Yamaha C40: A Classic Beginner's Choice

Published on 25 October 2021


The beginner’s classical guitar: it is a time-honoured tradition indeed. The nylon string classical guitar is the first port of call for a great many budding guitarists: a trusty companion as they embark on a life-long lifestyle upgrade. Why classical? Well, nylon strings are more forgiving on the fingers, and make a pleasant, expressive sound, even in the early throes of learning. It doesn’t require too much effort to make them sound nice, and that’s half the battle in those early months or learning.

Christmas time is of course a very popular occasion in which to give or receive a guitar. With classical guitars, it’s easy to get a little lost looking at so many similar looking instruments. If only there was a good beginner’s model available from a reputed company, one that is backed by countless guitar teachers up and down the country! Wouldn’t that make things simpler? You could just go directly to that model and reassure yourself that you’ve bought something that’s a real instrument, something that will promote playing and learning. Wouldn’t that be great?


Yamaha C40

Experienced players reading this blog will not be surprised to learn that we regard the Yamaha C40 as the ultimate nylon string choice for beginners. This guitar has held the top spot in this category for many years now, due to the simple factors of quality construction, a good sound and an easy playing feel.

The Yamaha C40 is more than a competent instrument to begin your journey on. In fact, it’s not just beginners and teachers who prize the C40: it’s established guitarists looking to transition across from steel string guitar to nylon string. Nylon guitars almost always have a large, wide neck compared to steel models, and so not every player finds moving across to be an easy task. With a guitar like this - which is nice to play and extremely cost-effective – those players can try out the nylon experience for relatively little cost, and still enjoy a good instrument.

The Yamaha C40 is very traditional in design, with a scale length (the distance from where the strings meet the headstock to where they pass the 12th fret) of 25 9/16”, a value that is typical for classicals. Also, the width of the neck is 52mm, perfect for fingering open position chords. These traditional dimensions are partly why the Yamaha C40 is popular with a cross-section of players: it gives them an authentic playing experience, without it being a difficult playing experience.

Don’t let the price tag fool you: this is perfect for serious classical students as well as those dipping their toes into the pool of nylon string guitars. The craftsmanship is high for any affordable guitar, and is pretty spectacular for this price! Yamaha don’t know how to make bad gear, and this entry-level guitar is ample proof.


Not Just for Classical Styles

It’s true that lots of players who use nylon string classical guitars do so in order to perform the classical repertoire, such as Bach and Handel pieces. This is great, but to those who aren’t classical scholars, it can paint an overtly stuffy picture of an instrument that’s actually far more colourful. Many other styles and disciplines from across the world use nylon string guitars as the basis for their music. Flamenco, from Benidorm in Spain is an obvious example, since the style sounds and feels flat out wrong on anything other than a nylon string guitar!


On top of that, you’ll find the nylon string guitar featuring in many North African, West African, Central and South American musical styles, from Tango to Son to Highlife! This rainbow of musical worlds all utilise the melodic and percussive benefits of nylon string guitars. Explore them all with this low cost, high quality Yamaha C40!

Also, if you record music at home, adding a nylon string guitar to your musical armoury is always useful: it’s another texture sound and even inspiration for your compositions. This model will give you that without breaking the bank. As an investment, it’s easy to justify!


Yamaha CS40 ¾: The Smaller Sibling

It could be that you find full-sized guitars – or their neck dimensions – a little too much to take on. Fear not! You can’t be the only one, because Yamaha produce a 3/4 -sized version of the same guitar under the name of the Yamaha CS40. It’s the same style, same design, same everything, it’s just slightly smaller in the scale length area that we mentioned earlier (22 13/16” instead of the full-sized 25 9/16”). Overall, the guitar has been shrunken down slightly, so it’s much more manageable for smaller bodies and smaller hands. It’s still a blast to play, and sounds lovely.

We’d actually recommend this as a sound choice for the travelling guitarist, too. No matter your skill level, you’ll have fun with this downsized gem, and it’s easier to bring around with you, whether on public transport, in the hotel room, kept in the boot of the car etc. The Yamaha CS40 is just a handy thing to have in general!


Yamaha Quality at Entry-Level Prices

As we said at the beginning of the article, there is no real secret as to why the Yamaha C40 and its smaller sibling the CS40 are such popular choices for beginners. They just deliver on the promise of a good sounding, well-made guitar that comes in at a superb price. It’s a simple situation, and that’s why we are more than happy to recommend them for all who seek to introduce a little nylon love into their life this year!

Click to View the Yamaha C40 Nylon String Guitar

Ray McClelland


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