It is hard to find an acoustic guitar that sounds pleasing to your ears, is made from high-quality materials, and provides a perfect balance of dependability and performance irrespective of whether you are a beginner or a seasoned guitarist. The cost is another factor you would like to consider before making your purchase.
So, I decided to find as much information as possible about the popular guitars so that making a choice becomes easier. I was particularly impressed with the Yamaha APX500III DSR Thinline Acoustic-Electric Cutaway Guitar, initially because of the claims the manufacturers made and later when I actually experienced its sound, and feel and had a chance to assess its quality. Here is a brief introduction about the product:
Yamaha APX500III Review – The Ultimate Buying Guide Experience
Being a product from one of the best-selling manufacturers of guitars, Yamaha, this one surely grabs the attention. It is touted to be one of the world’s most popular acoustic electric guitar. It is a part of the 500-series Yamaha guitar that embodies the real spirit of music and offers the perfect balance of value, performance, and dependability.
Manufactured in China, this new APX500III model features the all-new pickup systems along with upgraded cosmetics and a powerful, dynamic tone, which combine an on-stage attitude and performance with refined looks.
The thin-line body of this APX series of Yamaha guitar encloses a host of features including easy top-fret access, and an incredible comfort. The sound is suited for your on-stage performance with bright, and clear mid, balanced highs as well as controlled lows. It has a well-designed X-type, non-scalloped bracing, which allows you to sing and maximize the resonance for a full, natural tone.
Features of Yamaha APX500III Acoustic-Electric Cutaway Guitar:
- Body Depth and Bracing Pattern: The first impression
This dusk sun red electric steel-string guitar features a thin-line, cutaway body that can provide a great comfort, even if you are a beginner. I loved its rockstar-like finish. I am sure you can use it for a variety of musical performances and styles as well as to feel lost in the beauty of its sounds during a lonely serene evening.
Another feature I really liked about this guitar is its piezo pickup, and 3-band EQ. It also has a built-in chromatic tuner. When I played my first tune on this guitar, I could feel the pleasing sounds that I would describe as bright, with perfect clarity at each note.
It has clear mids, balanced highs, and surprisingly, even the lows are well-controlled.
- System 66 Electric System
This guitar has the System 66 feature, an under-saddle piezo pickup that is developed and manufactured by Yamaha. I found the controls to be quite comfortable. The controls include an adjustable mid-range control for frequency, a 3-band equalizer, and a perfect precision chromatic tuner that allows for optimum sound tailoring.
- APX Soundhole
I prefer an oval-shaped APX Soundhole for my guitar. So, I would give one extra thumbs-up to this guitar as it does have the shape I was looking for.
This instantly recognizable APX soundhole is an important feature for me because it thickens the lower-mid response and ensures a more strident, and open low end. I am sure most of you would agree with me on this point.
- Yamaha APX500III: The Color
Yamaha APX500III DSR Thinline Acoustic-Electric Cutaway Guitar is manufactured in several colors including dusk sun red, black, natural, vintage sunburst, and oriental blue burst.
All these colors are simply great. I would say it was good thinking on the part of Yamaha as each color is suitable for a different purpose. I naturally opted for dust sun red because I wanted a rockstar feeling when I played my favorite tunes.
My second option was oriental blue burst for the same reason. This vibrant color catches your attention almost immediately.
- Yamaha APX500III: The Price
I think, for a guitar that has all these features combined in one, a price of about $300 is justifiable.
It provides excellent value for money considering the sounds it produces. Its longevity and the limited lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer for the back, neck, top and sides are also the features that make this guitar a rightly priced one.
If you desire, you can opt for drops and spills warranty for 3 or 4 years for an added cost.
Yamaha APX500III’s Specifications:
- Brand: Yamaha
- Preamp EQ: 3-band
- Configuration: Undersaddle piezo
- Feedback filter: No
- Tuner: Yes
- Headstock overlay: Rosewood
- Tuning machines: Die-cast
- Saddle and nut: Other
- Bridge: Rosewood
- Strings: 6-string
- Case: Sold separately
- Special features: Thinline body
- Accessories: None
- Country of origin: China
- Color: Dusk Sun Red
- Item Weight: 6.8 pounds
- Product Dimension: 43.1 x 20.4 x 4.9 inches
- Cutaway: Single cutaway
- Wood on the top: Spruce
- Bracing pattern: X-type, non-scalloped
- Body finish: Gloss
- Back & sides: Nato/okume
- Orientation: Right-handed
- Nut width: 1.69″ (43mm)
- Neck wood: Nato
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Scale length: 25.6″
- Number of frets: 22
- Neck finish: Gloss
- Preamp/Pickup: Yes
I am neither a beginner nor a seasoned guitarist. I would say I am somewhere in between. I began playing a guitar three years back. But, I am yet to find the right strings that will make me a perfect guitarist. I am yet to reach that state where I can simply close my eyes and play my guitar feeling lost in the sounds.
I still struggle to find the right tone. I have to concentrate on the playing part entirely and cannot do it as naturally or as a reflex action as we see the experts doing.
I long to reach that state. So, when I started looking for the best guitar, I knew exactly what I wanted. I have been a beginner not too long ago.
So, I understand the struggle of a beginner in understanding how a guitar works. I also know what could help me perform better and learn it faster. So, I was looking for a mix of features that suited a beginner as well as an expert.
The best way was to decide it for me by laying my hands on this guitar. Let me share my experience with this guitar and what I felt were its plus points and minus points:
Yamaha APX500III: For the beginners?
The beginner within me says that using this guitar is dependent on your level of interest or on whether you want to play it in a recording or a performance situation.
This acoustic-electric comes with everything you would need to plug it into a sound system and controls the sound well. So, I would say it’s a great option for the beginners as well as experts. You can use it for a bedroom practice or even for a small venue performance.
Body and finish
Like most other Yamahas, this one too looks rock solid. Nice finish, no cracks, clean molding. The only thing I did not like about the body is it’s all plywood.
One more interesting point is this solid player features an on-board tuner, a scale length of 25 inches, and 3-band EQ. It also has nato wood sides and backs and spruce top.
Though this is not something that decides your choice, I thought it would help in making your selection when you have already short-listed a few and want to fine tune your choice.
Comfort and ease of use
This APX guitar is really comfortable to use especially when you’re playing it plugged in while singing. If this is something you’re planning to do in the near future, just go with this guitar. Compared to the other thin-body APX, it sounds better when unamplified.
Another feature that makes this a perfect guitar for me is it’s suitable even for those with smaller hands. I even found some reviews from the people who have used this guitar and even they had a positive experience to share about this unique feature. My smaller hands and a tiny belly bulge does not come in the way of playing this guitar.
There’s something unique about its shape that makes it easily playable.
I liked the sounds this guitar produces; it is clear, consistent, and remarkable for a guitar priced low. I had a little problem with the tone initially. I preferred it for fingerpicking over strumming.
After some experimenting, I was able to find a close-to-natural sound by setting both the amp and the guitar tone knobs to nearly identical positions. I suppose it will hold its own well in a professional setting with a good amp.
Yamaha APX500III Review – What I like and what I dislike
What I like
- Fun to play: I really enjoyed playing this guitar. Once I got over the problem with tuning, it was really smooth sailing.
- Good feel: Though I didn’t like the top much, the overall feel of the guitar is good. I like to hold it in my hands; it fits perfectly as if made just for me.
- Rich sound: the sounds feel very good. Even some of my friends, who are not much into music, loved it.
- Neck and onboard electronics: I loved its satin neck and the onboard electronics with tuner.
What I dislike
- Bridge: I was not happy with the bridge. The action was too high and I had to replace the bridge.
- Wooden top: I wish Yamaha had been more thoughtful about this. I didn’t particularly like its wooden top. These days most guitarist prefer a solid top and I expected Yamaha to understand this expectation.
- Initial problem with toning: as told earlier, I had to struggle initially with the toning. It does require a bit of adjustment.
Yamaha APX500III: Editor’s Rating Card:
Yamaha APX500III Review
- Body and Neck - 8.5/10 8.5/10
- Hardware - 8.5/10 8.5/10
- Sound - 9/10 9/10
- Value - 9/10 9/10
With such dynamics, different sensitivity and perfect sound clarity built into the design, you can just not underestimate the mesmerizing power of this beautiful guitar. Overall a fun, and great sounding guitar that is worth having.
It has most features that a beginner, as well as a seasoned player, would looking for. But, it is better suited for a beginner considering the ease of use it provides.