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Ultimate Best Yamaha FG820 Acoustic Guitar Buyers Guide (2023)

If you're looking for a great entry-level acoustic guitar, the Yamaha FG820 offers a solid choice. Read this article to see if the Yamaha FG820 is for you.

Quick Summary

The Yamaha FG820 is a terrific entry-level acoustic guitar that features a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, giving it a warm and rich tone. It has a traditional Western body shape with a dreadnought cutaway design, offering both comfortable playability and powerful projection.

Other features of Yamaha’s FG820 include a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, die-cast chrome tuners, and a natural gloss finish. Overall, the FG820 is a well-regarded and affordable option for guitar players seeking a high-quality instrument with a rich and warm tone.

Let’s get into it!

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About the Yamaha FG820 Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG820 Review

The Yamaha FG820 has all of the requirements to be a winner on its own. Despite its closeness to the FG800, it has some distinguishing characteristics.

The Nato back and sides of the FG800 are replaced with mahogany back and sides, improving the ringing quality of the lower strings. You may hear that the bottom end is round and full when you play an E major chord and allow the guitar to ring until the sound fades away.

The overall sound is thickened by the presence of mahogany, which emphasizes the lower registers. You’ll notice that the lower register is more focused as well; you can fingerpick and arpeggio with plenty of success.

The neck is the second major difference. The feel of the crowned frets improved considerably, owing to the binding that was applied from the body to the nut.

Furthermore, the fact that your thumb may easily roll over the top and perform the John Mayer trick on the sixth string is rather enjoyable.

Finally, the neck is now a satin finish, rather than glossy, making an enormous difference in terms of playing feel.

The FG820 also has a top made of solid Sitka spruce, scalloped braces, and diecast closed tuners like the FG800.

There’s only one thing I’d improve about this guitar: a better saddle and nut. They’re made of plastic, which in my opinion, takes away from the sound the FG820 is capable of.

This may be the guitar for you if you’re searching for a fantastic intermediate entry-level instrument that sounds and plays great.

What I liked

  • Mahogany sides and back
  • Non-stick, satin-finished neck
  • Neck binding from the body to the nut

Not so much

  • Plastic nut
  • Plastic saddle

The Yamaha FG820 acoustic guitar is a solid-top instrument that offers a warm and rich tone, making it a popular choice among guitarists of all levels. In this review, we will dive into the features, benefits, construction details, and overall sound of the Yamaha FG820 and compare it to similarly priced acoustic guitars.

Yamaha FG820 Construction Details:

The solid spruce top of the Yamaha FG820 is made from high-quality materials and is carefully crafted to ensure maximum resonance and projection. The mahogany back and sides of the guitar adds warmth and depth to the sound, while the rosewood fingerboard and bridge provide a smooth and comfortable playing experience.

The die-cast chrome tuners are reliable and easy to use, ensuring that the guitar stays in tune for longer periods of time. The natural gloss finish adds to the visual appeal of the guitar and protects it from wear and tear.

Yamaha FG820 Key Benefits:

One of the main benefits of the Yamaha FG820 is its affordability. Despite its high-quality materials and construction, the Yamaha FG820 is priced similarly to other entry-level acoustic guitars, making it an excellent choice for guitar players on a budget.

The warm and rich tone of the FG820 is also a major selling point, as it makes the guitar suitable for a wide range of genres and playing styles. Additionally, the comfortable playability of the FG820 makes it an ideal instrument for both beginners and experienced players alike.


When it comes to sound, the Yamaha FG820 delivers a warm and rich tone that is well-balanced across the frequency spectrum. The solid spruce top provides a bright and articulate sound, while the mahogany back and sides add warmth and depth to the overall tone.

The FG820 is also capable of producing a powerful projection, making it suitable for both solo playing and group performances.

Comparison to Similarly Priced Acoustic Guitars:

When compared to similarly priced acoustic guitars, the Yamaha FG820 stands out for its warm and rich tone. Other guitars in its price range may have a more treble-heavy sound, making them better suited for certain genres or playing styles.

Additionally, the construction quality of the Yamaha FG820 is superior to many other entry-level guitars, making it a more durable and reliable instrument in the long run.

A Quick Snapshot of the Construction Materials

(Complete specifications are provided below)

Yamaha FG820

In addition to a warmer and stronger sound, thanks to the mahogany back and sides, the body and fingerboard binding are cream plastic for an upgraded look.

  • Traditional Western Body
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Scalloped Bracing

FYI: The FG820 Series is also available in these models

FG820L – Left-handed version of the FG820

FG820-12 – 12-String version of the FG820.

  • Traditional Western Body
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Scalloped Bracing
  • Warm and Strong Sound
  • Traditional Western Body
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Scalloped Bracing
  • Warm and Strong Sound

Is the Yamaha FG820 a better-sounding guitar than the Yamaha FG800?

I’ve been a Yamaha lover for years (played a lot of them) and got caught up in the debate about the FG820, and FG800. That’s why I decided to take both instruments for a spin and provide you my findings.

In this article, we’ll be comparing three Yamaha acoustic guitars – the Yamaha FG800 vs FG820.

Both guitars are great-sounding instruments, but which one sounds the best?

The Yamaha FG820 is a dreadnought guitar but it features a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides. It has a warm, full sound with plenty of volume and projection.

Yamaha FG800

The Yamaha FG800 is a smaller concert-style guitar that features a solid Sitka spruce top and Nato/Okoume back and sides. It has a warm, rich sound with good volume and projection.

So, which one of these Yamaha acoustic guitars sounds the best?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a guitar sound, and of course, your budget. If you want a warm, full sound, then the FG820 is a great choice. And if you want a warm, rich sound with a good projection, but at a slightly lower price, the FG800 is also a great choice.

Whichever one you choose, you can’t go wrong with either of these Yamaha acoustic guitars.

After all, there is a reason the Yamaha FG Series is one of the best-selling lines of acoustic guitars in the world!

Let’s take a closer look at each of these (fantastic) acoustic guitars in greater detail to help you make the right buying decision, based on your wants and needs.

What Changes Were Made to New The FG Series?

Concerning the three models being compared here in this article, the FG820 replaces the FG720. And the FG800 replaces the FG700.

Yamaha has been listening to its customers and making improvements on all aspects of the series. They recently introduced scalloped bracing, which provides a more full sound with rich details that you can’t get from other instruments!

This bracing allows the top of the guitar to sound more responsive. This translates into effortless strumming and enhanced dynamics.

In case you are not familiar with what bracing is, you can check this

What to look for on an entry-level acoustic?

Let’s take a look at the three most crucial elements I believe you should be searching for when purchasing your next guitar.

Laminate VS Solid Top

A laminated top is common on entry-level acoustic guitars. What does this signify? Furthermore, is this feature a game-changer?

Yes, it is a game-changer.

Because laminated wood is composed of many planks or layers bonded together with glue, it does not vibrate in the same way solid wood does. Glued planks don’t move together as solid wood does, so they struggle against the strings. The sound is monotonous, and inharmonic, and rapidly decays due to this.

Solid-top guitars, such as the Martin DSM Dreadnought, are more resonant because the top part vibrates harmonically with the strings. The sound is far closer to what you hear on a record, and there’s much more decay (sustain).

  • Decay is how sound ends in audio. Attack, internal dynamics, sustain, release, and decay are all components of an acoustic signal or waveform envelope that contribute to the signal’s or waveform envelope’s distinctive character.

If your budget allows, solid wood, especially for the top of your guitar, is usually preferred instead of laminate. Here’s a video that compares the differences with sound examples.


What is neck binding?

The neck binding is a strip of plastic that runs the entire length of the neck, from the body to the nut (and sometimes over the headstock as well).

Although it may appear to be merely ornamental, this binding serves an important purpose in ensuring that the frets are completely round and making playing more pleasurable.

If you’ve ever seen Jimi Hendrix or John Mayer fretting with their thumb, that technique is much easier on the thumb when there’s binding on the neck.

If it’s within your budget, an entry-level guitar with neck binding will give you superior results.

What’s better, a glossy or satin finish for the neck?

The neck of the guitar needs to allow your fingers to move rapidly and effortlessly. Glossy-finished necks tend to be sticky and difficult in places where humidity levels are high.

You might find it difficult to move up and down the neck as your thumb might get stuck.

On the other hand, satin-finished necks are easier to play regardless of the weather. Whenever possible go for satin-finished necks, especially in entry-level acoustics.

Specifications for Yamaha FG830, FG820, and FG800

Body ShapeTraditional
Scale Length650mm
or 25 9/16″
or 25 9/16″
or 25 9/16″
Body Length505mm
or 19 7/8″
or 19 7/8″
or 19 7/8″
Total Length1038mm
or 40 7/8″
or 40 7/8″
or 40 7/8″
Body Width412mm
or 16 1/4″
or 16 1/4
or 16 1/4
Body Depth100 -118mm
3 15/16″ – 4 5/8″
100 -118mm
3 15/16″ – 4 5/8″
100 -118mm
3 15/16″ – 4 5/8″
Nut Width43mm or 1 11/16″ 43mm or 1 11/16″ 43mm or 1 11/16″
String Spacing11 mm11 mm11 mm
Top MaterialSolid SpruceSolid SpruceSolid Spruce
Back MaterialRosewoodMahoganyNato
Side MaterialRosewoodNatoNato
Neck MaterialNatoNatoNato
Fingerboard MaterialRosewoodRosewood or WalnutWalnut
Fingerboard RadiusR400 mm (15 3/4″)R400 mm (15 3/4″)R400 mm (15 3/4″)
Bridge MaterialRosewoodRosewoodWalnut
Nut MaterialUreaUreaUrea
Saddle MaterialUreaUreaUrea
Bridge PinsBlack ABS w White DotBlack ABS w White DotBlack ABS w White Dot
TunersDie-Cast Chrome
Die-Cast Chrome
Die-Cast Chrome
Body BindingCreamCreamCream
Sound Hole InlayAbalone w/
Black + White
Abalone w/
Black + White
Abalone w/
Black + White
PickguardTortoise PatternTortoise PatternTortoise Pattern
Body FinishGlossGlossGloss
Neck FinishMatteMatteMatte
StringsYamaha FS50BT or
D’Addario EXP11
Yamaha FS50BT or
D’Addario EXP11
Yamaha FS50BT or
D’Addario EXP11
AccessoriesHex WrenchHex WrenchHex Wrench
All data from the Yamaha website. For further specifications, see Yamaha FG / FGX Series.

The Yamaha FG series, 50+ years in the making

The Yamaha FG series was first introduced to the market in 1966. 54 years later, it is the best-selling acoustic line in the world. The company worked on the model trying to find an affordable alternative that would sound and look just as good as the competition.

Check out this video to hear the FG 800 vs FG 820 in action


Now we come back to where we began and sum up my assessment at the top of this evaluation. Is the FG820 a better-sounding guitar than the FG800?

Better-sounding acoustic guitars, like all things in life, have a steeper price tag. So, yes, the FG820 is a higher-sounding acoustic guitar. The difference between the three of them isn’t outrageous when you consider how different entry-level guitars they are.

If the price isn’t your driving concern because you plan to continue playing for some time, buy the FG820.

However, if your budget is limited and you simply want a cheaper instrument that sounds good and looks cool, the FG800 is a decent alternative.

Whichever of these Yamaha FG series guitars you choose, you’ll be rewarded with years of joy. My recommendation is to go for the FG820 if you can afford it.


Overall, the Yamaha FG820 is a solid choice for anyone looking for an affordable acoustic guitar with a warm and rich tone. Its high-quality materials, construction details, and comfortable playability make it an excellent instrument for both beginners and experienced players alike.

Whether you’re looking to play folk, rock, or any other genre, the Yamaha FG820 is a guitar that can deliver a versatile and powerful sound.

Happy Playing!

Related Article: Yamaha FG830 vs FG820 vs FG800

Passionately invested in the music world for over 20 years, Jake studied music for 14 years at the Royal Conservatory Of Toronto. He has a degree from Champlain College & Bishop’s University in Business & Music. He is the owner of Fly Away Music & Media Studio in Montreal since 2014, with over 500 happy artists recorded, mixed and mastered.

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