Today, we’re taking a look at the best classical guitars. Let’s start with some background information. The classical guitar, also known as the Spanish guitar, is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. It is an acoustic wooden guitar that uses various tone woods to produce a high-quality sound.
The materials and methods of classical guitar construction may vary, but the typical shape is either modern classical guitar or the historic classical guitar similar to the early romantic guitars of France and Italy.
Let’s check out top 10 best classical guitars available and find one that is just right for you.
Top 9 Best Classical Guitars In 2020 Reviews
1 Kremona Solea Artist Series Nylon String Guitar
Solea’s silky cedar top with cocobolo back and sides deliver both a beautiful, sturdy bass and a responsive bite in the treble. This Kremona guitars’ specifications include solid back and sides, solid top, and a super-thin gloss finish.
The Solea also comes with a Honduras cedar neck, an ebony fingerboard, along with bridge and dual headstock overlays. But there’s even more; a bone nut and saddle contribute to the best possible sound. Top off the ascetics with wood binding and a nice rosette.
Playability is enhanced by brass machine heads with black accents, a 650 mm scale length, a 52mm neck width at nut, and Kremona Arete medium-high tension strings.
Another great feature is the deluxe hard-shell case. Kremona guitars are created at the esteemed Kremona lutherie in Bulgaria. Kremona has been handcrafting musical instruments since 1924. The Solea is an excellent choice for our Best Classical Guitar list.
- Cedar top
- Cocobolo back and sides
- Bone nut and saddle
2 Cordoba Guitars C9 Parlor Classical Guitar
Next up is the Cordoba C9 Parlor. This classical instrument is a sweet, smaller guitar. It is ideal for the player looking for the feel, comfort, and ease of playability that a smaller instrument provides, while retaining the pleasant, warm tone created by solid wood construction.
The C9 Parlor is built with a Canadian cedar top and solid mahogany back and sides. The C9 Parlor features a 7/8 body size, perfect for smaller players or those musicians preferring the slightly smaller instrument. That’s not all; other features include a 50mm nut width, and the fan bracing pattern used on most Cordoba guitars is also found here.
Like every guitar in the Cordoba Luthier series, the C9 Parlor is built with Spanish heel construction, where the top of the guitar is attached to the neck. The sides are added next, and the guitar’s body is sealed by the addition of the back. This technique allows the entire instrument to vibrate as one unified piece.
Aesthetic touches like the mother-of-pearl weave rosette, a premium rosewood fingerboard and rosewood bridge, and a high gloss finish are all noteworthy features. What’s more, the C9 Parlor includes Cordoba’s lightweight polyfoam case. This smaller, parlor-sized guitar is an outstanding candidate for our Best Choices review.
- Cedar top
- Smaller parlor size
- High-gloss finish
3 Kremona Rosa Morena Flamenco Series Nylon String Guitar
Our next review is for the Kremona Rosa Morena Flamenco guitar. Flamenco guitars are built lighter with thinner tops than classical guitars, which produces a brighter sound quality. Builders also use less internal bracing to keep the top more resonant to help produce the brighter and louder notes.
Volume has traditionally been very important for flamenco guitarists. To increase volume, harder woods are used for the back and sides, with softer woods for the top.
The Rosa Morena is crafted of Indian rosewood and European spruce. This Flamenco guitar delivers the rich, warm tone and dynamic range of a classical guitar but with subtle flamenco design elements and robust sound.
This Kremona model features a solid top, ultra-thin gloss finish and a Honduras cedar neck. The Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, along with a bone nut and saddle compliments the other Flamenco features. Other nice touches include solid wood binding and sound hole rosette, gold machines, and a traditional Flamenco tap plate.
A Kremona branded padded gig bag with neck support is included, but a hard-shell case would be a definite plus. You can always add a better case later. The Rosa Morena is another consideration in our Best Choices list.
- Spruce top
- Rosewood back and sides
- Robust sound
- Flamenco style is built lighter than classical style
- No hard-shell case
4 Yamaha NCX1200R Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar
The NCX1200R is a mix of classical and modern design. If you enjoy playing classical, but would like to add in other musical tastes, this may be the guitar for you. Why does this matter? Because you have an instrument that can give you a lot of playing options, and still allow you to return to classical guitar roots.
The Yamaha NCX1200R classical guitar comes with a solid Sitka spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides and an African mahogany neck. Also included is an ebony fingerboard and a nice, natural finish. That’s not all; the A.R.T. 2-way pickup system will give you the option of playing solo or projecting with other instruments in an orchestra or band.
The modern styled NCX1200R is designed with a thinner body and a narrower neck compared to traditional classical guitars. The cutaway is designed to provide greater comfort and playability for today’s classical players. The 1200R is an instrument perfect for adding nylon string tones to a wide range of musical styles from Latin to Jazz, Pop to Rock, and Classical as well.
Yamaha has added some really nice accessories to give you a total classical guitar package. The guitar comes with a reinforced case, guitar stand and the Yamaha Guitar Care Kit. Want more? How about an instructional DVD to help get you started with the Yamaha NCX1200R.
- Spruce top
- Rosewood back and sides
- R.T. electronics
5 Yamaha CGX122MSC Classical Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The GCX122MSC Classical Guitar features unequaled tone and playability at an affordable price. An electric version of the CG122MS, this guitar is constructed with a solid Engelmann spruce top. The CGX122 is set up with low action for excellent playability. ART electronics allow the guitars’ notes to be amplified and allow different tonal possibilities no matter where you’re performing.
Drawing upon the knowledge and techniques of master craftsmen, the CGX122 nylon string guitar was developed to deliver top level sound quality, performance and playability. The solid spruce top of the CGX122 is a traditional, classical guitar with a cutaway body, built-in pick-up system, and a high-quality tuner. The best part? These features won’t detract from the instrument’s authentic nylon stringed sound.
Other notable features include a solid Nato neck, a 19-fret rosewood fingerboard, a fixed rosewood bridge and classical tuning machines. Very nice add-ons at an affordable price. Here’s another great guitar for our Best Choices list.
- Solid spruce top
- R.T. electronics
6 Cordoba C3M Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
Cordoba seeks to blend traditional craftsmanship of the early luthiers with modern developments. Every Cordoba is lightweight, responsive, and a direct descendant of the Spanish tradition. The C3M is one of the most popular models in the Iberia Series.
The C3M is a full-sized, handcrafted classical guitar. It is built with a solid cedar top, mahogany back and sides, and traditional Spanish fan bracing. The C3M also has a hand-inlaid wooden rosette, a rosewood fingerboard, and nickel-plated tuning machines with pearl buttons. The ‘M’ in the title stands for its light matte finish.
Nylon string guitars are built lighter than steel string guitars, allowing the soundboard to vibrate and resonate more freely. The fan bracing pattern gives the center of the soundboard more surface area to vibrate and respond to the tension of the strings. A more responsive soundboard makes the guitar louder and provides better tone as previously mentioned.
The C3M comes equipped with a lightweight, two-way truss rod that allows you to adjust the amount of relief in the guitar’s neck. The C3M has a standard 650 mm scale length and black ABS binding, along with a 52 mm nut width.
The C3M would be a great guitar to carry traveling, camping or playing for friends at sing-alongs. The starting price also makes the C3M an excellent choice for beginners or a decent back-up guitar for the experienced player.
- Cedar top
- Truss rod
- Includes case, tuner and strap
7 Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar
The Yamaha C-Series nylon string classical guitars provide excellent cost performance for beginners and young learners with exceptional playability and superb tone. A high level of craftsmanship and great attention to detail results in instruments of outstanding quality at an affordable price.
The C40II might be one of Yamaha’s most inexpensive full-size classical models, but its quality and tone are wonderful. The C40II is a real bargain for beginners.
The CS40II is designed specifically for young learners with a scale and compact body that offer outstanding playing comfort. That combined with excellent playability and superior tone, make the C40II an instrument that will keep practice sessions inspirational and exciting.
Features include a solid spruce top, Meranti back and sides, and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Keeping these quality features in mind and the price of Yamaha’s C40II package, you may be hard-pressed to find a better classical guitar for the money, so it makes our Best Choices list today.
- Laminate top, back and sides
8 Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar GA3
Ibanez classical guitars take the guesswork out of finding an affordable, great-sounding classical guitar that are easy to fret and play. Whether you are looking for a traditional classical-sized instrument or a comfortable nylon-string beginner guitar, they are extremely well-constructed, affordable and have the pristine tonality and playability of much more expensive instruments.
Ibanez maintains a classical series of acoustic and acoustic-electric nylon-stringed guitars. They feature several models, of which GA3 is the base model. It comes with a standard classical guitar shaped body with non-cutaway design. It`s back and sides are made of mahogany, while the top is made of spruce.
The GA3 neck is made of mahogany and it features a standard 12th fret dovetail joint. The fingerboard is made of rosewood and it features 19 frets with no inlays. Also, the fingerboard has a flat radius in the classical tradition.
This combo of construction choices is more often met with steel-string players, but it is gaining popularity with nylon-stringed classical guitars as well. The top of the GA3 is decorated with an elegant rosette and finished in gloss. The bridge features a standard-shaped classical design made of rosewood. There are no electronics installed in GA3.
That’s not all; included are a natural high-gloss finish, and much more at a price you can afford. While no case is included, you can easily pick one up later if you need to travel with your guitar.
The Ibanez GA3 is a close competitor with the previously reviewed Yamaha C40II. Check both of them out and see if one is right for you.
- Laminate top, back and sides
9 Alvarez AC65 Acoustic Guitar
The AC65 is an attractive classical guitar that made today’s Best Choices line up; why is that important? Because Alvarez combines a hand selected, solid cedar top with mahogany back and sides. I see a lot of classical guitars with rosewood sides, so we’ll have to hear how this one compares.
The classical bridge looks great on the AC65. Using this traditional bridge and nylon strings requires a Spanish fan bracing system. The best part; these braces are lighter than the “X” bracing system, so the top is free to easily respond to the nylon strings and finger playing styles of different musicians.
In the studio or small group sessions should be fine, but it may not project enough around other instruments. Adding a pick-up will help as needed.
The slotted peghead is done nicely, and so is the wood mosaic around the sound hole. Alvarez’s continued use of a bone nut and saddle help this beautiful guitar really project for classical players.
- Solid Cedar top
- Traditional fan bracing
- Wood mosaic rosette
- Bone nut and saddle
- Mahogany back and sides
- Case not included
Classical Guitar Benefits
There are many reasons for choosing a good classical guitar. Classical guitars, in one form or another, have been around for hundreds of years. There is a lot of history behind this legendary instrument that is known and loved around the world.
For most people, the best classical guitars are easier to learn for beginners than steel-stringed or electric guitars. The small size makes it more comfortable while taking lessons or practicing. The fingerboard is wider, so a little more room while forming chords or notes can also be helpful. Finally, the stings are softer and much easier on your fingertips when learning to play.
There’s more. Classical guitars are not limited to classical music. People play all kinds of music on classical guitars. You can play rock, country, jazz, rhythm and blues; the list goes on. It’s really up to the player since classical guitars have a lot of versatility. They sound great in any music category.
With classical guitars, it’s easy to play alone or with others. Playing alone, the warm, smooth tones are a pleasure to hear. Playing with others, you can easily add a pickup to your favorite classical guitar or simply mike it to balance out everyone that is playing.
Finally, anyone can do it!! Sure it will take practice and the right attitude, as does most things worth accomplishing. Children, teens, adults and senior citizens have all learn to play the guitar. So can you!!
Best Classical Guitars Buyers Guide
Our buyer’s guide will give you some solid information to consider when shopping for, playing and buying your classical guitar. Keep this guide in mind, or even print it out and take it with you when you’re ready to shop.
When you want to purchase a guitar, you need to ask a few questions. Consider the following:
- Who made the guitar?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they use quality materials?
- Is a case included?
- Do they offer a warranty?
Past history, popularly among peers and easy accessibility will be great assets when considering the reputation of the company that builds your new classical guitar.
“What makes a good guitar?” Look for the features listed below:
- Solid top tone wood
- Quality matching back and side wood
- Clean construction
- Decent finish
- Nice set-up
- Appropriately priced
How can you actually use this information? If you find these characteristics present, then it’s time to look further into the instrument and play it as well.
You should be on the right track for your purchase.
After you have selected a guitar or two for consideration, check out the weight. The guitar should feel light, but not cheaply constructed. If it feels heavy, it’s probably not going to respond really well, especially since we’re considering classical guitars. Test out a few; go with your instincts and you should end up with a nice guitar.
There are several different sizes of classical guitars. The instrument should feel good in your hands and in the playing position. The guitar should “fit” you, like a garment. Where your arm rests on the guitar and your hand reaches the playing position should be natural. Your hand should feel normal on the neck, and your fingers will move comfortably on the fretboard. Again, playing a few different choices should make the selection comfortable and reassuring.
Wow!! What a great lineup of classical guitars!! After seeing all of these instruments, it’s time to make a choice and get one in your hands.
I’m selecting the Cordoba C9 Parlor guitar as my choice today. Why? It has everything I’m looking for in a classical guitar; solid cedar top, high-gloss finish and a slightly smaller size are all nice features.
I like the departure from a traditional style classical toward these more graceful lines. The C9 should fit most players and be very comfortable for any musician to play.
To us, you really can’t go wrong with the Cordoba C9 Parlor guitar. So this is the best classical guitar if you are looking one.