|Yamaha Silent Steel String Guitar
|Yamaha Silent Steel String Guitar Review
I first encoumtered the Yamaha Silent Guitar at winter NAMM 2002. At that time, the only version available was the nylon string guitar (SLG100). I hadn't played it but it sounded great by those performing at the show. Flash ahead to NAMM 2003 and Yamaha has brought out the steel string SLG100S. This time, I made sure to take the opportunity to play them. My first impression was that of shock. What I didn't really "get" about the guitars last year was that it is an instrument, not merely a way to keep your chops up and still maintain peace in the house. Now, it's been a while since the show and I have my hands on the guitar as long as I need to see what it's really made of.
My first impression having been made at the show, I got right down to business. First, the construction details are all we've come to expect from Yamaha. Every seam, every part, every everything fits perfectly. No surprise there. The surprise is that it feels like a guitar.. but lighter. Not only is the silent steel string guitar silent, but it's also weightless.
As I knew, through headphones the guitar sounds great. The digital signal processor provides enough lush reverbs to please pretty much anyone. For me, the big question was, "how well will the Yamaha silent steel string go to tape (er, recording media)." So, without going into too many details about the recording process, here's my impression. First of all, it is very easy to get a great recorded sound with this guitar. You just plug it into an available input. It's own reverb goes straight to tape very well. For some variety and to keep it editable, I tried a number of outboard reverbs and preamps from Avalon, Digitech, Roland and a bunch of other stuff. In a recording situation, I tend to like the guitar dry so I can experiment more in the mix. Live; however, is another story altogether.
This is simply the best acoustic/electric steel string guitar I've ever performed with. Imagine an acoustic guitar with no feedback that has fantastic, rich reverbs in a compact, extremely lightweight design. That's the Yamaha silent steel string guitar.
It plays great, too. It's standard scale length with a 1 5/8 inch nut width. The spacing at the bridge is pretty much the same as a dreadnought, a little tight for some fingerstyle guys but not cramped. Most players wouldn't want it any other way. The neck is on the slim side. Again, most people will love it. I do.
To sum up, the Yamaha SLG100S is a really nice guitar. It's space age appearance won't appeal to everybody, but it's form surely is a product of function. It's compact nature and light weight certainly will appeal to all but the fanatic acoustic purist. And, even purists need to practice late at night once in a while. So, in short, it's a guitar you'll have a hard time putting down. And, if you're like me, you find yourself using it in settings you thought were reserved for that other guitar.