Today’s topic covers the “Top 12 Classical Guitars in 2023 All Under $1,000.” The list discusses some exceptional classical guitars from Fender, Ibanez, Cordoba, Taylor, Takamine, Yamaha, Thomann, Hohner, and La Mancha Romero.
In the previous posts, we covered several budget electric and acoustic guitars under the $2,000 mark. However, this post purely talks about affordable classical nylon string guitars by some leading brands of today.
Since the upper strings on these guitars are made of nylon rather than metal, they sound very soft and mellow compared to the brighter, tinny sound associated with steel-string acoustic guitars. Due to their distinct tonal ability, classical and flamenco enthusiasts commonly play nylon string guitars. You’ll also see musicians using them in Latin, folk, and jazz genres.
Classical guitars also have huge popularity among beginner players since these instruments come with flatter necks and nylon strings which are easier on the fingers and help develop different techniques like finger-picking. Furthermore, these guitars are available in a wide array of shapes and sizes, so you’ll surely be able to pick the perfect instrument for your needs.
Here are the “Top 10 Classical Guitars in 2023 under $1,000.” You’ll surely find something worth buying from the list that won’t upset your budget.
Top 12 Classical Guitars 2023 All Under $1000
1. Fender CN-60S Nylon
Fender has been around for decades catering to the needs of the modern musician.
Just as Fender has some immensely popular instruments in its non-acoustic range, including the Stratocaster, the Telecaster, and the Jazzmaster models, to name a few, the brand is no stranger to manufacturing acoustic guitars either.
Over the years, Fender has dished out some amazing acoustic guitars that come at an affordable price but, at the same time, offer some premium features that are mostly associated with more expensive, higher-end guitars.
The CN-60S is a concert-shaped nylon string guitar that not only looks good but plays good as well. With a Sitka Spruce top with scalloped X bracing underneath, the guitar has a natural gloss finish that looks great. The sides and backs are made of laminated Mahogany, which adds great contrast to the Spruce top’s lighter shade. A multiple-layered binding can be seen all around the top’s edge, making the guitar look aesthetically pleasing, and the Pearloid rings around the sound hole add to the overall beauty of the instrument. Being compact, the CN-60S has strap buttons at the base of the guitar and near the neck joint so you can easily rock while standing up.
- Neck and Bridge
The folks at Fender have given special attention to the neck of the CN-60S acoustic guitar. Made of Mahogany, the neck follows the same theme as the body, as it sports a single-ply binding all around the fretboard. The CN-60S has Fender’s trademark “Easy to Play” neck, which features rolled edges. This, paired with the gloss finish at the back, helps the hand slide effortlessly while playing. The fingerboard is made of walnut and accommodates 18 vintage-style frets having white dot inlays. The scale length of the instruments comes bot about 25 inches, while the neck has a radius of 12 inches. Finally, the CN-60S has a plastic nut width of 1.69 inches. Furthermore, the bridge is made of Rosewood with a slanted non-compensated saddle made of plastic.
The CN-60S has a stylish headstock with the “Fender” spaghetti logo. Also attached to the headstock are 6 open gear Amber Pearloid machine heads arranged in a 3 by 3 formation. Hidden inside the neck is a dual-action truss rod with access through the base of the neck.
- Character & Sound
The Fender CN-60S sounds decent. If you’re looking for a nylon string acoustic guitar with an added emphasis on bass, this instrument could be a good choice. However, remember that the bass overpowers the other frequencies, so you get a subdued mid and treble response. Furthermore, the smallish concert shape does limit the guitar’s sound projection and volume quite a bit.
The guitar has many fun features, which could make it an easy transition for musicians who are looking to shift from regular acoustic guitars to the classical nylon string variant. In addition, the “Easy to Play” neck does justice to its name and is easy to adjust to, especially for younger musicians.
The CN-60S is a quality instrument that requires no setup and comes with a nicely set action and perfect intonation. The neck isn’t as chunky as you would expect, and neither are the strings placed too far apart to pose any challenge.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences between a high-end instrument and a cheaper guitar is its ability to deliver sound. The CN-60S lacks adequate treble and mid-response, which may be a preference for some.
Also, if not having access to the last frets of the fretboard is a deal breaker for you, you may want to look for a guitar with a cutaway design. Lastly, the guitar has mediocre sound projection and may struggle to deliver adequate volume to shine through while other instruments are being played.
2. Ibanez GA3
Ibanez is one of the leading brands when it comes to innovative guitar-making.
Whether it’s electric guitars, basses, acoustics, or classical nylon string guitars, the company has a wide range of instruments for beginner musicians and seasoned players. The GA3 is a great example of that.
Here is a classical guitar that has multiple applications. If your guitar arsenal lacks a nylon string guitar, the Ibanez GA3 could be a good choice. The guitar is affordable and comes separately or in a value bundle that includes a case and other fun accessories.
The Ibanez GA3 has a classical body shape and comes in an Amber High Gloss finish. Like most classical guitars, the GA3 also has a Spruce top but with a combination of Meranti back and sides, which makes the guitar’s top stand out from the rest of the body. The length of the body is around 19 inches, while the maximum width comes to about 14 inches. The GA3 is 4 inches deep and has a beautifully decorated sound hold adorned with a classical water decal. Furthermore, this particular classical guitar from Ibanez lacks strap buttons, so you’ll have to play it while sitting down.
- Neck & Bridge
The GA3 classical guitar has a neck made of Nyatoh, while the fretboard is made of Nandu wood. Nyatoh is a cheaper alternative to Mahogany and is commonly seen on most budget guitars. The GA3 has a much flatter neck with a width of 2 inches at the nut, increasing to 2.5 inches at the 14th fret. In terms of the neck’s depth or thickness, the guitar’s neck measures 0.86 inches near the nut. The guitar offers 19 frets, out of which 12 have clear access. The bridge on the GA3 classical guitar is made of Maple, while the nut and saddle are both made from plastic to cut costs. Owing to its flat neck, the space between the strings comes to about 0.46 inches.
The Ibanez GA3 comes with 3 in-line chrome classical tuners installed on the uniquely shaped “Ibanez” labeled headstock. The neck has a truss rod fitted within it to make neck adjustments when necessary. Also installed on the guitar are nylon strings ranging from 0.0285 inches to 0.044 inches.
- Character & Sound
The tonewoods used for constructing the GA3’s body give it a warm sound with a decent amount of clarity regardless of what style of playing you try. The frequency response on the guitar is fairly consistent. However, the Spruce top isn’t very resonant, and the guitar does lack sound projection.
The GA3 is a very affordable guitar that looks great and gets the job done. So whether you’re looking to play some tunes at the next bonfire, want to write some songs, or record music professionally, the GA3 has you covered.
Furthermore, the build quality isn’t bad. If you prefer an instrument with a slightly flatter/wider neck or are just looking to experiment with a different neck profile, getting your hands on this guitar would be an interesting experience.
Most guitar players know that while Nandu is a cheaper substitute for Mahogany, it doesn’t have enough character and presence as an all-Mahogany guitar. Furthermore, a cutaway design gives way to more range of notes which the GA3 lacks.
The guitar may perform well in a quieter environment but lacks the ability to throw sound, which somewhat diminishes its loudness. Also, if you’re a younger player or have smaller hands, the wider neck could be a challenge you’ll need to overcome.
3. Cordoba C5 Nylon String Acoustic
The Cordoba C5 is slightly more expensive than some beginner guitars but does offer great value.
Most of these classical guitars are known for their resonance and sustain. So if you’re into flamenco music or like playing classical guitar, the C5 is a great instrument to add to your repertoire without putting a huge dent in your savings.
The folks at Cordoba have done their homework and know how daunting wider classical guitar necks seem to most musicians who are used to playing on thinner necks. Therefore, the guitar’s necks from the Cordoba line offer great comfort and playability.
- Body Construction
Here is a nylon string guitar that has a slightly different approach. Boasting the typical “Classical” shape, the Cordoba C5 has a top made from Solid Western Red Cedar with a fan pattern bracing. Contrary to some acoustic guitar manufacturers that stick to the more commonly used X-bracing, the C5 has a pattern with brace pieces spread like a Chinese fan. In addition, the sound hole is decorated with a thick, uniquely designed ring with a diameter of 3.3 inches. Finally, the guitar has a rosewood binding, whereas the top sports a natural amber color finished in gloss polyurethane. Unfortunately, you won’t find any strap buttons on the Cordoba C5, which somewhat limits the number of ways you can play it.
- Neck & Bridge
The neck on the Cordoba C5 is made of Mahogany and features 12 accessible frets and 19 in total. Like most classical guitars, there are no dot inlays on the fretboard, although you find dots on the side of the neck for navigation. The C5 comes with a “C” shaped neck, one of the most preferred neck profiles because of its feel and comfort. The fretboard is made of Rosewood and offers a scale length of 25.6 inches. Because of the varying thickness, the guitar measures 0.83 inches on the 1st fret and 0.94 inches on the 9th. Furthermore, the Cordoba C5 has a bone nut with a width of 2 inches. You’ll see a Rosewood bridge with a straight, uncompensated bone saddle as you move down the body.
The Cordoba C5 features 3 x 3 “Cordoba Gold” machine heads with pearl buttons. Hidden inside the guitar’s neck is a dual-action truss rod that offers a varying degree of adjustment for different parts of the neck. The truss rod can be adjusted using a 4mm Allen key. The C5 also comes with 500CJ Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension strings.
- Character & Sound
The Cordoba C5 has great volume and sound projection for its size. Because of its body construction, your notes get great sustain, and you get a taste of that woody sound, usually a forte of more expensive guitars. The bass response is especially great while you get good clarity in the mids and treble frequencies. Also, the C5 will deliver more character in the sound as the wood matures.
At the price point, the Cordoba C5 offers great value for your money. The way this instrument projects sound with very little effort makes it ideal for fingerpicking and soloing. In addition, the bass response is very impressive.
The mids and treble frequencies sound crisp and bright but surely not shrill. The C profile neck is easy to get used to if you’re an electric guitar player and is suited for all skill levels. Furthermore, the guitar looks as good as it sounds.
Although the guitar is well crafted, some users have experienced imperfect fretwork. Also, the dual-action truss rod proves to be slightly more complicated than its simpler counterpart and may require the attention of a trained professional.
Some high-end Cordoba models sound more open and profound but come with a heftier price tag. The Cordoba line of guitars has better options than the C5 if you’re willing to spend a little extra.
4. Taylor Academy 12-N Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
Taylor’s name is bound to pop up when talking about great-sounding acoustic instruments.
Over the years, the people at Taylor have continuously reinvented their approach to bring forth newer ideas in terms of instrument design, choice of tonewoods, and unique bracing patterns to stay ahead of the times and successfully woo guitar players worldwide.
Taylor’s goal with the 12-N acoustic guitar is to deliver high-end playability, impeccable quality, and phenomenal sound at a low price to make the instrument more accessible to the masses. This particular guitar can be of great value to seasoned veterans and beginners alike.
The Taylor Academy 12-N is an “Academy Grand Concert” shaped nylon string guitar with a natural varnish finish. The guitar’s top is made of solid Lutz Spruce and features “Academy Bracing” on its underside. The 12-N’s back and sides are made of Layered Sapele. The guitar also sports Taylor’s trademark contoured armrest, which reduces fatigue and adds comfort when deep into those long, non-stop, unplugged sessions. The beauty of the guitar is its simple design, with no ugly pickguard in sight and a delicate 3 ring rosette surrounding the sound hole. You can easily play this guitar while standing up as it is very lightweight and has strap buttons on the neck, heel, and base for attaching the strap.
- Neck & Bridge Specifications
Sapele is the tonewood of choice regarding the Taylor 12-N’s neck. The instrument’s neck has a 12-inch radius with 17 frets covered with white Italian Acrylic dot inlays allowing reliable neck navigation. The fingerboard is made of a West African variety of Ebony, and the guitar comes with a scale length of 25.5 inches. The 12-N has a nubone nut installed on the neck with a width of 1.875 inches, making the guitar quite thin for easy chord playing. Coming to the bridge, this Taylor classical guitar has a straight micarta saddle sitting on an ebony bridge.
- Character & Sound
The think tanks at Taylor have expertly combined a top made of Lutz Spruce and Sapele back and sides to give the Taylor 12-N excellent sound projection and warmth. Hiding under the Spruce top, the academy-style bracing brings out great character and crispness to this versatile instrument, making it capable of handling open chords, delicate fingerstyle playing, and flat-picking equally well.
- Hardware & Accessories
The Taylor Academy 12-N comes with Pro Arte Carbon Hard Tension nylon strings. The headstock features 6 nylon nickel tuners with Pearloid buttons and sports the Taylor logo. The neck conceals a truss rod that can be adjusted by unscrewing the truss rod cover on the headstock like those found on electric guitars and basses. The Taylor Academy 12-N also comes with the famous Taylor gig bag.
The Taylor 12-N exudes great quality, superior sound delivery, and tonal character. Also, the padded gig bag is a great addition to the overall package. The quality control on all Taylor instruments is exceptional, and the 12-N is a great example.
The neck feels great and enhances playability. The design ingenuity and addition of an elbow contour on the 12-N’s body make for a comfortable experience when playing for long hours, which makes this particular guitar ideal for gigging and travel.
While the Taylor 12-N is targeted towards beginners, the price is on the higher side. However, at this price point, you could get a decent electro-acoustic nylon string guitar with options of playing unplugged sessions or having it connected to an amp for live applications and recording.
5. Yamaha C40
The contribution from Yamaha to the world of electric, acoustic, and classical guitars speaks volumes.
The Yamaha C40 and its descendant, the C40II, have gained immense popularity over the years, with the latter being voted “The Best Stringed Instrument” by classic FM listeners back in 2011. The C40II owes its success to the C40, from which it has borrowed many of its characteristics.
If you’re a bit unsure about guitar playing and need an instrument to keep you engaged on your musical journey, the C40 does a great job of keeping things economical and offers a great-looking instrument with decent sound quality.
The C40 is a full-sized classical-shaped nylon string guitar from Yamaha. The instrument comes in a gloss finish. The top is made of Spruce and has a dark orange hue which, combined with the beautifully designed rosette, looks aesthetically pleasing. The back and sides of the C40 are made of laminated Meranti, which is widely available and, thus, a cheaper option for lower-end guitars. Another good thing about a guitar made of Meranti is that it’s very light. The Yamaha C40II’s sound chamber has a depth of 3.31 inches. The body lacks strap buttons, so you’ll have to get them installed on your own if you want to play it standing up. Finally, the C40II guitar from Yamaha comes in Natural and Black color finishes.
- Neck & Bridge
Being a full-sized guitar, the C40 has a thick neck with a 2-inch-wide nut. The neck is made from Nato and has a Rosewood fingerboard over it. The neck connects to the body near the 12th fret, whereas the guitar has 18 frets. You won’t find any fret inlays on the C40, but you can navigate easily by looking at the dot markings on the side of the neck. The thicker neck gives you more room and also helps to develop fingerpicking. Furthermore, the C40II has a rosewood bridge with an uncompensated plastic saddle over which the strings rest. The instrument has a scale length of 25.56 inches.
The Yamaha C40 nylon string guitar has a classical Yamaha headstock with round tuning forks Yamaha logo and features classical-style tuning machines. Also installed on the guitar are Savarez D-Angelico Light Tension nylon strings. Unfortunately, the guitar doesn’t include a case, but some online guitar stores offer bittersweet bundles which include accessories like a hard-shell case, a guitar stand, guitar picks, a tuner, a capo, and much more so you have all you need but in a much more economical package.
- Character & Sound
The C40 features a full-sized body with a chamber that exudes great resonance. The Spruce top delivers a sound that is very bright and clear. The bass response is slightly mellow, with more focus on treble frequencies. However, due to its laminate Meranti body, the guitar does lack in dishing out sound projection.
- Player Port App
Most Yamaha acoustic guitars can be registered on Yamaha’s Player Port app, which is an excellent resource for beginners and intermediate players. Through the app, android and IOS users can access a plethora of videos that teach how to play the instrument, how to set it up properly, and the tips and tricks that will make you a guitar wiz in no time.
The C40 from Yamaha is a great instrument to get you started on your journey to becoming a skilled classical guitar player. The neck has a rounded heel joint for ease and comfort. In addition, the thickness of the neck helps develop proper fretting techniques from the get-go.
Perhaps not the most ideal instrument, the C40 is still a very affordable guitar that can help a beginner develop good playing techniques by following along on the Player Port App, which has a wide range of teaching guides, FAQs, and tips and tricks.
The C40 has laminate Meranti back and sides which may be more resistant to environmental factors than natural wood but lacks resonance and projection. So, chances are that the guitar will sound a little inadequate if you’re looking for a loud instrument.
Also, some buyers have experienced imperfect fretwork. The guitar seems to come with sharp fret edges and polish blemishes, which need to be taken care of to avoid any hindrance in the learning experience. The award-winning C40II could be a slightly better option.
6. Yamaha CS40 II
Here’s yet another Yamaha guitar that is built to impress.
You’ll see many Yamaha guitars on today’s list for the simple reason that these instruments are nicely crafted and blur the lines between classic features and modern ingenuity. You get a whole lot for the price you pay.
Furthermore, you can’t really put a label on these guitars as some of their offerings are equally suitable for children and adults regardless of their skill level. For example, the Yamaha CS40 II is an ideal guitar for youngsters and traveling musicians.
The Yamaha CS40II has a standard classical guitar shape but a much smaller size (3/4) with dimensions of almost 18 inches by 13 inches. In terms of depth, the measurement ranges from 3.3 inches to 3.5 inches. The guitar comes in a natural gloss finish with a well-decorated sound hole that gives it a modern look. The top is made of Spruce, while the sides and back are made of Meranti. The guitar’s top is surrounded by a subtle black binding, while there are no strap buttons on the CS40II.
- Neck & Bridge
The Yamaha CS40 II has a Nato neck with a matt finish, so your hands don’t stick to the surface and can glide easily. The fretboard is made of Rosewood and has 18 frets, 12 easily reachable. The CS40 II has a much slimmer neck with a nut width of just 1.8 inches and a scale length of almost 23 inches. The bridge on the guitar is made of Rosewood, and both the nut and saddle are made of urea. The saddle is compensated and provides good intonation.
As with most Yamaha nylon string guitars, the CS40 II has a classical headstock with back-facing open-gear chrome RM-1252X tuners in a 3 by 3 formation. The guitar comes with medium gauge strings from Yamaha’s C series. Also, the CS40 II doesn’t include a gig bag/guitar case.
- Character & Sound
The Yamaha CS40 II has a bright sparkly tone. The bass sounds are a bit subdued compared to the treble frequencies. However, the overall sound is quite clear, and the instrument projects well for its size. The stock strings are responsive and react well to fingerstyle playing and flatpicking.
- Player Port App
The Yahama CS40 II can also be registered on the user-friendly guitar app called Player Port. The app is available for Android and IOS users and offers lessons, learning resources, tips, videos, articles, and a lot more. The app also features a built-in tuner which is free to use even if you don’t own a Yamaha instrument.
The Yamaha CS40 II is a very affordable instrument. Smaller scale guitars are especially fun to play as there is less string tension, and the portability means you can carry it around wherever you go, which is great.
The slimmer neck profile the CS40 II offers is ideal for players with small hands, and the matt finish feels comfortable as you move over the neck. In addition, the smaller size makes the instrument extremely light making it a perfect choice for children.
The craftsmanship isn’t perfect, and you’ll see some rough edges at the end of the neck. The frets also seem to have some sharpness to them which is expected considering the low price, but you may want to pay a little extra to get them fixed.
Also, the tuning machines on the CS40 II are not the best, as they lack stability. You may also replace the cheap plastic nut to overcome tuning issues. Furthermore, the stock strings are no good, and you’re better off replacing them to get more out of the instrument.
7. Thomann Classic Guitar S 4/4
The Classic Guitar S 4/4 is a mysterious instrument, as you won’t find any branding information.
Although you’ll find this guitar only on the Thomann website, if you’re looking to purchase it brand new, you may think it is a Harley Benton nylon string guitar. Looking through the sound hole, one may see a Thomann sticker inside.
However, the guitar is made by a German guitar manufacturer named Gewa. The company is known for manufacturing acoustic guitars, classical guitars, ukuleles, and folk instruments and pricing them very modestly.
The S 4/4 is a full-sized acoustic guitar from the Thomann range. Like most classic guitars, the S 4/4 features a solid Spruce top tinted and solid Maple back and sides that are walnut stained. The instrument has a colorfully patterned rosette which stands out on the lighter-shaded top. The fretboard’s base conforms with the sound hole’s curves to look aesthetically pleasing. Also, a black binding separates the Spruce top from the guitar’s sides. The back is maroon/almost dark brown and looks quite dark. You’ll find no strap buttons on the guitar, so you’ll have to play this one sitting down.
- Neck & Bridge
Keeping in line with the appearance of the back and sides, the acoustic guitar’s neck is made of Maple but has a walnut-colored finish. The nut has a width of 2 inches and is made of plastic. You’ll find an Acacia fretboard on the neck, featuring 12 accessible frets out of the 19 total. The bridge is also made of Acacia and has an uncompensated plastic saddle on it.
The S 4/4 comes with Hannabach 815 nylon strings. The guitar has a plain classic-shaped headstock that lacks a logo. Installed on the headstock are 6 nickel-plated, open-gear Van Gent tuners. Unfortunately, the guitar doesn’t come with a case, so you’ll have to purchase one separately. The neck houses a truss rod that comes in handy if the neck gets warped and needs to be fixed.
- Character & Sound
The Classical S 4/4 guitar has decent potential in terms of sound characteristics. The sound is well-rounded and warm. The guitar can be great for any playing style, including aggressive strumming, fingerpicking, or flat picking. The sustain is great as your notes will ring on and on. The sound projection is also quite good. Furthermore, you can visit the guitar’s webpage on the Thomann website and listen to how the guitar sounds when different music styles are played.
The Thomann Classic Guitar S 4/4 is a great-sounding guitar that hardly costs anything. It is light and has a smooth finish on the back of the neck to help your hand glide over it comfortably. In addition, the instrument has a solid top and a beautiful rosette, giving it a high-end feel.
The guitar comes with a near-perfect intonation regardless of which part of the neck you’re fretting. So if you’re looking for a decent travel guitar or just need something to progress the hobby, the Thomann Classic Guitar S 4/4 is worth checking out.
Although everything about the Thomann Classic Guitar S 4/4 is quite pleasing, given the price tag, a few areas can be improved. First, you’ll probably look to replace the plastic nut with a bone nut to add more stability to the tuning.
And while you’re at it, adding a bone saddle to the bridge would be a good idea to add even more stability and sustain to the instrument. Lastly, some users have had a problem with unpolished frets, so be sure to have some fret polish handy.
8. Hohner Accordions HOHNER 6
The Hohner 6-string acoustic guitar is perhaps the tiniest instrument on today’s list.
If there was any doubt about who a certain instrument was being targeted towards, the Hohner 6 blatantly mentions “My first Acoustic Guitar” on the box it comes in and has a bunch of kids playing this smallish nylon string guitar.
The box also mentions that the guitar belongs to the “Hohner kids” series, which is why it is a half-sized instrument specially designed for children who aspire to be future guitar players. However, the guitar is not a toy and can be a good starting point.
The HOHNER 6 String Acoustic Guitar is made of Agathis through and through. This means that with the exception of the neck, the guitar’s top, back, and sides are all made of Agathis. The body is shaped like a tiny dreadnought guitar and has a natural gloss finish. You’ll also find a black pickguard on it, which you usually don’t find on classical nylon strings guitars. Furthermore, the Hohner 6 doesn’t have any strap buttons.
The guitar lacks a cutaway, so you only get 12 accessible frets. The frets are marked with large white dot inlays for ease of navigation. The neck is made of Mahogany and has a Hardwood fretboard on it. In addition, the neck has a very narrow profile and is easy to play. As you must have guessed, the HOHNER 6 comes in a much smaller scale length since it’s a half-sized guitar. The headstock has the usual classic shape and features 6 open gear tuners. Also, the neck lacks a truss rod.
- Bridge & Accessories
The bridge and nut on this guitar are made of plastic and support a combination of brass and nylon strings. The package comes with a few hidden goodies, as kids can also enjoy a songbook and colorful stickers that come with the Hohner 6-string acoustic guitar.
- The Sound
Since this is a much smaller instrument, the guitar lacks sound projection because of the smaller sound chamber. As a result, the tone is fairly boxed and closed sounding and lacks clarity. The bass sounds a bit muffled, and the mids and treble frequencies lack a great deal.
This guitar is very cheaply priced. Knowing how kids have a much smaller attention span these days, it’s best to invest in a budget instrument to assess if they’ll go the distance. The Hohner 6 would be a great choice in this regard.
The neck is very sleek, which makes it easier to play with smaller hands and the combination of brass and nylon strings makes the instrument very easy on children’s fingers. In addition, this half-sized guitar hardly weighs anything.
The Hohner 6-string acoustic guitar from Hohner Accordions is somewhat limited in its use. The guitar is strictly targeted towards the younger generation of players and can be a good starter guitar for children between the ages of 4 and 8.
Advertised as the “first guitar,” the HOHNER 6 could be a good instrument to learn on, but as you get more skilled, you’ll surely like to switch to a more serious and better sounding instrument that delivers decent tones and has a better projection.
9. Yamaha CGS102A Half-Size
The CGS102A happens to be one of Yamaha’s most popular classical guitars.
When Yamaha got into guitar manufacturing back in the 1940s, it started off making classical guitars. Over the years, their guitars have evolved drastically to feature vintage features with some modern appointments to interest today’s musicians.
The guitar comes in a couple of sizes and scale lengths. The Yamaha CGS102A is a half-sized guitar, while the slightly bigger but almost identical in all other aspects CGS13AII comes in a 3/4 sized scale. The price difference is almost negligible, so it’s all a matter of preference.
The Yamaha CGS102A is a half-sized guitar with a total length of just 34 inches. The guitar comes in a much darker natural gloss finish. Coming to the body construction, the top is made of Spruce, whereas the back and sides are made of Meranti. The Spruce top also features Yamaha’s traditional bracing under the surface. The guitar also comes with black binding on the top and bottom edges and features a nicely designed decorative rosette. The CGS102A’s body has a varying depth ranging between 3.15 inches and 3.3 inches. The guitar lacks strap buttons, so you’ll either have to install them or play while sitting down.
- Neck & Bridge
The CGS102A’s neck is made of Nato, also known as Eastern Mahogany. The neck has the standard Yamaha acoustic profile and features a back that has a satin finish which makes it easier to play. The scale length on the CGS102A guitar comes to about 21 inches, whereas the guitar has 20 frets that lack dot inlays. In addition, the fingerboard is made of Rosewood. The headstock has a slotted design and exhibits the circular Yamaha logo. With a slightly thinner neck, the CGS102A has a nut width of 1.9 inches and comes with a urea nut, a form of hard plastic usually used to make electrical switches. Finally, the guitar possesses an uncompensated urea saddle that sits on top of a Rosewood bridge.
The Yamaha CGS102A comes with Nylon light strings that are very easy on the fingertips. The guitar also features 6 open-gear tuners, which offer decent tuning stability. Unfortunately, the guitar doesn’t come with a case, so you’ll have to spend a little extra to get one. However, when it comes to cheaper models, the CGS102A does have better stability in the neck thanks to the built-in truss rod.
- Character & Sound
Since this is a half-sized guitar, the instrument does sound small and lacks projection and clarity. In addition, the CGS102A seems to focus heavily on the bass notes, with a slightly lesser representation in the middle and upper registers. However, if you play some fingerpicking melodies, that’s where the Yamaha CGS102A truly shines.
Over the years, Yamaha has developed some really impressive acoustic and classical guitars, and the CGS102A is a testament to that. Not only does it look appealing and sounds decent, but it also does so by being extremely affordable.
You could benefit from this guitar if you’re a traveling musician and on the road a lot. Moreover, the CGS102A is a solid instrument equally suited for writing songs, playing as a hobby, or presenting to a younger musician due to its manageable size.
As expected by its lower price tag, the Yamaha CGS102A will require a proper setup before you start playing it regularly. The urea nut and saddle don’t do the guitar any favor, and you may end up replacing them with the bone variant once you increase in skill level and guitar knowledge.
Furthermore, the guitar lacks proper intonation as you move towards the middle of the neck. Therefore, a good approach for the novice guitar player would be to start with the CGS102A, earn some chops, and then move to a higher-end guitar that enhances the overall learning experience.
10. La Mancha Romero Granito 32-3/4
There is surprisingly little information about these guitars on the world wide web.
You can probably only get La Mancha Romero guitars online from Thomann or Amazon. However, these lesser-known guitars are very economical and offer great value, especially if you want to buy your child his first guitar.
Not only ideal for young beginners, the La Mancha Romero Granito good be a step in the right direction if you’re looking to add a classical to your arsenal and don’t want to break the bank while doing so. The Granito 32-3/4 may perform better than your expectations.
- Neck and Bridge
Since the Granito 32-3/4 is a guitar in a much smaller size, the instrument has a scale length of just 23 inches. The guitar features a plastic nut that is around 1.8 inches wide. The neck is made of Mahogany and has black ABS binding on its sides, while the fretboard is made of Ovangkol. Ovangkol is a distant relative of Rosewood and has some interesting sound characteristics. The fretboard has 12 easily reachable frets where the neck meets the body and 6 more frets beyond it. You won’t find any fret marks on the frets, although there are some top-facing fret dots on the edge of the neck. The La Mancha Romero Granito has an Ovangkol bridge with an uncompensated plastic saddle.
The La Mancha Romero Granito guitar comes in a matt Dark Burst color with an open-pored finish. As with most classical guitars, the Granito 32-3/4 comes with a decorated rosette around the sound hole, which gives it a modern feel and looks great in contrast to the much lighter shaded Spruce top. The instrument also features a Mahogany back and sides, and you’ll find black binding around the top, which separates it from the rest of the body. There aren’t any strap buttons on the La Mancha Romero Granito 32-3/4, but the guitar seems very comfortable to play while sitting down.
The guitar comes installed with Savarez nylon strings. The headstock doesn’t have any logo or branding but supports 6 nickel-plated tuning machines with black buttons. The neck is fitted with a truss rod which you can adjust through the sound hole.
- Character & Sound
The La Mancha Romero Granito, 32-3/4, sounds very open and has great clarity in its sound delivery. Suited for all styles of guitar playing, the instrument sounds especially lively when fingerpicked or strummed to play chords. The sound is warm, with a good representation of bass and mids. The treble notes sound bright and inspiring but not too piercing. For its size, the guitar has great sound projection. If you’re still not convinced, you can check out the guitar’s webpage on Thomann and hear several music genres played on the La Mancha Romero Granito 32-3/4, including Bossa, Classical, Pop, Tango, and Andalusian.
Because of the 3/4 scale size, the La Mancha Romero Granito falls in the “first guitar” category. In addition, the guitar has a very comfortable neck with which smaller hands can easily come to grips. Also, the weight is light, and the guitar is well-balanced for comfort.
The sound is exceptional, so that it can be a great tool for experienced musicians, songwriters, and music producers. Regarding the comparison between price and sound delivery, the La Mancha Romero Granito 32-3/4 provides great value.
For the price, the La Mancha Romero Granito 32-3/4 is an impressive instrument. However, being a cheaper guitar, the instrument has some downsides. The stock tuners are unreliable and don’t provide flawless tuning stability.
Furthermore, the fretwork is a bit questionable. This means you’ll need to even out the polish and have a trained professional file down the sharp edges on the frets and the nut. Perhaps you may also consider replacing the plastic nut with a bone nut.
11. Yamaha CG182SF
Here is one of the more expensive guitars from the Yamaha Nylon string range.
The Yamaha CG182SF offers a little extra to justify its higher price. The playability and sound are great, thanks to the tonewoods used in the body construction. This will be a great instrument if you’re looking to transition into the world of nylon string guitars.
Every guitar collection must include a nylon stringer, as it is great to have around for experimentation and to try out newer genres and playing styles. The versatile Yamaha CG182SF caters to the needs of professionals and beginner-level guitar players.
- Neck & Bridge
The CG182SF by Yamaha has a neck made of Eastern Mahogany/Nato combined with an ebony fingerboard with a flat radius. The guitar has a urea nut with a thickness of 2 inches, and the overall scale length measures almost 26 inches. You won’t find any fret inlays on the neck, although the sides of the neck does have dots instead to help map out the fretboard. The neck sides also have a black binding which looks rather nice. The CG182SF’s bridge is made of Rosewood and has a urea saddle with compensation for the G string to ensure accurate intonation.
The CG182SF’s body measures 19 inches x 14.5 inches, whereas the depth varies between 3.7 and 3.9, making it a slightly thicker guitar. The top is solid Spruce and has special bracing and a bridge plate that transfers string vibration well. The back and sides of the guitar are made of Cypress. The CG182SF comes in a light, amber-colored matt finish with black binding around the top edges to give it a nice touch. The CG182SF has a decorative rosette around the sound hole that stands out in contrast to the Spruce top. At a glance, you won’t notice that the instrument has two transparent pick/scratch guards on either side of the strings to protect the body’s surface. Furthermore, the CG182SF lacks strap buttons.
The CG182SF has a classical headstock shape with the circular Yamaha logo and a row of three gold-plated RM-1388G-7F tuners on either side. The guitar also comes with Yamaha S10 nylon strings. Unfortunately, you don’t get a case with the Yamaha CG182SF.
- Character & Sound
The Yamaha CG182SF has a slightly thicker body, adding to its resonance and sound projection. The Spruce top delivers bright-sounding tones and warmth in the lower register. The bridge plate does a good job of transferring string vibration to the sound chamber to enhance the clarity of the sound. As the guitar gets played more, the wood matures to sound even better. Furthermore, the Cypress back and sides are perfect for percussive guitar work.
The Yamaha team has done a good job with their CG182SF in that the instrument is set up properly and ready to play as soon as you purchase it. The action is great, and the intonation is near perfect, thanks to the compensated bridge.
The idea of bringing Spruce and Cypress together works well, as the guitar delivers some bright and expressive tones with a well-rounded response among all frequencies, and if you’re a flamenco player, you’ll love the percussiveness of this instrument.
The guitar is a bit more expensive than most beginner-level guitars, so that you would expect a bit more for the additional price. The nut and saddle are made of urea, which could’ve been replaced with bone at this price point.
The stock strings also seem a bit mediocre, so if you want to get the most out of your CG182SF, you may want to change them the first chance you get. After that, trying some normal tension D’Addario EJ45s may do the trick.
12. Cordoba Mini II M
Contrary to the full-sized Cordoba C5, the Mini II M (as the name suggests) is much smaller in stature.
Inspired by its predecessor, the popular Cordoba C5 Mini, the Mini II is a new and improved version that maintains the basic essence of the Mini but brings a little extra to the table thanks to a few different tonewood options.
It’s never good to judge a book by its cover, and it would be wrong to cut the Cordoba Mini II M short because it has a lot to offer and is an impressive classical nylon string guitar in its own right. Moreover, the guitar is specially designed for the younger generation.
The Cordoba Mini II M is naturally colored with a satin polyurethane finish. The top is made of Mahogany, and so are the back and sides. Underneath the Mahogany top, the Cordoba Mini employs fan-shaped bracing, which contributes greatly to the instrument’s sound. An attractive abalone rosette decorates the sound hole, and the guitar has a black binding around the edges of the Mahogany top. The strap buttons are placed on the side of the neck heel and the bottom of the guitar, so you can play standing up or sitting down if that’s what you prefer. Regarding the body dimensions, the length comes to 15.87 inches, while the width ranges between 11.25 and 8.75 inches. The sound chamber has a width of around 3 inches.
- Neck & Bridge
The Cordoba Mini II M has a Mahogany neck with a composite fingerboard. Composite is a synthetic material that is sometimes used in making guitar necks. A plus point of having a composite neck is its stability due to resistance towards harsh weather conditions. The guitar features 19 frets with Pearloid dot inlays and offers a flat radius. Since this instrument is a “mini” variant, it comes in a smaller scale length of just 22.8 inches, bringing the overall length of the guitar down to 34.37 inches. The neck is 1.875” inches wide at the nut, which is much slimmer than most larger-body guitars on the list. The Cordoba Mini II M has a composite bridge, and the saddle and nut are made of Nubone.
The Cordoba Mini II M features Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ nylon strings. In addition, the guitar has a traditional acoustic guitar headstock with the Cordoba logo. There are 6 side-facing Cordoba Satin Nickel tuning machines installed on the headstock with black dots.
- Character & Sound
Because of its smaller size, the Cordoba Mini II M has a boxy sound. Although the bass and highs have adequate clarity, they lack projection. The tones are subdued compared to a bigger instrument with a wider sound chamber. The volume on the Cordoba Mini is quite mellow, so if you’re looking to play in an environment that isn’t completely noise-free, you’ll struggle with hearing the guitar properly.
For the amount you spend on it, the guitar is good value for money. It is portable, very light, and doesn’t take up too much space in your room. In addition, children can learn on it easily because of its size, which makes it easy to manage and play.
The neck is specially designed for smaller hands, and the composite fretboard is hardly affected by any climate change, so that you won’t face issues like fret buzzing and the like. The fret inlays are helpful, and the strap buttons come in handy.
The Cordoba Mini II M can be a good guitar for children and beginners because of its smaller size, but the sound is a bit uninspiring for professional musicians who may want to spend a little extra to get a better instrument.
The guitar also lacks sufficient quality control, as you may encounter sharp or unpolished fretwork, neck issues, and high action. In addition, the tuners on the Cordoba Mini II M are not the best and lack stability.
Takamine GC5CE (Classical Acoustic Electric)
The Japanese guitar manufacturing company by the name of Takamine has been around since the late 50s.
The Takamine GC5CE is a traditional-looking guitar but with a few modern appointments. Moreover, the instrument is a multitasker of a guitar as it has built-in electronics. Having such a versatile guitar at an affordable price is the stuff dreams are made of.
If you’re looking to get your first nylon string guitar and know that somewhere down the road, you may want to get a semi-acoustic guitar for studio work or live performances, the GC5CE kills two birds with one stone.
The Takamine GC5CE is a classical-shaped nylon string guitar that looks apart from the other instruments on the list. The body features a cutaway design which gives access to almost all the available frets. Having a natural gloss finish, the GC5CE features a rosette with an inlaid mosaic pattern. The guitar also has black binding all around its top. Coming to the body construction, the guitar has a solid Spruce top with fan bracing on its underside, while the back and sides are made of Laurel. The GC5CE has just one strap button on the base, so you’ll need to tie the other end of the strap near the guitar’s nut.
- Neck & Bridge
The GC5CE from Takamine has a synthetic bone nut with a width of 2 inches, while the neck offers a scale length of 25.6 inches. The GC5CE has a Mahogany neck connected to the guitar’s body through a dovetail neck joint. The fingerboard is made of Laurel and accommodates 19 fully accessible frets thanks to the cutaway design. Overall, the neck profile on the guitar feels flat but slim. Finally, the bridge on the GC5CE is made of Laurel and features a synthetic bone saddle of the compensated variety, which offers a slightly variable scale length for each string to ensure good intonation.
The Takamine GC5CE comes with vintage-looking gold die-cast tuners with pearl buttons. Another great feature that sets the GC5CE apart from the other guitars in today’s list is that it comes installed with a Takamine TP-4T preamp, so you can play the guitar unplugged or while connected to an amp. The guitar also features a truss rod which can be accessed through the sound hole to fix any neck-related issues.
The preamp on the Takamine GC5CE comes with a 3-band EQ. This means you get three different faders ranging between +12 and -12 for each frequency band. The preamp also has a built-in tuner which is always a handy feature on an acoustic guitar. The tuner has a dedicated button and a small display that shows each note being played. Powered through a 9V battery, the interface also has a battery compartment. Finally, the preamp has a knob to control the instrument’s gain when plugged in.
- Character & Sound
The GC5CE offers great warmth and has a balanced response along the frequency spectrum. You’ll experience great resonance and decent sound projection while playing the instrument on its own. When plugged in, the preamp gives you many options to mold your sound just the way you want, thanks to the 3-band EQ on board which has a dedicated fader for each band. Also, you can always connect the GC5CE to an amp if you want more projection and volume.
The GC5CE is a semi-acoustic guitar that gives you the advantage of plugging it into an amp when playing live or directly into your audio interface for recording your sound. At this price point, the GC5CE is a great instrument to add to your guitar collection.
The guitar sounds equally great unplugged, thanks to the tonewoods used. The neck feels flat and easy for flamenco or classical fingerpicking. The guitar has great sustain, and the Laurel back and sides give it great character in the upper register with a punchy bass representation.
Being slightly on the expensive side, an actual bone nut would be a welcome feature for greater string stability as the stings tend to dig into the grooves of the synthetic bone nut with time and become a nuisance.
The Takamine GC5CE sports a Venetian cutaway design which is great for fret access but reduces the size of the sound chamber, which in turn takes away some of its loudness. The neck is a bit flatter and on the thicker side, which may or may not be your cup of tea.
How To Choose Classical Guitar
One of the happiest moments in a musician’s life is when he’s getting ready to buy an instrument. But, unfortunately, it’s very easy to make hasty decisions at the spur of the moment, which may not be the right fit for you in the long run. So, weighing the pros and cons before settling on which guitar to get is of the utmost importance.
In your quest to get the perfect sounding instrument, a good place to start would be by spending some time researching the different kinds of tonewoods and their sound characteristics. Some wood options are more popular than others.
By far, the most common choice of tonewood for classical guitar tops is Spruce. Not only does it combine well with other woods, but it also offers good resonance and projection. As a result, most guitar manufacturers employ Spruce for the internal bracing to equip the instrument with a certain tonal range.
Cedar is also commonly used on nylon string guitars for its warm and mellow tone. Several guitar makers also favor Mahogany as it possesses a punchy wooden sound with a lot of warmth and projection.
So, it’s easier to narrow down your search by focusing on guitars with the necessary components to bring to life the sound you crave in an instrument. Finally, you can visit your local instrument store to experience the guitars firsthand and rule out the ones that fall short of your expectations.
Checking a guitar for finishing imperfections is the first thing to do. Next, you must spend time with the neck to see if it’s warped or has buzzing issues. The frets must also be checked for sharp edges and polish issues. The last and best part of the ordeal is playing the instrument and assessing the sound.
Are Expensive Classical Guitars Worth It?
Perhaps we are all programmed to associate a higher price with a superior product that offers better value. While it is true that the more you spend, the more you get, this notion does succumb to the law of diminishing returns. I know this is purely an economics-based concept but bear with me.
Investing heavily in a guitar will ensure that you get a top-of-the-line instrument that makes use of the best tonewoods and thus offers a very rich and desirable sound. In addition, you’re probably getting a beautiful hand-crafted guitar, an instrument with impeccable quality control, the most reliable hardware, a high-end case, and the whole shebang!
But what’s to note here is that after a certain point, you get lesser additional value for every buck spent. A guitar manufacturer will eventually run out of things to add to an instrument to justify the higher price point.
Why not keep things simple and start from the lower end of the price spectrum to gauge if you can commit to the learning process? That way, when you get better, you have more room to grow and purchase guitars that go hand in hand with your skill level.
Every guitar collection needs at least one classical nylon string guitar, as these instruments deliver a unique sound and add a newer dimension to your sound. In addition, a smaller-scale nylon guitar can be a great companion for the road and equally beneficial for younger guitar players as these instruments have comfortable necks and a small sound chamber for ease of use.
It all comes down to what your goal is. Each guitar on today’s list has its distinct sound, different tonewood usage, and purpose. Surely, now that you’re familiar with each instrument, you can order your first classical guitar without any hesitation and enjoy it for years to come.
Sultan Zafar is a guitar player from Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been playing music with various mainstream musicians for over 20 years. He is a song writer and music producer. These days he spends his time exploring different music genres and collaborating with fellow musicians on various projects. Read more..