Choosing the best Yamaha acoustic guitar is not an easy endeavor. On one hand, there are so many options in the market it becomes mesmerizing. On the other hand, all companies claim to have the best instrument for you. Moreover, everything you read is full of jargon, weird descriptions, and wood types to make it even more daunting.
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Worry not because you’re in the right place. We’ve gone the distance to narrow down your search and bring you the Yamaha acoustic guitar models you should be looking at in every price range. Plus, we put together a mini buying guide that explains all the jargon so you know what we are talking about at all times.
The journey to your next Yamaha acoustic guitar starts here so buckle up, read on, and choose wisely; years of playing joy await you just some paragraphs ahead.
Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Reviews
Now that you know everything about what makes a great guitar, it is time to narrow down the list. We’ve gone the extra mile to hand-pick the best 7 Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Reviews models being made by Yamaha today. This is not a random choice; we’ve covered everything from 3/4-sized travel guitars to nylon-string guitars, to the top-tier of Yamaha’s building capabilities.
Are you ready to meet your next favorite instrument? Buckle up, because here we go!
Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars List
Let’s begin with the instrument that is capable of filling a common gap when shopping for a new guitar: an affordable price tag and a great sound. In this vein, it is important to say upfront that this is a budget guitar aimed at those who are starting out. That being said, the company managed to put an affordable price tag on a very well-crafted, good-sounding instrument.
To begin with, the guitar is made of laminated wood including the top, back, and sides. Although this might seem like a drawback for any guitar player, finding solid wood at this price range is mission impossible. That being said, the choice of Sitka spruce (top) and Meranti (back and sides) create a good combination of a tight low-end with a harmonically-rich top.
In the aesthetics department, Yamaha’s choice of gold for the hardware is more than accurate and the finishing options (tobacco sunburst, solid black, and natural) make it an appealing instrument for any player.
Finally, and perhaps the side of this Yamaha that was a tad overlooked by the company is the action which might be too high for beginners. On the other hand, if you are a slide player, you might find it very comfortable. The high action, though, also has an impact on the sound which might be a tad thin for seasoned guitar players but is exactly what you should expect in a guitar with this price tag.
In a nutshell, the Yamaha F335 is a great instrument to work as a spare for your main ax or as a learning tool for beginners.
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After the review of the Yamaha acoustic guitar F335, the logical step up is this FG800 model. Before saying anything about this guitar, it is important to highlight that the FG series has been part of the Yamaha acoustic guitar family for over half a decade. Indeed, it has been a benchmark for the acoustic guitar industry since its initial release in 1966.
Although the line offers quite a few models (19 at the present time), the FG800 is the reigning king of the FG series. This is not a random occurrence, the throne in this category is not easy to obtain; there’s quite a bit of competition. That being said, the FG800 oozes a killer combination of Nato and Okume laminated back and sides and a solid Sitka spruce top. This gives the instrument the loud projection of guitars with a much more bulky price tag attached.
In the same vein, an advanced scalloped bracing adds low-end to the dreadnought body, resulting in a rich, warm, yet focused sound. This, coupled with the solid top that enhances the brightness, makes this guitar the perfect companion for solo players, singer-songwriters, and small acts.
The solid, flawless reputation of the FG800 is based on excellent craftsmanship, great sound, and playability that can be enjoyed right out of the box. If you are ready to go a step up from the Yamaha F335; this might be a perfect choice.
The next step after learning how to master your first songs is to go out and play them to your friends and fans (which, at this point, might include family members screaming your name). To play live, you need to plug in, and that is exactly where this guitar comes in. The FSX800C builds upon the legacy of the FG800 and adds electronics to the equation.
First, let’s start by saying that this guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top which adds projection, brightness, and clarity to the overall sound. In the same vein, the back and sides are made of Nato, which is an affordable replacement for mahogany with a similar tonal palette rich in lows and mid-lows. As a result, this guitar covers a vast sonic ground and is perfect to accompany a voice, a small act, or even a live band.
Speaking of which, live performances are a breeze with this guitar due to its System-66 preamp electronics. These include a 3-band EQ (especially important to tame feedback on stage) and a master volume knob. The sounds coming from this guitar once plugged in are more than enough for any coffee shop appearance. Plus, the built-in tuner and die-cast chrome tuners will keep you sounding loud, clear, and in-tune for the night.
Finally, if you’re ready to make the jump from the bedroom to the stage, you need an ax you can plug in, and this might be a perfect choice.
Yamaha’s take on 3/4 guitars is nothing short of what you would expect from one of the major musical instrument brands in the world. Indeed, this small-sized parlor guitar comes fully equipped to accompany even the most demanding players on the road.
To begin with, this guitar features a laminated Sitka spruce top and UTF mahogany (Ultra-Thin Finish) back and sides. On one hand, the laminated finish might take some of the instrument’s natural sound away but on the other, it is more resistant to the hardships of the road. In other words, it can take the abuse the road or small children can put it through.
That being said, in the sounds department, this guitar is capable of projecting acoustic tones that can fill a small room unamplified. In the same vein, the combination of spruce and mahogany covers the tonal palette you need to accompany a singer or make a small band sound good.
Finally, playing-wise, the neck comfort for beginners, players with smaller hands, and children is uncanny. Matching that with a solid construction, great attention to detail, and the perfect blend of woods make this the perfect learning tool and/or an impeccable companion for the road.
The Yamaha line of acoustic guitars offers a guitar that is designed and built with the live performer in mind. This guitar is the APX600, a thin-bodied instrument capable of live tones guitars with a much bulkier price tag can only dream of.
To begin with, this guitar’s laminated Sitka spruce top and 3-ply Nato back and sides are nothing to write home about acoustically. That being said, Yamaha’s modern sculpted bracing and electronics give the tone of this guitar, especially when plugged in, a 3-dimensional quality that makes it a great live instrument. Moreover, the responsiveness to the touch makes the APX600 a great choice for players at any moment of their careers. This is because the neck is thin enough to bring comfort to new players and also provides a super-fast highway for seasoned players who like to shred.
Speaking of which, the smaller body with a cutaway makes high-fret access a breeze. That being said, the cutaway is also partially responsible for this guitar’s treble-oriented sound. This quality is only mitigated by the advanced bracing that adds warmth and low-end to the final audio.
Finally, borrowing the Yamaha 65A revamped preamp and piezo system straight from Yamaha’s A Series, this instrument can shine at any stage. Indeed, the 3-band EQ, volume, and built-in digital tuner provide the exact level of sound control you need to have a great time playing with none of the common hassles.
If you are playing live more than at home and want a great, portable, affordable, and comfortable guitar to hit the road with, you can’t overlook this model.
We couldn’t round up an acoustic guitar rundown like this without including a nylon-string guitar. Well, in this case, this is not just another classic guitar but the result of decades of innovation by Yamaha.
Indeed, what this guitar adds to an already well-known combo is to utilize the guitar’s body as a speaker and add welcome effects to the overall sound. This means that without the need for external speakers or amplifiers you can add lush, beautiful reverb or chorus to the overall sound. This, combined with the beautiful texture of nylon strings, and the soft touch of fingers, might mean a one-way ticket to hours of non-stop playing enjoyment.
But that’s not all we have to say about the FG-TA; there’s more than meets the eye in this guitar. Indeed, the solid Sitka spruce top and laminated Ovangkol back and sides give it enough power and projection to fill any room. Moreover, the SRT piezo, flat neck, and matte finish make playing it a delight unplugged as well as plugged.
Finally, action and finish are great straight out of the box, and, being a nylon-string guitar, it is perfect for beginners because it is easy to play and easy on the fingers. Therefore, this is a great, affordable, superb-sounding guitar that will deliver a great tone without breaking the bank for beginners wanting to start on a guitar a little more than the standard or seasoned players looking to add nylon touch to their arsenal.
This guitar represents the top of the line in terms of construction, materials, and sound for Yamaha. If you are after a guitar that will last for a lifetime sounding amazing and playing flawlessly, this might be it.
To begin with, the back and sides are made of solid Rosewood and the top is solid Engelmann spruce. This combination brings the best of every wood type for a resulting sound oozing rumbling lows and sparkling highs. Moreover, solid wood tends to sound even better with age, therefore, time will only make this Yamaha sound better.
Besides being hand-picked, the wood in this guitar is treated with Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.) which balances the tone optimizing the qualities of each wood type. In a nutshell, this technology allows a brand new guitar to sound like a broken-in, old companion you’ve played all your life.
Speaking of woods, the bright snap of the ebony used in the bridge and the fretboard adds complex harmonic overtones to a tone that is already deep and bright. Moreover, this guitar is entirely handcrafted in Yamaha’s Japanese factory by seasoned luthiers.
As you would expect, the level of detail and quality craftsmanship applied to the abalone/maple binding and rosette make this a stunning instrument also from a visual point of view.
Finally, sound-wise, this guitar sounds exactly as you would expect: expensive, tuneful, and beautiful. Nothing is coming short about this guitar in terms of tone, on the opposite, it is an instrument that will grow as you play it.
The only caveat is that it might become very difficult to put it down since it is such a beautiful-sounding, easy to play guitar.
Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Buying Guide
Before we move on to the best Yamaha acoustic guitars, let’s go over some of the basics you should know. These are concepts that will help you throughout your guitar-playing career. So, read on, learn, and apply; they will help you in your journey to stardom.
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Plugged or Unplugged Yamaha Acoustic Guitars?
The first decision you need to make when it comes to buying an acoustic guitar is whether or not you’re playing it on stage. The motto is: if you’re playing live, you have to plug in. In other words, to step on a stage, you need to get an acoustic-electric guitar. This is because plugging into a PA system is much easier and better for your performance than just putting a microphone in front of your guitar.
On the other hand, if you are not playing live (at least in the foreseeable future) you might want to opt for a guitar with no electronics. This is because electronics will not only make your instrument more expensive but will also take away some of its tone. The reason behind this tone loss is that to install electronics you need to carve wood and add plastic. Thus, you lose natural vibrations.
Speaking of wood vibration, let’s talk woods.
Let's Talk Wood
As you might know, most guitars in the world are made of wood. Furthermore, if you study the subject, you’ll realize that the selection of the wood is very closely related to the tone of the instrument. In this vein, some brands are bold and try new wood types while others stick to the basics we all know and play.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types used by manufacturers around the world.
- Mahogany – Mahogany is a wood type that is not only common in the construction of acoustic guitars but also in the electric guitar world. For example, for those Slash and Jimmy Page fans out there, Les Pauls are made of mahogany. The characteristics of this tonewood are a very tight and closed grain, dark color, heavyweight, and a very warm, dark, fat, resonant tone. Because of these characteristics, it is commonly found in the backs, sides, and necks of guitars adding punch, body, and projection to the overall sound.
- Spruce – Spruce is the most common wood used in the construction of acoustic guitars; it is featured mostly on the top. It is easily recognizable due to its minimal figuring and very pale, almost yellow color. The reason why it is the number one choice for most guitar builders is that it is capable of adding sweetness and a smooth, round, and bright top to the overall sound without any harshness. Moreover, it is such a best-seller because it can be the perfect combination for about any other wood, adding rich, musical harmonic overtones to, for example, the throaty mids and rumbling lows of mahogany. Its most common variety is Sitka spruce.
- Cedar – Finger-style guitarists usually gravitate away from spruce toward cedar (the second most-used tonewood in the world for acoustic guitars) because of its added warmth and quieter nature. This quality enhances dynamics giving new life to every note. Moreover, adding to it the soft touch of the fingers adds uncanny warmth; for example, when recorded, it sounds as if the player was sitting next to you. This sound quality comes from the wood being less dense than spruce, resonating more toward mids and low mids than highs. As a result, cedar’s red-brown color is easy to spot in stages around the world in the hands of seasoned players looking for an intimate, round sound.
- Maple – Maple is not so common in the acoustic guitar world but is the wood that made Fender so famous. Some of the most important qualities of maple are its hardness and density. This combination makes it a highly resonant tonewood capable of a bright, loud sound that projects each note with superb definition. Although it is not so common, it can be found in the back and sides of some classic models like the Gibson J-200, for example, adding a powerful mid-range to any other tonewood. Finally, on higher-tier models, it is used as an aesthetic enhancement because it can have appealing, beautiful figuring. Again, ask Mr. Slash for his figured maple top Les Pauls.
- Rosewood – This final tonewood type is among the most expensive wood types in the world regardless of its use. When talking about acoustic guitars it can be found in the highest tiers of some of the most expensive and exclusive brands as a back and sides. When employed that way, it can add complex harmonic overtones and uncanny warmth to any other tone wood. Moreover, with its dark chocolate color, it can also enhance the looks of any instrument. That being said, it is most commonly found as a fingerboard material. To this end, guitar makers utilize only a thin piece to sit over the neck.
Solid or Laminated Yamaha Acoustic guitar?
Now that you know what each tonewood sound characteristics are, it is time to talk about solid and laminated construction. Why is this important when choosing the best Yamaha acoustic guitar? Well, because it changes not only the price range but also the tone.
To begin with, let’s say that a laminated guitar is made with bits of different wood put together in the shape of the instrument. This translates into different wood grains, projection capabilities, and resonance fighting each other. As a result, you have an inexpensive construction that offers the player a low-to-mid-tier sound. In this vein, laminated guitars are usually a good beginner’s choice.
On the other hand, solid wood construction means a single piece of wood with a unified grain and resonance vibrating on every strum. This translates into musical overtones, ringing harmonics, and a rich low-end. As you might imagine, though, working with solid pieces of wood make the instrument more expensive.
A good combination used by many guitar makers, including Yamaha, is adding a solid top to laminated back and sides. For example, it is common to find a solid Sitka spruce top with laminated mahogany back and sides. This way, the instrument offers all the projection and rich harmonics the solid spruce top can offer with a low end coming from the laminated mahogany. In other words, you get rich sounds with a moderate price tag.
Let's Talk about Strings of Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Review
Now that you know everything about tonewoods, let’s talk about strings. These come in two different types when talking about acoustic guitars: bronze and nylon.
To begin with, bronze guitar strings are the most common to be found in any shop. For example, models like jumbo, dreadnought, and parlor among many others utilize them. These guitar models are the backbone of modern music and have helped to shape hit songs in the hands of players like John Mayer, Tom Petty, and many others.
On the other hand, nylon strings (also known as classical strings) are most common among classical players, music schools, and folk players. A great example is Willie Nelson’s famous Trigger guitar. The nylon strings are especially good for fingerpicking, fast soloing, and styles needing precision as well as speed. Also, beginners will find nylon strings much easier to start with because the material is gentler to the fingers.
Know Your Limitations
Finally, the last piece of advice in this mini buying guide is to know your limitations. By limitations, we are talking about budget and your ear.
Budget-wise, acoustic guitars can cover a vast range going from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In this vein, just like with any other product, the more you go up in your budget, the better quality instrument you shall find. This means better woods, craftsmanship, electronics, and more.
Here is where it gets a little tricky because it is where your ear comes in; you need to develop your ear to appreciate the tone qualities of top-tier guitars. Therefore, to fall in love with the nuances of a beautiful solid mahogany guitar, for example, you need to be somewhat of a seasoned player.
As a result, the advice is to invest wisely. If you are planning on playing live a lot, invest in your electronics because they’ll be a game-changer in your career. On the other hand, if you’ll be doing studio work, get the best-sounding instrument you can (invest in solid woods). Finally, if you’re starting, perhaps a laminated back and sides with a solid top can be a great start.
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Why choose Yamaha Acoustic Guitar?
Now that we’ve covered the Yamaha line (at least part of it), it is time to answer this question: Why buy Yamaha? Well, to begin with, although you might not be aware of this, Yamaha is an empire built by a luthier. Indeed, a close look at the logo will reveal the three intertwined tuning forks. This is because the company was founded by Torakusu Yamaha in 1887, a piano builder.
That same passion that took a one-man endeavor to a worldwide phenomenon is behind every product bearing the Yamaha logo. From competition motorcycles to elite-level pianos, all of them respond to the same idea: the search for excellence through innovation and quality craftsmanship.
In this vein, from the utterly-affordable Yamaha F335 to the state-of-the-art Yamaha LL56, all the guitars on this list share the same principle: they serve the purpose of delivering quality craftsmanship and great sound.
So, to answer the question above, you should choose Yamaha because it offers uncanny quality and great sounds in all tiers, and makes reliable instruments for all needs and tastes. Furthermore, Yamaha has been a synonym with quality craftsmanship and great sounds for well over a century.
Trusting your money on a Yamaha guitar is a safe bet, regardless of how long you’ve been playing.
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Conclusion about the Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitar
We’ve gone through the rundown of the best Yamaha acoustic guitars in the market today. We started out with a Yamaha F335 acoustic guitar review and moved down (or up) the line to reach the uncanny Yamaha LL56. On that trip, we stopped by to review the FG800, the quintessential Yamaha acoustic guitar, then to some technology-enhanced models like the TransAcoustic or the JR2, or even the live-player focused Yamaha APX600.
In a conclusion, we can say that there is a Yamaha acoustic guitar for you, ready to take your playing to the next level, regardless of what that level is and what is your budget.
So, choose wisely, play a lot, and let the world hear what’s inside you. The sky is the only limit with a Yamaha acoustic guitar in your hands.