Yamaha was founded in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha, with a mission of expanding the ownership of personal musical instruments. Yamaha began manufacturing guitars in 1940, and began exporting them to the world in 1966.
First, in the 40’s, came nylon-string classical acoustic guitars, but it was 1966 that proved to be a particularly impactful year for Yamaha guitars. Introduced, at that time, were SG electric guitars, SB electric basses, FG steel-string acoustics, and a guitar amp. Numerous other offerings have followed, ranging from amps and effects pedals, to an ever-growing range of high-quality guitars, such as the SG, BB, FG and Revstar families. Over time, the brand has expanded such that that Yamaha now builds some of the best-selling acoustic guitars on earth; over a million people a year are transformed into acoustic guitar players by virtue of acquiring their first Yamaha.
Yamaha is also no stranger to innovation in the guitar space. For example, 2017 saw the launch of the TransAcoustic guitar—a unique new category of hybrid acoustic guitar offering onboard reverb effects to provide a more engaging and inspiring playing experience.
Building on a long history as a leading guitar company, Yamaha demonstrated its commitment to the future of the global guitar market with the addition of Line 6 to the Yamaha family in 2014. As a leader in tech-forward segments of the guitar industry, Line 6 brought with it a family of digital electric guitars, amps, and effects to complement the extensive line-up of acoustic and electric guitars, basses, and amps that Yamaha has offered customers for over half a century.
Line 6 launched in 1996 with the introduction of the world’s first digital modeling amp, the AxSys 212, and was behind the groundbreaking POD® multi-effect that launched in 1998, revolutionizing the industry with an easy way to record guitar with great tone. Variax® guitars offer more sounds and features than any other instrument in history, and Relay® wireless products have led the analog-to-digital transition for guitarists. The comprehensive Relay line—from the Relay G10 up to the Relay G190—includes the most advanced guitar wireless systems in their classes, offering unprecedented performance and simplicity for guitarists who perform live. The XD-V wireless family provides the same sound quality and ease-of-use for vocalists.
More recently, in 2015 Line 6 introduced the Helix® family of devices, the new flagship of multi-effects processors for guitarists. Helix represents a major leap forward in amp and effects modeling technology, as well as a new way of thinking about guitarists and their relationship to technology.
2018 saw the formation of Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan, which brings together the intercompany teams that focus on serving the needs of guitarists worldwide. Yamaha Guitar Group oversees the global marketing of guitar products for Line 6, Ampeg, and Yamaha guitars, while developing Line 6 and Ampeg products directly, and collaborating with counterparts in Japan on the development of Yamaha guitar products.
Also in 2018, Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc. acquired the legendary Ampeg® brand, known for its bass amplifiers and pedals. Ampeg has produced some of the music industry's most innovative amplification products, including the first bass combo amp, the first guitar amp with reverb, and the de facto stage bass amp, the SVT. Since the 1940s, Ampeg has offered unique and often first-to-market features and performance capabilities, resulting in six U.S. patents under the Ampeg brand name. The addition of the Ampeg line completes the total offering for bass guitarists, which already includes legendary Yamaha bass guitars such as the BB and TRBX models, alongside the Line 6 Relay wireless systems and Helix modeling devices.
At Yamaha Guitar Group, we are proud that our history of striving for innovative ideas that serve guitarists and bass players. We are dedicated to providing you access to the tools you need to create, perform, and record in ways never thought possible. We promise that we'll always take dramatic leaps to allow you to reach new heights with your music. That's our commitment to you, because in the end, we love being a part of making great music.