Published On: Tue, Jan 5th, 2010

Yamaha FJX720SC Electro-Acoustic

The FJX720SC is everything a mini-jumbo should be dynamic and punchy with woody warmth and a sweet brightness. Jerry Uwins investigates.

This solid spruce/nato model is the cheaper of the two new FJX guitars. The other is the rosewood-backed FJX730SC loaded with the ART system, but the 720 keeps faith with Yamaha‘s undersaddle piezo pickup, though the preamps on both offer the same facilities – namely three-band EQ plus a broad 80Hz-10kHz mid sweep and an auto-chromatic tuner.
Apart from almost replicating the body shape of the LJXs, the FJX also bears a resemblance to Yamaha‘s Compass Series CPXs. Both have a lower-bout width of just under 400mm (15.7") and a Venetian cutaway, but the FJX has significantly deeper rims – the full 125mm monty. It also has a more traditional cosmetic look, including the V’d FG-style headstock. Adornments otherwise conform to those on equivalent FG and smaller-bodied FS models, such as cream bindings with multi-ply top purfling and a tortie pickguard. Our sample’s sunburst top is one of three gloss finishes available, and jolly handsome it looks.
Like the vast majority of Yammy acoustics, the FJX‘s bound, satin-finish nato neck is fashioned to a mediumwidth, with a shallow ‘C’ profile that feels slick and comfy. Equally typical is the rather tight string spacing at the bridge: it feels a little cramped for fingerstyle, but you quickly get used to it. Our sample’s fret dressing and action set-up are excellent. The only minor gripe, on the FGX730SC too, is no strap button at the heel, something that should be a given nowadays on all electros.

SOUNDS

This is everything a mini-jumbo should be. Dynamics and acoustic punch are generous, there’s a nice woody warmth in the low end, and sustain comes easily, to which can be added that typical Yamaha sweet-edged brightness in the highs. The undersaddle system does a fine job. String balance is spot on, the voicing is clear and rich and, thanks to the preamp’s broad-range mid sweep, it’s tonally very versatile. The top end can sound papery but it’s easily tamed either by the relevant slider or via the sweep range which extends well into the treble realm. The mids are well-tempered, anyway.

Verdict

Undersaddle piezo systems come in for stick for quacky sounds, but the FJXs is much more intuitively easy to work with than the FGXs lauded ART which, with tweaking, can deliver fine sounds. Try them both: like all Yamahas theyre as reliable as the sun rising in the morning, and excellent players to boot.

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score
19 19 18 17 16 89

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