Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Pros:

  • Warm sound
  • Wonderful build quality
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • The neck might be a bit narrow for bigger hands

We all love our traditional 6-string acoustic guitars. They are the most wonderful instruments in the whole world, in my personal opinion. Really, if you made me choose between my 6-string acoustic and something else, I would definitely go for the former. That’s how much I love them. But when you play them for years, you might start desiring something new. You might want to challenge yourself a bit more by learning different techniques, but if that’s not your cup of tea (or you’ve already learned everything there’s to learn), then one of the best decisions is to purchase a 12-string acoustic guitar. Playing it isn’t as difficult as it seems, yet it’s still more challenging compared to its 6-string siblings. Buying one of the best models out there doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re at the end of your journey. On the contrary, it means that you’re about to start something unique and spectacular. I’m not exaggerating, trust me. 12-string acoustic guitars are instruments that can crank up your game significantly.  If that’s what you want, then you should check out Yamaha FG820-12. It’s an affordable model, yet its capabilities will convince you that it’s quite expensive. It has a lot to offer and if you want to know more, you should keep on reading. I’ll provide you with all the details you’ll need, so that you can make a wise decision. Shall we begin?

Build

As I have already mentioned, FG820-12 is an affordable guitar that makes such type of acoustics accessible to those, who don’t have a lot of money. Creating instruments that cater to wider masses is always a great virtue, since we don’t want anybody to feel left out, do we? By manufacturing this guitar, Yamaha opened up countless possibilities for guitar players. Since 12-string acoustic guitars are extremely versatile, they always prompt us to get out of our comfort zones and explore the extent of our capabilities. With the help of FG820-12, that’s possible even at a low price point.

Its design is as classic as it can get, since it features a natural glossy finish with darker back and sides. The pickguard not only makes it even more beautiful, but it also protects the body from accidental scratches. That’s a small detail, but an important one – your fingers can be quite abusive. Since the construction makes a lot of difference, I’m glad to tell you that materials used in this one are wonderful. We have a solid spruce top, which adds brightness to the sound. Mahogany back and sides balance that out with some warmness, yet they still retain those pristine qualities. Nato neck and rosewood fingerboard complete the guitar. You won’t notice pointy fret edges here, which means that you’ll easily navigate through the whole length of the fretboard. It’s also smooth to the touch, which, once again, makes it simple to make different moves. You should keep in mind that the neck is on the thinner side for those, who have bigger hands. Some might find it hard to access the strings for that reason, but I think anyone will get used to it with some practice. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means.

Hardware

Yamaha FG820-12 looks pretty nice in terms of hardware as well. It doesn’t require careful scrutiny to understand how attentively these tiny parts were designed. The materials might not be exquisite, but they are surely durable. More importantly, they are manufactured in a way that makes them really useful during daily practices. Such details make even more difference with a 12-string acoustic, since this fella requires everything to be in perfect shape. More strings mean more trouble, but good materials can easily compensate for that.

Let me start from the bridge. It’s made from rosewood, and it’s topped with black ABS pins. It’s sturdy enough to hold the strings really well and can withstand the tension like a real soldier, as well. The nut and saddle are made from urea, which is not as good as the bone, but it’s better than most plastic materials out there. Die cast chrome tuners have smooth action, but they can hold the strings tightly as well. God forbid you’re 12-string gets out of tune easily – that’s when all the disasters will begin. Exaggerations aside, Yamaha did a wonderful job in terms of hardware, as well.

Sound

It will be fair to say that Yamaha FG820-12 is an extraordinary 12-string acoustic guitar, especially for the price. Even though it might not be as good as its high-end siblings, it does a wonderful job at recreating all the characteristics that such guitar should have. It’s extremely dimensional – those extra strings surely add a couple more layers to the tone. It’s bright and shimmery due to the spruce top, but not excessively (it can’t be called a bright guitar, but it’s that feature is certainly present). Mahogany neck and sides balance it out perfectly, and add that necessary warmth to its sound. No matter what you do with it, it doesn’t get muddy or messy. The definition and clarity of individual notes are more than surprising. FG820-12 is capable of adding extra character to any performance. It’s powerful, beautiful and expressive i.e. it has all the properties a wonderful 12-string acoustic guitar should own.

Conclusion

I can’t even count how many times Yamaha has created an affordable guitar that is way out of its price range. You see the price and you can’t help but wonder how they managed to do so much for so little money. But I think they have a special place in the affordable range and that’s something that, hopefully, won’t change. FG820-12 is an extraordinary guitar – I’m sure you have already figured that out after everything we have discussed. All you have to do is listen to its sound and give the decisive power to your ears. Let’s face it – they are smarter than us more often than not. Good luck! 

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