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Yamaha RGX 112 Mk2 Electric Guitar

"DAMN SEXY!" "OH NO!" "What's that?" "Great!" These are just a few of the different reactions to the arrival of this Yamaha RGX 112 guitar in the PHAZE 1 office. After all, this particular guitar is pretty erm... "rock 'n' roll", as it were. A musical banana, sonic custard, aural advocat? Call it what you will, but tie the RGX to your back and you should never get knocked off your bike again. Finished in bright yellow contrasting with the black and chrome hardware, the RGX is the sort of instrument that calls for a wardrobe full of glittering spandex, a Rocky Horror haircut and the A-Z guide to rock-god posing. Being dismally lacking in all these departments, I'll have to confine myself to a serious look at the plank behind the paint-job.

The RGX, as you can see, is a three pickup solidbody, basically similar to the design of many eighties Strat copies and "SuperStrats" churned out by other Eastern manufacturers. Built in Taiwan, the RGX is the cheapest electric in the Yamaha range. The double cutaway body houses one humbucker (in the bridge position), two single coil pickups and a five way selector switch. Controls are limited to a single volume and single tone control. Picking the guitar up I'm struck by it's lack of weight. The body is made of basswood (not ply), which makes for a very light instrument. The paint job is pretty good, there being few "blips". The contoured body is comfortable, both sitting and standing and the whole guitar is well balanced - a nice surprise considering it's so light.

The neck profile is uniformly thin along its length, a smooth D-shape, reminiscent of a Gibson. The neck is painted black which contrasts the body nicely, although of course it gives no clues as to the wood used. It is in fact mahogany, and well crafted. The neck joins the body on the treble side at the 21st fret, there being 24 in all - pretty good value, eh? The fret job is tidy and precise, the frets themselves being flat-topped and medium sized. With the wide and flat fingerboard, it's a very playable instrument. The dot markers are neatly inlayed, with two markers at the twelfth and twenty-fourth frets.

The chrome hardware and pickups appear to be Yamaha's own, and although all adequate, a few problems do crop up. The machine heads are pretty cheap and the vibrato-arm is of the basic Fender "fulcrum" type - not implicitly bad, but in this case there is little upward travel of the bridge (ie. bending the notes upwards using the arm). If, like me, you've never been particularly fond of whammy-bar flamboyance, there'll be no problem though. The vibrato is a three spring system, a plastic panel on the back of the guitar providing access in time-honoured tradition. The tuning did go occasionally wonky although not disastrously so - I suspect these small problems are symptoms of eager cost-cutting rather than naff workmanship.

When subjected to my naff workmanship, the RGX stood up pretty well. With the five position pickup selector switch, there's a wide range of tones at your disposal. The single coil neck pickup predictably offers a rumbling twangy tone in the Strat mould, not so good for chords but very usable for riffs. The two single coils together, I found a bit disappointing. I thought it lacked the expression of a bona fide Fender - a touch of chorus was required to enhance the sound. Switching to the single middle coil takes the guitar into familiar territory, well suited to full chords, the output of the pickup being strong enough to give a bit of bite.

Integrating the humbucker caused problems in this respect though. It certainly has bite, but it might need muzzling slightly. Humbucker and middle together give a very usable and sharp tone. The initial output of a humbucker compared to single coil pickup is bound to be higher, but in the case of the RGX there's been no volume compensation for this - switching to the bridge pickup causes a considerable increase in volume. Opinions on this may vary. In one respect it could prove useful - given the edgy tone, this pickup position is well suited to soloing, when you'll want some extra volume. On the other hand, if you just want a different tone for a different section of a song, it means you'll also have to alter the volume via the volume pot. Personally I think the latter could prove a bit of an inconvenience - you should be able to switch freely between pickup positions without causing a deafening fright to the rest of the band or becoming lost in the mix.

The actual sound from the humbucker is great though. It's really "punchy" and has enough edge to make the RGX a good rock guitar. And that's basically its appeal. With the vibrato, 24 frets, style and colour schemes, this guitar will obviously find more favour with the aspiring rocker rather than the seasoned bluesman. For your £160 you get a comfortable guitar with an excellent neck, a versatile pickup configuration, a usable vibrato system. The few reservations I've outlined are not too serious and could be seen as subjective - considering the price, the RGX represents excellent value. And damn sexy too! What more could an aspiring rock-god hope for?

YAMAHA RGX 112 MARK 2 GUITAR: £169 inc VAT, no case, available in yellow, black, white and red.

INFO: Yamaha Kemble, (Contact Details).

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Evans Drum Heads

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Casio CSM-1 Tonebank Module

Phaze 1 - Copyright: Phaze 1 Publishing


Phaze 1 - Aug 1989


Gear in this article:

Guitar > Yamaha > RGX 112 Mk2

Gear Tags:

Electric Guitar

Review by Michael Leonard

Previous article in this issue:

> Evans Drum Heads

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> Casio CSM-1 Tonebank Module

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