Yamaha FS820 Review – A Folky Dream

4.7 out of 5 stars

Yamaha’s FS820 is an acoustic guitar that does a lot of ‘sitting’. Firstly, as part of Yamaha’s popular FS800 Series, it sits somewhere between the entry-level FS800 and the higher-end FS850. Being a concert guitar, it also sits somewhere between a dreadnought and a parlor in terms of size. However, most importantly today, it sits on our chart of the best acoustics under $300, which is why we are taking a closer look!

Body & Neck

As we have mentioned, the FS820 is an affordable concert guitar, with a compact size that smaller players and fingerstylists often favor. A big plus is that it’s also a handsome guitar, as we have come to expect from Yamaha’s entire range.

It features a solid spruce top, with scalloped X-bracing under the hood. The back and sides are made from laminated mahogany, which is a step up from the nato used on the FS800, but a little less sought after than the rosewood back and sides of the FS830. The body sports an elegant glossy finish, with Yamaha offering up several color choices – ranging from the more traditional natural and autumn burst finishes, to a vibrant turquoise or ruby red.

Detailing, such as the tortoiseshell pickguard and cream binding, help the FS820 stand out nicely. While it’s a good-looking and nicely crafted guitar (even though it’s still a mass-produced model), it plays just as well. With a scale length of 25”, you’ll find a solid nato neck, joined at the 14th fret, housing a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets.

Hardware

As usual, Yamaha kit out this affordable guitar with decent gear. This includes a set of sealed die-cast tuning machines on the headstock, with a rosewood bridge fixed to the body. Both the nut and saddle are made from urea, while the strings that ship with the guitar are D’Addario’s coated 80/20s. Overall, nothing too exciting, but it all combines to deliver a reliable experience.

Sound

No surprises here – it sounds pretty good! The classic tonewood combination of solid spruce and mahogany leads to a well-balanced sound that certainly has low-end, but much more emphasis is the midrange and highs, leading to a folky sound.

Despite this, the projection of the FS820 is still ample and much louder than we expected. It can certainly cope with strumming, although aggressive strummers would be better off with the bigger FG820, as the smaller size and low volume ceiling of this concert guitar tends to distort when too much oomph is given.

The Verdict

Buying a Yamaha acoustic is always a good investment – they have a quality that some brands just struggle to match, and they just seem to get better with time. The FS820 is no different and makes for an ideal guitar for both beginners as well as more experienced players wanting that folky sound for their fingerstyle playing. For under three hundred bucks, it’s nothing short of a bargain!

For more info about the Yamaha FS820, click here.
For more acoustic guitars under $300, click here.


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