Sunday, 22 January 2012

Yamaha SA-20 semi-hollowbody 12-string electric guitar from 1968
Regular readers of Guitarz will know of my enthusiasm for certain early Yamaha solidbody electrics, but being a recent semi-hollowbody convertee I am wishing I had the chance to sample Yamaha's early semis. In May 2011 we looked at this particularly nice example of a Yamaha SA-30 semi and now Derek has sent us photos and a few words about his Yamaha SA-20 which is the 12-string version. I'll let him tell you about it:
Having shown the Yamaha SA-30, I thought you might be interested in this 1968 SA-20; it's the same guitar (minus vibrato) as a twelve string. The price in 1968 was $315 according to a catalog you can view here, making it the most expensive of the SA (semi acoustic) line at the time, about $2000 in today's dollars.

When I first got the guitar, I noticed that there's black plastic inside the F-holes; this, I learned from the catalog, is a baffle intended to suppress feedback (patent pending!). If you've both pickups selected the "mic balancer" lets you blend between the two; the pickups are the size of humbuckers but I think they are single coils. Either way, they're attractively fitted. The neck is very narrow, and the nut (which I don't believe to be original) makes it challenging to play; but overall the workmanship is superb.

In that same catalog is a very interesting amplifier, the TA-60; I'm including a picture of that as well. I'd really like to find one to compliment the guitar.

Best Regards,

Thank you, Derek, for sharing this with us. Perhaps one day I'll get my mitts on a similar guitar!

G L Wilson

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  1. Any idea as to where I can acquire an original shell for the SA-20? Also any guess-estimate as to the value of one in great condition but well played?

  2. Repeating in case the first message failed: I'm looking for an original case for an SA-20. Also anyone have a guess-estimate as to the value of same. Great (but not perfect) condition. Well played and still plays as well as the day I bought it (1976).



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