With millions staying in their homes more often than usual, people are thinking of ways that they can make use of their time in the best ways possible. Many have turned to baking, gardening, reading, binge watching, house repairs, organizing, and other activities. Others have turned to music, revisiting their old records or attempting to play an instrument. If you have ever wanted to learn how to play the guitar, then this is the perfect time to do it. Make the most of your idle hours by getting a decent entry-level model online. In this article, we compare two excellent acoustic guitar options: the Yamaha FD01s vs FG800.
Why the focus on Yamaha? Simply because it’s a trusted brand that has been supplying a steady stream of finely crafted guitars for several decades. It’s the name to turn to if you don’t have much to splurge but you want a high quality instrument. Their sensitivity to pricing has to be commended. Their products look refined and sound incredible, allowing them to compare favorably with the premium guitars of other brands without burning a hole in your wallet. The two models we mentioned are particularly suited to novices in both pricing and design.
With the same manufacturer and roughly similar price points, you can expect the materials to be fairly consistent across the board with only a few notable differences. For example, both of these models feature a solid spruce top. This is rare in the sub-$200 acoustic guitar category as most of the guitars have cheaper laminated wood in order to save on manufacturing. The top wood has the biggest impact on the sound of the guitar so it’s nice to see Yamaha making an effort to ensure high quality material. Both also have rosewood on the fretboard and the bridge which ensures smooth glides.
As for the other areas such as the back, the sides, and the neck, Yamaha chose to use nato which is also known as Eastern Mahogany. This is a low-cost option that also produces a bright tone with an emphasis on the mid frequencies. However, it lacks the punch that mahogany wood can provide. Beginners are unlikely to notice the difference so this should not be a deal breaker. As for the nuts and the saddle, the company chose to go with “urea” which is a form of plastic. More experienced players might want to replace this with bone as soon as they can to improve the looks and the tone.
The Build Quality
Japanese manufacturing has a reputation for being consistent, efficient, and reliable. That is apparent is every guitar produced by Yamaha and is a big reason why they have such a loyal following. Unlike cheap guitars, you will not see any rough edges or excess glue. The finish may be plain but it is fine and smooth. There won’t be any odd bumps and other signs of unevenness. The guitars can be used frequently without breaking down or getting out of tune right away. You will really love having any of these guitars in your hands.
However, the FG800 has a slight advantage over the FD01S. The former has a scalloped bracing underneath the top. This reinforces the structure to give it added strength and durability. You can be more confident about taking it anywhere you go for practice or touring. The bracing also enhances the sound by increasing the response for low frequencies and producing richer harmonics around the mid frequencies. If you have a nearby store selling these models, then give these two a strum in order to appreciate the difference.
As for their playability, these guitars feature slightly slimmer neck profiles than the average guitar so they feel great in the hands. Even smaller individuals will have an easy time reaching the fretboard with their fingers. A lot of beginners complain about straining too much when trying to wrap their hands around the neck in order to form different chords. It’s a difficult thing to do, especially when you aren’t used to it. A slim neck eliminates a common problem so that students can focus on developing their skills. The nut width is also large at 43mm for excellent accessibility.
One thing that people might not like so much is the high action on these guitars. It is common for Yamaha to ship these out of the box in this manner. High action means that you will need to press down harder on the strings to get contact with the fretboard. This will require finger strength which beginners might be lacking. You can take the guitar to a luthier if this bothers you and have it set up in such a way as to improve playability. As for intermediate to advanced players, this might not be an issue. They can use these guitars right away and be happy with the way it feels.
The solid spruce top alone makes these Yamaha guitars sound better than the rest of the options within the $150-$200 price range. They will sound rich and warm with tones comparable to products that cost well above $1,000. Both are dreadnoughts so you can also expect the sound to be loud and heavy on the bass compared to smaller instruments. The FG800 is a little bit bigger so it can project a slightly louder sound. If you are aiming to use it for performances later on, then it’s a better purchase then the FD01S. However, if you are only trying to learn in your home as a hobby, then the cheaper model should be perfectly adequate.
As we have already discussed, the scalloped bracing is definitely a plus in terms of both structural integrity and sound quality. If you like better bass and mid response from your guitar, then the FG800 is the way to go. If not, then save some money with the FD01S. Either way, you will get high quality guitars for less.