If you want to add a high-quality maple guitar to the collection without spending in the 1,000+ range, the Yamaha FG840 is an exceptionally good fit. If you’re a beginning student of the guitar, an intermediate player, or a touring professional not wishing to spend Martin or Taylor prices, this acoustic guitar has unbeatable quality for the price. After test driving it for a few minutes you’ll already be thinking this is the acoustic I have to come home with. It really is the cream of the crop for acoustic guitars under $500.
The Yamaha FG840
This acoustic guitar comes from Yamaha’s immensely popular FG series, which stretches back some 50+ years with over 200 FG guitars. Known for their quality and craftsmanship, Yamaha consistently brings quality products to the table in the FG line. We’ll see how the FG840 improves on previous FG models and is truly the best bang for the buck. We’ll take a deep dive into the great features the guitar boasts and how they all contribute to its warm, top-of-the-line sound.
- Perfect finish, sturdy, durable build that makes it scratch and blemish resistant
- Solid sitka spruce top contributes to a beautiful, well-balanced sound that matures nicely with age
- Holds perfect tune for multiple days
- Cream binding adds a beautiful look to the classic, warm body style
- Flamed maple laminate on back and sides adds to crisp, bright sound
- Excellent value for the price
- Great Yamaha customer service
- Lesser sustain compared to FG predecessors
- Only the natural finish available
- Plastic nut and saddle may slightly warp with long-term use
Yamaha is well-known for expertly synthesizing modern, cutting-edge technology with traditional looks. On first sight, the guitar flaunts a traditional, classic style. The spirit of the previous models comes through the FG840 with its solid spruce top, traditional western dreadnought body shape, urea saddle, rosewood bridge, and matte neck finish. The cream binding adds a nice aesthetic and adds to the guitar’s impressive durability. Overall, the FG840 maintains the traditional style of its FG predecessors while epitomizing modern sound and playability standards.
The FG840 has an impressively bright, warm sound. This is largely brought to life by the solid sitka spruce top which only adds to the resonant sound as it ages. The flamed maple back and sides further adds to its well-balanced, transparent sound that wouldn’t be possible in full mahogany guitars. This makes the FG840 an attractive option for finger pickers and strummers who like to hear each crisp note. The FG840 carries a punch, easily hitting the highs and mids but all the while carrying ample bass to resonate those deep, darker sounds.
|Top||Solid Sitka spruce|
|Back and sides||Flamed maple laminate|
|Fingerboard and Bridge||Rosewood|
|Pick guard||Tortoise shell celluloid|
What is New and Different in the FG840?
The FG840 is similar to many other acoustic guitars in the 800 series, with the same size, shape, and solid spruce top. The major difference between the FG840 and previous models is the flamed maple back and sides. The FG830 sports laminate rosewood back and sides, while the FG820 has laminate mahogany back and sides. The FG840 design is inspired by the FG 1500 and FG2000 with its solid spruce tops, two guitars known for their beautifully crisp and clear sound that improves with age like the FG840.
A new cream binding on the body, neck, and headstock adds a nice aesthetic as well. Additionally, the newly developed scalloped bracing present in the FG840 provides more durability to the topboard while enhancing the volume, projection, and overall tone. One potential downside is the FG840 is available in just one finish, natural. The FG840 also has slightly less sustain compared to its predecessors, which may be a downside for some.
More Benefits of the FG840
If durability is another valued characteristic you’re looking for, this guitar’s strong body and scratch-resistant finish will definitely be an attractive feature for you. If you want an acoustic guitar that’s ready to play right out of the box, then this is a great purchase in-person or online. Yamaha’s combo package includes a hard-shell case, strap, clip-on tuner, extra strings, and an instructional DVD, an ideal option for beginning students of the guitar. Of course, with the price tag, this guitar is a great bang for your buck given its beautiful looks, sound, and longevity.
What the Customers Are Saying
Player testimonials of the FG840 are positive across-the-board. For beginner and intermediate players, many mention that this guitar is an unbeatable price for the features. Many are impressed by the quality of the body, the near-perfect intonation, and the gorgeous traditional looks accentuated by classy cream bindings. Several note that the guitar holds tune very well with great intonation, making it a great option for beginners who are still developing their tonal ears. Many customers also appreciate the guitar’s study, solid Nato neck shimmering with a beautiful finish. Some reviewers comment on replacing the bridge pins and strings that come stock on the guitar for aesthetic purposes and to further bring out the guitar’s great tones.
Here is a video of the FG840’s bright, crisp sound in action:
This guitar is a great buy for any beginner or intermediate student of the guitar, singers or anyone performing with a group of people (such as in bluegrass or folk) where the crisp highs and mids can cut through the other instruments. The Yamaha team, with an expert eye for quality control, built the FG840 to last, and it will be hard to put down once you try it out yourself. If any problems or concerns arise with the guitar, Yamaha is known for its excellent and flexible customer service.
The FG840 is especially great for finger pickers, especially anyone with a folk fingerpick style, as the flamed maple helps bring out each individual note very clearly. Whether you’re just starting out in the guitar world or a live performer, the Yamaha FG840 is an excellent acoustic guitar across all dimensions for its price that is more than a worthy addition to any musician’s repertoire.