Yamaha CGS102AII Review & Prices

Yamaha CGS102AII Review
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  • From Yamaha's 2017 SCHOOL series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 21.063"'' scale
  • Flat Fretboard Radius
  • Spruce top
  • Locally-Sourced Tonewood back
  • Locally-Sourced Tonewood sides
  • Locally-Sourced Tonewood neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: (/)
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Acoustic C Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Chrome (RM-1252X) tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 82
Sound 76
Build quality 55
Value for money 86
Overall Score 71
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Yamaha CGS102AII
  • Expensive Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Electronics
  • Low-Quality Material Saddle
  • Laminated Top Wood
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $430, which means that the Yamaha CGS102AII is around 67% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Yamaha CGS102AII meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Yamaha CGS102AII
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Soft Strings
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Yamaha CGS102AII's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Yamaha CGS102AII's 21.063" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Yamaha CGS102AII Scale Length Comparison
Yamaha CGS102AII's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is a shorter scale than most modern guitars, and it's used in guitars for beginners. It can allow you to set a higher tuning without creating too much tension.

This also means that the frets will have a shorter separation, making it easier to play for small hands.

Finally, the shorter scale makes it rich with overtones and adds tons of color.

Neck Profile

Yamaha CGS102AII Neck Profile
Yamaha CGS102AII's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Yamaha CGS102AII has a Flat fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Yamaha CGS102AII Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Yamaha CGS102AII's fretboard radius compared to others

This is common mostly in classical guitars since the strings are soft and have lower tension, so there's no need for a radius. Also, it's perfect for fingerstyle and more technical play.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Yamaha CGS102AII has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

21.063'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
99'' Fretboard Radius
25.984'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
99'' Fretboard Radius
25.984'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
14.96'' Fretboard Radius
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
23.622'' Fretboard Radius
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
2.047'' Nut Width
99'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Yamaha CGS102AII Nut Width
Yamaha CGS102AII Nut Width

The Yamaha CGS102AII has a nut width of 48mm (1.89''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Yamaha CGS102AII Fret Size Comparison
Yamaha CGS102AII's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Yamaha CGS102AII's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 90
Chord Playability 75
Solo Playability 80
Playability 82

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Tonewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Tonewood Back, Sides, Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Tonewood Back, Sides and Neck: This is just a generic wood whose origin hasn't been disclosed. Commonly found in cheap guitars.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This acoustic guitar doesn't come with preamp pickups, so you won't be able to connect it directly to an amplifier. Instead, you'll need to use an external microphone.

Sound Score

Sustain 60
Versatility 80
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 76

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Yamaha CGS102AII is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Rosewood: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Yamaha CGS102AII has a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 45
Features 65
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 55

All Specs

Yamaha CGS102AII
General
Brand: Yamaha
Year: 2017
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: SCHOOL
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Spruce
Bridge: Rosewood
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Chrome (RM-1252X)
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Locally-Sourced Tonewood
Decoration:
Scale Size: 21.063"
Shape: Acoustic C
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: Flat
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 48mm (1.89'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: ( / )

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