Yamaha LL6 Review: An Expert’s Opinion of This Under $1000 Guitar

Published Categorized as Dreadnought Reviews, Engelmann Spruce Top Wood, Guitar Reviews, Guitar Reviews Under $1000, Laminate Back and Sides Wood, Mahogany Patterned Laminate Back and Sides, Rosewood Patterned Laminate Back and Sides, Solid Wood Top Wood, Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

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Hello and welcome to my Yamaha LL6 review – a part of my acoustic guitars under 1,000 review series.

As is custom here at SixStringAcoustic.com I will be following the following format for the review:

  • Tonal Qualities
  • Playability
  • Videos (so you can get an idea of the sound for yourself)
  • User reviews
  • Value for money
  • Comparison to others in the same price range
  • Who the guitar is best suited to

All right, let’s get into it.

Table of Contents


Tonal Qualities


acoustic guitar's tonality

The LL6 is part of the L series. The particular model I played was the LL6 ARE (the ARE stands for acoustic resonance enhancement).

I found the LL6ARE to have quite a bright but at the same time full sounding tone. It was balanced and had that driving volume and sound you would expect out of a jumbo.

Though it has also been intentionally designed to emphasize the mid range and high range (to be more suitable for playing in a group situation) and you could certainly tell the mid to high range emphasis when playing it.

This guitar has no cutaway which, in my experience, does contribute to a fuller sounding guitar- even though it can affect your playing if you like easier access to the higher frets.

Materials Used in Construction

Top (Soundboard): The LL6 comes with a Solid Engelmann Spruce top. Whilst Sitka spruce is a more common top Engelmann offers a slightly different sound.

It is said to be slightly richer and warmer and a lot of players prefer it for finger picking over Sitka.

The LL6 is treated with Yamaha’s acoustic resonance enhancement (ARE) which is said to age the wood as if it had been played for years so that you can get that played in sound straight out of the box.

Back & Sides: The LL6ARE back and sides are made from laminate rosewood (or laminate Mahogany if you go for the LL6M ARE).

This is typical at this price level and you would expect to pay a bit more to get solid back & sides.

What bugs me though is the way that Yamaha aren’t very transparent about this. I initially thought this guitar had solid back and sides until I investigated further. In the specs on their websites and on a bunch of other reviews that I have seen they just call the back and sides rosewood, which I take to mean solid. But then I discovered it was laminate and then realised that in their specs it will say solid rosewood when it’s solid but won’t specify when it’s laminate. I find this a bit deceiving but that’s just my two cents. Rant over!

Neck: The neck is made from mahogany and rosewood. Both are great neck materials. A rosewood neck makes for quick transitions and a warm but balanced sound. Mahogany necks make for a smooth and rich tone.

Bridge: The bridge is made from rosewood – rosewood is a great choice for the bridge.

Nut & Saddle: The biggest let down is that you get plastic nut, saddle and bridge pins. These are an easy upgrade, particularly with the saddle and bridge pins – however I’d expect more out of a guitar at this price.

Like with the laminate back and sides Yamaha just aren’t very clear with this at all in their specs. They seem to be hiding this (and I couldn’t find this on other reviews either – I’m terrible at being able to tell in person what mateials nuts and saddles are made of when I’m looking!).

The LL6 ARE is definitely a decent guitar so I don’t see why they are trying to hide this stuff. O.k. rant definitely over now!

Check out some videos to hear the sound for yourself

This first video is just over a minute but should give you a good idea of the sound.

This second video is a little longer if you’d like to hear more.


Playability


I found it took a reasonable effort to bend and vibrato when I was playing the LL6. However, this probably had as much to do with the strings as anything else but the action is likely to also have contributed to this.

Action: The action was higher than I would have it. I would have this lowered if I were to buy this guitar. But that’s my personal preference.

Neck: The neck on the LL6 is a 1 3/4 inch (1.75inch, 44mm). This is pretty much the standard though the trend is more towards 1 11/16 inch these days (1.69 inch, 43mm). It did feel wider than the Yamaha A1M that I played in the same session but it didn’t affect the playability for me.

It did feel like it had a larger curve in the neck than the A1M and certainly more than the Martin GPCPA5K that I played in the same session – which wasn’t really a problem either but may not be as comfortable for anyone with smaller hands.

Fretboard (fingerboard): The fretboard is made from rosewood. Pretty standard and no complaints with how the fretboard felt.


Best Suited To


Quite suitable for playing in a group where a bass instrument is present. The focus, particularly on the new models, is on the mid range and high end range – the emphasis of this guitar is definitely to the higher end of the tonal spectrum. So it you play in a group this might be a great choice.

With a slightly more mellow tone than the likes of the A1M and other models I think this guitar would suit folk well – but it certainly isn’t restricted to folk alone and depending on your style and sound preferences it could cover a wide range of styles.

Whilst it’s not a no go for players with smaller hands, the slightly chunkier neck might not feel as nice to play as others in a similar price range with narrower necks and flatter neck profiles.

Typically speaking Engelmann Spruce tops are great for players with a softer touch – so you have a more subtle, softer style then the Engelmann will up the projection for you. Not as good for more aggressive players – the sound can lose some definition when played too aggressively.


Value for Money


I’m going to say yes and no for the Yamaha LL6.

I think a lot of people will disagree with me on this one but, I think they could fork out for non-plastic nut, saddle and bridge pins so that the buyer doesn’t have to fork out to upgrade these parts and go to the effort of replacing them.

Also, whilst the sound was fuller and nicer (remembering that this is somewhat subjective) than the Yamaha A1M I played, it didn’t play as nicely or, in my opinion, sound as nice as the Martin GPCPA5K that I also played in that session.

I’d say it’s about right for the price (assuming you can get it for $600 or less) but I’d say no more than that.

If you have no issues with changing the hardware and lowering the action I think you’d then get a superb guitar for the price.

So yes – the Yamaha LL6 is definitely value for money if you are willing to do a couple of things to it. But it’s not a great guitar if you want to just play it straight off the shelf.

Compared to Other Guitars in the Price Range

In addition to the comments above I preferred the Taylor 110e for sound and playability, and I also preferred the Martin DX1RAE for both sound and playability.

It should of course be remembered that this will partly come down to personal preference and, as you can probably see in the user reviews in the links above, a lot of people really like this guitar.

More Info and Where to Buy

Disclosure: Links may be affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you.

If you want to learn more about the Yamaha LL6, are ready to buy or if you want to research prices and availability, check out the link below.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have found this review useful.

If you want to check out some other options under 1,000 or want to compare the Yamaha LL6 to other models in this price range, check out my top 5 acoustic guitars under 1,000 at the link below.
>>Top 5 Acoustic Guitars Under 1,000

Yamaha LL6 Review FAQs

Is Yamaha LL6 all solid wood?

Yes, the Yamaha LL6 acoustic guitar is constructed using all solid wood. The top, back, and sides of the Yamaha LL6 guitar are made from wood, providing enhanced tonal characteristics and improved resonance. The specific wood choices may vary depending on the model and edition of the Yamaha LL6, but it typically features a solid spruce top and either rosewood or mahogany back and sides.

Where are Yamaha LL6 guitars made?

The Yamaha LL6 guitars are manufactured in various countries. In general, Yamaha produces guitars in different locations worldwide, such as their manufacturing facilities in Japan, China, and Indonesia.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

5 comments

  1. Dear Sir,

    Is the LL6 really an ‘ARE’ guitar? On many websites it is called so, but according to a prospectus from Yamaha itself, is the LL6 not ARE treated as well as the LL16.

    Wich is true in this story?

    Thank you,

    Regards,

    Mark van Andel
    The Netherlands

    1. Hi Mark

      Thanks for your message.

      As far as I know the LL6 used to be ‘non-ARE’ but that has been discontinued and now the LL6s are all ‘ARE’. Which means that you are likely to find some LL6s out there aren’t ARE but all the new one’s made are ARE.

      ~ LL6 (discontinued)
      ~ LL6 ARE

      Hope this helps

  2. Hi, I just purchased a Yamaha LL6 ARE after trying out about every guitar in the shop. This guitar is one the best sounding guitar I’ve ever hear (fingerpicking style).

    I’m not sure about the nut and pins, but the bridge saddle is TUSQ (brand name it stamped on it). This is a high-quality saddle you’ll get in quality guitars like Gibson’s for example. I don’t understand why Yamaha has not put that information on their website. If the nut and pins are of the same quality I would love to know. I’m very impressed with this guitar.

    1. Hi Michel

      Thanks for your message.

      I wonder if Yamaha are starting to put Tusq on their L series now if the one you played had a Tusq saddle – either that or the shop you tried it in added the Tusq nut to it already? I agree that Tusq is high quality. The last time I played ther LL6 it was plastic and other reviews I’ve read it’s plastic usually.

      But they may well have listened to customer feedback and might be now using Tusq. It would be good if they added this on their website if this is the case. As for the nut and pins, I’m not sure. They may have changed these too if they changed the saddle.

      Definitely keen to check out the LL6 again to see for myself. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. I have the same issue with all, or most guitar makers as far as back and side material is concerned. If it says “Mahogany” that should mean solid Mahogany. Not Laminate!! Same goes for “Rosewood” and some other woods. If it is laminate, please say so. Some people actually prefer laminates due to issues with warping etc. depending on where you live, humidity, temperature changes etc. I live on Cape Breton Island, on the east coast of Canada by the ocean, so I have to re-tune My Takamine guitar every time I remove it from the case.

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