Top 10 Best Classical Guitars for Beginners Reviews

Top 10 Best Classical Guitars for Beginners Reviews

I still remember when I got my first guitar; it was old, used, and very cheap. Needless to say that its physical attributes weren’t the best ones. However, that didn’t bother me much. I often sat for hours and just play a couple of chords that I knew. The guitar sound was almost hypnotic - I played the chords very slowly so that I could hear how each string rings. If you pay close attention while doing this, you can actually hear how the sound vibrates while it fades away.

Of course, this was a classical guitar. If it wasn’t, maybe I wouldn’t continue playing for all of these years… The thing is that only the classical guitar has this kind of mellow and warm sound. I had many high-quality acoustic and electric guitars, but none of them sounds as soft as a classical guitar. There is something special in its tone, even in the case of the cheapest guitars.

In this text, I will help you to choose the best classical guitar for a beginner. We will analyze all of the important aspects of this guitar, and besides that, I will also include a list of 10 great beginner guitars.

Top 10 Classical Guitars for Beginners

Cordoba C7

Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

When it comes to classical guitars, the two most popular brands among beginners are Cordoba and Yamaha. However, this Cordoba C7 is definitely not just for beginner’s purpose; advanced players and even semi-professionals can also use

Features:

  • Body: Rosewood with a solid spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

Having in mind Cordoba’s reputation, it’s almost certain that each one of their guitars will be a little perfection (in accordance with its price of course). This model is not an exception.

The first thing that caught your eye is probably the price. I know, $500 is not a small amount of money, especially for the first guitar. However, there is a good reason why the price of this guitar is this high.

 The entire guitar has excellent finish and is very smooth. Its neck is slim and extremely playable. This kind of neck with soft plastic strings and low action is a perfect combination for the beginner’s fingers. You won’t have any problems with your fingertips, so you can practice for a long time from the start.

The sound of this guitar really blew me away. That full and rich tone with lots of lows is everything you can expect from a classical guitar.

Needless to say, the hardware is in a perfect shape; the guitar is literary without any shortcomings.

The tuners are doing a great job. Even after I played it pretty aggressively for a long time, it remained in tune.

It is true that not a lot of beginners aren’t ready to pay $500 for their first guitar. However, this guitar is definitely worth every dollar. It is more than good enough even for advanced players - excellent sound, perfect hardware, easy to play. If you are willing to pay this amount of money, this is definitely the perfect beginner classical guitar for you.  

Pros

  • Very playable
  • Excellent sound

Cons

  • Higher price, but it's worth every dollar

Takamine GC5CE

Takamine GC5CE-NAT Acoustic Electric Classical Cutaway Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Besides Yamaha and Cordoba, Takamine is also a well-known manufacturer of the acoustic and electric guitars. Let’s see the specifications of this model.

Features:

  • Body: Rosewood with a solid spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Electronic: TP4T preamp

This is also a guitar that is in the higher price range. However, remember that this is still a low-budget category, as you can easily find classical guitars that cost a few thousand dollars.

There are good reasons why this guitar is a little more expensive.

First of all, it is made of a solid wood, not of laminate. As we have mentioned, this feature is very important because it has a decisive influence on the guitar sound. This is why this guitar has a rich and full sound. Its tone is very bright and punchy, with a lot of snap.

If you like to play on higher frets, the good news is that this model has a cutaway so it is easier to reach the higher tones.

Another cool feature of this guitar is its electronic aspect. That is right, just like in the case of some acoustic guitars, you can connect this one to the amplifier! This is a great possibility if you are planning to play with a band or in large rooms.

Like the majority of other classical guitars, it is very light and comfortable for playing.

This is a guitar that costs a little more than the majority on our list, but there are reasons for it. It has a solid wood body, built-in preamp, lovely bright sound, and is comfortable for playing.

Pros

  • Solid wood
  • Great sound
  • Preamp

Cons

  • Higher price but in the end, it's worth it

Cordoba C5 Iberia Series

Cordoba C5 Iberia Series Classical Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

This Cordoba model differs in few characteristics from the previous one on the list. Let’s see what these differences are and find out more about this guitar.

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany (laminate) with a solid Canadian cedar on top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

Like all of the guitars on our list, this one also has a truss rod. This is a common element for the electric and acoustic guitar, but very few classical guitars have one. In the case you don’t know what the truss rod is, it is basically a rod that goes through the guitar neck and allows you to adjust the amount of its bow. Why is this important? Thanks to this rod, you can change the action of the strings. So, if they are too high for you, you can lower the action and thus, make the guitar more playable.

Although its side and back are laminate, the most important part, i.e. the top, is made of solid wood.

The sound of this guitar surprised me the most. It has a little brighter sound, but with the mellow fullness and a lot of sustain. Also, it is unusually loud for the classical guitar.

Its action is pretty low (which I personally prefer) so it is very easy to play.

I don’t want to waste words on its looks - if you like the natural look with gloss finish you will be amazed by its appearance.

If you are left-handed, you don’t have to make any modifications and changes on this guitar, as it is also available for left-handed people!

Also, this model comes in different sizes (half-size version, 3/4 version, and 7/8 version)

Honestly, I can say that this is a very good guitar, regardless of its price. If you take its low price into account, then this makes it the perfect classical guitar for beginners.

A great guitar for a small amount of money. Great looks, great tone, works perfectly. You cannot go wrong with this one.  

Pros

  • Solid wood
  • Easy to play
  • Great sound

Cons

  • Laminate sides and back

Ibanez AEG10NII

Ibanez AEG10NII Nylon String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

This is the first Ibanez on our list. When you think of a classical guitar, Ibanez is probably not the first brand that comes to your mind. As you will see, this is not the only interesting thing about this guitar.

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany with spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Electronic: Fishman Sonicore, Ibanez AEQ-SP1 preamp

First of all, the guitar body is smaller compared to the regular/size classical guitar. It is a bit thinner, which makes it very practical and comfortable.

The guitar really looks nice with its glass finish.

The sound is excellent. It has a very bright sound and clear tone with perfect amount of lows.

Although it has a nylon string, we can classify this guitar as semi-electric! This is because it has a built-in preamp system, and not just of any kind. Its Fisherman piezo pickup and Ibanez preamp are doing a great job when it comes to amplifying the sound.

Amplifying the guitar’s natural sound is not an easy job. Even acoustic guitars with electronic system can have artificial sound when you plug them into the amp. In the case of nylon strings, it is even more problematic. However, this guitar has very good and natural sound even when it is played via amp.

Also, you won’t have a problem with the feedback because of its small thin body.

It is very easy to play. Its slim neck with satin finish in combination with low action is perfect for beginners. You won’t have any difficulties when it comes to playing this guitar.

Perfect beginner classical guitar for those of you who plan to play with a band. Also, due to its cutaway, it’s perfect for soloing. Sounds good, looks good, and feels good.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Very playable
  • Built-in preamp

Cons

  • No significant cons

Yamaha CG122MCH

Yamaha CG122MCH Solid Cedar Top Classical Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Here is the first Yamaha on our list. Yamaha classical guitars are definitely among the most popular beginners guitars.

Features:

  • Body: Meranti (laminate) with a solid cedar top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

The great thing about this one is that you have a solid wood top. This is especially important in the case of the classical guitar without any electronics, as in this case, the guitar body is the only source of the sound.

The guitar has a satin finish. Now, some people believe that only the lower-quality guitars have a satin finish. Although sometimes this is true, it is not always the case. The purpose of the finish is to protect the guitar surface. However, it should be as thin as possible because if it is too thick it can prevent the guitar from vibrating (and, of course, you don’t want that to happen). This is why the satin finish is not always the bad choice. However, you will have to clean this guitar more often.

I really like the sound of this guitar. Its tone is very rich and full, and has a lot of lows, making it perfect for both individual notes and the full chords.

It is also very comfortable neck. Like the majority of the classical guitars, this one is also very easy to play. This is excellent news for your fingertips!

If you are willing to pay a little over $200, this is a perfect beginner classical guitar for you. Its solid top provides you an excellent sound. Besides that, it is very comfortable for playing. So, it has pretty much everything you need.  

Pros

  • Solid top
  • Easy to play
  • Great sound

Cons

  • Laminate sides and back

Yamaha CGS104A

Yamaha CGS104A Full-Size Classical Guitar Bundle

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Although Yamaha makes a lot of other instruments, classical guitars are one of their most popular products. Yamaha guitars are excellent, which is why they usually cost a few thousand dollars. However, this company also makes more affordable guitars for beginners. Even though they are cheaper, these guitars are designed by the experts, so they are among the best beginner classical guitars on the market.

Features:

  • Body: Nato with spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

As you can see, from now on, we are reviewing guitars that are under $200. This is both the good and the bad thing. On one hand, you’ll save some money; however, you can’t really expect the best quality.

Unlike the previous Yamaha, this one doesn’t have solid top. It has a laminate top and laminate body. Of course, you can consider this as a shortcoming, but having in mind its low price, it’s not really a surprise.

The sound is pretty decent; you can hear the guitar loud and clear. There aren’t any fret buzz and similar flaws. You shouldn’t really expect too much from this guitar, considering its laminate top and low price. However, remember that you need something to practice on, not a guitar to play a concert!

Like the majority of classical guitars, this one is also easy to play - very comfortable and smooth neck and low action.

The great thing about this guitar is that you will also get a whole package with it: a sold gig bag, clip-on tuner, instructional DVD, Strings, picks, and polishing cloth. So, you have literary everything you need at a very low price.

Definitely one of the best starter classical guitars. It is more than good enough - decent sound and good hardware. Also, you will receive all the accessories you need. And all of that in less than $200. 

Pros

  • You’ll get a whole package with it
  • Easy to play
  • Good sound

Cons

  • Laminate top

Yamaha C40II

Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

All right, this is the third Yamaha (and the last one, I promise). I’ve included all of these Yamahas because I believe that they are a great choice for every beginner. They all defer is some characteristics, so you should analyze each one of them and see which one you prefer the most. I guarantee, whatever you choose you won’t make a mistake.

Features:

  • Body: Meranti (laminate) with spruce top (laminate)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

This guitar usually comes in a package, so you’ll also get a gig bag, tuner, and DVD with lessons. Basically, all of the things you need to begin playing.

Although Meranti is not a very popular wood for guitars, this is actually a very strong wood which makes this guitar perfect for carrying around.

As the majority of classical guitars, this one is very easy to play. The nylon strings don’t have a lot of tension so you can play it very gently. There is no need to press the strings too hard which is perfect for the beginner’s fingers.

The sound is decent, and will definitely serve the purpose. It seems that it is a little muted and doesn’t have a very good projection. However, remember that this is a $140 guitar; for that amount of money you should be more than satisfied with it.

More than usable guitar with a decent sound. This is a perfect choice for any beginner who is into classical guitars. Although this guitar has a few shortcomings, you should be fair and don’t forget its more than generous price. For that amount of money, this is a great deal. 

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Playable

Cons

  • Made of laminate
  • A muted sound

Fender Beginner Acoustic Guitar MC-1

Fender Beginner Acoustic Guitar MC-1

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Since we are already at number 8, you’ve probably started thinking: “Ok, where is the Fender on this list?” Although Fender is best known for its electric and bass guitars (and even amps), they also make excellent classical guitars.

Features:

  • Body: Sapele (laminate) with agathis top (laminate)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

The most important thing to mention is that this guitar is smaller than the regular-size classical guitar. It is a 3/4 size guitar, which means that it has shorter scale (23, 3”). Besides that, it is also very light. All of these characteristics make it the perfect beginner classical guitar for kids around 8 to 12 years of age.

This is a really beautiful guitar; it has a natural finish and a lovely wood color. Also, there is a mosaic around its sound hole, which is a very nice touch. It may seem redundant, but I don’t analyze its visual aspect for no reason. In my experience, kids pay close attention to how e guitar looks; it is probably the crucial factor! So, if the child likes how his guitar looks, he is more likely to play it more often.

The sound is fairly good. Have in mind that this is a small guitar with laminate body! However, it sounds more than good enough for practicing purposes.

I don’t have to highlight the playability of this guitar; its comfortable and smooth neck in combination with small body makes this guitar extremely easy to play.

In my opinion, this is one of the good starter classical guitars for children. It has a small body, comfortable neck, looks beautiful, and is very cheap. Oh yes, it’s also a Fender. 

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Easy to play
  • Decent sound

Cons

  • Made of laminate

Ibanez GA3

Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Here is the second Ibanez on our list. Unlike the previous one, this model doesn’t have any electronics in it (which means you can’t attach it to an amplifier). The other difference is more positive - this model is much cheaper.

Features:

  • Body: Catalpa (laminate) with spruce top (laminate)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

Maybe it is because I am really into classical guitars, but this Ibanez looks great. Like the Fender above, it has beautiful natural finish with a mosaic around the sound hole. Just looking at this guitar makes you wanna play it.

Honestly, the sound is way above its price. It has a transparent and clear tone, with lots of mids. Also, it is quite loud. This basically means that this guitar is more than good enough for practicing purpose. You shouldn’t expect a “million-dollar sound”, but the truth is - you really don’t need one! When it comes to your first classical guitar, all you need is decent sound and no bad buzz, and this guitar provides you both of these.

Besides its sound, this model also has a very good hardware. There are no any physical flaws; the neck is straight and smooth with low action, and the body is in perfect shape. All of these mean that you won’t have any problems while playing this guitar.

Another great thing is that the tuners are doing a good job. After playing this guitar for quite a while, it stayed in tune. Of course, if you “go crazy” on it, you will probably detune it, so you shouldn’t test its boundaries.

If you are a beginner, this guitar is exactly what you need. You’ll get a decent-sounding guitar with a good hardware, and you won’t spend a lot of money.  

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Very playable
  • Decent sound

Cons

  • Laminate body

Protege by Cordoba C100M

Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

All right, this is the last and most affordable guitar on our list.

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany (laminate) with spruce top (laminate)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

If you prefer a natural finish, this is the guitar for you. It has a bright wood color, and honestly, looks more expensive than it really is.

When it comes to sound, my impression is ambivalent. On one side, it has decent sound, good enough for beginner’s purpose. However, I noticed the presence of a fret buzz (bad buzz). Now, this might be just a bad luck. The thing is that these cheaper instruments can vary when it comes to sound and overall quality. This means that two guitars of the same model can be significantly different. So, maybe this buzz is not the common thing on all of these C100M guitars.

I should also mention that there is a way to overcome this buzz issue - you can always raise the action a bit. When you do this, you’ll increase distance between the string and the neck, so it won’t touch the other frets while vibrating.

There is also a smaller 3/4 version of this model, which is a great choice if want a guitar for your child or if you have a smaller hands.

The tuners are decent, so the tuning is stable as long as you don’t play too aggressively (which you probably won’t do, in the case you are a beginner).

Good news is that you’ll get a clip-on tuner and a gig bag with this guitar.

This is a good beginner classical guitar for all of you who are unsure whether you really want to play a classical guitar. It has a few flaws but for this amount of money it is expected.

Pros

  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Fret buzz

Why should you start with the classical guitar?

As a guitar teacher, I often advise my students to start with the classical guitar. Some of them are confused by this, as they didn’t really plan to play this kind of instrument. However, there are many reasons why an inexperienced guitarist should start with this guitar (regardless of whether he plans to stick to it or not).

The first and the most obvious reason are the strings. Classical guitar has nylon strings, which are perfect for beginner’s soft fingertips.

Strings on Classical Guitars-min

When you start playing the guitar, you will go through the period of strengthening your fingers (a lot of my students don’t know this, so they are unpleasantly surprised). In the beginning, pressing the string and playing a note will not be a very easy thing to do. When you start playing the guitar, your fingertips are very soft so you will probably feel moderate pain while trying to play a chord. However, don’t be intimidated or demotivate by this; it is a perfectly normal process! After a while, your fingertips will become solid and you won’t feel any pain. In the beginning, I couldn’t hold a chord for more than 2 seconds, and after a few months, I could play continuously for 2 hours!

The thing with nylon strings is that they are wider and softer than the metal ones. Besides that, the string tension is looser compared to the acoustic guitar. All of this means that it is much easier to play on the nylon strings than on the metal strings. This is why these strings are perfect to start with. After a while, when you strengthen your fingers, you can switch to the acoustic guitar and metal strings; this is much more pleasant and less painful way to go.

Although nylon strings are great for fingertips on your left hand (if you are a right-handed person), they are also good for your right hand!

Classical guitars are ideal for practicing fingerpicking techniques. There are many easy-to-play classical guitar songs that you can use in order to practice your fingerpicking. I’m not sure why this technique is so unpopular. The truth is that it allows you much more opportunities than when you play with your pick.

First of all, you have 5 fingers and only one pick! Besides that, playing with your fingers allows the direct contact between you and the instrument. This way, you can really feel the strings, and thus, control them more successfully. This is why a lot of rock guitarists also play with fingers (that is right, it is not used only by flamenco guitarist!). For example, Robbie Krieger from The Doors plays with fingers. Also, Mark Knopfler often don’t use his pick either.

Another good thing about these guitars is that you don’t need a lot of money to get one. Even if you don’t plan to play the classical guitar in a long run, you can still use it as your first guitar. As you will see in the text below, there are some pretty decent classical guitars that you can get for a little above the $100.

How to choose the best beginner classical guitar

A lot of beginners have problems distinguishing the classical from the acoustic guitar. Of course, this is completely understandable. These two guitars are indeed very similar. However, there are a few important differences.

The main difference between the classical and the acoustic guitar is in strings. The classical guitar has nylon strings unlike the acoustic guitar, which usually has steel strings.

The classical guitars have wider frets than the acoustic guitar. Thus, these guitars also have a greater distance between the strings. On the one hand, this makes these guitars more comfortable for playing. The thing is that you have enough space between the strings, so there is a less chance that you’ll press or touch some extra string while you try to play a chord. However, this characteristic can represent a big obstacle for the people with small hands.

When choosing between the acoustic and the classical guitar, the most important factor is your preference, i.e. the sound you like. If you are not sure how these two guitars sound like, don’t worry; I have a little test for you that will reveal the sound of which guitar are you more prone to.

First, listen to the Sting’s “Fragile” and Isaac Albeniz’s “Asturias”.

Then, move on to the Oasis’ “Wonderwall”.

Which one do you prefer? The first two are played on the classical and the third one on the acoustic guitar.

  • Guitar size

Obviously, when choosing the guitar, the most significant thing is the guitar size. If you want to buy a guitar for your kid, you can get a half-size guitar. These are basically mini guitars, i.e. they have the same attributes as the regular-size guitars. This is very important because young kids can face insurmountable difficulties while trying to play full-size guitar.

Somewhere between the regular-size and half-size guitar is the 3/4 size. These can be used by kids as well as by adults with smaller hands. Besides that, a 3/4 guitar is very practical so you can carry it around.

Classical-guitar-sizes

Guitar Sizing Guide

  • Guitar body

If you are looking for your first classical guitar, one of the most important factors that you should consider is its top. This is because this body part is most important for the guitar sound - when you strum the strings, its vibration is amplified by the guitar top.

There are two main types of material used for its construction: wood and laminate. The more expensive guitars have wood top simply because it has better resonance and projection of the sound. This is because the wood tops are more flexible so they can vibrate more than the laminate ones. The laminate tops are more solid, but have less transparent and “duller” sound.  

The guitars with wood top are usually made of spruce or cedar. Spruce top usually gives very bright and crisp sound because it is not very flexible. Cedar top provides more mellow, warm, and “darker” sound. Both of these materials are great; let your personal taste decide which one you prefer.

The other parts of the guitar body are back and sides. They are not as important for the sound as the top, so they are often made of laminate, simply because it is more solid.

Another important aspect of the body is its thickness - the thicker the guitar is the lower sound it will have. So, if you want sound with more highs, choose the thinner guitar, and vice versa.

  • String action

The string action is basically the space between the strings and the fretboard. Of course, the lower the strings are, the more comfortable it is to play the guitar. However, if the strings are too low, one problem will occur - the string will start to buzz. So, this is indeed an ambivalent situation: if the strings are high, you’ll have a better and fuller sound, but if they are low, it will be easier to play. This is why you should find an optimum action in order to get the best of both.

Classical-guitar-action-min

If you are a beginner, you probably can’t do this on your own. This is why you should get help from a professional. If you have a friend or acquaintance who plays a guitar, ask him to set the action on your guitar. Otherwise, you can always take your guitar for a quick setup; you won’t spend a lot of money but it will contribute a lot to the guitar sound and playability.

The ideal action should be around 3.5mm measured on the 12th fret.

  • String buzz

As I’ve mentioned, if the action is not set properly, you might have a buzz in your sound. This can be very irritating and can easily demotivate you to practice.

However, you can hear that some guitarists say that they like when their guitar has a little good buzz. This is why we should distinguish the good buzz from the bad buzz.

The good buzz is that short and concise snap that you can hear right after you hit the string. It has a clean sustain, similar to the distortion.

On the other hand, the bad buzz is that long buzz with no sustain, very similar to the dead note. There are three main reasons for this bad buzz: old strings, narrow neck, and most often, too low action.

Conclusion

If you read this text carefully, you should have enough information to choose the best beginner classical guitar. Firstly, we discussed why it is a good idea to choose a classical guitar as your first instrument. After that, we mentioned pretty much all of the most important factors that you should analyze before pursuing a classical guitar. Finally, I listed 10 guitars that are probably the best classical guitars for beginners. There is something for everyone on this list – more expensive guitars with higher quality, and cheaper ones that are still very decent and usable. Whichever you choose, you won’t be wrong!

In this text, I’ve mentioned that the classical guitar is an excellent instrument to start with. On it, you can play with pick, fingers, you can attach it to an amp, etc. So, you can practice a lot of different techniques. Besides that, classical guitar is extremely easy to play, so your fingers won’t suffer a lot. This will allow you to try different things and thus help you to realize what style you are into.

I hope that this text was helpful. For the end, I just want to remind you that, although the instrument is very important, there is something even more decisive when it comes to playing, and that is you. Your ambition, will, urge to become better at playing – these are the things that are crucial. If you have all of these, than there is nothing to worry about. So, just choose your first classical guitar and let the adventure begins.

Read my article on Best Beginner Acoustic Guitar and Best Beginner Electric Guitar.

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