Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar is one of the most popular Nylon String Acoustic Guitars for beginners on the market. And that’s not a surprise, because Yamaha is known for its good value for money guitars. But is C40 really one of them? What you should know when buying a classical guitar? Let’s find out!
First: I bought my Yamaha C40 in the summer of 2011 and I still own it. So this review comes from a real user. I have spent countless hours with this guitar.
If you are in a hurry I will quickly say this:
- Yamaha C40 is a great option for beginners who want to buy a classical acoustic guitar at an affordable price.
- If you have been playing for a while and want to good value for money classical guitar on a budget, I would recommend this for you too.
- If you have more money to spend, buy the best guitar you can afford.
Now, let’s go through a couple of important things to know before buying a classical guitar.
Things to Know Before Buying Classical Guitar
Here is some helpful info about classical guitars in general for you:
The action of the strings: Space between strings and fretboard is bigger in classical guitars. Aka. ”string action is higher”. That makes playing a little bit harder. There is some space for adjustments, but not much.
String material: Nylon strings are used in classical guitars. These are much softer than steel strings. Strings are also easier to press down because the strings have less tension. This makes things easier for your fingers.
Laminate top and solid top: Top of your guitar(the soundboard) is the front side of the guitar’s body. The laminate top is basically layers of wood glued together. This style is used when building cheaper guitars. The solid top is a solid piece of wood placed to the top of your guitar.
The solid top provides slightly nicer sound and ages better than a laminated top.
The laminate top guitar is cheaper and easier to take care of. And the sound is not too bad(it’s sometimes hard to notice the difference).
But in general, the solid top is always a better choice. But if you are a beginner or have a tight budget, the laminate top is not too bad either.
Wider neck: Classical guitars have wider necks than electric and steel-string acoustic guitars. So if you own small hands(like me) classical guitars are a little bit harder to play in general. But you will learn if you are willing to practice.
Body: You have many different body size options when picking up a classical guitar. Buying the right sized guitar makes playing easier for you.
What music you want to play: Do you just want to play classical music? Or is flamenco your thing? It’s important to pick an instrument that suits your music taste.
These were a couple key things to keep in mind when buying a classical guitar.
Now, let’s get into the review!
Yamaha C40 Review
I sliced this review into 6 sections:
- What I think it’s made for
Let’s get started with the quality.
Back and the sides of the body are made of meranti layered laminate. It’s a cheap but strong wood. Very durable and I have noticed that too, my C40 has been trough moving from apartment to apartment even without a gig bag and it still holds up great.
The top of this guitar is spruce(layered laminate). Spruce is a great all-rounder material. It provides a variety of different sounds. The building style is layered laminate, so it won’t age well as a solid top guitar. That will have some effect on the sound in the long run, but during my almost 9 years with C40, I haven’t noticed much change in sound. (It should be noted, that for this price range, there is no other option than a laminate top.)
The neck is made of nato. It’s similar to mahogany, the biggest difference being the price. Nato is very durable wood so it can go through moving and rougher playing too. The fretboard is rosewood and I definitely like that. It has that familiar rosewood smoothens in it.
These materials definitely make this guitar a super durable and good fit for anybody who wants their guitar to survive in the storms of a guitarist life.
Tuners are really solid in my opinion. Really smooth to use and this guitar stays in tune incredibly well. Even after almost 9 years. When I had some issues with my health, this guitar hanged on a wall without any playing for months. When I picked it up, the tuning was almost spot-on. I love when I don’t have to tune my guitar all the time.
Chrome hardware(for example: fret wires) are also surprisingly good for the price. Not much color changes and all of the parts are still well attached.
Out of the box finish of this guitar is great for the price. No rough edges.
Strings that come with this guitar are not so good. You can definitely play with those, but if you replace the string, you get a much nicer feel and sound out of your guitar. If you want to replace your strings, I would recommend these: D’Addario EXP45 Coated Classical Guitar Strings. (I use these at the moment.)
Overall, after almost 9 years, I don’t have any big complaints about the quality of Yamaha C40. Of course, if you spent a couple hundred more, you get a better quality guitar, but for the price, Yamaha C40 is hard to beat.
Looks of this guitar are basic. It doesn’t try to do anything fancy, but it’s not too boring either. C40 has some shapes around the soundhole. There are also some shapes carved to the head of the guitar. These give the guitar some character. For the price, I’m okay with the basic look.
Because the price of this guitar is low, body materials are cheaper. As I said earlier, materials are really durable. But how is the tone of this guitar with these materials?
The sound is warm and clean. This guitar provides a clean sound all over the fretboard. Notes played closer to the nut sound slightly better than notes closer to the body. And sometimes tone is a little bit dull and flat in my opinion, and the reason for that is probably cheaper building materials. But for the price that is acceptable.
C40 still gives you enough brightness and tones for low to high are decent.
Check this video to hear how Yamaha C40 sounds in action:
Overall, I have been happy with the tone of my Yamaha C40. Of course, it could be better, but when I remember what I paid for it, I’m 95% satisfied.
Yamaha C40 is a typical classical guitar. The neck is wide. It is not the easiest to play, but not hardest either, just a little bit harder than non-classical guitars.
Gladly, strings are easier for your fingers because of the use of nylon. Strings are also easier to press down. These are great news for beginners, because with nylon string guitar there is not so much finger pain when starting out.
The body of the guitar is smaller than in most of the regular-sized guitars, which makes playing a little bit easier, especially for a kid.
Action is spot on if you play closer to the nut. But when you move closer to the body, action is too high in my opinion. It’s not impossible to play, but it could be lower. You can adjust the action (I haven’t), but you can’t lower it much, because frets closer to the nut start making fret buzz easily.
If you look at all the aspects of this guitar, it’s still a little bit harder to play than most beginner guitars. Even with a smaller body and softer strings. The main factor of this being the neck of the guitar.
But I found out that playing this guitar, which is a little bit harder to play than guitars in general, has been an advantage for me. It’s like running with a weight in my legs. When I take those weights off, I run super fast and it feels easy. The same applies here. When I grab an easier to play guitar after playing my Yamaha C40, playing is super easy and smooth.
So, when you practice with Yamaha C40, things can be sometimes harder for you, but it makes you a better player. Of course, if you are a beginner, sometimes it’s wise to buy the easiest to play guitar possible. But if you want a classical guitar, Yamaha C40 is easy to play as it gets for this price range.
Overall, I’m happy with the playability of Yamaha C40. It’s not perfect but it’s good enough.
What Yamaha C40 is Made For?
It’s made for beginner guitar players who are striving to get better and want acoustic guitar at an affordable price.
It’s also great for players who want to buy a good-quality acoustic guitar at a budget price.
This guitar is sound-wise made for playing melodies and classical music. It handles acoustic riffs well too.
C40 can handle almost all kinds of music, but it’s not as versatile as steel-string acoustic guitars.
Here are the Pros and Cons of the Yamaha C40:
- Good quality
- Stays in tune amazingly well
- Sounds good
- Value for money is high
- It’s easier to play than most classical guitars…
- …It’s still a little bit harder to play than most guitars
- Sound could be brighter
- Out of the box strings should be better
In 2011 I was looking for an affordable, but good quality classical guitar, and that is what I get. For me, Yamaha C40 has been a great guitar which I’ve enjoyed playing. I still play it every week. I’ll give it 4,5/5 stars.
If you are looking for a classical guitar on a budget, Yamaha C40 is a great option for you. It’s better than many more expensive guitars. And it’s an excellent all-rounder classical guitar. I would recommend C40 to my friend.
For those who want to see more options, I’ll reveal a more expensive classical guitar and a great steel-string acoustic guitar.
The biggest difference between C40 and this is a top build style. CG182C has a solid top, and the sides and the back are made of rosewood, so the sound is better out of the box and in the long run. Playability-wise these are not far from each other. Being the more expensive, CG182C offers more quality and feels slightly smoother.
If you want a classical guitar and have a bigger budget, I would recommend this one for you.
I don’t own a steel-string acoustic at the moment, but for a while, I’ve been wanting to buy this one.
This guitar offers amazing playability. Steel-strings are a little bit harder for your fingers when starting out, but it’s still really easy and smooth to play. I had thought time finding out if this one has a solid top or not, but for the price tag, I’m pretty sure that it has a solid spruce top.
The sound of this guitar is really clear and bright. Old APX-500 had a slightly boxed sound, but Yamaha has done a good job with fixing that for this upgraded model.
If you are looking for a great all-around steel-string acoustic guitar, I recommend this.
I hope that this post helped you. If you have any questions about Yamaha C40, or about other guitars mentioned in this review, leave a comment down below. Feel free to share this post too.
Have fun playing and keep rocking!
Teemu ’’the 9 years with C40’’ Suomala