Product: Yamaha APX500III NA-KIT-1 Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Where to buy: Amazon
Colors: Natural / Old Violin Sunburst / Black
When I was a busker I didn’t have a lot of money. I had an acoustic guitar, but it wasn’t suited for live shows, because it didn’t have a pick-up.
I didn’t want to come in and buy the cheapest electro-acoustic guitar available, because I wanted it to have a professional sound, but I couldn’t afford an expensive guitar. I was living from month to month and was hardly making enough money to even save up for a guitar.
After a lot of research, I decided to buy the Yamaha APX500III. I paid around 250 euros for it (which is like 300 dollars). It took me a few months before I could actually afford to buy it, but it was an investment I was willing to make, based on how much I liked it, after playing it in the store for the first time.
All of this was back in 2014. Before the review starts, here’s an old video of me playing the Yamaha APX500III in a bar in the summer of 2015:
The quality of that video isn’t fantastic, so here’s a snippet of a demo I recorded back in the same summer.
Now that you have heard the guitar in action, let’s go into the specifics.
Yamaha APX500III Review
The Yamaha APX500III is a small-sized acoustic guitar. The difference between the APX500III and my Yamaha FG-335 is huge. This has its advantages but also its disadvantages.
- The size of the body is very comfortable to hold. It’s very light as well (4.28 pounds). For beginning guitarists, this is a great asset. I also think this is great for children.
- The guitar’s got a single cutaway, which makes it easier to reach the higher frets.
- The low body produces a low volume when played acoustically.
Acoustically, it’s not very loud. There’s also not a lot of basses. It’s very mid-range-y.
It sounds nice when you’re fingerpicking, but once you start strumming the guitar, especially with a pick, the sound of the guitar can get thin. Even though the acoustic sound isn’t fantastic, it’s still really balanced. It’s kind of charming once you get used to it actually.
But I bought this guitar because I wanted to use it with an amplifier, and once you plug this guitar into an amplifier, it becomes an entirely different beast.
Amplified, it’s very clear and natural. It’s adaptable to pretty much every amplifier or PA set you can find. The EQ controls on the side of the guitar can help you adjust your sound as close to what you want it to be.
- Adaptable guitar
- Balanced and clear sound when amplified
- EQ controls
- Characteristic sound
- Thin sound when played acoustically, especially when strummed.
Easy To Play
Maybe the fretboard of this guitar is a perfect match for my hands, but I always thought it was incredibly comfortable. I read some reviews online where people said the action was too high for them, but I never had this problem.
I’ve played shows longer than three hours, and never has this guitar been a liability. The mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard is beautifully and professionally finished and feels very smooth.
Also the weight of the guitar… The difference between this and a regular dreadnought is huge. I’ve spent hours standing on the street playing a dreadnought. Your back will love you for getting the APX500III.
- Despite a small body, still a regular-sized neck.
- Very comfortable to play.
- Very light-weighted.
- For me, none. Some people think the action is too high.
I’ve had this guitar for five years, and I’ve used it excessively.
Besides a few minor signs of use, it’s still as good as it was five years ago. I’ve never had anything done with it. The neck is still straight, I’ve never had a problem with the electronics, it’s never bothered me in any way.
As expected from Yamaha, the hardware is fantastic. The APX500III is built like a tank, as long as you don’t use it as a tank.
- Fantastic hardware and electronics
- No problems after five years of excessive use
- If you’d throw this guitar on the ground it might break
- No real cons
If you’re a beginning guitarist, you might’ve considered buying a cheap beginners pack. Let me strongly advise you not to. I bought one of those when I started out, and I hated it. I’m all for budget guitars, but once you go too cheap, it becomes a liability.
Around $300, the APX500III might not be the cheapest entry-level guitar, but you get what you pay for. I’ve used this guitar for years and years, and it never held me back. I’ve loved it, people have complimented me on it, and it’s helped me write dozens of songs.
- You get what you pay for.
- Low risk of repair costs.
- More expensive than other entry-level guitars.
- No soundhole rubber, which honestly should be included in the pack.
- The guitar comes with a SYSTEM 65 preamp system. This system has a control panel on the side of the guitar which has a volume knob and a 3-band equalizer.
- The control panel also has a high-quality built-in tuner: Die-cast Chrome (TM29T), which is very precise, convenient and extremely helpful on stage.
- There an AA battery holder on the side of the guitar. Without batteries, the tuner doesn’t work.
- The guitar comes with a piezo pick-up inside of the body of the guitar instead of a visible strip under the strings.
- The guitar has an oval soundhole. Somehow they don’t deliver the soundhole rubber with the guitar. If you want one of these, keep in mind that you need an oval shaped one.
- Scale Length: 634mm (25”)
- Body Length: 490mm (19 5/16″)
- Total Length: 1022mm (40 1/4″)
- Body Width: 384mm (15 1/8″)
- Body Depth: 80-90mm (3 1/8″ – 3 9/16″)
- Nut Width: 43mm (1 11/16”)
- String Spacing: 10.0mm
Material / Wood
- Top Material: Spruce
- Back Material: Nato / Agathis
- Side Material: Nato / Agathis
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
- Bridge Material: Rosewood
- Nut Material: Urea
- Saddle Material: Urea
You will find better acoustic guitars if you spend more money. That’s to be expected. But for the price, this is a very reliable guitar with a great, balanced sound.
If you’re looking for a great-sounding acoustic guitar to use on stage, I recommend this guitar. It’s designed to be played on stage, and it will give you a lot of joy.
If you have any questions about this guitar or any other guitar, feel free to leave a comment below.