My very first full-size guitar was an FG series acoustic guitar similar to the Yamaha FG700S, a guitar that my dad handed down to me. There wasn’t anything particularly special about the guitar and it certainly wasn’t an extremely expensive guitar aside from the sentimental value.
But I cut my teeth for almost 10 years on that Yamaha guitar. I’ve since moved on and am currently the proud owner of my Taylor 310ce, but I still have that Yamaha acoustic guitar sitting in a closet, waiting for the time I can perhaps hand it down to my own son.
You see, the Yamaha FG700S isn’t a visually exciting guitar – it sports one of the most basic guitar designs on the market. However, it is a great value guitar that delivers where it matters – sound and quality.
Review of the Yamaha FG700S
The Yamaha FG line of acoustic guitars was introduced in the 1960’s and Yamaha claims on their website that it is “the number 1 sold acoustic guitar of all time“. While I can’t verify this statement, there’s no doubt that it has sold extremely well over the past half century.
The big selling point of this guitar, aside from the $199 price tag, is that the Yamaha FG700S is produced using a solid Sitka Spruce top (as opposed to laminate). Considering how important the sound board is to the sound, having a solid top on an acoustic guitar is huge.
What is the FG700S Made of?
While the Yamaha FG700S acoustic guitar is manufactured in China, the quality production process results in a good guitar that – at least for me – has lasted for decades.
Like I just mentioned, the top of the FG700S is made using solid Sitka Spruce that has a nice grain and thin, natural finish that doesn’t smudge or glare too much.
The back and sides of this acoustic guitar are Nato wood, which isn’t a particularly pretty wood even though it finishes well. Nato is often used when a guitar is produced in China and other parts of Asia because it’s readily available there. The use of Nato isn’t a bad thing, I just wanted to note that it’s not a quality tone wood.
The fingerboard is produced using rosewood, which is typical for most acoustic guitars because it looks good and functions well.
Finally, Yamaha uses diecast chrome for the tuners, which in my experience allowed for fine tuning without the slippage that I’ve experienced a lot with cheap guitars.
How does the FG700S Sound?
Whereas the Yamaha FG700S leaves me less-than-impressed with its visual appeal, I am much happier once I started playing it. The large body produces a thick sound that isn’t short on volume.
The guitar comes equipped with a set of D’Addario acoustic guitar strings that really seem to compliment the FG700S well.
The reason I think the Yamaha FG series of acoustics has been so popular as an entry-level guitar is because it adapts well to various styles of playing and music. In other words, if you really like to play rock, blues or fingerstyle, this guitar somehow works to fit each style without much work.
How does the FG700S Feel?
I remember as a young kid thinking that my Yamaha FG acoustic was a beast. It felt huge! I loved that, though. It made me feel grown up at the ripe old age of 8 years old. Ha!
The reality is that for the average-sized person, the Yamaha FG700S will feel comfortable, not bulky. The action of the guitar (meaning the distance of the strings from the frets) is better than most guitars at the $200 price range. In other words, pressing my fingers down to create a chord wasn’t difficult to do.
The FG700S is a sturdy guitar and it doesn’t feel fragile. You – or whomever you’re buying this guitar for – will be happy to play this guitar both now and years down the road.
What this Acoustic Guitar DOESN’T have
A quick note for those who are looking to buy this guitar: it doesn’t come with electronics, meaning you can’t plug it into a sound system. There are cheap ways you can add this as an aftermarket add-on, though.
Really, it’s not a feature you should expect on a $200 guitar but I find that there are plenty of people who think this is standard. Also, this guitar isn’t a “kit” guitar, meaning it doesn’t come with a gig bag, extra strings, tuner, etc. (Note: there are some sellers that have made this is a kit guitar for a reasonable price)
You’re paying $200 for a guitar, and you’re getting a good one at that. All the extras you’re going to have to buy on your own. Just be aware.
Final Thoughts on the Yamaha FG700S
Overall, I’m a big fan of Yamaha’s FG line of acoustic guitars and the FG700S is a great option.
If you want a travel guitar or an entry-level guitar for a friend/loved one, the Yamaha FG700S is an excellent balance between quality construction and budget-conscious pricing.
What about Upgrade Options?
So that’s the FG700S – a great entry-level guitar with an even better price tag. But what if you’re willing to spend a little extra in order to get a much better guitar?
Yamaha offers a couple other great options as part of the FG series of acoustic guitars that I want to quickly share here.
The Yamaha FG720S Acoustic Guitar – +$80
For just about $80 more, the Yamaha FG720S acoustic guitar gives you two benefits over the FG700S. One: the back and sides are made with Eastern Mahogany instead of the lesser-quality Nato wood. And two: it comes in a variety of different finish colors.
If these additional features are a big deal to you, the added $80 might be worth the added value.
–>Check Pricing for the Yamaha FG720S Model<–
The Yamaha FG730S Acoustic Guitar – +$100
It’s $20 more than the FG720S ($100 more than the FG700S). But, the Yamaha FG730S has rosewood back and sides, and provides a more full, beautiful overall sound. It’s also a different look that appeals to certain people.
Do you feel like the Yamaha FG series isn’t for you? No worries, there are plenty of other guitars! I recommend you check out the reviews for these acoustic guitars that might fit what you’re looking for: