What Are the Best Yamaha Guitars?
If you’re looking for the best Yamaha guitars, we’re here to help. We’ve curated a list of 10 models that span the impressively wide range of guitars produced by this Japanese company. But first, it’s a good idea to ask the question: what makes a guitar great? There are some universals: a low action and effective tuning combine for easy playability.
Build quality is important, too. And while Yamaha’s instruments are not handmade, the company is known for its unflinchingly high production standards. This is true in everything they make, from motorcycles to pianos to guitars. And then there are aesthetic and functional preferences, which vary from player to player.
By the way, this post is limited to Yamaha guitars. If you’re not sure which brand to choose, check out our guide on the Best Acoustic Guitar Brands for 2020.
We’ve compiled our own list of 10 of our favorite Yamaha guitars. We’ve included something for everyone, with guitars ranging from $110 to $2000 and in all sorts of sizes and styles. Here are the guitars we’ll review in today’s post:
- Yamaha A5R A-Series Folk Acoustic-Electric Guitar ($1,399.99)
- Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Acoustic ($189 with gig bag, $229 with hard case)
- Yamaha F335 Acoustic Guitar ($109.99)
- Yamaha FS850 Small Body Solid Top Acoustic Guitar ($429.99)
- Yamaha JR1 Mini Folk Guitar ($149.99)
- Yamaha L-Series Transacoustic Guitar ($1079.99)
- Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM Solid-Body Electric Guitar ($599.99)
- Yamaha RevStar Electric with Bigsby Tremolo ($899)
- Yamaha SA2200 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar ($1,999.99)
- Yamaha SLG200S Steel String Silent Guitar ($699.99)
Our Top Pick
Top 10 Compared and Reviewed
If our top pick doesn’t seem quite right for you, there’s much more to see. Check out our entire top 10 best Yamaha guitars, compared and reviewed below.
Yamaha SA2200 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar ($1999.99)
One of Yamaha’s newest guitars, the SA2200 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar is also one of its priciest. As a semi-hollow electric, the SA2200 fills a big hole in the Yamaha line-up as well. What do you get for your sizable investment? A gorgeous instrument that has natural resonance and is packed full of tech. Dual proprietary Alnico V humbucker pickups power the sound, and the semi-hollow maple body and top create a tone that’s warm and clear. The push/pull coil splits and tune-o-matic bridge take this pro-level guitar to a level all its own.
The only downside besides the hefty price tag is also a selling point: a semi-hollow body isn’t right for every player or every genre. But if it’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be seriously impressed by the SA2200.
Yamaha A5R A-Series Folk Acoustic-Electric Guitar ($1,399.99)
The A5R A-Series Folk Acoustic-Electric Guitar has a traditional acoustic look and a classic folk body style, supercharged with quality fit and finish (evidenced by the solid rosewood body and solid Sitka spruce top) and powerful electronics. Yamaha has invested R&D dollars into retooling the acoustics of its A-Series, and the result is a more powerful low-mid range on the acoustic side.
The electronics featured here are notable. The SRT2 system offers two distinct sounds and mic types, and you can dynamically mix the two to create the tone that’s suitable for the moment. It’s powerful flexibility that off-the-shelf pickups can’t achieve. If you’re looking for a professional level acoustic-electric, the A5R A-Series is a solid pick.
Yamaha L-Series TransAcoustic Guitar ($1079.99)
Yamaha is known for its innovation, and the TransAcoustic guitar is their latest. The L-Series TransAcoustic is a pro-level acoustic-electric outfitted with the latest innovations from Yamaha, including built-in reverb and chorus effects— effects that work even without external amplification!
The goal of these added effects is to turn any room into a room with great acoustics, using modifications on the guitar itself. The guitar also features an SRT Zero Impact Passive Pickup for those situations where you need to plug in for more sound.
The reverb and chorus effects sound like they’d be gimmicky, but reviewers disagree: they’re quality and not in-your-face, making the guitar sound better, yet still natural, in all sorts of environments.
The downside here is the novelty. The tech hasn’t been around long, so it hasn’t quite stood the test of time— yet.
Yamaha RevStar Electric with Bigsby Tremolo ($899)
Reviewed previously in our Best Electric Guitars post, the Yamaha RevStar Electric with Bigsby Tremolo is an electric with a look that’s both classic and visually distinct. The Bigsby tremolo bar is a big selling point of this model as well. Once again, Yamaha comes through with some custom tech. The RevStar has a dry switch, a proprietary method for gaining that coil split clarity and punch without the well-known downsides. Custom-wound pickups are another quality touch in this upper midrange electric guitar.
Yamaha SLG200S Steel String Silent Guitar ($699.99)
A unique entry on this list, the Yamaha SLG200S Steel String Silent Guitar is a (nearly) silent guitar. For the uninitiated, a silent guitar is an acoustic-electric style guitar, minus most of the body of the guitar. It’s ideal for quiet practice, studio use, and (when plugged in) stage performance. Any situation where a full-bodied acoustic could be problematic (or could produce too much sound), the SLG200S silent guitar is a great choice.
There are cheaper practice guitars on the market, but what sets the SLG200S apart is the quality electronics. Because it features Yamaha’s SRT pickup, you get a natural-sounding acoustic delivered to your headphones—or to a line-out.
The SLG200S also features on-board effects and a line-in port.
Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM Solid-Body Electric Guitar ($599.99)
Yamaha’s Pacifica family of electric guitars has more of a classic rock look. Our favorite in the series is the Pacifica PAC611HFM Solid-Body Electric Guitar. The Translucent black finish on the flamed maple top gives a classy edge to this edgy body style, and the unique pick guard shape adds interest as well.
The PAC611HFM features a hardtail bridge with a Graphtec String Saver saddle, plus Grover locking tuners and a Graphtec nut. The Seymour Duncan SP90 and Custom5 Trembucker pickups set this model apart from the lower-priced Pacificas. This higher-end model also features a push-pull coil split.
Yamaha FS850 Small Body Solid Top Acoustic Guitar ($429.99)
The FS850 Small Body Solid Top Acoustic belongs to a storied line dating back to 1966. Classic acoustic guitars in the Yamaha FG/FS series have served countless guitarists for over 50 years. This 800-series FS850 benefits from the same R&D developments discussed above, leading to a stronger, louder low- and midrange.
Owners on Amazon love this guitar, with one stating it stands up to a midrange Martin. Another goes further, proclaiming its sound better than that of the reviewer’s Martin.
The FS850 is available in both dreadnought and concert body styles and can be found in a wide range of finishes. With a solid mahogany top and mahogany back and sides, the FS850 is a quality mid range acoustic guitar at an impressive price point.
Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Acoustic ($189 with gig bag, $229 with hard case)
One of our overall favorite low-priced acoustics, the F325D Dreadnought Acoustic is a solid contender for best overall value in the Yamaha brand, if not the entire category. The fact you can get this much guitar for under $200 continues to amaze us. At this price, don’t be surprised that the wood is laminated spruce or that the F325D lacks some of the flashier features of other models.
The bottom line? If you’re looking for an inexpensive beginner guitar, the F325D is a near no-brainer. It’s not fancy. But it’s a very impressive budget guitar.
Yamaha JR1 Mini Folk Guitar ($149.99)
Sometimes you just want a no-frills guitar you can take with you to the park, to the campout— wherever. No fancy electronics to get damaged, and not too hefty of a price tag. Portability is nice, too.
For situations like those, we recommend the Yamaha JR1 Mini Folk Guitar. As the name suggests, it’s a smaller, lighter guitar perfect for easy travel. It’s also great for players with smaller hands. Built with a genuine spruce top and meranti back and sides, the JR1 Mini has a very traditional folk appearance.
With such a low price tag, the JR1 Mini is a great “extra” guitar to pull out in situations where you don’t want to risk damaging your main instrument, too.
Yamaha F335 Acoustic Guitar ($109.99)
If price is your biggest consideration, then take a look at the Yamaha F335 Acoustic Guitar. As is always the case, the cheapest guitar on the list is going to come with some trade-offs. Everything here is laminate: the spruce top and the meranti back and sides. With three finishes to choose from, you get some say in the look of your guitar, too.
For the price, the F335 delivers an impressive sound. But if you’ve got room in the budget, you’ll be more impressed with any of the entries above this one.
Whatever your budget and preferences, there’s a Yamaha that’s right for you. Do you have additional questions about Yamaha guitars? Contact us today.