Yamaha FG800M review

Matt's the way we like it

  • £213
  • €222

MusicRadar Verdict

An impressive acoustic at a wallet-friendly price.


  • +

    A real workhorse.


  • -

    Lacks a little sparkle.

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As it's been well over a decade since these guitars got a refresh, Yamaha is going all out with these 2016 upgrades, and according 
to Yamaha, the aim is to create guitars that are tonally enhanced.

On the one hand that means a return to the original FG180, but with the addition of "a little more volume, a little more bass, a little more oomph". Now, us reviewers will always take such claims with a pinch of salt but a quick strum on this all-matt-finished guitar - the start of the new range priced just below the gloss- finished FG/FS800 (both £268) - has us double-checking our price list. But we've got ahead of ourselves...

The FG800M is a typically classy, clean build and those of us who like our guitars to look a little less posh will find a friend here: the matt finish gives a lived-in working guitar appearance. There's little ornamentation, the fingerboard dots are small and lack contrast but the white side dots are clear and bright.

The brand logo and fleur motif are simply silk-screened but it's the three-piece neck, with a roomy full C profile, that immediately engages. Tuners are quite generic but more than up to the job while the synthetic 'urea' nut and compensated saddle are well cut with a sensible, get-on-with-the-job action.

The fretting is also extremely tidy, while the fingerboard edges are actually bound creating, in typical Chinese-style, a very tidy job.

Dreadnoughts, of course, come in many different tonal shades but we should expect plenty of roomy lows, 
a strong thump in the lower mids, crisp highs: a big projecting sound. Well, the FG800M ticks those boxes and some and sounds dangerously close - albeit thinner, crisper and 'newer' - to our reference and well-used 16-Series Martin dread' that costs an awful lot more.

Dave Burrluck

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.