Yamaha APX500III Guitar Review 2019 – is the Yamaha APX500III acoustic guitar worth the money? Review of features, pricing, design, sound and more.
- Spruce top, Nato/Okume back and sides
- Nato neck, Rosewood Fingerboard
- System 66 preamp, 25-9/16" Scale Length
- Rosewood Bridge, die cast chrome tuners
- Kit Includes: ChromaCast padded Gig Bag, tuner, nylon Guitar strap, upright guitar stand, acoustic...
Popular opinion suggests that the guitar is one of the most flexible instruments available out there. However, anyone who’s scoured the market in search of an acoustic-electric model would beg to differ. Not that there aren’t such guitars, but it’s difficult to find one that’s both solidly constructed and priced reasonably. The Yamaha APX 500III happens to be one of those rare unicorns — it’s a hybrid that offers the best of both worlds and great value for money.
Like the name suggests, the Yamaha APX500III is the third iteration of a model conceived circa late 80s. The original APX500 is often credited for being the first acoustic model designed around the needs of electric guitarists. Over the course of 3 decades, that has been honed to create the apposite representation of the electro-acoustic concept. Picture a Venn diagram with the sound properties of acoustics in one circle and the plug-and-play capabilities of electrics in the other — the APX500III occupies that sweet spot in the middle where they overlap. Great as that sounds, it wouldn’t amount to much without some style to match, would it?
Fortunately though, Yamaha were conscientious enough to acknowledge this and, as such, the APX500III is no slouch in the looks department. At first sight, the dreadnought shape immediately grabs hold of your eyes and shows you what ‘classic’ actually looks like. The body, while retaining the essence of the original APX500, sports a more woody look and single Venetian-style cutaway.
This is complemented rather nicely by the color or, more aptly, color choices — the Yamaha APX500III Guitar is available in shades ranging from monochromatic Black to the multicolored ‘Oriental Blue Burst.’ A natural finish is also offered for players who prefer a traditional look. As for the centerpiece, the top and neck are crafted from spruce and nato respectively, with the latter also featuring a satin finish.
From a functional standpoint, the nato body works admirably in mellowing out the sharpness from the spruce top. The 5mm deeper profile integrates a more comfortable holding position with the full-size playing experience of a standard acoustic. Speaking of which, the combination of nato neck and rosewood fingerboard helps thicken the lows while adding an element of complexity to the highs. This makes the APX500III a favorite among players whose style hinges on a broad dynamic response with just the right amount of punch.
The Yamaha APX500III is built to offer a hassle-free on-stage playing experience. Take it directly from the rack, plug into an amp or mixing board, then go ahead and bring the house down. Being a product from one of the world’s leading guitar manufacturers, trust that the APX500III has lots of features to offer, including:
-System 66 Electronics System: This is Yamaha’s proprietary under-saddle piezo pickup with a 3-band equalizer, simple volume controls, a mid-range frequency controller, and an in-built chromatic digital tuner. The system is powered by regular AA batteries.
-APX Soundhole: At first sight, the oval soundhole seems more like an aesthetic feature than anything else. However, it helps in ensuring a more open and strident low end.
-Non-scalloped X-type bracing: This is specially designed to maximize the resonance of the thinline body.
-Die-cast tuning machines.
The APX500III is the entry-level model of Yamaha’s line of acoustic-electric guitars. The most noteworthy upgrades from its immediate predecessor (the APX500II) include a fresh combination of tonewoods on the surface, and an improved preamp beneath. With that said, its range-of-features is narrower than what Yamaha offers on other models.
Specifically, the System 66 pickup is a stepped-down version of what’s found on the APX700II (System 64 ART). In a real-world performance, that translates to a thinner sound and weaker bass presence. These two become apparent when the APX500III is unplugged — with a body shallower than other Yamaha acoustic models, its sound output is simply no match for the latter.
Perhaps the fairest conclusion to draw is that the APX500III was designed to be plugged in or played acoustically to a small, intimate crowd. It also sounds remarkably well for a guitar in its price range. Other than that, its reliability is more-or-less comparable to other Yamaha guitars.
Listing of PROs and Cons
-Lightweight thinline body: This makes the APX500III easy to handle and play with
-Solid construction: This combines with the exceptional finish to make the guitar strong and durable.
-Excellent electronics: The APX500III has one of the best in-built tuners of any hybrid guitar.
-Suitable for all skill levels: It’s as playable by a seasoned guitarist as it is by a beginner.
-Easily accessible controls for quick adjustments on stage
-Price: At $300, the APX500III is priced way above other entry level guitars.
-Lackluster acoustic performance: This can be attributed to the use of laminate wood on the top, sides and back.
-No auto-shutoff feature for the battery
-The package doesn’t come with a gig bag or case
What Do Others Have to Say About the Yamaha APX500III Guitar?
As one of the best-selling manufacturers of musical instruments, Yamaha has become synonymous with reliability and consistency. It therefore makes sense that the APX500III has earned lots of praise from both customers and industry figures. The latter have generally commended its hearty and well-balanced sound.
On the other hand, most users have praised its compact size and slim design. Feedback on this aspect is summed up beautifully by one commenter who said that the guitar rests comfortably in the lap to allow for an intimate clutch “regardless of upper body size.” The APX500III has also earned praise for its sound output, with one particular user expressing their gratitude for “having a guitar that can sing.”
Overall, the Yamaha APX500III provides a great fit for electric guitarists who like to dabble into acoustic every once in a while. It’s also versatile enough to be used for a handful of genres. It might not be as loud as a large-bodied model, but one would be hard-pressed to find a better package at the entry-level price range.