Get the lowest price on guitars from nearly every brand

Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitar – We Review The Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars In 2021

Yamaha has long been a respected maker of some of the best acoustic guitars for beginners and professionals alike. Whether you need a guitar for a beginner, a great-sounding intermediate guitar, or a high-end performance machine, this is a top brand that’s likely to have what you need. We’ll take a look at some of their products to help you find the best Yamaha acoustic guitar for you.

Our Top 5 Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

Guitar
Best Value
FG850
APX600
JR2
FG-TA TransAcoustic
Best Overall
AC5M
Image
Yamaha FG850 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany
Yamaha APX600 NA Thin Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
Yamaha JR2TBS 3/4 Scale Guitar Tobacco Sunburst
Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic Guitar w/ Chorus and Reverb, Vintage Tint
Yamaha A-Series A5M Cutaway Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar Vintage Natural
Rating
4.3
3.9
3.6
4.5
4.7
Best Value
Guitar
FG850
Image
Yamaha FG850 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany
Rating
4.3
Guitar
APX600
Image
Yamaha APX600 NA Thin Body Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
Rating
3.9
Guitar
JR2
Image
Yamaha JR2TBS 3/4 Scale Guitar Tobacco Sunburst
Rating
3.6
Guitar
FG-TA TransAcoustic
Image
Yamaha FG-TA Transacoustic Guitar w/ Chorus and Reverb, Vintage Tint
Rating
4.5
Best Overall
Guitar
AC5M
Image
Yamaha A-Series A5M Cutaway Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar Vintage Natural
Rating
4.7
Best-selling, high-quality affordable beginner acoustic

Neck & Body

4.3/5

Components

3.9/5

Sound

4/5

Finish

4.2/5

Durability

4.5/5

Value

4.8/5
Yamaha FG850 Acoustic Guitar
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.3/5

What we like

What we don't like

FG850 Review

This instrument is a stellar example from Yamaha’s FG Series, the best-selling acoustic guitar series in the world. Its solid mahogany top delivers a rich, mellow sound that emphasizes the lower midrange, and it’s an excellent choice for accompanying the voice. Like many Yamaha guitars, it’s made with the Western body shape, which is essentially a small dreadnaught.

To complement the solid top, the backs and sides are laminated mahogany, which keeps costs down while offering excellent durability. Cream binding offers a beautiful contrast to the dark grain of mahogany, and the rosewood fingerboard and bridge are great high-end touches.

The FG850 is made with Yamaha’s Standard neck profile, which offers a balance between traditional acoustic necks and the thinner neck profiles preferred by some contemporary players. All in all, this is a great-sounding acoustic that still manages to be affordable.

While the Yamaha FG800 is the entry-level model in the series, the Yamaha FG850 Acoustic Guitar is at the top of the FG range and our contender for the best Yamaha acoustic guitar for intermediate players.

Specs

  • Solid Mahogany Top
  • Mahogany Back & Sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Rosewood Bridge
  • Diecast Tuners
An APX500 with some comfort and cosmetic upgrades

Neck & Body

3.7/5

Components

3.9/5

Sound

4.2/5

Finish

3.8/5

Durability

4/5

Value

4.3/5
Yamaha APX600
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

3.9/5

What we like

What we don't like

APX600 Review

This impressive yet affordable acoustic-electric guitar is ideal for performers on a budget. The thinline body with a cutaway is highly comfortable to play and it makes it easy to access frets further up the neck. The APX600 has an all-laminate build – the top is spruce, and the back and sides are made of locally-sourced tonewood (the type used varies based on availability).

The slim nato neck adds to this guitar’s playability, and the rosewood fingerboard is both comfortable to play and aesthetically pleasing. A simple abalone rosette adds just enough sparkle.

The pickup is a System 65A piezo with an onboard preamp. The preamp also has an onboard tuner – an excellent convenience feature that allows players to tune up at any time. While the shallower body doesn’t have quite the resonance of a full-size guitar, its amplified sound is remarkably full. Given its affordable price, the APX600 is a great first acoustic-electric.

Specs

  • Thin-line cutaway Body design for exceptional playability
  • 25" Scale Length and narrower string spacing for Enhanced comfort
  • New scalloped bracing pattern for increased bass response.Fingerboard Material:Rosewood
  • Abalone sound hole rosette
  • Stage-focused pickup system for shaping your sound in the mix.Top Material:Spruce

JR2

Decent, durable travel guitar that’s also good for kids

Neck & Body

3.5/5

Components

3/5

Sound

3.5/5

Finish

3/5

Durability

3.9/5

Value

4.7/5
Yamaha JR2 Tobacco Sunburst
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

3.6/5

What we like

What we don't like

JR2 Review

These 3/4-size JR2 dreadnaught guitars are an affordable option for kids or any player looking for a travel instrument. Its all-laminate build stands up to changes in temperature and humidity, and it offers incredible durability. The top is laminated spruce for bright sound, and the back and sides are made of laminated wood with a mahogany-patterned film.

Although the JR2 is designed mainly as a student guitar, its open chrome tuners hold tune much better than most entry-level instruments. The action is low enough to be comfortable for new players, and its small body and slim waist make it very easy to handle. Plus, its shorter scale length lowers string tension, which places less stress on the fingers.

The slim nato neck is both durable and highly playable – it’s effectively a more affordable version of mahogany. The rosewood fingerboard and bridge are surprisingly high-end touches. The JR2 is modeled after the famous FG Series guitars (widely considered to be one of the best acoustic guitar series for the money), and it has a fairly nuanced, natural sound considering its low price.

The Yamaha JR2 is a top contender for best Yamaha acoustic guitar for beginners.

Specs

  • Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Deluxe padded bag included
  • Rosewood Fingerboard and Bridge
An FG-Series guitar with built in reverb and chorus effects

Neck & Body

4.5/5

Components

4.5/5

Sound

5/5

Finish

4.5/5

Durability

4/5

Value

4.5/5
Yamaha FG-TA TransAcoustic
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.5/5

What we like

What we don't like

FG-TA TransAcoustic Dreadnought Review

This high-tech addition to the legendary FG Series is made with Yamaha’s unique, groundbreaking TransAcoustic technology. The TransAcoustic system incorporates chorus and reverb effects, but you don’t need to be plugged in to use them. The effects are created by an actuator – a device inside of the instrument that vibrates as strings are played.

The FG-TA sounds great when unplugged, thanks to its solid spruce top and scalloped X bracing. However, for players who need to plug in, the SRT Zero Impact pickup offers quality amplified sound. And of course, you always have the option of playing with the onboard effects.

The FG-TA has some high-end playability features like a satin-finished neck. The satin neck avoids the “sticky” feel sometimes found with gloss necks. The slim neck profile is fast-playing and comfortable. This one is more expensive than some Yamahas, but it offers outstanding value for new and experienced players alike. Top stuff!

Specs

  • Amazing sounding reverb and chorus built into the Guitar with no need for external amplification or effects
  • An actuator installed on the inner surface of the guitar back vibrates in response to the vibrations of the strings
  • Three simple knobs let you adjust your amount of effects and the line out volume level
  • The Guitar Body is based on Yamaha FG820, with a solid Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides
  • SYSTEM70 Trans Acoustic Preamp with a SRT Piezo Pickup
Outstanding performer’s guitar with top of the range electronics

Neck & Body

4.6/5

Components

4.9/5

Sound

5/5

Finish

4.5/5

Durability

4.5/5

Value

4.6/5
Yamaha AC5M
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.7/5

What we like

What we don't like

AC5M Review

This Japanese-built acoustic is an all-solid instrument for the serious player. The solid Sitka spruce top is torrefied, meaning it has been artificially aged. The result is an instrument that plays like a vintage guitar right out of the box.

The back and sides are solid mahogany, which adds warmth and richness to the tone. The AC5M is built-in Yamaha’s Western cutaway body style that’s very similar to a cutaway dreadnaught.

The AC5M is an excellent performer’s guitar, and it comes equipped with an incredibly versatile electronics system. The SRT2 system lets you get sounds reminiscent of a miked guitar while plugged in. You can use a blend control to mix the sound of the under-saddle piezo with a model of a Neumann KM 56 condenser mic or a Royer R-122 ribbon mic.

We think the Yamaha AC5m may be the best solid wood acoustic guitar for the money.

Specs

  • Body Body type: Concert/O Cutaway: Single cutaway Top wood: Solid Sitka Spruce Back & sides: Mahogany Bracing pattern: Scalloped Body finish: Gloss Orientation: Right handed Neck Nut width: 1.625 in. (41.3 mm) Fingerboard: Ebony Neck wood: Mahogany Scale length: 25.625 in. Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Matte Electronics Pickup/preamp: Yes Brand: Yamaha Configuration: Piezo with mic models P
  • "The A-Series A5M Cutaway Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar features all-solid mahogany back and sides with hand-selected solid sitka spruce top with Yamaha's original A
  • R
  • E
  • wood-torrefaction technology

Last update on 2021-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Finding the Right Yamaha Guitar

Are Yamaha Acoustic Guitars any Good?

Neck, Body, Sides and Top

Many of Yamaha’s guitars are made in the Western body shape, which is very similar to a dreadnaught guitar. However, some models like the APX600 use a shallow, thinline body shape that’s ideal for players looking for a more compact guitar. Most bodies are made with X-bracing, although Yamaha uses techniques like scalloping to enhance tone, resonance, and sustain, even in relatively affordable models. Good Yamaha acoustic guitars come at all price points.

Even student Yamahas are packed with playability features. If you’re shopping for a child, entry-level instruments like the JR2 have slim-profile necks and shorter scale lengths to make playing easier for those with small hands. More advanced players might appreciate the satin-finished neck of the FG-TA and other higher-end models.

If you like to play up and down the guitar neck, you might want to consider a guitar with a cutaway. Cutaways make fret access significantly easier, and they have almost no negative impact on the sound of a guitar.

Components

Most players notice that even cheaper Yamaha guitars hold their tuning well. This is because the brand tends to use high-quality components. If you’re looking for a guitar with a comfortable fingerboard, you’ll be pleased to see that most of these instruments come with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Since these features are typically found on more expensive guitars, they give even entry-level models a high-end look and feel.

An entry-level Yamaha will usually come with plastic nuts and saddles. While plastic doesn’t offer the same tone-enhancing properties as bone or composite materials, this shouldn’t be an issue for beginners. Higher-end acoustic guitars will often have nuts and saddles made of Tusq or a similar composite.

Yamaha also offers acoustic-electric guitars at almost every price point. Affordable options like the APX600 come equipped with a natural-sounding piezo pickup. Higher-end models come with the SRT Zero Impact or the SRT2 system. And for players seeking a solid midrange acoustic-electric, the FGX Series offers acoustic-electric versions of the famous FG Series.

For players looking for something a little different, TransAcoustic Yamahas are a good choice. These include optional onboard chorus and reverb effects that work even when the guitar isn’t plugged in. While these effects aren’t absolutely necessary to have, they can add variety to your practice routines and performances.

Sound & Tone

Thanks to thoughtful engineering, even an entry-level Yamaha will tend to sound relatively good. Most more affordable models are made with laminated wood, which doesn’t have the same resonance or tonal complexity as solid woods. In some cases, the back and sides will be made of “locally-sourced tonewoods,” which just means that the manufacturer substitutes different woods based on availability. In beginner instruments, this shouldn’t pose a problem, and it helps keep costs down.

For intermediate players, it’s wise to choose a guitar with a solid top. Solid top acoustics are more responsive, and the difference between these and laminate top guitars becomes more apparent as playing develops.

Nearly all of these guitars are made with traditional X bracing. However, guitars for intermediate and advanced players often also include bracing innovations to enhance tone. For instance, the FG Series of acoustic guitars incorporates scalloped bracing to produce a more noticeable bass response. Some higher-end models are made with all solid wood, which creates a detailed, more resonant tone. It isn’t necessary for many players to purchase an all-solid guitar, but advanced players with a trained ear will likely appreciate the nuance.

Action, Fit & Finish – A Yamaha Speciality

All of these guitars come with low action out of the box. This is important to a successful learning experience – high action can cause finger pain and discourage new players from continuing. Much of the brand’s focus is on playability, and this shows at each level.

Similarly, the fit and finish of these guitars are very good. You aren’t likely to encounter issues with exposed glue, loose-fitting tuners, or poorly-secured neck joints. On less-expensive models, you may occasionally see unevenly applied finish or other small defects, but quality control doesn’t tend to be much of an issue.

If you prefer an instrument that’s more eye-catching, higher-end guitars may be worth looking at, with their more intricate fingerboard inlays and rosettes.

Reliability & Durability –

Yamaha has been making quality, value-rich guitars for over 50 years. Even at low price points, they are built to last. Higher-end Yamahas are typically made in Japan, while lower-end models are often made in China. Chinese-made models may be prone to more quality control issues, but these tend to be minor things like runs in the finish, etc.

An Entry-level Yamaha guitar will be especially durable, as they’re made with all laminated woods. For classical players, the Yamaha School line offers nylon-string guitars that are tough enough for use in school music programs. For students who prefer steel strings, the 3/4-size JR models (modeled after the Yamaha FG Series) offer great playability at an entry-level price.

Value – The main reason to buy a Yamaha

Yamaha’s acoustic guitars are often less expensive than comparable models made by competitors, and they excel at producing mid-range guitars that offer excellent value. Their most famous value-rich line is the FG Series, where FG stands for “folk guitar.” This line of all solid top guitars offers outstanding playability and tone, and the whole lineup is surprisingly affordable.

Yamaha’s high-end guitars are also known for value – the AC5M is a prime example. This guitar’s all-solid build, torrefied top, and innovative electronics are features usually found on guitars costing twice as much.

Which is the Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitar?

While all of the above guitars are fairly high-quality, the AC5M is the best Yamaha acoustic guitar on the list. It’s made with all solid wood for unparalleled, nuanced tone, and the top-notch electronics make it a professional-grade performance machine. Plus, a comfortably playable build makes it a great guitar for beginners and experienced players alike.

Last update on 2021-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API