The Yamaha FG720S is a great go-to guitar. Value for money, it is hard to beat with good build quality; a pleasing rich, bright sound; and good intonation. The FG720S guitar holds its tuning well, and looks and feels like a good quality guitar.
I purchased my Yamaha FG720S guitar about four years ago on special for $450 from Allan’s Music. It seemed to be the best value for money guitar on the market at the time. I considered purchasing the Yamaha FG700S, but for only an extra $100 I was getting better wood in the back and sides of the guitar body. According to the Yamaha USA web site, the FG700S has Nato wood in the back and sides of the guitar body, while the FG720S has Eastern Mahogany (the Australian web site lists Nato for both models — not sure why). The FG700S guitar only comes in a natural high-gloss finish, while the Yamaha FG720S also comes in several different colours. I can find no other differences in the guitar specifications.
Perhaps this was a mid-life crisis purchase, or just an excuse to buy new toys, but I purchased the Yamaha FG720S guitar to learn on. I quickly realised that in order for me to practise, the instrument needed to be accessible. I needed to be able to pick it up, play for 15 or 20 minutes, and then move on to the next family job. Unfortunately, as my children grew, I really did not want my beautiful Yamaha FG720S guitar sitting out where my kids could knock it off its stand, yank on its strings, or generally abuse it while I was not around. It is pretty hard to get one-year-old and four-year-old children to respect your toys – they are just exploring their world and, hey, this wooden thing with strings make an unusual sound if I belt it with something!
So it was that I put my Yamaha FG720S in a hard case in the top of my cupboard, and purchased a Yamaha F310P to leave out on the guitar stand for my kids to mess with. As it turns out, four years on, my kids have not so much as scratched my F310P. I bet if I had left the Yamaha FG720S out though it would have been trashed! The F310P was, however, partially submerged in the Queensland 2011 floods and has survived remarkably unscathed!
Yamaha FG720S playability
While the F310P plays okay (read my F310P review here), I love the FG720S and get it out of my cupboard regularly. My main criticism of the Yamaha FG720S is what I consider to be a relatively high action, although it is still quite playable and no worse than many more expensive guitars. Otherwise, the guitar seems to be great straight out of the box. The intonation is good, it holds its tuning well, and the neck relief seems fine. The high action is an easy fix and one you will have to do to most guitars. I am not planning to adjust the action height myself, but now that I am beginning to explore the higher frets, it might be time to take the guitar to a luthier to get it professionally set up. Overall, the Yamaha FG720S acoustic guitar build quality appears to be good, the guitar feels solid, and the finish is great. I am not a huge fan of the white binding around the guitar body though.
The number of model variations indicates Yamaha’s confidence in the FG720S. There is the 12-string FG720S-12, the left-hand FG720SL and, of course, the multitude of colours available in the FG720S. This expresses the company’s confidence that the Yamaha FG720S sits right in the middle of the sweet spot for price, sound, quality and playability.
Summary of the Yamaha FG720S
For many people, Yamaha is not a cool guitar brand. Quite frankly, if you are looking for a good guitar for not many dollars, then get over yourself. Put a piece of gaffer tape over the brand name on the guitar head if you need to. This is a great guitar at a great price that puts many guitars twice the price to shame. I highly recommend the Yamaha FG720S as a great go-to acoustic guitar.