Yamaha FG800J Review: The perfect Step-up guitar

The Yamaha FG800J is almost identical to the popular FG800. It’s a fantastic step-up guitar. Anyone struggling with a low-quality beginner guitar will love the FG800J for its improved sound, playability and build quality. Plus it’s still affordable and will last for decades. Check out our Yamaha FG800J review and see if it is for you!

Yamaha FG800J
Yamaha FG800J
👀 Looks3/5
🛠️ Build quality/5
😃 Playability/5
🎵 Sound/5
💰 Value for Money/5

Buy it now

A special thank you once again to Pat at Steve’s Music in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for letting us try out this instrument.

FG800J Review: The Specs

– Spruce top
– Nato back and sides
– Walnut bridge
– Scalloped X-baracing
– Nato neck
– Walnut fingerboard
– Die-cast tuners
– Turtle pickguard
– Chrome hardware

The Yamaha FG800J is a fantastic choice for parents who are ready to invest a little more in a guitar that offers improved sound quality and greater durability. It’s also an excellent option for older kids aiming to upgrade from a cheaper, lower-quality guitar.

The FG stands for folk guitar, but were not sure what the J is for. It’s a dreadnought, so we know it doesn’t stand for jumbo!

Yamaha FG800J Review: Test Results

We tested out the Yamaha FG800J. Here’s how it performed:

Looks: 3/5

The Yamaha FG800J has a classic drednought shape with a natural satin finish. We reviewed it at the same time as its cheaper counterpart the Yamaha F325D and they look almost identical. But you get a lot more guitar with the FG800J.

Build quality: 5/5

Guitar World magazine calls the FG800J “one of the greatest beginner guitars of all time” and for good reason. Like the F325D, it offers an excellent fit and finish. Its neck is also solid, straight and comfortable to play.

One of the biggest upgrades from the Yamaha F325D is the solid spruce top. The F325D has a spruce laminate top. Both look very nice, but solid tops offer a better tone than plywood. The back, sides and neck are made of nato which is cheaper and not as resonant as mahogany but still very strong.

Playability: 4/5

The action on the fretboard is nice and easy. This means players need less hand strength to finger notes and form chords. This is one of the reasons the Yamaha FG800J is good for children to learn on.  

Sound 4/5

When it comes to sound, the Yamaha FG800J really stands out above its cheaper counterparts. Tonally, you will hear a difference – this is mainly due to that spruce top we mentioned earlier. The sound is fuller than the F325D; chords ring out nicely and single notes are nice and articulate. 

This articulate sound also means any mistakes you make when playing are easily heard. But I think this is a good thing for those learning as it gives the incentive to play well and achieve a great sound. 

Value for Money 5/5

The Yamaha FG800J isn’t the cheapest guitar you’ll find. But it has one of the best price/quality tradeoffs of any guitar.

If you want a quality guitar at a low price, it doesn’t get better than this. You would be hard-pressed to find a better guitar in this price range.

Yamaha FG800J review overall rating: 21/25

We felt the FG800J lived up to its reputation as a great inexpensive guitar. We’d recommend it for beginners – but it’s also a good guitar for kids to learn on.

It’s full sized, but we often find that smaller guitars aimed at kids are either poor quality or way too expensive for parents to shell out on.

It’s also perfect for those looking to upgrade from something like the F325D to something that will last a bit longer.

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