Sunday, April 02, 2017

1988 Yamaha RGX312II Silver Pearl

The Yamaha RGX312 (available in red, black and white only) was produced from 1987-1988, and RGX312II from 1988-1993. Compared to its predecessor, the RGX312II was available in a wider range of colors: red, black, white and silver pearl.[1]

This Taiwanese-made guitar is most probably an RGX312II because of its silver pearl finish. Next, based upon its serial number OL2810, I believe that it was manufactured on May 28, 1988.[2]

The guitar features a maple neck and 24 jumbo frets on a rosewood fingerboard that is comfortably wide and flat. The neck radius feels much closer to that of a modern Ibanez than a Fender Strat (shame on me for forgetting to measure the exact radius). 

As is to be expected on an instrument this old, the frets are badly worn and the fingerboard caked with dried sweat and grime. However, as there's still enough useable height left in the frets, there's no need for a refret. Leveling and dressing should have them playable again. The grimy fingerboard will also be sanded/scraped clean and given a nice coat of lemon oil.

The neck also needs lots of TLC. The back is rough and pitted, making playing rather uncomfortable. To make things worse, the fingerboard has shrunk over the years, causing numerous fret tangs to stick out. Well, I've no choice but to sand down the entire neck, level the fingerboard edges, and refinish it. Tru Oil will be my finish of choice for this neck.

There's also a floating trem (probably licensed by Floyd Rose) and locking nut. On this trem, there's no need to castrate the strings as the ball ends are secured by a convenient cavity at the saddles' rear ends. Too bad this trem will never float or dive bomb, thanks to a previous owner's carelessness. Only a third of the trem bar socket remains, so there's no possiblity of ever getting one in there. This being the case, I'll be blocking the trem and setting it up as a fixed bridge. The locking nut with be retained for aesthetic reasons.


Electronics consist of two single coils and a bridge humbucker, a 5-way switch, plus 250K master volume and master tone pots. All cavities have been adequately shielded with carbon paint, and inter-cavity connectivity ensured by soldered lugs. I'm deeply impressed by Yamaha's fastidiousness here, though somewhat taken aback by the lack of shielding on the back of the control cover plate. Think I'll glue on a thin aluminium sheet and add a copper foil grounding tab to rectify the situation.

Now, although the two 250K pots and output jack need to be replaced, the 5-way switch is working just fine. I'll be replacing the pots with Alpha full-sized 500Ks, and the jack with a Switchcraft. Needless to say, a complete control cavity rewire is also on the cards.

I almost forgot -- one of the tuners is also missing its back cover, exposing the gears to the elements. I'll be cleaning the gears and greasing them up, and replacing the missing cover with aluminium sheeting. Nope, I can't recreate the "Yamaha" lettering, unfortunately.

Ok then, I think I've rambled on long enough.

References
[1] Yamaha Guitarchive
[2] Yamaha Electric and Bass Guitar Serial Number Systems






















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