I've always recommended Yamaha guitars to anyone wanting a great guitar for a small price. I really needed a beater guitar and didn't want to spend a lot of money. Through Craigslist, I found a Yamaha G-100A for $60. I really didn't want to waste a trip so I asked a few questions about the play-ability before I went. "Oh yeah! Nothing wrong. Plays great!"
When I got there, The saddle was gone and a folded strip of notebook paper attempted to take the place of the saddle. "Uh, where is the saddle?"
I could hardly get the man to stop swaying his hips as he strummed the instrument telling me how fine it sounded. Anyway, I managed to get the instrument for $40. On the way home, I was regretting making the purchase and wished that I had my $40 back. So, I got online and had to buy a replacement saddle. Luthiers, repair people, and probably almost everyone would laugh at just how little I know, and just how totally inept I am when it comes to any type of repairs. So I was very shocked and disappointed when this giant bone brick came in the mail with the word "saddle on the package." No tools. No skills. Just me, the saddle, and some sandpaper all on the studio floor. Soon thereafter, I discovered that vodka and cranberry juice were also needed (we were out of triple sec.) I was really regretting spending the time and the money, but I was in too deep. I just had to finish.
After a couple of days, I managed to get the saddle to the correct size. Whew!
Then I strung up the guitar and that was when I was really surprised. I mean I don't know my Yamaha history, but isn't this a lower end factory made guitar? For reasons beyond my comprehension, it sounded better than MANY handmade guitars I've played. And the more I played it, the more I liked it. As bizarre as this sounds, this has quickly become one of my favorite guitars.
Now, I still need a better beater guitar, because this one is far too precious to me!
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)