Product Review: Yamaha Red Label FSX3 Acoustic-Electric Guitar


As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 11 – Spring 2020 – SoCal Inspired

By Steve McKinley

NAMM was a blast, and this year’s show was one of its finest, but its echoes are fading, and it’s time to get back to the divine art of creation and making music come alive. It is with great pleasure that we bring you our review of the Yamaha Red Label FSX3 acoustic guitar. As one of the long-standing premier acoustic guitar makers, the Yamaha FSX3 shines in its pedigree, while embracing modern innovation.

“Empowers you to create”

When you first see, smell and hold the FSX3 with its solid Sitka spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, and African mahogany neck with its ebony fingerboard, you sense its depth. With its concert-style body, it is both familiar and alluring. Its classic lines are inviting and draw you to bring it in close. With it against your body, your imagination begins to tango with possibilities.


Crafted in Yamaha’s China shop, its timeless appointments of a lined rosette, black-and-white binding, concise dot position markers, three signature Yamaha logo interlocking tuning forks, open-geared tuners, and subtle V profile headstock reflect its established commitment to making fine acoustics, which has rightfully garnered a devoted worldwide following.

“The genius of Yamaha”

Its outer appearance makes a clear connection to its past, while its construction and features highlight its innovations. The genius of Yamaha uses a modern scalloped bracing pattern, their “Atmosfeel” preamp and pickup system, and its tonewoods are “aged” through their proprietary treatment process using applied pressure, humidity, and temperature to produce a warm vintage tone with modern clarity and articulation.

The result of Yamaha’s insightful design and precise construction of the FSX3 render it a fine quality acoustic guitar with the super-playability of a world-class contender.

“Tango with possibilities”

As I played it, I moved through various personal acoustic favourites like Elizabeth Cotten’s “Freight Train,” Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” and, of course, the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine.” I initially thought it was more geared towards fingerpicking, but after strumming, I found it equally balanced for both playing styles and was able to switch between the two easily. Its sweet clarity stands on its own merits and blends beautifully with accompanying instruments, like piano, and solo or duet voices. Its warm output radiates and sparks the release of the music inside you yearning to get out. Its sonic comfort carries you to melodically create the art of your craft.

What I was pleasantly surprised about the Yamaha FSX3 was it’s a guitar with clear ties to its past and tradition, but it inspired me to explore new musical phrasing and challenging pieces. It had a comfortable familiarity with its expert craftsmanship, yet it dared me to push the boundaries of my playing, it’s like it empowers you to…create music.

The Yamaha FSX3 acoustic guitar is a fine grade professional instrument suited for the discerning player with high expectations, which the FSX3 exceeds. I applaud its past and am excited about where it will take me.

“World-class contender”

For those of you who love pouring through the technical specifications, like me, they are:

String Type: Steel
Number of Strings: 6
Body Shape: Concert
Left-/Right-handed: Right-handed
Color: Natural
Finish: Semi-gloss
Top Wood: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides Wood: Solid Mahogany
Body Bracing: Modified Scalloping
Neck Wood: African Mahogany
Radius: 15.75”
Fingerboard Material: Ebony
Fingerboard Inlay: Dots
Number of Frets: 20
Scale Length: 25”
Tuning Machines: Gotoh Open-gear
Bridge Material: Ebony
Nut/Saddle Material: Urea/Urea
Nut Width: 1.75″
Electronics: Atmosfeel
Strings: Elixir Nanoweb 80/20
Case Included: Softshell Case

For more on the Yamaha FSX3 Acoustic Guitar,

Steve McKinley

Steve McKinley is the bass player for Joel Kosche (of Collective Soul) in his solo band and for the Led Zeppelin tribute Led Zeppelified. He’s been part of the Atlanta music scene for years playing in bands (i.e. Julius Pleaser, Sid Vicious Experience, Pretty Vacant et al) and has recorded and toured throughout the Southeast. His songs have been played on the radio, he has appeared on television and is an ASCAP member. With his electronics skills and experience, he runs Atlanta Tube Amp and Steve McKinley Electronics and is an Instructor on He roots for Atlanta United, works on cars and drinks his coffee strong, hot and black. He can be found on his sites, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. www.atlantatubeamp


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