Solid Spruce sound board, Ebony Fretboard

Book matched Rosewood back and sides

Guilded Yamaha machine heads on a rosewood neck

Nice understated Perfling

Yamaha L20A

While serving in the Airforce at Ohakea about 19991-92, I had been doing a lot of busking and hitch hiking around NZ with a cheap Yamaha 12 string , playing mostly New Zealand alternative songs from the Flying Nun label, but had an urge to get a six string again.By this stage I really wanted to get a guitar which sounded right to me, rather than just any old thing.

The choice was pretty much narrowed down between some Takamine or an other guitar which I can no longer remember, when I stumbled on the L20A, used, in a shop in Wellington. It had a pretty ugly belt buckle scratch in the middle of it's back, and the previous owner (I believe a Violinist in the NZSO) had wrapped the case handle in sheepskin. The scratch was a good thing, as I would have hated to put the first scratch in such a beautiful instrument.

As I understand it, Yamaha makes accoustic guitars in four categories: mass produced plywood, mass produced solid tops, hand made, and custom.

The L20A is from the hand made series dating from the early 80's. It's claim to fame is that one was played on U2's Rattle and Hum.

Fell in love with the tone, the wood, the understated looks. I think I paid $1350 NZD. Haven't owned another guitar since. This guitar is beautifully made, from top wood, all book end matched, with good quality machine heads. One of the few web references to the L20A mentions that these Yamaha's are not considered collectable. I wonder when that will change?

Considering it is nearly a quarter of a century old, it is in good condition. A few dings here and there, the guilding has partially worn off the machine heads, the High E can catch on a couple of fret ends, normal fret wear. Nothing serious.