Yamaha CG 122-MCH Classical Guitar Ultimate Review

About Yamaha Classical Guitars

Yamaha is a world-famous brand and its guitars have always been known for their sound. Established in 1877, it has become one of the biggest names in the music industry and make instruments ranging from guitars and basses to amplifiers and silent guitars.

The Yamaha CG 122-MCH combines Yamaha quality with the vintage style of classical guitars. Every guitar player loves a classical guitar sound, no matter what his own style. Classical guitars have been one of the earliest instruments to become famous for its sound. Guitars were first played in Spain in the 14th century, where they developed out of an instrument called a ‘vihuela’, and the classical guitar stems from Spain too. Their long history has contributed a lot to their heritage, and a Yamaha classical guitar at an affordable price is something that many players have often demanded.

Yamaha CG 122-MCH fills the gap in the market of a quality classical guitar at low prices. It is an American Cedar top nylon-stringed guitar with thinner sides and back, which improve the playablity of the guitar and evoke a better sound response than other thin-bodied guitars. The specification of the guitar are all nice, but let us see whether it actually delivers what it is capable of or not.

Yamaha CG 122 Classic Guitar Review

Yamaha CG122MCH Review

Performance Of Yamaha CG122MCH

Being a Yamaha-branded guitar, the CG 122-MCH has to overcome high expectations. The CG lineup of Yamaha belongs to the Concert series of its classical guitars, and offer a wide range of instruments to choose from. This MCH is one of the guitars from this Concert lineup. Yamaha claims that their craftsmen have specifically redesigned the guitar to be thin and have a better tonal range.

How Yamaha CG122MCH Looks

The Yamaha CG 122-MCH looks very much like a vintage classical guitar. It has a natural brown matte finish, which provides a nice look to the guitar. The American Cedar top is strong and durable, with the Nato sides and back being a darker brown and helping Yamaha cut the costs of the guitar a little. In terms of looks, the guitar certainly matches the expensive classical models.

The guitar’s neck is a 3-ply construction and looks nice. It is fitted well onto the body and the dark Rosewood fingerboard matches the colour of the sides and back. I found the solid cedar top to be the best thing of the look and build of this guitar. It has a beautifully smooth finish and features the golden “Y” of Yamaha. The tuners of the guitar are of the standard quality, not too good, but certainly usable. Overall, this guitar has a professional and expensive look to it, with decent hardware and strings attached to it.

Cosmetic performace of the Yamahas have always been good, and the CG 122-MCH, with its brown cedar top and dark Nato sides and back certainly mantain the trend.

How It Builds

The Yamaha MCH is a well-constructed guitar, with a good finishing and durable hardware. The American Cedar top used in this particular model is a standard top, which provides strength and adds to the volume of the guitar when playing. The sides and back are made of Nato laminates, which are honestly no the highest quality materials, but they do the job well. And this keeps the price of the guitar well below $300.

The build is sturdy and looks like it could take a few drops and hits without any damage. The best thing about the build of the 122-MCH is its fretboard and headstock. The Nato neck is completed with a Rosewood fretboard which is just great. The wide neck with spaced-out frets and the smooth fretboard is the best feature a beginner can have. It is easy to play and is especially good for Flamenco techniques. The 3-ply construction method of the neck adds to the strength and removes the frequent problem of neck-warping. It’s a big maintenance problem well-handled by Yamaha.

The Yamaha MCH is made to last and is very easy to play. The thinner body of Nato ensures that the guitar is lightweight and comfortable to hold. This is another reason which makes this classical guitar ideal for both beginners and advanced players looking for a cheap backup guitar that is highly portable. The headstock is solid Cedar and combined with the Nato nack, it produces warm and loud tones with increased durability. The only flaw in the build of this guitar is the absence of an adjustable truss rod, which makes adjustment of the action of the guitar a small hassle. But looking at the quality of the build, this adjustment won’t be needed very soon.

In conclusion, the build of the guitar is great, especially the neck. The guitar is good for all types of playing and is suitable for both beginners and experienced players. The fretboard is smooth and you will find it a fun instrument to practice with.

The Sound Quality

The sound expencted from a Yamaha guitar is always high, and the Yamaha CG 122-MCH surely delivers. The Cedar top and Nato back resonate well and sustain the whole tonal range of the guitar. While playing over the soundhole with a pick, you are able to hear the distinct sounds of each string , which have a good balance of treble and bass.

The guitar comes with preset low-action strings, which are a boon for a new player. The soft nylon strings combines with the low action make the guitar a perfect one to start playing on. A low action means less space between the fretboard and the strings, which make the left hand movements a lot easier. After a few weeks of playing, replacing the strings with a better set of a good brand will make the guitar sound even better.

The frequent problem of starter guitars – detuning and changing action – are reduced because of the  decent tuners used on the headstock and the 3-ply Nato neck. The strings are held very well and produce a warm tone, though, to the more experienced player, there is a small lack of the richer and fuller tones offered by some more expensive classical guitars with a Mahagony body.

In this price range of $200-$300, there is no other classical guitar which can compete with this one in terms of sound. The strings are soft, the action is low, the tuners are decent and the neck is wide and fast. All these things make the CG 122-MCH a great guitar to start your musical journey with.

My Personal Opinion

At a price of around $200, you can hardly go wrong with this guitar. It has all the features required for a starter guitar and is very durable, so it won’t cost you much and give a quite a few years of value. The CG 122-MCH looks like a traditional classical guitar and feels like one too. The body is combination of American cedar and Nato, which is pretty standard for a guitar of this price. It is perfectly good if you are a beginner who is serious about playing, and are likely to upgrade to another guitar after sometime. You can save money with this guitar and grow as a player before spending more money on another one.

I have used Yamaha guitars before, and I am sure that this classical guitar will deliver excellent sounds with a durable body. I asked one of my friends, a guitar teacher who bought the 122-MCH for classes for which he had to travel, to give his views on the guitar. He said he was pretty impressed with the build of the guitar and got what he expected at this price point – decent tones with standard hardware. I believe this may sound like something negative, but you have to remember that you are paying very less for a guitar that will help you get a good start and will be fun and easy to practice on. This guitar is well-made, and you can learn using it pretty fast. Another advantage is the Yamaha guitar universe itself, which provides various options at different price points for you to upgrade when you are ready.

Pros and Cons:

  • Great build quality with decent tuners and strings. A default low-action set already, so that you can start playing soon without hurting your fingers.
  • The factory tuners and the 3-ply neck construction remove the problem of changing action and neck-warping, which reduces maintenance of the guitar.
  • Decent sound quality at a very low price.
  • Sound is good overall, but you may need to upgrade soon if you want a richer tone as you get more experience.
  • Nato sides and back are not the best for a good loud output, so you will have to attach a pickup and use an amplifier for the best sound. You can also use a product like O-port sound enhancer for better quality.

The Final Verdict

The Yamaha CG 122-MCH stays true to the heritage of classical guitars and the Yamaha trend. It delivers good looks in a very good body with excellent sounds. The Nato sides and back and the Cedar top is a good combination and gives the lightweight guitar just enough depth to sustain the tones of the guitar. At this price, you should not expect a better sound and a better body. Buy the 122-MCH if you want a guitar you can grow into and upgrade from, without bruning a hole in your pocket or if you just want a guitar that can handle rough use temporarily.

Editor’s Rating Card:

Yamaha CG 122-MCH Classical Guitar Ultimate Review
  • Body And Neck - 8.5/10
  • Hardware - 8/10
  • Sound - 8.5/10
  • Price - 8/10

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