Today we’ll be looking at two very similar acoustic guitars made by Yamaha- Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800. The FG, otherwise known as the Folk Guitar series, has been Yamaha’s most popular acoustic guitar series, since its debut.
In fact, the guitars in this series represent some of the most popular acoustics in the world. This is because of Yamaha’s excellent production quality, attention to details, as well as, the affordability of these acoustics.
This is going to be quite a lengthy review. If you do not have the time to read through the entire review, then we suggest that you check the next three sections. These sections contain bite-sized information that would help you make a better purchase decision.
Table of Contents
Comparison Overview — Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800
The FG is FG800 means “Folk Guitar”, while FS means “Folk Small”. Of course, from this, you can already tell that the FS800 is a smaller guitar than the FG800. In fact, that is the only major difference between these two guitars.
However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First:
Both of these guitars are very affordable. As at the time of their release, both of these guitars were under $300. For guitars with this much quality that even advanced guitarists like, they are pretty affordable.
Talking about quality, these two guitars have a Solid Sitka Spruce top that is simply, excellent. As a tonewood, it produces a sharp, clear sound with very distinct notes. It’s also a pretty hard and dense wood. It has been one of the top choices for Luthiers all around the world for a very long time.
Another thing these two guitars have in common is their string type. They both make use of steel strings. Steel strings are really affordable and easy to replace, which is nice considering you would be doing that periodically with these guitars.
Yes, you would have to change the strings on these guitars from time to time. This is as a result of its Rosewood fretboard. Rosewood is an excellent choice for fretboards. It does not need a finish so you have the natural oily feel of the wood while you’re playing.
However, it not requiring a finish means that you would have to clean and condition it periodically, to keep it at optimum feel and performance. This means removing all the strings and wiping down the fretboard with some fretboard oil.
Finally, both of these guitars are available in acoustic-electric versions. If you’re going to be playing at gigs in front of an audience, this is great to get a more powerful sound from an external amp. Their acoustic-electric bodies have a slightly different design to these two. They have a single cutaway.
The FG800 has a Dreadnought body type, while the FS800 has a Grand Concert body type.
The Dreadnought body type is more suited to people who do a lot of finger-playing and strumming. If you want a big, bold, sound out of your guitar, with as much low-end as possible, then this is the guitar for you.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner, or someone who’s got small hands, you definitely want this body type. It’s much smaller with more noticeable curves. This curves also make this great for various different music styles.
If you want a guitar that’s small, compact, and is very versatile, then this is the guitar for you.
Price To Value Ratio
Irrespective of their differences, these two guitars cost exactly the same. So, they both have the same price to value ratio, which like we’ve mentioned earlier, is exceptional!
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Comparison Table
|Body Type||Dreadnought||Concert Grand|
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – What Scenario Is What Guitar Better For?
| This guitar is best for experienced players. It’s built for its big volume and projection. So, if you want something that you will that job, this is the guitar. |
Also, it’s quite a big guitar so make sure you have the arms to wrap around it nicely.
| This guitar is great for people with small hands. No matter what level of skill you are, if you have small hands, the Dreadnought might be a little too much for you. |
However, this guitar would be just fine.
| If you’re a singer-songwriter, this might just be the guitar for you. This is because it does really well with strumming. |
So, you can just play your chords as you sing along, without having to do look at too many intricacies.
| It’s a great “couch guitar”. Because it’s comfortable enough for you to play, even as you’re sitting on your couch watching TV. |
Lastly, this guitar is great for versatility. Want to play a bunch of different music styles? Definitely get this guitar.
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Features Common To Both Guitars
Scale & Length
Both of these guitars are full-sized guitars. They have 20 frets, with a scale length of 25.6 and 25 inches, respectively. The FG800 is also slightly longer than the FS800, measuring at a total length of 40.9 inches. This is .7 more than the FS800, which measures at 40.2 inches.
Because these are full-sized guitars, they would not work well with children. So, if you want to get a beginner’s guitar for your kid, we don’t think any of these would work particularly well. However, you can check out our Yamaha JR1 Vs JR2 comparison.
Those are two ¾ sized guitars. They are great for kids or as a travel guitar because of their small form factor.
Both of these guitars are available in the same two colors- natural and ruby red. We would have loved to have more options, but for these guitars, these two colors are all you get. The colors look nice, though, so that’s one thing.
If you would like other colors, check out our comparison between the FG800 and the FG830. The FG830 comes with 4 other colors for you to pick from.
Believe us when we say that the fingerboard is one of the most important, yet underrated parts of a guitar. Apart from the wood used in producing the sound, the feel of a fretboard is something that you must check before you buy a guitar.
This is because if you get a guitar that has a weird feeling fretboard, it would be difficult for you to be encouraged to play it. So, it’s great that both of these guitars are made with a rosewood fretboard.
Rosewood is a very popular choice when it comes to making fretboards, and for good reason. The main reason why many manufacturers opt for rosewood when designing a fretboard is because of its feel.
Rosewood does not require finishing, which means the wood feels completely natural. The second other popular choice of wood for fretboards is Ebony, and that requires a finishing. Because Ebony has a finishing, it doesn’t feel as natural as rosewood and can even irritate the fingers of some guitarists.
There is, however, a downside to the natural state of rosewood. Because there is no artificial finish, you are required to clean and condition the wood from time to time. This would help keep the wood looking clean and strong.
This is not a big task, though. First, you should clean your rosewood fretboard as often as you change all the strings on your guitar. To clean it, you would need a fretboard conditioner. If you don’t have that, then any mineral oil would do.
Do not use vegetable-based oil. It would have an adverse effect on the wood in the long run.
Once you’ve gotten the appropriate oil, apply it on to a cloth and then wipe down on the fretboard, making sure to clean every nook and cranny properly.
Nato is also called the “Eastern Mahogany” due to its many similarities with the popular tonewood. Nato has a similar feel, sound, and even look to Mahogany. Although, Nato and Mahogany are completely unrelated.
Because Nato is more affordable than Mahogany, it is often used in place of the more expensive wood, being that they are such similar alternatives. However, Mahogany is definitely a much stronger wood than Nato.
We can’t complain too much, though, looking at the price of these two guitars. Nato might not be stronger than Mahogany but it’s still a strong and tough wood. So, unless you purposely try to smash your guitar, the neck should survive a few accidental mishaps.
Finally, Nato finishes well. This makes it quite beautiful to look at.
There is a strong concern about steel strings that we wish to address. Some people believe that beginners should only start with nylon strings as steel strings might be too coarse for their amateur fingertips.
While it is true that they might hurt a little, we do not think that that should be the reason you get one string type or the other. If you’re just starting out, both nylon and steel strings will hurt after playing for a while. However, in the long run, you get used to it.
What we think you should think about more is the type of music you want to play and then choose the string type that favors that music style.
If you’re going to be playing a lot of rock or metal, sometimes country, then you should definitely pick up a steel-stringed guitar. These are music styles that require a lot of finger-picking and strumming. Steel strings are great for that.
On the other hand, if you want something much more mellow and full, then a nylon-stringed guitar is the better option for you. That’s if you want to play things like classical, R&B, and Spanish style music.
If you do not know what style you would love to major in yet, then pick a steel string guitar. This is because they are a lot more affordable and readily available. As a beginner, cutting your budget down to as minimum as possible should be your first thought.
Finally, note. It is not advisable change the strings on your guitar from steel to nylon, or vice versa. To find out all about the dangers and risks attached to doing that, watch the video below:
Acoustic Electric Versions Available
Another thing that these two guitars have in common is that they have acoustic-electric versions available. If you’re still wondering, yes, these versions are slightly more expensive than the acoustic versions.
If you’re a beginner, we suggest you stick with the purely acoustic versions. However, if you already play some gigs, then the acoustic-electric version might interest you. Trust us when we say that it’s a lot better than having to go early to a gig just to make sure they have a working microphone and stand.
For their sound, the acoustic-electric versions come with an under-saddle piezo that has a 3-band EQ. They come with frequency controls that help adjust the mid-range, and they also come with a precision chromatic tuner. With these, you can easily adjust the sound however you want.
Finally, these acoustic-electric versions have a slight design alteration. They have a cutaway design, while the purely acoustic versions don’t have a cutaway. This cutaway design makes it easier for you to reach much higher notes on the guitar.
Solid Spruce Top
This is the most impressive feature that both of these guitars come with. Having a solid wood top in a guitar of this price range is really impressive, much more impressive when that solid wood is a Sitka spruce.
According to many Luthiers, Sitka Spruce is of greater quality than rosewood, mahogany, and even maple. No wonder Spruce has been used to produce guitars for centuries now.
Spruce Vs Cedar
However, from the mid-1960s, Spruce’s place at the top was being challenged by Cedar. In fact, till today, guitarists are still divided as to which of these two are better. Everyone has simply come to the conclusion that it is a matter of preference and the style of music.
This is because spruce and cedar are both great at what they do. Cedar, on one hand, produces a generally warm sound. The notes are warmer and the chords are fuller, sounding as a whole, rather than the individual notes.
Classical guitarists, blues guitarists, and people who generally want a warmer, gentler sound.
Spruce, on the other hand, produces very bright and punchy tones. In fact, some have compared the note production of the spruce top to that of a bell, because of its sharpness. Each note is heard with clarity, and the sound usually packs more sustain than cedar tops.
Musicians who play musical styles with a punchy feel like Rock, Jazz, and metal, would absolutely love the sound produced by Spruce tops.
If you’re a beginner, either of them work as well as the other.
Laminated Vs Solid Wood
Before even looking at the fact that the tops on these guitars were made with Sitka Spruce, we were impressed with the fact that it was solid wood, at all. If you’ve ever shopped for affordable acoustic guitars before, you would notice that a lot of them make use of laminated wood, instead of solid wood.
A wood is referred to as “laminated” when multiple layers of thin sheets of that wood have been joined together with a strong adhesive. As you would expect, solid wood has much better tonal properties, compared to laminated wood.
This is because in laminated wood, a lot of the sound is absorbed by the adhesive used in joining the wood together.
When you look at durability, it’s a no-brainer that the Solid wood is much tougher and stronger than laminated wood. However, that is not the full story. If you travel with your guitar a lot, then perhaps, getting a laminated guitar would actually be a better option, here’s why.
Solid wood is kept together by its natural resins. So, if there’s a fluctuation in the temperature and humidity of the surrounding where the guitar is kept, it can affect these resins badly, causing the guitar’s joints to break option. It can even straight up create cracks in the guitar.
On the other hand, laminated wood is kept together by its adhesive. This makes it a lot less susceptible to damage as a result of fluctuation in humidity and temperature.
Nato Back And Sides
Moving from a great to a not-so-great feature, both of these guitars come with Nato back and sides. Now we’ve talked briefly about the strength and structural integrity of Nato when we discussed Neckwood above, so kindly check that out.
For the back and sides of a guitar, it is not just about the wood’s strength but also about its tonal properties. Just like its physical properties, Nato’s tone is also close in sound to the tone produced by Mahogany. Talk about doppelgangers!
It produces a beefy mid-range tone that cuts through the mix of other instruments. It has sharp overtones and a warm and deep resonance.
In simpler terms, you can look at Nato as a more affordable alternative to Mahogany. It’s very similar, but of course of slightly lesser quality. However, because of the way the whole guitar was constructed, you might not even notice the difference. It’s still a great sounding guitar.
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Features Unique To Each Guitar
Alright! We’re through with all the features that both of these guitars share. There is one major thing that differentiates these two guitars, and that is their body type.
On one hand, the FG800 comes in a Dreadnought body type, while the FS800, on the other hand, has a Grand Concert body type. So, in this section, we would be looking at these different body types and how they affect your guitar.
The dreadnought body shape is a very iconic shape with acoustic guitars. It gets its name from the big battleships used in the World War 1 era. It’s called that because of its fairly large size and bold characteristics.
The dreadnought guitar has smaller curves and a bigger box. Because they have a bigger box, they produce bigger sounds. They are built to pack a punch.
Furthermore, because it isn’t as curvy as the Grand Concert, Dreadnoughts produce deeper, fuller, bolder tones. It’s great for singer-songwriters who just want something to strum along with while they are singing.
For a powerful sound with the best low-end notes, the Dreadnought is acoustic for you. Apart from singer-songwriters, others who would benefit from using a Dreadnought include people who strum a lot or do finger-style playing.
For beginners, we do not advise this guitar. This is because its large size can be somewhat uncomfortable to hold and use.
Want to hear what it sounds like? Watch the video below:
If you’re just starting out, the Grand Concert shape is your best option. It’s a fairly compact size, which makes it suitable for beginners. Also, at whatever skill level, this is a great “parlor guitar”. You know, that guitar that you can play while sitting comfortably on the couch, watching TV.
The Grand Concert has more noticeable curves than the Dreadnought. Apart from making this a sexier guitar, these curves help produce excellent mid-tones. This is why they are better suited for a wider variety of musical styles than Dreadnoughts.
Younger guitarists, or older guitarists with smaller hands, this definitely the body type for you. The nut width is pretty small, which means your fingers can play all the strings comfortably, even if they are short.
Because of its versatility and comfort, a lot of people prefer this body type to the Dreadnought body type. We are part of those people.
Want to hear what it sounds like? Watch the video below:
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Unique Pros
- The Dreadnought body type produces a louder, bolder sound.
- It has better low-ends.
- It’s great for strumming and finger-playing styles.
- It’s smaller and more compact, making it perfect for people with small hands.
- It is a better all-round guitar and is suited to a wide-range of music styles.
- It’s better for beginners.
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Unique Cons
- It’s not that comfortable to hold and play.
- Is not great for a wide variety of music styles.
- Not so great low-ends.
- The sound produced is not as loud as that produced by the Dreadnought.
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Common Pros
|Very Affordable|| For a beginner, the most important thing is affordability. Even if you have the money, it’s not economically wise to spend a thousand bucks on an acoustic guitar, when you’re not even sure if you’ll still feel enthusiastic enough to play in a few months. |
And that’s the first thing that these two guitars have locked down. Honestly, in our opinion, there are no better acoustic guitars at this price point.
Are there more affordable guitars, yes. However, if you do not want to compromise quality for affordability, these two guitars are some of the best out there.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
|Great Fretboard|| We’ve talked about rosewood in the “Common Features”. You can go there to check it out. |
Because of rosewood, you have a natural feeling fretboard that you would love to play every time.
However, remember you’ll have to clean and condition it periodically. A small price to pay, if you ask us.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
|Solid Spruce Top|| This is genuinely the best feature these two guitars share. It’s also the reason why they are so much better than many other guitars at this price point. |
A solid wood top means you get the best quality, not some laminated cheap wood.
On top of that, it’s Sitka Spruce which is notable better than Rosewood, Mahogany, and even Maple.
What you’re getting with this guitar is definitely top-notch.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
|Steel Strings|| If you’re just starting out, it’s true this will not feel so good on the fingers at first. |
However, that shouldn’t bother you. With a little bit of practice, you’ll definitely get used to the pain.
The best thing about steel strings is that they are so affordable and readily available. So, changing strings would be a breeze.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – Common Cons
|Too big for the kids|| If you’re trying to get a guitar for a very young player, then sadly, this wouldn’t cut it. Apart from being a dreadnought shape, being a full-sized guitar, this guitar still asks a lot of a child. |
You would be better off getting a ¾ sized guitar if you’re looking for something for a young child.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
|Requires Tuning|| Because these guitars are factory-made, they require proper tuning when you purchase them, before they can be used. |
This is not good news for a beginner as you would have to go all the way to a guitar-hardware shop since you are most likely not going to be able to do it yourself.
|Same as the Yamaha FG800.|
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – What Do People Think About It?
|A lot of people loved this guitar. However, we noticed a pattern in the skill-level of buyers. More people who bought this where experienced players.||More people who bought this were beginners. So the entirety of this section might be somewhat skewed in that direction.|
| We saw a customer who switched from an older acoustic they had had for 15 years into this one. Pleasing to say that they were satisfied with their purchase. |
One problem they had, though, was that the paint on the headstock rubbed off over time. However, that was a small price to pay for the excellent sound this guitar produces.
| A lot of people who bought this appreciated its sound. However, there was a slight complaint as to the sound out of the box. |
Many customers had to get professional help to tune the hardware properly before this guitar was playable. So, keep that in mind.
|A thing to note if you decide to go for the acoustic-electric version. People who bought it complimented it has having a good overall sound both plugged in and unplugged.||The acoustic-electric version was also very well received, with people pointing out that the cutaway design was really helpful in reaching out to the lower end of the guitar.|
Yamaha FG800 Vs FS800 – What Do We Think?
We think that both of these acoustic guitars are absolute bangers! While looking at some of what the customers were saying about this product, we couldn’t help but notice a particular line a customer used.
They said “The Yamaha FG800 is the “Toyota Camry” of acoustic guitars” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s the perfect blend of affordability, comfort, and quality. It’s the reason the FG series have been so popular for so long.
You talk about value for money, you talk about Yamaha’s FG800 series.
Picking between these two is definitely a thing of preference. They have the exact same features, save for their body types. They are also the same price. So, whichever you choose, these would absolutely rock! Literally!