Having the traditional dreadnought shape of the body, it’s clear that this guitar has been built with folk in mind. It is an instrument that can fall into the budget guitar family, but it’s part of the Yamaha FG series, which means it can still be praised for its build quality.
One impressive aspect of this guitar is the solid top, back, and sides that it has. Because mahogany is a highly-resonant tonewood, and it also looks great, it has been used for this guitar. A solid top always means better sound projection and volume, and it can also make the difference between a good and bad guitar.
An instrument like this one has the potential of being great over the years, taking into account that solid-wood guitars age really well. You can see the amount of detail that has been put into creating this guitar, and although it is a mass-produced instrument, you will rarely find one instrument in the series with faults.
The design of the body will be able to provide natural resonance by increasing the air capacity, and the flow of air going through it. Having a body so big means that you don’t have to worry about volume.Click to see the price on Amazon!
As previously mentioned, this is a mass-produced instrument. One thing that mass-production doesn’t really focus on is the precision of the truss rod. In the case of the Yamaha FG850, there are some instances when you will find that the distance between the strings and the neck varies too much.
This is because of a truss rod that has not been adjusted accordingly. Furthermore, if you’re buying the instrument from far away, it’s possible that the changes in temperature and humidity can bend the rod (and neck) a bit, and this will need readjustment for the best sound.
Main features explained
The mahogany used in constructing this instrument looks great when completed by the cream binding material. Recently, Yamaha has started using an improved building method, called scalloped bracing. This is a technique traditionally used by luthiers in order to shape braces that were mounted on the underside of the guitar’s top.
This typically implied shaving away excess wood in the middle of the brace. The method became popular in the 1940s but was forgot by some luthiers later, especially when mass-produced instruments came into play.
Scalloped braces are good because they reduce the mass of the instrument, and allow the top to have more flexibility. With a solid top such as this guitar has, this effect is put into evidence even more. The resulting sound should be one with more bass, as the top vibrates more. While there are players that like this, there are some that find such an instrument too rich in bass.
Fortunately, the FG850 doesn’t go overboard with this method and the resulting sound is an adequate one. The scalloped bracing used in this design adds more resonance, improves the sound volume and strengthens the body of the guitar.
The body is not the only thing that makes a guitar though. This one also comes with a nato neck complete with a rosewood fingerboard that has 20 frets on it. This neck and fingerboard combination is made to feel comfortable when played. A narrow neck like this one will be great for players with small hands.
The finishing piece, at the end of the guitar, is the classic Yamaha acoustic headstock. This traditional shape that you can see in most Yamaha guitars should feel solid and comfortable when played, although not offering a cutaway in the body to allow for better access to higher frets.
Comparing this guitar to others, when it comes to the sound, there are few others who rival its quality amongst its peers. The fact that it comes from the FG series says a lot about it. The unique design, coupled with the solid mahogany sides and back will allow it to produce the warm sound that you would expect from such a guitar, with rich tonalities.
The body shape allows enough airflow, and that means it will be louder than other models in the FG series. The bracing structure also means it’s an instrument created to meet the needs of most guitarists. Most players will like this instrument for the dreadnought acoustic shape, for the precise sound and the versatility that this guitar provides.
Looking good, the guitar also does well in terms of sound. The combination of innovative design and the wood used in creating it has a leading role in making the instrument a good one. Mahogany is known for providing a warm and resonant tone, which is especially good for those mid-range and bass tones.
It’s thus a good guitar for strumming – taking it with you while camping is a good choice. Although it doesn’t necessarily excel in the treble area, it will still do a decent job, with the notes given by the strings being clear and precise. It comes with some impressive high-pitch clarity, and it can be more articulate than you would expect.
The sound quality is a good one overall and it ticks all the boxes when it comes to expectations regarding a dreadnought design. You know what kind of music works best around a campfire – folk. Having that in mind, you could say that this is the main purpose of this guitar, to be a good companion for those that like to sing like that.
The hardware used for this model isn’t something that impresses, but it’s a decent job for what the guitar generally offers. The pieces that can be summed up as hardware are what you usually get in a Yamaha acoustic guitar under $500. The material used for the nut, saddle, and for the bridge pins is a synthetic urea material, one that is quite often used for Yamaha guitars.
Although mainly found in organic processes that take place in mammals, urea can also be artificial, and it is a transparent polymer with distinct characteristics. This material helps improve the resistance of any compound it is mixed with and it can be used for a large variety of purposes.
Moving on to the machine heads, they are die-cast, which means that they are robust and should last longer than the other hardware pieces. These tuners will feel stable, and for the price range this instrument is situated in, they do an excellent job. They are diecast tuners, which refers to the process of making them. Using them is an easy thing to do, as they allow you the freedom to change the pitch of each string with high precision.
From a design point of view, there are some aspects on which the Yamaha team decided to add some distinct touches. These unique small things give the guitar better aesthetics, and one of them is the tortoise pattern pickguard. It has been created to wrap around the decorative soundhole inlay made of abalone.
Considering that these guitars are, most of the time, not produced in the company’s country of origin, putting electronics inside them would raise the cost a lot. For that reason, this guitar doesn’t come with any amplification or electronic capabilities. You could say that this sort of instrument doesn’t even need such a thing.
This instrument comes with impressive features that can offer great playability, especially for beginners and those that want to use the guitar around a campfire, or playing with their friends. The strings are of good quality, and they don’t need to be replaced (as it’s often the case with beginner guitars).
When buying a guitar you need to take into account factors such as comfort, because it can make the difference between you practicing on the guitar every day or leaving it to gain dust in a corner because it’s too painful to play it. Guitars should make no buzzing sound when played, and an instrument like this should not feel sore, causing discomfort on your fingers when played.
This guitar has been created with beginners in mind, and that is the reason why it’s so easy to play. Although it sounds like a guitar that can be considered for intermediate players, it still has easy playability. The Yamaha FG850 is a good guitar for a child thanks to how soft it is on the fingers. The neck is not that wide and that allows for those with small hands and fingers to get a good grip on it and to reach all the frets.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a cutaway body shape. That would have increased playability, especially for those players that like to play on the frets higher up the fretboard. But cutaway bodies often don’t have the same sound volume and projection, so Yamaha had to make the decision of compromising on that.
The neck width is a standard one, but it has an interesting shape which makes it feel suppler. This means that the space between each string is large enough to accommodate for bulkier fingers, and this string spacing makes it easier to work up and down the fretboard.Click to see the price on Amazon!