I made this Yamaha C40 review so you can decide if it’s the right guitar for you.
I’ve tried to make it the most detailed possible and not a list of features without meaning.
It was summer of 1993 when my parents bought me the old version of the Yamaha C40
with which I spent six years until I sold it.
Some of my students are still buying this model.
How did I test the Yamaha C40?
I played it in a small room, in a large room, outside in a playground with a rubber surface,
in a natural ambiance between trees. I made some recordings with it.
Also, an older student with no nails, an elderly student with nails
and other students, boys, and girls, aged 10-13, played on it.
What I wrote here is a summary of my impressions and of everyone who played on it that are listed above.
Things to consider before buying a Yamaha C40
You might find yourself a bit overwhelmed when you decided to buy a classical guitar
since there are a lot of aspects to consider like:
Price, playability, durability, wood quality, sound, mechanics, etc.
Yamaha C40 classical guitar might be Suitable for you if:
- You start playing guitar.
- It’s for someone that you aren’t sure if he will keep learning the guitar.
- You’re on the go / long trip and looking for a good guitar you don’t have to worry about.
- You are under budget.
- You are playing an amateur acoustic guitar player and want to expand your guitars arsenal with a guitar that gives more musical possibilities.
What do you need to think about before buying the Yamaha C40:
- Generally speaking, it can be easier for you to hold a classical guitar than an acoustic guitar because it has a smaller body.
- With a nylon string, you’ll feel a more soft feeling at the fingertips when you depress the string than steel-strings.
- Nylon-strings can produce less strong and more mellow sound than traditional acoustic guitars.
- Classical guitars have a relatively wide neck which will make it easy for you to fret notes, and if you have small hands or if it’s for a child under 10, you might find a ¾ size guitar more suitable.I know quite a few guitarists that use smaller scale guitars like 7/8, too, either for sound consideration or because it feels for them more comfortable and compact to play.
- You can play a variety of styles with a nylon-string guitar, and it’s a matter of taste.I would also mention that many of well-known guitarists in rock, pop, jazz and more, incorporate the classical guitar in their music like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Pat Metheny, Chet Atkins in his last video instructional tape and more…
Going Deeper With The Yamaha C40 Review
From Yamaha website:
“Perfect starter guitar….The C series guitars provide excellent cost performance for beginners and young learners….”
Well, I can say that they know exactly who this guitar is for and build it accordingly.
You might be concerned about how much money you should spend on a guitar
before fully committing to learning how to play.
Regarding this, the Yamaha C40 can be fine for if it’s your first relationship with the classical guitar.
- Fair price.
- Stays in tune.
- Produces a decent tone.
- Feels comfortable to play.
- Made of laminated wood, like all guitar of this price range.
- You might need betters string to get better sound.
Yamaha has a reputation for reliable tools.
For six years I ran a music center and purchased keyboards, drums, guitars and more made by Yamaha,
I can say that they served the students well.
Since Yamaha spreads across a wide range of music instruments products,
you should expect that it will appeal to a broader and less costumed audience
and its guitars production line will be “functional” and less of a niche.
If you invest 20 dollars more, you can get the Yamaha C40 as a bundle which comes with:
- padded gig bag
- digital tuner
- Instructional book
- Guitar stand ( for me is the most practical accessory here ).
Features & Benefits
The overall tone of the Yamaha C40 is steady and balanced.
The bass strings have distinct presence and sound and don’t create a muddy sound
as a result of excessive resonance or the opposite problem of dry sound.
Another reason for this is the correct string height that I measured on the 12th fret
which is perfectly reasonable for a classical: 0.5 millimeters on the first string and 0.8 on the sixth string.
On the other hand,
In the high notes of the guitar, especially the first string there has a lack of sound volume
and might sound a little anemic if you are a trained guitarist.
You’ll get a more rounded and pleasant sound If you replace the strings with a higher quality set of strings.
I would recommend of Martin or D’Addario set at a normal or high tension which is good and at a decent price.
The projection of the guitar is good.
However, if you are an experienced guitarist you will notice that the sound of the guitar’s output is “dry”
and lack a sustain and rich sound as you would notice with a more expensive guitar.
This is because the top is made of spruce and more importantly because the guitar is laminated
which is layers of thin processed wood that are glued together.
The guitar resonance will remain as it is and will not open as you play more and the years go by
as in the guitars that are a solid top.
I mean that what you hear that what you get.
But a laminated guitar also has an advantage which I’ll mention later on.
The Yamaha C40 Intonation
Most simply, intonation means the degree to which the same note or 2 notes interval
stays in tune when you play it in different frets.
I have to say that there will always be a difference, even in the most expensive guitars
because the guitar is not a tempered instrument like the piano.
This parameter can vary according to action height, string type, how hard you press with your finger and more.
The intonation with this particular guitar I checked wasn’t the same for all the strings.
I played an open string and then checked the same note on the same strings on the 12th fret.
The differences were evident, and the most significant deviation was in the 4th string (+6.5).
For this price tag guitar is reasonable and actually,
if you are a beginner or play mostly chords in the first position is just fine.
In my opinion,
if you’re just starting to learn guitar, your comfort is at least as necessary as the sound, if not more.
The action is comfortable, and the responsiveness was very good when I played bending, vibrato and barre
The shape of the neck in the back is more rounded and less flat.
Personally, It is less my taste, but it may be convenient for someone who is used to playing the acoustic guitar.
If you are a beginner, It will feel completely normal to you, and it is ultimately a matter of habit.
The size of the guitar is standard for nylon strings guitar and if you are used to the dreadnought acoustic guitar then I think you will feel more comfortable because its body is smaller.
When you hold the guitar, you feel that it is built from solid materials and yet it is light.
This can be very practical especially if you are on the go and want an “SUV”
or if it is for a child that taking care of his stuff, like many children, is not his strongest point…
The finishes are meticulous with a smooth gloss finish, and you can get it natural as well.
The guitar is laminated.
There are two main advantages for you:
1. You get a good guitar at a low price.
2. The solid top would have significantly increased the guitar price.
The solid top contains more complex construction and more internal parts
that means it will be more sensitive to many types of damages like:
temperature changes, humidity, physical pressure on the body of the guitar, etc.
The tuning pegs
The Yamaha C40 tuning pegs are good, and it is essential that you’ll get a smooth mechanics which
will allow you a tuning stability and prevent the tuning machine to wear down.
what about a Truss Rod?
Classical guitar has no Truss rod as default and so the Yamaha C40.
This steel rod inside the neck is required for instruments with steel strings that have higher tension
than nylon strings and stabilizes the neck from unwanted curvature.
The retail price for the Yamaha C40 full size is 140$.
The smaller size versions -the Yamaha CS40 II ⅞ -Scale and the Yamaha Student Series CGS103AII ¾ scale are 130$.
If you decide to invest 20$ more, you get each of the three sizes as a bundle.
Personally, that what I would do.
Users reviews of the Yamaha C40
During my work in preparing this article I scoured the internet and found some user reviews that seemed positive:
Alternatives for the Yamaha C40
There are others classical guitars for beginners, around this price range, that may suit you as well:
- Cordoba cm3
- Valencia 200 Series
- Washburn Series C5
The difference I recognized between all the guitars under 200$
would be the width and thickness of the neck, design and the sound that is different from one to the other.
In my opinion, the most important is proper sound and maximum comfort.
The Yamaha C40 It’s a safe buy.
If you are a beginner looking for comfortable, durable and cheap guitar the Yamaha C40 can be a perfect match.
If you are an acoustic guitar player looking for a classical guitar without spending too much
that what I would add to the guitars I already have.