Hi Tony, I finally got around to doing a video using my new Talus. I tried to mic it the best I could, but maybe I need to play around with different mic positions. I still think it sounds really really good even with this simple one mic set up. The tune is Drivetime, one of my favorite tunes by Tommy Emmanuel.
Hi Tony, here is a recording I did today of the tune Tenderly using my new Talus. No video this time….just audio. I think it turned out pretty well considering the mic was not very expensive (an Apogee USB Mic straight into Garageband for iPad).
Feel free to use the clip on your website or Facebook page if you wish to do so.
I really love the guitar! I saw another one like mine with cocobolo in Mighty Fine Guitars and it sounds even better! Well done.




Plays great.  Fits my hand well.  Love the bass response. You craft a wonderful guitar!  I believe of all the guitars I have (@25) it may be my favorite.

Jeff M. Cava  09/23/2012    #129

Hi Tony,

My first EP is posted to CDBaby and should be available on iTunes within days.
All four tracks (1,2,3,5) with acoustic guitar are Yamamoto acoustics.
Track 4 has no guitar or it would have been a Yamamoto.
Track 2 (Time Lay Still) was written on the baritone the day after I picked it up from you.
I recorded and finalized Time Lay Still that weekend and bumped another song off the EP to make room for Time Lay Still since friends really liked that song.
Spontaneous artistic creativity for that one, initiated by the new baritone sound.

It is a mix of pop/soft rock. also including fan-fretted electric guitars by Ralph Novaks-Novax Guitars (track 2-3) and non-fan-fretted Sweetwood Guitars by Glenn Sweetwood (track 1).
The bass guitar are all Dingwall fan fretted designs (tracks 1,2,3,5).

The Album name is Lipizzan.
The group name is OutShout (even though I am solo).

Best Regards and Thanks!
Ken Jenks






I had a Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup installed into #123 and all I can say is Oh My God… it sounds unbelievable, I know you are not Mr. Pickup but you should hear what it sounds like it would make you smile, I mean really smile… #123 is everything I have dreamed of in a Baritone and now with the pickup in place it’s perfect I feel like a part of my mission for the perfect Baritone is complete.  Let me know what you decided to do with #122 I’m curious what you finally decided to do with it there is no doubt in the world that these two instruments are very different however and the top for #123 seems to have made all the sonic difference.  I just wanted you to know how killer the sound is now and how much I am enjoying playing the guitar.

Jeff Lionz





Dear Tony,

#113 arrived today, sound and safe.
You made me very happy!
I couldn’t believe this – after more than 30 years with the instrument and so many tries (and errors) I held this guitar in my hands, a true piece of art, completely unique – and so much fun to play. I could not give it out of my hands, the sound is so dynamic and full, the voice and separation is the best I have ever heard and it is not even broken in yet.
The most stunning sensation now is this grand piano like bass (with light strings !!) and the total balance of the strings – no nervous highs, no tension. Relaxing.  Super neck, easy to play, no shoulder pain (and it is a big guitar), feeling very light, and the quality is unbelievable.

You made the whole adventure of having my guitar made in California a very special experience, you gave me the feeling that I was hanging around your shop, watching. And you are so incredibly quick. I really hope my hysterical mails didn’t bother you too much but when I realized your building speed I my coolness melted rapidly …

Tony, you create real value – a rare quality.  Your craftsmanship, the transaction, the shipping (best packed guitar I ever saw) – you handled everything so professionally. And thank you for the additional time you spent answering all my questions and setting my mind at ease.   I am proud and happy to own a Yamamoto.

Now I have to play a bit. Will be short night…

Alexander 11/16/2011

#113 Guatemalan RW, Italian Spruce MS6


Hello Tony –
I purchased one of your OM-Y guitars at Fine Fretted Friends in Livermore, about 5 or 6 years ago now. We met briefly, as you came into Michael’s shop while I was there. I just came across your web site again today, thought I would drop you a note to say I still enjoy this guitar each and every day. I play a little jazz on my archtop and lately I’ve been obsessed with the ukelele, but I return to the fingerstyle OM-Y nealry every day – it remains my favorite.

I hope all is well with you; are you still in touch with Michael? I hope he is well, too.

Best regards,
Peter M. Saucerman



This is how i am feeling playing our new guitar !!!
bass response kills me !
i will spend some hours today ; getting into tunings later-
its really wonderful and your professionalism , on schedule , web pics , payment !!!


JONATHAN (8/30/2010)



Tony,  Congrats on your Acoustic Guitar Magazine Article!  I must say that I am enjoying all three of my guitars.  Thanks for working with Chris Kemp, he is an outstanding musician.  I am sure he will send you several very nice recordings using his Yamamoto guitar.  He recently let me hear a song for his upcoming album in which he used my multiscale #86 side by side with my Greenfield G2 and wow it sounded better.

One good thing about getting his guitar finished… I will finally be able to get #86 back from his studio!

Ray Lance  (5/24/2010)

#086, #095, #097



Dear Tony,
My name is Chris Kemp. I am a musician/instructor.  For 36 years I’ve been playing acoustic guitar.  It is my profession both on stage in the studio and as an instructor.  I’ve been on the common quest of finding the holy grail of guitar sounds.  Until recently I’ve been using a Gibson J200 for my stage guitar and a Taylor for my studio work.  But then I met Ray Lance.  He is a guitar student of mine and he has a wonderful guitar collection which he generously shares with me.  I’m in the midst of recording an album and I’ve been using his guitars.  I’ve used a Bennetto, a Greenfield, and a multiscale beritone created by you.  The Bennetto is very sweet sounding and lovely to play.  The greenfield is very even and finely made, but an interesting thing happened that I’d like to share with you.  I had recorded a version of a Tom Waits song called Walk Away with Ray’s Yamamoto multiscale.  Then a few weeks latter I decided to change a lead riff in the song but I had already given the guitar back to Ray and had borrowed his Greenfield.  I keep detailed records of my recording practices so I was able to closely duplicate the recording environment, but with the Greenfield guitar the sound was lacking the depth and punch that I achieved with the yamamoto guitar.  Your design with the wedge and the small sound hole on the side works fantastically with my preferred recording methods.  I set up a microphone aiming at the bridge about 12 inches away, and also a microphone aiming at the body from about 4 inches in front of the 12th fret.  This second microphone gets a surprising boost of body sound from your side sound hole design.  I’ve fallen in love with the results of your work.  The sound is bliss.  But, I don’t have the massive hands Ray Lance has and I find it difficult to perform on your wide necked multiscale.  Ray has purchased a beritone guitar from you which He has let me play.  It is #95.  It’s made of cocobola and German spruce.  It is beautiful.  The cocobola looks more curry colored than I’m used to with that wood type.  I like it but I prefer the darker reddish color cocobola that’s on the head stock plate of Ray’s guitar.  I’m pointing this out because I’m seriously wanting a guitar by you Tony.  I’d like it to be the size and shape of Ray’s new beritone with the darker cocobola but with a more standard neck width and designed to be tuned to standard EADGBE pitch.  I am a little heavy handed with my playing style. So the scale can be slightly longer maybe.  I like big sound.  I have a very percussive strumming technique. I play wild leads and crazy chords, so balancing all of these preferences and styles might be a little tricky.  I’m not a surgeon like Ray so my checkbook isn’t as useful.  But I’ve got some money saved and value your work enough to take the plunge and start the guitar ordering process.  I’ve been teaching guitar full time for 12 years now and have turned down 3 record contracts with some well know companies because I enjoy teaching so much and needed a break from touring.  But with this new album and the new possibilities for recording musicians that the Internet provides I can see that my future is shifting back into the performing, touring, selling albums way of life.  I’m thinking that a yamamoto guitar could be a great part of that future.

Chris Kemp



Hi Tony:
Its been a while. I am enjoying my guitar. It was not exactly what I was looking for, but I really like it for what it is. Great projection and a nice voice. I have several OMs (Collings, Fay, Hoffman) and the OMY gets more than its share of play.  Seems to have aged well a little too!
Hope all is well.
Craig (#94) (7/23/2010)


It has been about a year since I bought the Redwood and Indian Rosewood Talus from you at your house.  Now that it is Thanksgiving, I think it is only appropriate that I thank you for the fantastic guitar.  I love it!  I have always been a Martin fan (I own two, one since 1965) and have valued their tone and easy action for finger picking.  But now, when I play my Martins they sound muffled compared to the YamamotoTalus.  The Talus is easy to play and the sound has so much life, tone and sustain!  I feel unworthy to play it, but of course I do every day.  Thank you for the patience you showed while I spent for ever deciding between the several guitars that you had on hand at your house.  They were all great guitars and I had such a hard time picking just one.  Now that I have had it to play for a year, I can’t image playing without it.  You are truly a master, and I am honored to have one of your masterpieces to play.
Thank you Tony!
 Tim McHargue   (11/29/2009)




Just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with my Talus. Recently did a DADGAD workshop with William Coulter (you saw him play at Mission City). Mike Nepper was there as well as Stu Frazier, so the Talus was well represented. The guitar you made for me just gets better sounding as it ages, and with Bill Coulters help, I am coaxing tremendous tone out of the instrument. The fine product of your craftsmanship inspires me to improve my playing, which is exactly what I had hoped for when I purchased the instrument. It is my hope to be able to get another of your fine instruments sometime in the future. See you in Healdsburg.

Best Regards,
Janaka Prins


Mike, CR, Janaka and Stu at NGW




Here’s the e-mail from Kenneth Hart in Scotland who ordered custom Yamamoto Baritone. I wasn’t confident about foreign sales but he helped me in many ways and I could deliver the baritone successfully. Most importantly, we had a very nice time in exchanging emails and enjoyed building process.
Thank you Kenny. Tony

Hi Tony
Firstly let me apologise for being a few days in getting back to you with my reactions to your baritone , but I have been tied up a bit recently and couldn’t get the time I wanted to really get the feel of it.

Just to put it all into context, can I tell you Tony , that I own an Olson SJ indian/german , an Applegate SJ brazilian/cedar , a Charis SJ brazilian/cedar , and a Ryan Nightingale african blackwood/spuce ( which I recently discovered was owned origionally by Doug Young ).

As you know, these are all top luthiers with international reputations, but can I say that the quality of your instrument match them in every respect. The quality of the build and finish is exceptional . The aesthetic appearance , which I know is a personal judgement, I find stunning, and a work of art in its own right.

Of course, most importantly it is a guitar, and , although it is a large instrument with a long fingerboard, it is amazingly easy to adjust to quickly, and is comfortable to hold. The fingerboard and neck , I find to be very easy to play, despite the heavy gauge strings naturally requiring a little more effort for fingerstyle than the ultra light elixers I usually use.

The instrument is only a couple of weeks old, and I know it may take many months to open up to its full rich tone, but already the tone is stunningly impressive. The depth of the low strings are warm and full, and the balance , harmonics and sustain are truly top quality. It has a great voice, and will open up a whole new area for me to explore in different tunings.

May I also thank you Tony, for making the whole commissioning experience a very informative and exciting one. You made the guitar very quickly, and by posting almost daily pictures on the web, it felt as if I was in your shop watching you work. The whole transaction and shipping process was very professional, and I have never had a guitar packed so well . A very important part of the process when it is an international journey of many thousand miles. You have a great talent , a wonderful work ethic, and produce world class instruments that will surely find their rightful place beside the other great luthiers of our time.

You have made an old guitarist very happy Tony, and as I spend many hours plucking away on my Yamamoto baritone in my music room in the Highlands of Scotland, I will always feel a close connection to the man whose hands created this wonderful instrument that I am so honoured to own.

In deepest gratitude from your Scottish friend, and with every best wish for the future.







Here’s comments from Rolf, who owns OMY, yamamoto 000 and Baritone.

Tony –

Thanks again for the setup on the 000 – it plays beautifully! Attached is the picture of me playing the 000 at a Trade Show in Oakland. Unfortunately, the photo is low res – I’ll see if I can get a better one.
These guitars are now my ‘mainstays’. Having played for almost 30 years and having had the opportunity to play Goodalls, Martins and others (all fantastic guitars), nothing compares to my OM-Y and 000 for craftsmanship, tone and resonance you can feel in your body. They are literally an extension of me. You have an amazing gift – if there is anything I can do to further your efforts, please let me know.

Have a great weekend!

Here’s some comments from Scott Charles, who custom ordered NylonTalus and Parlor guitars.

Hi Tony,

I really enjoyed having lunch with you today. I hope we can do it again soon.There is something about your artistic craftsmanship as a builder of world class guitars that you must follow.

You see…when I play my parlor, there is a connection to the spirit with the hands of the builder. I think this is what makes the instrument sing…… Collaboration is what comes to mind….. I also know that a true guitarist understands the humility of their artistic gift…. and in my case……that your guitar becomes my voice………..and that is what your gift is…… enable us to play like we have never played before…..

Thank you Tony,
Scott Charles

Here’s some comments from Joe McNamara, who is the West Coast District Sales Manager for C.F. Martin & Co. Joe’s comments are especially pleasing because he’s been in the guitar industry for over 20 years, and he’s played literally every make and model available on the market:

Joe McNamara posted the following on the UMGF (Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum), in response to a recommendation for a Baritone guitar (note: Martin does not currently make a Baritone guitar.)

“Here’s mine, made by Bay Area guitar builder “Tony” Yamamoto.


17″ super jumbo body, 28.5″ scale, tuned B-b.

Red Spruce top, RS 1/4″ bracing, 1 3/4″ at the nut. Ebony bindings and back headstock overlay, all wood fiber inlays, koa B&S, cocobolo fingerboard, striped ebony bridge, all nitro finish. I happened upon Tony’s very first guitars some years back and watched as his skills rose to match his design sense.

When the opportunity to have a baritone built to my specs with no obligation and the right to refuse, I jumped at it. I described and then signed off on the koa set, and gave him the barest of style direction (“like a style 18, but not ‘Style 18’, capisce?”), putting my trust in the taste that I had seen from the first of his guitars.

I decided to buy it within 10 minutes of playing the completed instrument. Until Martin builds a baritone, this one is my recommendation for sound, beauty and value.”

regards, Joe McNamara



Here’s a copy of an e-Mail message sent to Michael Ferrucci, from Mike Nepper who bought a Talus model Yamamoto guitar. This is an update, now that he’s had the guitar for about a month:

Michael, the new Talus has not stayed in it’s case even one day since I got it. And, it is making the rounds to friends and family. Here are a couple pics from Sunday. Lisa Chupity is a singer-songwriter from La Honda who Stu and I met at NGW a couple years ago. She performs extensively around the peninsula and owns a new Willie Carter guitar which was in the Healdsburg show last summer. She was obviously blown away by the Talus and would not give it back to me!

regards, Mike Nepper






To begin, the guitar has plenty of volume yet it has a truly delicate, almost feminine, and extremely clear voice with sustain that seems to last forever. The bass notes, while not powerful, are wonderfully complete. All this coupled with the midrange punch that one would expect from the Redw/hog combo. The tone is rich at the lightest touch. It is feather light and almost squirms in my arms like a baby. I have to take my clip on tuner off when I play because of the loud rattle it makes trying to hang on to the headstock.

Tony’s fit and finish are first class. The bloodwood binding and pau abalone rosset, position markers, and logo were my contribution to the project as well as the 13 frets for volume and fret access. Michael was great to deal with. A real plus was a 60 day or less build time and no deposit. Michael simple said, “We are going to build it, if you like it, you can buy it. If not, I will sell it out of the store.” That took all the pressure out of the “leap of faith” ordering process.

It is just a matter of time before word gets out about Tony. All in all, a highly satisfying custom guitar buying experience.

Heres a link to more pictures: My Webpage.

Steve Leoni





Here’s an e-mail letter from a customer who
just purchased a custom-made 000-style
Yamamoto guitar:

Tony –
Thanks again for the setup on the 000 – it plays beautifully! Attached is the picture of me playing the 000 at a Trade Show in Oakland. Unfortunately, the photo is low res – I’ll see if I can get a better one.

These guitars are now my ‘mainstays’. Having played for almost 30 years and having had the opportunity to play Goodalls, Martins and others (all fantastic guitars), nothing compares to my OM-Y and 000 for craftsmanship, tone and resonance you can feel in your body. They are literally an extension of me. You have an amazing gift – if there is anything I can do to further your efforts, please let me know.

Rolf Crocker
Pleasanton, CA



Michael Ferrucci has forwarded another e-mail letter.
from a customer who just purchased a Talus guitar:

Ok, first and formost, thank you Mr. Yamamoto for building a truly unique intstrument that is as much a joy to play as it is to look at. Words cannot really explain such a thing!

I first played this guitar at Fretted Friends about 3 weeks ago and could not get over the many interesting things about the instrument. As I was noodleing around on it, Mr Yamamoto walked in. He had a big smile on and I mentioned that it felt as though I was playing a 12 fret guitar. He was very pleased to hear this and explained that this new Talus design was supposed to do exactly that, make a standard scale length guitar with cutaway to be very comfortable and accessible. Well yeah, I guess this is a forward thinking dude, don’t you think! We also talked about the Redwood top and Indian rosewood back and sides with real Ebony and Maple pin stripe binding, I’m talking a full, solid wood guitar here folks, and a visually stunning work of art.

So, I couldn’t stay long that day (I live about 50 miles away) and went back the next week and didn’t see the guitar hanging where it was before and my stomach kinda fell out. I found Michael and he had it in the back of the store after taking it home for the weekend. I played it some more and asked if I could take it home for a few days. Michael graciously allowed this, and of course this is a very unusual thing, so let me express my gratitude right now for that special priviledge!

Now, my wife is a wonderful person in many ways, and we have been married………(well a REAL LONG time)…….and she tolerates a lot from me, not the least of which is my addiction to fingerstyle guitar playing. She has endured and eventually has become indifferent to the various guitars that have passed through the house and doesn’t have much input at all. Now (this was a huge surprise to me) she comes in the office, where I basically live, and comments that this guitar is “very pretty” and “the tone reminds me of the Martin” (referring to my venerable 1970 D-28) And finally says “I think you should probably buy this one”. OK, so now is when I hide my shock and stay very cool and say “OK hun, if you think I should own this, then consider it done”. All the time my heart is racing since I planned to do just that anyway! But, pretty cool, huh?!

So now let me conclude with the amazing sound this basically OM size instrument creates. My wife is correct with the D-28 comparison only the Talus is fuller, richer, and has a more dynamic range! Now, I know that is saying a lot, but it is true. I have owned it only a few days now, and it continues to surprise me. I have played many hand built, and expensive guitars in the past few years and some are really good and some are just pretty and expensive. I love sweet melodies and arrangements in altered tunings. In my opinion, this instument has more sensitivity and responsivness and just flat out rips. I find myself playing with much more precision and creativity which is kinda why I do it!

Thanks again,
Mike Nepper
San Carlos, CA



Here’s a note from a recent Yamamoto customer: she found information about my guitars on the Internet, and custom-ordered an OM-Y guitar without ever having seen or played one:

Hi Tony, Michael and Jim…

Sorry, it’s been a hectic summer. I was away on a cross country trip toTexas for a month, then back and starting a new job, getting 3 kids back into school, a week away in the mountains, a new adopted dog – in short, lots of busy stuff! Here’s my brief take on the guitar, feel free to use whatever you would like.

I have had my Yamamoto OM-Y with me for all my travels this summer, and am really enjoying the process of getting to know the guitar. It’s an instrument that blew me away immediately when I picked it up – the tone and response were immediately apparent – but its subtleties are revealed more the more I play it.

I have been playing guitar some 35 years, and while I am by no means a hot player, I know enough to appreciate a fine instrument. I write songs and find that this guitar has made my songs sound better, and has even inspired two new tunes in the short time I’ve had it. It sounds great in standard tuning, but the lower register really shines when I use tunings with lowered 5th and 6th strings. Using a flatpick brings out the volume this baby is capable of, but it does not sound “dead” or boring when I finger pick (and I use bare fingers, never having mastered metal or plastic fingerpicks). And the best part it, the increased volume is across all of the register – it’s not just big boomy lows like some dreadnaughts I’ve played. The highs and mids are really present, with a wonderful tonal quality.

Tuning-wise, the guitar really holds its pitch. I played a couple of songwriter showcases while visiting Nashville during my cross country travels, and had no trouble playing 3 songs with 3 different tunings in one set. Two of the songwriters I played with were really impressed with the guitar, and how much sound it has for such a relatively small instrument.

Besides all that, the guitar feels extremely comfortable – no neck or shoulder pain at all when I play. The only guitar I ever played before that had I sound I loved was much larger, and I just couldn’t play it for longer than about 20 minutes before getting shoulder pain. And of course, it looks beautiful, understated and classy, just as I wanted it. The grain on the spruce and the rosewood are beautiful, and the finish is amazing.

In short, it is the start of a long and lovely relationship with my Yamamoto guitar. I had played several other high end guitars before settling on this one, and only one that was twice as expensive as the Yamamoto even approached its sound and quality. I think Tony Yamamoto should be justly proud of his guitars. I have been babying this one – no one else in my family even gets to touch it! – and know its value and playability will only increase in the years to come.

Thanks to Tony for making this fine instrument, and please let him know how pleased I am. I will spread the word about Yamamoto guitars to anyone I know who is in the market. In fact, I can’t wait to bring it to the luthier who has worked on my other guitars, just to show him how teriffic it is.

Claudia Gibson
Cold Spring, NY


Note: the following is an e-mail message from a recent Yamamoto Guitar customer, sent to Michael Ferrucci, owner of Fine Fretted Friends in Livermore, California. It is un-edited, and complete as sent from Peter:

“Hi Michael –
“Last Saturday was just a great day for both me and my friend Ken. A lovely spring drive through the greening hills, good music & conversation on the way, set the tone for a great afternoon of picking and strumming. You were very generous with your time and attention, as well as access to all the exquisite instruments in your shop. It was a real treat to compare such a wide range of truly heavenly instruments side by side. All the better for examining the luthier work of Tony Yamamoto.

“I came to FFF with an interest in hearing and playing the Yamamoto guitars, but a healthy skepticism, too. A local luthier, a price comparable with moderate offerings from mass-production builders – I had some preconceptions about what I might find. Tony’s OM-Y completely transcended those expectations – Oh My! is right. The weight, heft, feel and silvery tone really grabbed me – I really didn’t want to put that box down. I felt right at home with it.

“The detailing, fit & finish were all quite exquisite. While I appreciated the beautiful, lacy maple leaf shell inlay on Tony’s [Ellison?] guitar, my personal tastes tend towards simplicity. The beautiful, tiny star inlays in the OM-Y fretboard are very understated, but I know enough about woodwork to know they require much more work than simple dots.

“So I was already about half sold when Tony Yamamoto walked in your door. What a lovely man, and what a privilege to have him show me several other elegant and functional features of his work – the reinforcing function of the ebony-laminated headstock, for example. He has an engineer’s head and an artist’s heart. It was an added bonus to have Tony (and you) examine my Mossman and pronounce it OK. By the time Ken and I slipped out for lunch it was pretty much all over but for the card-swiping.

“I must say, Michael, you were quite generous. Extra strings, accessories and a superb case all at no additional charge – it feels like a great, great value to me. I guess that’s what it all boils down to: value. Ken said it well on our return home; that was the best and most enjoyable use of a Saturday he’s had in a long time. I’m doubly thrilled, as I got to bring home a wonderful new guitar. It was great meeting you and sampling guitars. I’ll stop by when in the area, to see what new and interesting things you (and Tony) have cooking.”

very best regards,
~ Peter


“It’s been nearly a year since I got my OM-Y guitar from Fine Fretted Friends, in Livermore, California. I was in the area on a business trip, and, of course, spent some time in Michael Ferrucci’s store.

What I did not expect to see was a new model from Yamamoto… this, a Dreadnought-style guitar, shaped and sized like the fabled Martin D-28. As I spent a few days in the area, I kept returning to the store, and found myself spending more and more time with that guitar.

“Before it came time to leave for the next leg of my business trip, I spent some serious time with this new-design Yamamoto Dreadnought. I played it against the Dreadnought offerings from… well… let’s just say the finest of the Major Brand manufacturers. And I have a critical ear for Dreadnoughts, and already own a Gibson Hummingbird, a Leach Dreadnought, and a third custom-build Dread that I’ve always considered to be Very Special.

“Tell you what: the new Yamamoto Dreadnought blew away everything I thought I knew about Dreadnought guitars. Super-low action that makes fretting chords stupidly easy. A wide, 1 3/4” width at the nut that was perfect for my fingerstyle playing. Solid Adirondack Spruce top, with solid Adirondack Spruce bracing (using Tony’s unique design).

“And a very unusual choice for the back and sides: Solid Cocobolo wood, from Central America. I’ve always been a believer in the wildly-expensive Brazilian Rosewood, based on a very educational afternoon that I spent with Harvey Leach some years ago. But let me say this: as used on this Yamamoto guitar, this Cocobolo is very solid and resonant. Tap the back with your knuckle, and you can feel the whole instrument ‘ring’ with resonance. Absolutely amazing.

“A combination of woods, bracing and design? YES. The end result? Off the scale amazing.

“Suffice it to say: I returned from this business trip with my second Yamamoto guitar. (Major apologies to my long-suffering wife at this point… I think she now completely understands my guitar… focus. That’s it… focus!)

“I guess that what I’m trying to say (in this overly-long explanation) is that: I wasn’t looking for another Dreadnought guitar.

“My Gibson Montana-build Hummingbird always provided the bright, chimey-tone that can be had with a well-built Dread. And my Leach Dread provided the darker, deeper overtones and harmonics that one would expect from Rosewood. And as you would expect, you have to play it harder to get those tones. That is, harder than the Hummingbird.

“The complete and total surprise from the Yamamoto Dread was… this particular instrument was the best of everything. Super low-playing action, that doesn’t ‘buzz’ against any fret, no matter how hard you strum it. Amazing sustain, even when played fingerstyle. A superb balance across the scale, from the lowest to the highest notes: and again, even when using chord shapes above the 10th fret, the tones and harmonics ring true in a way that I’ve never heard from another guitar. Intonation? Perfect. Action? Perfect. Sustain? Tone? Balance? Beyond belief.

“Now realize that I’ve already submitted what could be called a ‘testimonial’ (appears later on this page – ed), but I was so freakin’ amazed by this new Yamamoto Dreadnought that… (sigh) I brought it home (to more apologies of my wonderfully-understanding wife).

“Right now, today? I practice/play both my Yamamoto OM-Y, and my new Yamamoto Dreadnought. Why? Easy to play. And both of them ring like a bell when I strum an open chord. I’m always amazed. And it always puts a smile on my face.

“Yesterday, my 8 year-old step-daughter came into the room while I was fooling around with my Gibson SJ-200. She listened for a few minutes (while she hugged her cherished dolly-bean doll)… and then said: ‘Jim, you should switch back to your Yamamoto guitar. It really sounds better.”

“I was stunned. But you know what they say: ‘From the mouths of babes…'”

Jim Wolcott
Mount Vernon, WA



“I’d been looking for a long time for a guitar that was just right for me… and had played a lot of different instruments in a lot of stores. One day I went into Michael Ferrucci’s “Fine Fretted Friends” shop, and played several of the guitars he had on display. Michael spent a lot of time listening, and then asked me about what I wanted from a guitar. The kind of sound I wanted.

“Turns out that he had a Yamamoto guitar in the back room… something that Tony Yamamoto had recently completed and dropped off for Michael’s evaluation. Michael got out that guitar and passed it to me. I know it sounds crazy, but after a few minutes, I knew that this was the guitar I’d been looking for. Everything about that guitar… the feel… the finish… the overall attention to detail… told me that I had to take it home. Oh: did I mention the sound? Wow! This is a fabulous instrument. I would recommend a Yamamoto guitar without hesitation. Tony does fabulous work!”

Scott Brown

UPDATE: May 10, 2005: Scott custom-ordered a second guitar from Yamamoto Guitar, made with custom-ordered solid Ziricote wood back and sides, a non-cutaway (standard) design, and with custom “shamrock” inlay work. Scott had the following to say about his recently-finished Yamamoto guitar:

As with my other Yamamoto, the more I play it, the better I like it. Please let Tony know that I’m very happy with the way the guitar turned out.




“I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 9 years old. No, I’m not a famous musician, but I own over 20 guitars, and my collection includes stuff like Martin, Leach, and Gibson acoustic guitars. To date, my favorite acoustic guitar was a Gibson SJ-200; recent manufacture, from the Montana facility.

“My home is north of Seattle, Washington. I’ve been a longtime friend of Michael Ferrucci, owner of Fine Fretted Friends in Livermore, CA. Recently, Michael took a trip to Italy, and asked me to watch his shop… take care of sales and inventory… something only a “best friend” would do.

“My wife gave me permission to help Michael… fly down and run his Fine Fretted Friends guitar shop… with only one mandate: “Jim: don’t you dare bring home another guitar!

“To make a long story short: I failed my wife’s orders. And let me tell you why:

“While I was running the shop, I met Tony Yamamoto, and we spent a long afternoon talking about guitar design, and about his guitars in particular. He told me that he’d recently finished a guitar of hybrid design… somewhere between an OM size guitar and an SJ size. He was sure I’d like it.

“Well, Tony showed up the following morning with this guitar. What a bad time. On this day, the city of Livermore was doing road work right in front of the store. Major road work. I mean, the whole thing, with jack-hammers, saw-cutters, etc. It was loud!

“So I asked Tony if I could take this guitar home after the store closed… maybe for a couple of days… to spend some time with it. He agreed.

“After the store closed, I threw Tony’s guitar in the back seat of the car. It had been a long day. I was tired. I didn’t expect much, but I’d made a promise.

“An hour later, I was playing this Yamamoto guitar. Like I said, I own a lot of guitars… but this one was different. Was really easy to play. Was small-ish, and comfortable to hold. And loud. I mean, really loud, for a guitar of this size. Incredible sustain.

“After a couple hours playing this guitar, I called Tony Yamamoto at his home.

“And I told him that he’d made something really special. Beautiful combinations of woods, super neck and fret work, huge dynamics in the sound, and flat-out overall amazing. I told him that I wanted to own this guitar. And we worked it out.

“Before I left Michael’s shop to return home, I told him about this Yamamoto guitar. I told him that I believed the Yamamoto would seriously challenge Michael’s own prized SJ-200 in all regards.

“Well, the challenge was on!

“Michael and I spent the next hour, comparing the two guitars back and forth, playing similar stuff on both instruments. An unfair match, to be sure: A custom Gibson SJ-200 (Jumbo-size, with Koa back and sides) vs the Yamamoto (OM-size, with Mahogany back and sides).

“But guess what? After playing all kinds of unfair tests, the two guitars turned out to be very similar… from the slightest touch to the most aggressive playing. The Yamamoto was always easier to play, thanks to its lighter-gauge strings and smaller size.

“Finally, the Gibson stood out when strummed really hard with a pick. But that’s to be expected from a guitar nearly twice the size. Realize that the Gibson only bested the Yamamoto in terms of absolute volume. And even then, the difference was small.

“So now I have a Yamamoto guitar in my collection. Do I play it every day? Yes. What would I compare it to? Well, maybe my own Gibson SJ-200, in terms of volume and ease of play. Maybe a Martin OM-28V in terms of easy play, and response to touch. Even then, the Martin falls far short for dynamics, balance of tone and sustain. I mean it! Realize that the Gibson SJ-200 is a Jumbo-size monster. Huge. The Yamamoto is much smaller: OM-size. More comfortable and easier to play… yet every bit as responsive. Both the Gibson and the Martin that I mention here are far more expensive than the Yamamoto. Nearly twice the price. Incredible.

“Tony Yamamoto takes personal pride, care and craftsmanship in every guitar he builds. My Yamamoto guitar is now among my three favorites in my collection. Regardless of cost.

“Should you buy a Yamamoto guitar? In my opinion, Yes!

“Get one before Tony realizes just how much they’re worth!”

Jim Wolcott
Mount Vernon, WA



“I’m what you’d call a semi-pro musician. Played in bands, bars, and nightclubs for about 30 years. I’ve cut a couple CDs, and they’ve always sold well where I play.

“I was in the Fine Fretted Friends store when Jim Wolcott made arrangements with Tony. Knowing Jim, I was really surprised. Jim has probably a coupe dozen guitars. But then I played Tony’s guitar… the one Jim bought. It’s unreal. Very sensitive, with a huge range. The workmanship is incredible. You really have to see one of Tony’s guitars to believe it.

“So, get this: I’ve ordered a guitar from Tony. He’s building it for me, after he takes care of his other orders. I can’t imagine a better recommendation, and I can’t wait to play the guitar that Tony’s building for me!”

Roger Kardinal
Dublin, CA