Home Forums Guitar Discussion Guitar Yamaha SA-50? or SA-30? can anyone help?

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    Hi people!

    My name is Ricardo and I’m from Portugal.

    Lately I’ve been very interested in these early Yamaha SA models. Not only the SA-30, but the SA-50. I’ve listened these guitars and I think they are simply amazing. Sound, finish, reliability, everything seems to be pretty balanced and well built, very reliable. I know a person near my city (OPorto) that has one SA-50, spot on, mint condition and he considers it a treasure to be kept.

    Anyway, I found an Yamaha SA model at a good price, that I’m wanting to buy in Lisbon. I’ve been talking to the owner and he knows little about the guitar, he’s been keeping it untouched for the past years, so he’s trying to sell it.

    Here’s some pictures:


    After a lot of research, the guitar has been definitely changed by a previous owner. He installed a Shadow active PU, with and additional switch near the control knobs (i wonder who does that?! my god…) on the neck and a vintage Hofner PU on the bridge. Those were the only changes he performed because he didn’t like the sound of the original pickups. Meanwhile, the tremolo bar is missing, the tuners were also changed along the way. The serial number is nowhere to be found because, after carefull examination, I think the fingerboard was changed. The previous owners don’t know who (possibly) did it, but it sure seems like it.
    The fingerboard has dot inlays, so that was for a period of time the main question wether it was a SA30 or a SA50, but all the other features check out: the kind of binding and bridge tend to show that this is a SA50.

    The only number or inscription that is shown is on the PU pocket like a stamp: something like “?091” (I’m not sure about the first letter or number).

    Anyway, the main goal is to perform a restoration close to the original SA50, and I contacted Yamaha to ask if they would have spare parts or they could make them as custom parts, but they don’t.
    So, I’m trying to gather as much information to know how to get similar:

    – PUs – these dimensions are pretty awkward; the original PUs look like smaller HB’s, but a little bigger than the mini HBs. I’m thinking on putting GFS Mini HBs, the Fat ones. What do you think?

    – tremolo arm – where can I find a similar one? I’m thinking on making one on a chop shop, for example. Do you have a better idea?

    – pickguard – the original one reminds me of the Epiphone kind of shape; with a little cutting, it could do the trick. Right?

    So, what do you think? I’m open to suggestions!

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