Cost: $799.99, new
Thanks to Stephanie from Yamaha for lending me this great acoustic! Shop for a good deal on one of your own on Reverb.com!
Overview and Final Score: 8.5
One of Yamaha’s newest acoustic guitars, the FG3 is a mix of top tier features packaged together at a price more suitable for the modern performing guitarists. The back and sides are solid Mahogany, with a solid Sitka Spruce top. The neck is made from African Mahogany overlaid with an Ebony fretboard and 20 well manicured frets. The gloss finish on the natural wood looks great and feels ready to hit the stage, as this guitar is really aimed at being the go-to Acoustic guitar of choice for up and coming singer/songwriters. The 25″ scale length has dot inlays, and the neck meets the body at the 15th fret. Gotoh Open-gear tuners, scalloped body bracing, and a luxurious soft case round out the other features to know on this dreadnought.
This guitar sounded great from the minute I first tuned it up. The dreadnought has amazing clarity and volume, and the stock strings that came on it had impressive thump and snap when played fingerstyle. With a pick, the FG3 sounds more bright, with chords chiming and ringing out. While this acoustic doesn’t come with a pickup, it provides enough volume to play alongside a singer or another acoustic guitar with ease. The FG3 is definitely more suited for songwriters, but if you added a high quality pickup to this guitar it would stage ready with ease. This guitar sparkles, thumps, and sings far better than I expected at this price tag. It just plays and feels like a premier guitar with great note to note clarity and plenty of natural sustain and warmth.
I tuned this thing up when I first got it out of the box and haven’t had to touch it in the days since. The Gotoh tuners seem to be really high quality and turned with ease with no signs or sounds of string slipping. The neck was incredibly comfortable, finely finished and perfectly in the middle of thin and thick acoustic neck profiles. This guitar is definitely built to fit in any player’s hands which may turn off customers looking for a top shelf acoustic fit to certain vintage specs. But overall, the tuning stability was superb, the neck was comfortable, and the action was great right out of the box. There was a small amount of fret buzz at certain spots, but that’s the only thing keeping this from a perfect score in the playability department.
Finish & Construction: 9
Like with the playability, the finish and construction is almost spotless on the FG3. It looks and feels like it should cost twice the price. The natural finish has a shiny gloss cover that was flawless on the guitar I was lent. It feels a bit thin, which some may prefer or dislike depending on tastes, but it seems strong and durable enough for a guitar that I would mostly use to write songs around the house or studio. While it certainly could be a gig-able guitar, I feel the lightweight dreadnought body is meant to take a beating around a climate controlled and safe house instead of a sweaty, hot stage. Overall, I found no construction flaws, no finish flaws, and the FG3 seems incredibly well put together.
The FG3’s only drawback is that despite looking and sounding like a higher priced guitar, it still only felt a tick or two better than the Orangewood I reviewed a while ago, which was 1/3 of the cost. Perspective is everything and you may find this guitar to be astronomically better than the last, but to me it was only slightly better, meaning that I can’t give it a 9 or 10 for value’s sake. Overall, I still think it plays above the price tag, giving it a net positive value. This is an ideal guitar for the modern day singer songwriter and once you try one of these, I’m not sure you’ll care about the price tag or my value score anyway, it’s just a great all-around instrument!