Seagull S6 vs Yamaha FG830 – Battle of the Axes!


Today we’re looking at two excellent acoustic guitars that are legends in the affordable market – the Seagull S6 and the Yamaha FG830. Showing off qualities you’d usually expect in a much higher price range, it’s no wonder that both guitars are pushing for top spot in our chart on the best beginner acoustics. However, with an affordable mid-range price and beautiful tones, why should beginners get all the fun?

Part of Yamaha’s famous FG Series, the FG830 is an affordable acoustic that wins constant praise for its no-nonsense style, beautiful feel, and solid projection. Then comes the S6 – the guitar that started it all for Seagull, the much-admired Godin subsidiary. Made this side of the Pacific, in Canada, the S6 shows some unique features and feels all-round incredible for the price.

They are both hugely popular models, separated by very little. So, let’s take a closer look and see how they compare…

Image Acoustic Guitar / Rating Summary Check Price
+ - Seagull S6 Seagull S6

Total of 4.88/5  

An excellent steel-string model from Seagull.

+ - Yamaha FG830 Yamaha FG830

Total of 4.70/5  

A very popular model from Yamaha – real affordable quality!

Body & Neck

First, the similarities. Both guitars share some positives such as offering the timeless non-cutaway dreadnought body shapes, while both have 21 frets and are joined at the 14th fret. Truth be told, both acoustics look lovely – you wouldn’t say no to either of them in your collection. Clean and familiar in design with nothing too extravagant in the form of decoration, aside from simple but attractive soundhole rosettes, and a tortoiseshell pickguard present on both.

As for materials, both use familiar body woods with the classic mid-range pairing of solid tops, with laminates on the back and sides. The FG830 sticks with the more traditional pairing of a spruce top and rosewood back and sides, which delivers a bright and articulate tone, with a bold projection – thanks in part to its advanced scalloped bracing system.

The S6 mixes things up with the inclusion of pressure-tested cedar on the top, with wild cherry used for the rest of the body. This ultimately offers a much warmer tone, that’s a little darker but just as clear.

The necks are also different in their makeup, with the FG830 sporting a nato neck, while the S6 has a lighter silver leaf maple neck – both with rosewood fretboards. Both neck finishes are matte, so provide the light and sleek hand feel we love. However, the bodies have different finishes, with the FG830 using an elegant and protective gloss, and the S6 keeping it simple with a thin satin finish, which can benefit the tone.

Hardware

The first thing to note is that neither the standard FG830 or S6 models feature electronics. These are stripped-down acoustics. Still, for beginners and casual players, this is no big loss.

Most notably in the hardware department, the S6 offers a set of specially-aligned tuning machines on the headstock, which promise to keep the strings straighter and tuning more stable – and they certainly deliver on this promise, as the S6 is incredibly reliable for the price.

In comparison, the FG830’s tuners are less special – pretty much your standard sealed die-cast tuning machines. However, they also do a good job at keeping tuning stable, which is as much as you could ask for at this affordable price.

Finally, both these guitars feature solid rosewood bridges, and both have truss rods for easy neck adjustments.

What’s Unique?

For good or bad, what makes these guitars stand out from the rest?

Well, it’s usually easy to recognize a Seagull, as they sport the distinctive Seagull tapered headstock – and the S6 is no different. Plus, as we’ve already mentioned, the S6 comes fitted with Seagull’s specially designed tuning machines, which are a good addition at this price. Being made in Canada is also a huge plus over the Chinese made FG830, as the out-of-the-box setup is slightly better – you feel a little more time has been spent with this guitar.

Yet this shouldn’t detract from the FG830, as – after a little initial setup – it plays like butter. Uniquely, the FG830 does come with a choice of finish colors, including the tried-and-tested natural style (which shows off the lovely grain of the different woods), an orangey Autumn Burst, and the darker Tobacco Sunburst.

Value

When it comes to price, there is nothing high-end about these guitars – both are under $400. But both feel incredibly good value – like you’re walking away with a real bargain. The build quality is great, even though they aren’t small workshop models, while they don’t sound like your typical affordable guitar either.

If you’ve read this far, you may feel the S6 is just beating the FG830 when it comes to hardware and overall feel and we’d agree. However, it becomes harder to separate the two when you realize the FG830 comes in at around $100 less than the S6 on most marketplaces! Suddenly, the ball is back with the FG830.

The Conclusion

We’re not here to tell you which guitar is better. It’s too hard to decide!

If they were both the same price, the Seagull would probably just beat the Yamaha for its superior hardware and beautiful neck. However, due to the added value of the FG830 – which performs like a $500-plus acoustic – it’s just too tight.

Both beginners and experienced guitarists would find huge worth in picking up either of these guitars. Fingerstyle players may prefer the bright, articulate tone of the FG830, whereas those who want to strum harder may benefit more from the warmth of the S6. Having said that, both are quite well-balanced and prove very versatile.

Ultimately, the hardest decision is now up to you!

For more on both the Seagull S6 and the Yamaha FG830, check out their full reviews.

Image Acoustic Guitar / Rating Summary Check Price
+ - Seagull S6 Seagull S6

Total of 4.88/5  

An excellent steel-string model from Seagull.

+ - Yamaha FG830 Yamaha FG830

Total of 4.70/5  

A very popular model from Yamaha – real affordable quality!


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