Yamaha CPX55-TMB

From the very beginning, Yamaha took an independent path into the US musical instrument market. Rather than working through a distributor, the Japanese giant established it’s own subsidiary in the US in 1960 to import pianos, then guitars.

Even though the “copy era” of Japanese imports, Yamaha always had its own recognizable designs. Yamaha’s APX cutaway guitars, which were introduced in 1987 to showcase new electronics, soon became known for exotic woods and colorful finishes.

In 1998, based on the success of the APX line – and possibly in response to Takamine’s success with the Southwestern-themed Santa Fe guitars – Yamaha created an offshoot called the Compass series. Identified by a compass figure on the headstock, these CPX models typically sported nautical themes, represented by the blue sunburst finish on this CPX55-TMB from 2003.

The original CPX models faded out of production by 2005, but the prestige of the Compass designation was not forgotten, and Yamaha appropriated it in 2006 to give credence to a pair of models that introduced another new pickup system.