SA-30 with Painted F Holes

This is a real puzzle as the body of the models SA5, SA20, SA30 and SA50 are all much the same and all four models use plastic baffles under the F holes to reduce feedback. To find one SA30 with painted on F holes on eBay a few years ago, I thought was interesting and appeared to be some great handiwork of  an obviously skilled individual.

So my interest was raised a bit more when I was contacted by Rick de Vries of BC who emailed me some photos of another SA30 with painted on F holes. The serial numbers on both these guitars are only three apart. Both guitars have the same, but non standard bridge and control knobs. In fact, I think these knobs are identical to the ones you find on Yamaha’s SG-2 and SG-3 guitars.

So what have we got here? A person who converted a number of SA30’s to painted F holes and at the same time using different bridges and knobs?  Or do we have a Yamaha manufacturing deviation where they ran out of plastic baffles, bridges and knobs?Rick provided some more information… I am quoting him: “It looks like the holes were definitely not closed in. There is no sign of any holes ever being there. The underside of the top is smooth with no holes or alterations.  After examining the f-marks on the top it appears that they aren’t painted on. I looked at them closely under a bright light and they actually look like some sort of stickers placed on the guitar’s top. I can see the clear edges just outside the f mark. If I run my finger over them, they are slightly raised. It looks to me that the guitar was made without holes and these stickers were placed on the top.”

Thanks Rick, much appreciated.

So that suggests that Yamaha made them like that. But why? If you can shed more light on this puzzle, please contact me. Some photos below.

First two photos courtesy of Rick de Vries:

Next two photos from the web:

Next photo is courtesy of Ross Therrien. His SA-30 has been refinished and obviously the painted on F holes were removed as a result. Great example of this odd model. Thanks Ross.