Yamaha FG Acoustic Guitars: Series Overview

Published Categorized as Brand Spotlight, Yamaha
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This post will give you an overview of the Yamaha FG acoustic guitars series.

This series is at the lower end of Yamaha’s range and represents great value for money instruments, in my opinion.

Yes, you can get better guitars if you spend more money. But given the price of these guitars, they’re quality belies their price tag.

O.k. let’s take a look at the guitars in the series and you can see if any of these guitars sound like they will be suitable for you.

Table of Contents

The Guitars in the Yamahas FG Series

There are 8 guitar in the FG series plus 4 that come in a smaller body shape – the FS’s.

  1. FG800
  2. FG820
  3. FG830
  4. FG840
  5. FG850
  6. FG820L
  7. FG820-12
  8. FG180-50TH
  9. FS 800
  10. FS820
  11. FS830
  12. FS850

O.k. let’s take a look at each guitar individually and see what the difference is between each.

Yamaha Fg Acoustic Guitars: Series Overview

FG800 – MSRP $325

Starting with the lowest cost model, we have the FG800.

The FG800 features:

  • Body Shape/Size: Dreadnought
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Laminate Nato Back and Sides
  • Scalloped X Bracing
  • Laminate Nato Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 25 9/16″ (650mm) scale length
  • 1 11/16″ (43mm) nut width
  • Urea Plastic Nut
  • Rosewood Bridge with Urea Plastic Saddle
  • Cutaway: No
  • Electronics: No electronics

The FG800 is the continuation of its very popular predecessor the FG700. The FG700 was, apparently the best selling acoustic guitar.

The FG800 comes in the following color options:

  • Natural
  • Black
  • Brown Sunburst
  • Sand Burst

Given the price of this guitar it’s no surprise that the likes of the bridge pins, nut and saddle are made from plastic. However, the saddle and the bridge pins are very easy to replace and I would definitely suggest doing that – replacing them for something like Tusq (a synthetic bone material) or bone.

Otherwise this is a solidly built, balanced acoustic guitar for the price. You can learn more in my full review of the FG800 here: Yamaha FG800 Full Review.

FG820 – MSRP $420

The FG820 has a couple of differences compared with the FG800.

  1. It has Laminate Mahogany back and sides – this is the major difference
  2. It has cream plastic binding – this is just a cosmetic thing

Otherwise they are same guitar.

If you prefer a warmer, fuller tone, then this might be your preference over the FG800.

The FG820 comes in:

  • Natural
  • Black
  • Brown Sunburst
  • Sunset Blue
  • Autumn Burst

FG830 – MSRP $495

The major difference between the FG830 and the other two models is that it has Laminate Rosewood back and sides.

The rosewood will help to produce more sustain and also more clarity in the highs and lows when compared to the mahogany. It will produce a brighter sound. If you prefer a brighter, richer sound then you’ll probably prefer the FG830 over the FG820.

The other difference is the abalone inlay around the soundhole. This is purely a cosmetic factor though.

The FG830 comes in:

  • Natural
  • Tobacco Brown Sunburst
  • Autumn Burst

FG840 – MSRP $630

Moving onto the FG840, the major difference between this and the other models is the laminate Flame Maple back and sides.

This is said to give the guitar great clarity – so that you can hear each individual note clearly when playing a chord. If you prefer this kind of tone, then this might be the best option for you. Though we are now looking at a $600 guitar compared to a $300 guitar (the FG800).

The FG840 is only available in a Natural finish.

FG850 – MSRP $630

Next in the FG line-up is the FG850.

The FG850 is an all-mahogany guitar, with a solid mahogany top and laminate mahogany back and sides.

If you like warm, full, subtle tones, then this might be your pick. Even more so than the FG820, which also has laminate mahogany back and sides, you will get that warm mahogany sound in abundance because of the solid mahogany top.

Like with the FG840, the only color option is Natural.

FG820L – MSRP $525

The FG820L is the left-handed version of the FG820.

So it has the laminate mahogany back and sides with a solid spruce top. It is only available in Natural.

FG820-12 – MSRP $525

The only 12 string in the line-up, the FG820-12 is essentially the 12-string version of the FG820.

So it has laminate mahogany back and sides and a solid spruce top like the FG820 and FG820L. it’s also only available in a natural finish.

The nut width is 1 13/16″ (46mm). it’s necessarily wider to house the extra strings.

FG180-50TH – MSRP $1,300

Last but not least we come to the FG180-50th. This is an anniversary edition of the first FG guitar built in 1966.

The FG180-50th is a replica of that original model but with a few modern upgrades.

Yamaha uses their A.R.E (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) technology to age the wood. It also comes with a hard case to keep it protected.

But perhaps the best feature of this guitar, and the reason it’s twice the price of any of the other models in the series, is that it has solid wood back and sides.

The FG180-50th features:

  • Body Shape/Size: Dreadnought
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top (A.R.E. treated)
  • Solid Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Scalloped X Bracing
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 25 9/16″ (650mm) scale length
  • 1 3/4″ (44mm) nut width
  • Urea Plastic Nut
  • Rosewood Bridge with Urea Plastic Saddle
  • Cutaway: No
  • Electronics: No electronics

It also has some different features which give it that more classic look/feel compared to the other models, including:

  • Open gear tuners
  • 50th anniversary truss rod cover
  • Yamaha’s old logo
  • Retro inlay

It still has the Urea plastic saddle and nut. Personally I would have preferred them to have used different materials there, given it’s a pricier model and replicating the 1966 version. But, again, this is something you can have changed relatively easily/inexpensively.

FS Models

The 800, 820, 830 and 850 also come in an “FS” model. These are the same as their FG counterparts except in a smaller body size. So you can also get the:

  • FS800
  • FS820
  • FS830
  • FS850

Final Thoughts

So that’s the Yamaha FG and FS series of acoustic guitars. They offer great value for money with decent quality instruments for an affordable price – particularly the FG800.

And remember that those prices are MSRP. From a quick bit of research you should be able to find them all for cheaper than their MSRP.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve learned more about the FG series and have a better idea whether or not they are right for you.

FAQs

What does Yamaha FG stand for?

The “FG” in Yamaha FG stands for “Folk Guitar.” The “Folk Guitar” designation reflects their versatile and well-balanced sound, making them suitable for various playing styles, from folk and fingerstyle to rock and pop.

What is the difference between Yamaha FG and FS?

The main differences between Yamaha FG (Folk Guitar) and FS series guitars lie in their body shapes and sizes, which impact their sound characteristics and playability.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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