Fender vs Yamaha Acoustic Guitars – Which Is The Best Option?

When it comes to acoustic guitars, the names Fender vs Yamaha acoustic guitars often come up in conversation. Both brands have a long-standing history in the music industry, offering a variety of high-quality instruments for musicians of all levels.

The choice between the two can be a personal and subjective decision, but it is essential to consider specific factors and characteristics to make the most informed decision.

Fender, a household name in the world of guitars, is well-known for its high-quality electric guitars and basses. However, their acoustic guitars also possess excellent craftsmanship and deliver rich sound quality.

Yamaha, on the other hand, has gained a solid reputation for producing reliable, high-quality instruments spanning various categories such as pianos, drums, and of course, acoustic guitars.

While both brands offer a diverse range of models, it is crucial to evaluate various aspects of the instruments to determine the best fit for your preferences and requirements.

Factors such as construction, playability, sound quality, and price are vital when comparing Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars.

Key Takeaways on Fender vs Yamaha Acoustic Guitars

  • Fender and Yamaha both have a rich history in creating quality acoustic guitars for musicians of all skill levels
  • Construction, playability, sound quality, and price are essential factors to consider when comparing Fender and Yamaha guitars
  • Selecting the best acoustic guitar is a personal decision, but understanding these factors can help make an informed choice

You also shouldn’t miss these other popular picks:

History of Fender and Yamaha

Fender and Yamaha are two of the most recognizable brands in the world of acoustic guitars, each with their own unique history and contributions to the industry.


Fender was founded in 1946 by Leo Fender in Fullerton, California. Initially, the company focused on producing electric guitars and amplifiers. In the 1960s, Fender expanded its product offerings, venturing into the acoustic guitar world.

The original Fender acoustic guitars were known for their high-quality materials and construction, with models such as the Kingman and the Malibu becoming popular among musicians of the time.

Over the years, Fender has continued to refine and develop their acoustic guitar lineup, incorporating innovative features and diverse designs to cater to a wide array of playing styles and preferences. Today, Fender remains one of the most respected and sought-after acoustic guitar brands.


Yamaha has a longer history in the music industry, dating back to its founding in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha in Hamamatsu, Japan. The company began as a piano and reed organ manufacturer but eventually expanded into the production of various musical instruments, including acoustic guitars.

Yamaha introduced its first steel-string classical acoustic guitar in 1966, known as the FG-180, which quickly gained popularity for its balance of performance and affordability.

Throughout the decades, Yamaha has continued to build upon their acoustic guitar offerings, launching iconic models such as the FG series and the L series. Yamaha is well-regarded for their consistent quality, catering to both beginner and professional guitarists with their diverse range of instruments.

The Construction of Fender and Yamaha Guitars

1. Tonewoods Used

Fender and Yamaha, both prominent guitar manufacturers, utilize various tonewoods in their acoustic guitars. Fender guitars commonly employ mahogany for the body and neck, while rosewood is used for the fingerboard.

Yamaha guitars, on the other hand, often use spruce for the top, nato for the neck, and rosewood for the fingerboard.

Several models of both Fender and Yamaha also feature laminated wood for increased stability. Yamaha is especially well-known for its use of high-quality woods, such as walnut and swamp ash, in their guitar construction.

2. Look and Comfort

The look and comfort of Fender and Yamaha guitars are distinct and cater to various playing styles and preferences.

Fender acoustic guitars often showcase a classic design, while Yamaha models boast of a more modern aesthetic. Both brands, however, ensure the comfortable playing experience of their instruments.

3. Headstock and Hardware

The headstock and hardware of Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars exhibit differences in construction and design.

Fender guitars typically have a recognizable headstock shape, with six tuners lined up on one side. Yamaha guitars, alternatively, feature a more traditional headstock design, with three tuners on each side.

The hardware used by both brands is reliable and well-crafted, contributing to the stability and longevity of their guitars.

4. Saddle and Fretboards

The saddle and fretboards of Fender and Yamaha guitars vary in material and construction. Fender acoustic guitars frequently use a rosewood fingerboard and a solid mahogany bridge.

Yamaha models often utilize a rosewood fingerboard and a sitka spruce top with scalloped bracing, enhancing the tonal characteristics of the guitar.

Both Fender and Yamaha pay special attention to the quality of their saddle and fretboard materials to ensure optimal playability, sound projection, and overall longevity of the instrument.

Acoustic vs Acoustic-Electric Guitars

Acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars share many similarities, as they are both rooted in the traditional acoustic guitar design. The primary difference between these two types of guitars comes down to their electronics and capabilities for amplification.

Acoustic guitars, such as those offered by both Fender and Yamaha, have a hollow body and do not have built-in electronics for amplification. These guitars rely on the vibrating soundboard, typically made of spruce or cedar, to project sound.

They are well-suited for a more intimate setting or solo performance. Famous acoustic guitars include the Fender Paramount series and the Yamaha FG series.

Acoustic-Electric guitars are essentially acoustic guitars with built-in electronics, which allow them to be plugged into an amplifier or PA system for a louder sound. These guitars often have a piezo pickup underneath the bridge, and a preamp built into the side of the guitar body.

The preamp usually includes a volume control, an equalizer to adjust the tonal balance of the amplified sound, and sometimes, a built-in tuner. Acoustic-electric guitars are better suited for performing in larger settings, or when playing with a full band.

Some examples of popular acoustic-electric guitars are Fender’s Newporter and Yamaha’s APX series.

Classical guitars, which utilize nylon strings and often have a wider neck, can also be found in both acoustic and acoustic-electric varieties. An example of a classical acoustic-electric guitar is the Yamaha NTX series.

While electric guitars may seem distinct from the other two categories, they are worth mentioning for comparison. Electric guitars have a solid body and rely on electromagnetic pickups to amplify string vibrations.

They require amplifiers to produce sound and are known for their versatility in creating various tones and effects through different pickups and pedal effects. Electric guitars, such as the Fender Stratocaster and Yamaha’s PAC series, are a popular choice in genres like rock, blues, and jazz.

Sound Quality and Tonality


Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars differ in their resonance, which contributes to their overall sound quality. Fender guitars tend to produce a warm, deep resonance, while Yamaha guitars often have a slightly more pronounced and clear resonance.

This difference in resonance can be attributed to the choice of materials and design elements employed by each brand.

Brightness of Tone

The brightness of tone is another key aspect of sound quality that sets Fender and Yamaha guitars apart. Fender acoustic guitars often have a warmer, mellower tone, while Yamaha guitars are known for their bright, clear tone.

This difference can be a matter of personal preference, with some players gravitating towards the bright, articulate sound of Yamaha guitars and others preferring the smoother, warmer tone of Fender guitars.

Volume and Projection

When it comes to volume and projection, both Fender and Yamaha guitars have their merits. Fender guitars generally provide a moderate amount of volume and projection, suitable for most playing scenarios.

Yamaha guitars, on the other hand, can offer a slightly higher volume and better projection, making them ideal for situations where cutting through the mix is essential.

Models Comparison

Yamaha FG800

The Yamaha FG800 is a popular model among beginners and intermediate players. This acoustic guitar delivers a well-balanced sound with impressive quality and projection, thanks to its solid Sitka spruce top and Nato/Okume back and sides.

The slim taper neck allows for comfortable playability, making it easier for players to learn and progress.

This model comes in various finishes and body sizes, including the FG800 and FG800S, which have slight differences in specifications. For example, the FG800S offers smoother playability with its cutaway design, allowing easier access to higher frets.

Key features of Yamaha FG800:

  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Nato/Okume back and sides
  • Slim taper neck for comfortable playability

Fender CD-60S

The Fender CD-60S is another excellent option for those seeking a quality acoustic guitar with a budget-friendly price tag. With its solid Spruce top and Mahogany back and sides, this guitar offers a warm, balanced tone and resonant sound.

The easy-to-play neck with rolled fingerboard edges makes it comfortable for long playing sessions, and the smooth satin finish adds to its aesthetics.

Fender offers the CD-60S in a variety of sizes, including the best 3/4 acoustic guitars like the CD-60S 3/4 size, perfect for younger or smaller players. Moreover, the CD-60S All-Mahogany, an alternative option, provides a darker and warmer tonality.

Key features of Fender CD-60S:

  • Solid Spruce top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Rolled fingerboard edges for ease of play
  • Variety of body sizes, including 3/4 size for smaller players

In comparison, the Yamaha FG800 offers a well-balanced sound projection, while the Fender CD-60S delivers a warmer tone. Both have comfortable necks for easy playability and multiple size options, suiting various player preferences.

Although neither of them is part of the DR-100 series, they are still solid choices within their price ranges and worth considering for any amateur guitarist.

Playability and Performance

When considering Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars, a significant part of the evaluation revolves around playability and performance. Both brands have earned a strong reputation, offering guitars suitable for various skill levels and playing styles.

In terms of playability, Yamaha guitars are often praised for their easy-to-play nature, especially for beginners. These guitars feature shorter scale lengths, which contributes to their comfortable feel and reduced string tension.

This makes chord transitions smoother, resulting in a more enjoyable playing experience for fingerstyle and fingerpicking techniques.

Fender, on the other hand, tends to offer acoustic guitars with a versatile design and slightly longer scale lengths. The extended scales provide increased string tension, which can result in a brighter and more articulate sound.

This attribute, combined with their overall construction and quality materials, make Fender guitars suitable for a range of playing techniques, from strumming and fingerpicking to more advanced fingerstyle playing.

While both Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars deliver satisfactory unamplified sounds, their amplified performance is an aspect worth considering.

Many models from both brands come equipped with built-in preamps and pickups to ensure a natural and balanced tone when plugged into an amplifier or a sound system.

These electronics are designed to produce accurate representations of the guitar’s acoustic qualities, allowing performers to maintain consistency whether they play unamplified or amplified.

Budget and Value

When comparing Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars, the budget and value factor plays a crucial role for many buyers. Both brands offer a range of price points suitable for different budgets, ensuring that there is an option for every player.

Fender’s acoustic guitars are generally available in affordable price ranges, especially for beginner and intermediate players. They provide good deals on entry-level guitars, making it an attractive option for those just starting their musical journey.

Some examples of budget-friendly Fender acoustic guitars include the FA-125 and CD-60S, which can be found between $100 and $300.

Yamaha, on the other hand, has a reputation for delivering excellent value at various price points. They offer a wide selection of affordable guitars with remarkable build quality and sound, making them appealing to all levels of guitarists.

The Yamaha FG series, particularly the FG800 and FG830, are regarded as one of the best value guitars in the market, priced between $200 and $400.

When it comes to higher price ranges, both Fender and Yamaha provide more advanced guitar options with notable differences in tonewood, craftsmanship, and electronics. These higher-priced models cater to professional and experienced musicians, elevating the playing experience.

For instance, Fender’s Paramount and Acoustasonic series are geared towards premium guitar offerings, while Yamaha’s A and L series target a more professional audience.

Buying Considerations

When comparing Fender and Yamaha acoustic guitars, particularly for beginners, there are several factors to consider. It’s essential to select the best acoustic guitar for the individual’s preferences, skill level, and personal taste.

The first aspect to examine is the entry-level acoustics offered by both brands. Fender provides options like the CD-60S and FA-115, which are known for their playability and quality construction.

Yamaha, on the other hand, has the popular FG800 and FS800 series for beginners. Both companies offer a broad range of choices and produce reliable instruments.

Next, consider the size of the guitar as it should be comfortable for the player to hold and play. Fender and Yamaha offer various body shapes and sizes, from dreadnought to concert and even smaller parlor guitars. Beginners should select a size that suits their body type and playing style.

Another important factor is the price. Entry-level acoustics from both brands come in a range of prices, so it’s crucial to establish a budget before making a decision. Keep in mind that investing in a slightly higher-priced guitar could result in better long-term playability and satisfaction.

The materials used in the guitar’s construction also play a role in buying decisions. Both Fender and Yamaha use high-quality tonewoods and hardware, contributing to the instrument’s overall sound and longevity.

It’s essential to research the specific woods and materials used in each guitar model as different tonewoods produce unique tonal characteristics.

Lastly, personal preference undeniably factors into the decision-making process. Some players may have a bias towards a certain brand or a specific design feature, and this should be taken into account.

Trying out various models from both Fender and Yamaha can help narrow down the options and lead to a more informed choice.

Final Verdict: Yamaha vs. Fender

When comparing Yamaha and Fender acoustic guitars, it’s essential to consider the key factors that make each brand unique. Both companies have a long history in the guitar market, but they cater to different segments of the musician community.

1. Sound and Tonality

Yamaha guitars are known for their consistent, balanced tone. They offer a versatile sound that accommodates various music genres. On the other hand, Fender acoustics are recognized for their distinct, bright sound, which caters to rock and blues musicians.

2. Build and Durability

Yamaha guitars are crafted using premium materials, like solid Sitka spruce tops and mahogany or rosewood back and sides, providing excellent durability and resonance.

Fender, in their acoustic range, also uses quality tonewoods, but their primary focus remains on electric guitars. As a result, Yamaha acoustics tend to have a slight edge in build quality and overall feel.

3. Price and Value

In terms of pricing, Yamaha offers a wide range of acoustic guitars catering to different budgets. Their entry-level models are affordable, making them an attractive option for beginners. Fender acoustic guitars are also accessibly priced, but with a more limited range.

It’s worth noting that Yamaha’s higher-end models generally provide better value for money compared to Fender’s offerings in the same price range.

4. Variety and Selection

Yamaha’s acoustic guitar lineup is vast, offering various body shapes, sizes, and configurations to suit different players’ preferences. Fender, while featuring a respectable selection of acoustic guitars, has a more focused range that caters primarily to their target audience of rock and blues musicians.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better for beginners, Fender or Yamaha acoustic guitars?

Both Fender and Yamaha offer entry-level acoustic guitars suitable for beginners. While a Fender or Yamaha guitar may be an excellent choice for a new player, personal preference and comfort should always be the deciding factors.

It is often suggested for beginners to try out different models from both brands to find which guitar feels and sounds best to them.

How do Yamaha and Fender dreadnought guitars compare?

Yamaha and Fender both produce quality dreadnought guitars, though there may be slight differences in materials, playability, and sound.

Both brands use various tonewoods and construction methods to create their dreadnought line, providing a range of options for different players.

Sound-wise, Yamaha dreadnoughts tend to produce a more balanced tone, while Fenders might have a warm, mellow tone. However, individual preferences and expectations vary, so it is essential to test both brands.

What are the differences between Yamaha FG800 and Fender CD-60S?

The Yamaha FG800 and Fender CD-60S are both affordable, entry-level acoustic guitars, with some differences in design and materials. The Yamaha FG800 features a solid Sitka spruce top, while the Fender CD-60S uses a solid spruce top.

Additionally, the FG800 sports a nato back and sides, whereas the CD-60S has mahogany back and sides. The FG800 tends to have a brighter and more balanced tone, while the CD-60S offers a warmer, more mellow sound.

How do Yamaha and Fender acoustic-electric guitars compare?

The acoustic-electric guitars from Yamaha and Fender offer excellent sound quality, playability, and versatility. Both brands equip their acoustic-electric models with built-in preamps and pickups, allowing players to perform in amplified settings.

However, the specific features and tonal characteristics may vary between individual models and product lines.

It is recommended for players to test both Yamaha and Fender acoustic-electric guitars to determine the optimal choice for their needs and preferences.

Are there notable differences in sound quality between Yamaha and Fender acoustics?

Yamaha and Fender acoustic guitars provide good sound quality, but their characteristics can differ based on materials, construction, and design.

Some players may find Yamaha acoustics to have a more balanced and clear tone, while others might prefer the warmer, mellow sound of Fender acoustics.

It is crucial for players to try various models from both brands to determine which guitar meets their tonal expectations and preferences.

What factors should I consider when choosing between Yamaha and Fender acoustic guitars?

When choosing between Yamaha and Fender acoustic guitars, consider factors such as playability, sound quality, materials, and budget.

Additionally, personal preference plays a significant role since no two guitars will play or sound precisely the same. Test various models and compare their features, feel, and sound to determine the best option for your needs and preferences.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *