Sound — 9
Okay. I'm a bass player first and foremost. I picked this acoustic up wit the intention of using it as a songwriting Tool and possibly the odd open mic night, instrument swap arounds in my band, et cetera. My band plays a blend of modern/alternative rock, 80's and 90's Indie and some random covers. For this, the 730 nailed the sound I wanted from it straight out of the box. Very jangly, but with strong mids and a warm bassy end to give the tone weight. It doesn't have the big "thrummmm-thrummm-thrummm" sound of a true dreadnought, the FG730 apparently has a slightly shallower body and this cuts some of the bass out and projects the highs much more. I like it that way. I find this guitar is very responsive, you don't need to work the guitar, you just need to play it. A true pleasure to own and to play. It's not a Martin. It's not a high end Takamine. It's a Yamaha, mass produced and aiming at that end of the market where the piggybank is broken whenever you need new gear. With this in mind, and comparing it to it's competitors, this is a good nine again. You will be hard pressed to find a better acoustic for 200.
Overall Impression — 10
As said before, I play alternative/indie/Britpop et cetera with this guitar, and yes, it suits it beautifully. I've been playing bass for nigh on three years now. I own and play a Warwick Rockbass Fortress, that I have also reviewed here. I run it through a (brand new and soon to be reviewed too) Laney RB-8 300w combo. If this were stolen or damaged, I would truly be heartbroken. Partially because it's Brand New, but mostly because I've already poured my heart and soul into this little buddy, feel at home playing it, and really feel like it's my guitar. You know, that feeling you get when you try out a ton of instruments, and then you pick one up and something stirs inside of you? And not the vindaloo you had the night before, either. What do I love? The tone, that wonderful, bright, jangly, crisp, yet mellow and rounded sound from each and every string. The feel of the neck and the pure value and quality of it for the price. I love the smart mother-of-pearl inlays and wonderful decor and finish to the guitar. Simple, subtle touches that make all the difference. What do I hate? Honestly, putting it down! So, overall, and breaking my rule (more of a guideline), ten. I really, honestly feel I have made the best purchase I could possibly have made, and one of the best purchases of my musical "career" thus far. The second best, in fact. The best being the amp I will review at a less insanely late time. A big round of applause for Yamaha, bringing quality instruments to those of us who just can't afford the insane prices the big name brands demand.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have No Doubt this guitar can withstand a Live set and would undoubtedly be fine without a backup, well, assuming you don't hammer the hell out of your strings and bend up octaves or something crazy, but that's your fault, not the guitar. Treat your gear right, and your gear will never let you down. I will not comment on the durability/longievity of this guitar, as I have not owned it long yet. Should anything arise that I feel is worthy of your attention, I'll post it. However, from the feel of it, I don't expect anything to happen that I don't cause myself. Seven from first impressions, though. It looks like it means business.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
From the factory, the action was better than most electrics I have seen. Smooth, playable and not straining from fret 1 to 14. From 14 onwards, reaching the frets gets tricky because of the slab of dead tree blocking you, but there is no buzz, no difficulty fretting cleanly. The wood is nicely matched and the grain is beautifully polished up. I can spot no visible flaws, and feel no weak joints or icky bits. Everything is clean and as expected.
Features — 9
I am unsure where the FG series are produced, but they're likely from Indonesia or somewhere around there. It's a recently produced one, freshly ordered for me. 20 (very comfortable, very playable) frets set very evenly and smoothly into a rosewood fretboard. The dreadnought-style body top is made out of solid Sitka Spruce, with rosewood back, sides, bridge, fretboard and a neck of unknown origin that seems to be some kind of mahogany. Either way, it's well finished, playable, and tough. The whole thing has a very thin but tough satin like finish over it that lets your hand glide up the neck. The tuners are a no-name factory stock brand, but they feel tight and secure, it was in tune when it came out of the box and after a few hours pretty solid, vigourous jamming on it the strings still kept their tuning. For features? What can you give an acoustic for features? It's just an acoustic. The parts are all quality, well assembled and well finished. For its price, because I don't give tens out on principle that there is always something out there that could be better.