I'm guessing it has a

zero fret, a laminate top and a mahogany back.

Basically a higher-end lower-end guitar (if that makes sense).

Plus, now that I think of it, I am going to bet that the second

digit (ie. the 2) indicates it's a twelve string. In the higher models

the first digit indicates a 12 string (ie. 4xx)

So, thank you for posting. We may have learned something today.

I am going to go out on a limb and say your guitar is uncommon.

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ManyGuitars 19 months ago


oops...I better wake up.

the photos that Chase gave up disproves the second digit theory.

sorry about that..

Tom 19 months ago

Thank you for the replies! Mine does have a 0 fret and it is Indian rosewood back and sides. The back is interesting in that it is book matched but does not have the usual strip down the center on the back as most of the models do in the catalog reference above. It is supposed to be a 1972 model. Other than the bridge problem and top bow and concave it is a pretty solid guitar. The neck is straight and the strings are about an eighth of an inch at the 12 th fret so it is easy to play and it does have a very nice characteristic sound. I am anxious to get new strings on it to see how it really sounds. If I knew how to post picks I would. All in all I'm happy with it for $160 plus reasonable shipping.

Tom 19 months ago

I installed a JLD bridge doctor to help stabilize the bridge and to help straighten out the top then I put a new set of Elixir polyweb 10-47 strings on and tuned to D. Wow what a nice sounding guitar, I really like the sound and it is easy to play, easier than the Takamine F400s I bought recently. I am beginning to see why you people like the Yamaki guitars!

I'm hooked, I guess I'll be on the lookout for another in nicer shape maybe?

Tom 18 months ago

I guess this site isn't very active or did I offend anyone? I will be posting

on my you tube channel what this guitar sounds and looks like soon plus other 12 string guitars.


Tom 18 months ago

I apologize for being out of practice badly and for my lack of creativity but you want to hear the above guitar. Go here


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ManyGuitars 12 months ago

Hi All;

I'm still on a mission to try to figure out what the heck "Deluxe"

actually means.

And, now a new mission....I have stumbled across some Yamakis

that have the letter "B" as a suffix.

Anyone know the meaning of that?

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chase842 12 months ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Check out this old catalogue page...


The Buffalo series was also prefixed as "YB", like this...


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 12 months ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks for the links, Chase!

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ManyGuitars 12 months ago

Thanks Chase;

The B 30 was, in fact one of the ones I saw.

But I have also seen a couple of AY's listed with a

"B" suffix. It would be tempting to jump to the conclusion

that this might be a "B grade" guitar, but I think that

would be a foolish jump to take.


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chase842 12 months ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Here’s a few additional catalogue pages that illustrate some “AY” models the are suffixed with “B” and "D" and "H" and "T". These are Daion branded guitars that were built by Yamaki. I don’t see anything obvious in the specification sheet that would imply “B”. One thing is for sure… it does not imply lesser quality.




I own an AY078H which is shown in the 2nd link. I wrote about it in an earlier post in this blog.

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 12 months ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

That's some good stuff!

It is plain to me that some of you folks have superior skills to me in searching the web. I need to up my search game for sure. Thanks again.

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ManyGuitars 12 months ago


Thanks again. Is that your Heritage that is listed on kijiji? Just

curious. For no good reason, other than simplification, I've chosen

to stick with the original Yamakis and not venture into the Daions and


Anne A 12 months ago

guys and gals , if you are on facebook , we have started a new group " daions online " you are welcome to join and speak in an open chat forum with michael c who started daions online webpage some 15+ years ago he brings a wealth of knowleedge ... michael B who for the last year or more has been logging daion and yamaki ( inc Washburn made by yamaki ) and creating a spreadsheet which is avaliable to view .... but most importantly michael is in direct contact and conversation with the founder of yamaki's son Hiro who was daions head designer ...

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ManyGuitars 10 months ago

Regarding suffixes:

Since last posting I have come across Yamakis (as opposed to Daion)

with "A" , "B" and "L" suffixes.

It turns out that the "L" was a "lefty".

I still don't know what the "A" and "B" mean. There are some obvious

guesses one could make but anyone could do that.

Also, despite having now owned close to 20 Yamakis, I still don't

really know for sure what Deluxe means. Everytime I think I have

it figured out, I come across a counter-example. One thing I am

fairly certain of, though, is that the Deluxes were made during the

second "group/generation" (chronologically speaking).

Topic change: Don't "write off" the laminates. Some of them can

be unexpectedly good.

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musichabs 10 months ago

I just bought a Yamaki AY331 B series Deluxe Folk guitar for $50.00 with case..I love it ! it sounds awesome with nice low action..its my main player now..i have been lucky with my Daion 78 heritage costing only $35.00 ..i had to put $100.00 into it to get it up to snuff but it plays and sounds amazing as well...apparently there are deals to be had...patience is all you need..and a little luck! ps..the Daoins site on facebook has a number of knowledgeable and interesting people with a bevy of fascinating instruments made by Yamaki and Daion!

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ManyGuitars 8 months ago

re: musichabs

Not sure where you live or hang out but Yamaki have become wellknown

now as a "diamond in the rough" in my area. They sell fast and

never for "peanuts". The lowest you would ever see one go for is

$200 and at that price there will be something wrong with them.

What I would like to see on this webpage is some comments from

people who own both Yamakis and vintage Martins (even recent

Martins or Taylors) and how they compare.

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musichabs 8 months ago

I live in Alberta Canada...most of the Yamakis i see go for around $300.00..I think the people i got the deals from are not players and just wanted to get rid of them..The Daion was in pretty rough shape with no case..The AY331 has a crack on the lower side that doesnt affect the sound as far as i can tell....I love them both and they are my main players..!

Mr. Mole 8 months ago

Just found an AY372S in a pawn shop on Vancouver island, for a friend of mine.I am a lefty, if anyone wants to sell a lefty Yamaki, let me know.

I paid $251 , reduced from $300 because of fathers day...got original case and a free set of strings.

An odd thing i noticed, i couldn't sing / excite a single resonant frequency out of the sound hole. It's an INCREDABLY even toned instrument, early no paper label, with super action, perfect evenly spaced grain on the top, at least 80 year old wood, cedar, perfect frets, fingerboard, low action, and just a stellar player.

I have,a very high end luthier friend, will check on the brazilian rosewood back thing and post the results....looks like the back AND sides are bookmatched from one original piece..never seen that. The grain mirrors from the center line and wraps around the sides. It looks like a pretty early one.

Very happy.

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musichabs 8 months ago

nice Mr. Mole..they are a steal sometimes!!

Haiden S. 8 months ago

I recently got a really beat up yakami w-15. The neck and fretboard was split near the body and the body itself is in cosmetic ruin. Could you perhaps yell me anything you know about a w-15 and if it would be worth it to refinish it?

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SJeastwood 6 months ago


I have a Yamaki AY374W / 221010

I am just starting my research and have been reading all your comments.

What does the W mean

It belonged to my late hubby. He just loved it!!!!

Any info would be welcomed.

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ManyGuitars 5 months ago

re: "W"

I once had a W 115.

It was a nice guitar. laminated spruce top and mahogany I


Some older Yamaki guitars were labelled "Folk Guitars".

Some of these were solid top and some were laminates.

At the same time there were some labelled "Western".

I believe I read somewhere that the Westerns were said to

be laminates designed for a louder sound.

Now there may be a correlation between Western and "W"

but I do not know that for a fact. That is the thing with

Yamaki. You rarely know for sure. It's all part of the


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chase842 5 months ago from Ottawa, Ontario

Re: AY374W

If you can post a picture that would help to reveal some clues around this. The "AY" at the beginning of the model # implies that the product was built for export to North America (probably Canada). The catalogue page below (see link)would suggest that yours is a higher end Buffalo series (but that is assumption without actually seeing the style of the guitar). Model numbers in the Yamaki line are consistently higher for higher-end builds within the same style. Notwithstanding that it might be a laminate top, your model # suggests a higher quality than average. Possibly reflected in quality of materials and adornments.


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ManyGuitars 5 months ago

Bang on there Chase.

The "W" preceded this Buffalo series but I think you are

totally right that her guitar is likely a Buffalo head with

a laminated top, such that the laminate is targeting

a "country sound" (at least as they perceive it) and

that would be what they are calling a "harder"

sound. Also, the coincidence between the previously

used term "Western guitar" and "a country sound"

shouldn't be overlooked.

If you can find my email address drop my a line

sometime. I am always adding new Yamakis to my

stable...most recently a 303 which I am still


Glen 5 months ago

I have a yamaki F115 mint condition sounds like a dream

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Techtalktoll 5 months ago

Just obtained an ay333b with a solid spruce top that is paper thin - very little scratching on the pick guard so it has little use. I was surprised that there was very little bellying and fret wear. The sound is amazing. The back is Rosewood three layer laminate. Not sure what the middle layer is but an acoustic pickup was installed so I know the middle is a light colour. The 333s models appear to have a truss rod with adjustment at the tuner heads. This one is in the body. I am wondering if the b at the end stands for bone saddle and nut as these look original except for under saddle pickup rework.

kilshark 4 months ago

Back in 2001 I was in Vancouver and visited a Pawn Shop and bought a Yamaki 12 String AY 470S. It appears to be a solid cedar top with rosewood sides and back. It is in excellent condition and came with its original wood hard shell case. I paid $300.00 for it back then because it had a very rich full sound. That is all I know about it and can find no other information on this model.

Deb 4 months ago

Back in 2001 I was in Vancouver and visited a Pawn Shop and bought a Yamaki 12 String AY 470S. It appears to be a solid cedar top with rosewood sides and back. It is in excellent condition and came with its original wood hard shell case. I paid $300.00 for it back then because it had a very rich full sound. That is all I know about it and can find no other information on this model.

toomanyguitars 4 months ago

I would be curious to know if your AY470S has a soft V

neck. It's a theory I'm working on.

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kilshark 4 months ago from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

What is a soft V neck?

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kilshark 4 months ago from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

I looked up what a V neck is and compared it to all the other styles. I am not an expert but I do believe it is a soft V neck.

toomanyguitars 4 months ago

Yes, thought so. I have 3 guitars from the 70 series, and

all have that feature.

Also....to techtalk

a solid top spruce Yamaki is quite rare.

Maybe the B indicates simply that there is something

unusual about the guitar..

Randy 8 weeks ago

I now have 15 Yamaki guitars. 4 of them are 12 strings, one lefty and one Buffalo. I played a Daion once and I would love to own one. They really ring!

toomanyguitars 8 weeks ago


Just curious. What are your two favorites?

Randy 7 weeks ago


I have:



AY386 Buffalo headstock




AY333 L




Deluxe (faded model number)

AY472 12 string

Deluxe 12 string(faded model number)

Deluxe 12 srting(faded model number)

AY470S 12 string - has both Yamaki name and Daion symbol on the soundhole sticker.

I usually play the AY331B but I also like the AY333. The 12 strings sound amazing too.

TooManyGuitars 7 weeks ago

Thanks Randy;

I can relate to pretty much all of your guitars except

for maybe the 386. I had a 384 once that was the

Hummingbird copy.

I had a 331B that I sold and never could figure out for

sure what the "B" stood for.

And, like you, I have a AY333S that is a longterm

keeper as well as an AY331S that is pretty beat up

but also a longterm keeper. And I agree about the

12 strings also. I have big hands so I play them

as 6 strings. And, yes, nothing more frustrating

than having a Yamaki with a faded or missing


Randy 7 weeks ago

Yes, it can be frustrating to not know the model, but at the end of the day if it sounds good, I don't really care. I will just enjoy playing them.

S Padgett 10 days ago

Fascinating reading all this about Yamaki guitars. I recently found one sort of hiding in a small 2nd hand music shop. Even though it was in the furthest and darkest place to even get to it, had no price and could see nothing on it to indicate what make it was, it stood very clearly out amongst all the other guitars in the shop. I had a look, saw the quality had a play that absolutely bowled me over, I knew it was a gem straightaway. Unique too. The guy in the shop told me it was a Yamaha, on closer inspection I discovered a faint Yamaki sign and the words Singing Sound By Yamaki Since 1954. Inside it is stamped W 300. I put a deposit on it, and after reading all this I'm off back to collect it sooner rather than later! Great price yet again. £200

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