Yamaha L15A

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Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:30 pm

Put one of my L15A's for sale today. Cleaned her up, did a little set up, and restrung her yesterday.

Every time I have one of these early handmade guitars in my hands I'm impressed with the fantastic build quality. I have a L15A and a L5A.

The L15A has a solid "white spruce" top, Indian Rosewood solid back and sides, ebony bridge and fretboard.

I think this was the first line of handmade guitars from Taiwan. Looks like the Taiwanese wanted to show they could build guitars even better than their Japanese collegues:

Image

Image


Still hoping to add a L20A or L25A to my collection one day but these are very rare, and very expensive.

I never played the Japanese equivalent (the somewhat earlier L5, L10, L15 etc) but I've read they are of outstanding quality too.

Leon
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Saul » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:36 pm

Beautiful looking guitar Leon. I wonder how it compares to Yamaha's modern L series guitars?
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:01 pm

Don't ask 8) . I bought a recent L series two weeks ago. Wouldn't trade her for my mint L15A, although such a recent L series , even used, costs twice as much as a L15A.

Don't know if it is the age or the wood quality. Let's say wouds on the older L's are superb ((i)) .

What do you think of this L15A top:

Image

Yamaha refers to "solid spruce top" for the lower line (L5A and L10A), and "solid white spruce top" for the L15A and higher end line. Any of you out there have any clue what they mean by "white spruce"?

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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by JDZ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:49 am

That's a beauty!

I've been wanting one of these L Series guitars for a while.
Been a long time since I've owned an acoustic.
Seeing your L15A may put me over the edge :eusa-think:

Thanks for sharing that one.
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Saul » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:02 am

Beautiful grain on that top and really nice colouration.

"White Spruce"? good question. I have some guitars here with Dolomite spruce tops which are pretty much white in appearance so perhaps that is what they were referring to? I don't know, guitar makers use all sorts of terminology to describe the same thing.

Having said that I just did a Google and there is indeed a species of spruce called "Picea glauca, the white spruce" and is apparently native to North America.
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:49 pm

Saul wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:02 am
Having said that I just did a Google and there is indeed a species of spruce called "Picea glauca, the white spruce" and is apparently native to North America.
Yep, good work, that must be it ((i))

Checked one of my old catalogs with these guitars. They refer to using Woods from all corners of the world and add a pic with a spruce tree being cut in Alaska. The Picea glauca also grows in that part of North America.

BTW: most christmas trees sold overhere are Picea glauca's. The tree in the Yamaha catalog is somewhat big for a christmas tree:
G-71_004.jpg
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by JDZ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:01 pm

Do you happen to know if these were lacquer or poly finish?

I have an old catalog, 1971 I think, has same pic you posted. Specs in back don't mention what the finish is.
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:53 pm

JDZ wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:01 pm
Do you happen to know if these were lacquer or poly finish?

I have an old catalog, 1971 I think, has same pic you posted. Specs in back don't mention what the finish is.
This L-series was produced from 1978 to 1984 so I'm afraid the catalog is somewhat younger.

The finish is poly I think. Yamaha used that on almost all acoustics. Only nitro guitars I know are the recent LL36 LJ36 etc and higher.


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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by JDZ » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:17 am

Mimasu wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:53 pm
This L-series was produced from 1978 to 1984 so I'm afraid the catalog is somewhat younger.
The finish is poly I think. Yamaha used that on almost all acoustics. Only nitro guitars I know are the recent LL36 LJ36 etc and higher.
Leon
My bad on the dates. I bought a stack of old yamaha catalogs and they have codes on the back which looked like month and year printed. Looking more closely, some are way off, so clearly not dates :oops:

Do you happen to know the difference between L15 and L15A?
Domestic vs. Export? Made in Japan vs Taiwan?

Thank you,
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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:40 pm

JDZ wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:17 am
Do you happen to know the difference between L15 and L15A?
Domestic vs. Export? Made in Japan vs Taiwan?
The L series was for the domestic market. It appears next to the FG's in Japanese catalogs around 1975/1976. No L series around that time in EU or US catalogs. First sighting of the LxA series, made for export, is in a 1978 German price list I have.

The L serie was produced over a bigger span of time, 1975-1985, than the LxA series that was produced from 1978 to 1984.

The L series was made in Japan, while the LxA were made in Taiwan.

The L15 had a Ezo Sruce top and a 3 piece Jacaranda back and Jacarada sides. The L15A a white spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides. Neck on both were Mahogany with Ebony fretboard.

The LxA were all solid. The L series had solid tops and at some places on the web you can find some doubt whether all had solid back and sides, but I think they had.

There is a lot of info and discussion on the L series on the internet about the exact Woods used and that thee are some different models. Seems there were some changes around 1980. They all agree one thing though: The L10 and L15 were fantastic guitars and much more sought than their L10A en L15A brothers.

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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by JDZ » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:50 am

Mimasu wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:40 pm

There is a lot of info and discussion on the L series on the internet about the exact Woods used and that thee are some different models. Seems there were some changes around 1980. They all agree one thing though: The L10 and L15 were fantastic guitars and much more sought than their L10A en L15A brothers.
Thanks for the clarification on domestic vs export. Not surprising the Japanese made command a premium.

Here's the specs from the catalog I have which I bought from a seller in Canada in a bundle of Yamaha materials.
No idea on year.

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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:14 pm

JDZ wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:50 am
No idea on year.
Looks like some catlogs I have. I think there's G-71 somewhere on the back (bottom, right side), after that a number. In most cases the first two digits of that number is the date it was printed. So let's hope it starts with somewhere between 78 and 84 :roll: .

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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by JDZ » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:12 am

1982 then? :greetings-clapyellow:

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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by Mimasu » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:16 pm

Two nice examples of the different L15 models:

Up to 1980 (or somewhere around that time), back and sides specified by Yamaha as Jacaranda:
res_b2d1e46227237f8ba48d3dbca59a60f7294b9f90.jpg
res_6710a2156d036802e6d1ceda5e6ddecaafc61659.jpg
And after 1980, with what is specified as rosewood
649eb2e4f2e518990a1ee26f5d59da74f1fdbe.jpg
2b9c447f5b27469cc8f25be12d09f9f00852cc.jpg
(pics from the web)

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Re: Yamaha L15A

Unread post by JDZ » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:04 am

Catalog has the L-15A as a two piece back.
Did that change as well?
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