Japanese manufacturer Yamaha started making electric guitars in 1966, and they unveiled the AE-11 the following year in 1967. In many ways, the AE-11 is a straightforward archtop guitar—a real jazz box—and in today's vintage market, this relatively rare model is grossly undervalued compared to its American-made counterparts.
The AE-11 is 16-3/4" across at the lower bout—just shy of 17"—and it's a full-depth archtop, too. With a Spruce top and Maple back and sides, it sounds like it should: nice, punchy acoustic resonance. It has a Florentine cutaway that provides access all the way to 22nd fret, and two humbuckers provide rich, warm tone plugged in. The remaining specs are as you'd expect: Floating bridge with an intonatable saddle, trapeze tailpiece, individual volume/tone controls for each pickup, and the switch is easily accessed right by the pickguard. It's pretty obvious this model was designed as a cost-effective alternative to expensive American-made archtops, and even today, it offers the jazz box vibe you want at a fraction of the price.
This 1974 Yamaha AE-11 sports the gorgeous Natural blonde finish. It shows some bumps and bruises from the years, but it's in nice shape with no history of repairs or issues. The most severe cosmetics are some miscellaneous dings around the top (especially noticeable by the pickguard—see photos), and a big chunk of finish is missing from the side edge of the cutaway. Also, it looks like the fingerboard dried out and suffered fret sprout that caused the binding to crack along the fingerboard. It is setup with quick, touch-sensitive low action, which is a nice fit for the slim profile and narrow taper of the neck. Plugged-in, the original pickups provide great tone, and the volume and tone controls lend some flexibility to dial in the right sound.
This 1974 Yamaha AE-11 includes a period hardshell case.