Electric-acoustic guitars are a bit of an enigma. They’re more accessible to seasoned players, due to the premium you pay for being able to plug into an amp. However there are a few electric-acoustic guitars that are within reach of the beginner’s budget. In this Yamaha FX370C review we’ll take a look at a beginner’s electric-acoustic guitar. We’ll compare it to it’s competition and comment on value versus a traditional acoustic only guitar. Let’s get started!
Overview of Yamaha FX370C
The FXC370C is a dreadnought body shape, which lends itself to an enhanced bottom end and provides excellent resonance. They’re a little bigger but you soon get used to it. I play a Crafter GAE-8 dreadnought and it’s brilliant for warm and resonant tones, great for rhythm work.
The guitar is full scale at 25″ and is constructed from laminated nato on the back and sides, a nato neck and a laminated spruce top. It’s quite common to find laminated back and sides, but usually it’s more desirable to have a solid top, which enhances the punch of the tone. With the exception of the Fender CD60 SCE you tend to find solid topped electric-acoustic guitars are much more expensive.
Nato wood is a cheaper alternative for mahogany, but shares the richness at the expense of some of the presence. Spruce provides a bright tone, but some of that is lost because it’s not solid topped. Laminated wood is layers of wood stuck together. A solid top is one piece of wood cut and shaped for the guitar. That provides a much snappier tone, that gets better with age.
The finish of the body and neck is high gloss polyurethane. That’s fine for the body, but most people prefer a satin finish to the neck to make it smoother and easier to play. If your fretting hand gets warm the gloss can cause stickiness, not great when you need to move around the neck quickly.
The body has a cutaway at the lower side, which means you’re able to reach the higher frets. A nice comfort feature and practical if you want to play chords past the twelfth fret. The neck is topped with a Rosewood fingerboard. Rosewood has been off the menu for all but the most expensive guitars in recent times due to sustainability concerns. Although alternatives do a good job, I still really like Rosewood for the warm tones it produces.
There are 20 frets, the key frets marked out by dot inlays. The frets are decent quality with no sharp edges, though that can vary from guitar to guitar. The bridge is also fashioned from Rosewood meaning it’s a good solid bridge.
Tuning is handled by a set of die cast tuning machines, which do their job admirably enough. You shouldn’t find the guitar dropping out of tune with every string bend. A tortoiseshell pick guard completes the classic natural look of the guitar and protects the body. The headstock has a fetching shape with a leafed “Y” at it’s centre.
The nut is made from plastic, which is never my favorite material. However we have to consider the price of the guitar. For the price it’s reasonable to expect the nut would be plastic. It can always be replaced. The stock strings aren’t that good and will probably need replacing straight away. Most people tend to swap the strings to their favored brand and gauge when they get a new guitar in any case and it’s an inexpensive task.
Let’s talk a little about the electronics. The FX370C has a system 58 pickup system. That means there’s a pickup around the bridge area, which pickups up vibrations and turns them into an electric signal. This style of pickup ignores the natural resonance produced by the guitar, however systems that faithfully replicate natural resonance tend to be expensive and would be impractical for a guitar in this price range.
Fortunately you have control over the tone produced when plugged in via the controls mounted on the top side of the guitar. This includes a three band EQ control, a mid-range control and a master volume. All too often you find controls inside the sound hole of the guitar, which is very impractical. It’s so much better that they’re mounted on the top side, allowing you to make adjustments quickly. There’s plenty of space to create a variety of tones thanks to the EQ controls.
The electronics are powered by a 9v battery, the compartment for which sits above the neck on the body. A low battery indicator on the controls will tell you when it’s time to replace the battery.
The Yamaha FX370C sits squarely in the middle of the introductory electric-acoustic guitar market. It’s let down by the fact that it doesn’t have a solid top. That’s where the Fender CD60-SCE or the Epiphone AJ220-SCE are potentially better value.
The tones of the FX370C are good, especially when unplugged and the range of tones available thanks to the EQ controls when plugged in are more dynamic than the CD60-SCE. One thing is for sure, you’re paying a premium for the electric features. Unless you’re set of having the ability to plugin it makes more sense to go for something like the Epiphone DR-100, which is over $100 cheaper.
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