Review: Yamaha Revstar Professional RSP02T

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Review: Yamaha Revstar Professional RSP02T

yamaha revstar review
Words by James Callanan

Yamaha Music Australia | RRP $3,999

Seven years after the initial release of their modern-classic Revstar, Yamaha are back with a reprise to the line of electric guitars, one which features improvements in both tonal versatility and in playing comfort, while maintaining the elegant essence of the Revstar name.

Rounding out the upper echelon of the range is the Japanese-made Revstar Professional Series, and we had a chance to put the P90-fitted RSP02T model to the test.

Read more product reviews here.

It’s rare to see a contemporary guitar with a visual design that can be described as iconic. Despite being first released in 2015, the Yamaha Revstar’s sleek yet industrial design would not be out of place in a 1960s musical instrument catalogue, alongside its other major contemporaries.

Said to be inspired by the Café Racers of the ‘60s, the classy finishes, embellished with chrome components and geometric ornamentation, add to the timeless style of the Revstar.

The overwhelming impression of meticulous craftsmanship is one that is sure to instill confidence in whoever’s hands the Revstar Professional finds itself in. The fingerboard inlays and binding are expertly fitted, and the machine heads and potentiometers are both stable and tactile when adjusted. With carbon reinforcement in the neck and body to maximise the transfer of vibrations, and a classy and robust included hardcase, it’s obvious that a high attention-to-detail was a priority for Yamaha, during the design and construction of the Revstar Professional range. 

Bearing the same 24¾” scale length and 22 fret arrangement as the original Revstar, the RSP02T has a fantastically sleek set neck that makes negotiating the fretboard a breeze. The newly-introduced carbon rods reinforce the mahogany neck, which is satin-finished to minimise resistance as the fretting hand traverses along.

Capping the neck is a lovely rosewood fingerboard, which, with a flat 12-inch radius, highly reduces the chance of a bend fretting out – announcing this guitar as one for the modern player (certainly this one!). The centred linear pearloid inlays are a simplistic yet classy touch, perhaps a throwback to the yesteryear of Japanese guitar manufacturing where some ‘60s models featured similar inlay designs. Rounded out with high-quality tuning machines and an elegantly decorated headstock, the RSP02T’s neck is tailored for the player, while retaining its stylish aesthetic.

The construction of the Revstar Professional’s body sees one of the biggest alterations to the original Revstar; with the new lineup now boasting a chambered mahogany body underneath the maple top. With the chambered body developed with Yamaha’s Acoustic Design Process, resonance is improved, in addition to the improvements in balance and weight relief, that makes playing long sets while standing up a comfortable experience.

The chambers and carbon insertions in the body combine to make the resonance tangible, with an immediate difference in feel compared to other guitars. The body has a mild forearm contour that is almost invisible from front on, yet makes the playing experience all the more comfortable for the guitarist, in conjunction with the belly cut. With aged white binding that matches the pickup covers and angular pickguard, and the bold chrome features of the tailpiece and control knobs, the Revstar RSP02T’s body makes for a sophistication that matches the quality of the components.

While the changes in style and construction are great updates for the new Revstar, the upgrades in the electronics department are what sets this guitar apart from its competition, and enable the superb sonic versatility that the RSP02T has on tap.

With custom designed Alnico V P90-style pickups, the Revstar delivers the classic, rich P90 sounds that we know and love; ranging from warm, clean jazzy tones, all the way through to the signature growl that has defined so many-a rock numbers. It was observed that the pickups excelled at remaining quiet, even with a relatively high amount of gain set on the amplifier; a massive positive, given that P90 pickups can often be susceptible to feeding back.

Despite being a brand new model, the RSP02T sounded like a guitar that had been through its paces – likely due to Yamaha’s Initial Response Acceleration process, which applies vibrations to certain components, contributing to a balanced sound that had articulate highs, and a tight low end. The volume and tone potentiometers were nicely responsive, enabling players to dial in their main sound, and easily adjust the breakup and brightness according to the dynamic of the musical piece.

While the controls area looks simple, and is very easy for the player to navigate, there are some interesting examples of circuit trickery going on underneath the maple top. The Revstar Professional comes stock with a 5-way selector switch, despite only having a neck and bridge pickup. Positions 1, 3, and 5, are occupied by the typical, neck, neck & bridge, and bridge pickup options, respectively, and positions 2 and 4 are effectively faux “in-between” sounds – emulating the positions that one might expect to find on a three-pickup guitar.

These sounds are achieved through the addition of a slight delay to the opposing pickup, which results in an ‘out-of-phase-effect’ which is fairly realistic – a great tonal addition to the already versatile guitar. Additionally, the Revstar Professional’s tone knob also doubles as a push/pull focus switch, which activates a passive boost. When engaged, the focus switch produces a darker sound, with accentuated low and middle frequencies, and slightly reduced highs. This effect was extremely useful when a fatter bridge pickup sound was desired, and was also effective in achieving those ‘rolled off’ jazz sounds on the neck pickup. These handy tonal features nicely complemented the comfort and construction of the RSP02T, and elevate a traditionally-styled guitar to modern playability and function.

Simply put, the Revstar Professional is a joy to play, and a pleasure to listen to. Alongside the outstanding build, timeless design, and arsenal of tonal options available, the RSP02T is a great choice for any serious guitarist after a high-quality all-rounder.

Head to Yamaha Music Australia for more information or enquiries.