I am in the market for a good acoustic guitar $300 or under. I have it pretty much down to a Yamaha Fg730S or a Takamine GS330S. I have no guitar stores near me and I mean no guitar stores so I cannot try before I buy. Please give me your opinions as to which is the better guitar, and your reasons why. Here are links to them

Takamine- http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Takamine-GS330S-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=516304

Yamaha- http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-FG730S-Solid-Top-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=519049
Different samples of either guitar might sound better on different occasions. These are both popular guitars with lots of fans and will both hold up and play well. Only you can decide if one is better than the other with respect to your personal preferences. Given that, one of the main differences between the 2 is the wood used for the tops...the Yamaha uses spruce, while the Takamine uses cedar. Cedar is a softer wood that develops sooner but that softness makes it easier to ding. Spruce in some form is the most popular and common top wood. Currently, myself, I prefer cedar, and both of my Art & Lutherie guitars are cedar-topped. Speaking of Art & Lutherie, they make some fine guitars in the same price range, perhaps even a little less, with laminated wild cherry backs and sides and solid spruce or cedar tops.


With respect to the sides and backs of these 2 guitars, both are laminated. This is not a bad thing because it tends to add strength and durability while keeping cost down. With respect to the difference in sound, nato is a mahogany and mahoganies tend to be crisper and brighter than rosewood, which tends to be darker and bassier. This is the opposite of what someone else posted, but is the general consensus, although perceptions differ. These qualities would be harder to distinguish with laminated as opposed to solid wood construction.
Last edited by reholli at Aug 17, 2006,
Ditto what he said, except for a couple points.
1st: The Takamine has laminated Nato back & sides while the Yamaha has Rosewood. (No mention of solid or laminated). My first question to MF (customer service) before buying would be if the Rosewood on the Yamaha is solid or laminate. If solid, that's the one I'd choose.

Then I'd ask exactly what "Nato" is. As I recall "Nato" is some kind of Asian mahogany. But I could have it backwards. But there is a difference in tone between Mahogany and Rosewood with the Rosewood generally being "brighter" while Mahogany tends to be bassier. That's a concideration.
Last, How far is it to a place where you might compare these guitars in person? Be advised that MF sells guitars in as received from factory condition and performs no set up.
Depending on where the guitar was made (likely Asia), it will have had a LONG trip from the factory to you and may be in NEED of adjustment.
Most reputable music stores will set up a guitar before they sell it (or free if not done and you ask).
So you might be looking at gas money to/from a luthier, plus $30-$50 set up charge if you MF guitar needs adjustments.
IMO, if at all possible you're better off to make SURE you get what you want, properly set up, by buying in person.
i have a fg700 and i love it. im sure upgrading would make it even better. Plus I like the look of guitars that have a pickguard. go yamaha =0
although these are both super guitars for the price, i prefer the takamine for a few reasons. i like the cedar top on the takamine. as reholli mentioned, cedar is a much softer wood than spruce and it will ding much easier; however, i prefer the tone of the cedar top. ben is right about them both having laminated backs and sides. somebody asked about nato... nato is eastern mohagany. anyway, the real reasons i prefer the tak over that yamaha are in tone and i can't really describe that to you. i've played both and to me, the takamine has the tone i'm looking for.

i have a gs330s myself and have had it for several years. as with all solid top guitars, this guitar sounds sooooo much better than it did when i bought it. it sounded great then too, but it is absolutely amazing how good it sounds now that it's been played for a few hundred hours. everyone who has ever played mine has remarked about the tone and asked how much i paid for the guitar. $219 (that's how much they were when i bought mine) is always a HUGE shock to people.

on a side note, a friend of mine's brother had a yamaha FG7xx and after around 5 or 6 years the guitar began completely falling apart. the top became extremely bowed and the binding around the top began coming loose. i went with him to guitar center one day to trade it in and they wouldn't even take it. we told them they could have it for 5 dollars and they said no. we dropped to 1 dollar and they still wouldn't take it. moral of the story, after 5-6 years, his yamaha was worth NOTHING. he ended up buying a takamine gs330s to replace his yamaha FG7xx. my tak is several years old and is quite beat up. it has lots of dings in the top and tons of belt rash on the back from being played so much. the top has 4 different cracks (which are all my own fault because i leave this guitar in my truck literally ALL the time). it's actual craftsmanship is still just as solid as the day i bought it though.
Last edited by jimtaka at Aug 18, 2006,