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Style Name: Mahogany Body|Size: Dreadnought|Color: Black|Configuration: Guitar|Change
Price:$169.00 - $664.86
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on July 12, 2009
I played a Johnson dreadnought in highschool and was told that my fingers would stop hurting eventually. They never did do to the really high action (distance from fretboard to string). After 2yrs I finally gave up guitar. Recently I was having a 1/4 life crisis (im 25) and wanted to learn guitar. I broke out the old johnson from the closet and played for 2 weeks and again the finger problem. I went to Guitar Center and talked to a couple of the guys and started playing as many guitars as i could. I found that every single one was easier on my fingers than the johnson. I tried out the yamaha and a few others in this range. The yamaha just felt so much better. The action was perfect for a newbie but after asking another customer to test it for me (guy was freaking awesome on a guitar) I realized this one was amazing on really advanced stuff and you could strum the heck out of it and it still sounds amazing. Please if you are looking at playing guitar. PLEASE start with something like this instead of the $99-189 range... This is a 350 guitar hiding behind a 199 price tag. I know most ppl just want a guitar now but if you get a cheaper one you will quit playing because you can only take so much pain.

Pros:
Great Look!
Perfect action for a beginner
Quality instrument for really cheap!

Cons:
Been playing for 3 weeks and I have yet to find one
No wolf notes, nor anything else. Solid Solid instrument
1212 comments| 349 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 21, 2009
I got this guitar about a year ago as a birthday present from my girlfriend. Because ears are so subjective, we went to Guitar Center to try out a whole slew of makes and models. Pretty much anything they had in the sub-$500 range. I tried Martins, Fenders, Epiphones, Gibsons, Taylors, Ovations, Yamahas-- you name it, I tried it. Most sounded pretty good, but you could tell they were budget guitars. Just no balance. Some had great deep tone but no treble. Others were very bright but had no bottom end. I was about ready to settle on a $350 Yamaha (which looked BEAUTIFUL) and had a decent balance, but then my girlfriend found this FG700S hiding behind some boxes. I played it and...WOW. Rich lows and bright highs. Needless to say, that's the one I picked. My fingers hurt at first from playing it so much, but I got used to it pretty quick. I kept the same strings Yamaha had originally put on it for about 6 months before they started to turn dark with corrosion. I don't know how long the guitar sat in their showroom for, but my guess is about 6 months based on the build date (I got from calling Yamaha). Get one of these brand new and I bet the strings will last you a year. I played and still play my FG700 more than my $500 Epiphone Les Paul, even when practicing. I just like the sound that much.

Then after doing some research in March I had a guitar shop put in a bone saddle (the white part that the strings bend over right before they go into the body) and I couldn't believe my ears! What was already a great sounding guitar now sounds as good as anything up into the $800 range, easily. All for roughly $270 ($180 guitar + $90 saddle).

To me, this thing is an investment. They say that guitars age kind of like wine. You take good care of it and it will just sound better and better the older it gets. My father's got an FG110 from the 70's and it sounds amazing now. I figure that give this thing 20 years and it will sound as good as anything out there.

Pro's: Great sound especially for $200, nice finish, easy playability, very good factory strings.

Con's: Action can be a little high if you play a lot at the higher frets (you can have that adjusted), it's a jumbo acoustic: so for smaller people the body can be a little oversized.
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on December 31, 2011
This Yamaha guitar is a great bargain: no, it's not as good as a Martin or Taylor, which cost substantially more. But in the budget price range, this guitar looks good and for the most part sounds great. Those are subjective matters, to be sure, but to my ears, this guitar beats a lot of other comparably priced acoustic guitars from other manufacturers I've tried. Note that this guitar lacks electronics for playing directly through an amp--an important concern for anyone who wants to perform.

Pros:

-- Stays in tune extremely well
-- Good intonation overall
-- Good projection and tone
-- Quality fit and finish
-- Durable: mine has served me well for a number of years now. (But bear in mind: like any stringed instrument, this guitar requires moderately careful handling and proper storage. Use it, don't abuse it.)

Cons:

-- Action a bit high on the upper frets
-- Bass tone a bit weak once you leave first-position cowboy-chord country
-- Truss rod doesn't turn smoothly

Certainly, any beginner* should be delighted with this guitar, and more experienced guitarists on a budget should be quite happy with it.

* If this is your first guitar, you should also consider purchasing a guitar stand, case, chromatic tuner, picks, extra strings, string winder w/ bridge pin puller, capo, and a polishing cloth.
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on January 9, 2014
I would say my circumstances are unusual and allow me an opportunity to give yet another perspective that mirrors the positive review so many others have provided.

The unusual circumstance is that through no fault of Amazon, I received three of these guitars when I ordered one as a Christmas present for me using a gift card. This allowed me to literally inspect, set up, assess, play and listen to each guitar back to back to back.

I'd like to first commend Yamaha for what I would call impeccable quality control. Now let's discuss the guitars:

FINISH: Okay, most everyone reading this knows this guitar is made with a Sitka Spruce top, or sound board as it's technically called. All three guitar tops looked perfect and the finish polished to a nice smooth finish. Two of the guitars were exactly the same color, or shade if you will, while the third was about 10% lighter. Obviously this relates to the actual tree used as it is a clear urethane used by Yamaha that doesn't shade or tint the color at all. This is normal and for those who order via Amazon, you'll get whatever color you get, but trust me, they all looked good due to the use of the Sitka Spruce which is typically reserved for guitars costing way more than this one which is classified as more of a beginners guitar (likely because the wood used for the sides and back of the body and tuner hardware are not "high end" like professional or less "beginner" guitars than this one). That said, the wood is beautiful on all three and just because of my personal preference, I kept the guitar with the more blonde color than the other two. Plus it looks identical to an Ovation 12 string I used for years and always loved the color of. As for the sides and body, the finish is buffed to an amazing gloss and the grain and color on all three guitars is as close to being identical as possible. Close examination around the sound hole and rosette around it on all three shows that Yamaha cares about how they finish a guitar as there were no issues whatsoever. Similarly, the binding used between the sides and top is the same high quality on all three. The black of the binding on the sides is buffed perfectly and the binding material on the top is a combination of black and white stripes and being under the urethane is buffed perfectly. This has to be the hardest part of buffing a guitar as any slight variation of pressure, angle, etc. can quickly ruin the edge in several ways. Close examination of all three is again consistently perfect. One guitar had a very, very slight imperfection in the urethane coated edge on the bottom where it rests on your leg when playing in a sitting down position. You almost need a magnifying glass to see it. Yamaha uses a satin finish on the back of the neck to aid in sliding your hand up and down the neck as you play and the finish was again, perfect on all three. One guitar had a slightly two-toned color where the neck joins the body where you could clearly make out the two pieces of wood used to build that particular neck. No big deal, but you couldn't see this on the other two so I thought I'd mention it. The fret board is natural rosewood and the consistency in color and grain between the all three was the same and the transition between top and back of the neck was perfect on all. The headstock is also a high gloss finish and impeccable on all three and likely gets a couple more coats of urethane for increased shine. The inlays, both on the fret board and the headstock are fitted and finished consistently across all three. The Yamaha wording on the headstock is about perfect with a nice pearl look. The fret board markers are smaller than I would have liked (from a looks perspective) but serve their purpose, again a nice pearl look and again consistently applied with no edges or gaps and perfectly flush. I'll end the discussion about finish by saying that the plastic pick guard looks the same on all three and although plastic, looks pretty exotic and could be brown tortoise for real.

HARDWARE: The tuning pegs (machine heads) may not be the priciest but are better quality than most any guitar at this price. They are chromed metal and utilize an internal spring that can be manually tensioned and are designed to keep the pressure consistent as the internal gearing wears over time. Having tuned all three guitars, I can say I can find no difference and looking closely can say the chroming, finish and installation is as good as it can be. The bridge is also rosewood, and like the fret board does not have a finish over it and is left natural. Here, the color and grain as well as the application is consistent between all three, no issues whatsoever and very closely matching the fret board. The frets themselves were the same on all three with no buzzing or other issues, everything aligned and installed perfectly. I can't speak of what the fret metal material is, but it seems the same to me on these guitars as guitars costing several thousand dollars. There may be more exotic material available and used, but I have no issue with what Yamaha used and can't think of why a different material than this would have any effect on play-ability. The strings are Yamaha FS50BT and brass wound, no rust and light 012 - .052 gauge. Out of 18 strings, not one showed any sign of an imperfection and in playing, no real difference. I'll likely upgrade to my brand of choice but not until I use these up, they're pretty good for stock strings. The nut, saddle and bridge pins are, as expected, plastic. Many report that changing these out for bone (cow, buffalo, ivory for example) improves the sound of this guitar. I would expect the sound to be affected by this, or even different plastic types that could be used stock, but can't say since I've not played or heard one with a bone or tusk upgrade or even better strings. I'll likely upgrade to bone at the first string change since it isn't cost prohibitive even for this class of guitar if you can do it yourself (less than $30 on eBay).

SETUP: As expected, the strings are detuned by several octaves for shipping, but still have enough pressure to keep the neck from warping while it goes through its' storage, packaging and shipping process. Tuning each, I found the strings are pretty well pre-stretched and only took a few re-tunings to get them to stay in tune. The truss rod on other guitars I've bought were loose by design, with the expectation by the factory that the end user or guitar shop will snug them up and/or adjust the neck once delivered. In looking through Yamaha's owner's manual, there is a short blurb about how to correct a convex or concave condition by adjusting the truss rod, but no mention of having to do anything for first setup if the neck is straight, implying it is already snug and/or adjusted by Yamaha before shipping. I checked all three guitars and not one had a convex or concave condition to correct so I've yet to put an allen wrench to the truss rod to check. That's a good thing. To be correct, there should be a slight convex shape (forward bow) and checking all three guitars, they were correct as delivered with only a few thousandths of an inch difference between the three. I'll check the truss rod on the guitar I'm keeping but suspect it's already been set by the factory.

PLAYABILITY/SOUND: You can read many of the other reviews on here and determine that this "beginner" guitar doesn't really sound or play like one. Although the sides and back are made of plywood to keep the cost down, the most important part, the sound board, or top, is made of the preferred Sitka Spruce wood. So with the unique opportunity to have three of the exact same guitar in my house to play with gave me a chance to pick the cream of the crop, so to speak. Well, I'm happy to report, if not a tiny bit surprised, there is no discernible difference in sound between the three guitars. I had three people sit across the room (one a far more advanced player than I) while I played the same chord sequence, switching as quickly as I could between the three, and my listeners couldn't hear a difference! So much for my picking a "best sounding" one as each sounded excellent as well as the same. I too can report that I was quite surprised by how good these guitars sound overall. I don't have access to numerous multi-thousand dollar guitars to compare this Yamaha against but have a good enough ear to know they really do sound significantly better than the price would imply. Tone is very nice, high, mid and low tones are above average although sustain is a tad less than on some very expensive guitars I've tried. I do have a Johnson beginner's guitar in the house and can say there is no comparison; the Yamaha is so pointedly better sounding, the two are not even in the same class if you ask me. As for the action, it is a tad high for my preferences but not too high, even for beginners; I will adjust that when I replace the saddle and bring it as low as possible before any string buzz occurs. Having said that, these all played the same which is to say, nice and easy. If I didn't know the price on these, I'd probably pick one just based on how easy they are on the fingers along with their great sound. I guess that's why so many praise this guitar and call it the "best beginner's guitar out there". My many times more expensive Ovation doesn't have better action than these Yamaha's. I consider that important and amazing.

CONCLUSION: If you are a beginner, get this guitar! If you are a seasoned pro looking for an affordable guitar to use where you might not want to use your high priced guitar, get this guitar! If you are looking to buy a guitar and get a chance to test one at your local guitar shop, please do. And while there, try any other guitar in the same price range and even several at three times the price and see what you think. I think you'll buy this one. In closing and what made me take the initiative to write this, Yamaha's quality control is again, beyond reproach. Not one of the three guitars had anything wrong that would give me a reason not to keep it. All three were keepers and my decision on which one to keep came down to one of the three having a lighter shade of spruce. You may have preferred one of the other two, it's really only my personal preference as to why chose the lighter shade. I should say all three are light, just one was a bit lighter than the other two. Other than that, the sides, back, neck and headstock were all about the same color/shade and the minor difference on one, as I stated, was the two wood shades on the neck where it joins the body. Hardly a concern, just wanted to point it out. In case you couldn't tell, I'm so happy I did my homework, watched numerous YouTube reviews and chose this Yamaha. Buy it; you'll be happy you did! Search YouTube for the FG700S and you'll get good, honest critique and input (along with praise) on this guitar and can also hear it in action.
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on May 7, 2009
After many years of thinking about it, I finally decided to actually pick up the guitar so received a hand me down Sigma from the 70's and started plucking away. After a few months of killing my fingers I figured I would spend a few bucks and get it fixed. In about 30 seconds Billy from B & D Repair (highly recommended if you are in the Phoenix area) said in all reality this was a money pit that would never get anywhere.

After a good discussion of what my playing level was and where I wanted to go with my guitar experience he recommended the Yamaha FG700S as a top level entry instrument.

Immediately after picking the guitar up my playing improved, mainly due to the strings actually being close to the fret board as opposed to a few inches away. I have been playing it pretty solidly every day for the past 4 months and have really enjoyed this guitar.

Sound stays true during light strumming as well as through hard and fast pieces. No real distortion of the sound during hard playing. Unit has a nice full sound as well for a wide variety of songs. Guitar comes with coated strings, so is nice and easy to play, as well tuning stays true. I am a bit of a nut so I tune it frequently, but it is not really needed that frequently as the unit maintains its tuning quite well.

For me this has been the perfect affordable beginner guitar.
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on September 20, 2014
I picked up a Yamaha FG730S today from Guitar Center for my 9 year-old daughter who just started taking lessons.

I am a former professional musician and have some great gear on hand. My main instrument is a 2002 Fender American Standard Deluxe bass guitar and my most recent purchase is a Taylor 714ce. I also own a Guild True American that I cherish. I've played it all over the last 20 years and am now very picky about tone, USA made, good looks, and play-ability. While this Yamaha is not USA made, it has all the right pieces and sound, for the cost, and my daughter is excited. You can stop reading here if you don't need the geek speak, but remember to get a case.

Yamaha is a brand name in almost every room in our house. 2 pairs of studio monitors (with 2 subs), and our entire entertainment center is Yamaha audio gear. They make great products that let me hear what I'm looking for, and then some, and this guitar is no exception.

As much as I love Amazon, I need to hear an instrument before I commit so off to GC we went. When I bought my Taylor, it was after years of searching. My unicorn was a Gibson Songwriter Deluxe I played in a local shop that I couldn't afford at the time. I didn't like it because of the name or model or year. I've played a thousand guitars. I liked the Gibson, loved it, because whatever I put into it, something special came out. So many instruments just do their job. They're all fun to play (I'd kill for my original bass with what-looked-like tin cans for pickups and the action at the 12th fret was 3/4"!) and they all do what's asked. Very few instruments give you more. I've been down the road, behind the sound board, changed a million strings, given myself a hernia hauling gear, and cried over a lifetime of songs that only a few people will ever hear. I know a great instrument from one that's just pieced together with the right tech specs.

So while at GC I put a Fender in her hands and picked up ten or so more instruments before I just started walking up to each one, hitting all the open strings all at once, in a search for the right sound. When I hit the strings on the Yamaha the words "Here we are!" automatically came out.

I had her play 3 or 4 others (Taylors, Martins, Fender) and the Yamaha is the one she picked out. I went in hoping to pay around $200-$250 for a decent-enough guitar for my daughter to learn on. We walked out paying $300 for a professional-grade instrument.

Here's the thing: after we picked it out and were ready to check out, the salesperson went into the back and brought the same model out, in a sealed box. I had him open it to compare, and we went with the original off-the-wall guitar we had previously decided on. Why? Tone was just slightly more lower-mid/mid pushed, was just slightly louder at fortississimo, and quieter at ppp (more dynamic range). Same model, strings were fresh on both. Both came in the same shipment. It's not manufacturer's inconsistency, it's just how individual guitars come together.

The action is a little high on the upper frets but we'll tweak that with a pro. I'll be recording with this guitar at some point and it will come on camping trips. The binding on the sides of the neck adds a pro look and feel. 3rd fret dot is missing so I'll put a sticker or something on there for the kiddo. We like the sound hole decoration as well. I hit it hard for a few minutes and tuners held steady.

Kuddos to Yamaha for another great tool!
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on October 26, 2012
I've had alot of acoustic guitars over the years from Martin, Takamine, Fender, Alvarez and a Seagull. To my ears, this guitar is a cut above the rest. It looks beautiful and the sound is just incredible. If you are in the market for an acoustic guitar and not willing to spend high dollar on one, you will be blown away by this one.
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on December 4, 2011
I didn't buy this product from amazon so I have nothing to share about the quality of shipment, BUT...

... I went out to plenty guitar stores looking for a guitar in the price range below $500. After almost giving up on the mission of buying a guitar which suits my budget and sounds the way a steel string guitar should sound like. After trying many guitars this beauty was the ONLY one which met my expectations and fully satisfied my very critical ears.
I have this guitar for two years now and I am as happy as I was the day I left the store with it. I have really good guitar playing friends who all love my guitar. The way the neck feels, the way it sounds... for the prize amazon offers the guitar right now you can't go wrong. I don't know of any other guitar which is of better quality in this price range.

Clearly, this is no Gibson, but it is for beginners who want a guitar which makes them happy for a long time without becoming frustrated with a low-quality guitar, but also for immediate players who want a good guitar they can afford and even for the advanced as a backup to leave the house with without getting nervous about having an expensive guitar in the trunk for a while or such

It's a beauty and even better: it sounds like one
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on November 17, 2011
Yes, it's a Chinese guitar - I won't go into the political/economic aspects of it other than to say that I struggled purchasing this for that reason. Let's talk about the guitar on its merits as a musical instrument.

Tone - Beautiful traditional dreadnought tones. Not as dark or boomy as a Gibson DN, not as bright as a Taylor DN. Really nicely balanced and articulate. If you sat down in an acoustic room with a bunch of guitars, this one would certainly float to the top in this category, no matter the price.

Playability - The setup and fret job are extremely good. Maybe not quite as polished as higher end guitars, but playability-wise no complaints at all. The string spacing is different than on my Taylor, which makes this feel a little off for me - but this is strictly a preference thing so some might like this better. The rosewood fretboard is pretty slick - I don't really notice a functional difference between it and my preferred material (ebony). Perhaps the only negative note in my review - the fretboard binding is not rounded, so it can feel slightly uncomfortable in some situations. Again, this is a personal preference - I've experienced squared-off binding like this on high end guitars as well.

Construction - The neck and body are solid and the bracing is basic, but solid. The neck construction seems less than ideal, but is probably as stable as anything else unless it suffers a big impact. It would be nice if they had mounted a second strap button.

Aesthetics - Overall, the guitar looks great. The sunburst is done well - many pictures of these guitars make the sunburst look pretty bad - it's great in person. The guitar I received (Tobacco Brown Sunburst) is darker than pictures would indicate - which I like. The inlays look great and the gloss finish on the body/headstock is to a high standard. The binding in places is a tad messy, but overall this is a pretty classy looking guitar. The laminate rosewood back is nicely grained and dark.

It's unbelievable to me that this guitar is under $300 considering the features and details (no matter where it's built). On its merits as an instrument, it's unassailable.
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on December 2, 2013
Great great guitar, I've purchased 3 grand martin, took 6 months to get, arrived with cracked bridge, owned 3 Taylor's , better, but over priced, for what I paid with this yamaha, I'm laughing all the way to the bank. Arrived flawless, set up very well, sounds wonderful, neck profile is comparable to a martin P , thin tapper, extremely comfortable, 1 11/16 nut, 25 9/16 scale. Gloss top, neck, but very slick, easy easy to play. Yes, it's Chinese made, prefer to buy American, but no longer. I'm sold. Great guitar for the money, a no brainer, I'm 58 ..I know value. This is value.
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