Yamaha’s CSF3M promises a full sized guitar’s tone from a small package. Put can you really get a pint out of a half pint glass? Ben Morgan-Brown finds out.
Recent years have seen the introduction of many travel or parlour guitars. Some have been successful, despite their small size producing convincing tone and even volume, while others have put the convenience aspect first – they’ve been nice enough to play but lacked the sort of tone you would want to live with. From the outset, Yamaha’s small bodied CSF3M asserts itself very much in the former category. Pick it up and play it and immediately you’ll be struck by how good it sounds, despite that rather diminutive body size.
Yamaha has been making quality acoustics for a long while and it shows in this model. The choice of woods, solid mahogany for the back and sides, nato for the satin finished neck, rosewood for the fingerboard and a nice piece of Sitka spruce for the top (again, solid wood) are safe and reliable choices and when combined in a guitar as well made as this one, can hardly fail to produce an end result that any guitarist would be pleased by.
Everything seems just right about this guitar. The materials used, the construction quality and the playability. As Ben points out, the short scale gives a low string tension but even so there was no string buzz noticeable, despite our sample having come with a low action. This means that in addition to its role as a guitar you can easily travel with, it would also suit any player who needed a small bodied guitar for reasons of comfort – perhaps a younger player, for example. It doesn’t even seem to surrender much, if anything at all, in tone, or even volume, being quite loud if you dig in. Even the passive onboard undersaddle SRT pickup, which on paper might not seem very special, delivers a pretty good amplified tone as our video reveals.
There’s nothing to dislike about this small guitar and a lot to like. The price, Ben felt, was quite reasonable considering it comes with a pickup and a nice quality padded case, so if you are in the market for a smaller sized guitar but don’t want to sacrifice tonal quality, this could be a very good place to start – and maybe even end – your search.
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Body Shape: CSF
Scale Length: 600mm
Body Length: 450mm
Body Depth: 85-105mm
Nut Width: 43mm
String Spacing: 11mm
Top Material: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back Material: Solid Mahogany
Side Material: Solid Mahogany
Neck Material: Nato
Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: 400mm
Bridge Material: Rosewood
Nut Material: Urea
Saddle Material: Urea
Bridge Pins: Black ABS with White Dot
Tuners: Die-cast Chrome
Body Binding: Black + White
Soundhole Inlay: Abalone + Black
Body Finish: Gloss
Electronics: Passive System (SRT Piezo)
Connections: LINE OUT
Strings: Elixir NANOWEB 80/20 Bronze Light
Accessories: Hex Wrench
Case: Hard bag