Yamaha’s expertise in the field is undoubtful and when it comes to guitars they have a great record of producing quality models for any price range. Yamaha FD01S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar is in the “Under $200” (even under $150) range which is great if you are looking for an affordable guitar but I would definitely not call its build and sound cheap.
This full-size dreadnought model is a premium solid-top acoustic guitar that features a spruce top, nato neck and back, with rosewood fretboard and bridge topped with natural finish. Just listing this material is probably not really helpful if you are a beginner so let’s dive a little bit deeper and try to understand some of the material. First of all, spruce top that is on this guitar is one of the two most popular woods used for guitar tops (the other being cedar). The difference in quality of these two is negligible and it mostly comes down to personal preference. Spruce usually has a brighter and clearer sound and improves over time. While cedar, for instance matures from the beginning, with spruce you will see that it does not mature for a while and then you get a drastic improvement. In either case, the choice is yours and you will probably not go wrong if you know what kind of sound you are looking for. Now, let’s talk a bit about nato neck and back. Nato, often referred to as eastern mahogany, is very similar in appearance to the beloved mahogany wood. Although it is a cheaper version of standard mahogany you will probably not notice as much difference in sound unless you are a professional playing for years and have a very sharp ear (especially since it is only neck and back, they rarely create drastic difference in sound).
Compensated bridge saddle and solid spruce top are a nice bonus on a guitar in this price range. This model features a but thinner neck which is great for someone with smaller hands or someone who is more comfortable with thinner necks. This guitar also is equipped with black pickguard and die-forged chrome tuners.
FD01S’s solid top adds to the great sound of the guitar. Do not get me wrong, I know entirely solid-wood guitar are a prized possession but they are also very pricey. For an affordable guitar a solid top is a great, even an amazing option because in most cases the soundboard (or the top of the guitar) is the major factor in the sound you want and need. Solid top creates much brighter and clearer sound than, say, laminated ones. So you might not be getting the top of the echelon fully solid guitar but who are we kidding, most people would not be able to distinguish the sound of a fully solid and just solid top guitars. Where you will be able to distinguish is the cost. Also the fact that it is spruce adds to the brightness and clarity of the sound, top it off with great tone and projection and you get a great sounding guitar that you can get for half the price as some other guitars that sound pretty much the same.
Yamaha has been very consistent with the quality of their lower cost guitars and FD01S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar is definitely adding to that reputation. If you are looking for a consistent sound, good quality build and comfortable playing you are in luck. Oh yeah… and the cost does help, quite a bit. No matter if you are buying it for yourself and it is your third guitar, your first one or a gift to a beginner – this model does not disappoint and brings the quality you would not expect from something that costs under $200.