It’s no secret that Yamaha as a brand is synonymous with quality; whether it’s their motorcycles, jet skis, brass instruments, pianos or guitars, pretty much everything they make is built to the highest standards. This in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. Typically, we tend to advise people to buy gear from manufacturers who specialize in guitars – but Yamaha is an outlier.
Despite their huge diversification, Yamaha ensures that every product leaving their line is worthy of their reputation, and the Yamaha F325 acoustic guitar is no exception. This is one of the most popular beginner acoustic guitars on the market, and it’s not hard to see why
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we got the chance to spend some time checking out the Yamaha F325 to see why it’s such a hot seller. We looked closely at everything from build quality and playability to the tone.
If you’re looking for a super affordable acoustic from a brand with a great reputation, you won’t want to miss this.
Who Is This For?
The Yamaha F325 is really geared towards beginner players. We think it’s specifically best suited to adults given that it’s a full scale, full size dreadnought. It offers the kind of reliability that new players need to progress quickly, which is part of what makes it such an appealing option.
Besides beginners, we also think this isn’t a bad option for more experienced players looking for a “beater” guitar that they can take camping, to the beach, or just about anywhere else without worrying too much about it. It’s an incredibly robust instrument, and should survive pretty much anything you can throw at it.
Appearance / Features / Controls
The Yamaha F325 is a classic dreadnought style acoustic with a natural finish and a surprisingly premium look. Immediately upon picking it up, it was clear that this was a very well made guitar. It didn’t look or feel flimsy in the slightest, and the binding made it look like a much more expensive guitar than it really was.
It had all laminate construction, with layered spruce on the top and layered sapele for the back and sides. Being all laminate, it’s extremely resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, and Yamaha backs this up with a limited lifetime warranty.
It had a nato neck, which we found to be slim and super forgiving. Up top, it had a surprisingly nice walnut fretboard, which we very much prefer to the laurel that ships on a lot of budget guitars of a similar style and price. As we’re pretty well accustomed to Yamaha quality, we weren’t surprised to see how well the fretwork had been finished. The crowns were level, with a decent polish, and the edges had no sharps.
In terms of hardware, it wasn’t particularly exciting, but the key is that they used quality components. Instead of worrying about putting fancy looking open gear tuners to copy Martin, Yamaha fitted the F325 with a set of reliable, sealed gear tuners that worked well. We found that the nut and saddle were both well seated and properly cut, and despite being plastic, caused no issues with stability or intonation.
Performance / Sound
When buying a beginner guitar, build quality is important, but so is tone, and the F325 really did sound great. It may not have been as bright or resonant as an all solid wood ARE treated Japanese made model like the Yamaha LL-TA Transacoustic, but it still had enough detail and never really sounded muddy.
Being a full bodied dreadnought, it had plenty of body and projection, with good volume and surprisingly deft responsiveness. We were able to switch up between heavy strumming and delicate picking without issue, and this really sums up why we found ourselves enjoying playing this guitar so much.
Sustain was best described as decent. It didn’t ring out forever, but when you remember that this is a sub $200 model, that decent sustain translates to pretty good! The majority of its focus was in the lower mids and bottom end, but there was still a little sparkle at the top.
Comfort wise it felt like pretty much every other dreadnought, although the neck was more reminiscent of an electric guitar, that is to say, slim, and for a beginner acoustic, very fast. What does this mean? Well, if you’re a new player, it’ll take less effort for you to move around the fretboard, and if you’ve got a bit of experience, it should be a fast, fun playing experience for you, too.
Out of the box, we thought the setup was pretty standard for a guitar of this price. The action height was at the low end of medium, but the neck was arrow straight, and the intonation was accurate from top to bottom. We found that the tuners worked well, and held pitch properly. We will point out that the stock strings weren’t great (we swapped them out pretty much immediately for a better beginner set), but with a set of D’Addario XSAPB1253 Phosphor Bronze Coated strings on, it really came to life.
Other Guitars to Consider
The Yamaha F325 really is an impressive beginner guitar, and at this price point is tough to top, but regardless, we’ve highlighted a couple of our other favorites in the entry level dreadnought acoustic category for you to take a look at before making a decision.
The Fender CD-60 is another solid choice in the beginner acoustic space. It offers similar, natural acoustic dreadnought styling but actually comes with a solid spruce top, something that some players would consider to be an upgrade of the F325’s laminate top. This results in better resonance and sustain, but ultimately, a less durable guitar. If you’re tough on your gear, or you plan to use it as a beach or campfire guitar, make sure to bear this in mind.
The Epiphone DR-100, like the F325, is an all laminate construction dreadnought style guitar. It’s a handsome looking thing and comes in a choice of natural, ebony, or vintage sunburst finishes, all of which really look fantastic. It offers great beginner playability and is one of the most affordable full size dreadnoughts on the market from a mainstream brand, which really amps up the attractiveness for beginners.
Final Thoughts on the Yamaha F325
We’ve had the opportunity to play some of the most beautiful, most expensive acoustic guitars on the market here at KGR, and yet, we still find the appeal in back to basics beginner models like the Yamaha F325. It’s a basic guitar, following a simple formula, and Yamaha hasn’t put a foot wrong when making it. As long as you’re not expecting pre war Martin tones and Taylor 814 playability, you really won’t be disappointed.
It’s affordable enough for pretty much any budget, and because it’s from a reputable brand, when it comes time to sell and upgrade, you’re almost guaranteed to find a fast buyer because of this guitar’s reputation as a solid beginner model.