Many guitars from established brands cost over $1,000. Not everyone can afford to splurge that much money. It is hard to justify the amount unless you are a committed musician. Many are still in the early stages of their musical journeys, trying to figure out whether they might like the guitar or not. They want quality equipment but aren’t quite ready to invest thousands of dollars. A few hundred dollars might be reasonable, but is there any good brand at this price? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Look into Yamaha’s entry-level acoustic offerings to find two worthy contenders. Below is a comparison of the Yamaha F335 vs FG800:
Japanese manufacturing is widely respected around the world and Yamaha lives up to this expectation. Even though these two models are not made from premium materials, the build quality is pretty solid. They truly provide great value for money. For the Yamaha F335, the top is made from laminated spruce while the back and the neck are made from meranti. The body is a combination of both woods. There are different color variants to choose from including Natural, Black, and Tobacco Sunburst. Pick a style that suits you best. You can use the guitar for regular practice knowing that it will perform like a trooper.
The Yamaha FG800 is a step up in terms of build quality in that it features a solid sitka spruce top instead of laminated wood. The back and the sides are made from nato wood. It also features scalloped bracing for good strength and balanced sound. In both these models, you will find rosewood at the bridge and the fingerboard. As for the finishing, the FG800 only came in natural color at first but other variants are now available. Move up to the F820 or the F830 if you would like more color options. The F820 has a mahogany back while the F830 uses rosewood.
These guitars are dreadnoughts so they tend to have a rich and deep sound that can fill a large room. Despite having laminated wood for the top, the F335 doesn’t sound cheap. It still provides the bright tone associated with spruce. You can enjoy excellent resonance but you can also produce mellow notes if you need to. Advanced guitar players who have tried premium guitars may find it lacking in some areas but beginners will probably not notice. It’s good enough as it is and you can make it even better by replacing the strings.
The FG800 will not disappoint you with its power. It’s a great choice for practice in your own room and for performance in a small venue thanks to its loudness. Note that this particular model comes from a long line of entry-level guitars from Yamaha. It is actually in the 8th generation so you can imagine all of the improvements made along the way. A lot of guitars have good high frequency response but this one nails the lows and the mids as well. It’s not every day that you run into a model with such an impressive tone under $200. It definitely punches above its weight. It is also versatile enough to do well for both fingerpicking and strumming.
Another thing to love about the Yamaha F335 is its narrow neck. If you have small hands, then thick necks simply get in the way and forces you to strain your hands when reaching the fret board. Even those with large hands sometimes prefer narrow necks just for playability. It’s almost like using an electric guitar as you can go up and down the frets with ease. Of course, it’s still not the same because of the different feel and sound but you can bridge the gap further by using friendlier strings with a lighter gauge.
As for the FG800, the neck has matte finish and a compound profile. It is thin and flat near the body so you can play it with ease. The neck becomes more rounded near the head which feels good in the hand. However, some might find the action too high for their taste. This requires greater force on the strings to make contact with the board. Beginners who haven’t yet developed good finger strength might find it difficult to play at first until they get used to it. They can also adjust the action to make it lower. Just note that high action has its perks, too, like less worries about fret buzz. Some might need to tune the strings while others swear that it sounds great out of the box.
Other notable things about the Yamaha F335 is that it’s lightweight and easy to carry. If you are looking for something cheap and portable to bring on your long drives, camping trips, or school sessions, then this could be the guitar for you. You might be able to find a bargain online for just a little over $100. It might be super cheap but it won’t sound that way. Practice every day and you will impress those around you with how great you sound. This guitar could be your gateway to bigger things ahead.
The FG800 is a bit more expensive than the F335 but it’s still under $200. With the solid spruce top and the scalloped design, this guitar has a better sound quality that is worth the added cost. This guitar can grow with you from your first few chords until you become a songwriter and performer in your local scene. Yamaha’s excellent construction means that it can last for years so you can save up for a professional level guitar in the meantime. One thing that you might want to invest in is a trip to a luthier to have your guitar optimized.
In comparing the Yamaha F335 vs FG800, it’s clear that both are decent options for anyone wanting a quality guitar on a tight budget. They may not be perfect but they provide excellent value for money. The latter has better materials than the former, as well as a better tone.