Do you want a clear and strong sounding guitar for an affordable price?
Who doesn’t, honestly? Over my 20+ years as a musician and 10+ as a music teacher, I’ve been asked countless times to recommend a good-sounding guitar at a price anyone can afford.
And I’m happy to answer this question because it helps people avoid the tons of garbage guitars out there you may accidentally buy without direction.
One of the guitars I recommend for the beginner/intermediate player looking for an affordable guitar is the Yamaha FD01S. But why is this guitar a good fit?
Well, this is where this Yamaha FD01S review comes in. Let’s jump into the details!
The FD01S is Yamaha’s entry-level dreadnought-shaped acoustic guitar. The classic look and sound of the guitar are sure to please almost any guitar player, but the affordable price is the kicker for most new players.
Yamaha has been a giant in the instrument industry for well over 100 years when it started in Japan with Yamaha himself working on reed organs. Since then, the company has expanded into all other instruments and sound equipment (and beyond).
The mission of quality instruments at affordable pricing has remained the same ever since, and the Yamaha FD01S shows this mission in spades.
For sound quality, the acoustic guitar sounds surprisingly rich for the price point. The sound is clear and sounds good whether you’re playing rhythm, lead, or fingerstyle guitar.
For playability, the action is pretty good, and the shape of the neck and fret spacing work well with new players.
What We Liked
- Great value
- Strong sound
- Clear attack
- Great neck shape and design for new players
What We Disliked
- Sound is a little shallow and shrill
- Doesn’t play as well up the fretboard (advanced solo work)
Strong, Clear Sound
One of the first things I look for in a “cheaper” guitar is how good and clear the instrument actually sounds. In my opinion, sound is the most important aspect of an instrument, and it’s often the first thing to go as the price drops.
But the FD01S doesn’t sacrifice much for the sound. Sure, it doesn’t sound as rich or deep over the whole range of the guitar, but for a guitar under $300, the sound is clear.
Most of the time, a lower-priced guitar is muddy and weak. The woods and design of this model help it overcome this problem while still remaining cheap.
Sound, design, and durability come as a result of many factors, but the type and quality of the wood has an impact on these elements.
Surprisingly, Yamaha is able to use woods normally seen in higher-end guitars in the FD01S.
The top is made from solid spruce. Spruce is the king even in professional guitars for its ability to add power and clarity to the sound of the instrument.
This spruce isn’t as nice as some types of spruce on their better models, but at least the spruce is solid and not laminate. This adds clarity and power to the sound.
The back and sides are made from mahogany which is almost strictly an advanced and above wood.
Mahogany adds some depth to the sound and counters the harsh tendencies of the spruce. Usually, they make a great combination.
With the FD01S, Yamaha chooses lower quality mahogany, you lose a little of this richness, but it still helps the sound be better than most other guitars at this price point.
Great Shape/Design For Newer Players
This guitar was made for newer players, and Yamaha knows this. For every playability design choice, they kept the beginner-intermediate player in mind.
The neck/nut width is 1 11/16 inches. This makes it easier for the new player to wrap their hands around the neck and finger the strings.
The strings are 11 mm apart which makes it easier for the new player to reach all the strings. Advanced players may find the strings a little too close for complicated chords up the fretboard, and fingerstyle players may find themselves accidentally hitting other strings as they play.
With a scale length of 25 1/4 inches, the new player won’t have to stretch as far to reach the different frets when they chord.
The Distinguishing Feature: Great Value
All the above features have a theme to them:
Good features at an affordable price.
Yamaha knows there are players out there who want to get into playing the guitar, but they don’t want to make the many hundreds of dollars in investment to get a top-level guitar.
However, Yamaha also recognizes if the same person buys a cheap guitar which sounds terrible and is hard to play, the person is most likely to quit.
With this knowledge, Yamaha has balanced the price point with the quality to create a guitar with great value.
|Top Wood||Solid Spruce|
|Back and Sides||Mahogany|
|Nut Width||1 11/16 inches|
|Scale Length||25 1/4 inches|
|String Spacing||11 mm|
|Nut And Saddle||Urea|
What The Customers Are Saying?
Sure, all of this info comes from the experts (if I may so humbly say), but what does the average customer and guitar player say when they use the instrument.
Well, I did the research and asked around, and this is what I noticed.
All the customers who used the FD01S noticed the guitar’s strong and bright sound. The acoustic sound will cut through a room whether you play with a pick or just your fingers.
New players don’t have as much of an awareness of how big their guitar actually is, so they always seem to be bumping it into things (we’ve all been there).
Fortunately, Yamaha designed this guitar to handle these bumps and minor drops. Users noticed how well it holds up.
Most customers made a comment on how nice they thought the guitar looked. The wood and finish accentuate the guitar’s natural look as does the dreadnought body shape.
May Ship Damaged
A number of customers noted the shipping process may result in some damage to the guitar. Fortunately, Yamaha has a good refund policy, though it’s inconvenient to have to reorder a whole other guitar and wait for it to arrive again.
Minor Cosmetic Blemishes
Some customers noticed small cosmetic blemishes on the wood, specifically around the neck. This makes some sense.
The woods chosen are good quality wood, although the specific grade of the wood isn’t as nice as the higher-quality woods.
This results in minor blemishes on occasion and a less dense grain of wood. However, it saves the customer a lot of money.
The blemishes have no effect on the sound and are not as noticeable.
For a demo of the Yamaha FD01S check out this video:
For those looking for an acoustic guitar with a clear sound at a price anyone can afford, I hope this Yamaha FD01S review helps you see how this is an option to check out.
Yamaha is one of the best acoustic guitar brands, hands down, and the FD01S is a good example of why this is.
For newer players looking for a guitar shaped to fit their needs (medium-close string spacing, thinner neck, medium-low action, etc), the FD01S is for you. It sounds clear and strong for the price, though advanced players will wish for a little more depth.
Now you know, it’s up to you to hop over at the link and buy it to test it out.