Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Review | My Personal Thoughts

Yamaha C40 Review, a personal look at a beginner classical guitar

In the world of guitars, Yamaha Guitars has established itself as an excellent option for those looking to buy a beginner classical guitar. My very first guitar was a Yamaha and I know of many others who have begun playing on one.

Even on their website, Yamaha notes that the C40 is a “full-sized classical guitar” that was built with “beginners” in mind.

So if you’re looking for an upgrade guitar you might want to check out other classical guitars available, but if you’re looking for a review of a good first-time beginner classical guitar, I think you’ll find this helpful.

My Yamaha C40 Review

The Yamaha C40 classical guitar for beginnersFirst of all, let me be clear that the Yamaha C40 is very much a beginner’s guitar and I’m keeping that in mind as I write this review. Anybody expecting a high-quality guitar for a price this low is kidding themselves.

Instead, I’m looking at this from the point of view of a person who has never owned a guitar before and wants to learn. Their budget is very tight and they’re not quite ready to invest big dollars into a hobby they’re not sure they’re going to like.

If that’s you, then read on!

The Yamaha C40 is one of the cheapest full-sized classical guitars on the market and acts as an excellent place to start learning if you prefer a classical.

It is manufactured with a Spruce wood top – which is common on guitars – as well as Meranti back and sides. The wood is laminate, meaning that the projection of the guitar won’t be quite as good as a solid wood guitar, but that’s one of the sacrifices you have to make with a beginner guitar.

The neck is wide like most all classical guitars and is made of Nato with a rosewood fretboard. Again, this is pretty standard.

Opening the Box

When you first receive the Yamaha C40, it comes boxed up and secured in a padded gig bag. The strings are already  put on the guitar which means that all you need to do is tune it up to begin playing. The beginner pack even comes with an electronic tuner to help with that!

What’s great about purchasing the C40 as a bundle is that it also comes with a guitar stand, a string winder, guitar polish, guitar rag, extra strings and a DVD to get you started.

–> Check pricing, reviews and ratings of the C40 pack online <–

It’s worth noting, however, that the factory strings aren’t that great. You’re probably going to want to change those within the first month or two so check out my guide to changing classical guitar strings for more help on that.

The Yamaha C40 pack available online for beginner classical guitarists

The C40 Sound

For more beginner guitarists, the sound from a Yamaha C40 will be sufficient to practice and lay a good foundation for future playing. For those who have a critical ear or who have been playing guitar for a while, you might notice that it has a more muted sound and doesn’t project like you might have hoped.

You will most likely want to change from the factory strings.  But, remember, as a beginner guitar don’t typically have a super-high quality of sound.

The C40 Feel

The advantage of purchasing a Yamaha over some no-name beginner guitar is that you know it will come out of the box feeling good. I’ve never seen any defects or problems with a C40 that affect playability.

The neck is smooth and the body is an appropriate size. If you’re purchasing this guitar for a younger player, you might consider the Yamaha CS40ii.  It is the same guitar but with a shorter scale length and thinner body. Basically, it will be more comfortable for them to play as they learn, which is a huge advantage.

–> Check pricing and ratings for the Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar <–

Size comparison bw CS40 and C40

The C40 Look

Finally, the Yamaha C40 has a gloss finish that is traditional with many classical guitars. It looks nice and has a bit of a “shine” that most people like.

You’ll want to keep a rag with you to wipe it down, as gloss tends to show fingerprints and smudges. Thankfully that comes with that pack!

Overall Impression of the C40

I highly recommend the Yamaha C40 as a first-time, beginner guitar for somebody who is just learning. You won’t be breaking the bank and the Yamaha quality is tons better than the no-name brands online.

The strings will need replacing and the sound is a bit muted.  So expect to upgrade in a year or two once you’ve had time to learn the guitar. Still, you’ll be glad you started on the Yamaha C40.  And, it will be a great guitar to pass down to the next generation of beginner guitarists!

–> Check pricing, reviews and ratings of the C40 pack online <–


40 thoughts on “Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Review | My Personal Thoughts

  1. Thanks mate for posting this up.

    My girl friend gifted me c40 recently. I am no expert in guitar but your review helped me understand about c40.


    1. My pleasure! Thanks for coming by to leave a comment 🙂 Enjoy the C40 and let me know what you think after you’ve had some time to play it a bit.

  2. Hi John..

    Thank you for Yamaha C40 reviews.

    I have a story to startwith 😐

    I purchased Yamaha C40 a year ago with full passion to learn guitar.

    However..with repeated efforts for learning beginners lessons ..I found that the fret and neck of Yamaha C40 are way too wide to fit in my hand to make a successful and complete and comfortably play chord ( to say the least )…which has dampened my spirit to learn guitar in whole.

    Please suggest some tips to for playing chords !!!!

    1. Hi Madhuri! Thanks for the comment and I’m sorry to hear you had a negative experience with the C40. The fact is that most every classical guitar like the C40 is going to have a much larger neck than what you might find on most acoustic guitars.

      While you may find this difficult to start with as a beginner, it’s actually an excellent way to train your hands and fingers to be more open when forming guitars (at least in my opinion).

      My suggestion is to stick with it for at least another week. If you’re still highly discouraged then go ahead and switch over to a smaller acoustic guitar whose neck isn’t as thick. Hope that helps!

    2. Madhuri- Dont give up. I had the same issue while learning acoustic guitar and now i have actually taken up classical guitar to train my left hand and fingers better – not to mention to develop great finger picking technique with right hand. I personally feel that every beginner must start with classical guitar.. once basic strength is achieved- it will be easier to go to acoustic if you wish to.. And- never start with electric guitar.
      Slug it out girl and you will not regret.

    3. A classical guitar like this has a very wide neck, which can make changing chords difficult, especially for beginners. I have an ADM classical, and it’s the same way. So please don’t blame the brand, classical guitars, or yourself. That’s just the way it is.

      Mike Kennedy runs a site called National Guitar Academy, and he has terrific ways to play chords easier for beginners. He calls them stepping stone chords. This is very good for classical guitar owners.

      Keep at it. You’ll get better!

      1. Thanks for the input! I’m about 6 months in and now have calcium deposits on my fretting wrist from the strain. Very painful! I’m using a Fender 125 Dreadnought. I use a wheelchair and find the body too big so I’m looking to change that.
        The string spacing in the Fender I’m using is great for picking! Input on body size is appreciated.

  3. Well, I just bought a C40, as I am a beginner and I am trying to gather knowledge all by myself as I have go to office and can not afford more time outside for classes. DO you think I will be able to grasp the basics ever because it is quite tough to play it and I have been trying around 2 hours a day?

  4. But can’t I learn for the first time on an acoustic one ? as “Suzuki SCG-36CE ” or “Gibson J200 ” ? And if it is hard can u please tell me why ?

  5. I have just recently bought the guitar as my guitar teacher recommended it for my grade 4 classical I have no issue with this guitar it is solid and clean sounding

  6. Hi, the yamaha c40 it’s a great guitar for beginners and hobbysts, dont upgrade this guitar after at least 2 years the formal classes (if you take seriously), then buy an all solid guitar ($1000~$1500) or any made in spain guitar with solid top, otherwise stick with c40, I have a C40 for over 10 years in perfect condition…great construction, for the price great finishing, good action string, very confortable neck (all standard classical guitars has 51mm~52mm neck width).

  7. Is the neck made of one piece or scarf joint? I’m really interested on buying this guitar.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I’m a fan of the C70, but honestly it’s more of a personal preference. Go to a guitar shop and try to play both of them if you can, then choose what you think feels best in your hands 🙂

  8. Hi Josh,

    I’m an absolute beginner guitar student who enjoys real classical music (such as Capricho Arabe or Asturias).

    I find your advice very helpful. Thanks much for posting and answering other people!!

    I’m on my way to purchase my very first guitar to start learning. I’m looking at Yamaha C40 or Cordoba C5. Obviously the C40 is way more cost effective and also comes in a pack and great for beginners. I’m just wondering if it’s really worth it to invest in the C5 as my very first guitar since I care seriously about the sound?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!!


  9. Hi Josh, My son started showing interest in learning Guitar. This is completely out of my area. As you said above, dont want to spend too much for the first guitar as my son lost interest in Piano after 5 years(finished GRADE-4 and passed in Merit). Having this experience in mind, I am searching for one now. Will this Yamaha C40 suitable for 12 year old child? Please advice. Many thanks in advance.

  10. I am an adult female beginner with small hands who hasn’t played for years. I gave up playing because the steel strings cut my fingers, even with callouses. I would like to find a guitar easy on my left hand. Since I am a beginner, the lesser tone quality isn’t a huge issue, but constantly adjusting strings (even with the tuning device) isn’t a plus. Would you recommend a couple of guitars for me to consider, including this one, if you do.
    Thank you.

  11. Hi,I’m going to buy a guitar for my son,who is 8 years old.He is interested in learning guitar. Is cs40 3/4 suitable for him?please help me ,thanks

    1. Hi,I’m going to buy a guitar for my son,who is 8 years old.He is interested in learning guitar. Is cs40 3/4 suitable for him?please help me ,thanks

      Whats the difference between c40 and cs40

  12. HI,i’m also going to buy this guitar ( yamaha c40) , just wanted to know that the guitar is having a good low action/neck profile, so that it is’nt very hard to play any note or chord .

  13. Are there any further more variants in C40? I have ordered for Yamaha Classical Guitar C40//02 at amazon.in. I am confused whether there’s a better version of C40 model? Or its same?

  14. I have a teenage daughter who is left handed and has a good span, who wants a first classical guitar. I understand that the C40 is symmetrical and can be strung for a left handed player.

    Would you recommend this? Or is there a left-handed classical guitar at a similar price that you would recommend?

    Thank you very much.

  15. Hello Josh, ur review is very informative.
    Yamaha c40 is my first classical guitar. Im looking forward to buy accoustic guitar. What’s ur best suggestion ? Thank u…

  16. I am happy that ye had a great experience with C40. I am learning acoustic guitar since the last two years and I love me acoustic, finally I decided to get meself a classical guitar for learning folk pieces, I was told by everyone to get C40 as it’s sometimes even better sounding instrument than some solid body classical guitars, after I bought C40 and played it for a week, I didn’t enjoy it at all, it sounded nought like I have heard afore and I was playing the pieces I learnt on me acoustic, it just sounded bland and very low. I hope the sound will get better, it’s a comfortable guitar and very light but the sound is exaggerated I feel, I wish there were guitar stores in me area so I could play it before buying this instrument.

  17. Very much enjoyed your resume of the Yamaha C40 classical guitar – in my view a pretty balanced perspective. I’m in my late 60’s , with many years performing with a variety of accoustic guitars. Yamaha have always produced quality and sensibly priced guitars. I have had many accoustic guitars since my first one, around late 1960’s…. including 6/12S steel strings and one or two classical guitars. My main instrument is a from new Yamaha CJ838S – theiur first solid top accoustic – circa 1978 – a fab instrument which has been very well played and still sounds and looks fantastic (even if its owner doesn’t..!!).. I mention this because about 18 months ago I decided to invest in a not expensive classical guitar again, and after much reserach , chose the electro accoustic Yamaha C40. It is good value but any experienced guitarist like me, can tell it will never be sounding like my Yamaha CJ838S – worth some GBP1000-1200 as a desired vintage. For a beginner its great, and the build quality is fine, but lacks sharpness and depth of sound. Nevertheless, it give me a satisfactory sfingerpicking sound…. Some 18 months on, I still find keeping it in tune a problem, and you definitely need quality strings…. It amplifies well thru an accoustic amp – I use a Stagg 50W in my bedroom…. If I was still gigging, personally I would find it lacking, but I can get some good sounds out of it …. for a beginner would heartily recommend it – but an experienced guitarists would find limitations .. but great value instrument… hope that helps

  18. I’m a bit late to the party. I just picked up one of these to play around the house. I have played the guitar for over 40 years and just wanted something for couch playing. While the C40 is designed for the beginner, a pro could easily play it, just not in the concert hall. These are a great value for players at any level. Thank you Yamaha.

  19. Helllo, i’m a beginner and using a friend’s old CS40. I can only play left handed,so can i get it restrung for a left handed player and use only steel strings? If not, would someone care to explain why ? Much appreciated!

    1. A symmetrical guitar like the C40 or CS40 can be strung as a left-handed guitar without problems, but ANY classical guitar made for nylon strings will rip itself apart if steel strings are used. Some will break immediately and others will wait until a more embarrassing moment to come apart, but either the bridge will rip off of the front of the body or the neck will rip off of the end of the body and leave you (and your friend who owns it) very unhappy.

  20. Hey !!! I own a “C40M” The wood is laminate in my opinion “it is better” guitar is always keep the shape.

    it’s a really high quality guitar, a) It’s always on tune b) “sprunce wood” really awesome c) “Meranti wood” WOOOOOw amassing c) C40m has a high quality look d) I have never been under a truss rod adjustment. the lock tuners really nice. Feel free to reach me if you have any questions fesalvafe@gmail.com I will be more than glad to help you

  21. When I played in a school orchester back in the day the instruments would be transported in volunteer situations thrown in cars.
    I remember a broken tuner and dents.

    You would not like an expensive instrument in schools for this reason.

    C40 guitar is perfect for school orchesters and abused transport situations.

  22. I have a yamaha c40 its time to get new strings. But this dont have a trusrod which some classical guitar do. Whats the best tension nylon string for a yamaha c40 should i get.

  23. Hi, I have a CM-40 but I can’t find another or any info on it. I love it , it plays great. Any help will be appreciated.

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