The Yamaha SGV

Bill Alston

The SGV Samurai Guitars

One of the more famous SGV players note this is an SGV 800 in Black Sparkle a colour not shown in any catalogue or in the archives.
Not the first time Yamahas have turned up in undocumented colours.

Update December 2018
NYGeorge from the Yamaha Musicians Forum has confirmed the existence of a black sparkle SGV 800 as he owns one. Thank you George

Pictures from NYGeorge

This range comprises of 5 models all made in Taiwan. The 300 and the 800 were for domestic and export, the 500s, the 700 and the 1200 were intended as domestic only. They are essentially reissues of the 1960s SGs partcularly the SG2 the 5 the 7 and the 12' although they also bear a resemblance to the third version of the SC and the EGV of which more later.

left to right an SG2 an SGV 300 and an SC300T

The dates of these are mysterious as is their appearance in catalogues. The specs below feature the dates according to the Yamaha Archives.

Model 300 500S 700 800 1200
Dates available April 2000 to 2007 May 2001 to end 2001 April 2000 to 2007 April 2000 to 2004 October 2001 to 2007
Launch price 42,000 yen 42,000 yen 65,000 yen 80,000 yen 120,000 yen
Neck Bolt on on Maple Bolt on Maple Bolt on Maple Bolt on Maple Bolt on Maple
Fretboard Rosewood 22 frets 250mm radius Rosewood 22 frets 250mm radius Rosewood 22 frets 250mm radius Rosewood 22 frets 250mm radius Rosewood 22 frets 250mm radius
Body Alder Alder Alder Alder Alder
Hardware Chrome Chrome Gold Chrome Gold
Bridge Original SGV roller type trem Tune-o-Matic Stoptail Original SGV roller type trem Original SGV roller type trem Original SGV roller type trem with built in ballbearing in saddles
Pickups 3 single coil Alnico 3 single coil Alnico 3 single coil Alnico 2 single coil Alnico 2 single coil Alnico
Switch 3P selector 3 Pole selector 3P selector 3P selector 3P selector
Controls 1 volume 1 tone 1 blender 2 volume 1 tone 1 volume 1 tone 1 blender 2 volume 1 tone 2 volume 1 tone
Tuners Gotoh non locking Gotoh non locking Gotoh non locking Sperzel locking Sperzel locking
Colours Red Metallic, Pearl Green, Sonic Blue or Vintage Yellow Black, Mist Green or Mist Raspberry Red Metallic, Pearl Green, Shelby Blue, Sonic Blue, Vintage Yellow or Sunburst Blue Sparkle, Red Sparkle or Pearl Snow White Pearl Snow White or Black

A word on Dates and Catalogues
The 1200 is said to have been launched in 2001 but I have seen one or two which the owners claim are 2000, this is not substantiated. The export models were the 300 and the 800 and these launched at the 2000 NAMM,appear in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 English Catalogues but nothing in the 2004 or later catalogues despite the 300 said to be available up to 2007.
In the 2000 Japanese catalogues the the 300 and 700 appear and in the 2001 catalogue the 500S and the 800 have been added but still no 1200 I have no access to later Japanese catalogues, other than the one below, so can't trace them any further.

I don't know what year this catalogue scan is from but it shows all models except the 500S

Where the guitar is described as having a balancer or a blender, this works on the two adjacent single coil pickups to gradually move from a single coil sound to a humbucker sound and also in reverse.

Left to right a 300 a 500 and a 700
An 800 and a 1200

The guitars don't have the model number anywhere obvious but identification is fairly easy gold hardware 2 pickups a 1200, gold with three pickups it's a 700. Stoptail Tune-o-Matic type bridge it's a 500S. Chrome hardware SGV bridge 2 pickups is an 800 3 it's a 300.

The headstocks all similar left to right a 700, an 800 and a 1200


Information is very sparse on this guitar. What I know is that it predates the SGV as they were certainly made in 1989.
Information I am sure of
They have a Basswood body with a Rosewood on Maple 22 fret neck. Unlike the SGV they don't have a matching headstock. Chrome hardware three single coils with 1 volume and one tone control. There is some reference to a 3 way switch and some to a 5 way. They came in Yellow, Red and Blue, the blue is referred to in places as Malibu Blue which makes sense for a surf guitar. they are not in the 1990 English or Japanese catalogue.
Unsubstantiated Information
They are said to be made in China available in the 90s and aimed at the beginner maybe as a starter pack. There is reference to someone having owned a white one but he could have confused it with an SGV. The only model I have seen is a 103 or 103c are there any others. There is reference to Jumbo frets on one advertisement.

Some Pictures

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