Yamaha FG830 Review (2023) Premium Features at a Bargain Basement Price

It’s probably the worst kept secret in the guitar industry – Yamaha makes some of the best sleeper guitars on the market. One of our favorites is the Yamaha FG830.

As a brand, Yamaha tends to let the quality of their work do the talking. They do little, if any flashy marketing, and word of mouth takes care of the rest. That’s why guitars like the Yamaha FG830 are true underdogs. People will pay twice as much for a guitar with Martin or Taylor on the headstock, and in return, they’ll likely get cheaper woods, and ultimately less tone.

In this KillerGuitarRigs Review we got to get hands on with the Yamaha FG830 to find out if it might be the biggest giant killer on the market.

Who Is The Yamaha FG830 For?

The Yamaha FG830 has a lot to offer a wide range of players. Beginners will love it for its comfort and low cost (which is why we named it one of the best acoustics under $500), intermediate and advanced players will especially appreciate the playability and excellent tones (which is why we named it the top pick out of the best Yamaha acoustics).

It’s an exceptionally reliable guitar, built to an incredibly high standard under strict quality control conditions, and for that reason, we think even working musicians could take the FG830 seriously as a workhorse guitar for live shows.

Appearance / Features / Controls

Yamaha FG830 Acoustic Guitar Demo

There’s nothing particularly flashy about the FG830. It’s a full size dreadnought, or “Folk Guitar” in Yamaha speak, and it has the typical array of embellishments, including full body and neck binding, and even an attractive pearloid rosette inlay.

It featured a solid spruce top, which at this price point is a fantastic feature. Even more incredibly, it had rosewood back and sides. The rosewood was laminate, however even with layered rosewood, this is something not normally seen at this price point. Needless to say, it looked fantastic.

The nato neck was extremely comfortable. It was slim, and had a tapered profile. It was slick, and extremely forgiving, and the satin finish really helped to improve the overall playability.

As for the bridge and fretboard, both were made from rosewood, which once again, is a rare find at this price point. The fretboard both looked and felt amazing, and on top of that, the fretwork was really superb, with no sharps, level crowns, and a decent polish from top to bottom.

It was fitted with quality hardware throughout, too. While the nut and saddle were made with urea, they were well cut, which makes a huge difference. Besides that, the sealed die cast tuners performed exceptionally, holding tune even in adverse conditions and after extended playing sessions.

Performance / Sound

Introducing The FG830 Acoustic Guitar

If we had to sum up the tones from the FG830 in one word, we’d say classic. While it wasn’t the most amazing guitar we’ve ever heard or played, it delivered strong dreadnought performance across the board, and when you consider the price, and the fact that we had no genuine complaints, that’s nothing short of amazing.

The factory set up was superb, with a comfortable low to medium action. This will suit a wide range of players, and provides a ton of forgiveness to less experienced guitarists in terms of avoiding fret buzz.

We think that the FG830 excels when used as a rhythm guitar or as an accompanying guitar for a singer. It offers genuinely impressive note separation and articulation, and really responds well to changes in player touch. We were able to get it to be whisper quiet, and with a heavier strum, it gave us massive dreadnought power.

It had particularly strong mid range and lower mid range performance, while still retaining a big bottom end. It did have some top end sparkle, but if we were going to say anything negative about this guitar’s tones, it’s that we would have liked just a bit more treble.

It did offer excellent sustain, especially when you consider the laminate back and sides, and as far as projection was concerned, it was a top performer.

As is often the case with dreadnoughts, we do think that younger players especially, but even smaller adults may find difficulty in playing this guitar comfortably. It’s a large, boxy instrument, with a very deep body, and this can definitely present ergonomics challenges. If you’re not used to dreadnoughts, or you’re a younger/smaller player, you might be better off looking at another model.

Other Guitars to Consider

The Yamaha FG830 really does represent fantastic value. Getting a solid spruce top, together with great hardware, and excellent overall build quality and reliability is incredibly difficult at this price point. While guitars like this are rare, alternatives aren’t impossible to find. If you’d like to check out some other options, we’ve listed a couple of our favorites below.

Breedlove Eco Rainforest S Concert

The Breedlove Eco Rainforest S Concert is one of the most environamentally conscious guitars on the market. It features a solid African mahogany top, and EcoTonewood for the back and sides. EcoTonewood is Breedlove’s exclusive sustainable wood alternative that provides exceptional tone and performance, while keeping your conscience clean! It offers warm, mellow tones, and comes with a Fishman Presys pickup system for excellent amplified performance.

Guild A-20 Marley

The Guild A-20 Marley is inspired by one of history’s greatest singer songwriters, Bob Marley. This Guild dreadnought captures much of what was so beloved about Marley’s full bodied, robust tone thanks to the use of a classic solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides combo. It boasts some high end appointments like a bone nut and a bone saddle, and even comes with a branded gig bag.

Final Thoughts on the Yamaha FG830

We really enjoyed the time we spent with the Yamaha FG830. At KGR we often review some of the most expensive, high end guitars on the market, but getting to bring things down to earth with a quality, affordable guitar is always refreshing.

This guitar in particular had a rich tone that we don’t often find in cheaper guitars, and of course the build quality was sensational. What should have felt like a beginner instrument by all accounts played and felt like something we wouldn’t be embarrassed to hand to a working musician, and that says a lot.

If you’re not one for buying the latest fads in guitar tech, and you simply want a good, reliable instrument that’ll last for years to come, that will take a bit of a beating from time to time without falling apart, and of course, will sound good in the process, the Yamaha FG830 is a solid option, and at well under $400, it’s an incredibly attractive prospect at that.


  • Simon Morgan

    Simon is an Orlando based musician, but originally hails from Newcastle, England. He started playing bass and guitar in 1998, and played the local scene throughout his teen years before life got in the way. Favorite Genres: Blues, Classic Rock, and he’s not ashamed to admit - Emo