You are currently viewing 5 Best Yamaha Classical Guitars in 2023 – The Only Guide You Need

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Teemu Suomala

photo displays Pranshu, who works as a writer at guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Pranshu Nigam

Pranshu has been playing guitar since 2014, after having played the piano for 10 years.

He’s all about acoustic & classical guitars and jamming around with unusual tunings. He mixes modern percussive fingerstyle technique and Flamenco music into his own playing. Pranshu also runs his own guitar website, Harmonyvine. Check Pranshu playing here!

displays Edward Bond and Gibson Guitar

Editor: Edward Bond

Edward has been playing the guitar since 2002. So Edward has over 20 years of experience as a guitarist, has authored 15 guitar books, has written for renowned music blogs, and spent a decade teaching music. He began merging his passion for writing and music in 2020 and has written for big guitar websites such as Guitar Head Publishing and KillerGuitarRigs.com.

Originally from Seattle, Edward moved to Norway in 2021 for a master’s in music. He’s studied at the Jazz Institute Berlin and Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and currently resides in Trondheim. His education includes a European Jazz Master’s, a diploma in Film and Game Scoring from Sofia, and a Bachelor’s in Jazz from University of Oregon.

Edward has played in numerous bands and currently, Edward works on his own project Starship Infinity


Yamaha NTX1 Nylon String Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Brown Sunburst

Best Overall – Yamaha NTX1

Reviewer: Pranshu Nigam

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

Pros:
-Slim and comfortable design.
-Advanced NX bracing for better low-end projection.
-Piezo pickup with 3-band EQ & tuner.
-Perfect for players coming from a steel-string acoustic electric guitar.

Cons:
-Not for folks who prefer a traditional classical guitar.
-Sounds a bit brighter than deep-bodied classicals.

Who is this guitar for?
This is THE nylon-string guitar for all the electric or steel-string converts.

Feel free to use it with a pick for some juicy lead playing, play with your bare fingernails for that traditional classical experience, or even practice your Flamenco styles on this one.

This guitar can handle all of that!

4.6

How Yamaha NTX1 sounds:

Tim Lerch – Yamaha NTX1 Demo

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The Next Best:

Runner Up – Yamaha CG192S/192C

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Superior tonewood choices.
  • Bright tone and punchy sound.
  • Terrific finish and construction quality.
  • Very comfortable to play.

Cons:

  • The nut and saddle are made of urea (plastic).
  • Might need some setup out of the box.

Who is this guitar for?

This is for you if you’re a student or an intermediate guitarist. Also, this is a fantastic upgrade from a basic cheap guitar.

No fancy inlays or rosettes. No shiny golden tuners. No electronics.

It’s a solid, well-built, super-playable, traditional classical guitar.

Unless you really need plug-and-play capabilities, the Yamaha CG192 is a no-brainer!

 

Premium Pick – Yamaha GC22S/GC22C

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • A solid body that gets better with age.
  • Pure and rich bass that doesn’t overpower the highs.
  • Exceptional detail and expression in the sound.
  • Professional quality at a very competitive price.

Cons:

  • Urea nut and saddle.
  • No truss rod.

Who is this guitar for?

The Yamaha GC22 is for professional classical guitarists and session musicians.

It’s also a perfect upgrade for someone from a mid-range classical guitar. You’ll witness the difference in playability and tone from day 1.

It’ll elevate your performances and bring out the best of your skills, whether performing on a stage or recording in a studio.

Best Budget Classical Guitar – Yamaha C40II

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Excellent value for the money.
  • Yamaha’s quality control is unmatched.
  • It makes a decent sound for the price.
  • Will last an entire lifetime.

Cons:

  • Still a pretty basic beginner guitar.
  • No electronics.
  • The setup isn’t as silky-smooth as some expensive guitars.

Who is this guitar for?

For a young learner who doesn’t want to spend thousands on your first guitar, the Yamaha C40II is one of the best choices today.

It’s a well-built and reliable workhorse that’s enough to get you started with some nylon-string action!

Best for Traveling/Silent UseYamaha SLG200N Silent Guitar

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • A collapsible and lightweight design ideal for traveling.
  • Feedback-free electronics with built-in effects.
  • The truss rod makes neck adjustment very convenient.
  • Can plug headphones directly.

Cons:

  • It might take some time to get used to.

Who is this guitar for?

For late-night practice sessions: Plug in your headphones (or even play it unplugged), and no one’s gonna hear your mess-ups!

For travel: The SLG200N can be the perfect travel companion if you’re unwilling to bring your expensive concert instrument.

For electric converts: The slim body and sleek neck design will appeal to electric guitar players or anyone looking for modern playability.

Compare the Key Specs

ModelPrice Range ($-$$$$)Body StyleTopBack & SidesNeck MaterialNeck ShapeFretboardNut MaterialNut WidthElectronicsSaddleScale LengthOur Rating
Yamaha NTX1$$NTX1 ClassicalSolid sitka spruceNato or OkumeNatoModern22 frets walnut fingerboard with 23.6″ radiusTech XL Black TusqUrea1.875”YesUrea25.5″4.6
Yamaha CG192S/192C$$$Classical GuitarSolid spruce or cedarRosewoodAfrican mahoganyStandard Classical18 fret ebony fingerboard with flat radiusUrea2.05″2 Diamond Plus HumbuckerNo25.56″4.5
Yamaha GC22S/GC22C$$$$ClassicalSolid spruce solid cedarSolid rosewoodAfrican mahoganyStandard Classical18 fret ebony fingerboard with flat radiusUrea2.04″NoUrea25.56″4.8
Yamaha C40II$Classical GuitarLaminate spruceMeranti (mahogany)Nato (mahogany)Standard Classical18 fret rosewood fingerboardPlastic2″NoPlastic25.56″4
Yamaha SLG200N Silent Guitar$$$Collapsible Travel ClassicalMahogany body with rosewood/maple frameMahoganyTraditional Western19 fret rosewood fingerboard with flat radiusUrea1.9″YesUrea25.5″4.6

Compare The Tonewoods:

Graphic compares acoustic guitar tonewoods

Top: Solid Sitka Spruce

Back & Sides: Nato or Okume

Neck: Nato

Fretboard: Walnut

The fretboard and neck don’t affect the tone much.

Top: Solid spruce or cedar

Back & Sides: Rosewood

Neck: African Mahogany

Fretboard: Ebony

Top: Solid spruce solid cedar

Back & Sides: Solid Rosewood

Neck: African Mahogany

Fretboard: Ebony

Top: Laminate Spruce

Back & Sides: Meranti (mahogany)

Neck: Nato (mahogany)

Fretboard: Rosewood

Top: No top

Back & Sides: Mahogany body with rosewood/maple frame

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Rosewood

We got the specs from the Yamaha site.

For more cool info about tonewoods, check this acoustic guitar tonewoods article.


Finding a quality intermediate classical guitar was a nightmare when I started my guitar journey.

But brands like Yamaha and Cordoba have entirely changed the scene now! These 5 best Yamaha classical guitars put all preconceptions about factory-produced classicals in the shade. Rich sound, flawless fit-and-finish, and effortless playability are the name of the game here!

When picking these guitars, I’ve looked for the following factors:

How does the guitar feel when you play?

  • Neck profile, body shape and size, hardware quality and finish, etc.
  • How and where will you play your guitar?
    • In the studio?
    • Traveling with it?
    • Or just bedroom practice?
  • How does the guitar compare with other models and brands in the same price category?

Read on to find which Yamaha classical guitar is the right fit for your needs!


Top 5 Best Yamaha Classical Guitars

3 Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying

Wood choices matter much more for acoustic instruments than electric guitars. If you’re tight on budget, try to get at least a solid top guitar with laminate back and sides for the best value.

Do you need the guitar just for home practice? Will you be performing at cafes or small venues? Do you plan to record yourself? Answers to these questions will suggest if it’s worth paying extra for an acoustic-electric instrument.

Classical guitars usually have a flat fretboard and wider neck than steel-string acoustics. The action is also somewhat higher.

However, a few modern innovations like the Yamaha NTX1 and SLG200N Silent Guitar give you an “electric” feel even with nylon strings. You can consider those if standard classical bodies feel awkward to you.


Best Overall – Yamaha NTX1

Best Yamaha Classical Guitar - Yamaha NTX1 Nylon String Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Brown Sunburst
Yamaha NTX1 Nylon String Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Brown Sunburst

Specs

Body StyleNTX1 Classical
TopSolid sitka spruce
Back & SidesNato or Okume
Neck MaterialNato
Neck ShapeModern
Fretboard22 frets walnut fingerboard with 23.6″ radius
Nut MaterialUrea
Nut Width1.875”
ElectronicsYes
SaddleUrea
Scale-Length25.5″

The Yamaha NTX1 is among the best performance-oriented classical guitars ever designed!

Classical guitars have always been my thing. But I know a lot of friends who find the wide neck and deep body of a standard classical guitar too unwieldy.

Well, I have good news for all those folks!

The NTX Series was designed to ease the transition from electric to nylon string guitars. It combines plugged-in classical tones with a modern neck and body profile for better comfort and playability. This slim nato body is similar to what you’ll find with the APX Series guitars. Also, having a cutaway is a rare treat for nylon string guitars.

You can basically SHRED on this guitar!

The 48mm nut is also slightly narrower than a typical 52mm classical neck. This means reaching frets further away or playing complex chords is a piece of cake!

The Yamaha NTX1 nails it in the electronics department. The guitar comes with Yamaha’s new Atmosfeel under-saddle piezo pickup. The best part about this system is that there are six separate string sensors coupled with a transducer and an internal mic. The transducer picks up the low end while the microphone rounds the tone and adds depth.

There’s also a 3-band EQ and an onboard digital tuner, which are handy during performances.

Imagine having a nylon-string guitar that can do all of that. And that too at such a steal price point. Can’t beat that!

This is the perfect instrument for gigs at a local coffee shop or small clubs. And when you’re alone at home, the NTX1 is a joy to record while plugged in.

How this guitar sounds:

Tim Lerch – Yamaha NTX1 Demo

Summary

Pros:

  • Slim and comfortable design.
  • Advanced NX bracing for better low-end projection.
  • Piezo pickup with 3-band EQ & tuner.
  • Perfect for players coming from a steel-string acoustic electric guitar.

Cons:

  • Not for folks who prefer a traditional classical guitar.
  • Sounds a bit brighter than deep-bodied classicals.

Who is this guitar for?

This is THE nylon-string guitar for all the electric or steel-string converts.

Feel free to use it with a pick for some juicy lead playing, play with your bare fingernails for that traditional classical experience, or even practice your Flamenco styles on this one.

This guitar can handle all of that!

Who is this guitar NOT for?

It might NOT be the best option for classical purists, but Yamaha has a solution to that as well.

If you prefer a traditional classical body with a wider neck and 12 frets to the body, Yamaha also makes the NCX Series, which might be what you want.

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Runner Up – Yamaha CG192S/192C

Yamaha Cg192s Spruce Top Classical Guitar Natural
Yamaha Cg192s Spruce Top Classical Guitar Natural

Specs

Body StyleClassical Guitar
TopSolid spruce or cedar
Back & SidesRosewood
Neck MaterialAfrican mahogany
Neck ShapeStandard Classical
Fretboard18 fret ebony fingerboard with flat radius
Nut MaterialUrea
Nut Width2.05″
ElectronicsNo
SaddleUrea
Scale-Length25.56″

If you’re all about traditional looks and design, then the Yamaha CG Series is for you!

I think the CG192 is the perfect middle-ground regarding quality and affordability. It’s a decent step up from the entry-level Yamahas like the C40II (reviewed later). It is much nicer and has better sound overall, but still not very expensive.

Yamaha makes both solid spruce and cedar top variants of this one. They’re aptly named CG192S and CG192C, respectively. Both are exactly the same guitars except for the top wood.

Now hear me out:

There’s no conclusive answer to whether spruce or cedar is better. It boils down to personal opinion. I prefer spruce if I play Flamenco and cedar for Western classical music. But that’s just because cedar is more prone to damage through nails.

According to Yamaha’s website, spruce will give you a loud, clear tone that improves as the wood matures, whereas cedar produces a bright, warm, and balanced tone that’s highly responsive. But no matter the wood choice, both guitars have plenty of projection to fill an entire room with soft and intricate character.

Plus, the neck stability is top-notch, thanks to its sturdy 3-ply laminate neck. I also love that the matte finish on its fretboard is smooth but never slippery!

Oh, and let’s not forget about that magical combo of rosewood back & sides, mahogany neck, and ebony fretboard. It gives it a warm and dynamic sound that’s very versatile. Anything from intricate graceful notes to those powerful arpeggios and solos sounds phenomenal on this guitar.

If I wanted a traditional classical guitar to begin my musical journey today, I’d stop reading and get this guitar!

How this guitar sounds:

Recensione Chitarra Classica (Classical Guitar Review) Yamaha CG192C

Summary

Pros:

  • Superior tonewood choices.
  • Bright tone and punchy sound.
  • Terrific finish and construction quality.
  • Very comfortable to play.

Cons:

  • The nut and saddle are made of urea (plastic).
  • Might need some setup out of the box.

Who is this guitar for?

This is for you if you’re a student or an intermediate guitarist. Also, this is a fantastic upgrade from a basic cheap guitar. No fancy inlays or rosettes. No shiny golden tuners. No electronics. It’s a solid, well-built, super-playable, traditional classical guitar.

Unless you really need plug-and-play capabilities, the Yamaha CG192 is a no-brainer!

Pro Tip: If you want to save a few bucks, get the CG182 instead, which is the same guitar but with a nato neck and slightly downgraded tuning machines.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

If you need electronics, then you have to skip this one.

If you ask me, built-in amplification isn’t a deal breaker. You’ll rarely see seasoned classical guitarists use a pickup anyway (they’ll always mic it).

Also, if you’re a professional classical guitarist who needs top-tier sound and premium handcrafted design, you should check the Yamaha GC Series instead, which is my premium pick.

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Premium Pick – Yamaha GC22S/GC22C

Yamaha GC22C Classical - Natural
Yamaha GC22C Classical – Natural

Specs

Body StyleClassical
TopSolid spruce solid cedar
Back & SidesSolid rosewood
Neck MaterialAfrican mahogany
Neck ShapeStandard Classical
Fretboard18 fret ebony fingerboard with flat radius
Nut MaterialUrea
Nut Width2.04″
ElectronicsNo
SaddleUrea
Scale-Length25.56″

Yamaha has done it, folks!

A factory-built guitar that can keep up with luthier-made guitars and doesn’t cost a house. That’s music to my ears!

The GC Series is Yamaha’s premium classical guitar lineup. These guitars are handcrafted in their Japan and China workshops and genuinely reflect the company’s top-tier quality and craftsmanship.

Although the Yamaha GC range covers a considerable budget spectrum, from under $1000 to above $10,000, the GC22 is the sweet spot for most people. It has everything you need in a professional classical guitar:

  • Premium all-solid construction – Solid spruce (GC22S) OR American cedar (GC22C) top paired with solid rosewood body.
  • Perfectly set action height out of the box.
  • Clear and balanced tone across all six strings.
  • Loud enough to fill a professional concert room.

Also, the tonal clarity and richness will get even better as the guitar ages.

It’s an instrument that evolves along with your guitar-playing skills!

Performing with this guitar is quite a memorable experience for you and your beloved audience. The phenomenal acoustics, flawless fretwork, and excellent craftsmanship are too good to pass on.

The only thing I didn’t like is that the nut and saddle are made of urea. I guess Yamaha decided to save the embellishments for the higher GC32 model. I’d replace them with natural bone when I get this guitar.

How this guitar sounds:

ヤマハクラシックギター「音のカタログ」GC22C (Yamaha Classical Guitar “Sound Catalog” GC22C)

Summary

Pros:

  • A solid body that gets better with age.
  • Pure and rich bass that doesn’t overpower the highs.
  • Exceptional detail and expression in the sound.
  • Professional quality at a very competitive price.

Cons:

  • Urea nut and saddle.
  • No truss rod.

Who is this guitar for?

The Yamaha GC22 is for professional classical guitarists and session musicians.

It’s also a perfect upgrade for someone from a mid-range classical guitar. You’ll witness the difference in playability and tone from day 1. It’ll elevate your performances and bring out the best of your skills, whether performing on a stage or recording in a studio.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

Not for newbies or anyone looking to get started with nylon string guitar!

Build your technique with a budget classical first, then consider a more premium instrument like this later.

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Best Budget Classical Guitar – Yamaha C40II

Yamaha C40II Full-scale Classical - Natural
Yamaha C40II Full-scale Classical – Natural

Specs

Body StyleClassical Guitar
TopLaminate spruce
Back & SidesMeranti (mahogany)
Neck MaterialNato (mahogany)
Neck ShapeStandard Classical
Fretboard18 fret rosewood fingerboard
Nut MaterialPlastic
Nut Width2″
ElectronicsNo
SaddlePlastic
Scale-Length25.56″

I’ve talked about the Yamaha C40II a few times on this website. It’s one of the best Yamaha guitars for beginners on a tight budget.

It’s the cheapest classical guitar that’s well-built, sounds good, and is NOT a nuisance to play.

Yes, you only get a laminate top, so the overall sound and projection aren’t as good as the high-end classical guitars. But we can’t expect a solid top at this price, right?

It’s built like a traditional classical guitar: 

  • 2-inch nut.
  • Flat rosewood fingerboard
  • Full-sized body.

This is perfect for beginners who want to get started with learning proper technique and playing their favorite classical pieces. The C40II keeps up with Yamaha’s reputation of offering quality levels that exceed its price tag. It’s the benchmark of low-cost beginner classical guitars if you ask me.

Sure, you won’t be performing in a classical orchestra with this, but it doesn’t cost $1,000+ as some professional guitars do.

Pro Tip: If you’re buying the C40II, I highly recommend paying 10-20 bucks to get it set up by a professional. It makes a lot of difference in the playability,

How this guitar sounds:

Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Demo | Yamaha Music London

Summary

Pros:

  • Excellent value for the money.
  • Yamaha’s quality control is unmatched.
  • It makes a decent sound for the price.
  • Will last an entire lifetime.

Cons:

  • Still a pretty basic beginner guitar.
  • No electronics.
  • The setup isn’t as silky-smooth as some expensive guitars.

Who is this guitar for?

For a young learner who doesn’t want to spend thousands on your first guitar, the Yamaha C40II is one of the best choices today.

It’s a well-built and reliable workhorse that’s enough to get you started with some nylon-string action!

Who is this guitar NOT for?

If your needs are anything more than bedroom practice, like for small concerts and recording, I suggest spending a little more and getting a higher model.

Remember that, in the end, it’s still a pretty basic classical guitar, and you will need to upgrade once you get good at it.

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Best for Traveling/Silent Use – Yamaha SLG200N Silent Guitar

Yamaha SLG200N Silent Guitar - Trans Black
Yamaha SLG200N Silent Guitar – Trans Black

Specs

Body StyleCollapsible Travel Classical
Top
Back & SidesMahogany body with rosewood/maple frame
Neck MaterialMahogany
Neck ShapeTraditional Western
Fretboard19 fret rosewood fingerboard with flat radius
Nut MaterialUrea
Nut Width1.9″
ElectronicsYes
SaddleUrea
Scale-Length25.5″

If you ever wanted to play an acoustic guitar without disturbing your neighbors or family, Yamaha has worked it out for you!

The SLG200N is the ultimate practice tool. And probably the best travel guitar ever designed!

First things first, let’s start with the COLLAPSIBLE body. The top half of the body can be detached via two screws. The guitar can be carried in a narrow gig bag small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin. Even with this novel design, it feels sturdy and well-built.

Once you get used to the body, the guitar feels and plays like a typical electric guitar.

The SLG200N houses the following controls on the top frame:

  • Power button.
  • Chromatic tuner.
  • Main Volume.
  • AUX Volume.
  • Bass and Treble knobs.
  • A single effects knob for Reverb 1, Reverb 2, and Chorus.
  • SRT-mic blend knob.

And when talking about connection interfaces, SLG200N has:

  • Line out.
  • 1/8” Phone input.
  • AUX-in.
  • DC-in.

You see? Everything you need is available right at the reach of your palms.

But does the lack of wood result in zero sound and sustain?

Well, in fact, it’s quite the opposite! The guitar sounds surprisingly natural when plugged in. There’s no funny noise or hissing. It just sounds like an amplified classical guitar! You can get those authentic classical tones if you turn the mic up. Blend some of the piezo pickup for a little more snap and attack.

The built-in reverb and chorus effects sound rich and organic. Use a set of headphones or a good practice amp like the Yamaha THR5, and you have that perfect practice setup. Well, the guitar is not 100% silent. So you can still practice without plugging in headphones or an amp. 

You do need a quiet environment to do so.

How this guitar sounds:

Yamaha – SLG200N – Nylon -String Guitar – Music Demo

Summary

Pros:

  • A collapsible and lightweight design ideal for traveling.
  • Feedback-free electronics with built-in effects.
  • The truss rod makes neck adjustment very convenient.
  • Can plug headphones directly.

Cons:

  • It might take some time to get used to.

Who is this guitar for?

  • For late-night practice sessions: Plug in your headphones (or even play it unplugged), and no one’s gonna hear your mess-ups!
  • For travel: The SLG200N can be the perfect travel companion if you’re unwilling to bring your expensive concert instrument.
  • For electric converts: The slim body and sleek neck design will appeal to electric guitar players or anyone looking for modern playability.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

If you prefer the traditional look and feel of the classical guitar, then this guitar might feel alien to you.

Also, if you play in mic’d-up settings, you should get a full-bodied classical.

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Verdict

Let me share my personal opinion on all these guitars.

My top two picks are the Yamaha NTX1 and CG192 because you get the most value per dollar from these. Between these two, it all comes down to whether you prefer a modern acoustic-electric (NTX1) or a more traditional instrument (CG192).

You can certainly go for the Yamaha GC22 with a bigger budget. You won’t regret it!

If you travel a lot, enjoy silent practice, or love trying out novel things, the SLG200N Silent Guitar will spark exciting conversations with your colleagues.

And if you’re a beginner just looking to test the waters and see if classical guitar is your thing, then the C40II is the best affordable and well-built option.


Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


Buyer’s Guide

How To Choose The Best Yamaha Guitar For Yourself?

My best advice for anyone looking for a new guitar would be to “know your needs.”

Yamaha has classical guitars that cater to a beginner with 0 experience, a professional classical guitarist, and everything in between. Basically, a classical guitar for every price point. Begin by first narrowing down your budget and look at all available products. You can then pick the style you’re most comfortable with and which suits your playing needs the best.

If my budget is $500, I may consider a CG series like the CG172, CG182, or CG192 or NTX/NCX model guitar.

What Are The Different Yamaha Classical Guitar Series?

Yamaha currently has these series in their classical lineup:

C Series

These are Yamaha’s entry-level classical guitars. These guitars are known for their affordability, making them suitable for beginners and students who are just starting their musical journey.

The C series is basic regarding features and materials but offers a solid foundation for learning classical guitar.

CG Series

The Yamaha CG series is a step up from the C series regarding craftsmanship and tonewoods used. These classical guitars are designed to provide improved playability and sound quality for students, beginners, and intermediate players.

The CG series is popular among musicians who want a reliable and reasonably priced classical guitar.

GC Series

The GC series features Yamaha’s top-of-the-line classical guitars with superior construction and premium tonewoods. These instruments are designed for more serious students and advanced players who seek enhanced resonance and tonal richness.

The GC series represents a higher level of craftsmanship and is suitable for players looking for the finest classical guitars.

NX Series

The Yamaha NX series blends traditional construction with modern design elements. These are contemporary classical guitars designed for players who appreciate a balance of classical tradition and innovation.

The NX series often incorporates fresh design and construction techniques to deliver a unique playing experience.

TransAcoustic Series

Imagine walking with an entire mini studio setup with you at all times. That’s what Yamaha’s innovative TransAcoustic technology brings to the table! These guitars generate onboard reverb and chorus effects by vibrating the entire guitar. No external gear, amplifiers, or pedals are required!

The TransAcoustic series provides a versatile and immersive playing experience for practice and performance.


All About Guitar Tonewoods

When you walk into a guitar store, you’re likely to be bombarded with technical terms about the types and qualities of wood used in different guitars.

To make things easier for you, I’ll help you understand the different types of tonewoods used in classical guitars:

Spruce

Displays a spruce tonewood

A light, strong wood with a bright, clear, and powerful tone. It’s great for any style and is often used for the guitar’s top. Spruce is available in all price ranges and is known to improve with age.

Cedar

Displays a cedar tonewood

A soft, warm wood with a mellow, earthy, rich tone. It’s suitable for finger-picking and nylon strings. It’s also often used for the guitar’s top but matures faster than spruce.

Rosewood

Displays a rosewood tonewood

A dark, dense wood with a deep and balanced tone. It’s famous for the back and sides of the guitar, as it matches well with spruce and cedar tops.

Mahogany

displays mahogany wood and reveals how it can affect the sound of electric guitar

A medium-density wood with a warm, bright, and punchy tone. It is often used for the guitar’s back, sides, neck, and fingerboard. It gives a more direct and focused sound than rosewood.

Maple

displays maple wood and reveals how it can affect the sound of electric guitar

Maple is a light-colored wood that’s very hard and dense. It’s generally used for the back and sides, but maple top guitars can be found. It’s best suited for playing plugged-in on stage as the tone is exceptionally crisp and clear and cuts through the mix.

Many other tonewoods, such as ebony, cocobolo, sapele, koa, walnut, etc., each have their own sound and look. Although they’re not as popular among classical guitars.


Solid vs. Laminate Top?

You’ve probably heard that the top is the most critical factor in determining the sound of your guitar. Well, that’s true for the most part!

Let me explain the differences between the two types of guitar tops: solid and laminate:

  • A solid top is made of one piece of wood (sometimes two pieces joined together). It sounds better than a laminate top because it vibrates as a single unit with the strings. It also improves with age as the wood adapts to the vibration.
  • A laminate top is made of several thin layers of wood glued together. It sounds inferior to a solid top because it vibrates less freely with the strings. It also does not improve with age as much as a solid top.

In most cases, a solid top guitar sounds better than a laminate one, but other factors can affect the sound, such as the type of wood, the bracing pattern, the shape and size of the body, etc.

A laminate top guitar can still sound good if well-made and well-played!

Conversely, a solid top guitar is more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, which can cause cracks or warping in the wood over time if not properly maintained.

Since a laminate top guitar is cheaper and more stable under extreme environmental conditions, it can be more suitable for travel or outdoor use.


FAQs

Do Pickups Sound Good On Nylon String Guitars?

A piezo pickup will not be able to 100% replicate the acoustics and richness of a good classical guitar. 

That’s why professionals always use a high-quality mic while performing or recording themselves.

Some classical guitars come with a piezo-mic blend feature, like the SLG200N. Turning the mic pickup up lets you get close to a natural sound.

Also, magnetic pickups won’t work on a nylon-string classical guitar. They only work with steel strings.

Are Yamaha Guitars Worth The Money?

Yamaha guitars will almost always offer more than what you paid for in terms of the instruments’ quality, sonic versatility, and longevity.

Over 16 years as a musician, I’ve rarely encountered buyers who regretted getting a Yamaha guitar. This applies to their budget models as well as super-premium models.

Check out this post to learn about the value-for-money, features, and quality control of Yamaha guitars.

Which Yamaha Classical Guitar Is Best For Beginners?

The Yamaha C40II is a no-brainer if you’re super tight on budget. But if you can bump up your budget slightly, I highly recommend one of the CG Series guitars.

These guitars will offer you easy playability and versatile sound that you need to build a solid foundation on the instrument.

Bonus: If you want a beginner steel-string acoustic from Yamaha, check out our roundup of the best beginner Yamaha guitars.


Conclusion

These were some of the best Yamaha classical guitars based on their sound, playability, design, and price.

If I were you, I’d pick the Yamaha NTX1 just because of the plug-and-play functionality and modern feel.

If I had to pick a traditional-style classical, the CG192 would be my top pick!

Between all the products we covered and the runner-ups, I hope you’ll be able to find the ideal guitar for your style and taste.

If you have further questions, please ping me or comment below!

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Pranshu Nigam

Pranshu has been playing guitar since 2014, after having played the piano for 10 years. He’s all about acoustic & classical guitars and jamming around with unusual tunings. He mixes modern percussive fingerstyle technique and Flamenco music into his own playing. Pranshu also runs his own guitar website, Harmonyvine.com. Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, guitar amplifiers, fingerpicking, and percussive fingerstyle You can connect with Pranshu on LinkedIn or just email him.

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