The Yamaha SS Range

The Yamaha SS Samurai Guitars

This series is another Samurai range aside from early SGs there are also the third series of SCs and the SGV range please refer to the relevant sections of my website for these. They only lasted approximately 12 months and were discontinued sometime in 1983. I don't have any catalogues showing them other than the scan below. So any corrections or additions much appreciated.

This is an extract from the catalogue launching the range as they were first made in September 1982 I suspect that this is the 1983 Japanese catalogue.

Update June 2024
A correspondent who styles himself Michael61 and lives in Tokyo has sent me some pictures of his collection of vintage guitars and some information. He tells me that the SS300 and 600 were not in any catalogues at the time and has included these adverts which he tells me are from a 1983 magazine, it sure couldn't look more 80s.
Some browsers seem to be unable to show both pictures for some reason

As can be seen above there were three models the 300 being considerably cheaper than the other two mainly due to the differing woods used see specs later. The 300 appears in the archives whereas the others do not. They are likely to have only appeared in the 1983 Japanese catalogue, which I have no source for so some of the information on the 600 and 700ex is from unverified sources mainly Ebay sales and the like, but I have only posted what I am fairly sure is correct.

300 600 700EX
Body Nato Alder Alder
Neck Nato Maple Maple
Fretboard Rosewood 22 Frets 648mm scale Rosewood 22 Frets 648mm scale Rosewood 22 Frets 648mm scale
Controls 1 volume 1 tone 5 way switch 1 volume 1 tone 5 way switch 1 volume 1 tone push push coil tap
Pickups 3 Single coils 3 Single coils 1 Humbucker
Weight 3.9kgs 3.4 kgs 3.4kgs
Tuners Yamaha Gotoh Style Yamaha Gotoh Style Yamaha Gotoh Style
Colours Yellow, Blue, Candy Tone Red, Black or Ivory Blue, Candy Tone Red or Black Metallic Candy Tone Red or Black

All models are made in Japan you can see that the 300 is available in more colours than shown in the catalogue, the extra colour is from the archives and as the other two models aren't in the archives it's possible they were made in other colours also

Update October 2022
James Rychak has written to me with the following good information I quote his words from his email. Thanks James
I just figured I'd chime in on something you may not be aware of. I have owned a red Japanese-made SC300T and also currently an SS600. Playability and quality felt about the same, but the SS 300 and 600 models had pickups that were probably quite similar to the SC3000/5000/7000 guitars. They are overwound and physically oversized - easy to spot due to the third mounting screw. They have a coil tap that sheds about a third of the windings. If I remember correctly, they are around 8k and then 5k tapped. It's very odd to me that the SS had the SC combinator type features, but the "SC Samurai" guitars did not. It doesn't seem that they even advertised this feature on the SS line either! The 600 also had a clear poly over the maple neck as opposed to being paint-matched over Nato. Felt a bit more premium to me because of that.

The 300


The 600

The 700EX

The 58 on the pickup confirms 1983

More from James Rychak plus some pictures of his guitar.

I also took a gut-shot for you showing the pickups and how they're tapped. I believe all three are the same. The neck may be a little lower in DCR. The switch is not original. When I got the guitar, unbeknownst to me, the switch was broken and was physically wired (like bailing wire around the shaft) internally to keep it from moving - stuck in the 5.5k position too. I actually had purchased a hotter bridge single coil to swap in the guitar. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up, saw the pickups and the broken switch and realized that it had exactly what I wanted all along. They sound great in both positions. Cleans sound like a vintage strat in the 5.5k position. The 8.5k will really push a tube amp's front end, and can do the humbucker thing with the tone rolled off.

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