Yamaha FSX800c Review (2020)

A midrange beginner guitar offering affordable durability
Yamaha FSX800C Small Acoustic Guitar
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
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Overall Score: 

4.8/5

Neck & Body

3.85/5

Components

4.3/5

Sound

4/5

Value

3.2/5

The first guitar I ever played was a hand-me-down from a family member. The old strings were brutal on my young fingers. I almost gave up learning altogether. If I had the money for a decent Yamaha, it would’ve helped me immensely. This Yamaha FSX800c Review will tell you everything you need to know about this delightful instrument.

Things to consider before buying a Small-Bodied Acoustic Guitar

A small-body acoustic-electric guitar like the Yamaha FSX800c can offer a lot of versatility. They’re perfect in a myriad of scenarios; perhaps you’re a musician on the go, and you want something small and portable to play in tour vans or hotel rooms. Maybe you’re a street performer and you want a portable instrument without compromising too much on sound. A small acoustic guitar is also optimal for those just learning to play, especially if storage space is scarce. However, these types of guitars don’t always offer the same tone or quality of sound that regular or larger-sized acoustic guitars tend to; if you’re an experienced player who’s looking for a certain sound or degree of quality from your next guitar, the Yamaha FSX800c might not be for you.

In general, how the guitar feels in the player’s hands is important to consider, especially for new players. Beginners will often find that pressing down on guitar strings can leave the fingers quite sore, so finding a guitar that feels comfortable to play can be important to mitigate this issue as much as possible. This can be influenced by the weight and size of the guitar, the finish and texture of the wood, the width of the neck, and more.

The Yamaha FSX800c acoustic-electric guitar is inspired by classic folk guitars and offers quality tone at an entry-level price. The Sitka spruce top offers great sound and the Yamaha System-66 electronics makes this guitar useful for performances at small venues and events. This small acoustic guitar is perfect for beginners or experienced players looking for a guitar to travel with or keep next to the desk. While the Yamaha is a safe bet for those looking to spend less than $350 on a guitar, you do get what you pay for; if you’re looking for a travel guitar with the signature twang of a Martin or a Taylor, you might want to pass on the Yamaha.

Pros:

  • Portable and compact
  • Electronics offer nice plugged-in tone and EQ settings
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • 20-fret neck may restrict the ability to hit higher notes
  • Body made with cheap Nato wood; may negatively impact sound
  • Abrasive fretboard may interfere with bending of strings and vibrato

Neck & Body

The neck, back, and sides of the guitar are made from Nato wood. Nato is a very cheap wood and is considered to be an affordable alternative to mahogany due to its similarity in color. While it is a very dense and durable construction material, it lacks in terms of tone when compared to more expensive woods. Any redeeming qualities surrounding the tone of the Yamaha FSX800c come from the Sitka spruce top wood. The fretboard is made from Walnut, which is a relatively soft wood and rather coarse-grained; it’s comfortable enough to play when matched with the Nato neck, but could feel a tad abrasive on the fingers. The neck itself has 20 frets, which could be considered standard given the price point; this isn’t an issue for beginners learning open chords and first-position notes, but more advanced players who enjoy shredding on an acoustic guitar might feel restricted without having the extra 2-4 frets. Overall, this small-body acoustic-electric guitar is durable and playable – but maybe not something to write home about.

Components

The defining component of the Yamaha FSX800c is the System-66 pickup and preamp electronics. The preamp features a tuner, 3-band EQ, and a volume knob. This makes for a great plugged-in tone with plenty of mid-range; the System-66 is what makes this guitar ideal for that plugged-in solo coffee shop gig, a local open mic, or your kid’s recital. The saddle is made of Urea wood and the tuning pegs are die-cast chrome, which is standard and stable for a guitar of this nature.

Sound & Tone

The Nato wood in the neck and body with the Sitka spruce top gives this small-body acoustic-electric guitar a tone with plenty of mid-range. It has a decent amount of sustain and warmth, especially when plugged in. The natural volume of the guitar is also something to note; purchasers of this guitar can expect big sound. However, the full tonal potential of the Yamaha FSX800c may be slightly lost when playing unplugged. Having a small acoustic amp would be a good way to keep the tone from sounding too flat. Overall, the plug-in capabilities of this guitar give it an advantage for live performances and studio applications. The natural unplugged sound of the guitar might be nothing particularly special, but that isn’t necessarily abnormal for the price point; with all its practical applications, the Yamaha FSX800c is still a good value.

Action, Fit, & Finish

The Yamaha FSX800c comes playable upon purchase. Yamaha guitars have a generally positive track record for being well set-up out of the box, due to their quality control process. The action comes relatively high from the factory, which could easily be an issue for new players. Having the action lowered at a local guitar retailer may be a desirable course of action for those who have difficulty playing. Minor issues like this can be expected from lower-end guitars in general; Martins, Taylors and the like don’t tend to compare.

Reliability & Durability

The durability and density of the Nato wood give the Yamaha FSX800c a long, reliable shelf life. This is the acoustic guitar that will sit in the homes of families for years to come. The small size makes this Yamaha portable and compact, and therefore optimal for travel. Musicians can wholeheartedly rely on the Yamaha FSX800c for their writing and practicing needs.

Value

For $320, the Yamaha FSX800c is perfect for beginner and intermediate players looking for that first or second guitar. The durability of its materials ensures that this guitar will have a place in the arsenal of many musicians for years to come. On-the-go players looking for that travel guitar will appreciate the compactness of this concert-body axe. The sound and tone may not be necessarily top-of-the-line, but the Yamaha still holds a proper midrange sound. The electronics offer EQ capabilities to dial in an optimal plugged-in tone.

This Yamaha is a midrange practice-and-performance-focused acoustic that offers durability at an affordable price. We hope this Yamaha FSX800c review was helpful in your search for your next acoustic guitar.

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