Newbie classical guitar choice: Yamaha C40 vs. Samick GregBennett C1

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KPaul
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Newbie classical guitar choice: Yamaha C40 vs. Samick GregBennett C1

Post by KPaul » September 9th, 2015, 7:07 pm

Thanks ahead of time to all who respond, and apologies if this question is misplaced in the wrong forum, or repeats previous discussions, or is just too damn long....
I'm a total neophyte when it comes to guitars and playing, but I've been reading a lot and I know or have decided several things. I'm going to start with a classical acoustic guitar, I want one that is relatively inexpensive but that won't fall apart in just a few months, and one in which playability (and tone, to a lesser extent) helps me learn.
I've narrowed my search to two guitars: Yamaha C40 vs. a Samick Greg Bennett C1.
I've read that the Yamaha is a frequent/popular choice for beginning guitarists, that Yamaha's low-end guitars are usually fairly well-made with better-than-average hardware at that price point, especially in the sensitive areas (bridge & tuners/machine heads). I think I remember it having a laminate spruce top and laminate meranti sides. I haven't yet looked at/played one in person, yet.
The Samick C1 is all laminate mahogany (top, sides, bottom); I've looked at/strummed it in person -- it's gorgeous, but most guitars are (to me), and that is way down the list of importance. I've had difficulty finding much info online about them, but what I've read about the Greg Bennett acoustic guitars has been relatively positive -- guitarists who have them often like them, sometimes very much, and among other things some praise their durability. The bridge is supposed to be rosewood, but the one I looked at (admittedly the lighting in the room was bad and I was rushed for time) looked a little rough around the edges, literally and figuratively. Everything else looked good: no extra glue inside, finish even and good, neck as it should be. I've read some good reviews; "good bang for the buck" is something I've read more than once about Samicks/Greg Bennetts on various guitar forums like this one. But reviews of the C-1 are almost non-existent, as far as I can tell.
It's difficult for me to judge tone, since I don't play yet. They're both laminate, so tone won't be stellar; I just need it to be good enough to help me learn properly. The mahogany should be softer/mellower, the spruce livelier, right? Regarding the prices of each, they'd be about a wash, in the $140-150 range including goodies (gig bag, etc).
The one distinguishing feature I've noticed about them is that the nut width on the Yamaha is significantly larger than the Samick: the Yamaha is 2 1/16th inches wide, the Samick is 1 11/16th wide. Wide gives some people problems, esp. if they have small hands, but it seems like it would also space out the strings a little wider, which I would think would help out a beginning guitarist with fingering. BTW, I'm 6'0" with medium-large hands with thin-ish fingers. So reach shouldn't be a problem. Is this difference in nut width meaningful for me, as a beginner? Or pretty much a non-issue? I'll be building an acoustic guitar in October (long story -- it's a woodworking class), and plan on getting an electric down the road -- might the closer fingering on the Samick be a blessing in disguise?
One other factor: the Yamaha would come from GC, the Samick from a local shop that deals in used equipment but has 4 or 5 new Samicks for sale, still in their boxes, neatly wrapped. THe local store will give 50% or 70% (I don't recall which) of what you paid them for the guitar if you come back in the future to upgrade to a different guitar. Their customer service is very good, they're friendly with no snobby attitude toward beginners. I've heard the opposite regarding the local GC stores. So, I'd prefer to give the local store my business (plus, they're a hell of a lot closer to me), but if the Yamaha is the right instrument for me, then that's the one I'd get.
Any opinions re: these two low-end guitars?
Thanks for reading -- sorry this is so long-winded!

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Alan Green
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Re: Newbie classical guitar choice: Yamaha C40 vs. Samick GregBennett C1

Post by Alan Green » September 9th, 2015, 10:58 pm

You cannot go wrong with a Yamaha, the C40 is a superb guitar.
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KPaul
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Joined: September 9th, 2015, 5:45 pm

Re: Newbie classical guitar choice: Yamaha C40 vs. Samick GregBennett C1

Post by KPaul » September 10th, 2015, 4:18 pm

Thanks for the quick reply -- you're not alone in your praise for the C40. Or for Yamaha's for that matter.
I would like get some feedback (from anyone, not just you) about these Samick Greg Bennett classical guitars. Anyone?

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