You have a lot of options on the market when you’re looking for the best classical guitars. These instruments have come a long way in recent years.

Today, you’ll find many classical guitars come with pickups, so they can easily plug into an amplifier. This makes them ideal for recording or playing live.

The classical guitar is the instrument that many beginning guitar students first use. This is because the nylon strings are easier to press down, which relieves a lot of hand fatigue.

Quick Look: Best Classical Guitars

#1 Best Classical Guitar Overall: Taylor Academy 12e-N 

SEE THE FULL LIST

I started playing a nylon-string guitar in high school and then bought a steel-string acoustic. If you plan to play classical music or folk styles, you’ll probably want to have a classical instrument on hand.

This guide will help you pick out the right classical guitar for you, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player. All of these instruments would make great options.

What Is a Classical Guitar?

A classical guitar is an acoustic instrument that uses nylon strings. These strings have a softer and mellower tone when compared to steel-string acoustics. They’re quite popular for folk, classical, flamenco, and other styles of music.

The exact time of the development of the classical guitar is not known. The consensus is that it comes from two older instruments, which are the Baroque guitar and the vihuela. The vihuela was developed in the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

A classical guitar on a black background

The Baroque guitar is from the 17th century. These early instruments were refined during the Renaissance and became the traditional six-string classical guitar that we know of now.

This guide to the best classical guitars will teach you all about these wonderful instruments.

Types of Classical Guitars

There are several different types of classical guitars. They all have the same characteristic of having nylon strings, but there are several different shapes and sizes.

Since this is often a beginner instrument, there are several sizes designed for children. Here’s what you need to know about the various types.

Cutaway Classical Guitar

The cutaway classical guitar is a regular classical guitar, but it has the scoop out of the body. This makes it easier to play the higher frets. These instruments are popular for classical guitar soloists.

1/2 Size Classical Guitar

Young children have a hard time holding full-size instruments. This is why there is a 1/2 size classical guitar. It’s one half the size of a regular classical instrument.

3/4 Size Classical Guitar

Another version of the classical guitar is the 3/4 size classical guitar. It’s three quarters the size of a regular-sized instrument. This size is also designed for children.

Acoustic/Electric Classical Guitar

Newer classical guitars have been outfitted with pickups and preamp systems. This makes it easy to plug into an amplifier for stage performances or recording. Not every classical guitar has this sort of system.

Standard Classical Guitar

The standard classical guitar a regular full-size instrument. It doesn’t have a cutaway, pickup, or other features. This is a basic classical instrument, and it’s the most common type.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Classical Guitar

This is what you need to keep in mind before you buy a classical guitar.

Level of Experience

There are several levels of classical guitar. They are beginner, intermediate, and professional. Here’s a little bit about each level and what you need to know.

Beginner Classical Guitars

When you first want to learn classical guitar, you’ll pick up a beginner’s instrument. This is your basic guitar that doesn’t have a lot of added features. They tend to use poor quality wood and other materials in the construction.

A beginner classical guitar comes in at a price range anywhere from $100 to $300. You can spend more, but it’s probably not necessary. A beginning instrument will have a decent tone, but it won’t be outstanding.

Intermediate Classical Guitars

As you go up in the price range, you get to the intermediate level of classical guitars. These instruments range from $300 to $800. These are for students who already have a couple of years of playing under their belt and want a better sounding guitar.

Intermediate instruments are made with better quality materials, so they have a better tone. You may also find different styles at this price range, such as a cutaway or one with a pickup. You have a lot more options at this price range.

Pro Classical Guitars

The professional classical guitar is for a seasoned musician. These can run several thousands of dollars. These instruments have a superior tone as well as playability. Professional players use these on stage or in the recording studio.

Size

There are a couple of different sizes when it comes to classical guitars. The full-size instrument is used by teenagers and adults.

Children will probably use either a 1/2 size or a 3/4 size classical guitar. These are easier for them to hold and play, as the body size is smaller. As they get older, the child will graduate to a full-size instrument.

Price

Classical guitars come in various price ranges. The list below will help you choose what to buy.

Budget Classical Guitars

A bunch of classical guitars come in at around $75 to $300. It’s advised that you try to spend at least $100 or more. Lower cost instruments don’t sound all that great.

Midrange Classical Guitars

A mid-range classical guitar will cost anywhere between $300 and $800. Players will use this type of instrument for many years as they learn to play the guitar. The sound, tone, and playability at this level are a lot better than a budget instrument.

Top-End Classical Guitars

A top-end classical guitar is anywhere from $800 to several thousand dollars. These instruments are made with the best materials, so they have the best sound and tone.

Top 10 Best Classical Guitars Overall

There are plenty of classical guitars to choose from. To find a good instrument, look for one that’s easy to play and comfortable. It should have a decent tone. The following instruments would make ideal choices, whether you’re a beginner or advanced player.

1. Taylor 412e-N Grand Concert Classical Guitar

  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard radius: 20″
  • Frets: 17
  • Pickup type: Under saddle transducer
  • Body shape: Classical
  • What’s included in the box: Documentation, guitar, case
  • Material & finish: Spruce, maple, African ebony, gloss finish
  • Best for: Classical guitar players that want to use an amp

Taylor produces excellent acoustic guitars, and they also have a wide range of classical guitars, such as the 412e-N. This instrument has a pickup and a 2-band equalizer so that you can plug it into an amplifier.

It’s made with solid wood and has an excellent tone. It’s built to high standards by Taylor with eco-conscious materials. You get great service and support from the company.

Pros:
✅ Pickup
✅ Hardshell case
✅ Great tone
✅ Easy to play
Cons:
❌ High cost
❌ Needs a few more frets

Why I Recommend It

The Taylor 412e-N is an excellent choice for any professional player. It has a great tone and sound. The pickup and preamp system means you can plug it into your amplifier or start recording right out of the box.

VIEW ON GUITAR CENTER

2. Ovation Timeless Legend Classical Guitar

  • Scale length: 26.2″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup type: Ovation pickup/preamp
  • Body shape: Classical cutaway
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation
  • Material & finish: Cedar, lyrachord, gloss finish
  • Best for: Intermediate players that want to solo

The Ovation Timeless Legend is an exceptional classical guitar for intermediate players. This guitar has both a preamp and a pickup system, so it’s ready to go with your amplifier.

The cutaway at the top of the body means it’s easier to access the 19 frets on this guitar. It has excellent die-cast tuning machines that help keep it in tune.

The Ovation Timeless Legend is perfect for those that want to plug into an acoustic amp and jam.

Pros:
✅ Pickup/preamp
✅ Easy fret access
✅ Nice neck
✅ Solid tuners
Cons:
❌ No hardshell case
❌ A bit expensive

Why I Recommend It

The Ovation Timeless Legend makes an excellent choice for any intermediate player. It comes in at a moderate price point. It’s easy to play thanks to the cutaway, and a preamp and pickup make it perfect for recording or gigging.

VIEW ON GUITAR CENTER

 

3. Ortega Family Series R131 Classical

  • Scale length: 25.49″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup type: N/A
  • Body shape: Classical
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Red cedar, mahogany, gloss finish
  • Best for: Beginners that want an easy-to-play classical guitar

The Ortega Family Series R131 is a simple classical guitar for any beginner. It’s made with solid wood and sounds great. There are no extras with his instrument, but it doesn’t need them.

Any beginner guitar player looking for a simple-to-play classical guitar will enjoy this one. It’s one of the best beginner classical choices on our list.

Pros:
✅ Easy to play
✅ Low cost
✅ Solid wood design
✅ Traditional look
Cons:
❌ No hardshell case
❌ A bit expensive

Why I Recommend It

The Ortega Family Series R131 is a solid and simple classical guitar. It has the tone and sound that you want. It will give you confidence and inspire you to keep playing. It’s a great choice for any beginner.

VIEW ON AMAZON

4. Yamaha CGS Classical Guitar

  • Scale length: 21.06″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 18
  • Pickup type: N/A
  • Body shape: Classical
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar
  • Material & finish: Meranti, spruce, rosewood, gloss finish
  • Best for: First-time beginners looking for an easy-to-play classical guitar

When I took guitar in high school, all of the students had Yamaha classical guitars, and they were similar to the CGS classical guitar. Yamaha makes exceptional beginner guitars.

The CGS is a simple instrument that beginners will find easy to play. It’s made with solid wood and has an excellent tone, so you’ll want to pick it up and play it time and time again.

Pros:
✅ Looks great
✅ Simple to play
✅ Solid construction
✅ Good price
Cons:
❌ No case
❌ No extras

Why I Recommend It

You want an easy-to-play classical guitar when you’re first starting. I like the Yamaha CGS, as it’s a basic starter instrument. It’s a cut above all the poor quality guitar packages out there.

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

5. Kremona Fiesta FC Classical Guitar

  • Scale length: 25.59″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup type: N/A
  • Body shape: Classical
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation, hardshell case
  • Material & finish: Rosewood, cedar, gloss finish
  • Best for: Intermediate/advanced players that need a good sounding guitar

Kremona makes some excellent classical guitars, such as the Fiesta FC. This instrument has a classic look to it, and it’s made with carefully selected tonewoods, so it has an excellent tone.

It has both a bone saddle and nut. It has excellent tuning as well as stability. The guitar has extras, such as rosewood edging, a wooden rosette, and fine birch purfling.

This instrument also has gold-plated machine heads and comes with a deluxe hardshell case.

Pros:
✅ Bone saddle/nut
✅ Hardshell case
✅ Great tone
✅ Classic look
Cons:
❌ Expensive
❌ No extras

Why I Recommend It

The Kremona Fiesta FC is an excellent intermediate/advanced classical guitar. You get the tone and playability that you want. It has a traditional classical guitar look and comes with a hardshell case to protect your investment.

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

6. Yamaha CG182C Cedar Top Classical Guitar

  • Scale Length: 25.6″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 18
  • Pickup type: N/A
  • Body shape: Classical
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation
  • Material & finish: Cedar, rosewood, nato, gloss finish
  • Best for: Beginners that want a higher quality guitar

The Yamaha CG 182C is an excellent beginner classical guitar. It costs a little bit more than your regular beginner guitar, but it’s worth spending a bit more for it. This one has an excellent rosewood bridge and crisp sustain. It’s easy to play.

It has extras such as gold hardware and mother-of-pearl peg tuners for an attractive look. You get everything you need to sound great with this guitar.

Pros:
✅ Good tone
✅ Solid wood
✅ Easy to play
✅ Perfect for beginners
Cons:
❌ No case
❌ A little expensive

Why I Recommend It

You get a lot of value when you purchase the Yamaha CG 182C. It sounds a lot better when you compare it to some beginner classical guitars. It has a great tone and has that classic look that you want.

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

7. Taylor Academy 12-N Grand Concert Classical

  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 17
  • Pickup type: N/A
  • Body shape: Classical
  • What’s included in The Box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Spruce, sapele, ebony, gloss finish
  • Best for: Beginner/intermediate players that want a good sounding guitar

The Taylor Academy 12-N is a traditional looking classical guitar. It’s made with solid wood, so it has the tone that you want. The instrument’s tuning is stable, and the neck is a little thinner than usual, so it’s easier to play.

You can count on this Taylor instrument for many years to come. It comes in at a modest price range, so you won’t be spending a whole lot of money on it.

Pros:
✅ Gig bag
✅ Great sound
✅ Solid wood
✅ Fretboard markers
Cons:
❌ No hardshell case
❌ No extras

Why I Recommend It

You get the reliability and performance you want with the Taylor Academy 12-N. It’s an excellent sounding nylon-string guitar with a modest price, and it looks fantastic. This is a nice classical guitar that you’ll enjoy playing.

VIEW ON AMAZON

8. Ibanez Thinline GA35 Classical

  • Scale length: 25.59″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: Under saddle pickup
  • Body shape: Cutaway classical
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, mahogany, gloss finish
  • Best for: Beginners that want to plug into an amplifier

It can be difficult to find a classical guitar with a pickup, but even harder to find one with a low cost. You get an exceptional bargain with the Ibanez GA5.

You get a pickup and preamp system, so your guitar is ready to hook up to an amplifier. It’s easy to hit the higher frets thanks to the cutaway. For any beginner that wants to plug in and play right away, this instrument is a top choice.

Pros:
✅ Excellent price
✅ Good tone
✅ Pickup/preamp
✅ Unique look
Cons:
❌ You need an amp
❌ No case

Why I Recommend It

I was impressed with this Ibanez classical guitar. It’s not often that you can get a classical guitar with a pickup for such a low price. This guitar has a nice tone and feel to it. It’s a great choice for any beginner.

VIEW ON AMAZON

9. Godin ACS-SA Classical Guitar

  • Scale length: 25.2″
  • Fingerboard radius: 16″
  • Frets: 22
  • Pickup type: Under saddle
  • Body shape: Classical cutaway
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Mahogany, maple, gloss finish
  • Best for: Advanced players that want a unique classical guitar

When looking for the best classical guitar for professionals, you should have a look at the Godin ACS-SA. The guitar neck on this instrument is easy to play, and it feels like a regular steel-string guitar.

You get superb sound with the pickup and preamp system. This instrument also has a 13 pin connector, so you can hook it up to a synthesizer if you prefer. This is a unique classical guitar that has superb sound. You also get a gig bag with your purchase.

Pros:
✅ Pickup/preamp
✅ Nice controls
✅ Easy to play
✅ Unique guitar
Cons:
❌ May be complex for some
❌ A bit expensive

Why I Recommend It

It’s difficult to find a decent classical guitar with a pickup and preamp system, but this guitar has that.

The Godin ACS-SA is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to record or play live on stage and needs a reliable nylon string guitar.

VIEW ON AMAZON

10. Yamaha NTX5 Classical Guitar

  • Scale length: 25.9″
  • Fingerboard radius: Flat
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickup type: Under saddle
  • Body shape: Cutaway classical
  • What’s included in the box: Guitar, documentation
  • Material & finish: Walnut, spruce, ebony, mahogany, gloss finish
  • Best for: Intermediate players that want to record or play live

The Yamaha NTX 5 is a superior nylon string guitar. It has a pickup system and a preamp, so it’s ready to go with your acoustic amplifier. The instrument has a warm and pleasing tone.

It’s made with solid spruce, walnut, and mahogany. It has a 24 fret ebony fingerboard along with a cutaway so you can hit the higher frets.

The instrument is installed with strap buttons so you can attach a strap right away. This is an excellent nylon string guitar for any professional.

Pros:
✅ Cutaway
✅ Great tone
✅ Easy to play
✅ Pickup/preamp
Cons:
❌ No Case
❌ High cost

Why I Recommend It

You get great performance with the NTX 5 Yamaha acoustic-electric nylon string. It has superior sound and playability.

The neck is high performance, and it has a large 22 fret ebony fingerboard. This is an instrument for professionals looking for top quality.

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Beginner Classical Guitars

As a beginner guitar student, you’ll probably start on a nylon string guitar. Here are some choices that make great options for beginners.

  • Yamaha C40: This is an easy-to-play beginner classical guitar that won’t cost you a whole lot of money.
  • Alvarez RC26HCE: This is an excellent choice for beginners, and it even has a pickup and preamp system.
  • Ortega Student Series RST5M: This guitar comes in at a low price, it’s easy to play, and it sounds great.
  • Yamaha CG122: This instrument costs a little more than some beginner guitars, but it has a great tone and a reliable performance.

Best Intermediate Classical Guitars

As you advance on the guitar, you’ll move up to the intermediate stage. Here you have more choices when it comes to your instrument.

A beautiful classical guitar in a box

You may decide to get one with a cutaway to do more soloing, or you might want one with a pickup so you can practice recording. Here are the top options in the intermediate category.

  • Cordoba C5: This guitar comes in at a moderate price and is easy to play.
  • Yamaha CG-TA: It has a pickup and preamp system, so it’s perfect for a recording at home or playing on stage.
  • Lucerno LFN200Sce: It has a nice cutaway so you can hit the higher frets, a pickup, and a preamp system for recording or live performances.
  • Godin Motif Classical: This guitar has a smaller body, so it’s easier to hold. It has an excellent tone and playability.

Best Classical Guitars for Professionals

To reach the advanced stage, you’ll want to pick up a professional instrument. You’ll probably spend quite a few dollars on this type of guitar, but it will be well worth it.

You have the ability to pick an instrument that meets your individual needs when it comes to playing. Here are some top choices.

  • Taylor 412ce-N: This instrument has a cutaway along with a pickup and preamp system.
  • Kremona Romida: This instrument is handcrafted in Bulgaria, and it has an excellent tone and performance.
  • Takamine Pro Series 3: This guitar has a pickup and preamp system. It has easy playability and a great tone.
  • Cordoba F10: This instrument has a traditional look along with a great tone.

Best Classical Guitars Under $2,000

You’ll find a wide range of classical guitars under $2,000. At this price point, you’ll find instruments to meet any need you have, whether you’re an intermediate or advanced player.

  • Cordoba 55FCE: This guitar has a pickup and a cutaway, so you can hit the higher frets.
  • Ortega Ben Woods Signature: It has a pickup along with a cutaway, and the body is thinline, so it’s easier to hold.
  • Martin 000C12-16E: This guitar has a pickup along with a cutaway, so you can access the higher frets.
  • Yamaha GC32: This instrument is handcrafted with traditional classical guitar looks. It’s easy playing and sounds great.

Best Classical Guitars Under $1,000

When looking for the best classical guitar, you can find a lot of excellent instruments under $1,000. You don’t have to spend thousands to get a high-quality guitar. Here are four guitars that would make excellent options.

  • Kremona Sophia S63 CWThis instrument has a cutaway along with a pickup system, so it’s ready to plug in.
  • Taylor Academy 12e-N: This guitar has a lightweight and comfortable body.
  • Cordoba F7 Paco: This guitar has traditional classical looks along with a great tone.
  • ESP LTD TL-6N: This instrument has a unique look, as it has a neck like an electric guitar but uses nylon strings.

Best Classical Guitars Under $500

You might not think that you can get a lot for under $500, but you can. There are many options when you’re looking for the best classical guitar under $500. Here are the better ones.

  • Ibanez GA 35: This instrument has a pickup, preamp, and a cutaway. It’s easy to play.
  • Ortega Family Series Pro R131: This guitar has traditional looks, and it also has extras such as ABS purfling, which gives it a more attractive look.
  • Yamaha CG122: This guitar has traditional classical looks with a solid tone and construction.
  • Kremona Soloist S65C: This instrument has traditional looks. It has the tone that you want, and it comes with gold-plated tuners.

Best Cheap Classical Guitars

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a classical guitar, you can still get a decent instrument. Here are some choices on the lower end. These would make perfect beginner instruments.

  • Cordoba Mini II MH: This instrument is small and perfect for a student.
  • Yamaha CG102: This guitar has traditional looks, with a great sound and performance.
  • Lucero LC100: This is a basic guitar with solid wood construction for any beginner.
  • Ortega Student Series RST5: This guitar is made with solid wood and has a decent tone for its price.

Best Cutaway Classical Guitars

The cutaway classical guitar is a regular classical guitar, but it has a scoop at the top of the body. This allows the player to access the higher frets. It makes soloing and playing lead lines higher up a lot easier.

A cutaway classical guitar hanging on the wall

Many of these instruments come with a pickup and a preamp system, so you can plug into an amplifier. These instruments tend to cost a little bit more than a traditional classical guitar.

  • Cordoba GK Studio Negra: This guitar has a great pickup and preamp system and 19 frets, so it’s perfect for soloing.
  • Kremona Vera Cutaway: This instrument has a cutaway, a pickup system, and a bone saddle to stabilize the tuning.
  • Ibanez GA35: This is a low-cost instrument with a cutaway and electronics.
  • Taylor 412ce-N: This one has a great tone, electronics, a nice neck, and a cutaway.

Best 1/2 Sized Classical Guitars

Classical guitars are often the first choice for beginner guitar players. Younger students have difficulty holding full-size instruments.

The half-size instrument is 1/2 the size of a regular full-size guitar. Here are some options in this size range for children.

  • Ibanez GA1: A simple, small-sized classical guitar for any beginner, and it has a decent tone
  • Kremona S51C: Nice looking beginner classical guitar with an attractive rosette
  • Yamaha CGS: Perfect beginner guitar, with a good tone and easy playability
  • Lyons Classroom Guitar: Easy to play 1/2 size guitar for all those younger students

Best 3/4 Size Classical Guitars

Another type of classical guitar is a 3/4 size guitar. This is another instrument designed for smaller children. Here are a few options when it comes to 3/4 size classical guitars.

  • Cordoba Cadete: A classical guitar in 3/4 size with good tone and a nice neck
  • Yamaha APXT2: Comes with a pickup, preamp, and cutaway, and the small size makes it great for traveling
  • Luna Muse Safari: It has solid wood, a nice sound, and it’s small enough to take with you to lessons.
  • Yamaha APX Thinline: Solid 3/4 size classical guitar with a pickup and a preamp system for a low price

Best Standard Classical Guitars

The standard classical guitar is a basic full-size instrument. These don’t have any extras, such as a cutaway or a pickup system.

  • Cordoba C12 SP: Nice looking standard classical guitar with an attractive rosette and a good tone
  • Kremona Solea: Professional standard classical guitar with an amazing tone and playability
  • Yamaha GC22: Excellent standard classical guitar with great looks, playability, and tone
  • Alhambra 4P: Classic guitar look, with great wood and sound

Best Classical Guitar Starter Kits

A classical guitar kit is an option for first-time beginners, especially children. These kits contain a basic guitar as well as related accessories.

These instruments don’t cost a lot, so don’t expect them to have excellent tone or sound. They’re still perfect for kids and will get them interested in music and playing the guitar.

Best Classical Guitar Brands

Classical guitars are often beginner instruments. Because of this fact, there are plenty on the market that aren’t great. You may find these in cheap guitar packages. If you plan to play classical guitar, you should go with a name brand.

An up close photo of a classical guitar

You’ll get an instrument set up and sounding great, and you won’t have to worry about it. Try to avoid all of the cheaper classical guitar packages, as they’re not worth the money unless you have a younger child.

Cordoba Classical Guitars

Tim Miklaucic founded Cordoba guitars in 1997. These are excellent classical instruments, and they come in all price ranges. You’ll find many different types when you choose Cordoba. They have standard classical guitars, cutaways, and ones with pickups.

Yamaha Guitar

The Yamaha company out of Japan makes a wide range of products, including classical guitars. They’re often the choice for a first-time beginner because they come in at a modest price range.

They’re comfortable to play and sound good. When I took high school lessons, my guitar was a Yamaha, and I enjoyed playing it.

Ortega Classical Guitars

Ortega is a German guitar company established in 1994 that now has a worldwide reach. They make excellent classical instruments in all price ranges for beginners to advanced students.

Kremona Classical Guitars

Kremona Guitars come from Bulgaria, although they have offices worldwide. The company was founded in 1924. They make instruments in various price ranges and for all playing abilities.

Taylor Classical Guitars

Taylor is known for their steel-string instruments and makes a wide range of classical instruments in different price ranges. Taylor is an American company established in 1974 in California.

Classical Guitar Parts & Accessories

There are several parts to a classical guitar, which will be explained below.

Headstock/Neck

The strings of the instrument are attached to the headstock. This is where the tuning pegs are located. The headstock and then attaches to the neck and body of the guitar. This is usually one piece of wood.

Body

The classical guitar body has a soundhole in the middle of it, which produces the instrument’s sound. Inside you’ll find bracing, which stabilizes the instrument and improves the tone.

Bridge

Classical instruments also have a bridge. This is where the strings are tied. This bridge also holds the saddle, which rests against the strings.

Electronics

Some classical guitars have a pickup system and preamp system installed. They may also have a tuner installed in the preamp system. Not all classical guitars have electronics.

Classical Guitar Craftsmanship

Here are a few things to think about when it comes to how your guitar looks, feels, and sounds.

Wood

Here are the basic wood types used on classical guitars and what you need to know about them.

  • Cedar: This wood has a warm and complex tone. It’s one of the main choices for the classical guitar, especially the guitar top.
  • Mahogany: This wood is used on the back and sides of the classical guitar. It has a rich reddish color, which is attractive. It produces a nice warm tone.
  • Maple: This is used for the back, and some instruments have a maple top. This wood is quite heavy and produces a dense tone and clarity at higher frequencies.
  • Rosewood: Another popular wood is rosewood. It’s valued for its high quality of tone. It gives great clarity across all frequencies.
  • Lower quality wood: Cheaper classical guitars may be made with a combination of various woods. These instruments still sound fine, but don’t have a tone that’s as defined.

Finish

There are several finishes used for classical guitars. Here’s what you need to know.

  • French polishing: This method applies shellac to the guitar. The wood has a nice finish after it’s applied.
  • Polyurethane: This is a spray-on finish that’s used to finish many instruments, including classical guitars.
  • Nitrocellulose lacquer: This is easy to spray on and quite durable. It’s also easy to touch up if you happen to get scratches.

Color

Most classical guitars come in a natural finish. This means they have a natural wood grain that has been varnished. There’s not a lot of choice in color when it comes to these instruments. You may find a couple of different colors, such as sunburst, but they’re usually just natural wood.

The Overall Tone & Sound

The best classical guitars have a warm and pleasing tone. They produce a softer tone when compared to a steel-string acoustic. A good classical instrument will have a nice tone to it. Lower-cost instruments will be harder to hear when compared to those at a higher price range.

Buying New vs Used

If you’re new to guitar, I recommend you buy a brand new instrument. You don’t know what you’re getting with a used guitar. If you have some experience, then you can go this route.

What’s in a Classical Guitar Box?

There are several things that you may find in a classical guitar box. Here’s what to expect.

Gig Bag/Case

A few classical guitars come with a gig bag or hardshell case.

Documentation/Tag

Most instruments come with some sort of documentation or a tag that shows it’s been checked.

Accessories

If you buy a classical guitar package, it may come with accessories such as lessons, picks, a tuner, and so on.

Extras

Some instrument packs come with extras. Here’s what you can expect to get with the typical package.

  • Gig bag/hard case
  • Picks
  • Strings
  • Lessons
  • Tuner

Classical Guitar Brands to Avoid

It’s best to avoid lower-cost classical guitar packages if at all possible. You don’t get much under $100. The student will end up frustrated, and their teacher will have to tune the guitar more often or it will need repairs.

A musician strumming a classical guitar

If you can, try to spend a little bit more. The options on this list are all great choices.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some questions that are often asked about classical guitars.

How Much Do Classical Guitars Cost?

You’ll find a classical guitar at all price ranges. There are options for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. Typical prices are:

  • $75-300: Beginner guitar
  • $300-800: Intermediate guitar
  • $800+: Professional guitar

What Are the Best Classical Guitars?

Here are my top three choices when it comes to classical guitars.

Taylor Academy 12e-N: Best for Professionals

The Taylor Academy 12e-N has an excellent tone, playability, and modern electronics. The cutaway makes it easy to access the higher frets, so you can play solos.

Cordoba CK Studio Negra: Best for Intermediate Players

The Cordoba CK Studio Negra guitar has a great tone and a pickup and preamp system. It also has a cutaway, so you can hit the higher frets. This is an excellent option for any intermediate player that wants to use an amplifier.

Yamaha CG122: Best for Beginners

The Yamaha CG122 is a basic classical instrument. It has a good tone as well as playability. It costs a little bit more than some of the basic guitars, which is why it’s one of the recommended options.

Where Are the Best Classical Guitars Made?

Classical guitars are made all around the world. The best models come from Europe, but they’re made in various other locations. Most major manufacturers make some type of classical guitar.

What Is the Best Sounding Classical Guitar?

The Taylor Academy 12e-N is an excellent classical guitar. It has that classic look to it, and it also has an under-saddle pickup so that you can plug it into an amp. This guitar also comes in at a great price.

Where to Buy Classical Guitars

There are several places where you can buy classical guitars. One option is to buy them online. You have a wide selection, and you can browse various instruments before making your purchase. This is often the better choice, especially if you don’t have a music store in your town.

Amazon

One of the better places to buy instruments online is Amazon. They have a lot of choices. You can read reviews about each product and easily return instruments to get your money back. They have a wide selection and a good reputation in the industry.

Online Music Retailers

Sweetwater is another place where you might want to consider buying an instrument online. They have a good selection, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and free shipping.

Your Local Music Store

Your local music store has a wide selection of classical guitars. If you’re new to playing classical guitar, take someone with you to check the instrument out, so you get something of quality. The guitar tech at the store could always set the instrument up for you before you take it home.

Review This Post

Table of Contents

In Conclusion

This guide to the best classical guitars should help you find an instrument to meet your needs.  This is a wonderful instrument to learn guitar on because the strings don’t dig into your fingers.

As you develop your skills, you can always switch to an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. I love the sound of the classical guitar because it’s nice and mellow.

Please share and comment on this article. As a guitar player myself, I hope you enjoy playing your new classical guitar. Good luck with your musical journey, and have fun each time you pick up your guitar.