Total Guitar




Back in 2015, Yamaha unveiled the Revstar: at the time its first all-new electric guitar design in over a decade, inspired by Yamaha’s Café Racer motorbike heritage. Fast-forward seven years, and Yamaha has scratched the infamous itch with a complete Revstar range overhaul with a simplified line-up spanning three different price points, and adding a number of features designed to reduce weight, boost resonance and improve your tone.

The new Revstar range is split into the Japanese-made Profession­al (RSP), and more affordable Standard (RSS) and Element (RSE) ranges.

Key to the build of all new Revstars, is a chambered body design which sees some pretty sizeable chunks of wood removed from the mahogany base either side of the pickups and extending into those horns. This not only reduces the overall weight of each guitar, but Yamaha reckons it’s been carefully implemente­d in order to help the Revstars reach a whole new level of resonance. But the constructi­on-based tone and performanc­e-shaping doesn’t end there, because for the Profession­al and Standard models, Yamaha has also fitted carbon reinforcem­ents to aid strength and the transfer of vibrations between the strings and wood.

Also included on the top-two series’ are Yamaha’s re-thought electronic­s, with a five-position selector switch featuring each pickup solo or together, plus out-of-phase modes in positions two and four. The tone pot features a push/pull pot, and Yamaha has used it for its Focus switch, which gives you a passive boost when engaged. Let’s dive in!

The upper-level Profession­al and Standard ranges have the most in common, both offering maple-topped mahogany bodies, and a choice of humbuckers with Tune-o-matic-style bridge and tailpiece (RSP/RSS20 models) or P90-style pickups with a retro-looking tailpiece (RSP/RSS 02T models). We mentioned carbon earlier and the Profession­al models feature this at its fullest, with two strips running down the neck flanking the truss rod, and again in the body running horizontal­ly, sandwichin­g the stoptail posts. The Standard series features carbon reinforcem­ent in the neck only, but both ranges make use of the five-way switching and Focus control. What’s more, the Standard series ‘20’ model as a left-handed version, giving us the RSS20L. There’s a wildcard in the RSP pack too, with the show-pony RSP20X offering some additional visuals with colour-matched body binding and an anodised aluminium scratchpla­te.

Finally, there’s the Element series, which at a glance mixes some of the new design with features of the original Revstars at a competitiv­e price point. First, the Element is only available as a humbucker-equipped ‘20’ model. You still get the chambered body, this time without the maple top, and there’s no carbon. The electronic­s hark back to the older Revstar models, with a three-way selector and the familiar Dry’ filter switch on the push/pull. Lefties will also be glad to hear that Yamaha haven’t forgotten them here, with the RSE20L available in either Swift Blue or Black.

Finishing options across the series include 10 different colour options, with Swift Blue being common to every model. For a full list of finishes in each Revstar range check out the Yamaha website.

Stuart Williams

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