Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I was quite surprised at the sound of this instrument. It has a depth and clarity that instruments twice it's price seemed to be missing. In the low registers it has surprising warmth and punch, while in the high registers it has a stunning clarity and brilliance. Overall I was impressed with how well balanced the sound was. This was not accurately represented by the on board electronics. In fact, the real weakness in sound here lies in the electronics. While it sounded good amplified at first listen, one quickly realizes that the top two strings are significantly louder than anything else, and, as is to be expected with a Piezo system, there is precious little bass to be heard. Which is disappointing because one of the strongest aspects of this instrument lies in it's punchy, well distinguished low end.
Overall Impression — 8
A good balance seems to have been struck in this instrument. The sound is superb and more than compensates for whatever minor physical and hardware issues that it may have. Overall, Yamaha has made a quintessential Acoustic guitar; something with natural wood stylings, deep, rich, well rounded sound at a price point that no player can argue with.
Reliability & Durability — 7
As I mentioned before the weak spot as far as reliability and durability are concerned lies in the Gold Die-Cast tuners. Even with minor temperature and humidity changes this guitars tuning fluctuates a fair amount. I also noticed that when returning to a standard tuning from using drop tunings that it would take several tries to get the guitar to stay in tune. This being said, the FX-335 gets the job done. It is very player friendly, one just has to treat it with some tender loving care and it will give it back.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
While the feel of this instrument is quite out of the ordinary, the look is not. The finish was well applied all the way around. However I was perturbed to find several scratches in the finish and even a dent in the neck after taking it to a show and some moderately heavy playing. Also with a little bit of time I found that the upper edges of the pickguard started to peel away from the body. These are relatively minor issues, however I believe that some more robustness in design would be in order to make this guitar ready for the road.
Features — 8
Yamaha always seems to strike a happy medium. Whether it is building guitars and jetskies in the same factory, or making a guitar with an incredible sound at an even better price point, their products seems to be very well rounded. The FX-335 is no exception to the rule. This Dreadnought style Acoustic features a spruce top that is complimented by the more tan-ish brown Meranti sides and back, and finished off with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The FX-335 sports twenty frets with a surprisingly good reach, despite lack of cutaway, to at least fifteen of them. The tuners and the electronics seem to be the weak spot of this instrument. The tuners are self described by Yamaha as Gold Die-Cast and appear to be off brand. This has resulted in some instability in tuning. The electronics on the FX-335 is a standard Piezo pickup system with a two band EQ and gain control. While the guitar itself has nothing that is overly exotic in it's looks, the sounds that this instrument produce prove to surprise and dazzle the listener more than looks ever could.