Purchasing the best classical guitar as an entry-level player or a beginner can be a hard task because you don't have enough information about guitars and guitar playing to differentiate between high build quality, poorly made classical guitars, and even the sound you might prefer. The classical guitar, also known as nylon strings or Spanish guitar, is a member of the guitars used in making classical music. It is an acoustic wood guitar made of different tonewoods that produce a high-quality sound. The best classical guitar strings were once made of the gut, and today, they are made of polymers like nylon with fine wire wound strings that can be used for bass strings.
Want to learn even more about the best classical guitars on the market? Check out our best classical guitar guide that recaps the best ones and what factors you should consider before making your purchase.
1. Yamaha C40ii
- Spruce top
- Meranti back & sides
- Rosewood fingerboard & bridge
- Gloss finish
Yamaha C40ii is an affordable nylon string guitar from the Yamaha company that features a spruce top, Meranti back and sides, Nato neck, and a rosewood fingerboard with a natural finish. It is a full classical guitar suitable for players who love to explore the full fretboards with no dead frets and perfect tone, unlike most guitars at the price range. The Yamaha instrument is a full-size classical guitar that produces a mellow sound and is perfect for players who are used to playing or look for a great balance in both the lows and highs.
With top solid wood construction, a great sound, and a superb playing experience, it qualifies as one of the best classical guitars for beginners looking for inspiration to play their instrument nonstop and professionals without breaking the bank. It also comes with a digital tuner, a DVD that will help a player learn specific songs, and also it comes with a padded gig bag.
2. Kremona Rosa Morena Flamenco Guitar
- Solid European spruce top
- hand inlaid wooden binding and rosette
- Authentic bone nut and saddle
- Handcrafted in Europe
- Branded, dual-pocketed padded gig bag with neck support
Kremona Rosa Morena is one of the most affordable flamenco guitars with a traditional flamenco make, a solid European spruce top, and a hand-inlaid wooden rosette and binding. It also features an authentic bone nut and saddle. It is suitable for classical guitarists to add a flamenco to their collection or beginners looking to upgrade and come with a gig bag.
The side and back sides are made of Indian rosewood, which is another quality tonewood that can last you a long while if you take care of it properly and has a Honduras cedar neck which is quite comfortable even for beginners. However, keep in mind that the Kremona Rosa Morena flamenco guitars are not the best for players who struggle to play a lower action. The Kremona Rosa Morenanylon string guitars also do not qualify as a guitar to choose from with no experience, and it works better as an upgrade.
3. Cordoba C7-CE Classical Guitar
- Traditional fan bracing
- Rosewood back and sides
- Full size
- Full gloss
- Savarez strings
Cordoba C7-CE is one of the best classical guitars that are mid-priced and are meant to attract more experienced classical guitarists looking for the correct specs, from the nut width to the length measurements. It features a solid Canadian cedar top, rosewood back and sides, rosewood fingerboard, a mahogany neck, and a glossy finish.
The Cordoba electric instrument has some excellent tonewoods that elevate the guitar aesthetically and musically. The instrument also features onboard electronics that blend with the under-saddle piezo and an internal microphone, allowing users to control their amplified tones.
This Cordoba instrument also has a sister version of the Cordoba C7 SP Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, one of the nylon string guitars with a top solid European spruce that gives off more brightness warmer tones of the solid cedar-top C7.
4. Taylor Academy 12e-N
Taylor Academy 12e-N is one of the best classical guitars in the market with a Lutz spruce top, a layered Sapele on the back and sides, a mahogany neck, West African ebony on the fingerboard, and a varnish finish. It comes at slightly affordable pricing making the nylon string guitar accessible to many players, making it a favorite among most people. Taylor 12e-N is a great nylon string option that provides classical and flamenco styling benefits with an ergonomic feel of a more standard classical steel-string guitar.
Taylor Academy 12e-N is compact and includes an adjustable truss rod with a light radius fingerboard and a narrow neck, but the guitar delivers an open and responsive midrange. The classical instrument features a beveled armrest that has been made perfectly for a comfortable playing experience. The onboard electronics are impressive and retain the guitar's natural resonance even at high volumes. The guitar also has a borderline flamenco voicing that works well with either a jazz fusion or a Bossanova chord book.
5. La Patrie Etude Classical Guitar
- North American made
- Radiused fingerboard for added ease and comfort
- Pressure tested solid cedar top
- Double function truss rod
- Tusq nut and compensated saddle for better intonation
La Patrie Etude Classical Guitar is one of the best classical guitars for someone who does not mind the price and would like to invest in a highly-priced guitar. The instrument is a Great North American make and packs features such as a cedar top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and a mahogany neck. It also comes with a two-way truss rod and a two-inch nut width and using the right tension, and the instrument will deliver excellent sounds for different genres.
The La Patrie Etude is one of the classical instruments that delivers a balanced tone, and thanks to the raised saddle of the bridge, you can ensure the intonation is true along the whole fretboard. This full-size instrument is lightweight and ideal for everyone, even beginners, and it can comfortably fit on your laps. The La Patrie Etude is a good investment for anyone who doesn't mind the price and is looking to develop their musical ear and playing skills with precision from the start.
What to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Classical Guitar
With plenty of choices available in the market and different attractive prices, a user, especially an entry-level or beginner, may not know what to look for when picking the best instrument. We have listed some of the things to check, and they include:
When choosing the best classical instrument, one of the key considerations would be the sound it makes. Therefore, any customer should ensure they try all classical guitars available in the store near you. Ensure they are in tune when trying and try the strings one by one, keeping in mind the tone, sound, volume, and duration of the melody. After trying all the classical instruments, you can go ahead and make your purchase in terms of the sound, and the brand does not matter.
High-action guitars usually mean that the classical instrument is loud and low action means you don't have to use a lot of pressure to fingerpick or strum to hear the sound, while a mid-action is a guitar that has a sound that is between the low and high action. Also, the best classical guitar should produce acoustic sounds, and you can confirm this by checking the body's internal parts to ensure some are bracing to serve that purpose.
This is another important factor to consider before making your purchase because as much as you don't know how to play the instrument, you can easily check the frets to avoid dead frets or buzz. To do this correctly, press the frets individually, string by string, until you reach the 12th fret, and listen to the sound you will hear every time you press the frets. You should check to hear if the sound is pleasant or not and if there is any vibration or the sound is clean.
Ensure you also confirm that the fretboard is tilted slightly upwards and the board being inclined is enough and does not have to be curved. If it is curved, it means that the guitar has been in the store for a long while, affecting the neck by lack of use. Don't buy this classical guitar if you notice that because it will not produce a clean sound with a fully functional neck.
Additionally, you should check the bridge and the headstock to see if it needs any adjusting and if the tuning pegs have an adjustable rod and are stable. Notably, some classical guitars include truss rods while others don't, so when making your purchase to avoid your guitar neck bending, opt for the best classical guitar that includes an adjustable truss rod.
Another important thing you should check before making your purchase is the distance between the neck and the strings. It will determine how comfortable or uncomfortable you will be in terms of your posture. Beginners are advised to choose low-action classical guitars because this is where the strings are quite close to the fingerboard. Generally, the recommended distance for a classical guitar should be the sixth rope (distance of 4 millimeters) and the first rope (a 3-millimeter distance).
4. Materials Used
You should also check the type of wood that has been used in the construction of the guitar because some woods are better than others. Most classical guitars use mahogany, mahogany top, or spruce on the back, neck, and sides while using rosewood or maple on the fingerboard, and we have detailed below.
The most recommended wood for the guitar neck is maple, zebra, ebony, or rosewood, and the most suitable wood for the soundboard area is from trees like cedar, pine, or fir. On the other hand, the fingerboard is built using more resistant woods such as cedar, ebony, or rosewood. At the same time, the bottom or back cover of the classical guitars is mostly made of rosewood, cypress, or maple.
Using the best material for the guitar's body will automatically enhance the sound's acoustic properties and ensure the strings also have the right string gauge. However, if you like your choice of the classical guitar with a solid top except for the strings, you can pick the guitar and upgrade the strings yourself.
Classical strings, also known as nylon strings, are easy to play, but they come in different sizes, with some of them being larger than others, so you should be keen on the guitar's scale length when making your purchase. Classical guitars that come on a scale of about 26 or below are relatively small and ideal for people with tiny hands or children. While checking the scale length, ensure you check the neck profile because it should be thin enough to accommodate quick transitions and small hands.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Classical Guitars
1. What are the best brands of classical guitar?
Some of the best and most notable brands are Cordoba, Taylor Academy, and Yamaha, and we have mentioned the best instruments from each brand above.
2. How is an acoustic different from a classical guitar?
The biggest difference between the two guitars is the strings, where the best classical guitars have nylon strings, whereas the acoustic, also known as steel-string guitars, have steel strings. Steel-string acoustic guitars are usually harder to play for a novice because of the steel strings, and it might take some time before your fingers get used to it.
Also, for tone, the best classical guitars produce a more mellow sound than acoustic guitars, and also, when it comes to the frets, there are no markets on a classical guitar, but they are present on an acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar also differs from other features such as body size, price, tuning pegs, neck width, and internal build. The classical and acoustic-electric guitars will hardly lack any of the 10 best classical guitars lists in the market.