Yamaha RGX 820Z

Year: 2003
Finish: Translucent Red
Origin: Taiwan
Acquired: 2004
Mods: Schaller straplocks
Still owned: No

The Story:
I am not a lead guitarist, but I have always wanted a guitar with a functional vibrato system for times when I would want or need to play lead. The Yamaha RGX 820Z caught my eye with the beautiful maple top, lack of fret markers, funky multi-leveled headstock, Sperzel tuners, translucent pickup rings, and most importantly, a bridge piezo system that you could blend in with the magnetic pickups (SD 59/JB). I have always wanted a Parker Fly, and I saw this as a poor man’s Parker.

When it inexplicably went on clearance (from $900 to $300) after just a year or two in production, I got one of the last few blue ones at Musician’s Friend…or so I thought. I ordered it while they said they still had five in stock, and 48 hours later, that’s when they actually told me “Oh, um, no, sold out.” I was crushed and Kat actually chewed out Musician’s Friend on the phone. I would up buying it from a profiteer who just got it to resell it for a higher price, but with Sperzels, Seymours, and all the other stuff, I felt it was still a good deal.

The guitar was amazing. Just gorgeous, rock solid in every way, brilliantlly designed and executed, and as you can see, a visual stunner. But…it just never felt right to me. A lot of times I know if a guitar is “mine” or not based on the ergonomics, and there was something about this neck profile that never really felt optimal in my hands. I decided to sell it online and wound up getting a weird, long sob story about a saintly guy who was absolutely totally going to be a big rock star with his awesome local band but had to pass on his shot at stardom to help his family after a tragic death or something, and now he was graduating college several years later than he planned and his friends wanted to get him a really special gift so he could pick up his music where he left off…um, okay, whatever. Like, maybe they were trying to get me down on price; I don’t recall. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt enough that I included some personal stuff for the guy in the case without saying anything about it, and I figured he would contact me once he got it, based on the note I included and the nature of the extras…but he never did. So maybe it was all a lie, I don’t know, but I needed to sell the guitar either way and I did. True or not, I feel better believing it went to a good home.

Meanwhile, I still don’t have a vibrato-equipped guitar, and I still want a Parker Fly.