Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar Review

Are you struggling to find the perfect acoustic guitar that balances rich sound with exceptional playability at an affordable price?

Forget Martin, Taylor, and Gibson—Yamaha acoustic guitars have attained cult status for a reason. And if you want gorgeous design, unmatched playability, and tones that you'd never believe came from a budget guitar, I think the Yamaha FG800J could be your answer.

While lower-priced guitars can often sound weak and lack a musical tone, The FG800J guitar has a louder and stronger sound and sounds awesome thanks to its ideal acoustic structure.

As a budget guitar, I'm pretty impressed with the outstanding build quality and I think that many beginner guitarists on a budget will be super pleased with this value-packed acoustic guitar. Although, as I'll explain, it might not be suitable for everybody.

In this article, I'm going to share the rest of my experience playing the Yamaha FG800J and explore whether it's a good choice for a budget-friendly acoustic guitar.

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar - Overview

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar

Average Rating: 4.5/5


  • Top: Solid spruce
  • Back and Sides: Nato
  • Neck: Satin finished Nato neck
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bracing: Scalloped
  • Tuners: Chrome Die-cast
  • Scale Length: 25 inches
  • Nut Width: 1.6875 inches
  • Body Shape: Traditional Folk

Why I Like It

  • The FG800J delivered a rich, warm tone that exceeded my expectations and sounds good for a range of genres.
  • The craftsmanship of the guitar felt great for the price and competed with other guitars in the same price range.
  • The guitar feels nice to play, with a comfortable folk body shape and fast satin-finished neck

What I Think Could Be Improved

  • The factory setup had slightly high action, which I needed to adjust for optimal playability.
  • While beautiful, the natural finish showed fingerprints and smudges easily.
  • I'd like to see an acoustic pickup and guitar case included for increased value.
Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar


The Yamaha FG800J is a well-crafted acoustic guitar designed to be affordable for beginners while still offering decent sound and build quality. It's simple but affordable, and I think it would make a great beach guitar. I also love the way this guitar looks, and think the decoration around the sound hole is really nice.

I will say, this guitar is definitely more on the budget end, meaning experienced and professional players may want to look elsewhere. But it's a great acoustic guitar for beginners (as well as intermediate players).

Compared to the market leader, the FG800J stands out for its affordability without compromising on quality. It also shows significant improvements over previous versions with its scalloped bracing, which enhances sound projection.

Now let's delve deeper into the detailed review of the Yamaha FG800J, exploring its features, performance, and overall value.

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar Features & Benefits

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar

Build Quality: 4.5/5

The Yamaha FG800J’s build quality immediately stood out to me. The combination of a solid spruce top with Nato back and sides created a sturdy, reliable feel to the instrument. This choice of materials not only provided durability but also contributed to the guitar's tonal richness. The craftsmanship was evident in every aspect, from the precise joinery to the smooth finish. The natural finish added a touch of elegance, enhancing its visual appeal.

One of the first things I noticed was how good the guitar felt in my hands. The neck was comfortably shaped, and the rosewood fingerboard glides under my fingers, making it a pleasure to play. The die-cast tuners were a nice touch, providing accurate, albeit slightly unstable, tuning.

However, the factory setup did require some tweaking. The action was slightly higher than I preferred, which might be a minor inconvenience for some players, especially beginners. After adjusting the action to my liking, the playability improved significantly.

Despite this small issue, the overall build quality of the FG800J was impressive, especially considering its price point. It felt solid and reliable, qualities that are crucial for a guitar intended for regular use.

Playability: 4/5

Playability is a crucial factor for any guitar, and the FG800J did not disappoint. Once I adjusted the action, the guitar was comfortable to play for extended periods. The neck profile was slim enough to facilitate easy chord changes and fast runs, yet substantial enough to feel secure in my hands. The rosewood fingerboard was smooth and responsive, making both chord work and soloing a joy.

The guitar's body was well-balanced, which made it comfortable to hold whether I was sitting or standing. The fretwork was clean and precise, with no sharp edges, which can be a common issue in this price range. Each fret felt accessible and easy to navigate, contributing to an overall positive playing experience.

Being a folk-shaped guitar, the reach of the upper frets isn't as easy as something like a dreadnought, but it comes with the advantage of increased volume instead. It responded fairly well to various playing techniques and styles, although I think it lacks a little bit of dynamic range compared to more expensive models.

In general, I think the playability of this guitar will be more than sufficient for new and intermediate players. While pros will be looking for something a bit more expressive, it certainly has the playability that your average guitarist looks for.

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar

Sound Quality: 4/5

I was very impressed with the sound quality of the FG008J for its price. Thanks to the solid spruce top and scalloped bracing pattern, it provided a bright, clear tone that was well-balanced across the frequency spectrum. This clarity was particularly noticeable when I played fingerstyle, where each note rang out with impressive definition.

The scalloped bracing design played a significant role in enhancing the guitar's resonance and projection. Whether I was strumming chords or playing intricate fingerpicking patterns, the FG800J delivered a rich, full-bodied sound that filled the room. The midrange was warm and inviting, while the high-end sparkled without being overly bright. The low end was tight and responsive, adding depth to the overall sound.

Compared to other guitars in its price range, the FG800J stood out for its superior tonal quality. It offered a level of sound richness and complexity that I usually associate with more expensive instruments. This made it a versatile guitar, suitable for various genres, from folk and blues to rock and pop.

I would like to see this guitar come fitted with an electronic pickup, maybe even featuring a built-in automatic tuner. However, this isn't particularly common for guitars in this price range, and it means that the manufacturing budget is spent 100% on the guitar, rather than the electronics. You can also buy one and fit it yourself.

Overall, the sound was spot on for the price!

Value For Money: 4.5/5

Priced competitively, it offered features and sound quality that were on par with higher-end models. The woods used are features typically found in more expensive guitars. These elements combined to create a guitar that not only looked and felt premium but also delivered exceptional sound quality.

Compared to other guitars, it provided similar tonal characteristics and build quality at a more accessible price. This made it an excellent option for both beginners looking to invest in their first quality guitar and experienced players seeking a reliable backup or practice instrument.

In terms of included accessories, while the guitar did not come with a case or gig bag, its overall quality more than justified the price. For those looking for additional value, investing in a quality case would be a wise choice to protect this excellent instrument.

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar

Best Alternatives to Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar

While I think the Yamaha FG800J is a strong choice of acoustic guitar for beginners, there are still many other instruments you should look at before making a purchase.

Here are a few guitars that compete well in terms of quality, features, and price, giving you a broader perspective before making your decision.

Red Label FGX5 vs Yamaha FG800J

Red Label FGX5

The Yamaha Red Label FGX5 offers a premium experience with pristine construction, including a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. It also features an Atmosfeel pickup system, which makes it ideal for live performances and recordings. While it’s significantly more expensive than the FG800J, its superior build and sound quality make it worth the investment for serious musicians.

Fender CD-60S vs Yamaha FG800J

Fender CD-60S

The Fender CD-60S is a great budget-friendly alternative. It is similar in design to the FG800J, with a few variations in style and construction. Most notably, it lacks the scalloped bracing found in the FG800J, which affects sound projection.

The CD-60S is perfect for beginners looking for a reliable, affordable guitar with decent sound quality. This was actually one of the first acoustic guitars I ever owned, I'm a big fan, but I did find the action to be a bit high.

Taylor Academy 10 vs Yamaha FG800J

Taylor Academy 10

The Taylor Academy 10 is another excellent choice, especially for those willing to invest a bit more. It features a much higher level of craftsmanship and materials, offering a balanced tone and superb playability. The extra comfort makes it more suitable for extended playing sessions. Compared to the FG800J, the Taylor Academy 10 is pricier but offers enhanced comfort and far better sound quality.

Seagull S6 Original vs Yamaha FG800J

Taylor Academy 10

The Seagull S6 Original stands out with its pressure-tested solid cedar top and wild cherry back and sides. This combination gives it a warm, rich tone that differs from the FG800J’s brighter sound. The wider neck profile might appeal to fingerstyle players. Again, I think the pricing here makes it more attractive to advanced players, but it's a worthy investment.

Yamaha FG800J Final Verdict

Yamaha FG800J Acoustic Guitar

Overall, I think the Yamaha FG800J effectively addresses the common issues of poor sound quality and uncomfortable playability that are often found with acoustic guitars in this price range.

While I wouldn't say it's a pro-grade instrument, I think it's a great choice for beginners due to its sweet sound, comfortable playability, and all-around decent build quality. The guitar delivers a balanced tone and reliable performance, making it a worthy investment.

If you can stretch your budget a bit, something like the Taylor Academy 10 might be a better long-term investment.

In conclusion, I think the Yamaha FG800J offers great value for money, and is a worthwhile choice for any new and intermediate guitarists — or even pros just looking for a non-precious guitar.

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