Choosing your very first acoustic guitar can be a real challenge. On the one hand, you’re on the lookout for a high-quality guitar that is not only easy to play but also sounds good enough to make you eager to play or learn the instrument. On the other hand, you’re looking for an acoustic guitar that is not too costly but a perfect match for your wallet.
The bad news is: most acoustic guitars for beginners tend to disappoint in terms of sound quality and affordability. However, the Fender FA-100 acoustic guitar might be one of the very few exceptions that can offer you a good value for your money.
Sure, there are many acoustic guitars under $200 available in the market today, but what makes the Fender FA-100 so special? Why is it gaining much popularity among the beginners and experienced guitarists? Does it sound good and should you even consider investing your money on it? Find out in my honest review of the Fender FA-100 below.
The Fender FA-100 review
The FA-100 Acoustic Guitar from Fender is considered one of the best budget-friendly acoustics on the market. This is because it was created by Fender, an American brand that is well-known for its high-quality guitars with amazing sounds. Any product with the name “Fender” on it carries some weight since this legendary guitar company have been in the business since the 1930s and had built an impeccable reputation for itself.
Although Fender is mostly known for its premium excellent sounding bass and electric guitars, its line of acoustic guitars cannot be overlooked – especially the FA-100.
Who is it for?
The FA-100 acoustic pack was specifically created for beginners who want a great piece of an instrument to learn how to play the guitar. I’ve had this guitar since I was 16 when I started my first ever guitar lessons, and even though I have other collections of guitars, I always find myself reaching out for my FA-100. So, I wouldn’t say the FA-100 is only recommended for beginners. The product is also great for the intermediate or professional guitarists who have a few collections of guitars but need a good sounding and affordable guitar to knock around the beach, the living room or road trips.
At its low price point, you can guess that the Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitar may not have much in terms of specs to make it a fancy guitar. Even the features of the FA-100 highlighted on Fender’s marketing materials are ordinary, so it seems its major selling point lies within its brand name and how ordinary it is.
|Body material||Basswood back and sides and Sitka spruce top|
|Neck Shape||“C: shape|
While there’s nothing that seems too exciting here, the basswood back and sides cannot be ignored. This is because the basswood is an essential part of Fender’s line of electric guitars especially their Super Strat models as it helps to make the guitar sound pleasant and warm to the ears.
The guitar comes with an electric tuner that makes tuning the guitar a breeze. It also includes a strap that helps to reduce stress while playing, a few picks (so you have extra just in case you lose them), strings (to replace your strings when they break), and a padded gig bag for safe storage and easy transport.
So, you won’t be stuck with a generic cheap, poor sounding guitar. Rather, you’ll be rocking an original Fender product – a product that preserves the amazing sound that is synonymous with this legendary guitar brand.
Features and benefit of using the Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitar
For a guitar to be very easy to use, it is essential that it comes with a good action setup. A guitar action is used to describe the distance between the neck of the guitar (fretboard) and the strings. So, when a guitar has a low action, it means that the strings of that guitar are close to its fretboard and won’t require pressing hard on the strings.
Since there is no calluses build-up on the fingertips of most beginners’ yet, using a high action guitar will hurt quite a bit as it requires pressing hard on the strings. Fender considered this and ensure that the FA-100 comes with a low action to enhance its playability, especially for new guitarists. This feature has its downside – the strings tend to buzz when you strum the guitar hard. However, this issue can be fixed by tweaking the action.
Even though the FA-100 acoustic guitar from Fender is not the most resonant or brightest guitar I’ve ever played, you would be happy to hear its pleasant and incredibly nice tones. Its high notes rang out fine and are not too shrill; the lows have extended resonance and good tonality.
The problem with most affordable guitars geared towards beginners is that their neck tends to warp thereby changing the pitch and tone of each string. I hardly experience this with my Fender FA-100 starter guitar – I can play it, go to bed, and pick it up the following day and play without having to tune it again. However, you should be prepared to tune the guitar frequently especially if its string is new; this is because brand new strings stretch until they become stable.
One shortcoming of this guitar is its sealed, laminated lumber material. This is because the sound quality of laminated wood cannot match that of the open, natural wood. However, this FA-100 acoustic guitar from Fender still delivers a rich sound that is just enough to get the job done for beginners.
The FA-100 has great playability. Its low action, lightweight and C-shaped maple neck make it very comfortable and suitable for kids, and teens with smaller bodies as well as hands of different sizes. It is also easy to tune – thanks to the electric tuner that is included in its pack.
Appearance and Wood quality
The FA-100 offers a much higher wood and material quality than expected for its low price point. Both the body and the neck of the guitar feel and looks great – thanks to its attractive design that ensures that it shines in the spotlight, its protective glossy finish that helps to enhance its durability and its quartersawn X bracing that add to its stability and projection.
However, the FA-100 might not be flashy enough to be used by a renowned celebrity artist on the stage. Its design and appearance are good, but they could be better. It has some minor issues with its design such as sharp frets and glue spots, but these issues won’t affect its playability and sound.
- Come with accessories such as an electric tuner, strap, strings, picks and gig bag
- Full size (Dreadnought)
- Solid material and construction
- Good and attractive design
- Visible residual glue spots
- Its sound quality is not the best (most beginners won’t notice the difference)
What customers say about this Guitar
When shopping for the best beginner acoustic guitar, you need to read and understand the specification of a product to select a guitar that suits your needs. But that’s not all; you also need to check the user’s review and feedback to gain insight on a product’s performance before you make your final decision.
I read through all its customer review on Amazon, and I must say that this is a product with lots of positive feedbacks. Most customers love this guitar as it is durable, frets well and sound good and offer good design and materials at an affordable cost. However, very few customers expressed their frustration on its durability issues; some even want its gig bag upgraded to something harder and more durable.
Conclusion and Final Verdict
Most people will think that an acoustic guitar from a reputable brand like Fender is only for professionals and would be extremely expensive especially for beginners. But this is certainly not the case, particularly with the Fender FA-100 acoustic guitar.
This guitar is a dreadnought acoustic with fantastic design, sounds, and playability, and it is so affordable that you would think it’s not from Fender. The guitar is geared towards new guitarists who want to learn to play the instrument but can also be a great choice for experienced guitarists who need a reliable and good sounding guitar to use while on tour. So, if you are looking for the best acoustic guitars under $500best acoustic guitars under $500 to get your musical journey started instantly or accompany you on tour, try the FA-100 out and come back with your testimonies!