Yamaha has revealed the third generation of its award-winning Silent Guitars series ahead of a July release in the US. Described as the perfect guitars for practice, travel or stage, the new "near silent" SLG200 series guitars feature something called Studio Response Technology that's been designed to recreate the body resonance, tone and ambiance of an acoustic guitar in an instrument that, well, doesn't have much of a body.
The Studio Response Technology (SRT) pickup and preamp system brought over from the company's A Series dreadnoughts offers SLG200 series players a choice of the sound straight from the piezo pickup or a modeled acoustic simulation based on recordings of acoustic instruments via Neumann U67 or Royer R-122 microphones, or a blend the two. The instruments come with three "studio quality" onboard effects – a chorus effect, a room reverb and a new Hall reverb that's said to give the player the feeling of playing in a concert hall – and a built-in chromatic tuner.
Guitarists can string pick on the quiet or plug in the supplied in-ear headphones. There's an aux-in socket to feed in backing tracks from external music players for jam sessions that won't result in neighbors calling the authorities, and an auto power off feature should ease the strain for the two AA-sized batteries providing the juice for the electronics (though the system can run from AC power). An instrument out jack at the back can also be used to connect the guitar direct to a recording device or powered amplifier.
Elsewhere, the plastic of old has been retired in favor of an all-new collapsible rosewood and maple frame and a mahogany body with a new modernized shape. The 25 or 25.5 inch scale mahogany neck is topped by a rosewood fingerboard and benefits from a dual-action truss rod for both concave and convex bow adjustment.
Yamaha is offering both nylon and steel string versions, which will come in a choice of three finishes – natural satin, tobacco brown sunburst or translucent black. With the top frame section detached and placed with the body and neck in the supplied gig bag, the ensemble is reported to be small enough to comfortably fit in an aircraft's overhead storage compartment with room to spare.
Visitors to Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany, last month got to see and hear the new SLG200 series in action before the scheduled US launch at the Summer NAMM in July. We've no word on US pricing at the moment, but UK suggested retail prices start at £515 (about US$800).
The introduction video below offers an overview of the new SLG200.