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1960s Yamaha SA-50 Super Axe Vintage Hollowbody Electric Guitar, 100% Original w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1960s Yamaha SA-50 “Super Axe” in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. Produced at the Nippon Gakki factory from 1967-1971, the SA-50 features one of the best executed, no-corners-cut designs of any Japanese guitar from the '60s, or any other decade for that matter. Boasting dual deep cutaways on the carved flame maple top, a rounded over, slim headstock shape, Jazzmaster-esque vibrato, and glued-in neck joint, there's plenty to love about this vintage hollowbody. As Yamaha built all components of their instruments in-house, including the electronics and hardware, every aspect of the SA-50 is purposefully tailored and unique to this line of instruments. The sycamore body is fully hollow, with figuring on all sides, and acoustically the guitar delivers a sparkling, warm, and even sound.

The guitar is loaded with stock humbuckers governed by Master Volume and Tone controls, a three-way pickup selector, and a "Balancer" pot which provides a smooth gradient between the two pickups when both are engaged. Often mistaken for single coils due to their tonal properties and smaller stature than a more traditional humbucker, the SA-50's pickups are sparkling and detailed, while still retaining a round, full low end. They are true humbuckers in every sense, employing a large coil for picking up the string vibrations from the fully hollow body and a smaller coil for eliminating hum. The guitar has a very smooth and full acoustic voice that cuts through nicely, and the F holes have inset black plastic covers to minimize feedback at high volumes. Weighing 7lbs 2oz, this Yamaha has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action and spot-on intonation.

The two-piece maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile with nicely rounded shoulders, measuring .850” deep at the 1st fret and 1.020” at the 12th. The bound rosewood fretboard features split-parallelogram inlay and stock slender fretwire. The frets have been dressed in the guitar's lifetime, currently showing wear beneath the strings on frets 1-6, with wear extending and growing progressively lighter beneath the plain strings until the octave. There is also light wear on the rosewood fretboard itself beneath the D and G strings from frets 1-7. The guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4” scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1 5/8” in width, accompanied by a zero fret. The original Yamaha-branded Precision High Ratio tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

On the body, the electronics consist of a three-way pickup selector switch, with Master Volume, Tone, and Balance controls for the pair of humbuckers. The original trio of aluminum-topped knobs are intact, along with the black multi-ply pickguard. The stock slender vibrato arm is present, and the unique vibrato tailpiece works in concert with the nylon roller saddles on the bridge for a particularly smooth action. The gloss Natural finish is framed by multi-ply binding on the top and back, highlighting tight bookmatched tigerstripe flame figuring in the sycamore which extends evenly across the body. Cosmetic wear includes a number of minor dings and finish scratches, mostly relegated to the lower bout, a small patch of buckle rash central to the waist on the back, and a small finish chip adjacent to the bass-side F hole. The gloss finish on the neck profile is pristine.

The original hardshell case is included.