When shopping for a guitar, you need a guitar that not only meets your requirement, but is also high-quality and an affordable price.
We’ll be comparing the Yamaha FG800 vs Yamaha FG830 models which you’ll find are some of the best models in the Yamaha folk guitar series.
What are the key differences between the Yamaha FG800 vs FG830 guitar?
Back and sides
FG800 vs FG830 – How do they compare?
Both these models have the traditional western style body style with the FG800 having a rounded Nato neck that makes it fit well in your hands regardless of experience.
They both come with 20 frets and they use die-cast chrome machine heads to ensure the guitars are tuned correctly.
They slightly differ in size as the Yamaha FG800 comes with a 19.9 inches body length while the Yamaha FG830 has a 19.6 inches.
They both come in various colors with Yamaha FG830 having a wider array to choose from.
Both models have similar designs.
The back and sides of these two models are made of different woods; Nato and rosewood. Nato is used by the FG800 while the FG830 uses Rosewood. The Nato wood makes the FG800 have a warm and deep resonance with sharp overtones while the Rosewood gives the FG830 a warm sound with good resonance and volume as well as clarity at bottom end and the trebles.
The FG800 acoustic guitar sounds good even when it’s used with other instruments and it produces a beefy mid-range tone.
The solid spruce top on the FG830 acoustic guitar makes the Rosewood work best. The solid spruce top compliments Rosewood’s warm sounds with its very bright sound.
The Yamaha FG830 has better material than Yamaha FG800.
The traditional western style on both guitars gives them a deeper tone compared to other acoustic guitars. Furthermore, each model has a well-balanced great sound and tone.
However the FG830 gives a richer sound.
The Yamaha FG830 has a better tone than Yamaha FG800.
Wood for back and sides
As mentioned earlier, the FG800 and FG830 have different woods for their back and sides. It’s a major distinction for players who know their wood and the effect it has on tone.
Although both models come with Solid Sitka Spruce tops, the back and sides can bring out the main difference in tone. So, the FG830 comes with Rosewood back and sides. Rosewood is a heavier wood, but the porous material makes it great for warmer tones. It also has great resonance and volume. Overall, you’ll get warmish tones with rich volume.
The FG800, on the other hand, has Nato wood for its back and sides. Nato is similar to Mahogany in terms of balance and richness in sound. However, it doesn’t have the same mid-range dominance of true Mahogany but it’s a cheaper alternative that helps keep the FG800 more affordable.
The FG 800 has a fretboard made of Walnut, while the FG850 has a rosewood fretboard.
Walnut is sort of like a cross between Mahogany and maple and has a stable sound. Rosewood, on the other hand, is a time-tested choice for fingerboards and produces warm and rich tones. It also balances out the harshness that comes from higher notes.
However, if you’re a beginner, the fingerboard material should not have a huge effect on your sounds. These nuances will start to matter only after you master the basics of playing the instrument. If you’re a seasoned player, the rosewood fingerboard really has a marginal edge over the FG800.
The FG800 and FG830 come both have options in color. The FG800 has the standard natural color while some outlets may offer the Ruby Red version too. The FG830 has more variety in aesthetics. It comes in natural color, a darker Tobacco Sunburst, and a vibrant Autumn Burst.
Guitar colors can often reflect the personality and style of the player. Yamaha offers a decent selection of color schemes to suit most people’s tastes.
If Yamaha chooses to make more colors available, you’ll see it here first. So, make sure you check back for updated information.
There’s also a difference in the inlay design around the soundhole.
The FG800 comes with the basic black and white circles that look like boundaries around the soundhole.
The FG830, on the other hand, has a more pleasing design. The inlay has a pattern that looks like the lines you see on a mollusk’s shell.
This Abalone Rosette design gives the FG800 more style and an artistic touch.
Another minor point of difference between the two guitars is the binding.
The binding is the decorative strip that traces the outer lining of the guitar.
The FG800 has a simple black binding that’s easy to overlook and doesn’t really add much to the guitar’s overall look. The FG830, however, has a cream-colored binding around the edges. It creates a pleasing contrast to the rich natural shade of the body.
These minute differences do not really affect the sound or playability but for people who have an eye for detail, even these tiny features can help you fall in love with the instrument.
Yamaha FG800 vs Yamaha FG830 guitar – A Comparison Overview
Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar Overview
The Yamaha FG800 has a 20.7 x 42.5 x 6.1 inches dimension with a scale length and total length 25.6 inches and 40.9 inches respectively.
It has a solid top made of Sitka spruce and its sides and back are made of Nato as well as its sides are made of Nato.
The Spruce top gives a clear sound and strong resonance but it’s poor in responsiveness and Nato doesn’t add richness to the guitar tone.
This guitar has a Dreadnought Body Type that makes its body size huge.
The simple black body binding with a black and white sound hole is for looks and doesn’t have any impact on the sound.
- Its lightweight
- Beginner / entry level friendly
- Easy to play
- Bright sound
- Offers less variety in terms of music styles
- Overtone not as rich
Yamaha FG830 Acoustic Guitar Overview
The Yamaha FG830 has a solid top made of Sitka spruce and its rosewood back and sides are dense creating a softened and deepened guitar tone over mahogany and nato, making it produce a beautiful mellow sound.
The sound hole inlay is abalone, black and white giving it a nice color and look.
- Richer and balanced tone
- Good projection
- Great design
- Nice chimney tones
- Available in different finishes
- More expensive
Similarities Between The FG800 and FG830
If you’re wondering why we should consider the similarities, let me explain.
The FG800 and FG830 are both great guitars and choosing between the two can be a tough task, especially when you’re not clear on the specifications.
Knowing where the two instruments overlap will make the differences stand out more. For instance, did you know that the scale length can also affect the guitar’s tone quality? Longer scale lengths exert more tension on the strings. The same wood can have different sounds depending on the guitars’ dimensions. Hence, keeping track of identical features in these guitars will help you spot the differences faster.
Yamaha released its current FG series around 2016 and has a whole range of updated and refined touches to their already-great guitars. Also, you’ll find some of these standard attributes across most of their FG guitar series. It comes as no wonder, that the FG800 and the FG830 also have a lot of similarities.
Size and Dimensions
The Yamaha FG800 and Yamaha FG830 have identical dimensions. Both guitars measure about 40.8 inches in total length. The body width is 16.25 inches for both units. And the internal depth is 3.93 and 4.6 inches for both models.
In fact, you’ll find that most of the models in the FG series have this same set of dimensions.
It’s a size that’s comfortable to play in a variety of positions and a convenient piece that you can hold sitting on a sofa or strap up for a gig on stage.
Both the FG800 and FG830 have necks made of Nato wood. Nato can sometimes have characteristics and an appearance similar to Mahogany. In some circles, people may call it ‘Eastern Mahogany.’
It’s one of the most cost-effective options for guitar wood so you get both affordability and good tonal output.
Bridge, Nut, and Saddle material
Yamaha incorporated the Rosewood Bridge in most of their FG guitar series guitars, including these two.
A Rosewood bridge is usually lighter, which makes the guitar more responsive in general. It may be helpful to know that both models use Urea for the nut and saddle (Urea-formaldehyde, a polymer that’s known for its hardness).
They’re also inexpensive but very reliable for strength. It’s a material that has very high tensile strength and low flexibility.
These ideal properties make it a great choice for withstanding the tension of the strings on either end.
Tuners are one of the most underrated parts of a guitar. You want your tuners to be smooth but sturdy so you can tune it with ease while still holding the pillars in place when you play.
Yamaha’s answer to this is the Die-Cast Chrome (TM29T). The Die-Cast Chrome tuners are pretty standard additions to Yamaha guitars and there’s a good reason for that. They’ve relied on it for many of their models, and so far, it has delivered consistently.
Both the FG800 and FG830 come with Die-Cast Tuners (TM29T).
Neck and Body Finish
Another area where these two guitars resemble each other is the finish. They both have bodies that come with a smooth glossy finish. Besides aesthetics, this glossy finish is also much easier to clean and maintain.
The necks come with a matte finish, which is common in acoustic guitars.
Glossy layers on the neck would just look out of place. Worse yet, if your hands are sweaty, you may find it too slippery. The matte finish gives a more subtle and woody look to the guitars.
If there’s one area where both the FG800 and FG830 score low, it’s the accessories. Both models come with an Allen key, but that’s about it. Essentially you don’t get anything beyond the guitar itself.
However, these are both budget-friendly models because they cut down on unnecessary costs. Plus, the sound and tonal quality are both among the best in this category. I wouldn’t trade the FG’s rich tone for a mediocre guitar with a dozen accessories. So, it’s really not a deal-breaker.
The pickguard for both these guitars has the tortoise pattern. It’s not really made of tortoise shell, if that’s what you’re wondering. They use a form of durable plastic for the material and serves its function pretty well – it prevents your pick from scratching the main body. The tortoise pattern is a trademark of some of the most iconic and classic guitars in the world of music.
The FG800 and FG830 both have scale lengths of 25.5 inches. It’s a pretty standard size for not just Yamaha guitars but for most acoustic models. The 650mm length usually accommodates 20 frets on the fingerboard.
For a standard acoustic guitar, that’s more than you’ll need regardless of your playing style.
The bridge pins on most of the FG series guitars are made of ABS.
It’s a common thermoplastic used in a lot of places. The pins come in black color with a white dot on top.
The best bridge pins are the ones that are strong enough to hold down the strings without compromising the tension. These black ABS pins do exactly that.
For context, ABS is the same plastic used in Legos and you know how tough those little things are!
One of the defining features of Yamaha’s FG guitars is scalloped bracing. It means that the braces under the top wood have bits that are shaved away to create scallops. The advantage of scallop braces is that the top wood is lighter and more responsive creating a relatively louder sound and better natural tones from your guitars.
So you see, there are a lot of identical features between the FG800 and the FG830. For the less informed, the two guitars could easily be mistaken for each other. However, if you notice the key differences, you’ll know that there are also distinct variations between the two models.
Both the FG830 and FG800 are great acoustic guitar’s with the same features such as the Dreadnought body type. The main difference between them is the material used on the sides and back. Factor in your requirements before buying one.
The FG800 and FG830 are, no doubt, among the best guitars in their available price range.
If you had to pick between the two, the FG830 certainly has the upper hand with a richer tone, superior wood, and small additions to design. Aesthetics are subject to personal tastes and preferences.
But there’s no arguing with the more balanced tone that the FG830 delivers.
Ultimately, the tradeoff is between the price and tonal quality.
If you can spare an extra hundred dollars, the FG830 gives you that extra edge over the FG800. However, if you’re strapped for cash, the FG800 is arguably the best beginner’s guitar at this price.
Verdict: So Which Is Better? FG800 or FG830?
Even though the Yamaha FG830 is heavier and less beginner or entry level friendly, it offers more in terms of sound quality with its rosewood back and sides comes out as the top acoustic guitar in the Yamaha FG guitar series.
What makes the FG 800 series acoustic guitar’s good for strumming?
The FG 800 series guitars have a dreadnought body style (Traditional western style) that is among the best strumming shapes.
What is the specific Rosewood used in making the Yamaha FG800 and Yamaha FG830’s fretboard?
The rosewood used is the Indian rosewood.
Are the FG800 and FG830 laminated wood or solid top?
Both the FG800 and FG830 come with Solid Sitka Spruce tops. So, you get a much better quality of volume and tone compared to laminated wood. Also, most entry-level guitars at this range don’t have solid tops. So, both the FG800 and FG830 are great value for money.
Does the Yamaha FG830 have a Spruce back?
No, the FG830 doesn’t have a spruce back. The back and sides are made of a wood called Nato, which is a more cost-effective alternative similar to Mahogany.
Which one is a better entry-level guitar- the FG800 or FG830?
If you’re a beginner on a budget, the FG800 is one of the best in its category. Also, if you’re still learning how to play, you may not be able to fully draw the tonal differences of better woods and construction. However, if the FG830 fits your budget, it’s definitely an improvement over the FG800.
If budget is not an issue, should I go for the FG800 or FG830?
As far as wood and tonal quality go, the Yamaha FG830 is a better guitar by most standards. If the slightly higher price isn’t an issue for you, we recommend the Yamaha FG830.
Which FG800 features make it a good choice for beginners?
There are several FG800 features that make it stand out from other beginner models. For starters, it’s rare to see solid tops and carved bracings in this range. The FG800 is also more comfortable to play and experiment with compared to other similar guitars.
Do the FG800 and FG830 come with pickups?
No, the FG800 and FG830 are both fully acoustic guitars that do not have pickups. You can get a professional to install one for you if you need it.
What strings will I get when I buy an FG series guitar?
The Yamaha FG guitar series all come with Yamaha’s standard FS50BT strings. The FS50BT is a light gauge set (0.12 – 0.52) that’s custom made by Yamaha. They’re brass wound and anti-rust for durability.
What shape do you call the FG800 and FG830?
Both the Yamaha FG800 and Yamaha FG830 come in Traditional Western body type. Guitar makers also call this shape the ‘Dreadnought.’ The Dreadnought’s advantage is that it has much more volume and resonance compared to other smaller shapes.