Sunday, July 10, 2016

Goya G-312 Acoustic Guitar Review


Today we are going to look at something a little different today - a pretty cool budget acoustic guitar that I picked up from Craigslist. This is an early 1990s Goya G-312 6-string dreadnaught.

Goya guitars were an offshoot of Sweden’s Levin, and were an effort for the company to enter the US Market. Martin bought the Goya brand in 1976 and used it to produce budget instruments overseas. This was particularly important to them as around that time many Japanese companies were building guitars that looked just like theirs, and it was hurting their business. So, the Goya brand was Martin’s effort to fight back. Initial production was in Japan, and eventually was moved to Korea. Martin gave up on this experiment in 1996 and eventually sold the name to a food company. Goyas are generally good guitars, though they were not wildly successful.

The G-312 guitar that we are looking at today was probably built in Korea, though it is hard to get an exact date as there is no serial number and very little information about these instruments online. I am thinking it is from the early 1990s. The model name is a complete mystery, as this is pretty much a copy of the Martin D-18 dreadnaught and nothing seems to correspond to this. The “G” might stand for “guitar” or “Goya” or “good enough.” Who knows? As far as the “312,” that is anybody’s guess.

The triple-bound body has the traditional broad-shouldered shape, and there are 14 frets clear from the body. The top appears to be solid spruce, and the back and sides are mahogany, though I cannot tell if it is solid or a laminate. I am going with laminate until I figure out otherwise. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood overlay and a silkscreen inlaid logo that is fading, and the fretboard is rosewood too. The bridge is painted to look like ebony. Sad.

This guitar had been played regularly and was kept in a loving home, so it did not really need much attention when I got it. It has a good set-up and there are no repairs or unsightly damage to speak of.

It plays very well. The neck has a pleasantly rounded profile that is fairly slim and fast, and the tone is very rich and loud. The sounds is well balanced from string to string, though I think it would be nice to find a compensated bridge saddle as the intonation is just a touch off. Also, the sealed tuners are cheap and do not hold as well as I would like them to. But, it is certainly good enough for anything I will be doing with it, especially at the bargain basement price I paid for it.

I rarely see Goya guitars on the market as once players get their hands on them they do not let them go. Generally they are solid instruments, but it is a good idea to try before you buy (be careful with eBay), as I have run into a few clunkers and shoddy repairs. If you have one, post a comment below, I am curious what you think!



  1. Hi,
    great post here. I still have my g312 I bought about 30 years ago and still sounds and plays great(ish)!

  2. Hi Will

    They are really nice guitars for the money, and are certainly good enough for what most people are going to do with them.

    Thanks for checking in!


  3. I have a later model of this guitar, the bridge is not painted and the tuning pegs are different. It's been through hell and back and still has a warm and full sound. Thanks for this post.

  4. I just got one as a gift in mint condition. He said he bought it in a pawn shop 30+ years ago. It has original closed Grover tuners. Supposed to be made in Japan around 1982. Dunno but sounds great and I'm definitely blessed to have it!

  5. I just got one this past week, and I think it is fantastic. I am no pro, more like a decent novice, learning really, but I play whole songs, and I love the way they sound on it and the action is very comfortable!

  6. I like to play a guitar but i didn't it. But i have more interest to learn this and for this i buy one. Thank you so much for share your enjoy with us and we are very inspired to see you music love..

  7. Just picked up one of these, with a nice case, for $40.00. The saddle is very low, but taking the straightedge from the fretboard to the top of the bridge, it just misses clearance, so I don't think it is near a neck reset. But the saddle is very low. String height in front of the bridge, from soundboard to strings about 3/8" approx. Cutting it close, and again, with a very low saddle.

    Whomever had this used needle-nose pliers to remove the bridge pins. They are chewed up, but functional. My top is laminate spruce. No serial #. Made in Korea - my guess is early 80's, as the truss rod is inside the guitar like the Yamaha FGii models of the same era. The thing booms, with strings probably two years old, or more. Hoping I can get another saddle and maybe get a little lower action w/the truss rod, as I think there may be relief there (bending the neck back a bit gives me this hope!) I know truss rod adjustments have nothing to do really w/action, but I think an adjustment will help (how can it hurt?!) Action about 1/8" at the bass E, but again, with hardly any saddle. There is basically no break-angle at the treble E. Not much break angle in the other stings. Still, it sounds pretty good!

    A bit of bellying behind the bridge, but nothing radical. I am going to try and put a Tusq saddle replacement and see how high the action goes. Worst case scenario, I got a ncie case and some picks for $40.00! Wish me luck. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Added and shaved down a Tusq saddle and added Tusq bridge pins... Action at 12th fret 3/32". New Elixir nanoweb Custom Lights... She's back in service!

    2. Hi! Glad to hear you got it set up the way you like it. Thanks for checking in! Rex