As always, Yamaha is a top music instrument maker. They are not the definite high-end option out there. And yet, when it comes to electro-acoustic guitars, the Yamaha FG700sc model proves they can share the spotlight with brands like Martin, Gretsch, Fender, and Gibson.
It’s also not an expensive model, even though the FG series sells the definite best-sellers of the electro-acoustic guitars.
The FGX700SC is in the lineup’s lower bracket, which is why it has an affordable price tag. However, you should keep in mind it carries the same features and proprietary tech as the rest of the FG(X) series guitars.
The “X” stands for acoustic-electric versions of the regular FG series. We already reviewed the Yamaha FG800, and we claim it performs well beyond its mid-tier price point.
Similarly, you can check our guide on the top budget electro-acoustic guitars you can buy right now.
Yamaha FGX700sc Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Review
The Yamaha GFX700SC is one of the best affordable electro-acoustic guitars. It’s a common pick on every listing as it checks most boxes beginners and budget players need.
It’s part of the FG series. The lineup has been around for more than 40 years. The FG series is about delivering playability, reliability, and top-value. Yamaha introduced the name back in the ’60s.
Back then, the Yamaha FG was the best acoustic guitar in the market. And it still retains such fame.
The FG series combines traditional craftsmanship with modern manufacturing processes. Moreover, the guitars focus on playing experience and superb tones.
Its three defining features include a non-scalloped X-pattern, a proprietary neck joint, and a hand-spray finish.
On top of that, the FGX700sc also adds elements from the similar FS series. That means a careful choice of woods and craftsmanship for the smaller FS guitars.
Additionally, it follows the sound of FS guitars closely. That means rich lows and record-quality tones.
Everything the guitar represents provides stellar quality at its price. It’s a superb budget choice to record your acoustic guitar at your home studio.
On top of that, the FGX700sc is the electro-acoustic version of Yamaha’s most successful solid-top acoustic guitar -the FG700.
They sell it as an entry-level instrument with premium features, solid wood, and an advanced pickup system.
Notably, finding solid woods at the price point is impressive. We would expect to see laminated materials instead.
As part FG, part FS, the 700sc model features a dreadnought body with a single-cutaway. The cutaway’s purpose is to give you access to the higher frets, as the guitar comes with 20 frets on the fingerboard.
Also, Yamaha uses solid wood on the guitar instead of laminated materials. Tonewoods of choice include a solid Sitka spruce top plus nato at the sides and the back.
Nato is also the neck’s material, while the fretboard comes with rosewood. Speaking of which, the fingerboard feels smooth, with no frets or hard edges. Yamaha’s quality control is, once again, stellar. It even gives the impression of a premium finish.
Back on the body, we find one of the features of the FG series. The non-scalloped X bracing pattern is a series of solid pieces of wood beneath the soundhole. Such construction strengthens the body’s top against the tension string. At the same time, the bracing creates a tonal signature that also translates into the acoustic amps.
In particular, it has eight braces built with an X pattern around the guitar’s sound.
Overall, the bracing pattern retains the natural tone of the woods while adding a signature element. Moreover, it improves response and stability.
“Taylor Guitar insides – Taylor Guitar Factory Tour” by Richard / CC BY-SA 2.0 / The braces are beneath the soundhole, on the top part of the body. A guitar without braces features an unfocused sound.
On the neck, we find an essential element of the FGX700sc. It has a dovetail neck-joint, which transfers the neck’s vibrations to the body to create a balanced tone.
All of Yamaha’s acoustic guitars feature a similar hand-fitted dovetail joint. The FGX700sc follows the same path.
Moreover, it doesn’t use any metal parts, so both pieces -neck and body- are in full contact. The result is maximum stability and strength.
Hand sprayed finish
The third feature of the guitar and the FG series is its ultra-thin finish. Artisans use hand-sprayed techniques and use advanced ultra-thin material. That ensures a rich, 0.25mm thin, and light high-gloss finish. That provides extra protection from vibration and scratches. Moreover, it creates a louder, rounder tone.
“Yamaha FGX04 Acoustic headstock” by Loco Steve from Bromley UK / CC BY 2.0 Yamaha’s acoustic guitars are known for excellent craftsmanship and finishes. Even their mass-produced, affordable models have high-quality standards.
It’s also unique. It features the unique characteristic of delivering the same volume levels across the fingerboard and the strings. That means the strings won’t drown each other, which is an impressive feature for chords, arpeggios, and solos.
That’s not to say the sound is soft. On the contrary: the volume it has for a dreadnought guitar is outstanding. Because of the X-bracing, the FGX700sc projects the sound forward with generosity.
Simultaneously, it has enough presence across the frequency range, which means the tone is balanced.
Still, there are some characteristics across the board we should mention. In particular, the highs are crisp and clear, but they don’t contradict the mellow/wholesome mids. Lastly, the lows are present, abundant, but still thin.
Once you plug the guitar, the preamp renders the pure and natural tone of the guitar. It just delivers maximum authenticity and retains the specific “sad” color of the guitar.
The electronic department of the Yamaha FGX700SC does the job correctly. They can amplify the tone of the guitar without losing any information.
That said, the guitar comes with an in-house solution. It packs Yamaha’s System 55T pickup system.
The system relies on an under-saddle piezo pickup plus a straightforward 3-band EQ. In terms of versatility, there’s not much to find here. That’s the definite disadvantage of the guitar.
However, it adds a built-in chromatic tuner plus a mid-range frequency control. That gives you some extra-leeway plus the much-needed tuning control.
Still, you could use a few acoustic guitar pedals to improve the flexibility of the guitar. The preamp will amplify the exact tone the guitar creates -nothing more, nothing less.
No doubt, the FGX700SC is light and easy to play. That’s because it follows a careful selection of tonewoods that deliver both lightweight and durability.
You have this s a full-sized guitar, with a 25-6” scale. Still, fret spacing, low-action strings, and easy-to-handle preamp make it very friendly for anyone.
The hardware also retains the guitar’s reliable performance, for the FGX700SC comes with decent hardware.
It has a sturdy rosewood bridge with a compensated synthetic bone saddle. On the other side, it has a synthetic bone nut.
Lastly, the headstock packs a set of die-cast chrome tuners. These aren’t impressive or above the price point. They are just okay, for beginner and hobby situations.
A 3-band EQ means control knobs for high, mid, and low frequencies. If you find it hard to handle, you can leave all of the knobs right in the middle.
Downside & Alternatives
The Yamaha FGX700SC has the potential to become your main acoustic-electric guitar with a few minor upgrades. As it is, it delivers a great sound for beginner, intermediate, and hobby musicians.
Other than its lack of versatility, you could improve a secondary feature to make it stage-ready. I’m talking about its tuners, which won’t hold the tune for long during long playing sessions.
That said, I recommend going for the lotmusic Guitar Tuning Pegs. These are reliable, top-tier units that won’t set you back price-wise. It will make your guitar feel as stable as premium contenders.
Now, in case you’re considering another acoustic-electric guitar, I could only recommend the Fender 135CE at a similar price range. It features a similar X-bracing pattern, solid construction with solid woods, and an okay pickup system.
If you can’t find that model, you could also go for the Fender CD60CE, a solid mid-range choice. It features a traditional sound and construction:
If you’re thinking about other Yamaha alternatives, I can point you towards the Yamaha FGX820C.
It has the System 66 pickup & preamp combo, an improvement over the 55T version. Also, it features mahogany as the wood on the sides and back of the body for extra sound richness.
Going up the ladder of the FGX series, you’ll find the mid-price FGX830C. It looks, sounds, and feels like a premium guitar. It even includes an adjustable truss rod to adjust the string height.
Also, it includes a better preamp that delivers fat bottoms, rich highs, and round mids.
At its price point, I don’t think there’s a better acoustic-electric guitar.
Lastly, the FGX800C is a minor step-up from the 700SC model. It features the exact same construction, but it adds the System 66 pickup instead of the older System 55T.
Check our review of the Yamaha FG800 for further info.
Yamaha APX500III specs
- Design: Dreadnought body with a single cutaway
- Bracing: non-scalloped bracing pattern
- Body tonewood: Solid Sitka Spruce with nato at the back and sides
- Neck: U-shaped neck
- Neck tonewood: Nato
- Scale: 25.6’’
- Fingerboard tonewood: rosewood
- Pickup system: System 55T (under-saddle piezo pickup)
- Controls: 3-band EQ, adjustable mid-range frequency, built-in tuner
- Tuners: die-cast tuners
- Bridge: rosewood bridge
- Strings: stock strings
“Yamaha AC3R” by Bart N. v Schuylenburg / CC BY-SA 4.0 The Yamaha FGX700SC might not be available in your country as the FGX series comes from China. Check the other Amazon listings to find a proper offer.
Why do I like the Yamaha FGX700SC?
A quick test or video demo of the FGX700SC will prove why this is the most popular guitar of its kind. The best-seller acoustic-electric guitar combines Yamaha’s innovative features, top-tier quality control, and careful craftsmanship.
Ultimately, the brand delivers a solid performer, a capable, affordable electro-acoustic model. Your experience level or playstyle doesn’t matter: the FGX700SC will keep up with you until you’re ready to trade up.