Yamaha A5R ARE Review & Prices

Yamaha A5R ARE Review
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  • From Yamaha's 2017 A series
  • Made in Japan
  • 6 strings
  • 25.6"'' scale
  • 15.75" Fretboard Radius
  • Solid Sitka Spruce A.R.E. w/Scalloped Bracing top
  • Solid Rosewood back
  • Solid Rosewood sides
  • African Mahogany (3-ply) neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: SYSTEM71(SRT2 System) + SRT Piezo Pickup (Preamp/Active)
  • Ebony bridge
  • Acoustic C Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Open Gear Chrome (Gotoh) tuners
  • Weight between 4.95lbs (2.2kgs) and 5.2lbs (2.4kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 90
Build quality 89
Value for money 79
Overall Score 84
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Yamaha A5R ARE
  • Made in Japan
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Electronics
  • Ivory Tusq Saddle
  • Solid Top Wood
  • Solid Side Wood
  • Solid Back Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $2300, which means that the Yamaha A5R ARE is around 30% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Japan.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Yamaha A5R ARE meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Yamaha A5R ARE
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Yamaha A5R ARE's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Yamaha A5R ARE weighs between 4.95lbs (2.2kgs) and 5.2lbs (2.4kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the instruments they sell.

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Yamaha A5R ARE's 25.6" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Yamaha A5R ARE Scale Length Comparison
Yamaha A5R ARE's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

It's very similar to a typical long 25.5" guitar scale, but with an extra inch probably to compensate the saddle position in acoustic guitars. It should be pretty much the same as a 25.5" scale guitar.

It will allow you to strum hard without hearing so much fret buzz, even with lower tunings.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Yamaha A5R ARE Neck Profile
Yamaha A5R ARE's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Yamaha A5R ARE has a 15.75" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Yamaha A5R ARE Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Yamaha A5R ARE's fretboard radius compared to others

It's a radius that makes playing single notes (and bending, vibrato, sliding, etc) easier than on a classic Les Paul guitar. However, it's still more curved than some baritone and 7+ strings guitars.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Yamaha A5R ARE has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Yamaha A5R ARE
This model
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.512'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.732'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.4'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.673'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.512'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.732'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Yamaha A5R ARE Nut Width
Yamaha A5R ARE Nut Width

The Yamaha A5R ARE has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Yamaha A5R ARE Fret Size Comparison
Yamaha A5R ARE's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Yamaha A5R ARE's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 80
Playability 73

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Back, Sides
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Rosewood Back and Sides: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Mahogany Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

Pickups

This guitar comes with preamp pickups that will allow you to connect it directly to an amplifier and record with it, or use it live.

It has Multi-Voicing electronics. This means the pickups can change their output, tone, or sound. Piezo, Fishman and similar are considered multi-voicing pickups.

Sound Score

Sustain 95
Versatility 95
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 90

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Yamaha A5R ARE is made in Japan. You should expect a high-quality guitar with excellent quality control. It can be compared to guitars made in the US, which is why they're also expensive.

Bridge

Ebony: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Yamaha A5R ARE has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More with the same nut material:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 96
Features 80
Quality Control 90
Build Quality 89

All Specs

Yamaha A5R ARE
General
Brand: Yamaha
Year: 2017
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: Japan
Series: A
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Solid Sitka Spruce A.R.E. w/Scalloped Bracing
Bridge: Ebony
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Open Gear Chrome (Gotoh)
Fretboard: Ebony
Neck Material: African Mahogany (3-ply)
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 25.6"
Shape: Acoustic C
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 15.75"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Pickup Mods: Multi-Voicing
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: SYSTEM71(SRT2 System) + SRT Piezo Pickup (Preamp / Active)

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User Reviews

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Your Rating:

1 user reviews:

tbonef profile picture
tbonef
06/03/24 13:05:22

This guitar is awesome. Unfortunately I have never owned a Martin or a Taylor but to get one of them with the quality of tonewoods that this guitar is made of would cost twice the money in some cases 3 times the money. I wanted an sll solid wood acoustic electric with solid rosewood back and sides with torrefied spruce top and a good pickup system with a budget of $2000. This beauty cost me closer to $1500 and it came with a feedback buster sound hole cover, a truss rod allen wrench and s spare nut and bridge not to
mention a very nuce Yamaha hard shell case. The guitar inspres me to jerp plsying with its gorgeous tone and I recommend this to behinners and pros alike!