Today we’ll be looking be comparing two very similar guitars- Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830. For a very long time, the Yamaha FG800 was the most sold acoustic guitar under $300 in the entire world. This is no small feat and it definitely goes a long way to tell the quality of this instrument.
The Yamaha FG830 is only an incremental difference to the FG800. We are not trying to determine which of these two is out-rightly better, that would definitely be the FG830. However, we’re comparing this two to find out whether the FG830 is worth the upgrade.
Without further ado, let’s get into the review!
Comparison Overview – Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
The FG lineup stands for “Folk Guitar”. These guitars are probably the most popular acoustic guitar series in the whole world. This series dates back to as far as 1966 when the FG-180 model made its debut.
These two guitars, the FG800 and FG830 are really good budget-friendly acoustics. Because they both belong to the “800 sub series”, they do come with a heck of a lot similar features.
The best thing about these guitars is that they both have a solid spruce top. Spruce is an excellent tonewood that produces bright, clear sounds. It’s strength and tonal properties definitely set it apart from a lot of other tonewoods out there.
You can tell that these guitars were built for strumming and finger-picking. To go with that spruce top, these guitars come with steel strings. Steel strings have a bright sound about them that make them an excellent choice for music styles like rock and country.
Don’t worry about the slight pain you would feel at the tip of your fingers if you’re a beginner. You would definitely get used to it after a while.
Furthermore, they both come with rosewood fretboards. Rosewood is the most popular choice for fretboards and that’s because of its natural feel. It feels very nice to play on. However, because it is not finished, you would have to clean and condition the fretboard and change the strings once in a while.
Finally, if you’re going to be playing in front of an audience, you can get an acoustic-electric version of either of these guitars. There are also several colors you can choose from. Although, the FG830 has 4 more colors available than the FG800.
The main difference between these two guitars is the tonewood used to make the back and sides. The FG800 has Nato back and sides, while the FG830 has Rosewood back and sides. Rosewood is definitely a better tonewood than Nato.
Although it’s a hardwood, it has pores which make it produce a rather warm sound. This warm sound compliments the bright sound of the spruce top to produce an overall balanced sound. It’s also a much harder wood so it’s stronger and more durable.
If you do have the money, we suggest you pick the FG830 because of this feature. It might cost more, but when you hear it, you’ll definitely know that it was worth it.
Comparison Table — Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
|Body Wood: Back||Nato, Okume||Rosewood|
|Body Wood: Sides||Nato, Okume||Rosewood|
What Scenario Is What Guitar Better For? – Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
| Both of these guitars would excel in the same situations. They work well for any scenario really. |
If you’re a beginner, these are great. They are very affordable, easy to play, easy to learn. As a beginner, the only problem you’ll face is having to tune the guitar when you first get it.
| As an intermediate professional, these are also great. While you might not use this for your biggest gigs, it’s definitely a good guitar to have around your house. |
If you’re a singer-songwriter, the dreadnought would give you that big bold sound that you need.
If you’re not, then the concert grand is definitely the one to go for.
Features Common To Both Guitars – Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
Because the FG830 is also a modification to the FG800, they come with a lot of similarities. In this section, we’ll be taking a look at all those features that you can find on both of these acoustic guitars.
Size, Scale, & Length
Both of these acoustics are full-sized. They have a scale length of 25.6 inches, and a Nut Width of 43 millimeters. This size makes these two guitars an excellent choice for any adult who is just learning to play the guitar.
It might not be such a great idea to get either of these for kids because of how small their hands and fingers are. If you want to get something for your child, Yamaha has a Junior collection of acoustic guitars that should fit perfectly in their tiny hands.
The design of these guitars is pretty sick, to be honest. If you pick the same color and shape for both of these guitars and compare them, we’re not sure you would be able to tell which is which. That is how close these two are in terms of design.
However, the more updated version, the FG830, is available in more colors than the FG800. But first, let’s look at the two body types that these guitars come in, which are- Grand Concert & Dreadnought.
This shape is based on the shape of a classical guitar. It has extreme curves and its size is somewhere in the middle, between large guitars and smaller guitars. Because of its small size and extreme curves, Grand Concert guitars produce great mid-range tones that are very clear.
This is what makes them excellent for a wide variety of musical styles and genres.
Furthermore, because it’s a smaller guitar, this is a great choice for younger guitarists, smaller guitarists, or anymore who’s just trying out. It’s slimmer, so you do not have to stretch so much to reach the strings to play.
This is the more popular option of the two body types. So, if you’re a beginner, we would encourage you to pick up this body type in whichever guitar you eventually decide to go with.
The iconic guitar shape! This guitar is pretty large and broad with subtler curves. It’s a more traditional style and has been around for quite some time now. These guitars are built for volume and projection. Hence the bigger box, to produce bigger sounds.
Because the curves are subtler, dreadnoughts produce full, bold, deep tones. This makes this body type especially great for any music style that has finger-style playing, or strumming.
Generally, if you’re looking for a powerful sound with powerful low-end notes, then this is the guitar for you. However, if you’re a beginner, we don’t advise this body type. Its size can be a little intimidating and difficult to start out with.
Check out the video below to compare the sounds of two very similar guitars, with the only difference being that one is a dreadnought shape, while the other is a grand concert shape.
Away from the body type, we dive right into the various colors available for each of these guitars. For the FG800, you get only two options-
- Natural (which is the natural color of spruce, very light brown).
- Ruby Red.
For the Yamaha aFG830, though, you have six different colors available for you to choose from. Viz:
- Autumn Burst
- Tobacco Sunburst
- Dark Sun Red
- Brown Sunburst
We always like variety. With these many color options available, you can easily pick the guitar that looks the best to you.
The fingerboard is the part of the guitar that you interact with the most, which makes it the most important part of the guitar. However, people don’t often see it like that. But can we tell you now, that if your fingerboard/fretboard feels off, it would be very difficult for you to play your guitar.
Yes, it might sound well, but your fingers would easily get irritated and so you would not be very willing to play as often as you should. So, it then became apparent to guitar manufacturers that the feel of the wood used to make the fretboard must be considered with utmost priority.
This is why Yamaha decided to go with rosewood for these two acoustics.
The rosewood used here is Indian rosewood, which should not be confused with Brazilian rosewood. Now, we would have preferred Brazilian rosewood. However, that wood is very rare and exotic and would have taken the price of these guitars up several notches.
But Indian rosewood is not a bad alternative. It has a great natural feel and does not require any finish, unlike Ebony. Rosewood and Ebony are the two most popular choices for manufacturers when picking wood for their fretboard.
There is one downside to having a natural feeling fretboard, though. You would have to clean and treat it from time to time. This should be as frequently as you change the strings, and should not take time at all.
To clean, remove all the strings and wipe the fretboard with a clean, dry cloth and fretboard oil. Do not use any vegetable-based oil as that can have a damaging effect on rosewood in the long run.
For a visual aid to help you out with the cleaning, check out the video below:
Nato is often referred to as the “Eastern Mahogany”. This is because it has a lot of similarities with the popular wood in sound, look, and even feel. Although, one must note that these two woods are completely unrelated.
However, because they are so similar and Nato is more affordable, it is often used as a Mahogany replacement in many affordable guitars. This kind of material replacement is what ensures that these two guitars- F800 and the FG830 are affordable and still maintain top-quality.
Just like Mahogany, Nato is very dense and tough. So, used as a guitar neck, it means the guitar should be able to survive a few “accidental” drops. We all know about those, LOL.
Finally, to go with the whole aesthetic of whatever guitar this is used on, Nato finishes very well.
Both of these guitars use steel strings. That doesn’t come as a surprise as the most popular kind of guitars that use nylon strings are classical guitars, which neither of these is.
Now, there is a misconception about strings when it comes to beginners. A lot of people feel like beginners should always start with nylon strings because they are softer and more tender on the fingers.
Although it’s true that they are more tender on the fingers, we do not think that should be the reason why one should pick one type of strings over the other. Why? Well, strings will hurt your fingers as a beginner, only that with steel strings it might come faster than nylon strings.
With a little practice, you will learn to get use to the hurt on your fingers.
We think that in picking a type of strings, what you should be more concerned about is the type of music you want to play. If you’re going to be strumming or fingerpicking a lot, then you definitely want steel strings. They have that edge and sound sharper than nylon strings.
So, if you’re going to be playing things like metal, rock, and even country music, then you definitely want steel strings. On the other hand, if you’re going to be playing styles like classical, you know, where you need fuller sounds, then you’re better off getting a nylon-stringed guitar.
Please note that it’s not advisable to switch up the strings on your guitar to another type. Watch the video below for a full explanation as to why you shouldn’t do that:
Acoustic-Electric Versions Available
Both of these guitars are available in a purely acoustic version and an electric acoustic version. Obviously, the electric-acoustic version costs slightly more than the purely acoustic version.
However, if you’re going to be playing gigs, you definitely want to get the electric acoustic version. It’s more convenient to just plug directly to an amp using the audio jack, then using a mic with the box.
The acoustic-electric version has an under-saddle piezo with a 3-band EQ. It also has a frequency control that adjusts the mid-range, and a precision chromatic tuner. These features allow you to tailor the sound to your taste, perfectly.
Solid Spruce Top
Both of these guitars are made with a solid spruce top. This is actually a pretty big deal, looking at the fact that both of these are very affordable. Most of the acoustic guitars in this price range come with laminated tops, rather than solid wood.
Laminated Vs Solid Wood
Laminated wood is formed when multiple layers of thin sheets of processed wood are joined together using a strong adhesive. The problem with laminated wood is that a lot of sound is absorbed by the adhesives used to join the sheets of wood.
This is what makes laminated wood have worse tonal properties than solid wood.
Also, in most cases, solid wood is more durable than laminated wood. The only thing is that with solid wood, you would need to regulate the temperature and humidity of the surrounding you keep it at all times.
A drastic change in temperature and humidity can affect the natural resins that hold solid wood together, causing them to develop cracks and even compromise its joints. Meanwhile, with laminated wood, adhesives keep them together, not natural resins. This makes them a lot more formidable against temperature and humidity changes.
However, if you’re looking for the best sounding guitar, then a solid top is your best bet. Which brings us to the most important point about Spruce tops, the tone.
Spruce Vs Cedar
These are the two main options when it comes to acoustic guitar tops. And there is a great divide as to the preferences of guitarists worldwide. So, it is difficult to talk about one without making reference to the other.
Now, the beauty about this comparison is that no one can really out-rightly say that Spruce is better than Cedar, or vice versa. People can only pick their preferred choice based on the sound they prefer and the type of music they want to play.
Spruce, being the more traditional version of the two, has a bright, distinct sound. Each note played is heard with maximum clarity and precision. You can liken it to the sound of a bell.
Also, spruce tops tend to produce sounds that have more sustain than cedar tops. Cedar tops, on the other hand, produce more mellow, fuller sounds. There is no focus on the clarity of each note, but rather, that the whole chord should be heard as one sound.
Beginners tend to lean towards cedar tops more because without this clarity of notes, you can play a chord and make a mistake in one note, without it being heard. With a spruce top, every single note will be heard clearly.
Spruce tops are generally more preferred by Rock, Jazz, and some classical guitarists.
Features Unique To Each Guitar –Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
Bodywood: Back and Sides
Just like we mentioned at the beginning of this review, these two guitars are very similar. The only difference between them is the wood used to make their back and sides. For the Yamaha FG800, it’s Nato wood. On the other hand, for the Yamaha FG830, it’s rosewood.
Let’s look at each of these tonewoods individually and find out how much of a difference they make to their guitars.
For the FG800, the same wood used to make the neck is used to make the back and sides. To understand the physical properties of Nato, please check our discussion on the neckwood above.
Now, we’re going to be talking more about the tonal properties of Nato. This is because used as a neck, Nato doesn’t affect the sound as much as when it’s used as the back and sides.
Nato, like Mahogany, produces a beefy mid-range tone that sounds good even in the midst of other instruments. It has a deep and warm resonance and also has sharp overtones.
In simpler terms, just look at Nato as a lower quality, more affordable Mahogany. They share so many tonal properties. However, if you listen to both of them side by side, you would definitely know that one is more premium sounding like the other.
Want to find out what it sounds like? Click the button below:
Unlike Nato, Rosewood is not regarded as “the affordable option” by any measure. Rosewood is a very solid material, and although it’s mostly used as a fretboard wood, it’s a great tonewood with excellent tonal properties.
Rosewood produces a very warm sound that has good volume and resonance. It has clarity at both the bottom end and the trebles. Rosewood is very hardwood. In fact, it’s harder than Maple. However, it’s a lot warmer than maple because it’s very porous.
To use this, luthiers have to do something called “pore fill” before it can be used as a tonewood.
This rosewood works particularly well on this guitar because of its spruce top. Spruce has a very bright sound and the warm sounds produced by this rosewood compliments those excellently. This produces an overall balanced sound that is full, rich, and bright, all at once.
For this singular reason, if you have the extra money, we highly recommend getting the FG830 over the FG800. You don’t have to take our word for it, though.
Watch the video below and have a listen to this guitar. Doesn’t it just sound lovely?
Unique Pros — Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
- It’s more affordable.
- Because of its rosewood back and sides, this guitar has a much more balanced and richer tone.
- There are 3 more colors available to choose from.
- Rosewood is harder than Nato, and so, would last longer.
Unique Cons — Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
- Nato’s tonal properties are not as good as Rosewood’s, which produces a poorer sound compared to the FG830.
- There are only 2 colors available to choose from.
- It is more expensive.
Common Pros — Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
|It’s Great For Beginners|| There are many factors that make these two guitars great for beginners. |
But the most notable is definitely their price. Because they are so affordable, it won’t tear the pocket of a beginner who hasn’t started getting paid for gigs yet.
Also, if you’re not yet sure whether you’ll still be playing in a few years, it’s nice to not invest so much into it at first.
Another reason is their size. Because they are full-sized, once you get used to its size, you won’t feel any difference moving up to more advanced acoustics.
|Same as the FG800.|
|Different Body Types To Choose From|| We always like when customers are given the power of choice. So when we saw that these two guitars are available in two different body types, we were elated. |
You have the dreadnought body type, and the Grand concert body type.
If you’re a beginner, we suggest you go for the Grand Concert. It’s smaller, so it’s easier to play. It also suits a wide variety of musical styles because of its good mid-range tone.
|Same as the FG800.|
|Great Fretboard Feel|| These two guitars have a fretboard that’s made of rosewood. |
Rosewood is a very popular fretboard wood. This is because of its natural oily feel. It makes you want to play your guitar always.
The only cost is that you have to clean and condition the wood from time to time.
|Same as the FG800.|
|Solid Spruce Top|| A solid spruce top for a guitar of this price? Definitely A+ already for us. |
With a solid spruce top, you get excellent tonal quality. Each note played is individual, clear, and the overall sound is very bright.
If you’re going to be strumming or finger-picking a lot, you’ll definitely enjoy the sound of this spruce top.
|Same as the FG800.|
|Steel Strings|| If you’re a beginner, yes, this would hurt your fingers a little at the beginning. |
However, once you get used to that, steel strings are actually really cool.
Apart from their sound properties, they are also much more affordable and easily accessible.
That’s particularly great, looking at the fact that these guitars have a rosewood fretboard and as such, their strings would need to be changed regularly.
|Same as the FG800.|
Common Cons — Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
|Too Big For Younger Players|| Even with the Grand Concert design, these two guitars are a bit too large for younger players. |
If you wanted to get something for your kid who is just starting out with acoustic guitars, sadly, neither of these will work particularly well for him.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
|Tuning Is Needed|| Because both of these guitars are factory made, they will need proper tuning before they can play well. |
So, as a beginner, you might have to take this to your nearest guitar shop for some fine tuning before you can start playing.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830 – What Do People Think About It?
|A lot of people loved this instrument, especially beginners. Beginners who got this said that it was very easy to both learn and play on.||The Yamaha FG800 was a very popular acoustic guitar, and the FG830 isn’t too far behind.|
| Experienced musicians, on the other hand, found that the construction work with this guitar was excellent.|
You don’t have any gaps and the glue wasn’t excess around the joints.
|A lot people complimented the wood used to make this guitar. The solid spruce top gave the guitar a very elegant sound, much better than many other guitars in this price range.|
|Professionals also loved the fact that this came with a solid spruce top. One customer claimed that this was this instrument’s most attractive feature and we definitely agree with them on that one.||Furthermore, the rosewood back and sides helped to balance out the brightness and sharpness of the spruce sound, producing a richer, more balanced sound that most customers loved.|
| This guitar wouldn’t win any awards for aesthetics. However, quite a number of people were satisfied with it’s simple design. |
They warn, though, that the paint on the head stock will definitely rub off over time.
Still talking about its design, people loved the shape of the grand concert shape. It’s a great guitar to play whether you’re watching TV on the couch, or you’re standing in from of an audience.
| One complain customers had with this, though, is that the saddle, nut, and bridge pins are made of plastic. |
So, consider replacing these with tusk instead, and maybe brass for the bridge pins. This would increase the overall volume, as well as, improve the tonal quality.
This is factory made, so remember that you might have to work it a little bit. However, with a few tweaks, you can get this guitar to sound like some of the best acoustic guitars out there.
What Do We Think? — Yamaha FG800 Vs FG830
Yamaha makes excellent instruments, and they definitely didn’t disappoint with these two acoustic guitars. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, these two are excellent instruments for you.
There is no contest as to which of this is better. It is definitely the FG830. That rosewood back and sides took up some levels above the FG80 in terms of sound production and tonal quality.
Is it worth the extra cash? Yes. We, definitely think it does.
However, if you do not have the extra cash to spare, the FG800 is definitely not a bad choice. Because these guitars are factory-made, you might have to do some like work on them when they arrive. If you’re a beginner, take it to your nearest guitar hardware store and have them set it up for you.
Once you’ve done this, people would not believe the price you got these for. They are that good! Want to get yours now? Click any of the links below: