Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar Review

When I was first shopping for acoustic guitars, I thought I needed to stay away from some of the less expensive brands because the quality would be low. Had I known about the Yamaha FG800, I would have discovered an acoustic guitar that struck a balance between playability, quality, and affordability.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is a very accessible instrument that's well-suited to a lot of people. You don't need to purchase an amplifier to hear it, and it's easily portable. When you're looking at purchasing a guitar, it's important to keep the following things in mind:

  • Your budget
  • The type of wood used on the guitar
  • Whether the guitar is a solid top or not
  • Whether the guitar is acoustic or acoustic/electric

The Yamaha FG800

The Yamaha FG800 dreadnought is the descendant of the 1966 Yamaha FG. Like its ancestor, the FG800 proves that you can get high-quality sound without going into debt. This guitar features a solid top made of warm-sounding Sitka spruce, and its nato back and sides ensure a lighter weight, making it especially portable.

The FG800 is a guitar that's ideal for beginning and intermediate guitarists who want a balance of tone and value. More advanced guitarists may prefer more high-end tonewoods or a cutaway body for easier access to the lower fretboard.

  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight body
  • Warm tone
  • Solid top, which is uncommon in less expensive models
  • Some users report very high action
  • No cutaway, so lower fretboard access may be harder
  • While lightweight, nato isn't known for being an especially good tonewood

Features and Benefits

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Here's I'll detail the most important features of the Yamaha FG800, as well as the benefits of each one.

Body Construction

One of the most-advertised features of this guitar is its solid top, and for good reason - many entry-priced acoustics, even some that are more expensive than this one, don't have a solid top. The top is Sitka spruce, which is a classic for its bright, warm sound.

The back and sides are made of nato, which is also called "Eastern mahogany." This wood is not as highly regarded as some other tonewoods, but considering the price, it does a good job of coming close to the sound of actual mahogany. As someone who usually plays a cedar and mahogany acoustic, I feel like the nato on this guitar is comparable to mahogany. The nato neck is reasonably fast. The rosewood fretboard is easy to navigate and completes the classic spruce look.

Playability

Upon first taking this guitar out of the box, I found that the action was a little high. This wasn't a problem to adjust, but it does seem to be one of the few complaints that users of this guitar have. Once I adjusted the action down a bit, this guitar became a real dream to play. The only caveat I'll add is that if you're someone who spends a lot of time at the lower end of the fretboard, you might wish there was a cutaway. I mostly play open-chord folk songs, so the lack of cutaway wasn't an issue for me.

Tone

To be perfectly honest, I was surprised by the quality of the FG800's sound. It's surprisingly loud, and it's warm without being overly bright. I played a few arpeggios and strummed a few easy songs on it, and it maintained a rich sound regardless of what I played.

Finish/appearance

This is arguably one of the least important things about a guitar, but the FG800 is a nice-looking instrument, especially for the price. It comes in natural, sand burst (a sunburst finish), or vintage tint (a slightly darker natural). It has simple yet elegant black and white binding.

​Rating

Design

4

Performance

4

Construction

4

Value for the Money

5

User Satisfaction

5

Alternatives

Washburn D10S

Washburn D10S

The D10S is the world's best-selling acoustic guitar, and it has several similarities to the FG800. This guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top with mahogany back and sides, so its construction materials are slightly better. It is the same price as the FG800. Because these models are similar, those interested in the FG800 may want to also check out the D10S!

Comparison

Washburn D10S

Price: $199

Construction: solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Body style: dreadnought with no cutaway

Sound: balanced, but somewhat warm due to mahogany back and sides

Yamaha FG800

Price: $199

Construction: Solid Sitka spruce top, nato neck and sides.

Body style:dreadnought with no cutaway

Sound: balanced and somewhat bright

Fender FA-100

Fender FA-100

This entry-level acoustic is well-suited for those on a budget, as it is less expensive than both the FG800 and the D10S. The FA-100 comes with a gig bag, too, which is an advantage. However, despite the FA-100's affordability, most users note that the guitar stays in tune and is enjoyable to play. If you're someone who wants to start playing guitar but find yourself on a strict budget, then the FA-100 is something worth checking out.

Comparison

Fender FA-100

Price: $119

Construction: basswood top, manufacturer doesn't specify back and sides.

Body style:dreadnought with no cutaway

Sound: balanced, although not as high quality as that of a guitar with a solid top

Yamaha FG800

Price: $199

Construction: Solid Sitka spruce top, nato neck and sides.

Body style:dreadnought with no cutaway

Sound: balanced and somewhat bright

Epiphone PR-150

Epiphone PR-150

This affordable, popular beginner guitar offers a middle price point between the FA-100 and the FG800. The PR-150 a spruce-top dreadnought, but its back, sides, and neck are made of mahogany. However, this guitar does not have a solid top like the FG800, and it is therefore slightly more affordable. Epiphone is the budget line of Gibson guitars, so this guitar benefits somewhat from Gibson engineering. If you want something a little cheaper than the FG800 but not extremely inexpensive, check out the PR-150!

Comparison

Epiphone PR-150

Price: $180

Construction: spruce top with mahogany back and sides

Body style: dreadnought with no cutaway

Sound: balanced and bright, although it may be less high-quality due to the lack of solid top

Yamaha FG800

Price: $199

Construction: Solid Sitka spruce top, nato neck and sides.

Body style:dreadnought with no cutaway

Sound: balanced and somewhat bright

​Final Thought

In conclusion, if you find yourself faced with the issue of wanting to purchase a quality guitar despite having limited funds, the FG800 may well be the answer to your problem. Because of its quality sound and low price point, this is an excellent guitar choice for the beginner or intermediate guitarist on a budget.

Stephanie Su
 

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