REVIEW: Yamaha's CG171SF Flamenco Guitar

Yamaha Cg171Sf Flamenco Guitar-1Excellent Tone & Playability

While we’re on the subject of Flamenco, I thought I’d take a few moments to review an instrument that has to be one of the best deals going around in nylon-string guitars – Yamaha’s gorgeous, great-sounding, and cost effective CG171SF Flamenco guitar.

Being a bit manic about authenticity, I was absolutely convinced going into this that if I wanted a decent instrument for playing a decidedly Spanish form of music, well, I’d need a Spanish-built guitar…boy was I ever wrong.

After playing many guitars, at many different price points, I’m happy to let you in on a little secret that I discovered: you’d be hard-pressed to find a Flamenco guitar for less than $1,000 that sounds or plays any better than the Yamaha CG171SF. That’s pretty amazing when you consider that the CG171SF sells for less than $350.

The first thing you notice on this guitar is its beautiful finish. The solid spruce top and cypress back & sides that give the instrument so much of its lovely tone are lovely to look at, too, with very fine natural details evident on all sides. The action all the way up the neck is surprisingly low (a must for the Flamenco player,) and with a new set of strings installed – my favorites are Galli Genius Titanium – there is no audible fret buzz at all.

The CG171SF produces the kind of warm and clear tone that you’d expect from a much more expensive guitar, and it does it consistently, only sounding better as it ages (I say this from personal experience, having owned mine for nearly three years.) Of course, that assumes that you take care of your new guitar, and use a humidifier during the stressful seasons – particularly during the first few years.

The guitar also holds its tuning exceptionally well for extended periods of time – certainly better than any electric guitar I’ve ever owned – and the nato neck is highly playable and just plain comfortable, with a wide, flat fretboard.

Upgrades We’d Make

The only downsides that I’ve come across for the Yamaha CG171SF are admittedly minor ones: a guitar selling for this cheap has to skimp in some areas, and the obvious ones here are the plastic tops of the tuning pegs (they are a nice pearloid color though,) and what is probably a plastic nut. Some day I may find myself replacing the tuners and nut, but currently they give me no problems at all.

Summing It Up

At less than $350 I can’t say enough about the CG171SF. Buy one, replace the stock strings, and you’ve got a beautiful instrument that will provide you years of enjoyment… and may just change your opinion on what a quality guitar should cost.