Updated: May 10, 2015
Classical Guitar Reviews:Making Music and Magic with the Right Classical Guitar - It is amazing what some people can do with a piece of wood and some nylon strings. While classical guitars are a little more complex than just a wood box with some string, it remains that musicians are magicians, and the simplest materials can turn into something incredibly beautiful. What is not so simple, though, is choosing the right guitar. Whether you are just beginning or looking to upgrade, you have an astonishing variety from which to choose. Not only are there scores of different brands, there are different styles and sizes - not to mention prices. You can buy an old clunker for $50 or $60; or you could buy a gorgeous $10,000+ Connor Guitar. What is the difference? What should you be looking for? What brands offer the best guitars for your playing style and your budget? This guide will take a look at classical guitars to help you make your own magic.
Buying a Classical Guitar- Before you buy a classical guitar, you want to know a little about the anatomy of a guitar. Classical guitars have nylon string, as opposed to steel, and they produce a very mellow sound. They feature less string tension (75 - 90 pounds) for easier play and a wide fingerboard for complex finger picking. Other differences between a classical and an acoustic guitar are the longer string length and smaller body. You can find a diagram of a classical guitar here (http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/buying_a_classic_gtr.htm). This is important so you know what features to look for. The soundboard, for instance, should be made of high quality solid spruce or cedar, both of which are soft woods that vibrate easily. A veneer soundboard will be less expensive and more durable (a great choice for children and students), but it will decrease the ability to vibrate, and thus reduce the quality of the sound. The sides and backs can also be made of a hardwood, such as rosewood, nato, walnut, koa, maple, and mahogany, or a veneer. Again, the solid wood offers the best tones, but (and this is an important but), hardwood veneers are stronger but retain 95 percent of the musical properties of hardwood. So, not only are they less expensive, but they are more durable and less prone to cracking. A veneer will be perfectly fine for most players. The fingerboards and neck are usually made of hardwoods like rosewood or ebony. Because they see so much wear, it is important to make sure the material is durable and hard. Typically, you'll see veneers or soft woods in lower priced guitars, rosewood in mid-range guitars, and ebony in the best classical guitars. Setting your budget is important, but if you really want to learn to play the guitar, experts recommend that you don't opt for the cheapest of the "budget" options. Typically, those that are priced under $100 do not produce the quality of sound that you want, even if you are a novice. The design, construction, and materials are usually subpar. For $150 to $300, you can get a quality beginner or budget model, and your sound will be a great deal better. You can browse the best selling classical guitars here.
Best Classical Guitars:TweakHeadz, a site for people who want to acquire professional quality instruments and need guidance, recommends the Yamaha C40 for beginners and those on a budget. The C40, which TweakHeadz calls "darn near perfect starter nylon guitar, with good tone and playability," features a spruce top, nato neck, Indonesian mahogany back and sides, Japanese rosewood fingerboard, and a beautiful melamine gloss finish. As you can see, we have the quality woods that help create a mellow, rich sound. Yamaha classical guitars are designed for quality and affordability, and the C40 is certainly an impressive instrument. At just $140, this is a great, high quality guitar. As one Amazon customer wrote, it cannot be beat for the price. A perfect way to introduce yourself to the classical guitar. The Yamaha CG101 is also recommended for budget players. At $200, it features expertly crafted spruce top, nato neck, nato back and sides, rosewood bridge with chrome hardware, and a rosewood fretboard with 19 frets. Another excellent way to learn and practice classical guitar. The next classical guitar is a bit more expensive, but still accessible to a wide range of budgets. The Cordoba C5 reviews well with consumers on Amazon, BestBuy, Guitars.MusiciansFriend, and many more. It features a solid cedar top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and an all-wood inlaid rosette. A gig bag is included with your purchase. Consumers love its great playability, wonderful sound, and, of course, the incredible value. It costs about $300. It is just a step up price-wise from the Yamahas, but in terms of play, it is more than that one step. This is great for the beginner and beyond. See all Cordoba classical guitars here.
Antonio Hermosa classical guitars are highly regarded by musicians. They are based on 19th Century designs and are known for their warm sound, excellent craftsmanship, and unparalleled value. The Antonio Hermosa Classical Guitar, Solid Cedar Top features a gorgeous solid cedar top, mahogany back, sides, and neck, maple binding, high quality D'Addario strings, and gold-plated tuners with brown pearloid buttons. This classical guitar is just $165. As with the other models we've mentioned, this is an excellent guitar for a beginner, but there is definitely room for growth. So you're not a beginner; you're ready for something more but don't want to pay over $10,000 - and wait a year or two before your guitar is made (which is standard with custom-made guitars). What should you get? How about Martin classical guitars? While this respected company does build custom guitars, they also have a full line of excellent pre-made models. The D-28P, for instance, is a more sophisticated guitar with a comfortable Performing Artist neck, which plays a bit faster than traditional D-28 models. It also features great projection and tone, mahogany blocks, dovetail neck joint, solid sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, white boltaron endpiece and binding, and select hardwood neck. According to SweetWater, this Martin is a great classic guitar for a modern player. It is much more pricy than the Yamahas or Cordoba, but it isn't as much as the custom-made beauties that Martin and other top manufacturers make. You can find this online (or used to save a bit of money) for about $2300 to $3000. It is money well spent for the classical guitarist. All of these guitars will serve you well. The less expensive models are cheap enough to fit into most budgets, but not so cheap that they will produce terrible sound. The models mentioned here will help you learn, practice, and develop your own sound. Look here for some other great guitars and find your sound.