The Yamaha FG820 is a fairly new release, but other reviewers are already labeling it as one of the best in the acoustic series. Since it is so affordable, many beginners are considering it as a first real guitar. Can it provide a solid sound to encourage people enough to keep playing? Here’s a closer look at the guitar.
Yamaha FG820 Guitar Product Overview and Main Features
Anyone who is familiar with Yamaha understands that the FG series has been around since the 1960s. It has always been an affordable model for people who are just starting out. No one should be expecting the best sound in the world from these guitars, but they still hold up well against others in the same price range.
This newest range has a number of pretty nice features that will make people satisfied overall. Not only does it have the best overall tone ever, but the playability and quality has been tweaked as well. Here is a closer look at some of the specifics.
Spruce Top Wood
Mahogany Back & Sides
Scalloped Bracing Pattern
1.69″ Nut Width
25.6″ Scale Length
Rosewood Headstock Overlay
Die-cast Tuning Machines
Urea Saddle & Nut
The Yamaha FG820 is pretty straightforward. There is nothing too crazy on the guitar, and that is expected for something that is well under $300. Above all else, it is something that can play well without much tinkering at all.
Pros Of The Yamaha FG820
Classy Overall Look
While this might be billed as an affordable guitar, it certainly does not look like something that is fairly inexpensive. It is a very classic looking guitar that has a traditional design made famous by the FG series. The glossy finish and the natural overall colors on the guitar really bring it altogether.
In total, a person can pick between five different colors when they are shopping for a new guitar. All of the color choices are very natural looking, and that really plays into what Yamaha is looking for in general. They are not a company that generally produces guitars that are loud looking, instead looking for just the right balance of class and cutting edge.
Whenever a person is buying a guitar, the actual sound is going to be examined quite a bit. Since this is more of a budget type of guitar, the sound quality is only going to be compared to other guitars in that sort of price range.
The acoustic guitar has a very warm sound overall, and it probably does best playing country songs and the blues. Other types of songs can be played as well, but the sound really comes through in those genres.
One minor tweak on this model compared to those in the past has really helped out the sound quality. The scalloped bracing design does a very good job balancing the tones and giving it an authentic sound at all times. The best part is nothing is sacrificed with this change.
An acoustic guitar can sometimes be a little bit hard to hear, especially when it comes to cheaper models. The rich tones have really good projection overall, which is positive for someone trying to learn guitar for the first time. They will be able to hear exactly what they are playing. It also helps for those people who are performing with the guitar. The sound is going to come through instead of getting drowned out.
A person’s first real guitar is probably going to be abused from time to time. It is just something that happens as a person learns how to not only play the guitar, but care for a guitar as well. The good news is the Yamaha FG820 is extremely durable, and the strength is pretty impressive as well.
With a traditional Western body, it is going to take something crazy for the guitar to break. There are certain parts of the guitar that might be more vulnerable, but the body in general is one of the sturdiest out there in this class. Even the finish on the body is very durable, and it will be hard to tell age unless a person closely examines the guitar.
The finger board is also pretty durable, as Yamaha uses a cream plastic. It does not seem to be anything out of the ordinary compared to other options out there.
The Yamaha brand is obviously very well known in the music world, and they are arguably best known for the guitars. The FG series alone has now been around for over 50 years, so people know exactly what to expect out of the company when they purchase this new one. There are definitely some changes, but nothing too crazy that will totally alter what people think about the company or the line.
Finally, it is hard to beat the pricing for this guitar when compared the other beginner guitars. Not only is it from a true name brand, but the parts are going to be hard to beat as well.
Cons Of The Yamaha FG820
While this is a very solid guitar overall, it is not perfect. There are just a few cons to point out, but they are worth noting.
Buzzing Can Occur/String Quality Is Subpar
One of the dreaded sounds with any guitar is buzzing. It usually happens with cheaper models, but it can be fixed fairly easily. Most of the time, all it really takes is an upgrade in strings. Once the current strings that come with the guitar wear out, think about investing in higher quality strings later on. It is going to cost a little bit more, but the buzzing issue will not be a problem.
Speaking of the strings, this is about the only part of the guitar that is a minor disappointment. They aren’t terrible strings, but they certainly could be better when looking at the quality of the rest of the guitar. Yes, they can always be replaced, but it is a bit of a nuisance when buying a brand-new guitar. Beginners might not notice that much, but those who are a little bit more skilled might be able to tell.
Lacks In Range
The guitar does a pretty good job on the lower end of range, but it does struggle a little bit with high range sounds. If a person is wanting to play a guitar in a higher range, they might need to look elsewhere for a model that might be a little bit better sounding.
How Does The Yamaha FG820 Compare To Other Yamahas?
When looking at the different models of Yamahas, it can be somewhat overwhelming. The company offers a number of options, and there are slight differences with each one. Since every single guitar has a different price, it maybe difficult to determine which one fits best.
Most of the FG800s are going to be have the top made out of solid sitka spruce. The back and sides are where people will notice a difference with the bodies. The Yamaha FG820 uses Mahogany, while the FG830 uses Rosewood and the FG800 used Nato. Rosewood will be a bit more chimey with the sound, while the Nato will be a big brighter. It really comes down to personal preference. To really tell a difference, it is best to check out the options in stores.
It’s not worth really comparing this guitar to some of the higher end Yamahas, because that is not what this guitar is for. Beginners really should just determine which sound they like best when shopping around.
What Are Others Saying?
The Yamaha FG820 has received great reviews up to this point. People feel as though it is one of the best all-around options for people to turn to and they are just starting out. It is a pretty low price of injury, and they can last for years if it is taken care of fairly well. The strings might need to be replaced, but other than that there is really low maintenance with this guitar. Even people who consider themselves to be intermediate or above seem to be finding quite a bit of use out of this guitar.
No guitar is going to be absolutely perfect, but the Yamaha FG820 fits in really nicely with all that they offer. This is a guitar that is great for those on a budget who want something from a name they can trust. Any type of guitar is going to cost a little bit of money, but the quality can certainly be seen just by picking it up for the first time.
Available from a number of retailers online and in stores, it is hard to argue with anyone who picks up this one. It certainly knows how to stand out in a pretty crowded section of budget guitars geared towards those just starting out.
George A. Smith received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Berkeley. George has been teaching music professionally for the past 8 years. George regularly contributes content to several music websites including LoadRecords.com.