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This article was originally published in issue #65
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Reverb and chorus effects built-in.
Classical body shape
Solid spruce top
Ovangkol back and sides
On-board reverb and chorus effects
Using the latest in sonic technology, Yamaha's CG-TA TransAcoustic classical nylon-string guitars can transport you to new creative spaces with immersive reverb and lush chorus effects, but without the need of an amp or other external gear. Here's Giorgio Serci with more information.
Yamaha has been producing musical instruments since 1887 and guitars since 1940. This iconic brand has been synonymous of excellence in the design and craftsmanship, with incredible attention to detail, reliability, as well as being at the forefront of technological innovation. These attributes are all evident in this guitar, the CG TA (Classical Guitar - TransAcoustic model).
It is well known that Yamaha’s range includes a wide variety of classical, flamenco, steel-string acoustic and electric guitars, as well as pretty much any musical instrument from any instrument family with prices and specifications ranging as widely.
One of the objectives with the TA was to enhance the natural tonal and dynamic qualities of an inexpensive standard sized classical guitar with the most unique and innovative device of this kind, in the market: the ‘TransAcoustic’ system.
This consists of an actuator, which is installed on the inner surface of the guitar and vibrates in response to the vibrations of the strings. The vibrations of the actuator are then conveyed to the body of the guitar, and to the air in and around the guitar body, generating authentic reverb and chorus sounds from inside the body.
Three small knobs minimize the area of the holes in the body material, reducing acoustic sound loss.
(A) Chorus Control
(B) Reverb Control (Room / Hall)
(C) TA Switch / Line Out Volume Control
* Pressing the TA Switch for more than 0.3 seconds activates the TA function.
* The reverb type switches from Room to Hall around the 12 noon position.
This inexpensive guitar is still a beautiful instrument to play. More resonant and refined in its finish than what you would expect for a guitar in this price range, Yamaha never fail to maintain the bar high when it comes to consistency and excellence, as always combining traditional and contemporary methods with winning characteristics including consistency in the finish, tone, playability and attention to detail all around. These qualities make this one of the most famous classical guitar brands in the market.
Straight from its case, this standard size classical guitar has a lovely natural look, with contrasting wood colours including a solid spruce top, ovangkol back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, with bone 52mm nut and saddle.
It features a natural inlaid wood mosaic rosette, while its neck meets the upper bout in a fluid and ergonomic manner, and beautifully contrasting its back and sides.
Both the 52mm nut and the saddle are made of cow bone for an improved sustain. The neck is very comfortable to play with an optimum action, straight from the factory.
The rosewood fingerboard helps to give this a very resonant guitar mid-range, and even with its thin body, this guitar has a generous and well-balanced response all across its range.
This guitar features a passive six elements piezo pick-up (as used on their SRT system), which gives a very clear and precise signal as you can hear from my demo is a really good system, particularly as it ensures, a consistent internal dynamics from all the six strings. Many piezo pick-ups in the marked fail to reproduce the sound of each string with consistency, whereas this is really outstanding.
The amazing additional treat, built-in in the guitar is the reverb and chorus effect. This can be used unplugged, to enhance the acoustic sound of the guitar with the TA system, as well as through a PA or an acoustic amp.
The former is a wonderfully conducive bonus, which will inspire any player, particularly the beginner and intermediate ones, as the sound is so lush and makes you want to play more. It reminds me of when I have found myself playing guitar in a church, or a staircase with a wonderful natural reverb, whereby every note has more sustain and volume.
Although Yamaha mentions that the main aim for this guitar was to enhance the experience of playing time in a domestic use, I straight away thought of those situation where I had to use an acoustic guitar amp just to enhance the guitar of 5%-10% (more would have been too loud) to rehearse or even to perform acoustically with a singer or a double-bass player or strings or similar instruments louder than the guitar.
The TA guitar will enable us to play with the above instruments without an amp. And if more volume is needed, then the six elements Piezo pick-up will enable us to do so with incredible clarity and precision.
As a result of the above-characteristics, this guitar is extremely versatile, as it can be used to play and record a variety of genres, including Folk, Brazilian music such as Bossa Nova, Samba, and fingerstyle in general.
It took me no time to tune it and to feel at ease with its action, with a very good setup straight from the factory.
In conclusion, an incredibly innovative instrument from Yamaha, this guitar is designed to enhance playability, and enjoyment with its sophisticated TA system which makes an inexpensive, although still well made classical guitar, sound like a very expensive one, played in a wonderfully resonant room.
I strongly recommend finding a Yamaha dealer near you and trying the CG TA; I am sure you will be blown away with these instruments!
The guitar is constructed with a solid spruce top and solid Indian rosewood back and sides. A mahogany neck (with the ebony fingerboard) spanning up to a single cut body design. The guitar has tons of quality features and hardware, but perhaps the most stand out item for me was the CTP3 CoolTube pre-amp. This guitar has all the pre-amp options you would expect from a high end acoustic guitar, such as 3 band EQ (with the options of honing in on particular frequencies in each band), an in-built tuner, even an aux input inside the guitar to connect a second pick up to and blend with the guitars main pickup. But this guitar has one more trick up its sleeve, a tube! (a valve, depending on where you are, I don’t even know anymore!) Putting the ‘Tube’ in CoolTube, this small and discrete 12AU7 dual-triode vacuum tube that runs cool to the touch is inside of the guitar body. This tube can be controlled with a standby switch (so you don’t have to have it activated to use the pre-amp as regular) and a knob which controls the amount that the tube is working at a low voltage.
Now keep in mind this guitar plugged in without CT activated sounds rich and full, most would be very happy with how it sounds. Acoustically as well this guitar is resonant, full and very satisfying to play sonically. However when we activate the tube, we are treated to an enhanced, harmonically rich and full sound. The tone somehow warms up and becomes a lot more resonant, harmonics leap out of the guitar. I am not sure how this would work at high volumes with stage monitoring, I could imagine that feedback might become an issue? However, if you are performing at low volumes or doing some home recording, I would imagine this cool tube technology would be super valuable for creating some really rich and warm sounds! Combine the CT technology with the original versatility and tone of this guitar and then remember we can add as second pick up very easily via the Aux option. This can be controlled with its own Mix and Gain volume, the tonal possibilities direct out of this guitar are almost endless.
I am very impressed with this acoustic guitar, it looks amazing, sounds great, plays wonderfully. It’s got the whole bag! (Actually, it does come with its own high-quality case!) The build feels so solid while also feeling very natural and welcoming. Quality is oozing out of this guitar. I would personally love to have one in my arsenal of sonic tools! I would highly recommend this to any serious guitarist looking for a versatile and stunning acoustic instrument!
Solid spruce top
Solid rosewood back and sides