Yamaha started out making classical guitars in the 60s, and utilised the expertise of Spanish makers like Eduardo Ferrer and later Manuel Hernandez, along with players like Segovia, Baden Powell and Paco de Lucía.
"Originally, the Grand Concert (GC) guitars were just handmade in Japan in very small numbers. However, the GC22 is factory-made in China, and therefore highly affordable in comparison"
Originally, the Grand Concert (GC) guitars were just handmade in Japan in very small numbers. While that's still the case, the start point of Yamaha's new 2012 GC range, the GC12 (£748), the reviewed GC22 and the GC32 (£1,697) are factory-made in China, and therefore highly affordable in comparison to the top-of-the range model, the GC82 - a cool £9,987.
The spruce-topped and lightweight GC22S is an attractive piece: it's all solid, with rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard. It's gloss finished, too, with a colourful Spanish-style rosette.
Internally, it's cleanly constructed, with a dovetail neck joint, not a typical Spanish slipper heel. Scale length is 650mm (25.59 inches), nut width 52mm (2.05 inches), and the flat fingerboard is devoid of markers, face or side.
If you're used to a nylon-string electro, the higher 'classical' action takes some adjustment, but the overall tone is balanced, big and spacious with deep bass and strong trebles. In a few weeks, it's definitely opened out sound-wise; regular playing will increase that.
Heritage. Build. Spacious tone.
Slightly cramped string spacing at nut.
If you're a serious student, or just like to dabble with the classic repertoire but on a quality instrument, this is a good place to start. Yamaha's excellent consistency is what makes the brand so easy to recommend, and this GC22S is a fine example of serious factory craft.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.