Yamaha FG5 Review & Prices

Yamaha FG5 Review
Add to Compare
FIND IT ON:
Sweetwater logoReverb logoAmazon logoMusician's Friend logo
Set a price alert
  • From Yamaha's 2019 FG/FS Red Label series
  • Made in Japan
  • 6 strings
  • 25"'' scale
  • 15.75" Fretboard Radius
  • Solid Sitka Spruce top
  • Solid Mahogany back
  • Solid Mahogany sides
  • African Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: (/)
  • Ebony bridge
  • Acoustic C Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Open-Gear Chrome (Y1D) tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 77
Sound 85
Build quality 79
Value for money 80
Overall Score 80
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Yamaha FG5
  • Made in Japan
  • Expensive Wood
  • Bone Nut
  • Bone Saddle
  • Solid Top Wood
  • Solid Side Wood
  • Solid Back Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Electronics
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $2300, which means that the Yamaha FG5 is around 37% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Japan.

SET PRICE ALERT

These are affiliate links. We may earn a fee if you purchase after clicking. These prices are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links. As an Amazon Associate site we earn from qualifying purchases.

Videos

Yamaha FGX5 review
Yamaha Red Label Guitars - FG5 vs FS5 Comparison
No Talking...Just Tones | Yamaha Red Label | FG5 - Vintage Natural
Yamaha FG5 Red Label: The New Vintage Guitar: Brian Zhang
Yamaha Red Label FG5 - Natural
More Videos

Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

Vote

Tuning stability

Vote

Neck speed (thickness)

Vote

Neck access to high frets

Vote

Neck profile shape

Vote

Fret edges

Vote
View all user feedback

Explore All From Yamaha >

Is it Easy to Play?

The Yamaha FG5 meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Yamaha FG5
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Yamaha FG5's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Yamaha FG5's 25" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Yamaha FG5 Scale Length Comparison
Yamaha FG5's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale found in most PRS guitars, and it's right between the length of most Stratocasters and Les Pauls.

The scale length will affect the separation of the frets, the string tension, and even the tone of the guitar. The longer the scale, the more separated the frets are, which makes it a bit harder to move fast on the fretboard. Also, the higher tension of the strings will make them feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength. However, a longer scale also allows you to lower the action of the strings and make them closer to the fretboard, which makes them easier to press. Finally, the tone will also sound brighter with a longer scale.

A 25'' scale makes all of this feel right between a Stratocaster (longer scale) and a Les Paul (shorter scale).

Don't forget that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Yamaha FG5 Neck Profile
Yamaha FG5's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Yamaha FG5 has a 15.75" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Yamaha FG5 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Yamaha FG5's fretboard radius compared to others

It's a radius that makes playing single notes (and bending, vibrato, sliding, etc) easier than on a classic Les Paul guitar. However, it's still more curved than some baritone and 7+ strings guitars.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Yamaha FG5 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Yamaha FG5
This model
25'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.732'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.512'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.732'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.4'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.673'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.512'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.732'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Yamaha FG5 Nut Width
Yamaha FG5 Nut Width

The Yamaha FG5 has a nut width of 44mm (1.732''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Yamaha FG5 Fret Size Comparison
Yamaha FG5's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Yamaha FG5's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 80
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Back, Sides, Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Mahogany Back, Sides and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

Pickups

This acoustic guitar doesn't come with preamp pickups, so you won't be able to connect it directly to an amplifier. Instead, you'll need to use an external microphone.

Sound Score

Sustain 90
Versatility 80
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 85

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Yamaha FG5 is made in Japan. You should expect a high-quality guitar with excellent quality control. It can be compared to guitars made in the US, which is why they're also expensive.

Bridge

Ebony: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Yamaha FG5 has a Bone nut. This material is one of the highest quality you can get. It provides excellent sustain and tune stability if cut well. The only disadvantage is that it's an organic material, so it's not consistent. Two different bone nuts, even if made from the same bone, will probably sound slightly different. However, bear in mind that this is only relevant when playing open strings.

More with the same nut material:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 86
Features 65
Quality Control 85
Build Quality 79

All Specs

Yamaha FG5
General
Brand: Yamaha
Year: 2019
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: Japan
Series: FG/FS Red Label
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Solid Sitka Spruce
Bridge: Ebony
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Open-Gear Chrome (Y1D)
Fretboard: Ebony
Neck Material: African Mahogany
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 25"
Shape: Acoustic C
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 15.75"
Nut: Bone
Nut Width: 44mm (1.732'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: ( / )

User Reviews

Help others by sharing your opinion about this guitar. Note: to avoid spam, your review will be submitted for approval before appearing here.

You're reviewing as anonymous. to comment with your account.
Your Rating: