John Frusciante’s 1980 Yamaha SG2000

This is one of John’s more recent guitars, used from circa 2010. It is only one of a number of different Yamaha SG guitars that he owns, but it is apparently his favorite one. The guitar was used on PBX  and Enclosure albums.

My main guitars are Yamaha SG2000s. My favorite is a purple one from 1980. I have a few others and a few SG1500s. I switched from the Strat to the Yamahas in late 2010. I’ve played the Strat once in the last three years, and only on one little recording.

John Frusciante: War and Peace

I’ve been playing Yamaha SG-2000s mostly, from the late Seventies and early Eighties. They’re my favorite kind of guitar. You can get a lot of tonal variety out of them, and in terms of the wood they’re very heavy guitars, so they have a very fat sound. Much fatter than Strats. (continued) The Yamaha SGs, the guitar is balanced harmonically the same way a piano or an organ is. Whether it’s the lowest note on the instrument or the highest one, it has an equal kind of breadth. And you don’t have as much roundness to the sound, where the note starts thinner and then gets thicker…all that kind of stuff. You get a straight, fat, consistent sound on every fret of every string.

John Frusciante on His Latest Solo Effort, ‘Enclosure,’ and Why His Days Onstage are Behind Him

A little bit about the guitar itself – the Yamaha SG2000 is a model produced from the early 1970s to around 1988. At that point, the production was halted, and only recently Yamaha decided to revive the model with their SBG line. John’s guitar features a pretty rare “Deep Purple” finish […]

I do like them, and I have six or seven. Besides forcing me to play differently, though, they also gave me a lot of insight into how many other guitarists play. With the Yamaha SG, I could play along with guitar players who were playing, say, Les Pauls, and feel like the sound matched what I was hearing on the record. There were all these guitarists whose playing had been a little mysterious to me, and I suddenly found it easier to incorporate aspects of their styles into my style through imitation. People like Robert Fripp, Mick Ronson, Tony Iommi, and particularly John McGeoch from Siouxsie and the Banshees, who played a Yamaha SG, which is why I bought one in the first place. It was an approach to the guitar that I’d been blind to my whole life because I had always played Strat-type instruments.

John Frusciante Shifts From Avant-Pop to Hip-Hop


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