Being design as a guitar affordable for the masses, this one is mass-produced, but it is still capable of delivering a great sound. With that body shape you usually expect something that sounds deep and too bassy, but not this one. It has a brighter sound than you would imagine, and it is great for picking.
It has a great response and will help those that want a lot of scraping, no matter if they use the fingers or the pick. When it comes to strumming it’s not the greatest guitar ever, but for the range it’s in, it does a really good job. It sounds full, but if you want it to blast the noise you won’t get that from it, as it doesn’t have the resonance of other guitars, mainly because of the wood used in constructing it.
This is a guitar that you should use if you are the leading guitarist in an acoustic band and you will be the one doing the solos. The strings respond well to that and the fact that the body accentuates the high-pitched sounds is an advantage for that purpose. Overall, the tone is a great one, especially considering this guitar can be purchased by anyone.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Although the body looks good, the wood that was used for creating this guitar isn’t the best when it comes to resistance against bumps or scratches. If you’re the kind of person that really likes to go at it and strum the guitar until the strings break, you won’t have a fun time with this acoustic guitar because it will scratch a lot, especially the top.
It is also a guitar that is prone to cracking. You will need to take real good care of it to keep it in the shape it is. It would be recommended not to keep it dry rooms.
Main features explained
As briefly mentioned when we discussed the weak points of this guitar, one of the elements that don’t let the Yamaha FG800 to be considered a guitar for professionals is the fact that it is simply not made from the best kind of wood. Although the top side is made of spruce, which is a decent choice for such a guitar, giving a good sound and decent durability, the back and sides are constructed using nato wood.
This kind of wood is not the best for acoustic guitars, but it is not expensive either, so it is a tradeoff. It makes for a good instrument for a beginner, because beginners usually don’t have the knowledge to differentiate between the sounds of a decent and an awesome guitar. A nato back and sides don’t make much difference for a beginner.
Because this is a beginner guitar or one made for everybody, the company has to put the priority on some aspects (in this case the sound) and let go of some other things, such as the structure and integrity of the instrument. This is why some tonewoods are not of the greatest quality.
The good thing is that Yamaha knows which woods to use, even when cutting costs and the company took the right decision to put spruce on the top. Furthermore, the neck is made using rosewood, which is a great choice no matter the guitar, as it helps accentuate the sound that the quality spruce top creates.
We should also discuss the fact that the neck is long but slim enough to allow the beginner player to have a good and comfortable grip on it. The shape of the instrument allows the player to hold it well and it offers the resonance that’s characteristic for medium-level guitars.
Although generally a basic instrument, most of the pieces that come together this guitar are of good quality. That can be said about the hardware bits. The most important thing is that the fingerboard is made of rosewood, as is the bridge. This is an excellent choice, and there’s a good chance that if you have a favorite guitar player, he or she plays on rosewood as well – that’s how popular this wood is.
Rosewood is known for its rich tones and warmth and for the fact that it can level out the high-end harshness that often comes with acoustic guitars. The tuning machines are die-cast chromed, and they do a good job, serving their purpose. Die-cast tuners are known for how sturdy they are, and these ones are no exception. They are also comfortable to use.
One interesting fact is that both the saddle and the nut of the guitar are made of urea, which is something very rare for a guitar. It is a formable plastic that has good properties for this purpose. Being an organic material, it can be similar to bone, the material usually used for making these pieces of hardware.
There are people that consider anything else inferior to the bone when it comes to the saddle, but urea plastics do just as good. Furthermore, considering that this guitar is aimed at entry-level players, you don’t really need bone for those parts. You can’t even hear the difference between the sound of a usual saddle and this one, and in terms of durability, it is the same.
You will be pleased to find out that this guitar features the hardware components of the higher-priced Yamaha FG830, and that means it is a reliable guitar. From a hardware point of view, this guitar is actually good.
Manufacturers have a bad habit of not paying attention to the string action when they are building a guitar for beginners. Of course, because this acoustic guitar is mass-produced, there may be cases when the string action is too high, and for a beginner, this is a very bad thing. First of all, an inexperienced player will have a harder time pressing the strings against the fretboard.
With a high string action, the beginner will have to put in even more effort to close the distance between the strings and the fretboard. The second disadvantage is that when bending the string so much, the sound is not as precise as it should be – the sound itself bends more than it should and the result is a musical note that is out of tune.
You end up struggling with a guitar that either is in tune when you don’t press the chords, or you have to tune it to be decent when you do press the chords. A beginner won’t have the knowledge to modify the string action or straighten the neck if that is necessary. In the fortunate case that the player acknowledges the problem, he or she will still have to pay an expert to modify the guitar, which is not something you want to do with an affordable acoustic guitar.
Fortunately, not all the FG800’s are the same, and most of them have a decent string action. Remember that this is a guitar made for those high notes, it excels in projecting higher-pitched sounds, so it would be a shame if those sounds were out of tune.
The good thing about this guitar when it comes to playability is the fact that the neck and the nut aren’t too wide and they don’t require the player to stretch his or her fingers too much.
Used for the construction of this instrument, the technique of scalloped bracing is designed by luthiers to shape the braces of the guitar mounted to the underside of the instrument’s top. This is done by shaving away the wood in the middle of the brace. A vintage technique, it is considered an effective method of creating the braces, and with strong results.
This technique is mostly used to reduce the mass of the brace and to offer better flexibility to the top. With better flexibility comes a better bass response. While some people enjoy this, others don’t. So it will be a matter of opinion if you like this about the Yamaha FG800 model.
Recently, Yamaha has put more effort into the engineering procedures that created the bracing, but they have done that with some positives and negatives. The good part is that the guitar does have the desired effect – it promotes high sound quality. It is still not the kind of guitar that professionals would use, but it is certainly amongst the best in its class.
The negatives, however, is that Yamaha didn’t deliver on all of their promises. In the advertising they make for this acoustic guitar they say that the new scalloped bracings increase durability. That is not the result that can be observed. Because the top has more flexibility, it is also more prone to breaking or bulging.
This is again a compromise from the manufacturers, and once again they chose sound over overall stability and sturdiness. You can thus consider that this guitar is good for a beginner that wants to own an instrument capable of producing a very clear sound. However, for those players that aren’t so delicate with their guitar, especially kids, this might mean that they buy the instrument, play it for a while and then damage it irreversibly.Click to see the price on Amazon!