My first guitar was a truck. My grandfather, a wonderful guitarist, decided to give me one of his old guitars when I moved away from home. At the time, I thought it was a gift; later, I wondered if it was a test. To play that “instrument” was a challenge in determination. It had a larger than comfortable neck, booming bass, cracked fingerboard which made tuning random, and the thickest steel strings possible to keep my fingers forever sore. My progress was slow and frustrating. How I wish I had the Yamaha FG800 instead.
Years and nicer guitars later, I now teach others how to play. Often, a student starts with a loaner guitar from their parent or older sibling. One of my most common questions is what guitar to purchase for their own. It’s a tough question because I don’t want anyone to waste money on an instrument the student might give up on in a few months, but the reason they might give up is because they are playing a crappy instrument and nothing sounds good, or like my experience, the instrument makes practice frustrating. Should they buy an expensive but nicer sounding and smooth playing guitar right at the get-go? Or stick with the cheaper but not-fun-to-play guitar?
With the Yamaha FG800, I finally have a recommendation that is right at the sweet spot. It is a very reasonable price, and from my own testing and responses from my students, it has a quality tone and is easy to play. Beginners won’t have to wait for when they can afford an upgrade to get that satisfying resonance. The mid and lower ranges sound especially rich, which I was surprised by from an instrument that is quite light to hold. Apparently, the entire new 800 series utilizes new design technology to achieve those results. My teenage students with limited budgets will appreciate it. Kudos.
On a personal note, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect “beach” guitar. Yes, I do mean literally a guitar I can take on a beach vacation where if some sand gets under the pick guard, I won’t worry about it. But I also mean a guitar to take to parties and let anyone play it, unlike my more expensive instruments that I won’t let anyone else touch but me. The problem I usually have is that “beach” guitars don’t usually sound very good. With the FG800, I can finally bring something around with me that keeps its tune, is loud enough to be heard over drunken harmony, and isn’t so expensive that I have to hover protectively around it.
It also looks good. With mahogany and rosewood, it’s a pretty thing to look at. Back to my original story: I was always embarrassed performing with that truck of a guitar I owned, but it was all I had. When I finally had enough money to buy a sweet guitar, I was so much more comfortable on the stage. Part of my teaching is encouraging students to perform–open mics are a wonderful way to get out there. Having a nice-looking instrument to hide behind always helps with jitters!
Yamaha is a trusted brand and for good reason. The new FG800 guitar is fine quality at a price beginners can afford and will enjoy for a long time.
GeekMom received a guitar for review purposes.