Yamaha CG 122-MCH Classical Guitar Ultimate Review
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 makes 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, regardless of his style. Classical guitars have been one of the earliest instruments to become famous for their 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 many players have often demanded a Yamaha classical guitar at an affordable price.
Yamaha CG 122-MCH fills the gap in the market for a quality classical guitar at low prices. It is an American Cedar top nylon-stringed guitar with thinner sides and back, which improves the guitar’s playability and evokes a better sound response than other thin-bodied guitars. The specification of the guitar are all nice, but let us see whether it delivers what it is capable of.
Yamaha CG122MCH Review – Performance
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 classical guitars and offers a wide range of instruments to choose from. This MCH is one of the guitars from this Concert lineup. Yamaha claims their artisans 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, providing a nice guitar look. The American Cedar top is solid 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 color of the sides and back. I found the solid cedar top best for this guitar’s look and build. It has a beautifully smooth finish that features Yamaha’s golden “Y.” The guitar’s tuners are of standard quality, not too good, but certainly usable. This guitar has a professional and expensive look, with decent hardware and strings.
The cosmetic performance of the Yamahas has always been good, and the CG 122-MCH, with its brown cedar top and dark Nato sides and back, maintains 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 guitar’s volume when playing. The sides and back are made of Nato laminates, which are not 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 could take a few drops and hits without 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 a beginner’s best feature. It is easy to play and is especially good for Flamenco techniques. The 3-ply construction method of the neck adds strength and removes the frequent problem of neck-warping. It’s a significant 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 this classical guitar is ideal for both beginners and advanced players looking for a cheap backup guitar that is highly portable. The headstock is solid Cedar combined with the Nato nack; it produces warm and loud tones with increased durability. The only flaw in this guitar’s build is the absence of an adjustable truss rod, which adjusts the guitar’s action, a minor hassle. But looking at the quality of the build, this adjustment won’t be needed very soon.
In conclusion, the guitar’s build is excellent, 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, making it a fun instrument to practice.
The Sound Quality of Yamaha CG 122-MCH
The sound expected from a Yamaha guitar is consistently high, and the Yamaha CG 122-MCH indeed 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 can hear the distinct sounds of each string, which have a good balance of treble and bass.
The guitar comes with preset low-action strings, a boon for a new player. The soft nylon strings combined with the low action make the guitar a perfect one to start playing. A low action means less space between the fretboard and the strings, making the left-hand movements much more accessible. 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 – is 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 slight 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, no other classical guitar 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.
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 durable, so it won’t cost you much and gives quite a few years of value. The CG 122-MCH looks like a traditional classical guitar and feels like one too. The body combines American cedar and Nato, which is pretty standard for a guitar of this price. It is perfect if you are a beginner who is serious about playing and will likely upgrade to another guitar after some time. You can save money with this guitar and grow as a player before spending more money on another.
I have used Yamaha guitars, and I am sure 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 he had to travel, to give his views on the guitar. He said he was pretty impressed with the guitar’s build and got what he expected at this price point – decent tones with standard hardware.
This may sound negative, but you have to remember that you are paying much less for a guitar which will help you get a good start and will be fun and easy to practice. This guitar is well-made, and you can learn to use it quickly. Another advantage is the Yamaha guitar universe, which provides various options at different prices 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, reducing the guitar’s maintenance.
- Decent sound quality at a meager 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 excellent loud output, so you must attach a pickup and use an amplifier for the best sound. You can also use a product like an O-port sound enhancer for better quality.
My final verdict on Yamaha CG 122-MCH
The Yamaha CG 122-MCH stays true to the heritage of classical guitars and the Yamaha trend. It delivers good looks in a perfect body with excellent sounds. The Nato sides and back and the Cedar top are a good combination and give the lightweight guitar just enough depth to sustain the tones of the guitar. You should not expect a better sound and body at this price. Buy the 122-MCH if you want a guitar you can grow into and upgrade from without burning a hole in your pocket or a guitar that can temporarily handle rough use.
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