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Yamaha FG-110

Postby OneWorld » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:56 pm

Is there any difference between the Yamaha FG-110 'Red Label' and FG-110 not red label?

I have been offered one of these guitars quite cheap, being sold as a vintage guitar. The action on it is brill, the sound is fine and is a very lightweight body.

But then I went on t'internet and all the praise seems to be for the 'Red Label' model and prices range from £50.00 to over £300.00 despite the new price being $99.00 - back in the 70's

Any experiences of these guitars.
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Re: Yamaha FG-110

Postby Rob Kirkwood » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:22 pm

Can't answer your question specifically, because I'd never heard of a Yamaha FG-110 until now!

However, I do own a 'red label' Yamaha FG-180, which I bought used in about 1972 for £35, & I've also subsequently played a more recent cream label FG-180.

2 guitars is hardly a representative sample, but I preferred my own red label - it sounded fuller & was more responsive (don't know how better to describe it). But this could well be affected by the age of the guitars (mine is probably 50 years old now & has aged into a very nice guitar; the cream label was much more recent), & also the fact that my red label is set up the way I like it - plus my own red label has been with me for a long time, through thick & thin, so there is a huge emotional attachment to it which far exceeds it's financial value. I was offered £300 for my FG-180 back in 1999 but refused - can't see me ever selling it because it's impossible to replace.

The cream label was still a good, competent guitar - I just preferred my own red label one.

For me, if the guitar plays well, sounds good & has a great price I'd buy it - to play - rather than fretting (hah) about whether or not it had the right label.

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Re: Yamaha FG-110

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:17 pm

Rob Kirkwood wrote:For me, if the guitar plays well, sounds good & has a great price I'd buy it - to play - rather than fretting (hah) about whether or not it had the right label.


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Re: Yamaha FG-110

Postby Wonks » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:56 pm

Here's a website that gives the sequence of Yamaha acoustic guitar label colours :

As you can see, the main difference is that Yamaha moved the FG construction from Japan to Taiwan some time in 1972. So the most expensive FGs will be Red (or Japan market white) label FGs made before the move to Taiwan with Nippon Gakki on the label.

From experience of Fender Squier models, It normally takes a couple of years for the quality to settle down to a previous level after a factory location move, so I'd expect some of those first Taiwan Red Label FGs won't be particularly special when compared to the Japan-made versions (so unless you have the opportunity of actually playing a prospective guitar, you need to look at more than the label colour).

I've no direct experience that I can remember of red label FGs, though I've undoubtedly played some in the distant past when they were 8-10 years old and owned by older friends. I have owned an 80's orange label Yamaha FG-375S with a solid top which was nice but not outstanding.

As Rob says, if you like the sound and feel, then I'd get it. The FG-110 was one step up from the base F-75 model, which would have been a similar construction but had a slightly smaller, more classical guitar shaped, body. Not sure when the FG-110 was introduced but it's certainly in the 1971 catalogue.

For 70s and 80s guitars you will normally be paying more than they cost originally, just because they are old and are now relatively rare. If the FG-110 sounds good, It doesn't matter that it's all-laminated construction. It's now unlikely to lose value, and so can only stay the same or rise in worth. If it's pristine, and a proper collector's piece, then it will be worth paying around the upper limit. If its quite knocked about but playing is unaffected, then obviously it's worth a lot less. If it needs a neck reset because the whole guitar has shifted out of whack with time, then it's practically worthless (though one of the higher range models could be a bargain if you have enough skills to do it yourself).
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