Yamaha RGX320FZ

Ever since it was founded in 1887, Yamaha has existed purely to indulge your schoolboy fantasies. Provided it's loud, fast and dripping with testosterone, Yamaha will build pretty much anything.

As such, a quick perusal of their website found TG contemplating ownership of everything from the MT01 Roadster motorbike to the RX Warrior snow mobile.

Finally, having realised that not even re-mortgaging the house would pay for either, we reluctantly clicked the section marked 'Musical Instruments.'

That's where we found the RGX320FZ. It's one of the most affordable electric guitars in Yamaha's saucy RGX range, and will get you laid faster than any poxy snow mobile.

Overview

Yamaha have always tried to match their US counterparts in terms of design. They managed it in 1976 with the SG2000, and it looks like they might have done it again.

From the shimmering paint job (it's called pewter, by the way) to the recessed control dials, the RGX320FZ looks like it has fallen off the back of the Millennium Falcon.

Cosmetics aside, the RGX320FZ has a combination of features that you don't see together often. It offers a carved top, set mahogany neck, back-angled headstock and twin humbuckers (like a Les Paul), but throws a curveball in the form of twin cutaways and a rib contour (like a Stratocaster).

We could be proved wrong, but this guitar initially struck TG as the best of both worlds – like welding Sandra Bullock's head onto Jordan's body.

Yamaha's blurb proudly points out that the RGX320FZ is their first electric to combine twin cutaways with a set neck at an affordable price. Without wishing to piss on their sushi, TG was keen to establish that this hadn't jeopardised the strength of the neck joint.

But don't sweat it. While the back-kinked nature of the headstock means you don't want to drop this guitar from any great height, we didn't have a problem with its overall toughness.

The RGX320FZ is simple and sexy. Just look at the hardware. For all its convenience and reliability, the combination of tune-o-matic bridge and string-thru tailpiece is marginally less arousing than a hippo in a tutu.

Yet when you throw in those quirky chrome tail-pieces, it suddenly becomes a talking point. It's the same with the headstock, which combines the no-nonsense ethos of the three-a-side design with a dollop of sex appeal courtesy of the recessed tuning posts.

The result is a guitar that will deliver onstage, and entice a stream of nubile females back to your hotel afterwards.

In use

Like we say, the RGX320FZ has a rib contour round the back, making it feel less blocky than a Les Paul. It's got a useful number of frets – there are 22 of them – and a bound rosewood fingerboard that delivers Yamaha's usual standard of comfort.

The recessed design of the control knobs not only looks cool, but also means you're less likely to twat them while windmilling through chord sequences. It's heavy, but not a serious threat to your lumbar region.

The neck profile of the RGX320FZ isn't bulky enough to spoil the party, but neither is it like gripping a broom handle.

If your current ride boasts a lollipop stick-sized neck, and you can still fit into your childhood mittens, we'd try out a few stretchy chords before you blow your wad. Although if you've got paws like Zakk Wylde, you'll love it!

Sounds

Humbuckers always excel at warmth and depth. If you want to bulldoze your audience into submission, we'd always give 'em the nod over singlecoils. And when you consider the amount of wood that goes into the RGX320FZ's build, it wasn't surprising to find this guitar had a natural tendency towards the thicker end of the sonic spectrum.

Fat distorted riffs are this guitar's bread and butter, and it deals well with modern and vintage overdrive. That said, TG did find ourselves choosing the bridge pickup over the other settings.

It depends what you're after but, when it comes to slicing through the rhythm section, we sometimes found the neck setting a little too thick. As you'd expect, the bridge is best for buzzsaw licks and biting solos, and that's where we felt this guitar really kicked our ass.

Off the back of its Pacifica range, Yamaha's reputation is virtually unrivalled in the entry-level sector. The RGX320FZ won't do that reputation any harm at all.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Original looks. Solid build. Beefy tone.

Cons

Some players might prefer a bit more bite.

Verdict

It's a professional guitar, built with real imagination, that delivers cracking tone at a competitive price.

Available Controls

Master Tone Master Volume

Available Finish

Black/Pewter

Bridge

Tune-o-matic

Case Included

No

Country of Origin

China

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Guitar Body Material

Nato (Eastern Mahogany)

Hardware

Chrome

Neck Material

Mahogany

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

22

Pickup Configuration

2 x Humbucker

Pickup Type

Yamaha

Pickups

2 x Humbuckers

Tailpiece

Signature Yamaha

Unique Features

3D headstock design

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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