The Yamaha Trans-Acoustic Guitar

Posted 7th Jun 2018 20:00pm

Yamaha Trans-Acoustic Guitars blog & review | Derosa Music | Bishop's StortfordYamaha Trans-Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha, in many ways, has been at the forefront of innovation, never afraid of creating something new and fresh and the Yamaha Transacoustic guitars are just that. With fantastic build quality and a keen eye for detail, trans acoustic guitars produce a live room experience entirely from the guitar itself. This feature is perfect for enhancing practice, song-writing & recording. Once you play a Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar, you’ll have to have one – but you’ll have to come & try one to find out!

 

How the Yamaha Trans-Acoustic Guitar (TA) works

The “Trans” part is derived from technology pioneered in Yamaha’s digital pianos. On the inside of the guitar body, on the backboard, there is a circular plate known as “An Actuator” which presses up against the back of the guitar. When activated, play (as you would any other guitar) and watch real-life magic happen!

Yamaha Trans-Acoustic Guitars built-in actuator | Derosa Music | Bishop's Stortford

As if by magic, the actuator circuitry turns on Chorus and Reverb effects which are heard acoustically without the aid of any pedals or amplification. This is achieved by the Actuator interfering with the vibrations caused by strumming the strings.

It’s an astonishing effect which, even after you hear it, is still astonishing. Better still is that the guitar range fitted with the TA feature are really nice guitars in their own right.

 

How are they to play?

I’m sorely tempted to leave this at just VERY WELL! But that wouldn’t make for a very interesting read. They come in a series of different body shapes/sizes and a choice between a solid top, laminate back and sides options or all solid options.

This is good for two reasons: Firstly, to help meet a lower budget. Secondly, size wise for a more petite person you have a comfortable alternative to the bigger bodied guitars.

 

LL-TA

The LL-TA is a “Yamaha Original Jumbo” size (essentially a Dreadnought with slightly bigger hips), the FG-TA model comes in what Yamaha calls a “Traditional Western” which is basically a Dreadnought configuration with a cutaway section to access the higher notes.

 

LS & FS-TA

The LS-TA and FS-TA come in a Concert size configuration, so these would be a more suitable option for those seeking a smaller bodied guitar.

Both models play exceptionally well, they feel good in your hands and have a really nice tonal character. The bigger bodied LL and FG models have a deep rich sound whereas the small bodied FS and LS sit nicely in the midsection.

 

LL-TA LS-TA FS-TA FG-TA
Body Shape Yamaha Original Jumbo Concert Concert Traditional Western

 

To get the full spec, click on the link below:

https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/guitars_basses/ac_guitars/ta_series/specs.html

Both Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar models come in different finishes such as Raspberry Red, Brown Sunburst, Vintage Tint and Black, which finishes you get depend on which guitar you decide to go for.

 

Honest review of the Pro’s & Cons

 

PROS

Where to start. There’re so many good things to say about the Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar.

 

1. Build quality

As expected from any Yamaha product, you get excellent build quality, In your hands, they feel solid and well put together. The binding is neatly applied around the edges of the body and up the neck.

On the more expensive LL and LS TA’s you get a 5 ply fixture of mahogany and rosewood up the neck to help prevent twisting or warping (insert image) you also get higher spec in terms of Ebony fingerboards as opposed to rosewood. The link above will give you the full spec.

 

2. Sound (Acoustically and plugged in)

So as stand-alone acoustic guitars they all sound great, as expected the bigger bodied models get a bigger, punchier sound, very distinct from the smaller bodied versions. All of them achieve a lovely all rounded tone, especially the all solid versions (LL and LS).

When using the Trans-Acoustic facility I can only refer to the technical term.. WOW. As if acoustically they didn’t already sound great but with the TA turned on it really brings the guitar to life. You can fully achieve the tone of a 12 string with the use of chorus (it’s like having two guitars in one!) and the reverb puts you in the Albert Hall.. You really have to try it yourself to fully experience what I’m trying to tell you, online videos don’t do the TA’s justice.

 

3. Ease of use

For the most part, the TA’s function just like any other acoustic guitar. In terms of controls you have three slightly concave plates (Insert image) you can see by the illustration below how they are placed, it operates in the following manner:

A – Chorus Control

B – Reverb (Room/Hall)

C – TA switch*/Line out volume adjustment. *Pushing the plate in for more than 0.3 seconds will activate the TA.

 

4. Innovative approach to design and use of tech

The more cynical amongst us might be saying “TA’s are just another novelty” or “Its a waste of money!” assuming that these people exist, they couldn’t be more WRONG! There’s no reason why the TA’s shouldn’t appeal to a wide demographic (Whether you’re a performer or Home player).

For instance, with any of the TA’s you get:

  • A very well made, great sounding instrument.
  • A high quality pick up system for conventional electro-acoustic use.
  • The Trans acoustic tech with no additional equipment needed to create effects (Optional on or off).
  • Trans acoustic effects are passed via the guitar output to an acoustic amp

In terms of the control design, Yamaha looks as though they’ve taken a leaf out of Taylor guitar’s book, using a subtle, un-hindering design, smaller cuts out of the timber help the instrument’s structural integrity.

 

5. Additional accessories

The LL and LS models come with a really nice foam shell case (known as a hard bag). It utilises high impact foam and rigid stitching. It also comes with a fair amount of pockets for additional accessories like leads, books, tuners etc.

 

CONS

Nothing that’s man-made has no downside but the Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar come fairly close. I’ve had to be very picky here, trying to find things that are classed as “possible improvements” rather than true “bad” points.

So in the interests of balance.

 

1. There is a small price premium

At the time of writing the prices are as follows:

  • LL-TA = £823.00 (In Vintage Tint and Brown Sunburst). Inc Moulded foam shell hard case
  • LS-TA = £854.00 (In Vintage Tint and Brown Sunburst). Inc Moulded foam shell hard case
  • FS-TA = £670.00 (In Vintage Tint, Brown Sunburst, and Raspberry Red)
  • FG-TA = £670.00 (In Vintage Tint, Brown Sunburst, and Black)

Price premium aside, with the Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar you get a solid, reliable, great sounding and all rounded & balanced sounding acoustic guitar.

 

2. The TA system adds a little weight

This is not an issue for most people but I could potentially see that for some musicians/ regular performers this could be a consideration. Don’t get me wrong they’re not made of concrete but they are a little heavier on account of the tech built inside, just get a wide padded guitar strap and you’ll be fine.

 

3. Lack of pre-amp tone control

Once you put the guitar output through an acoustic amp, tone control issues are sorted and the inbuilt reverb & chorus only enhance the sound of the acoustic. In terms of controlling the sound directly from the guitar, you only have control of the output volume from the guitar’s preamp with no option for treble and bass adjustment.

 

Should I buy one?

Well for any guitar enthusiast the Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar will bring something truly unique to you’re already glorious collection. You need to consider not only budget but YOUR needs/desires.

 

For the performer

Chances are you have your set up and don’t necessarily need another guitar (But when do we need? It’s always want!) so if its a no I would suggest you reconsider.

For a strong reliable workhorse, perhaps either an FS or FG-TA? In the grand scheme of things, an investment of £670.00 for a very playable guitar with unique features is nothing.

 

For the Guitar enthusiast/Home guitarist

This is a no-brainer.

Invest in either an LS or LL-TA Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar. Once you experience the built-in Chorus and Reverb you’ll never look back, these effects have only really been achievable for live playing, so for non-performers you don’t need an amp to get the sounds that you desire. Another worthwhile mention (As mentioned previously) it’s like two guitars in one, the Chorus effect gives it a 12-String like sound, but of course, you have the ease of a 6 string to play. The 12-String sound gives you more options in terms of song choice such as, Wish you were here, Wanted dead or alive to mention a few.

 

Verdict

My best advice would be to consider your needs and what you want from a guitar. With a Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar, you’re pretty much guaranteed a guitar of high quality in every aspect.

Yamaha is the only manufacturer on the market that offer anything like the Yamaha trans-acoustic guitar, if you get one, you’ll be part of an exclusive club and have something that’s very unique.

Next time you’re in town, call in and try one.

 


If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 01279 465155 / sales@derosamusic.co.uk(.) Otherwise, pop in at De Rosa Music, West Wing, The Water House, Water Lane, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 2JZ.

| Derosa Music is a music shop and music school. We sell, rent and teach guitar, bass, drums, vocals, piano, strings, brass, woodwind in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire |



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