Re: Yamaha FG360
John, I've been trying to research these early, higher-end Yamahas for some time now. The FG-360 seems to be on the bottom end of Yamahas first group of hand-built and semi hand-built instruments of the early seventies (72-75 mostly). The four lower numbered models, FG's 360, 580, 630(12 string), and 700s appear to have solid tops but laminate sides and backs. These four seem to be semi hand-built. When I asked a Yamaha tech just what semi hand-built meant, he said there is some record that these may have been put together by a group of luthiers instead of just one. He offered that the stamped letter or letters on the back brace, just below the paper label, could be a signature of sorts for one of these groups. On my FG-630 the same letter (K) is stamped both on the back brace and on the top under the bridge. Some have suggested that these letters are the initials of a single luthier but I haven't found any definitive information one way or another. The higher five, FG's 1000J, 1200J, 1500, 2000, and 2500(12 string) have all solid tops, backs and sides and are hand-built. Of all of the models, I've found less information about the 360 than any other. There is some question as to whether it should be included in this special group at all, but my research tells me that it's jacaranda back and sides and ebony fingerboard say it should. These woods seem to exist on the Japanese built models (72? & 73?) but the taiwanese built 360's (74? & 75?) seem to have rosewood fingerboards. Though Yamaha moved it's factory to Taiwan in 1971 it continued to produce hand-builts in Japan after this date. This might suggest that the Japanese 360's are semi hand-built while the Taiwanese ones aren't. There may be no way to really know because Yamaha didn't seem to have kept many records back then. There should be a serial number stamped on the top brace just above the sound hole. The first number will be the year your guitar was made, a "3" means 1973, a "4" is 1974 etc. The next two numbers are the month it was made, "03" is march and 11 is november etc. The next two numbers are the day of the month and the last three are the specific number your instrument was, in the series of guitars made. I'm not sure what this series was...day, special run, week, or what. So check your paper label to see where it was made and the serial number to find out when. The price these days seems to be $300-$500 depending on condition and beauty of wood etc. Hope some of this helps.