Acoustic electric guitar yamaha

Acoustic electric guitar yamaha DEFAULT

There are some great value guitars available these days, and it’s been argued we are now in the golden age of guitars with unprecedented quality at low prices.

Two big players in the budget to midrange guitar market are Yamaha and Epiphone, and they have become well-known and respected brands.

The question is: ‘which one is better – Yamaha or Epiphone?’

Both brands have their strengths, but Yamaha edge out Epiphone in the acoustic guitar department. Epiphone seem to concentrate more on their acoustic electric guitars, with some great jumbo-inspired designs. For electric guitars neither is necessarily better, coming down to a choice of body shape.

Whether you are looking at acoustic guitars or electric guitars both brands have plenty of models on offer, and it can be hard to choose one over the other.

We have divided this article into separate acoustic and electric sections to make it easier to compare different models and prices and find if one really is better than the other.

Epiphone vs Yamaha guitars

Acoustic Guitars

Yamaha seem to take the lead over Epiphone when it comes to acoustic guitars.

Looking at sales figures alone Yamaha sell much greater volumes of acoustics.

Check out this article taking a deeper look at Yamaha guitar quality.

Although Epiphone is owned by Gibson, they don’t enjoy the same high reputation and are less often recommended by other guitar players.

Epiphone still make some good low-priced options, but don’t have the variety in their range that Yamaha offer, and have lower sales overall.

Find out more about Epiphone guitar quality in this deep-dive article.

Lowest Price Guitars

Yamaha’s cheapest and most popular model is the F335 dreadnought acoustic guitar at around $160, with:

  • A laminated spruce top.
  • Meranti back and sides.
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
  • Die cast tuners.

The entry level EpiphonePRO-1 dreadnought acoustic guitar retails for about $170, featuring:

  • A laminated spruce top.
  • Mahogany back and sides.
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
  • Vintage style tuners.

At this lowest price-point it’s a close call between Epiphone and Yamaha, as they both offer laminated tops, similar construction, and just aim to give you a solidly built guitar to get started on.

The Yamaha could nudge slightly in front here, as it’s slightly cheaper and has sealed die-cast tuners vs the Epiphone’s vintage tuners.

Entry Level Solid Top Guitars

Stepping up a little you get better sounding guitars with solid wood tops (not laminated), giving you a guitar that will actually improve in tone the more you play it.

At this level Yamaha offer their FG800 dreadnought acoustic guitar for around $200, and it has:

  • A solid sitka spruce top.
  • Nato back, sides, and neck.
  • Rosewood fingerboard, bridge, and headstock overlay.
  • Scalloped bracing.
  • Die-cast tuners.

On the Epiphone side their entry level at the $200 mark is the PR-150 dreadnought acoustic guitar (we have seen them on sale for less occasionally). They have:

  • A laminated spruce top …Since this Epiphone model is still a laminated top, they lose this round.

Epiphone provide a few really cheap models, and for anything better you instantly jump up in price at least $100 from the base models.

Yamaha have done a great job at this price point, and it’s no wonder that music shops have a hard time keeping up with demand for the FG800.

Acoustic Electric Guitars

Next let’s take a look at entry level acoustic electric guitars (just solid top models).

It’s great to have the ability to amp your guitar for playing with a band, or solo gigs like busking.

Another great thing with acoustic electric guitars is that they mostly come with inbuilt tuners.

Epiphone, like Yamaha, offer an acoustic electric below $300, however to get a sound worth having it’s really worth the extra few dollars.

Yamaha make the FGX800C dreadnought at around $320, and this gets you:

  • A solid spruce top.
  • Nato/okume back and sides.
  • Die-cast tuners.
  • Bracing pattern: Scalloped X.
  • Yamaha System66 preamp with 3-band EQ.
  • Built-in tuner.

At the same price point of about $320, Epiphone have the AJ-220SCE Advanced Jumbo which features:

  • A solid spruce top.
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Cutaway
  • Die-cast tuners.
  • Hand Scalloped Bracing.
  • Fishman Presys preamp
  • Built-in tuner.

So here we see different wood choices for the body. Nato is very similar to mahogany, and possibly gives a slightly brighter sound compared to the mahogany’s deep bass.

The bodies of the guitars are different shapes, with the Epiphone having a deeper body and larger lower bout borrowed from their advanced jumbo designs that became so well known for.

The electronics are also a little different with the Yamaha having a newer in-house 3-band EQ design.

  • Note: If you want a similar Epiphone with the newer Fishman Presys II preamp with 3-band EQ, then take a look at the Epiphone J-45 EC Studio, which is also based on their advanced jumbo design, and is also about $320.

We feel Epiphone has the upper hand here, as their jumbo inspired design gives a deeper, full rich sound and outweighs the slightly more advanced preamp on the Yamaha.

Take a closer look at some of the best Yamaha acoustic-electric guitars for beginners and intermediates.

Here’s a couple of videos to hear a comparison of these Epiphone and Yamaha guitars:

Electric Guitars

Both brands have some good choices for entry-level electric guitars, with Epiphone’s Les Paul and SG series, and Yamaha’s Pacifica strat-inspired series.

The amazing thing these days is that you actually get a decent electric guitar for $200.

Probably the hardest thing with comparing these brands is that they make very different styles of guitars at the entry-level.

The Yamaha Pacifica series are strat-styled, while the entry level Epiphone electrics are Les Paul and SG based designs (Epiphone is licenced to make Gibson shapes, as they are a subsidiary company).

To get both brands in a more similar body shape you need to look further up the range into the range where the Yamaha Revstar is somewhat akin to a Les Paul/SG cross.

Epiphone and Yamaha both cover this part of the market well, so let’s compare some of their entry level models to see what you get, and why you might choose one over the other.

$200 Electric Guitars

Yamaha offer a couple of electric guitars for $200, being the PAC012 Pacifica, and the PAC012DLX Pacifica HSS Deluxe. Their features are:

  • Agathesis body.
  • Maple Neck
  • Rosewood fretboard.
  • Slim C neck
  • HSS pickup configuration.
  • 6-screw vintage tremolo.
  • Single volume and tone controls.

There are a couple of Epiphone electric guitars closest in price are $180, being the Epiphone SG Special Satin E1, and the Les Paul Special Satin E1, both selling for about $180. They feature:

  • Poplar body.
  • Mahogany neck (Okoume – SG)
  • Rosewood fretboard.
  • Slim taper D neck.
  • Humbucking pickups.
  • Fixed bridge.
  • Single volume and tone controls.

As you can see, the two different brands have entirely different specs and making a decision on the winner comes down to personal preference.

Each guitar is made to have individual tonal qualities, using different wood choices, pickups, and neck shape.

All we can say here is that all these guitars are well made (for the price), and if a lower price means everything to you, then Epiphone would win.

$300 Electric Guitars

At this price you just start to nudge into intermediate player guitars, and the features move up a step from the base models.

There is a bit more detail to the bodywork, with better tonewoods, and more output controls for the Epiphone.

Yamaha have the PAC120H Pacifica in this category, and it packs some great features for the price.

  • Alder body.
  • Maple neck.
  • Rosewood fretboard.
  • Yamaha Alnico V Humbuckers
  • Master tone control with push/pull.

The Epiphone Les Paul 100 has a slimmer body than the original, and has a classy heritage look.

  • Mahogany maple-top body.
  • Okoume neck.
  • Rosewood fretboard.
  • Humbucking pickups.
  • Separate tone/volume controls.

In the looks department we have to give this round to the Epiphone, however with identical pickups to their lower models we wonder why they weren’t stepped up a notch like the Yamaha’s alnico pups in the PAC120H.

We also like the 3-way switch together with the push/pull tone controls that Yamaha offer here, so if you’re into that super-strat look this guitar could be the one.


The best acoustic guitars for beginners in 2021, featuring 10 easy acoustic strummers

This guide to the best acoustic guitars for beginners is designed to get you started on the right path with your guitar playing, and help you get the right instrument in your hands. Buying your first acoustic guitar is an amazing moment and one you won't ever forget. That why it's critical to make sure you select the right one for your needs, and one that will keep you interested in your newfound hobby as you develop your skills.

Armed with the right acoustic guitar you’ll feel more confident, find playing far easier and much more enjoyable in the long-run. Love your guitar and you’ll be more likely to stick with it and develop your technique.

But what are the most important factors to think about when choosing the best beginner acoustic guitar for you? For starters, you'll want a guitar that stays in tune throughout your practice sessions. It'll need to be built to last, particularly if you plan on playing it outdoors, jamming with friends or eventually playing live gigs. The final - and probably most important - factor? It needs to sound great.

Ticking all these boxes shouldn't exceed your beginner budget either, which at this stage will most probably be fairly small. With this expert round-up of the best beginner acoustic guitars, we're committed to proving you can get started with a great guitar bearing the name of a big-name brand on the headstock, from as little as $149.

We've rounded up 10 of the best acoustic guitars for beginners and provided comprehensive buying advice to help you make the right decision. Just hit the 'buying advice' button above to head straight there.

If you just want to get straight to our top recommendations, you can check out a couple of our top choices below…

Best acoustic guitars for beginners: Our top picks

For us, the overall best beginner acoustic guitar has to be the Fender CD-60S. This ace beginner acoustic delivers everything you could possibly need when starting out, and all at a delicious entry-level price. This guitar offers great sound, is easy to play and sports a rugged construction. And hey, that Fender logo on the headstock makes it feel like even more of a 'proper' guitar.

At the other end of the budget spectrum, the Yamaha LL6 ARE is an ace option for those with a slightly larger budget. It delivers a versatile range of tones that really shine, whether you’re playing unplugged or using the built-in acoustic guitar pickup. A forgiving friend, it certainly helps bring out the best in your sound.

While not the cheapest beginner acoustic on this list, the Yamaha will remain a reliable companion beyond your years as a complete beginner, making it a great addition to our best acoustic guitars for beginners round-up.

Best acoustic guitars for beginners: Product guide

1. Fender CD-60S All-Mahogany Acoustic Guitar

The best acoustic guitar for beginners seeking a big brand name

Launch price: $229/£199 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid Mahogany | Back and sides: Laminated Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 25.3" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome Die-Cast | Electronics: N/A | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss

Balanced sound

Stays in tune

Entry-level price

Individual looks may put some off

With this Fender, you have a leading brand producing an excellent acoustic guitar at an entry-level price. This dreadnought’s all-mahogany construction produces a full, rounded sound, which equates to volume and confident mid-level power in support of a bright treble. 

The tuners are positive and reliable, and at the sub-$200 mark they represent excellent quality. Previously, Fender’s acoustic guitars for beginners had an action that tended to be on the high side. But the CD-60S has an action low enough to enable easier playing, while avoiding troublesome fret buzz.

Read the full Fender CD-60S All-Mahogany review

2. Yamaha LL6 ARE

The best acoustic guitar for beginners under $500

Launch price: $569/£549 | Type: Medium Jumbo | Top: Solid Engelmann spruce | Back and sides: Rosewood | Neck: Mahogany/rosewood 5-ply | Scale: 25.9/16" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast gold | Electronics: Yamaha SRT Zero Impact pickup | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss

Excellent sound plugged in and acoustically

Great build quality

Forgiving sound for the beginner

Higher-end price for a beginner guitar

Yamaha's Acoustic Resonance Enhancement treatment process aims to make this stunning guitar sound ‘played-in’ from the start. The resulting tone is representative of a guitar that’s worth more than the LL6’s price tag. With chords chiming through, this Yamaha makes for a very forgiving acoustic guitar for beginners. 

Simplicity is the theme for amplification here, with no extra control provided to the Zero Impact pickups. The action is low and the neck has an even thickness, and typically of Yamaha the finish on the LL6 is of an extremely high quality. If you want an entry-level acoustic guitar that’s easy to play, definitely check this one out.

Read the full Yamaha LL6 ARE review

3. Epiphone Hummingbird Studio

The best acoustic guitar for beginners who want heritage pedigree

Launch price: $369/£269 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid spruce | Back and sides: Select mahogany | Neck: Select mahogany | Scale: 25.3" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome Die-Cast | Electronics: Shadow ePerformer pre-amp | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss

Excellent sound

Versatile pre-amp

Easy player

Slightly lower action would help a beginner

Played by the Rolling Stones, no less, and with a lavish appearance created by that pearl inlayed neck and artworked scratchplate, Epiphone’s Hummingbird Pro certainly looks the part and has a reputation to match.

Based on its big brother from parent company Gibson, the ‘real’ Hummingbird would set you back closer to $3,000, so this one is a bargain. The sound is well balanced and ideal for various styles, though the action, straight from the box, could be slightly lower to make it easier for beginner’s to play.

For electrified sessions, Epiphone’s built-in Eperformer preamp is versatile enough to dish out a wide range of tones. Elsewhere, Grover tuners maintain reliable tension. 

Read our full Epiphone Hummingbird Studio review 

4. Yamaha FG800

A best-seller at the budget end of the best beginners acoustic guitar market

Launch price: $219/£235 | Type: Traditional Western | Top: Solid spruce | Back and sides: Nato/Okume | Neck: Nato | Scale: 25.9/16" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast Chrome(TM29T) | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss body/matt neck

Great sound for the money

Good build quality

Low price 

No electronics

One of the lower priced guitars in our guide, Yamaha’s FG800 is a seasoned veteran in the beginner’s acoustic field. The sound generated by this beauty could easily come from a more expensive guitar, and it’s reliable at holding its tune, too. 

A solid spruce top, more usually found on higher priced guitars, helps create the impressive tone. And it really is the sound that helps this guitar stand out from the others at the sub-$200 mark. No amplification is included, but for this price who’s complaining? 

While the neck has a rounded, comfortable profile, the action is a little on the high side, though nothing a local guitar tech couldn’t remedy. 

Read our full Yamaha FG800 review

5. Taylor GS Mini Mahogany

High-end versatility and tonal quality at an entry-level price

Launch price: $549/£529 | Type: Mini | Top: Tropical mahogany | Back and sides: Sapele laminate | Neck: Layered sapele | Scale: 23.5" | Fingerboard: Ebony | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast chrome | Electronics: n/a (ES-Go pickup available) | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Varnish

High quality tone

Extremely versatile sounds

Wonderful build quality

Doesn’t have the volume of a full size 

Taylor’s GS Mini doubles as a travel-sized guitar and dishes out all you need for home playing, especially for younger or smaller guitarists. The factory-set action is low, making it simple to play from the get-go. 

The sound is warm and clear, tending towards the mid range. Though the trebles are bright, despite the size the bass isn’t lacking. The sound also includes ample sustain with notes enduring longer than would be expected from a ‘mini’. 

The broad tonal capability across the range makes it well suited to a variety of musical styles, meaning this is one of the best acoustic guitar for beginners if you’re searching for tonal versatility as well as for an entry-level guitar that could last far beyond your newcomer years. 

Read our full Taylor GS Mini Mahogany review

6. Ibanez AW54CE

One of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, whether amplified or unplugged

Launch price: $329/£268 | Type: Cutaway dreadnought | Top: Solid mahogany | Back and sides: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 25.6" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome grover tuners | Electronics: Fishman Sonicore pickup and Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp with on-board tuner | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Satin

Excellent tone

Nice mahogany finish

High fret access

Adjustment required to lower the action  

While the cutaway, giving access to the highest frets, is a noticeable standout in this guitar, the mahogany finish is also noteworthy. The neck is mahogany with a satin finish, which helps all of you beginner acoustic guitarists to play easier. That said, the action is on the high side.

Ibanez’s best acoustic guitar for beginners delivers a balanced, rounded tone thanks to the mahogany, and like many of the entry-level guitars in our guide it’s enough to keep more experienced acoustic guitarists happy.

The Ibanez AW54 also comes with an Ibanez preamp and Fishman pickup, plus a dual band equalizer. The sound through an amp matches the quality of the unplugged tone. 

7. Martin LX1E Little Martin

Versatility and stellar sound in a pint-sized package

Launch price: $499/£499 | Type: Parlour | Top: Sitka spruce | Back and sides: High Pressure Laminate | Neck: Stratabond | Scale: 24" and under | Fingerboard: FSC Certified Richlite | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Gotoh nickel | Electronics: Fishman Sonitone | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Hand rubbed

Excellent build quality

Great volume for the size

Electro tonal variety

Higher end of beginner price range

Martin has a reputation for crafting some of the finest acoustic guitars in the world, and the LX1E Little Martin is no different: it’s a beautifully made instrument. It’s also a travel guitar, which makes it the best acoustic guitar for beginners seeking a compact strummer. 

Don’t let the size fool you, though. Along with a brightness, it provides surprising volume from the Sitka spruce top and mahogany laminate sides. The high pressure laminate also helps deal with heat and humidity changes, which is useful for frequent travel. 

Fishman Sonitone electric controls enable a relatively broad range of volume and tonal variety with a phase control to emphasize bass, which is useful when playing at lower volumes.

Read our full Martin LX1E Little Martin review 

8. Epiphone DR100

Good build quality and surprising tone is yours for a low, low price

Launch price: $149/£109 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Select spruce | Back and sides: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 25.5" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Premium tuners | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss

Good build quality

Easy player

Can’t go wrong for just over $100

None at this price

Considering it’s so affordable, it’s difficult to see what’s wrong with the DR100 for those on a budget. The Epiphone DR100 produces a tone that you wouldn’t expect given the small price tag. Available in a variety of finishes, the build quality outmatches most of the competition in this price bracket. 

A select spruce top is accompanied by a mahogany body and neck, the latter of which features a slim taper profile for more comfortable playing, finished off with a rosewood fingerboard. 

It’s a relatively easy player, and the body has ample resonance. If you’re on a very small budget, the Epiphone DR100 is a no-brainer.

9. Seagull S6

Premium quality in a guitar that’s built to last

Launch price: $529/£515 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid cedar | Back and sides: Wild cherry | Neck: Silver leaf maple | Scale: 25.5" | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 21 | Tuners: Chrome | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: semi-gloss

Optimum build quality

Sweet and versatile sound

Good for fingerpicking

No electronics onboard 

Canadian made Seagull guitars are renowned for their high build quality, and the S6 is no different. It’s a grown up guitar in the sense that it’s far from flashy, but it has all you need to last beyond your beginner days.

Its refined construction is complemented with a bright tone but, especially useful for the more gentle fingerpicking style, the Seagull S6 enables beautiful warmth with a low volume and light touch. As you’d expect from this level of build quality, this beginner’s acoustic stays in tune and is so easy and enjoyable to play.

10. Alvarez AD30

Conventional, solid and versatile… a superb beginners acoustic guitar

Launch price: $29/£179 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid Sitka spruce | Back and sides: Mahogany laminate | Neck: Mahogany 50/50 semi gloss | Scale: 25.5" | Fingerboard: Richlite | Frets: 20 | Tuners: chrome die cast | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: 50/50 satin gloss

Good volume and power

Versatile for a range of tones

Excellent price

Missing a pickup

At around the $270 mark, the Alvarez AD30 is another dreadnought delivering well above its diminutive price tag. It kicks out significant volume from its sitka spruce body, which is as warm in tone as much as it is bright.

Playing can be subtle but also as aggressive as you want to get, and this is where the AD30 delivers a surprising amount of power. The X bracing design is intended to aid resonance, which certainly rings out.

Construction is rugged and the guitar stays reliably in tune. The 50/50 gloss to matt finish on the neck balances resilience with ease of playing. Conventional rather than flashy, the AD30 is a reliable allrounder. 

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The 10 best Yamaha acoustic guitars [budget options included]

Wanna cut to the chase? I went looking for the best Yamaha acoustic guitar, and my top pick is the Yamaha FG830 Folk Acoustic Guitar.  

To make life easier for you, I wrote several organized and in-depth Yamaha acoustic guitar reviews (including lists of pros & cons that you can quickly scan).

I tested out several of these guitars in real life (the ones I could find).  I also carefully researched what other people were saying about them online.  

The Yamaha guitar that’s best for you will depend on your budget, skill level, hand size, and more.

Let’s explore each of those factors to find your best fit. Then we’ll get into individual reviews.  

Here are the Yamaha acoustic guitars I reviewed:  

Why Bother Reviewing Yamaha Guitars?

Yamaha’s been making guitars since 1942.  They make a ton of different models, and they have an overall good reputation.  

Yamaha acoustic guitars tend to be in the lower or middle price range, which makes them affordable entry-level options.  

Because they make so many guitar models, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.  

It also helps that most of their lower-priced guitars come with “starter packs” that have all the extra stuff you’d need to get started (like a tuner, case, picks, etc).  

Are Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Any Good?

Based on the ones I’ve tried, I don’t think Yamaha guitars are the best of the best, but they tend to sound pretty good and be decent quality.  

The prices are reasonable as well, so you’ll probably get a good value for your money, which makes them a good option for beginners or anyone on a budget. 

How To Find The Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitar For Your Needs 

To find a good Yamaha acoustic guitar that fits your personal needs and preferences, there are a few things to pay attention to.

Steel-string acoustic vs. Nylon-string classical guitar

Yamaha is more known for their standard acoustic guitars with steel strings, but they do make some classical guitars with nylon strings as well.

classical guitar with nylon strings

Steel strings have a brighter, edgier sound, and nylon strings have a softer, mellower sound.

Steel strings are also more typical for certain styles of guitar music, such as the Blues.  

While I slightly prefer the sound of steel strings, the main guitar I use at home is a classical guitar with nylon strings.  

It’s worth it to me because the nylon strings don’t hurt my fingers as much, and they’re easier to play in general.

Using nylon strings is a little bit like playing electric guitar strings, because they’re easy to push down. But nylon strings are also wider and softer than steel strings, which makes them even more comfortable for your fingers.

If I were looking for the best Yamaha acoustic guitar for beginners, I would definitely consider one with nylon strings simply because it’s easier (and less painful) to play.

I included a couple Yamaha classical guitar reviews in this article (one for adults and one for kids), in case that’s something you’re interested in. 

Yamaha Guitar “Action” 

Action on a guitar refers to the space between the strings and the fretboard, or in other words how far you have to push the strings down to make a note.  

Low action means a short distance, high action means a longer distance.  

Basically, the lower the action on the guitar, the easier it will be to play.

While Yamaha guitars are typically a good value for the money, one weakness is that some of them have high action right after purchase, which can make them harder to play.

However, you can have the action adjusted at a guitar shop (usually for a little under $100), so it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker.  

If you do have a guitar with high action, it can tire you out and you won’t be able to play for as long in one sitting.

It’s also more uncomfortable for the tips of the fingers on your left hand (assuming you’re right-handed).

This happened to me when I first started learning – I borrowed a guitar from my friend that had pretty high action, and my left wrist and forearm would get tired out if I played too long.

Pay attention to what reviewers say about the action on Yamaha guitars, and keep in mind you could end up needing to have it adjusted if the action is too high. 

Regular acoustic vs. acoustic-electric

If you think you’ll be jamming with other instruments (like drums or electric bass), or performing in front of any large crowds, you should strongly consider getting an acoustic-electric guitar.

That way you can easily connect to an amp or a PA system

Many times in the past, I’ve had to hold my acoustic guitar stationary in front of a microphone so it would be loud enough during a performance.  Whenever this happened, I always wished I had an acoustic-electric guitar instead so I could just plug it in.  

I included a few Yamaha acoustic-electric guitar reviews on this list, so hopefully you can avoid running into the same problem.

Sound quality

Most Yamaha guitars have at least decent sound quality, but even the best Yamaha acoustic guitar models may not sound as good as higher-end brands (like Taylor, Martin, or Gibson, for example).

I’ve noticed that the smaller Yamaha guitars (like travel or ¾ size) can have a somewhat hollow or empty sound compared to larger ones.

Body Size

Yamaha guitars range from quite small (like the 3/4 size) to pretty big (like the dreadnought, which is historically the most common guitar design), and beyond.

As mentioned above, larger guitars typically have a louder and more resonant sound.  

Perhaps more importantly, the size of the guitar should roughly correspond to the size of the person playing the guitar (and the size of that person’s hands).

If you have small hands, it may be awkward or difficult to play a large guitar.  The opposite is also true–someone with large hands may have a hard time playing a small guitar. 

I included Yamaha guitars with various sizes in this article in case you’re looking for the best small acoustic guitar or the best intermediate / mid-range acoustic guitar, and so on. 

Body shape 

Yamaha guitars come in various designs (like dreadnought, concert, and parlor).  These names refer both to the guitar size (dreadnought is bigger than concert which is bigger than parlor), as well as the particular shape of the guitar.

As mentioned above, keep in mind the size of your hands when picking a guitar design. 

Another thing to consider is getting a “cutaway (where it looks like a bottom corner is missing).  This makes it a lot easier to play certain notes and chords on the higher frets.

Having a cutaway can be helpful for some styles of music that involve a lot of soloing or unusual hand movements, like blues or fingerstyle.

Not only can you reach notes more easily, but you’ll be less likely to need hand therapy without all the strain on your wrist and fingers. 🙂

On a personal note, I’ve actually never owned a cutaway guitar.  But every time I play one I’m reminded how much easier it is to reach the high frets. I plan to get a cutaway next time I buy a guitar.

Type of wood

Bottom line:  Don’t worry about the type of wood unless you’re a very advanced player looking for a specific sound (and you can skip the next two paragraphs if you want). 

In case you’re curious, common wood types include spruce (which has a more crisp and punchy sound), cedar, and mahogany (both said to have a warmer, softer tone), among others.  

Another difference is whether the guitar is made from solid wood (which vibrates freely, providing a more sustained sound), versus wood laminate (which is more stiff, making it less resonant but also strong and durable, as well as less expensive than solid wood construction). 

Guitar accessories

If you don’t already have a guitar tuner, capo, picks, or other accessories, you can probably find a Yamaha “starter bundle” that includes all of these along with the guitar. 

Some of the guitars I reviewed come with starter bundles, so keep an eye out for that.

[REVIEWS] Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

Now that you know what to look for, let’s go over some specifics to help you find the best option for your needs.

[*Top Pick*] Yamaha FG830 Folk Acoustic Guitar (+ starter bundle)

This is a moderately priced guitar that gets rave reviews from most purchasers.

The sound quality is excellent due to the large body, solid wood top, and “scalloped” internal bracing (an unusual feature).

It comes with all the accessories you need (including a hard case, which is not typical), so you probably won’t need to buy anything else. 

While it doesn’t have an electric pickup, it’s loud enough on its own for most situations (other than performing in a large venue or jamming with really loud instruments).  

It lacks a cutaway shape, so it will be harder to reach some of the higher frets.

The action varies and can be high or low depending on the individual guitar, but it’s fairly easy to have this adjusted at a guitar shop (for about $80 on average), if necessary. 

Because it provides great value for the money and gets consistently excellent reviews, this is my top pick for the best Yamaha acoustic guitar


  • Incredible sound 
  • High-quality starter pack 
  • Hard case
  • Big and loud


  • Action may be high (but can be adjusted)
  • No cutaway
  • Not acoustic-electric 


Yamaha APX600 Thin Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This guitar is moderately priced, has an excellent sound, and has the advantage of being both an acoustic-electric and a cutaway.

When I tried it out, I found it easy to play and thought it sounded great.  

It’s somewhat on the smaller end, but not tiny.  

The action on mine was medium, but this can vary from one guitar to the next and may need to be adjusted at a guitar shop.  

It may not be the best yamaha acoustic guitar ever made, but this is a solid option with several attractive features and a reasonable price.


  • Acoustic-Electric
  • Cutaway
  • Nice sound
  • Fair price
  • Pleasant size (at least for me)


  • Action varies (may need adjustment)
  • No accessories


[*Top Acoustic-Electric*] Yamaha FSX800C Small Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This is a reasonably priced acoustic-electric guitar with great sound quality.

It’s a medium-sized concert style, which makes it comfortable to hold and play for most people.

It’s not quite as loud as a larger guitar would be, but it has a pickup and preamp so you can easily plug it in to an amp or a PA system if you need more volume.

It’s also a cutaway, so it’s easier to reach the higher notes.

The only significant downside I’m aware of is that the default action on this guitar varies a bit, so it can be high or low.  Luckily, you can have this adjusted, so I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker. 

Because this guitar has an almost ideal combination of features at a very reasonable price, this may be the best yamaha acoustic-electric guitar available for the money.

That’s why this is my pick for the top Yamaha acoustic-electric guitar.


  • Great Sound
  • Reasonable price
  • Cutaway
  • Acoustic-Electric
  • Built-in tuner
  • Medium size (comfortable for most players)


  • Action varies (may need adjustment)
  • No accessories (addons may be available)


Yamaha FGX800C Folk Acoustic-Electric Guitar (+ starter bundle)

This guitar is very similar to the other FGX800C listed above, with two main differences.

First, it’s bigger, which makes it louder, but maybe also a little bit less comfortable to hold.

Second, it comes with a robust starter pack, including a hard case and all the other accessories you would need.

Like the above model, it has an electric pickup and built-in tuner.

It’s also a cutaway shape, which makes it easy to reach the high notes. 

Overall, I would say this is quite a nice package if you’re looking for a good value acoustic-electric with a starter bundle.


  • Excellent sound
  • Reasonable price
  • Acoustic-Electric
  • Cutaway
  • Includes a starter bundle


  • Action varies (may need adjustment)
  • Large size could feel awkward to hold 


[*Top Kids*] JR2 Junior-Size 33-Inch Acoustic Guitar (+ starter bundle)

This is a “junior” guitar designed for kids, so it’s pretty small.  

I tried it out and thought it sounded pretty good (despite its smaller size) and also felt comfortable to play.

The action was low, and the strings were easy to push down (which is important for kids who may have smaller or weaker hands).  

It doesn’t have a cutaway shape, so some higher frets are harder to reach.

It’s not an acoustic-electric, so you can’t plug it in to an amp.

The price is very reasonable, and it comes with high-quality accessories so you’ll have everything you need to get started.

This is a great value for the price, and my pick for the best Yamaha acoustic guitar for kids.


  • Affordable
  • Good sound for its size
  • Low action – easy to play
  • High-quality starter pack 
  • Light and easy to carry


  • Not acoustic-electric
  • Not a cutaway


Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This guitar is about the same size as the “junior” guitar above (they’re both ¾ size), but when I compared the two I noticed this one is a little bit thinner front-to-back.

That may be why the sound was a little more hollow, and sort of “tinny” by comparison.

The action felt fairly low, so the strings were pretty easy to push down.

It’s a cutaway, which is nice for playing higher notes, and also an acoustic-electric so you can plug it in for a jam session or performance.

If you’re looking for a small, reasonably priced guitar with those features, then this is a good option.


  • Inexpensive
  • Acoustic-Electric
  • Cutaway
  • Small and easy to carry


  • Somewhat hollow sound
  • Not ideal for large hands


[*Top Classical*]  Yamaha CG122MCH Solid Cedar Top Classical Guitar

This is a low to moderately priced classical acoustic guitar with nylon strings.

It advertises low action, and most reviewers agree.  Combine this with the nylon strings, and this guitar will be particularly easy to play.

It has excellent sound and a nice-looking finish.

Similar to my own classical guitar, it has a somewhat wide neck. (Wide necks are typical of classical guitars, but can make it harder to reach certain positions if you have very small hands). 

If you don’t care too much about not having a cutaway or acoustic-electric plug-in, this may be the best Yamaha classical guitar for the money.


  • Nylon strings 
  • Low action – easy to play
  • Great sound
  • Nice-looking
  • Reasonable price


  • Not a cutaway
  • Not acoustic electric
  • No accessories included 


Yamaha CGS102A 1/2-Size Classical Guitar Bundle

This is a half-size children’s starter guitar that is very affordable.

It’s also a classical guitar with nylon strings, which make it easy to play compared to a steel string acoustic, and that’s what you want for kids.  

It comes with all the basic accessories and an instructional DVD, so you don’t necessarily need to buy anything else (though the soft case may be too loose).

If you want a nice starter classical guitar for a child, this looks like a good option for you. 


  • Good price
  • Easy to play (nylon strings)
  • Includes a starter pack
  • Nice size for a young kid


  • No cutaway
  • No pickup
  • Gig bag may be too loose


[*Top Upgrade*]  Yamaha CSF-TA Parlor Transacoustic Guitar 

I really liked the look and feel of this guitar, and it sounded great (it has a “transacoustic” internal vibrator to help sustain the sound). 

It’s on the smaller side (parlor size), but not tiny like the 3/4 options above. So it’s a good fit for most adults (as long as they don’t have giant hands).

The action was low and easy to play.

It’s an acoustic-electric so you can plug into an amp, but it doesn’t have a cutaway shape so it’s a little harder to reach some of the higher notes.

If you’re looking for an upgrade option and don’t require a cutaway, you would probably like this guitar.


  • Low action – easy to play
  • Medium size – easy to hold and carry
  • Incredible sound
  • Acoustic-Electric


  • Higher price
  • Not a cutaway 
  • Not ideal for huge hands


Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar       

This is a moderately-priced 12-string acoustic guitar that seems like a very good value for the money.  

It has a really nice and bright sound, and plenty of volume.

A lot of people find the action low and comfortable, but others feel it is too high (and end up getting the guitar adjusted, which typically costs a little under $100).

This may be the best 12-string Yamaha acoustic guitar for the money if you don’t need an electric pickup, cutaway, or accessory bundle.  


  • Rich, 12-string sound
  • Big and loud
  • Fair price


  • Action varies (may need adjustment)
  • No cutaway
  • Not acoustic-electric 
  • No accessories 


Recap and Final Thoughts

While Yamaha acoustic guitars are not the best of the best, they’re a good value for the money, which makes them a solid starter option for beginners or someone on a budget.

Because Yamaha makes a lot of different models, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, and if you buy a “starter pack” they’ll include any accessories you may need as well.

As a general rule, pick a guitar size that fits your body and hand size.

Most Yamaha acoustics have at least decent sound quality, but very small body sizes can sound kind of hollow or empty. 

Consider getting a guitar with nylon strings and/or low action, especially if it’s for a beginner or a child.

Always consider getting a cutaway, as it will be a lot easier to play some higher notes and chords.

It’s also very helpful to have an acoustic-electric if you ever need to plug into an amp or a PA system for a jam session or performance. 

Taking all of this into consideration, my top overall pick for the best Yamaha acoustic guitar is the Yamaha FG830 Folk Acoustic Guitar because it’s a great value for the price, has amazing sound quality, and includes a starter bundle to boot. 

Regardless of which guitar you get, I hope you have fun with your new Yamaha acoustic guitar, and keep improving your skills.

Thanks for visiting! 

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Yamaha Guitars Categorized by Shape

Yamaha Guitars by shape

This post is going to take a look at Yamaha guitars by shape.

This will only include their acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars (does not include their Classical and Electric guitars).

Yamaha?s Shapes

I couldn?t find any specific information on the shapes/sizes that Yamaha provide but I?ve narrowed it down to these main shapes/sizes:

  • Dreadnought (or what they call ?Traditional Western?)
  • Jumbo
  • Concert (Small Body)
  • CPX (medium jumbo)
  • APX
  • APX ?

The chart below shows the differences in the sizes. Sizes of different models may vary to the table below.

Dimensions in millimeters

JumboDreadnoughtCPX (Medium Jumbo)ConcertAPXAPX 3/4
Total Length 1046mm1039mm1043mm1021mm1022mm866mm
Body Length512mm505mm511mm497mm490mm385mm
Lower Bout Width415mm412mm400mm380mm384mm300mm
Upper Bout Width294mm292mm279mm
Body depth125mm118mm 115mm120mm90mm75mm

Dimensions in inches

JumboDreadnoughtCPX (Medium Jumbo)ConcertAPXAPX 3/4
Total Length 41 3/1640 29/32

O.k. let?s take a look at the guitars offered in each different size/shape.

Dreadnoughts (Traditional Western)

As with most guitar manufacturers there are a good number of options for Yamaha dreadnoughts.

ModelTop WoodBack & SidesCutawayElectronicsOther
FX325Laminate SpruceLaminate Nato/MerantiNoYes
FX370CLaminate SpruceLaminate Nato/MerantiYesYes
FG800SpruceLaminate Nato/OkumeNoNo
FGX800CSpruceLaminate Nato/OkumeYesYes
FG820SpruceLaminate MahoganyNoNo
FGX820CSpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes
FG820LSpruceLaminate MahoganyNoNoLeft-handed
FG820-12SpruceLaminate MahoganyNoNo12 string
FG830SpruceLaminate RosewoodNoNo
FGX830CSpruceLaminate RosewoodYesYes
FG840SpruceLaminate Flamed MapleNoNo
FG850MahoganyLaminate MahoganyNoNo
FG180-50THSpruceMahoganyNoNo50TH Anniversary. All Solid Wood.
A1MSitka SpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes
A1RSitka SpruceLaminate RosewoodYesYes
A3MSitka SpruceMahoganyYesYes
A3RSitka SpruceRosewoodYesYes
A3M ARESitka SpruceMahoganyYesYesAcoustic Resonance Enhancement on Top
A3R ARESitka SpruceRosewoodYesYesAcoustic Resonance Enhancement on Top
A5M ARESitka SpruceMahoganyYesYes
A5R ARESitka SpruceRosewoodYesYes
A6RSitka SpruceRosewoodYesYes


ModelTop WoodBack & SidesCutawayElectronicsOther
LL6 AREEngelmann SpruceLaminate RosewoodNoPassive
LL6M AREEngelmann SpruceLaminate MahoganyNoPassive
LL16 AREEngelmann SpruceRosewoodNoPassive
LL16M AREEngelmann SpruceMahoganyNoPassive
LL16D AREEngelmann SpruceRosewoodNoPassivecosmetically done up version of LL16ARE
LL16L AREEngelmann SpruceRosewoodNoPassiveLeft-handed
LL16-12 AREEngelmann SpruceRosewoodNoPassive12 String
LL26 AREEngelmann SpruceRosewoodNoPassiveVintage looks
LL36 AREEngelmann SpruceIndian RosewoodNoPassiveVintage looks - constructed using higher level luthiers ?
LL56 Custom AREEngelmann SpruceIndian RosewoodNoPassivecosmetically done up version of LL36ARE - woods may be of a higher quality. Constructed by master luthier

>>More on Yamaha?s L Series Guitars

Concert (Small Body)

ModelTop WoodBack & SidesCutawayElectronicsOther
FS800SpruceLaminate Nato/OkumeNoNo
FSX800CSpruceLaminate Nato/OkumeYesYes
FS820SpruceLaminate MahoganyNoNo
FSX820CSpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes
FS830SpruceLaminate RosewoodNoNo
FSX830CSpruceLaminate RosewoodYesYes
FS850MahoganyLaminate MahoganyNoNo
AC1MSitka SpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes
AC1RSitka SpruceLaminate RosewoodYesYes
AC3MSitka SpruceMahoganyYesYes
AC3RSitka SpruceRosewoodYesYes
AC3M ARESitka SpruceMahoganyYesYesAcoustic Resonance Enhancement
AC3R ARESitka SpruceRosewoodYesYesAcoustic Resonance Enhancement
AC5M ARESitka SpruceMahoganyYesYesAcoustic Resonance Enhancement
AC5R ARESitka SpruceRosewoodYesYesAcoustic Resonance Enhancement
AC6RSitka SpruceRosewoodYesYes

CPX (Medium Jumbo)

ModelTop WoodBack & SidesCutawayElectronicsOther
CPX500IILaminate SpruceLaminate Nato/MerantiYesYes
CPX500IIILaminate SpruceLaminate Nato/OkumeYesYes
CPX700II-12SpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes12 String

APX & APX 3/4

One of the unique features of this shape is that it features an oval soundhole.

ModelTop WoodBack & SidesCutawayElectronicsOther
APX500IILaminate SpruceLaminate Nato/MerantiYesYes
APX500IIILaminate SpruceLaminate Nato/OkumeYesYes
APX500IIEWLaminate Flamed MangoLaminate Nato/MerantiYesYes
APX700IISpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes
APX700IILSpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYesLeft-handed
APX700II-12SpruceLaminate MahoganyYesYes12 string
APXT2Laminate SpruceLaminate Nato/MerantiYesYesAPX 3/4 size

>>More on Yamaha?s APX series of Guitars

Thanks for Reading

I hope this has given you some perspective on Yamaha?s acoustic guitar lineup and their different sizes/shapes.

If I?ve missed any guitars above, please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.

Filed Under: Buying Guides, Guitar selection, Yamaha


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Acoustic Guitars At The Music Zoo

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The Music Zoo's collection of acoustic guitars appeals to any player and any playing style! Whether you're shopping for your dream, one-of-a-kind custom shop piece, checking out a travel-friendly guitar, or a working musician who wants the best bang for your buck, we're the destination with the best mix of the unique and the everyday must-haves. Buy your next acoustic guitar online at The Music Zoo or visit our New York showroom to shop today - we're an authorized dealer for all your favorite acoustic guitar brands, and our used inventory is packed to the brim.

Acoustic Guitar History

The acoustic guitar and its related predecessors actually date back as early as 1790, when the Spanish vihuela featured 6 "courses" or string sets. In the early 19th century, Antonio de Torres stepped in and is credited with designing the first truly modern acoustic guitar - which is most directly related to the classical and nylon strings guitars we see today. Following in his footsteps, European-Americans added steel-strings to his designs, and eventually Chris Frederick Martin of Martin guitar fame introduced X-bracing in the 1830s, which brought about the rise of flat top and eventually archtop acoustic guitars.

The archtop acoustic guitar was an idea that originated from an early mandolin patented filed by Orville Gibson in 1898. The acoustic instrument it evolved into would feature a curved or "arched" top and back like a violin, with parallel or X-bracing and an oval soundhole or F-holes. Lloyd Loar, a name often associated with archtop acoustics, was hired by Gibson in 1922, and did not last long with the company, but built many archtops that today are extremely prized possessions. Many smaller but talented American luthiers also adopted these designs, such as John D’Angelico, Jimmy D'Aquisto, and Charles Stromberg. Gretsch and Epiphone also built impressive archtops in this era.

Martin guitars dominated the market for many years and introduced a wide range of flat top guitar styles, from smaller body parlor, 000, and OM size guitars, to the instantly recognizable dreadnought guitar that was designed in 1916, but saw its first commercial success in 1931. Gibson entered the flat top market shortly after in 1934 with the J-45, which was similar to the Martin D style but featured more rounded/curved shoulders. Smaller luthiers still built excellent guitars during this time period as well - George Washburn Lyon's early 20th century parlor guitars are prized amongst collectors, and even student level Harmony (Chicago) made offerings are well regarded.

In the second half of the 20th century, manufacturers such as Guild, Yamaha, Takamine, and Ovation arrived on the scene and helped further popularize the acoustic guitar. The "Big 3" of acoustic guitar manufacturers today includes the not yet discussed Taylor guitar company. Started in the mid '70s by Bob Taylor and a small team, Taylor's innovations today are equally as impressive as the designs created and perfected by Martin and Gibson in the earlier half of the century. Taylor has patented new guitar neck technology, created new body styles, and has even won awards for their environmentally friendly wood harvesting practices.

Acoustic Guitar Types


For most, when they visualize an acoustic guitar, or imagine the tones emanating from it, a dreadnought is likely to be behind it. This body shape first appeared on the market in the 1930s and became an instant hit with folk and bluegrass players, as well as heavy strummers who needed a ton of volume from their acoustic. The body was much larger than other acoustic guitars and is characterized by its wide lower bout and wide upper bout/shoulders. Compared to other smaller bodied acoustic guitars, a dreadnought produces extended highs and lows, more bass, and in general a bolder and louder voice that responds well to fast and heavy strumming. The Martin D-28 and D-18, Gibson J-45 and Hummingbird, and Taylor Grand Pacific dreadnoughts are some of the most popular examples. Dreadnought's quickly evolved into 2 main sub-types - the "square shoulder" dreadnought (like the Martin) and the "round shoulder" dreadnought (like the Gibson).


The Auditorium sized acoustic guitar was a Martin creation, but the word has evolved to generally encompass any "small bodied" acoustic guitar, including models like the 000, 00, and 0 acoustic, Orchestra (OM) models, and even Taylor's newer Grand Auditorium. These guitars are known for having an accentuated midrange and rich harmonic-heavy tone, though they typically are not as loud as a dreadnought. They are ideal for fingerpickers but many serve any purpose the player requires.


The first true "Jumbo" acoustic as we know it today was created by Gibson in the late 1930s - the SJ-200. The jumbo acoustic guitar is larger than even the dreadnought, and has a powerful and big sound. Because of its massive size, it sits well in the mix with other acoustics, as it covers a wider frequency range and allows for the most focused instruments to shine through, while still being heard itself. Generally, Gibson is known as one of the masters of the jumbo guitars, but the Taylor Grand Orchestra jumbo is a player-favorite, as well as Guild and Takamine examples.


Parlor acoustics also date back to the early acoustic era. Even smaller than auditorium models, parlor guitars have a tone similar to the Auditorium acoustics, but tend to have a more woody and bluesy sound - they have even been dubbed "blues boxes" by many. Finger-style players will feel right at home on a parlor guitar, as the smaller size allows a lighter touch to create good volume with ease. Their small size makes them comfortable for younger players but they are still used by many professionals.


Modern classical guitars are the most closely related cousins to original Antonio De Torres acoustic guitars mentioned earlier. These acoustics have several features that set them apart from the other styles previously discussed, most obviously their nylon string design. These strings produce a more mellow and warm tone and are easier on the fingers - as the types of music played on these instruments is almost always finger-style. Classical guitars generally also have a wider nut width - creating more space between the strings for complex chords and scales the music often commands.


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