The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners - By Guitar Teacher Alexander Briones

Guide to Guitars for Beginners

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Those who skimp on their first acoustic often end up struggling with tuning issues, high string setup, bad sound, and other problems - resulting in frustration that negatively affects playing improvement. Some novices even end up stopping playing altogether, because of their bad experience.

Hence the importance of having a good starter guitar - one that is budget-friendly, easy to play, good sounding, and nice looking - qualities that can spell the difference between fun and tedious playing experience.

And to help you find the starter guitar that best suits you, here are what I consider as the best acoustic guitars for beginners. Featured here are highly rated newbie-friendly acoustics that often get recommended by teachers and students, divided into three sections: acoustic, acoustic-electric and classical guitars.

Much like most of our guides, we feature only ones that you can readily buy within the USA. Each one is listed with important information and specifications, along with summaries of pros & cons from actual owners of each guitar.

Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

The Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners

Yamaha FS800

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$220
Yamaha FS800 Concert Body 6-String Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha continues to be the brand to beat when it comes to student friendly instruments, so it's only proper that we feature their best rated beginner acoustic guitar - the Yamaha FS800.

This concert body acoustic comes from their popular FG/FS series, having the well received features that include solid spruce top and traditional X-bracing support.

Having a smaller concert body makes the FS800 more comfortable for younger players, it also has a slightly shorter scale length that lessens string tension a bit making it easier to play.

Additionally, the smaller profile and shorter scale affect the sound a bit, resulting in a more mid focused tone.

Features

  • String Type: Steel
  • Body Shape: Concert
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Body: Nato/Okume
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25"
  • Nut Width: 1.69"

Pros

Coming from Yamaha, it's not surprising to find a lot of reviewers rating the FS800 highly for its comfortable playing feel. The warmer tonality of the instrument is also well appreciated, especially since most beginners will be dealing with fingerstyle playing sooner or later. Reviewers also mention that the guitar feels solid and looks well built.

Cons

There are a few who recommend getting the default strings replaced for best results - we recommend these highly rated acoustic steel strings.

Overall

When it comes to student friendly instruments, it's hard to go wrong with Yamaha, especially if you're going with their top-rated student-friendly acoustic guitar.

Ibanez AW54

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$230
Ibanez AW54 6-String Acoustic Guitar

The Ibanez Artwood AW54 is a classic looking dreadnought with Ibanez' brand of playability and value for money.

Speaking of playability, this guitar has a neck that's around 0.83" thin, topped with an ovangkol fingerboard with a 15.75" radius, both of which result in a comfortable neck profile that is easy on the fretting hand.

The AW54 sports a solid top crafted from renewable wood called okoume, which lets you enjoy the vibrancy of a solid top acoustic at a price point that beginners will appreciate.

The body follows the classic dreadnought shape, which gives it a more traditional acoustic tone, contrasting its modern tonewood selection and playability.

Features

  • String Type: Steel String
  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Okoume
  • Body: Okoume back & sides
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.6299"
  • Nut Width: 1.69"

Pros
Users are pleased with the overall performance of the AW54, from its easy playability to its warm yet open tone. Value for money is definitely Ibanez' strong suit in the acoustic market, as reflected by many reviewers who feel that this guitar gives them more than what they paid for. Build quality is also often commended, and I concur because I am also a proud owner of an Ibanez acoustic that is still very much playable many years after I brought it - it was actually my first "stage" guitar and still holds a special place in my heart.

Cons
Not many complaints about the particulars of this guitar, although there are some who are not too keen on the use of okoume wood over mahogany. Still, there are more people who appreciate the use of alternative renewable wood, even more so when they experience how light it is.

Overall
The Ibanez AW54 should be high on your list if you're looking for an affordable solid top acoustic guitar that's easy to play.

Fender CC-60S Concert Pack V2

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$260
Fender CC-60S Concert Pack

For a starter guitar, the CC-60S has impressive specs and beginner friendly features.

It beats out most of the competition right off the bat with its solid spruce top, which is usually reserved for more expensive models.

It's smaller concert size body makes it a more comfortable instrument to learn on, compared to conventional dreadnought acoustics.

The neck of the guitar is also meant to be student friendly, with its walnut fingerboard that features rolled edges.

And since this guitar is from Fender, you can be confident that they keep build quality to a reasonably good level - and this is reflected in the high ratings that it has been receiving from customers across major retailers.

Features

  • String Type: Steel
  • Body Shape: Concert
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.3”
  • Nut Width: 1.69"

Pros

The Fender CC-60S is highly rated for its combination of good build quality and value for money, and most of the reviews are from students or their parents. It is commended for both how comfortable it is to play, and how good it sounds - two important traits that make it a great instrument to learn on and impressing even experienced guitarists who are looking for affordable beater guitars.

Cons

There aren't any noteworthy complaints, so we'll just note here that its Concert shape, while comfortable, may lack some bottom end (lower frequencies) and volume when compared to bigger acoustic bodies like the dreadnought.

Overall

With the extras added in, the Fender CC-60S Concert Pack provides excellent value for beginners.

The Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars for Beginners

Gretsch G9520E Gin Rickey Parlor Guitar

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$279
Gretsch G9520E Gin Rickey

The Gretsch G9520E is an acoustic-electric guitar with a compact parlor style body that both older musicians and young students appreciate.

Its compact body shape means that it produces a distinct midrange emphasized tone that many experienced musicians prefer. While its shorter scale length makes it easy to play.

Instead of the usual undersaddle pickup with preamp setup, the G9520E comes with a magnetic soundhole pickup, which gives it a gritty amplified tone ideal for blues, folk and rock. This pickup also compliments its "blues box" style sound, which highlights the mid frequencies.

Students can also use this guitar to experience the response of magnetic pickup, which they will most soon encounter when they begin playing electric guitars.

In keeping with its parlor guitar stylings, it has old school visuals that appeals to fans of older style guitars.

Features

  • String Type: Steel String
  • Body Shape: Gin Rickey Parlor
  • Top: Basswood (Laminate)
  • Body: Basswood Back & Sides
  • Number of Frets: 18
  • Scale Length: 24"
  • Nut Width: 1.6875"
  • Electronics: Gretsch Deltoluxe Acoustic Magnetic Soundhole Pickup (Passive)

Pros

Given its compact size and short scale length, beginners are pleased at how easy this guitar is to play. There are plenty of thumbs up for its bluesy tone, which is appreciated more by experienced musicians. Having a good sounding tone when plugged in is also stated in owner reviews. It also helps that many find this to be a good looking guitar, especially when considering its price.

Cons

This is not advisable if you are looking for a more traditional sounding acoustic. The small body of this guitar means less acoustic projection (less volume) compared to regular size guitars like dreadnoughts.

Overall

With the Gretsch 69520E, you get a nice beater parlor guitar that can also be used as your kid's starter guitar.

Yamaha FGX800C

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$340
Yamaha FGX800C - Natural

The FGX800C is an excellent specimen that showcases Yamaha's reputation for quality student-friendly instruments.

While it is priced slightly above the $300 mark, it is still a good value starter guitar, because you are getting a pickup-equipped solid top guitar, embedded with Yamaha's DNA. The response of the solid spruce top will get better as it ages (your playing will break it in as the wood 'opens up'), in time for you to better appreciate it as you gain more experience.

An added bonus is its built-in electronics that make it a viable stage instrument for recitals and for other performances.

The top is supported by scalloped bracings, which allows the top to resonate better without compromising structural integrity. The body follows traditional dreadnought profile, but with a cut-away for easier access to higher frets.

Neck and fretboard also follow conventional specs for familiar playability.

Features

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought with Cut-away
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Body: Nato/Okume Back & Sides
  • Finish: Natural, Black, Sand Burst
  • Bridge: Walnut
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Thin
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.75"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Nut Width: 1.675"
  • Electronics: Yamaha System 66 Electronics

Pros

Tone and playability make up the bulk of positive customer review comments about the Yamaha FGX800C. It is often described as full sounding and loud. While most of these commendations come from beginner to intermediate players, there are some experienced musicians who also gave their thumbs up. Build quality is often appreciated, and may say it is a great buy because of its specs.

Cons

Dreadnought can be too big or uncomfortable for some players, especially young ones. There are a few reports of minor cosmetic issues.

Overall

The Yamaha FGX800C is a great beginner guitar that can grow with you as your skills progress and start performing on stage.

Fender FA-235E Concert

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$350
Fender FA-235E - Moonlight Burst

Fender continues to be one of the most recognizable guitar brands today, and while they are more popularly known for their iconic electric guitars, top rated acoustics like the Fender FA-235E have allowed the brand to expand into the acoustic market.

This acoustic comes with a concert body, smaller than the dreadnought, which makes it more comfortable to play, and results in a more articulate midrange focused sound. These characteristics, together with its built-in Fishman CD-1 electronics make it a good long-term guitar for students to learn on.

The mids and highs are further emphasized by its flame maple top, which is known for brighter tonality and nice looking wood grains. This type of top wood is also preferred for its durability, which is important for guitars that are being handled by novices.

It comes with a Nato neck with Walnut fingerboard, a common configuration used in entry to mid-tier acoustics.

Features

  • Body Shape: Concert
  • Top: Flame Maple
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss (3-Color Sunburst, Moonlight Burst, Natural)
  • Bridge: Walnut
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: C-Shape
  • Fingerboard: Walnut
  • Fingerboard Radius: 11.81"
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.3"
  • Nut Width: 1.69"
  • Electronics: Fishman CD-1

Pros

It gets a lot of commendations for its premium look, often described as beautiful, thanks to its slimmer concert body profile which is enhanced by its premium looking gloss finish options. Both novices and experienced musicians describe it as a solid feeling instrument, and they appreciate the quality of its tuners, pickup and preamp. Many also love how it sounds acoustically, and when plugged in.

Cons

Not everyone is pleased with its tone, those who are used to the enhanced bass sound of dreadnought bodies may find this to be too trebly sounding.

Overall

If you want a good looking acoustic-electric as your long term starter guitar, then this is for you.

The Best Classical / Nylon String Guitars for Beginners

Yamaha C40 MkII

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 1600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$160
Yamaha C40 MkII Classical Nylon String Guitar

The Yamaha C40 MkII is a nylon-string guitar that's widely used by beginner and classical guitar students.

Compared to steel strings, nylon strings are significantly easier to fret, making this guitar ideal for new players, however note that it has a wide nut width following traditional specs, which maybe a bit too wide for those who are used to slim profile neck acoustics.

Also note that the tone of nylon strings is also dramatically different, which can be good or bad depending on the preference of the one who will use the guitar.

While the Yamaha C40 is not overly impressive on paper, it trumps others with its legacy and longevity. There are simply so many guitar players who started / studied guitar on the C40, myself included.

Features

  • String Type: Nylon String
  • Body Shape: Classical - a little smaller than a Grand Orchestra
  • Top: Laminated Spruce
  • Body: Meranti back & sides
  • Number of Frets: 18 - 12 open
  • Scale Length: 29.5625"
  • Nut Width: 2.0625"
Editor's Note: I personally began learning guitar on a C40 (original version). The wider nut width of classical style guitars can make them easier to play for people with thick fingers because there is more space between the strings.

Pros
The cool thing about buying this guitar is that because it’s a nylon string instrument you probably won’t have to get a 'set-up' done (you can take your guitar to a shop to have it adjusted if you'd like the strings lowered). Because nylon strings are so much easier to play, and exert less force on the body, the odds are much lower that a beginner musician will want the guitar adjusted in order to play it easily. Tone is consistently praised, which is quite special considering this is an entry level guitar. Durability is also an important factor that helps keep the C40 relevant, I for one can still play my over two decades old Yamaha C40, which still looks and plays good, albeit a-bit battered because of use.

Cons
We would caution you that if the person playing this guitar doesn’t like the classical guitar sound, and is at least 12 or older, you should get them a steel string guitar instead. A classical guitar sounds very different than a steel string guitar, and while the Yamaha C40 doesn’t sound bad it won’t give them the tone they’re going to want if they prefer regular acoustic sounds.

Overall
If you're aiming for traditional classical guitar tone and playability at a modest price then this is your best bet.

Cordoba C5

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$379
Cordoba C5

Cordoba's fast rise in the nylon string guitar market is undeniable, thanks to their combination of good quality build, modern production and affordable price tags. Case in point is the Cordoba C5, a reasonably priced nylon string guitar with premium features that include solid red cedar top supported by traditional Spanish fan bracing.

What makes the C5 distinct compared to more traditional models is its smaller soundhole and slightly bigger body, both of which help improve the guitar's clarity and projection. This subtle differences also make it viable for other styles of music, like bossa nova and flamenco.

Another important detail is its use of bone for the nut and saddles, a step up compared to its entry-level counterparts. Cordoba is known for good aesthetics, hence the use of eye candies that include Indian rosewood binding, gold tuners with pearl buttons, and detailed wood rosette inlay.

Features

  • String Type: Nylon String
  • Body Shape: Classical
  • Top: Solid Cedar
  • Body: Laminated Mahogany
  • Number of Frets: 19
  • Scale Length: 25.6"
  • Nut Width: 2"

Pros

Owners love the Cordoba C5's playability and tone, both of which are direct results of the company's penchant for high build quality regardless of price. With its solid cedar top and Cordoba's attention to detail, the Cordoba C5 is widely considered as a great value nylon string guitar, which may not be entry-level cheap, but still accessible for beginners. More importantly, users love how its nice specs translate well in real world playing, with a tone that works well with various Spanish music styles. Even experienced musicians who own more expensive nylon string guitars find themselves impressed at the overall value they get from the C5.

Cons

There are a few reports of string buzz and other action related issues. With its slightly modified body, this may not appeal to those who are into strictly traditional classical guitar designs.

Overall

This reasonably priced nylon string guitar is great starter guitar that is more than capable of appeasing even advanced players.

Things to Consider When Buying a Beginner Acoustic Guitar

Perfect Fit

Acoustic guitars, like all musical instruments, are meant to bring out the musician's distinct style. This is the reason why there really is no one guitar to perfectly fit everyone - rather there are many different guitar designs to cater to personal styles and expressions.

Beginners will usually gravitate towards guitars that are similar to what their favorite musicians use, so the safest choice is to start out on an instrument that looks and sounds familiar. But this is not a strict rule, because some experts will advise beginners to learn on non-familiar instruments like a nylon string guitar to expand their sonic and playing palette right at the start.

Things That Make a Guitar Easy (Or Hard) To Play

Playability is a very important factor to consider when getting guitars for a beginner. Below are the main factors that make a guitar easy or hard to play.

Action

Action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. If it’s too high (above the fretboard) the strings are hard to press down, and if it’s too low (close to the fretboard) the strings will buzz when you play them, so guitar manufacturers aim to set it at just the right height.

Generally the thickest string on a guitar should be 3/32 inches away from the fretboard and the thinnest string should be 1/16 inches away at the nut (the part of the guitar closest to the tuning pegs). The height of the strings at the twelfth fret (which is in the middle of the neck) should be roughly double the height they are at the nut. As long as the string height is somewhat close to the measurements above you shouldn’t have too many issues. If it’s significantly higher (like ¼”) you’re either going to want to get a set-up or buy a different guitar.

Nut Width

As previously mentioned, a guitar’s nut is what the strings pass through before the fretboard starts. It’s on the end closest to the tuning pegs and has six grooves for the strings to sit in.

Nuts come in different widths. Guitars with wider nuts have the strings spaced farther apart, and the opposite is true for guitars with thinner nuts. The two most common nut widths are 1.69” and 1.75”. Younger musicians, or those of you with smaller hands, may prefer something even thinner (though they won’t necessarily need it!). Note that classical guitar usually have a wider nut with of about 2".

String Type

There are two main types of acoustic guitars: steel string and nylon string. Steel strings, which are steel plated with a bronze alloy, are harder to press down. Younger children (generally under 7), often find it difficult to push these strings down. This is the most familiar configuration, and widely used in majority of music styles.

Nylon strings are obviously made from nylon, a material that give them a different sound and makes them significantly easier to push down than steel strings. This is the most common choice for students who want to learn classical guitar music, but is in no way limited to that, especially popular artists like Jason Mraz using them. Younger players find these strings much easier to press down.

Body Type

Acoustic guitars come in a variety of body shapes and sizes, and the general idea is that bigger bodied guitars have more volume and bottom end, making them sound fuller. Smaller bodied guitars lack low end, which emphasizes the mid and high frequencies, which works great with fingerstyle playing and other similar styles. Big bodied guitars like the dreadnought can be too big for smaller players, so guitars with compact bodies will be more ideal.

Here we’ve ordered the most commonly found body styles in order of biggest to smallest:

  • Jumbo
  • Dreadnought
  • Slope-Shoulder Dreadnought
  • Grand Orchestra
  • 000
  • Classical
  • 00
  • Parlor

What is the Best Guitar for Short Fingers?

Most of the guitars featured here have 1.69" nut width, which is a standard specification used by many guitar manufacturers, and is known to be good enough even for young players. Still we have to mention that at 1.675", the Yamaha FGX800C has the narrowest nut width in this list, although it only wins by a tiny fraction.
 

Guitars with narrow nut widths and flat fingerboard radius are easier for those with short fingers, 3/4 size guitars and parlor guitars usually fall into this category, but not always. Classical guitars (and nylon string guitars in general) usually have wide nut widths at around 2", which may make fretting some chords harder for those with short fingers. But this does not mean that classical guitars are impossible, because while it may be hard at first, the wider string spacing opens up the fretting hand better, improving stretching ability and strength. This is the reason why I've taught many young guitarists on classical guitars, and why some other guitar teachers do the same.

Acoustic-Electric Guitars

The simple addition of a compact piezo pickup and preamp system can turn your acoustic guitar into a stage ready instrument, and these days, there are many that come with pickups right out of the box. This is the reason why we added a section that features the best beginner acoustic-electric guitars, so you can take your starter guitar with you on stage. Acoustic-electric guitars are highly recommend for fast learners and serious students, so they won't have to buy another guitar for their performances when amplification is needed.

What To Expect During Your First Few Weeks of Playing the Guitar

The first month of playing the guitar is going to be the hardest. The reason for this is that when you start playing you don’t have any calluses, so playing your guitar for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a stretch is going to hurt the tips of your fingers. Though if you stick with it, by the time you’ve been playing for three or four months you’ll have a few good calluses built up.

Your main concern should be overplaying. We know it’s tempting, especially when you first get your guitar, to play for long periods of time. However, if you do this before you’ve built up the proper musculature you can actually cause permanent damage to your body. So when you’re just starting, take a 15 minute break for every 30 minutes you play. You can extend these times when you’ve been playing for a longer period of time, though make an effort to not exceed two hours in one sitting.

Tips on Practicing

Everyone learns differently, so it’s hard to suggest a one-size-fits-all approach to practicing the guitar. With that being said, the most important thing to remember is that learning the guitar is a process. No one is awesome at playing an instrument when they first start. In fact, most musicians struggle for a while before they really start learning. So even though it may be difficult, just keep working at it.

Also, if you’re not going to invest in guitar lessons most musicians have a pretty good experience with Hal Leonard books. The company also publishes books on different styles for more advanced musicians. There’s also a ton of great YouTuber’s creating lessons. Literally all you have to do to find them is type “Beginner Guitar Lessons” in YouTube’s search bar and you’ll find what you need to get started.

Advanced Topics

We didn't want to include a lot of additional information which could be confusing for beginners and which isn't necessary for anyone just starting out. However, if you'd like to read more advanced information about things such as Tonewoods, Scale Lengths or Acoustic-Electric Guitars, then please read Tips for Acoustic Guitar Buyers.

Beginner Acoustic Guitar Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the current edition was published on March 16, 2022.

All the Gearank.com staff and this guide's author play acoustic guitar, so between us we decided that the main criterion for the guitars to be considered for this guide is that they should be relatively easy to play. With that in mind, we created a list of candidates that had suitable nut widths, scale lengths, body types, and string types, that we know from experience will make learning to play as painless and enjoyable as possible to help beginners get through the first few weeks of learning and practice.

For this March 2022 edition, we retained the 3 main sections that feature regular acoustic guitars, classical guitars, and acoustic-electric guitars. We've increased the price range to $500 to account for market price changes, but we still ended up with a sub $400 selection, which is close to the actual budget of most beginners. As always, only those that are available from major online music gear retailers in the USA are included. If you'd like to know how the Gearank scores out of 100 were calculated then please read How Gearank Works.

Further Advice

If after reading this guide you still have some questions about buying your first guitar, please feel free to post questions in the comments section below and we'll help you out.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: based on a stock photograph in the public domain.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from their respective manufacturers' websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation.

Comments

Thank you, this really helped

Thank you, this really helped a lot. My son wants to start playing and I had no idea where to start. I now feel Confident that I will be making the right purchase for him. Now all I need is ear plugs 😂😂😂

I am learning to play guitar

I am learning to play guitar and the only chord I am having trouble with is C. Having short large fingers means that the G string does not ring clear. Should I look for a guitar with a larger nut or switch to Nylon. Both have been recommended to me by guitar players.

Larger nut widths, which is

Larger nut widths, which is what nylon string guitars tend to have, are easier to play with thicker fingers, so I agree with the advice you have received.

Maybe you could go into a large guitar shop and try a few different options to see what feels best for you.

I am also a senior person

I am also a senior person considering learning how to play the guitar for the first time. There is a small music store in my neighborhood that I am planning on purchasing my guitar. The store only carries two companies and Teton Guitars is the larger of the two. My question is do you recommend Teton Guitars? How do they compare to the companies/models you recommend for beginners. The model suggested by the store is STS10NT. What do you think of this model? Thanks for any recommendations you may have.

Teton is a brand that isn't

Teton is a brand that isn't sold by any of the major online music gear stores so they don't feature very prominently in our research.

The handful of ratings and reviews I've seen for the brand are good, but we have no rating data on the model you asked about.

Our recommendations are the ones you see listed above for beginner guitars.

I recently purchased an

I recently purchased an Ibanez SGT130 for my husband for his birthday. How does that compare to the Ibanez AW54 listed above?

I am a singer and want to

I am a singer and want to learn guitar. I want to sing solos with my guitar do you suggest the Yamaha FS830 or FS800. i know there's a cost difference, but i prefer to have the better sound for solo. R&B, Soul, Gospel.

The main difference between

The main difference between the two models you mentioned is the wood used for the back and sides, which is laminate okoume for the FS800, and laminate rosewood for the FS830.

While laminate rosewood will definitely look better, the difference in tone between these two laminate wood is not going to be enough to justify the price increase. And with the FS800 having substantially higher ratings, market response seems to agree with my opinion.

So, if forced to choose between the two, I'd go for the FS800.

Interesting question!

Interesting question!

We haven't created one, but we do list the nut widths of all the guitars above under Specifications in their individual descriptions.

Hi. A senior beginner here.

Hi. A senior beginner here. I appreciate your advice on guitars for beginners. I am considering some steel-string acoustics from Yamaha, specifically the FS800 series(Concert body type) and The Yamaha FG800 series (Dreadnought body type). I have also come across the Epiphone Hummingbird Artist acoustic, and am interested in that as well. Just wondering if you would have any thoughts on any or all of the above. Thanks very much for your time. Matt

The Yamaha FG800's edge is

The Yamaha FG800's edge is its solid spruce top, while the Epiphone Hummingbird's advantage is its aesthetic appeal. Note that we don't have data for the FS800, but being from Yamaha, I wouldn't be surprised to find it doing just as well.

Although outside the scope of this guide, the guitars you mentioned are reasonably priced and similarly rated. So it'll mostly boil down to your preference: either you want to go for a solid top with conventional appearance, or a premium looking guitar with laminate top.