Yamaha FG830 Review

As an upgrade to the FG 800 the 830 includes scalloped bracing that gives the instrument a slightly more pronounced projection and clarity of tone as well as a smooth fingerboard that is easier on the hands. The spruce top adds to the broad range of the 830 and is a surprising addition to a sub-$500 starter instrument.

As we noted in the FG 800 Review the Yamaha FG series is possibly the best-selling guitars worldwide. While we already know the Yamaha name means quality we must take a deeper dive in our new Yamaha FG830 review and find out if this guitar is a good choice for our readers. Let’s take a look.

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FG830 Features


  • Number of Strings: 6
  • String: Steel
  • Body Style: No Cutaway
  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Back Wood: Rosewood
  • Side Wood: Rosewood
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Top Wood: Spruce
  • Bracing: Scalloped
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Bridge Material: Rosewood
  • Nut Width: 1.6875″
  • Scale: 25.5″
  • Tuning Machines: Die-cast chrome
  • Saddle: Urea

Priced at around $300 the guitar is about in the middle ground of what could be considered a “starter” guitar. The sound of this killer guitar however suggests a much higher end instrument. Also Yamaha has built the FG830 in two sizes, Concert and Dreadnought, so pay close attention to what you are ordering and get the size you prefer. This guitar comes in a myriad of colors that as well that include Autumn Burst, Natural, classic Tobacco Sunburst and more.

To read more about guitar shapes and sizes check out Harmony Central if you are not sure what is right for you.

As a beginner the smooth fingerboard will be more forgiving on your fret hand and the slim neck and low action will make the experience of toughening up your fingertips even easier. Not painless, but much better than most. In fact, the FG 830 neck feels a lot like an electric guitar is some ways but fretting chords, while being easy, do require a bit more oomph as they would with any acoustic instrument.

The high-end sound of the 830 is much more than one would anticipate from this guitar and that is certainly the result of Rosewood in the mix when manufacturing this beauty.

Fine Acoustics Staff

Check out the look and the tone in the video below.

Out of the box this guitar is going to need some attention. Visit you local Guitar Center, or if they are already bankrupt by the time you read this find a local luthier or music store that does acoustic guitar set ups. Get a new set of strings, lower the action and have them check the intonation. This is all done in a standard set up and shouldn’t be hard to find.

The FG series is hugely popular, and the FG 830 is a fine example of Yamaha quality. This is a sturdy instrument that makes a great starter guitar, but you will also find it in the hands of experienced players as well. The low price point makes it great for gigging and its tone might find its way into a studio recording. If you need a reliable guitar at a great price the Yamaha FG830 is a good fit.

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The classic Grand Symphony (GS) is a fantastic guitar and this is essentially a scaled down version of that. The narrow mid section of the guitar makes playing while sitting very comfortable and the decreased depth of the body itself helps the guitar conform to the player more smoothly by requiring less shoulder extension. The length of the guitar is 36 5/8″ with a scale of 23 1/2″. The depth of the body is 4 7/16″ and while being slightly more shallow than the standard GS this decrease doesn’t sacrifice tone. If the purpose of the guitar was to make it easier to play on the go without losing alot of the classic Grand Symphony sound then well done.

Don’t confuse the mini with the older Baby Taylor, which is actually quite a bit smaller. The mini is clearly an evolved version of the Baby embracing the smaller size (but larger) and increasing the tone and playability.

Features:

  • Case: GS Mini Hardbag
  • Top: Sitka Spruce
  • Shape: GS
  • Back/Sides: Layered Sapele
  • Finish: Satin
  • Neck: Sapele
  • Cutaway: None
  • Headstock: Lexan
  • Inlays: 5mm dots
  • Nut: 1-11/16″
  • Fretboard: Ebony
  • Body Depth: 4-7/16″
  • Body Width: 14-3/8″
  • Body Length: 17-5/8″
  • Pins: Plastic
  • No of Frets: 20
  • Pickguard: Tortoise
  • Overall Length: 36-5/8″
  • Scale Length: 23-1/2″
  • Bridge: Ebony
  • Nut/Saddle: Tusq Nut/Micarta Saddle
  • Tuners: Chrome

Action on an acoustic guitar has to be right or the instrument becomes unplayable real fast. Taylor is known for its great action and even their entry level guitars play smooth. This GS Mini does the brand proud and will continue the great Taylor legendary action. the Taylor NT neck feels like the full sized version, albeit smaller, and the instrument feels like a much higher end guitar. Taylor really knocked it out of the park here.

The gleaming gold grain has an illusion of depth and the laminated sapele sides and back are honey colored mahogany. The guitar has a solid Sitka top and an ebony bridge and fretboard. The mini uses the same materials for the nut, tuners and saddle that Taylor uses on the full sized guitars so no skimping there.

It’s time to get serious about the tone here. It isn’t possible for the GS Mini to have the same sound as a full GS or a dreadnaught. The builders must eventually give in to the physics of sound and embrace the fact that this guitar is smaller and that’s the deal. The highs are very clear, the mids are smooth and gentle and the lows don’t rumble so the guitar sounds great, just without the full harmonic range of its larger sized cousins. I I had to guess if this was as good as it get’s with this sized body I would lean towards yes. Tested under a D standards tuning as well as Drop C and E standard (with the same strings!) the guitar held up great. If I were to stay in Drop C I’d get heavier gauged strings than the mediums that came on the guitar but that unavoidable and not an issue with the instrument.

Taylor makes some great guitars and the Taylor GS Mini is counted among them. It is affordable, mobile, great sounding and gracefully playable. This get s a big thumbs up.