Review: Yamaha CPX1000 + APX1200

Yamaha’s CPX- ja APX-lines have received new additions recently in the form of Chinese-made top models carrying the model numbers of 1000 and 1200, respectively.

Kitarablogi picked up a Mini-Jumbo-bodied CPX1000…

…as well as a shallow-bodied APX1200.

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Yamaha’s CPX-series – which is also known as the Compass-series – originally was designed to appeal to the Country fraternity in the States. As a result of the APX-range’s success in the 1990s many Country pickers got in touch with the company, and asked for a larger, showier sister model, equipped with the same pickup and preamp, but featuring a fatter neck profile. And Yamaha duly obliged…

The brand-new CPX1000 (current rrp in Finland: 869 €, available in limited numbers) sure is a pretty thing: The solid spruce top is finished in a fetching Brown Sunburst, with the same deep shading applied to the back which is made from laminated flame maple. The nato neck sports a bound rosewood fretboard.

The headstock is inlaid with a compass, as a reference to the name of the series.

The gold-coloured, sealed tuners are of very decent quality and complement the guitar’s great looks nicely.

The inlay work and fretting have been executed to Yamaha’s customary high standards.

This clean and crisp workmanship is carried on throughout the whole guitar – look and the top binding or the intricate soundhole rosette for further proof.

The bridge on the CPX1000 is rosewood dyied black. Note the fine bear claw -grain on the spruce top.

Clean workmanship is evident inside the Yamaha’s soundbox as well.

I don’t care if this is laminated flame maple, or not. It’s gorgeous in my book in any case…

This guitar comes with Yamaha’s SRT-System 63 preamp, which allows you to blend between the dry piezo tone and three virtual studio microphones. The Focus/Wide-switch lets you choose between a close-miked sound and a counterpart with a bit more virtual room in the mix. The preamp is also equipped with a digital tuner and an automatic feedback defeater (A.F.R.).

The SRT-system runs on two AA-sized batteries.

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The Yamaha APX1200 (currently available at a special price of 999 € from F-Musiikki, limited quantities) is the new top dog, the ultimate APX-guitar. The APX-range had been developed as an unabashed electro-acoustic guitar for the electric guitarist. The models all sport shallow bodies – for comfort and feedback protection – as well as more electric-style neck profiles.

In the APX1200’s case the whole guitar is made from solid woods – spruce for the top and Indian rosewood for the back and sides.

The headstock is bound and features a front-facing made of rosewood.

The tuners on the APX1200 are the same, nice models as on the CPX, but this time the tuner buttons have been fashioned from an ebony-style plastic material.

The luscious ebony fingerboard with its gorgeous pearl and abalone inlays leaves you in no doubt about this guitar’s top-of-the-line pedigree.

The stuck-on, self-healing plastic rosette is the only feature of the APX-line that has long since divided the guitar playing masses. Some say it’s a practical and modern addition to a contemporary guitar, others think it’s butt-ugly – you make up your mind.

The APX-bridge looks quite similar to the CPX’s model.

An extremely clean interior speaks volumes of Yamaha’s stringent quality control.

The APX1200 is equipped with the same Yamaha SRT-system.

As befits the top model, the APX1200 is sold in its own soft case.

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The differences between the CPX1000 and APX1200 in feel and sound – both acoustic and amplified – are quite clear.

The neck profile on the CPX is a rounded, C-shaped affair, with a tiny whiff of a V-style spine. The neck is also finished in high-gloss lacquer, which gives the guitar a traditional steel-string feel.

APX’s neck profile is a noticeably flatter, more angular D. This type of profile – as well as the satin finish – make an electric guitarist feel right at home. The shallow body also makes it easier to adjust to the APX1200 when switching from a solid-body electric.

In the acoustic stakes the CPX1000 clearly gets the upper hand over the APX1200, thanks to its more voluminous body. Despite the laminated back and sides the Compass-model sounds warmer and deeper than the APX, with plenty more volume on offer.

Fingerpickers will also like the CPX better, due to its more airy string-spacing at the bridge – 57 mm (E–e) on the CPX as opposed to the APX’s narrower 53 mm.

The APX1200, on the other hand, takes to powerful strumming in a loud Rock-context like a duck to water. This guitar has a very punchy attack, and thanks to its slightly thinner bottom end the overall sound stays transparent and fresh. The mid-range, on the other hand, is juicier on the APX, no doubt thanks to its solid rosewood back and sides. The CPX’s laminated flame maple dishes out a slightly drier tone.

Yamaha’s SRT-system works great. The virtual microphones manage to do away completely with annoying piezo-quackiness and one-dimensional, lifeless tone, in favour of of a signal very much like the genuine, miked-up tone of the guitar chosen. Check out the YouTube-video at the end of this review for the direct injected sound of both guitars’ SRT-systems.

This is what the models sound like recorded acoustically:

Yamaha CPX1000

Yamaha APX1200

In my opinion both Yamahas represent excellent value-for-money. The choice between models depends on what you plan to use the guitar for.

If you’re into Folk, Jazz, Country, acoustic Blues or other unplugged-styles of music, which call for dynamic and traditional acoustic guitar tones, the warmer and fuller tone of the CPX1000 might be your safer bet.

If, on the other hand, you’re after the perfect guitar for acoustic outings in a Rock- or Alternative-context, where the guitar has to survive in a crossfire of stage monitors and guitar stacks, the APX1200 will come up trumps with its smaller body and punchy sound.

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Yamaha CPX ja APX electro-acoustic guitars

Maahantuoja: F-Musiikki

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CPX1000

Current price in Finland 869 €

Pros:

+ value-for-money

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ acoustic sound

+ SRT-preamp

Cons:

– laminated back and sides

****

APX1200

Current special price 999 € at F-Musiikki

Pros:

+ value-for-money

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ acoustic sound

+ SRT-preamp


Cons:

– limited acoustic volume

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