You gotta sift through a couple of dozen of acoustic-electric guitars (and that is if you are lucky) to finally stumble upon the one that fits your needs and requirements. It definitely is not an easy task but there are things that might ease it. For instance, looking into guitars of certain companies that have a good reputation and large range of products might be the first step. AND what other brand has as amazing of a reputation and diverse products as Yamaha? Their APX500III is a great, beginner guitar but in this case, you also get a whole bundle of other things that will be useful to you at a much less price.
The APX500III is a thin line cutaway model that features a spruce top and nato back and sides. Nato and spruce are pretty standard tonewood that a lot of manufacturers use for a good reason. They complement each other perfectly and create a rich sound with great resonance. This tonewood is also pretty durable, unlike a lot of the other more affordable guitar tonewoods.
The cutaway on this instrument is pretty handy for accessing upper frets. This, along with the thinner body and great, playable nato neck, provides a lot of comfort. The tonewood is vital to the final sound of the guitar but one should never underestimate the bracing pattern. In this case, Yamaha used non-scalloped X-bracing which gives the model more resonance and the ability to vibrate.
Hardware & Bundle Details
Let’s talk a bit about the hardware in this model. While it is impossible to win on every front, especially with guitars at such a low price, Yamaha definitely did attempt to do so. The rosewood headstock and bridge along with die-cast tuning machines are nothing to rave about but they are pretty standard and will give a beginner close to zero issues. The saddle and nut are not really specified which might be a bit of a problem but it is probably one of the synthetic materials which definitely does not come close to the real bone but does not ruin the guitar. Now as to what is included in the bundle with this guitar.
You get the chromatic tuner, which is a necessary thing for any player, you also get extra strings, picks and polishing cloth. I have seen a lot of guitar bundles that offer everything, starting from amplifiers to straps just to make the buyer go: oh! I definitely do not need this but at such a low cost why the hell not! In this case, I think you get the basic accessories that you will really use. And finally, you get a hardshell case which is a surprise, to be honest. I was expecting just a cheaply-made gig bag but Yamaha has proven me wrong again and again.
Yamaha APX500III Sound
While the overall sound on the APX500III is pretty great with good tonal balance and intonation there, inevitably are a few issues. One of them is the fact that the action is a bit too high which might be a bit problematic for beginners. The other issue is that the guitar might need a bit more tuning at the beginning than average. The break-in period is an unavoidable part of owning a guitar but with some guitars, it might take a bit more time. That being said, these issues are fixable and at the end, you achieve rich, clear sound with a good resonance that any beginner would love.
Yamaha equipped the APX500III with System 66 electronics. With the under-saddle piezo pickup and mid-range frequency control, you get a pretty authentic reproduction of the sound. The controls include the usual low, mid, high and volume which give you all power to do as you wish with the system. Most importantly, this is a straightforward, easy-to-use system that will find a lot of liking among beginners.
Yamaha, no matter the price of their product always delivers on quality. The APX500III might not compete in the sound with the $1000 model but it definitely outdoors a lot of the other guitars in its price range. The tonal range, lightweight construction, and thin-line body are just a few things that will fit beginner to perfection. Even if this guitar was not sold in a bundle I would still recommend it to any beginner.