’90s Yamaha AEX-1500

August 16, 2007

In the early days of eBay, I used to do daily searches under “Electric Guitars,” and look at every blessed guitar listed within the last 24 hours. This was fun when there weren’t that many instruments to look at, and I found myself bidding on many eclectic guitars that normally would never show up on my radar screen. This Yamaha AEX-1500 was one of those. Of course, as eBay grew larger, I had to quit those daily searches, and, well, get a life.

When I first spotted this beauty, the seller had set an opening bid of $700, with no bids offered the first week of sale. The second week, he lowered the opening bid by $25, and still had no bids. The AEX looked intriguing, so I e-mailed the seller after the second auction ended, writing, “I’m sorry there were no bids on this guitar, but I think you’re asking more than the market will bear. I could give you $450 plus $25 shipping if you’re interested.”

After two weeks, I figured he had blown me off, but then he e-mailed me out of the blue, and accepted my offer. I wasn’t even sure I still wanted the thing anymore, but a little research revealed the AEX-1500 listed for almost four times my offer. I decided it might be worth the gamble.

The guitar arrived several weeks later, and I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it looked. It sported a natural blonde finish with a highly figured sycamore top, a flame-maple back and sides, an ebony fretboard, a floating magnetic pickup and a built-in piezo, gold hardware, an ebony bridge, a bone nut, and onboard 3-band EQ. The strings were old, and, after changing them, I was treated to wonderful sounds. This is quite a versatile guitar. The piezo bridge pickup has a bright, yet woody acoustic sound that’s perfect for fingerpicking, as well as strumming. The neck pickup gives off a darker, more rounded tone that’s reminiscent of a Johnny Smith Jazz box. You can also combine both pickups for even more aural sensations, and the 3-band EQ with parametric midrange sets you up nicely for any live situation. I really dig this guitar, and it plays fantastic. She’s definitely a keeper!

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