Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

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Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Buzzard » Wed May 31, 2017 8:36 pm

:idea: Please let me know if any info is incorrect. :idea:

:?: Does anyone have pictures to prove that some MSG/Image guitars are made in Japan :?:

Some info gathered here: https://web.archive.org/web/20121114234 ... image.html

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Some years back, an insurance company promoted itself as “the quiet company.”
While they probably wouldn’t like to hear it, in many ways that description fits Yamaha guitars.
Whether you say acoustic or electric, Yamaha is almost never the first name that leaps to mind.
Nevertheless, since the mid 1960s, Yamaha has been quietly turning out excellent acoustic and electric guitars.
Some had startlingly wonderful designs, many had innovative features, and some may be regarded now as classics.
But virtually all of the better-grade models have been made with exceptional quality.
One guitar that answers all these encomiums is this 1989 Yamaha Image Custom.
Much of the time, the people behind striking guitar designs like this are anonymous.
But in the case of the Yamaha Image, we know whodunit. His name is Martyn Booth, and today he makes custom guitars.
Booth’s interest in guitar began in the early ’60s, when at age 14 he wanted a guitar but couldn’t afford one.
So he built one in his dad’s workshop – “little more than a toy,” as he tells it.
Over the next few years, he borrowed friends’ guitars and returned them with much improved setups.
By the late ’60s, he had achieved his dream of being in a band (a prog-rock outfit Booth describes as the “promising but never quite made it” type). The band gave up trying to make it big in 1975, and Booth needed to find a paying job.
A friend worked for a Norlin/Gibson distributor in the U.K. and helped him land work there as a repairman.
The idea that would become the Yamaha Image began in 1980, when Gibson introduced the 335-S, its solidbody take on the ES-335.
Booth was not impressed, and started work on his own version. Time passed, and by ’87, Booth was working for the Yamaha organization in the U.K. Yamaha was looking for an upscale guitar to complement its venerable SG line.
Booth dusted off his solidbody 335, and the Yamaha Image was born… well, in the U.S. it was the Image. In the U.K., the name was already taken, so it was called the MSG (Martyn’s Solid Guitar). It had a mahogany body with a carved maple cap and glued-in mahogany neck. Scale was 25”,
top binding was maple, and finish options were blond, cherry, and orange sunburst.
The MSG/Image guitars were made in three grades.
The Standard had twin humbuckers, rosewood fingerboard, and a stop-tail with strings running through the body.
The Deluxe had an ebony ’board and RM Pro double-locking vibrato.
The Custom, shown here, had a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and the latest technology from Yamaha’s Japanese labs; pickups were Hybrid Integrated Pickup System (HIPS), with active/passive options, the vibrato was a then-new needle-bearing type with a small thumbwheel on top for adjusting spring tension, and instead of a cumbersome locking nut, it had Gotoh Magnum Lok tuners with a screw-down shaft that locks the strings in place.
In addition to the active/passive option (with its mini-toggle with LED), controls include a three-way mini-toggle, volume, midrange boost, and passive tone controls.
Two other mini-toggles serve as coil taps. Active mode basically consists of a power-boost function, which can give nasty overdrive distortion depending on the amp and settings. There are more versatile tonal arrangements, but this does give a lot of color.
One of the coolest features of the Image Custom is a line of LED dot markers running along the top edge of the fingerboard. A little switch where the jack normally would be turns on this groovy feature – so cool! Also worth noting is the wide fingerboard and jumbo frets, both nice if you like them.
The MSG/Image debuted in ’88. The following year, the headstock shape was altered a bit and the Volume knob moved on the Standard and Deluxe models.
Collectors often refer to these versions as Mach 1 and Mach 2, respectively.
The line ended in 1991 or ’92. Prominent Image players included Alan Murphy (Go West, Kate Bush, Level 42), Barry Finnerty, Bireli Lagrene,
Mick Box (Uriah Heep), Captain Sensible (The Damned), Andy Powell (Wishbone Ash), Mick Abrahams (Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig), and Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy).
Gary Moore apparently got one fitted with EMG pickups, but he seems not to have been impressed.
Booth left Yamaha in 1990 to start his own shop.
In 2002, he resurrected the design, trimmed it down a bit, refined some features, and it’s now available as the Martyn Booth Classic and Signature. His output hovers around 50 per year.
We don’t know whether the MSG/Image guitars are rare birds. Demand for them remains high, and few show up on the market.
They appear to have been more popular in the U.K. than in the U.S.
They were expensive and appeared at a time when tastes were changing – it was not a “heavy metal” guitar, and it certainly wasn’t an instrument to be wielded by Nirvana.
Nevertheless, the Yamaha Image is another fine example of a superbly made guitar that has gone quietly unnoticed except by devoted fans. Quietly, that is, until you pick it up, throw on the fingerboard LEDs, and shove that switch into active overdrive!

Image Image

from the 1993 catalog:
07.pdf
(298.04 KiB) Downloaded 60 times
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MSG/Image Standard , made in Taiwan , 1989 - 1994

Body/Neck Construction: Set Neck
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Body: Mahogany / Maple - Top Maple Back Mahogany
Length: 1005.2 mm.
Width: 358.0 mm.
Body Depth: 48.0 mm.
Net Weight: 3.8 kg.
Scale length: 635.0 mm./ 25”
No. of Frets: 22
Fingerboard width: 0-fret: 43.0 mm. 12-fret: 52.5 mm.
Neck Thickness: 1-fret: 20.5 mm. 12-fret: 22.5 mm.
Hardware: Chrome
Nut: Urea
Bridge: T.O.M. with stop-tail with strings running through the body.
Strings: Yamaha H1060
Pickups: 2 Live alnico 5s
Magnet: Alnico
Volume: 500k x 1
Tone: 300k x 1
Pickup Switch: 3-way toggle x 1
Body Color: CH cherry , BLD blonde , ORS orange Sunburst

Image Image Image

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MSG/Image Deluxe , made in Taiwan , 1989 – 1994

Body/Neck Construction: Set Neck
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ebony
Body: Mahogany / Maple - Top Maple Back Mahogany
Length: 1005.2 mm.
Width: 358.0 mm.
Body Depth: 48.0 mm.
Net Weight: 3.8 kg.
Scale length: 635.0 mm./ 25”
No. of Frets: 22
Fingerboard width: 0-fret: 43.0 mm. 12-fret: 52.5 mm.
Neck Thickness: 1-fret: 20.5 mm. 12-fret: 22.5 mm.
Hardware: Chrome
Nut: Adjustable Lock Nut
Bridge: Rockin Magic Pro
Strings: Yamaha H1060
Pickups: 2 Live alnico 5s
Magnet: Alnico
Volume: 500k x 1
Tone: 300k x 1
Pickup Switch: 3-way toggle x 1
Body Color: CH cherry , BLD blonde , ORS orange Sunburst , brown sunburst

Image Image Image Image

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MSG/Image Deluxe Special , made in Taiwan , 1989 BLUE

Body/Neck Construction: Set Neck
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ebony
Body: Mahogany / Maple - Top Maple Back Mahogany
Length: 1005.2 mm.
Width: 358.0 mm.
Body Depth: 48.0 mm.
Net Weight: 3.8 kg.
Scale length: 635.0 mm./ 25”
No. of Frets: 22
Fingerboard width: 0-fret: 43.0 mm. 12-fret: 52.5 mm.
Neck Thickness: 1-fret: 20.5 mm. 12-fret: 22.5 mm.
Hardware: Black Chrome
Nut: Adjustable Lock Nut
Bridge: Rockin Magic Pro
Strings: Yamaha H1060
Pickups: 2 Live alnico 5s
Magnet: Alnico
Volume: 500k x 1
Tone: 300k x 1
Pickup Switch: 3-way toggle x 1
Body Color: Blue

Image Image Image Image Image Image

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MSG/Image Custom , made in Taiwan , 1990-1994

Body/Neck Construction: Set Neck
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Brazilian Rosewood
Body: Mahogany / Maple - Top Maple Back Mahogany
Length: 1005.2 mm.
Width: 358.0 mm.
Body Depth: 48.0 mm.
Net Weight: 3.8 kg.
Scale length: 635.0 mm./ 25”
No. of Frets: 22
Fingerboard width: 0-fret: 43.0 mm. 12-fret: 52.5 mm.
Neck Thickness: 1-fret: 20.5 mm. 12-fret: 22.5 mm.
Hardware: Gold Plated
Nut: Graphite
Bridge: Vintage Pro Type - Vintage pro with needle bearing vibrato
The vibrato was a then-new needle-bearing type with a small thumbwheel on top for adjusting spring tension, and instead of a cumbersome locking nut, it had Gotoh Magnum Lok tuners with a screw-down shaft that locks the strings in place.
Strings: Yamaha H1060
Pickups: H.I.P.S. Humbucking type x 2 (Hybrid Integrated Pickup System)
Hybrid Integrated Pickup System (HIPS), with active/passive options
Magnet: Alnico
Volume: 500k/20k x 1
Tone: 300k/20k x 1
Mid Boost: 20k x 1
Pickup Switch: 3-way mini toggle x 1
Active/Passive: 2-way mini toggle x 1
Coil Split: 2-way mini toggle x 2 (front and rear pickup)
Body Color: CH cherry , BLD blonde , ORS orange Sunburst

Image Image Image

Led indicators in fretboard.
One of the coolest features of the Image Custom is a line of LED dot markers running along the top edge of the fingerboard. A little switch where the jack normally would be turns on this groovy feature – so cool! Also worth noting is the wide fingerboard and jumbo frets, both nice if you like them.

Image Image

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ImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Image Image

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:?: Looking for Yamaha AES guitars :?: click here: http://www.yamahamusicians.com/forum/vi ... =24&t=9437 :idea:

:?: Looking for Yamaha AEX guitars :?: click here: http://www.yamahamusicians.com/forum/vi ... =24&t=9477 :idea:

:?: Looking for Yamaha SF / SuperFlighter guitars :?: http://www.yamahamusicianss.com/forum/v ... =24&t=9480 :idea:

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Yamaha_IMAGE_CUSTOM+wiring_diagram.pdf
(213.04 KiB) Downloaded 47 times
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Last edited by Buzzard on Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: adding revstar link
Yamaholic, Guitars, Amps and Bikes. :idea: My Guitars: http://www.yamahamusicians.com/forum/vi ... =24&t=7004 :idea:
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Saul » Wed May 31, 2017 10:39 pm

Another fantastic job there Peter. Some very nice looking guitars there :)
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by NYGeorge » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:58 am

Thanks Peter.
Always something new. A Deluxe Special!!! Never seen or heard of this one before. As rare as the series is in general this one must be unbelievably scarce. Just one year of production 1 color and looks like the only difference is the locking nut. Wow!
And knowing that you love the Custom I will have a little surprise for you in the next day or so.
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Buzzard » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:20 am

NYGeorge wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:58 am
Thanks Peter.
Always something new. A Deluxe Special!!! Never seen or heard of this one before. As rare as the series is in general this one must be unbelievably scarce. Just one year of production 1 color and looks like the only difference is the locking nut. Wow!
And knowing that you love the Custom I will have a little surprise for you in the next day or so.
Hi George.

The blue Deluxe Special is so far the only one I've seen, and this particular one was built in 1989.
I'm not sure if it's been produced for a longer period.
Notice that this one has black chrome hardware.

Regards
Peter
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by balston11 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:53 am

Hi Peter I have been busy recently so only just got time to look at this. Great job I haven't compared it to my pages but you obviously have more information and detail than my pages show. I may add some of it to mine in due course when I have a bit more time. The deluxe special is new to me I have found the sale site with the pictures you have but can't find any other reference to it anywhere. It appears to be just cosmetic differences (black hardware colour etc.) I wonder if it was a special one off order or if not how many were made. It would be interesting if anyone knew the story behind this.
Bill
Web http://www.alston-family.co.uk for lots of Yamaha and other guitar information
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Buzzard » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:18 pm

Hi Bill.

As usual, if you can use any info or pics, knock yourself out, you're welcome.
After all, I use your pages to compare notes, to verify and get the facts right. :wink:

Regards
Peter
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by NYGeorge » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:41 pm

Here you go Peter
New arrival today. Too busy outside to get time to play it yet. Just checked to make sure all worked
I would call it excellent condition wise.
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Buzzard » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:14 am

Wow , HNGD to you George. ((i))

I want one as well, Cherry Red like yours or the Blonde.

Regards
Peter
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Buzzard » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:09 pm

This topic is up, running and shining bright after the despicable fraud and extortion scam by photobucket, may they rest in peace, or NOT. :evil:
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Poliebear » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:08 pm

Hello all - first time on this forum - and a Cherry Image Deluxe owner for about a month now.
Fate decreed that a second Orange burst Image Deluxe join the collection just this last weekend.

I love looking into the provenance of my guitars, an looked up how to interpret the serial numbers. Year code, Month code, Day date and instrument number.

The cherry Image Deluxe conforms to the above code - P=1989 X=October 14=14th and then XXX=instrument number.

However on the Orange burst, aThe P is there denoting 1989 - but then the remainder is entirely numeric...

Does anyone else on this forum have an Image/MSG without a Month code, or any additional info about serial numbers?
IMG_0760.jpg
IMG_0760.jpg (76.97 KiB) Viewed 1558 times
Regards

Julian
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Buzzard » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:17 pm

Poliebear wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:08 pm
Hello all - first time on this forum - and a Cherry Image Deluxe owner for about a month now.
Fate decreed that a second Orange burst Image Deluxe join the collection just this last weekend.

I love looking into the provenance of my guitars, an looked up how to interpret the serial numbers. Year code, Month code, Day date and instrument number.

The cherry Image Deluxe conforms to the above code - P=1989 X=October 14=14th and then XXX=instrument number.

However on the Orange burst, aThe P is there denoting 1989 - but then the remainder is entirely numeric...

Does anyone else on this forum have an Image/MSG without a Month code, or any additional info about serial numbers?

Apologies for the wonky photo

Regards

Julian
Hi Julian, welcome to the forum and the string section. :D

I have a few Yamaha guitars myself, but no MSG/Image in the collection so far.

Some of our members are MSG/Image owners, hopefully they'll jump in to share their experience.

I turned your picture right way up. :wink: Nice twangers. ((i))

Best Regards
Peter
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by AlexC » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:51 pm

Wow! Thanks for this. I’ve never seen or heard of these models before. I want one now. You can tell they’re quality instruments just by the pictures and reading the specs.
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by pablopiriz » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:48 pm

hi all, I am a new member and old Yamaha aficionado, great instruments indeed.
I own two Yamaha IMAGE guitars, the firs one I bought in poor state and brought back to being an amazing player. Image Deluxe, the one with the Floyd Rose looking tremolo and locking nut.
Just about a month ago I took another one in, this one a Custom.

I am looking for parts or info on parts to be able to complete them both.
The Deluxe is missing the tremolo arm and 3 of the micro tuning bridge screws.

The Custom is missing the tremolo arm.

They do not look like straight replacement with off the shelf to me, does anyone here know what the screw thread is on the tremolo arms?

Thanks, and rock on!

Pablo
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by Asmikace » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:58 pm

pablopiriz wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:48 pm
hi all, I am a new member and old Yamaha aficionado, great instruments indeed.
I own two Yamaha IMAGE guitars, the firs one I bought in poor state and brought back to being an amazing player. Image Deluxe, the one with the Floyd Rose looking tremolo and locking nut.
Just about a month ago I took another one in, this one a Custom.

I am looking for parts or info on parts to be able to complete them both.
The Deluxe is missing the tremolo arm and 3 of the micro tuning bridge screws.

The Custom is missing the tremolo arm.

They do not look like straight replacement with off the shelf to me, does anyone here know what the screw thread is on the tremolo arms?

Thanks, and rock on!

Pablo
Hey Pablo, I am the Yamaha addict who messaged you on Reverb, welcome to the site, you got to show off your images of Images to the rest of the members.

You got three places to get the parts, you can always eye Ebay and Reverb but I assume you already do. Japanese Yahoo Auction is a great way to get Yamaha and other Japanese guitar stuff but you have to order and bid through third party sites like Buyee which I recommend since I was able to get a Yamaha Super Flighter 1000 and SX900B for a good price with fees and shipping included. Luckily, Yamaha used Rocking Magic Tremolos on other guitars besides the Image.

http://buyee.jp/item/search/query/Yamah ... &suggest=1

http://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/3276 ... ch_suggest

If you want a new tremolo arm, Frets on the Net is a great place. However, you are paying for a tremolo parts to be made which can be a little pricey but easier than waiting for original parts to show up.
http://www.fretsonthenet.com/Gibson_Epi ... yamaha.htm
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Re: Yamaha MSG / Image guitars

Unread post by pablopiriz » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:50 pm

hey Asmikace,
great on the links, I will see how much to have them made to order, I really like this guitars.
Pictures coming up tomorrow,
best

Pablo
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