Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

Tony Yamamoto OMY Paulownia Demo

Sponsored By

Luthier Tony Yamamoto builds a stunningly lightweight steel-string using paulownia wood.

by Teja Gerken
July 18, 2014

Tony Yamamoto is a San Francisco Bay Area luthier known for his willingness to experiment with unusual designs. Specializing in multiscale, baritone, and 12-string guitars, Yamamoto has become a go-to builder for players looking for custom guitars that leave tradition behind. For the OMY Paulownia, Yamamoto chose a relatively standard design that uses his approximately grand-concert-size OMY body dimensions, a short 24.9-inch scale, and simple appointments. What makes the guitar unusual is the paulownia wood used for the top, back, and sides. A fast-growing wood native to several regions in Asia, paulownia is extremely lightweight, and while it’s uncommon to see it used as a guitar wood, it has been used for instruments such as the Chinese pipa. Yamamoto considers this guitar to be a prototype, but it exhibits many traits that are desirable in a fingerstyle guitar: as well as being very responsive, it has a great dynamic range, a balanced sound, and a pleasant, well-rounded overall tone.

SPECS: Grand concert body with 13-fret neck. Solid paulownia top, back, and sides. Bolt-on neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Open-geared Gotoh tuning machines.


Tags: Guitar, Yamamoto
Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Leave a Reply

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.


Article Thumbnail
Sep 17, 2020
The guitarist and founding member of the Waybacks pays homage to Doc Watson with a medley of "Bright Sunny South" and “Jack-A-Roe,” a traditional song that became a mainstay of the Grateful Dead.

Start Learning Today

One Course: $20/month or $200/year
Two Courses: $30/month or $300/year
Access to All Courses: $100/month

Peghead Nation’s String School is your source for roots music instruction, bringing you full courses in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and Dobro, featuring talented instructors, high-quality video instruction, accurate notation and tab, and fun songs to play right from the beginning. Enroll and become a Peghead today!