Finding the right acoustic guitar can be an exhilarating process, and it’s relatively straightforward. Even though there are hundreds of models from which to choose, the process doesn’t need to overwhelm you. That’s why most musicians pick a well-established brand, such as Yamaha. Although known for electric guitars, Yamaha has crafted acoustic guitars continuously since the 1960s, beginning with the FG180 model. This article will focus on the Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830, two popular choices for musicians.
The main difference between the Yamaha FG800 and the Yamaha FG830 is the quality of the guitar. The FG830 is an upgraded version of the FG800 with a bound body and neck, rosewood body and more.
The Yamaha FG800
The Yamaha FG800 has an intuitive design that makes it a comfortable instrument to play, especially for beginners. Highly affordable, the guitar’s top is crafted from solid spruce, and it features a nato back, sides and neck. This produces warmer middle tones, and the rounded neck makes the guitar fit well in the hands of even inexperienced players.
Features of the FG800
The FG800 features a bridge and fingerboard made of walnut, which is a beautiful wood that delivers a good tone. The wood, however, is softer than rosewood and other harder woods, which can lead to greater wear.
One of the best features of the FG800 for inexperienced musicians is the system of dot inlays that guide your fingers across the 20 frets. The dreadnought-style guitar might be larger and heavier than some musicians are used to, but the design makes it exceptionally easy and comfortable to play. It works perfectly as a practice guitar or for use in a band.
The guitar employs a scalloped bracing design, which optimizes low- and mid-tones. It also includes chrome die-cast tuners, ABS bridge pins for securing the strings and black body binding. Sporting a natural finish and generating high-fidelity sound, Yamaha guitars are known for durability, versatility and balanced acoustic sound.
Pros and Cons of the FG800
The pros of the Yamaha FG800 include affordability in a bargain-priced guitar that millions of musicians choose because they trust the brand Yamaha. Other pros of the guitar include:
- Strong, durable and stable to withstand the rigors of traveling
- Excellent design for beginners to learn how to play
- Fret inlays add extra help for beginners
- Strong sound, especially in the low-to-middle ranges
- Solid top, which is seldom found on entry-level guitars
- High playability
- Bracing design that gives the guitar a tonal edge over similarly priced guitars
The cons of the FG800 include:
- Lacks the rich tones of other guitars
- Nato necks, backs and sides don’t add much to sound quality
- Susceptible to everyday wear, scratches, etc.
- Large size that makes it unsuitable for some younger players
The Yamaha FG830
The Yamaha FG830 is considered a better guitar for musicians with a little more experience and those who want a better tonal quality. The design, solid top and playability are similar to the FG800, but the laminated rosewood used for the back, sides and neck delivers a more nuanced sound with complex overtones. Aesthetically, the guitar is more attractive and features an abalone rosette.:
Features of the FG830
The Yamaha FG series holds the distinction of being the best-selling acoustic guitars in the world. The FG830 features professional-grade tonewoods, fast-playing necks and great comfort. The large dreadnought design offers easy-to-play options on the neck or low body, and the acoustic power is perfect for bands or solos. The tapered waist design fits all players, but smaller people might prefer a lighter model.
Dreadnoughts tend to produce a stronger sound than other acoustic guitars, and the rosewood back and sides add even more power and a distinct clarity of tone. Other popular features include the scalloped bracing, fingerboard with rounded edges and stable die-cast tuners.
Pros and Cons of the FG830
The pros of the FG830 include:
- More natural-sounding tone than the “bright” tone of the FG800
- Abalone rosette that upgrades the guitar’s appearance dramatically
- Highly affordable
- Deeper tone than other acoustic guitars
- Comfortable feel that makes it easier to play than other guitars
- Suitable for advanced musicians who don’t have the funds for a more expensive guitar
The cons of the FG830 include:
- Urea nut and saddle that don’t improve tone
- Too large for small players
- Inexperienced musicians that may need help in learning how to tune the FG830
- Strings that are a little closer making it a bit more difficult to play
Direct Comparison of Yamaha FG 800 Vs FG830
Comparing the two models of Yamaha guitars head-to-head reveals some distinctive differences to consider when making a choice between these popular instruments. Sound quality is subjective, and some musicians prefer the sound of less expensive models over higher priced guitars. That said, the more advanced Yamaha FG830 delivers better balanced sound, based on the rosewood back and sides. The rosewood is laminated, which usually damages sound, but it still delivers a richer, nuanced tone than the Nato wood of the FG800.
The instruments both feature high playability. The guitars both sport rounded-edge frets that make them easier to play. They also have better design and satin finishes on the necks. Most inexpensive guitars use a glossy finish, which can become sticky when you play.
When it comes to looks, the Yamaha FG830 clearly wins the competition. The rosewood on the backs and sides, cream-colored binding and abalone rosette make the FG830 stand out sonically and aesthetically.
Making Your Final Choice
The final choice of guitar is a highly personal matter that depends on your budget, ease of playing and ability to generate a signature sound. Choosing the FG800 might be best if the following conditions apply:
- You’re a new or inexperienced player looking for an affordable instrument that still has great sound.
- You need a travel or backup guitar.
- You want a time-tested brand with a long history.
- You want a guitar with a solid top that doesn’t bust your budget.
Choosing the FG830 is recommended if the following conditions are true:
If you have a little more to spend for upgraded looks and tone, make sure you give this one a look.
- You want a better looking guitar for live performances.
- You prefer the richer sound of the rosewood.
- You can afford to invest more money in your instrument.
Both guitars are relatively inexpensive, durable and time-tested with excellent tuning stability. The latter benefit is extremely important for beginners because cheap tuners make it almost impossible to stay in tune while playing.