The Yamaha LS6 Review – A Decade worth of wood out of the box

Yamaha has been around for a long time making guitars that are affordable but sound fantastic. One of the acoustic guitar series they have for a long time is the Luxury Series or known as the L Series. This series has been relaunched at the beginning of 2014 and made some major improvements.

Today we will take a look at one of the L Series acoustic guitar and that is the Yamaha LS6. The Yamaha LS6 is a Concert-sized acoustic guitar that is perfect for fingerpicking and light strumming. Is this handcrafted guitar worth your money? Let’s see.

Features:

My Rating: 4.4 out of 5
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Pros:

  • Yamaha A.R.E or Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (more to this below)
  • Handcrafted guitar of Yamaha
  • Uses 5 ply guitar neck
  • Zero Impact Pickup meaning no tonal difference compared to a pure acoustic guitar

Cons:

  • Some are not satisfied with the amplified sound of the pickup

Beautiful, Handcrafted Guitar: The Yamaha LS6

Handcrafted guitars are still better for me compared to mass-produced guitar. While the mass-produced ones can be made to meet the high standard set by guitar manufacturers, the guitars still lack to be set-up at its highest potential. Handcrafted guitars are not like this because it is individually set-up properly, making sure that the guitar is in the best condition possible.

Of course, handcrafted guitars tend to be higher in price compared to mass-produced one so you might also want to consider it but handcrafted ones are better in my opinion. But this doesn’t mean that the mass-produced guitars are not good. Just doing a few set-up and minor tweaking, it will be also in its highest potential.

Yamaha LS6 is a handcrafted guitar made by true and best artisans of Yamaha that’s why you can be sure that this guitar and all of other in the L Series are made to be the best in its price range. Actually, Yamaha LS6 is included in my list of the best acoustic guitar under $500 so you might also want to check the list here.

A Perfect Guitar for Fingerpicking

Yamaha LS6 is a Concert-Sized guitar which is smaller than a Dreadnought. I will not necessarily say that it is subpar compared to Dreadnought like what others say, because this size has a beauty on its own.

This is the Yamaha LS6 Concert-Sized Acoustic Guitar in Natural Finish

Yamaha LS6 – Rosewood

Concert-Sized guitar are naturally good for fingerpicking because of the punchy mids and clear highs it produces. It is lacking a little bit in bass because of the smaller body size compared to a Dreadnought but it still sounds perfect on its own.
Aggressive strumming is not its perfect partner because Concert-Sized guitars are better when strummed lightly. You don’t have to worry about its loudness because even at light strumming, its volume is loud enough to be heard around the room when unplugged.

Revamped: Yamaha took it to another level

At the beginning of 2014, Yamaha relaunched the L Series, including this guitar, and made some major improvements which took this guitar to another level. Some improvements they made are:

  1. Yamaha A.R.E (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement)
  2. 5 ply guitar neck
  3. SRT Zero Impact Pickup

Yamaha A.R.E

A.R.E or Acoustic Resonance Enhancement is an original technique made by Yamaha, through the use of modern science, that pre-ages the wood. We all know that solid woods tends to perform and sound better as it ages. Yamaha A.R.E is actually pre-aging the wood to more than a decade worth of wood.

By using a solid engelmann spruce top in this guitar, which produces a warm tone, Yamaha applied A.R.E and its result is remarkable. Right out of the box, you have a decade worth of sound because of the pre-aged engelmann spruce top. Pretty cool, right?

No wonder why this guitar sounds warmer and vintage even if it is new. This is one of the major improvement and enhancement done when the L Series was relaunched and this is a killer move by Yamaha.

5 ply vs 3 ply

Another improvement made is by using a 5 ply guitar neck which is 3 ply only before. 5 ply guitar neck is sturdier and holds tune better. But even if it is thicker compared to 3 ply, the neck is still easy to use and not too thick to hinder in doing chord changes fast.

SRT Zero Impact Pickup

“Zero Impact” means no impact in the tone. Most guitar pickup/preamp on-board affects the tone of the guitar. But Yamaha was able to minimize the effects of the pickup to almost none. Previous models of Yamaha LS6 has no pickup included but they added one when they upgraded it and it is a good thing that its tone is not affected when they installed a pickup

However, the sound produced is not really beautiful because there is no preamp and eq on-board that you can tweak to shape the sound. It lacks low mid tones. In my opinion, I am not satisfied with it but once tweak in the eq of the amp or PA system, it will sound good. Also, you don’t need a battery to amplify its sound because there is no preamp in it.

This is the Yamaha LS6 Mahogany in Natural Finish

Yamaha LS6 – Mahogany

To conclude, there is no eq and volume control. It is completely concealed but you won’t need a battery to amplify the sound. It is not the best amplified sound but it can work when tweaked in the amp or PA system.

Designed well for fingerpicking

Besides of the Concert-Sized body that is designed for fingerpicking, the Playability is also designed for this. Changing position is very easy, it also has a low action that can help run across the fret board without spending too much energy in it.

Sounds remarkably good

Because of the A.R.E, this guitar sounds fantastic. It is warm and vintage sounding, like the guitars that has age more than a decade already. While it may not be the best sounding guitar, it definitely sounds pleasing in the ears especially when played by a good fingerpicker.

Each tone is heard enough and not overpowering each other. Light strumming also works better than aggressive strumming and its punchy mids sits right in the mix. It lacks the bass that you can hear in the Dreadnought but it is compensated well with the mids and the highs.

Built quality is superb

Being a handcrafted guitar, the built is definitely high quality. It hold its tune well and stays good for a long time. Intonation is also perfect right out of the box. However, some users reported that what they got needs to be set-up first but this is not a common report.

The nuts, tuners and saddles are not the best ones but it is decent enough to justify the price it have. You have the option to change it to a premium one especially if you are doing recordings.

Best String gauge for Yamaha LS6

I prefer light gauge strings for this guitar as they make fingerpicking easier than heavier gauge. But this will be up to your preference. Sound-wise and Playing-wise, light gauge is the winner for me.

Should you buy it?

I highly recommend it. In its price range, I definitely believe that this is one of the best. You will definitely love it if you are doing a fingerpicking often. But if you are the aggressive strummer type, then you might look at other guitars, Dreadnought type specifically.

Anyway, this guitar is worth the money if you just want something to play around with. It has a small body and it might also affect your playing, but you’ll get used to it.

Yamaha has added another variant of this guitar model which is the Yamaha LS6m. It uses Mahogany in back and sides while the LS6 uses Rosewood instead.

Conclusion

Yamaha LS6 is a premium guitar made by Yamaha. It is the cheapest one of the L Series and if you are interested in this series, there are higher quality ones that is, of course, priced higher but sounds better.

This guitar is perfect for fingerpicking and does the job well but not for aggressive strummer who uses power to play. Light strumming is where this guitar shines more.

It may not be the best guitar out there but I highly recommend that you try this one because in its price range, it can definitely satisfy all your guitar needs with regards to sound and playability.

Are you interested in this guitar? If you have a question about this, feel free to leave a comment and I will definitely help you.

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The Yamaha LS6 Review - A Decade worth of wood out of the box

Yamaha LS6 is the cheapest in the L Series but it doesn't mean that it's not a great. Best for fingerstyle players so you should check it out if you are one.

Editor's Rating:
4.4

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