Making your way through the low-end semi-acoustic spectrum can be hard – especially with Yamaha because of their massive product range. Is this cheap and cheerful CPX500 mini-jumbo a hit?
When looking at this you get the impression that Yamaha have probably had to cut a few corners to get to where they are with the price tag. The solid body is slowly being ousted with the replacement of laminated spruce, taking its place. Does this affect the playability? No. Yamaha is renown for building excellent instruments and this is no exception.
By closely examining the craftsmanship that went into the making of this guitar, lots says to the trained eye, ‘melody player.’ The mini-jumbo shape, for instance. This in itself makes for a great reach-around action, thanks to the neck joining the body at the 14th fret. You can really get up to that rarefied area, especially in the acoustic world, and utilise all you want.
When playing it, all the build features make sense. A top nut that has been properly cut and neatly fitted helps to smooth the action and cancel any fret buzz. The six, rather plain looking, machine heads are strong and sturdy, holding everything in place from gentle fingerwork to Verve strumming. Additionally, the pickguard is transparent, implying that Yamaha are happy with their finish – not to mention diverting too much attention from the inlaid rosette on the headstock.
The sounds are never going to be as best as a Gibson J-200 or anything from Martin at this price. There is a distinct lack in bass tone, mainly due to the body shape and materials used. Also, when pressing on above the 12th fret, it does tend to lose that projection it had somewhere around the 3rd – headroom is constrictive. Retrospectively, you have to judge this guitar on its merits.
If you are thinking of going cheap, the Yamaha CPX500 is the best in its class.
The Yamaha CPX500 retails at £384.