From the Yamaha Artist Services Facility in LA (YASLA), we not only make custom models and modifications to our artists' instruments, we also like to experiment; testing different materials, finishes and designs, exploring how we can take our guitars in new directions.
For NAMM 2019, our Senior Guitar Designer and Luthier Pat Campolattano worked his magic on a range of unique, one-off design concept guitars, based on Revstar and Pacifica models. If you were at the show, you may have seen these prototype guitars on display.
Here we will get into the details...
An updated Pacifica with classic influences, including a two-piece swamp ash body with a smoother arm contour and translucent Sonic Blue finish. Mismatched Lollar pickups include Blonde single-coils with Parchment covers in the middle and neck position, with a Novel T in the bridge position to offer a distinctive selection of tones. A new dovetail neck joint has just 5/1000” tolerance, for a tight, stable fit that feels like a one-piece design.
Concept designs often start with a desire to experiment with different wood combinations. This model features a roasted maple neck, which is more challenging to machine, but more stable and less susceptible to heat and humidity. The neck and fingerboard come from a single piece of wood which was cut apart to be shaped individually, and then rejoined for a perfectly matched grain. The custom Petrol Blue Pearl finish was inspired by a luxury sports car.
Japan has a long tradition of knifemaking – shaping metal into beautiful and highly functional tools. This craft inspired the custom metallic finish, the aged copper pickguard and matching rear covers over the control and bridge cavities, and the brass mosaic pins and side dots used as position markers along the pau ferro fretboard.
A guitar isn’t just something you use. It’s something you wear, and something many wear to impress. The perfect guitar fits your style as well as your sound, so when experimenting with new finishes, we looked to the world of fashion for inspiration on color and contrast. The Cherry Cola Pearl Frost finish is accented by polished nickel hardware, the anodized aluminum scratchplate, and the bold red of the cocobolo fretboard.
With its distinctive tailpiece, the Revstar 502T is one of the most popular models in the series, but some artists have requested a humbucking option instead of the stock P90-style pickups. The Lollar mini-humbuckers are a perfect drop-in replacement that require no additional routing. The metallic silver finish, racing stripes, and carbon fiber scratchplate and truss rod cover evoke the motorcycles which first inspired the Revstar line.
We thought the Ice Blue finish from our Revstar 302 would look striking on a 502T with black hardware, including the Grover locking Rotomatic tuners, Tone Pros locking Tune-o-Matic bridge, Rautia Guitars pickups, and painted tailpiece. Sometimes a design concept is to evaluate a particular type of wood or piece of hardware. Sometimes it’s just because it looks cool.
Many of the original Revstar finishes were subdued, drawing on from Café Racer motorcycles and Japanese industry. Inspired by the warmth of Los Angeles and a colorful plate of sushi, we applied a matte orange finish, accented by the metal pickup covers from RS502, and the cream pickguard from RS502T. Other upgrades include a locking Tonepros Tune-o-Matic bridge and locking Gotoh tuners with black tulip buttons.
Which of these would you love to add to your collection?
Head over to the Yamaha Guitars Instagram and let us know in the comments, or by reposting your favorite design with the hashtag #YGDConcept.