Yamaha is one of the masters of Acoustic guitars. How does Yamaha follow on from the legendary FG730? In this Yamaha FG830 review we’ll take a look at this surprisingly priced all acoustic guitar. For $319 how good can it be? Let’s find out.
Overview of Yamaha FG830
The FG830 is a full scale (25.6″) fully acoustic guitar. That means there are no inbuilt pickups to allow you to plug into an amp. You can of course amplify it, but that means fiddling around with microphones. If you want something that you can plug in, the FG830 isn’t for you.
The body shape is traditional western. The materials used are a pleasant surprise. The back and sides are made from solid Rosewood, which produces excellent resonance. The top is made from solid Sitka Spruce, which is great for bright tones and just gets better as it ages.
The body has a gloss finish, which brings out the grain of the wood really well. The neck is made from Nato, which is also known as Eastern Mahogany. Here’s an area where they’ve saved on cost. Eastern Mahogany is pieces of Mahogany glued together, rather than a solid piece of wood. For me it doesn’t affect the tone to any noticeable degree.
The neck has a satin finish, making it much more comfortable to move around the fingerboard. That’s another surprising feature on a guitar at this price point. You’d have expected some sort of gloss hybrid finish to keep costs down.
The fingerboard is made from Rosewood, accentuating the mid and low tones. The bridge is also made of Rosewood, which is tough enough to anchor everything in place. One other thing to mention about the construction is the scalloped bracing, which tightens up the reverberation producing fuller and warmer tones.
The nut is always the subject of scrutiny on any guitar. Unfortunately Yamaha hasn’t been able to avoid fitting the FG830 with a plastic nut. It’s ok, but not as good as bone. You could have that swapped out by a luthier if desired. Having said that, the guitar plays and sounds good despite the plastic nut.
The sound hole has some nice inlay work finished in white and black using Abalone. A nice decorative touch and purely for aesthetics. Style points are also awarded for the cream binding that runs right around the guitar.
Tuning is handled by the same die-cast tuning machines that were found on the FG730. If it aint broke, don’t fix it! The guitar comes with a set of .012’s. They’re fine if you just want to tune up and play it out of the box, but you may want to swap them out for your favored brand and gauge.
I really like the natural finish, but the FG830 is available in two other colors too.
On to the sound. The combination of Rosewood, Spruce and the scalloped bracing leads to excellent resonance. The FG830 produces full bodied punchy tones, great for Bluegrass styles. When I played in an acoustic duo I took on the rhythm mainly so I needed a guitar that could produce decent low and mids. I’d have been happy to have had the FG830 for the task.
Having said that the high end isn’t lost and the FG830 balances low and high end well. Whilst you can play lead work, you’ll find that the lack of cutaway will inhibit you if you want to travel right up the fingerboard. The FG830 isn’t designed for that sort of thing and you’d be better off with something like an Acoustasonic if you want to play intricate lead work.
In terms of playability, the nut width is a little slimmer than on other acoustics. That’s actually quite good for beginners or those with smaller hands because it’s easier for form chords. Fear the barre chord no more! The FG830 will be most appealing for someone upgrading from a cheap beginner guitar.
One thing that’s astounding about the FG830 is the price for the quality of materials used. Rosewood back and sides, bridge and fingerboard complimented by a solid Spruce top for a little over $300 is incredible. The FG830 delivers a punchy yet well balanced sound. Yamaha is still one of the kings of acoustic guitars.
The FG830 seemingly does the impossible delivering so much quality at such a reasonable price point. Here are a few of the best bits:
- Built With Quality Materials
- Great Resonance
- Great Value
If I’m honest these cons are more about my personal preference, but I thought it’d be worth pointing out what I think could be improved:
- Plastic Nut
- No Cutaway
- No Strap Anchor Points
The FG830 is a great sounding, great value guitar. The materials used are excellent. The design is extremely well thought through, seemingly with tone the most important factor. It delivers pleasantly balanced yet punchy tones, great for a variety of styles of music.
The gloss finish makes the guitar look resplendent, but they’ve not ignored practicality opting for a satin finish to the neck to improve playability. If you’re a beginner with a bit of budget the FG830 is a solid choice, but I’d envisage this being appealing to an intermediate guitarist upgrading from a cheap beginner’s guitar. I can’t stress how good this guitar is for the price. It’s probably why it’s often not in stock!
If you’re looking for a great beginner’s acoustic guitar but don’t have the budget for an FG830, take a look at the Epiphone DR-100. I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page.
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