Looking for the best classical guitar for the money? We looked at a bunch and here are our favorites.
Quick Links To My Top Classical Guitar Recommendations
- Kremona Solea Artist Series Nylon String Guitar – MY TOP CLASSICAL GUITAR CHOICE! Best bang for the money!
- Cordoba C5 – Beginner classical guitarists’ best choice!
- Yamaha NTX700 – Excellent sound and tone for under $1000.
- Alhambra Classical 1OP-US – Another quality instrument choice for under $500 price.
- Yamaha C40 – Another excellent Yamaha inexpensive choice.
- Cordoba Protege C1 3/4-Size – Smaller nylon-string guitars design which is great for kids getting started.
These classical guitars are unique, in that they have nylon guitar strings instead of metal ones. Their necks are flat and wide, which makes it simple to play the scales, arpeggios and chords featured in classical music – however, this can be a challenge for short fingered guitarists.
- Quick Links To My Top Classical Guitar Recommendations
- How to Choose a Nylon String Classical Guitar
- How Much is a Good Classical Guitar?
- Our Recommendations:
- Best All Around Classical Guitar For The Money – Kremona Solea Artist Series Nylon String Guitar
- Best For New Guitarists – Cordoba C5
- Best Under 1000 – Yamaha NTX700
- Best Under 500 – Alhambra Classical 1OP-US
- Best Inexpensive Classical Guitar – Yamaha C40
- Best Small 3/4 Size Classical Guitar – Cordoba Protege C1 3/4-Size
- Some More Great Picks For The Money
- Classical Guitar Conclusion
Typically, guitarists pluck the strings to produce sounds, but strumming is needed in some musical styles too. ‘Extended range’ classical guitars or flamenco guitars have extra strings and are ideal for playing beautiful, mellow music. These guitars work well in casual settings, because they help to create a nice atmosphere.
How to Choose a Nylon String Classical Guitar
When selecting a nylon string classical guitar, some of the top factors to consider are the guitar’s sound (based on the design and tonewood), how suitable it is for novices, its’ action and how it plays. Because of its’ versatile nature, spruce wood is often used to build these guitars. This wood creates a crisp, powerful sound with a broad dynamic range, making it a wise option if you intend to experiment with different styles. Solid wood or plywood is typically used to make the soundboards. Although solid wood tends to be better quality, there’s a case for plywood being more cost effective, and this is used in several guitars designed for beginner guitar players.
Notwithstanding, the majority of advanced musicians will choose solid wood. The fretboard influences the sound to a degree, however this should be assessed for its’ playability and comfort. As far as fret navigation goes, it is much easier to position your hand correctly on certain fretboards than others, while fingerpicking. If you have never played or held nylon string guitars before, it can be hard to choose the right guitar size. It is best to visit a guitar shop with an extensive list of the top classical guitars. This way, you will have the opportunity to test the full size, ⅞ size and ¾ size models, to determine which one suits your guitar playing style and body type.
How Much is a Good Classical Guitar?
The difference in price between an expensive and cheap classical guitar is like the difference between night and day. If you have less than $100 to spend, then the classical guitars available to you will be fairly rudimentary – and not particularly dependable. They are unlikely to last long either. To get a guitar of a reasonable standard, your minimum budget should be $100 to $250. The majority of well known manufacturers have fairly good classical guitars for less than $250, and this is all you require as a novice.
Between $250 and $500, you can get the classical guitars with top quality superior hardware – like metal and bone tuning pegs – and higher quality woods. Between $500 and $1000, you will find some hand crafted guitars and others that have been made in factories. If you intend to spend more than $1000 on a top classical guitar, you need to ensure it is up to scratch! In this situation, search for hand crafted models and always read plenty of customer guitar reviews. Superb craftsmanship, quality tonewoods and a gorgeous appearance and feel should be mandatory features, if you are parting with this amount of money.
Best All Around Classical Guitar For The Money – Kremona Solea Artist Series Nylon String Guitar
Founded in 1924 in Bulgaria, Kremona is rightly regarded as an expert guitar manufacturer. Its’ acclaimed Artist Series strengthens this reputation further. This premium guitar range features handmade good classical guitars from the company’s best craftsmen, designed for advanced guitarists. A key inclusion in this series is the outstanding Solea – our best all around classical guitar for the money pick, which boasts a number of nice details and tropical woods.
With a 25.6 inch scale length and conventional flat solid top guitar body, this guitar has an attractive straight tight grain and lovely red solid cedar top – excellent build quality. The back and sides really stand out, because they are made from cocobolo – an exotic wood with a colorful and busy grain.
Honduran cedar has been used to make the guitar neck. At the twelfth fret, a dovetail joint connects this to the body. Indian ebony has been used to make the fretboard, which has no inlays, a 2.04 inch nut width and nineteen frets.
The hardware is both effective and simple. It features six brass handmade machine heads, with tuning keys. This is an innovative touch, to say the least. Ebony has been used to make the guitar bridge as well, which also has a bone saddle and matching nut. This guitar comes with a deluxe top hard wooden arch shell case.
The cocobolo back and sides deliver a rich, distinctive tone. Thanks to the natural warmth of the red cedar top, this musical instrument produces a clear and mellow sound consistently – with a responsive bass, lots of projection and top glimmering trebles.
- Awesome sound
- Looks luxurious
- Potential to become a heirloom guitar
- Slightly higher price point than other guitars in this range
Best For New Guitarists – Cordoba C5
This guitar, our choice for best classical guitars for beginners is a rarity, in that it is an authentic classical guitar with a reasonable price tag. It has a number of refined features that make it ideal for novice musicians. The back and sides are made from laminate mahogany, with beautiful craftsmanship, and the solid cedar top is made from solid Canadian cedar. Mahogany is used on the neck of this guitar too, which includes a classical scale.
The rosewood hardware on the Cordoba C5 is highly effective. Tuning and intonation are well above average. The bridge improves the tone even more, because it is reliable and solid. Combined together, these features make for a lightweight top classical guitar that sounds angelic when played.
Generally speaking, the top guitar craftsmanship and design are more important on guitars with nylon strings, compared to steel string acoustic guitars, because you can instantly tell whether they are out of tune once the first couple of chords are played. The Cordoba C5 classical guitar measures up in this regard, and provides the warm sound that you would expect from a good classical guitar. The low notes are rich, broad and satisfying, while the treble notes are compelling and lively.
If you want to become a classical guitarist, the Cordoba C5 will stand you in good stead – even after your skills improve. This affordable guitar is perfectly suitable for extended stage performances, and you should encounter no problems with it when playing live. In light of this, it is hardly surprising that Cordoba classical guitar is a leading brand for top guitars in this price range.
- Great for beginners
- Good for travel
- Easy to play
- Limited sound options
- Fretboard is narrower and it’s a little difficult to play chords on the lower part of the fingerboard.
- The neck is slimmer so it can be hard to reach all the notes comfortably.
Best Under 1000 – Yamaha NTX700
With its’ refined finish, the Yamaha NTX700 has got quality written all over it, however it does not come with an extortionate price tag – which is why it is our choice for best classical guitar under 1000. This classical guitar is notably big though, so some people might find it uncomfortable to play. The back and sides are made from nato wood, and the top is a solid spruce top. Nato wood is used on the neck as well, which has a guitar fretboard made from rosewood. The top also has black binding around it, and the rosette on this guitar is nicely designed.
The rosewood bridge on the Yamaha NTX700 guitar includes a compensated saddle. This is made from normal synthetic material, but it works fine nonetheless. The guitar tuners are always a sensitive component, when it comes to mid range or entry level guitars. However, Yamaha have fitted their own die cast devices onto this model, which retain the guitar’s key perfectly.
The Yamaha ART system handles this guitar well. It boasts authentic tone reproduction and a decent quantity of tone shaping, thanks to its’ excellent triple band EQ. As far as the sound goes, projection, volume and power are the best words to describe what this instrument offers. Notwithstanding, the wide mids and trebles are still fairly well defined. The cherry on top is that the frequency range is nicely blended, so you get plenty of clarity and width. Suffice to say, this guitar merits your consideration, if you are looking for your first top classical guitar.
- Price is cheaper than most guitars of this quality.
- Uses a Yamaha Acoustic Electric Projection System that improves the sound projection and vibration of the instrument.
- The bridge on the NTX700 is made from rosewood, which creates a warmer tone than maple. This model also features an ebony fingerboard and bridge. These are usually reserved for more expensive guitars because of their durability and cost efficiency.
- None noted at this time.
Best Under 500 – Alhambra Classical 1OP-US
Alhambra is a brand known for the range of customization options it gives to customers. When you buy an Alhambra guitar (like this one being our pick for best classical guitars under 500), you can be sure that it will fit your requirements to a tee. First of all, you need to select which shape and size you want – either the conventional classical style guitar, or the cutaway substitute. Players who struggle to reach the frets at the top, and require some assistance in this regard, should purchase the cutaway model.
In addition, there are a couple of finishes to pick from when purchasing this guitar – an open pore finish, or a high gloss finish. Moreover, based on your preferred colors, you can opt for the standard red cedar guitar or Canadian cedar substitute. The Alhambra Classical 1OP-US was only launched in 2016, so it is still a new addition to the market. Nonetheless, it has managed to attract a following of seasoned players and novice players alike. This tells you all you need to know about the quality of this lightweight classical guitar. A soft carry case is included with the guitar as well, to keep it safe while you are on the move.
All in all, the nylon string Alhambra classical guitar is an ideal product for people, who are searching for a reliable classical guitar. It is great for developing your skills as a guitarist, and it is certain to last for a long time, due to its’ sturdy design. The top quality soft case is a nice touch that will protect your guitar from those accidental knocks that can occur from time to time.
- Great sound
- Beautiful finish
- Doesn’t come with a case. Case is sold separately and costs more money.
Looking for more under $500 options? We also have a full article on the top 10 best classical guitar under 500 choices.
Best Inexpensive Classical Guitar – Yamaha C40
As a leading music industry brand, Yamaha’s classical guitar does not disappoint and a great choice for best inexpensive classical guitar. With more than 100 positive reviews from customers, this guitar has captured the imagination of players since the turn of the twenty-first century. Better still, people continue to rave about it, due to its’ quality and affordability. Yamaha appreciates the importance of creating classical guitars that suit everybody – with regards to price, design and sound – and this is why they developed the C40.
The back and sides are made from Indonesian mahogany, which helps the guitar to remain durable and strong – regardless of how often you practice. The C40 guitar has a melamine gloss finish that keeps it fresh and new looking for years on end. Its’ mellow tones are ideal for anybody who wants an engaging, soulful sound and those who pay for guitar lessons. As well as this, the C40 appears in Amazon’s top ten list of guitars, and on Amazon’s Choice product list. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this instrument is highly popular with people searching for a good quality, affordable guitar.
Essentially, with the C40, Yamaha is offering its’ customers a high caliber, robust classical guitar for a competitive price. If you want a guitar that produces a warm sound that you love listening to, without it burning a hole in your bank account, Yamaha’s top guitar will suit you down to the ground.
- Beautiful sound
- Relatively inexpensive
- Comfortable neck width
- Lightweight construction, but durable enough for long term use.
- Older model; newer models may have updated features
Best Small 3/4 Size Classical Guitar – Cordoba Protege C1 3/4-Size
The Spanish style, nylon string, best small ¾ sized classical guitar from Cordoba is part of their series of Protege classical guitars. As with the other models in this series, this one was designed for younger guitar players and novices. This does not mean that more experienced and accomplished players should not use it though, particularly if they require a smaller guitar while traveling.
The C1 acoustic guitar has a mahogany side and back, along with an ABS bound spruce top. The carefully chosen tone wood delivers a sound much fuller than most smaller sized guitars. Notwithstanding, the overall design aims to offer optimum comfort for new guitar players. The mahogany neck is simple to slide along and grip.
Cordoba have given this classical guitar a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and it comes with high quality Savarez strings. To safeguard the tone wood and enhance its’ appearance, without affecting the sound negatively, a high gloss polyurethane finish is used. Unlike many top ¾ sized guitars, this model has a fairly high volume and rich, full bodied sound.
- Quality Solid Cedar Top
- Comfortable Neck Profile
- Pleasing Tone and Projection
- Sustain Not As Good as Solid Spanish Cedar
Some More Great Picks For The Money
- Cordoba C9 Parlor
- Cordoba GK Studio Negra
- Ibanez GA3
- Antonio Giuliani CL6
- Taylor Academy 12EN
- Yamaha C40II classical guitar
Classical Guitar Conclusion
It might take you a fair amount of time to find the top classical guitar for your budget and requirements, however do not let this deter you. It pays to shop around, because we all have different levels of musical expertise and there are so many different nylon string guitars to choose from. Hopefully, the above list has given you a solid insight into the top guitars we regard as the best classical guitars currently on the market. If you have purchased a guitar recently, it is sensible to take it for a check up regularly, to ensure that everything works smoothly. A reputable music shop will have employees who can replace the strings on your guitar, or even tweak the action of your guitar if required. Of course, it is nice to be able to perform your own guitar maintenance, however there’s no harm in getting a second opinion.