Review: Yamaha APX 500ii Acoustic/Electric Guitar

Yamaha is a great beginner acoustic guitar

Yamaha’s APX line of guitars has been around for almost three decades, having originally set the stage for acoustic electric guitars in the 1980’s.  Yamaha now continues the tradition with it’s newest version of the popular APX500 with a well-priced Yamaha APX500II.  The new guitar is both affordable and sounds great.

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 APX500 Acoustic Beginner Guitar

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 Sound

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.

The Feel

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.

The Look

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.

The "Blue Burst" version of the Yamaha APX500II acoustic/electric guitar

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

8 thoughts on “Review: Yamaha APX 500ii Acoustic/Electric Guitar

  1. I bought one of these for my 10 year old son to learn on, and I think your review is spot on. Although it holds entry level status, I think for any casual player who doesn’t see the point of spending a fortune on an instrument just to have fun and a strum, then they should consider sampling the apx500ii before making a decision.

  2. My amp is not working. Even after changing the batteries. No display, no sound. Where can I buy System 65 preamp replacement. Or any suggestions for alternative preamp?

    1. Mine isn’t working either. I’d like to replace it but where does one find the preamp?
      Thanks in advance! Kevin

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