If you’re looking for a good entry-level acoustic-electric guitar that balances a great sound with a reasonable price tag, this thinline cutaway acoustic by Yamaha is worth a look.
The Yamaha APX Family
Yamaha’s APX line of guitars includes the 500, 700, 900 and 1200. These guitars have thin-bodies with slim necks that many beginner players really enjoy.
Each guitar in the lineup includes Yamaha’s A.R.T. pickup system (which stands for “Acoustic Resonance Transducer”) and is designed to make the most of dynamic changes in playing such as going from fingerpicking to strumming. Finally, each guitar includes onboard electronics that range from a simple volume + EQ to some having a digital tuner.
Review 0f the Yamaha APX500II
Although the APX lineup offers some great options, the 500II is one of the best guitars for beginners learning to play. It has an affordable price, offers great playability and has the electric option that many players expect.
The APX500II was designed to be plugged in, and when heard through a properly set up sound system the guitar shines. Individual notes seems to ring clear and the full-body sound of a strum rings with great tone and color.
Even unplugged it sounds worlds better than many cheap beginner guitars, but the smaller, thin body doesn’t offer the same “wow” factor when played acoustically. The designers specifically created the bracing to promote the A.R.T. pickup system and unfortunately the acoustic sound suffers slightly. Additionally, the spruce top and Nato back/sides are all laminate wood, which detracts slightly from the acoustic sound.
Regardless, most beginner guitarists won’t even be able to tell the difference.
One of the most liked features of the APX500II is the slim neck is that it allows the hand to wrap around and attack the strings with more ease.
Younger players prefer the smaller body since it doesn’t make them feel dwarfed. In fact, many people comment that it feels more like playing an electric guitar than an acoustic guitar.
Some interesting features of the APX500 series include: a soft cutaway, a raised sound hole ring, decorated sound hole and a beautiful headstock pattern.
But perhaps the greatest aesthetic feature is the option for so many different colors. You can purchase the guitar in sunburst, white, blue, natural and many others.
Yamaha APX500II Pros vs. Cons
For those interested to purchase their first acoustic/electric guitar, this is a surefire winner.
- Time Tested: The Yamaha APX series has been a best-selling guitar for over 20 years. There’s a reason for that.
- Excellent Electronics: The A.R.T. system offers the best sound for the price of any acoustic/electric option.
- Playability: The guitar action is relatively low for comparable guitars and the slim neck is also nice.
- Color Options: A load of different options for colors, there’s bound to be one that fits your style!
- Good Price: Hovering around $300, any guitar cheaper than this just isn’t worth the decrease in sound quality.
- Laminate Wood: the use of laminate wood on the top, back and sides means that the acoustic (unplugged) sound isn’t as good as a solid wood guitar