Best Classical Guitars – 2020 Reviews

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Classical guitars are often the first choice for aspiring musicians because their nylon strings are gentler on inexperienced fingertips.

Recently, they have enjoyed increasing interest from all types of musicians, not just beginners. Even a pro cannot help but admire the raw beauty and warmth of classical tones.

Keep reading to find out which models are the best classical guitars on the market and why. We hope our reviews prove to be helpful as you search for your very own classical guitar.

Comparison of the Best Classical Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Classic construction, extremely durable
  • Fast, smooth action with robust sounds
  • Premium top made of solid red cedar for maximum tonality
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  • Best Budget Classical Guitar
  • Thin cutaway design with classical features
  • Spruce top with mahogany back, sides, and neck
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  • Best Classical Guitar For Beginners
  • Full-size classical body enhances the user’s experience
  • Balanced tones ideal for fingerpicking and rhythmic chording
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  • Best Classical Guitar Under $1000
  • Red cedar top with a mahogany neck and solid Sapele back and sides
  • Versatile, with the adjustable truss rod and authentic saddle and nut
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  • Best Classical Guitar Under $500
  • Savarez strings and gig bag included
  • Buttery tones with plenty of warmth
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  • Best Classical Guitar Under $300
  • Classical body with laminated spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck
  • Affordable, ideal beginner guitar
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  • Best Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar
  • Traditional design with quality tonewoods
  • Fishman electronics for great performance, both plugged and unplugged
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  • Best Yamaha Classical Guitar
  • Unique build quality with a rosewood bridge, back, and sides
  • Lightweight construction for playability and portability
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What is a Classical Guitar?

A classical guitar is an acoustic musical instrument used in classical music that is often played with bare fingers or fingernails. They usually have 12 frets, and most of them follow the traditional design of the Spanish classical guitar developed by Antonio Torres Jurado. Some of them follow the Flamenco design, which is more modern and has a different construction. 

Despite these two primary varieties, new hybrids have sprouted up on the market. Many changes have been introduced to improve the tonal abilities or to lower costs for the manufacturer and buyers. Other changes have been made simply to improve traditional design. 

Can You Find a Quality Classical Guitar That is Affordable?

Classical guitars are no different than other types. Their price tags increase to a point where more money means improvements in design and material quality rather than tonal capabilities. Thus, it is indeed possible to find an affordable classical guitar that delivers high performance. 

However, you can probably save money on other aspects, such as using laminated wood rather than solid wood, but this is not a deal-breaker when judging its quality. In fact, this will make little difference in overall performance. What is truly important is for it to be playable, comfortable, and capable of providing you with clear tones. 

What to Look For When Buying a Classical Guitar

Here are the main aspects you should consider when buying a classical guitar:

Sound Quality

One of the most important aspects is great sound quality. Unlike the electric guitar, for instance, classical guitars have a lower range of sounds, so the focus is on the build quality and tonewoods. Different tonewoods, such as rosewood, mahogany, or maple, have different tonal abilities. Make sure you know what you need before deciding on which classical guitar is best for you. 

Playability

If you are a beginner, you should go for maximum comfort and playability. This would preferably be a lighter, thinner guitar to help you reach all the notes with comfort. If you are more advanced, it all comes down to your preference and style. Overall, your guitar should play easily with little to no effort so you can enjoy your performance. 

Price Range

Finally, make sure your future classical guitar matches your budget. You should consider that a guitar is a long-term investment, so it is worthwhile to spend a little bit extra if you can afford it. If not, rest assured, we have plenty of recommendations that suit every budget without compromising on quality. Additionally, if you are a beginner, do not forget to calculate the extra accessories you'll have to purchase. These include strings, a gig case to store the guitar, and others. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Classical Guitars

Here are the best options to consider once you know what you are looking for in a classical guitar:

PROS

  • Output is loud with rich, full tones
  • Performs great in both acoustic and electric mode
  • Comfortable cutaway for improved user experience
  • Affordable price range
  • Includes a gig bag, digital tuner, and great electronics
  • Highly versatile with Fishman Presys Blend pickup that offers natural sounds when plugged in

CONS

  • Electronics are of average quality
  • Bridge is very sensitive to humidity problems

What Recent Buyers Report

The Cordoba Fusion Orchestra is a high-quality acoustic-electric guitar that offers natural sounds when plugged in. It is great for recording or live performances. You might want to add a humidifier to keep it hydrated. Also, bear in mind that the electronics are not great, but the phase control does help a lot in reducing feedback.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This instrument is our runner-up selection and is made from a classic combination of solid cedar and rosewood back and sides. It features an exquisite classical design combined with a touch of modernity due to the high gloss finish and mahogany binding.

Who Will Use This Most

Ideal for any beginner to intermediate skill level, the Cordoba Fusion Orchestra is perfectly equipped to play the most intricate flamencos with ease and comfort. The beauty of this guitar only adds to its perks, but the rich and resonant sounds cannot be matched. It has a distinctive tone ready to shine on the stage.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Cordoba offers versatility, comfort, and high-end features to provide you with the best performance you’ve ever experienced. Whether you play it plugged or unplugged, this guitar performs up to expectations.

Best Budget Classical Guitar:
Ibanez GA35 Thinline

PROS

  • Includes other extras
  • Easy access to the truss rod
  • Highly playable and comfortable
  • Beautiful design with great attention to detail
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty to back up the quality
  • Gold classical tuners and a beautiful, mosaic design rosette

CONS

  • Sounds are not very full
  • Laminated wood is not for everyone
  • Requires professional setup before first use

What Recent Buyers Report 

The nylon strings of the Ibanez GA35 are extremely soft and easy on the fingers. Combined with a narrow fingerboard, the guitar is a beautiful, classical hybrid that adds quality and convenience. The sounds are not as full as expected, but when it is played acoustically, you can enjoy warm, sweet, mellow sounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ibanez GA35 is a beautiful classical guitar that combines convenience and comfort with quality components and consistent performance. It is very easy to fret and play, you can easily access the truss rod, and it is extremely well-built. The pristine tonality and playability of this instrument truly set it apart from other competitors.

Who Will Use This Most

This instrument is ideal for stage work because of its increased resistance to feedback. The narrow neck recommends it over traditional steel-string or electric guitars due to convenience and comfort. You can enjoy full playability due to the soft cutaway, promoting an effortless performance.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Ibanez GA35 offers high-quality features at an attractive price tag. Whether you want to play it acoustically or electrically, this instrument is versatile and great for any style. It is definitely worth your attention, especially due to the sounds, which have mellow and sweet touches.

Best Classical Guitar For Beginners:
Yamaha CG182S Spruce Top Classical Guitar

PROS

  • Plenty of projection
  • Durable and consistent performance
  • Thinner, lighter neck enhances comfort
  • Balanced tones through the entire spectrum
  • Increased playability due to thinner, lighter neck
  • Perfect balance between affordability and quality

CONS

  • Does not include a case
  • Neck is made of NATO wood

What Recent Buyers Report

If you want to experience the feel of a high-end instrument at a more affordable price, this is the instrument for you. It has a full-size, classical body that offers very balanced tones, with a slight emphasis on the mids that provide the much-needed punch. The result is one of the best classical guitars on the market.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Yamaha’s vast knowledge of instruments is very popular with musicians all around the world. The Yamaha CG182S is a beautiful example of their flawless craftsmanship. It combines a thinner, lighter neck to help musicians benefit from increased playability and comfort, while the tones are simply outstanding.

Who Will Use This Most

With the European solid spruce top, this guitar is highly recommended for rhythmic chording and fingerpicking. The beautifully balanced tones have a slight emphasis on the mid-range, bringing out the deep tones of nylon-stringed instruments. There is also some crisp sustain and crystal clarity that simply make it stand out from the crowd.

Bottom Line

All in all, the Yamaha CF182S is a great classical guitar that combines quality and affordability. It is a great instrument with superb tonalities and a beautiful finish. If you are not bothered by the NATO wood used for the lighter, thinner neck, this instrument might be the one you’re looking for.

Best Classical Guitar Under $1000:
Kremona Sofia

PROS

  • Handcrafted in Europe
  • Great tonewood choices
  • Playable and comfortable
  • Versatile features in an exquisite design
  • Offers greater tonal balance and vibrancy
  • Indian rosewood fingerboard, bridge, and headstock overlay

CONS

  • Hard case is not very qualitative
  • Quite lightweight, so extra care is required when used

What Recent Buyers Report

The Kremona Sofia closely emulates high-end instruments with a great fit and finish. You get sweet sounds, an affordable price tag, and great action right out of the box. These are only a few of the qualities that make this guitar a real steal. Any musician should give it a try at least once!

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Kremona Sofia is definitely worth a mention as one of the best classical guitars. It has well-balanced sounds with impressive vibrancy and sweetness. The combination of a red cedar top, solid Sapele back and sides, and the African mahogany neck are great tonewood choices. This design sets this instrument apart from the rest.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great option for musicians of every skill level. It is playable right out of the box, which makes it beginner-friendly. The high-quality performance recommends it to more advanced players, as well. It is rich, warm, and you can start playing it right away.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Kremona Sofia is our top recommendation if you want a reliable instrument with great core performance for under $1000. Make sure you add it to your shortlist and benefit from all the best features at one of the most attractive price tags. It is quite difficult to overlook the price/quality ratio!

PROS

  • Buttery smooth tonality, oozing warmth
  • Perfectly balanced with a high-quality build
  • Great handmade workmanship
  • Ideal for both beginner and intermediate players
  • Back, sides, bridge, and fingerboard are made of rosewood
  • Comes with Savarez strings and a gig bag for easy storage

CONS

  • Requires a humidifier (additional purchase); otherwise, it has a short life

What Recent Buyers Report

The Cordoba C7 CD is situated at the price point where additional costs only add to decorations instead of tonal improvements. This is the perfect balance between quality and price. All you need to do is strum one chord and you will be impressed with the buttery, well-balanced sounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The tonal abilities of the Cordoba C7 CD are very impressive; they are warm, smooth, and they simply flow. It has a great fit and finish, and it feels balanced and well-crafted. The real advantages kick in once you start playing it. The performance of this guitar is exceptional for this price tag.

Who Will Use This Most

If you enjoy Cordoba guitars, we highly recommend giving this one a try. It is suitable for both beginners and intermediate players. On top of everything else, it is handmade and crafted from the best quality materials.

Bottom Line

In the end, Cordoba is a high-quality producer of guitars whose buyers are used to quality, performance, and affordability. The C7 CD is no exception to this rule. It comes with beautiful features, exquisite design, and maximum comfort, all for under $500.

Best Classical Guitar Under $300:
Lucero LC100

PROS

  • Beautiful, glossy finish
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Great value for the money
  • Ideal for traveling musicians
  • Extremely affordable beginner guitar
  • Spaced-out frets for enhanced playability

CONS

  • Top scratches easily
  • Stock strings sound a bit flat
  • High notes are tough to reach

What Recent Buyers Report

If you are looking for a great beginner guitar, you have just found the winner. Do not be fooled by the low-price range – this buy is practically a steal. It is easy to play and comfortable, and the performance is spectacular. The fit, finish, and sound quality are all above standards for this price range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Lucero LC100 is a great classical guitar that features a standard classical body with a cutaway for enhanced playability. The back, sides, and neck are crafted from mahogany, while the top is made from laminated spruce. It is lightweight and very fun to play.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want to replace a more expensive instrument with an affordable one, the Lucero LC100 is the best option. It is an excellent instrument for a quick jam. Plus, it offers all the comfort and coziness needed for beginner musicians to build up their skills.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Lucero LC100 classical guitar features impressive qualities. It performs great as a beginner guitar, but it is also recommended for all skill levels. The fantastic price offers a solid incentive to add it to your guitar collection or choose it as your first instrument.

Best Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar:
Cordoba C5-CE Classical Cutaway

PROS

  • Great value for the money
  • Suitable for gigs and recording
  • Reliable and great performance
  • Beautiful looks with traditional features
  • Smaller neck enhances comfort and playability
  • Increased playability, ideal for both gigs and recording

CONS

  • Tuners could be better
  • Sounds a bit thin when unplugged

What Recent Buyers Report

The tone of the Cordoba C5-CE is consistent and nice, and the intonation is flawless. The performance is buttery smooth, with great low action and fabulous sounds. It sounds a bit thin when unamped, but it comes to life when you plug it in. The built-in tuner could be of better quality. Nonetheless, it is a great addition!

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Cordoba C5-CE acoustic-electric classical guitar is affordable and handmade following the traditional Spanish model. It has flawless articulation due to the Canadian cedar top and the mahogany back and sides. The electronics are of great quality, and they beautifully amplify clear, warm tones. It offers great value for the money.

Who Will Use This Most

The Cordoba C5-CE is a great guitar that follows the traditional Spanish classical guitar. However, the C5-CE benefits from a soft cutaway and a slimmer neck, which enhances playability and comfort. With its great quality electronics, it is the best asset for beginner to intermediate players.

Bottom Line

Wrapping up, the Cordoba C5-CE acoustic-electric guitar embodies exquisite looks, matched with equally amazing tones and quality of sounds. Whether you plug it in or not, the C5-CE performs above standards. If you are looking for a value buy, the Cordoba C5-CE should be on your shortlist.

Best Yamaha Classical Guitar:
Yamaha CG192S

PROS

  • Incredible wood blend
  • Great value for the money
  • Rich tones and great price range
  • Lightweight construction for greater portability
  • Surprisingly rich tones for a nylon-stringed guitar
  • Highly versatile, appealing to both beginners and intermediates

CONS

  • Price range might seem higher for beginners, but it is fair relative to the quality of this instrument

What Recent Buyers Report

The CG192 has a unique build that favors a truly outstanding performance. What makes it stand out from the crowd is the incredible wood blend that really emphasizes the acoustic tones. Chords ring through powerfully despite its nylon strings, and it is a very appealing guitar for any musician.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The CF192 is definitely worth mentioning due to its unique build that sparkles and fuels a unique performance. The top is made from solid Engelmann spruce. This is an unusual cut of spruce that is rare, extremely light, versatile, and dense enough to carry the tones.

Who Will Use This Most

Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced player looking for fresh experiences, the CF192 is what you need. It provides you with a seamless transition, as it is extremely comfortable and easy to play. The uniqueness of its build will surprise you with its tonal abilities.

Bottom Line

All in all, the CF192 is the perfect instrument for a beginner. It can be a travel guitar or even a way to provide some diversity to your steel-stringed collection. It is made from high-quality components. Also, it is made of one of the rarest, unusual cuts of spruce, which will spice up your experience.

PROS

  • Bright sounds
  • Handcrafted classical guitar with a flawless design
  • Includes a high-quality, protective gig bag
  • Ability to choose between solid spruce or cedar top
  • High-quality performance with impressive response and sustain

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Yamaha's craftsmanship is flawless and lives up to its reputation. This model has all the features of a high-end guitar, with beautiful sounds and superior response. What makes it truly unique is that the buyer has a choice between spruce or American cedar top. It also includes a reinforced, heavy-duty gig bag.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Yamaha GC32 is a high-end instrument that stands up to any close inspection. It is made entirely of solid woods, with extra care for details. It comes with bright sounds and a superior response that will be appreciated by musicians of any skill level.

Who Will Use This Most

This classical guitar is a precious asset for musicians of all skills. The tone, sustain, and brightness of sounds are perfect. It is, without a doubt, one step higher in quality and tone than any other guitars of its kind. The case also exceeds expectations, protecting the instrument against damage and the elements.

Bottom Line


All in all, the Yamaha GC32 is the best choice available to you. It is impossible not to be impressed by the quality and workmanship of this product. Yamaha's reputation for its quality guitars is no news here – just one more reason why you should check this one out!

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Here are a few other considerations you should be aware of before buying: 

Readiness to Play 

Some guitars are not set up to be played right out of the box. This is usually the case, which means that you should have a professional take a look at your instrument before you use it the first time. This is especially relevant if you are a beginner. If you are a professional, you might already know that some of them come with stock strings. These are quite likely to sound flat and need replacement, so buying some extra sets of strings will never hurt. 

Bundle

If you are a beginner or on a tight budget, you should seek bundles to make the most out of your money. Such examples include guitars that already come with gig bags or are already equipped with high-quality strings. This will help you down the road, and it is important to check for these accessories if you are on a budget. 

Play Safe! Or Maybe Not?

Everyone has heard of Yamaha’s great quality. However, maybe not everyone has heard of Kremona Sofia and Lucero, especially if you are a beginner. Although most would say to go for the most popular brand, some of our lesser-known brands are actually highly valued by their buyers. We recommend you take a leap and give other brands a try, as well, especially if you already own brands such as Yamaha or Ibanez

Conclusion

Make sure you take into consideration your skill level, desired sounds, and budget before choosing the best classical guitar for you. Shopping for a set of nylon strings when you buy your guitar would also be a great idea and will save you time later on. 

People Also Ask

If there are still a few questions on your mind about classical guitars, keep reading below.

How is a Classical Guitar Different from an Acoustic Guitar?

There are many differences between the two types of guitars. The most striking one would be that classical guitars use nylon strings, while acoustic ones use steel strings. They are played differently, and they have different sounds. Nylon strings sound thick and mellow compared to steel strings. 

How Long Do Classical Guitars Last?

If you practice often, your classical guitar will definitely wear out at some point. James Taylor states that a standard guitar can last up to 50 years or longer. Of course, this is only if you take care of your instrument and perform frequent maintenance. If you do not take care of it, the sounds will not be as great as they used to. 

Is a Classical Guitar Good for a Beginner?

Most beginners prefer classical guitars because the nylon strings are much softer on the fingertips and they are easier to play. However, it will take much longer to develop calluses, which will happen anyway if you switch to a steel-stringed instrument. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn Classical Guitar?

This depends on how much practice you are ready to put in and whether you learn by yourself or with a teacher. The general consensus is that classical guitar takes about six months to learn simple tunes and develop a basic understanding of reading music. 

Can You Use a Pick With Classical Guitar?

If you play classical music, you will not need a pick. You can use one, but keep in mind that classical guitars do not have a pickguard. Therefore, you should avoid hitting the guitar body with the pick.