If you’re searching for a new classical guitar, it can be difficult to know where to start. What features should you look for? What brands should you trust? And how much do you need to pay to get a good quality instrument?
That’s where we come in! We’ve reviewed seven of the best classical guitars available online. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about them. And we’ll highlight some things to think about to be sure you make the right choice for your needs.
So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at what’s out there!
Quick Glance: The Best Classical Guitar Brands
The Best Classical Guitar on the Market 2021
1. J&Z Beginner Guitar Acoustic Classical Guitar 3/4 Junior Size
If you’re looking for a beginner’s guitar set that won’t break the bank, check out this one from J&Z. It’s got plenty of nice features, plus a range of accessories included as standard. And the total cost is less than many guitar-only options.
The guitar itself is an attractive instrument, with a traditional rosette and classic dreadnought body. It’s made of yellow-toned basswood, with a neck, fretboard and headstock made of maple. The result is a pleasant, mellow tone which exceeds what you might expect from a guitar at this price point.
The strings are nylon, so they’re easier on the fingers of new players than steel versions would be. And the three-quarters size (36 inches long overall) is good for smaller players. There are 18 frets along the fingerboard.
Each instrument is made by hand and comes pre-strung. Bear in mind that the nylon strings will take some time to stretch. That means you’ll need to tune them fairly frequently at first. But the more you practice, the quicker they’ll relax, and the less often you’ll have to re-tune.
The good news is that the ABS tuning pegs are easy to turn and stay in place. And the package includes a clip-on digital tuner too. It’s an exceptionally good bit of kit, and beats many more expensive tuners hands down.
The guitar also comes with a carry case emblazoned with the J&Z logo in white on black. It’s a classic look, and the case is waterproof. There’s no padding, though. While it will keep your instrument safe from wet weather, it’s not ideal if you’ll be traveling with your guitar.
Also included in the package is a shoulder strap, two picks and a cloth to keep your guitar clean. The whole set offers great value for money.
- Good sound quality from the basswood body
- Nylon strings will be easier on the fingers of new players than steel versions
- Comes with a range of accessories, including an exceptionally good digital tuner
- The carrying case included in the bundle doesn’t have any padding
- Those nylon strings will require frequent tuning when you first get your guitar.
2. Pyle Classical Acoustic Guitar 3/4 Junior Size (Our Top Pick)
This guitar bundle from Pyle is another great choice for new players. It’s about 30 percent
cheaper than the J&Z bundle too. So what do you get for your money?
Well, it comes in a choice of two sizes, so there’s an option for younger players in all age groups. The one we’re focusing on here is 36 inches long, a standard three-quarters size. But smaller children also have the option of a 30-inch long guitar.
The top is made of basswood, while the back is constructed from linden. The headstock is made of birch, and the fretboard is maple, dyed to look like ebony. The rosette also features linden laminate.
The body has an attractive glossy finish, and the machine heads are all finished in chrome. The sound quality is again surprisingly good for such an inexpensive guitar. The tone is rich and smooth.
It’s strung with nylon strings that won’t cut into the fingers of new players. A spare set is included in the bundle too. If you’re buying for a player who’s just starting out, they’ll do the job perfectly well. But if your budding guitarist sticks with it, you may want to upgrade the strings in time for better sound.
The 36-inch guitar has a 22.8-inch scale with 18 frets. (On the 30-inch version, the scale is 19.7 inches, and there are still 18 frets.)
The bundle also includes a carrying case, clip-on digital tuner, a shoulder strap, smart red and black picks, and a cleaning cloth.
The carrying case is black, with the Pyle USA logo in white. It looks good, but note that it doesn’t have any padding. It will keep your guitar free of moisture and dust, but won’t offer much protection in transit.
The digital tuner works well too – but you may have to spend some time figuring out exactly how! There are no instructions included, so be prepared for some trial and error.
But these are minor niggles for what is a great little guitar and accessories, at a very keen price.
- The basswood and linden body produces a good, rich tone
- Strung with nylon strings that will be easier on the fingers of new players
- Comes with a good range of basic accessories
- You may want to upgrade the strings in time for better tone
- The carrying case is unpadded and rather flimsy.
3. Hola! Music Classical Guitar ¾ Junior Size
This guitar from Hola! Music is another that’s three-quarters size, i.e. 36 inches long. It’s a little more expensive than the bundle from J&Z, and you won’t get as many accessories. But it does have plenty of other features to recommend it.
This is a well-constructed guitar at what is still a very reasonable price. The back, sides and neck are made of mahogany, whilst the top is spruce. The whole body has a smart glossy finish. There’s a TUSQ saddle and nut, and walnut bridge. There are 18 frets, and the nut width is 1.77 inches.
It’s strung with nylon strings, so new guitarists won’t find grooves in their fingers when they play! The strings are made by Savarez, a popular manufacturer. As with other nylon strings, be prepared to tune them more frequently when they’re new.
The fretboard is well bound, and there’s a graphite saddle and nut. There’s an adjustable truss rod too.
As for the sound quality, the instrument produces a good sustain, low end and mid-range. The top notes aren’t quite as bright, but the sound quality is still very decent.
If you want to improve it further, you could invest in more expensive carbon strings. That won’t, though, be necessary for less advanced players.
You won’t get a host of accessories here – there’s no tuner, shoulder strap, picks or cleaning cloth. But what there is, is good quality. It comes with a black carrying case – and this one is padded to offer extra protection.
And you’ll also get access to live online guitar lessons courtesy of America’s largest music tuition company, “Take Lessons”. You’ll get lessons for two months, and you can ask questions and interact with the instructor. It’s a great way to make progress on your guitar journey.
- Very well constructed guitar, with quality components and adjustable truss rod
- Strung with nylon strings, which are easier to play by newer guitarists
- Comes with padded carry case and access to two months of live online lessons
- The carry case is good quality, but it’s the only accessory included in the bundle
- As with all nylon strings, be prepared to tune them more frequently until they’re played in.
4. Washburn Classical Series C5CE Classical Acoustic Electric Guitar (Best for the Money)
Washburn’s C5CE is a full size classical acoustic electric guitar – so you can play either plugged or unplugged.
This one has a spruce top, with the back and sides made of catalpa wood. The neck is mahogany, and the fingerboard and bridge are both made of walnut. The top does, however, have an orange tone to the finish, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
It has a narrow neck that makes it comfortable and easy to play. The nylon strings are decent quality, and they’re strung at the correct tension. That means they’ll be easy on the fingers of newer guitarists.
They also hold their tension much better than many new nylon strings. That means less frequent tuning, even from the outset. More advanced players may nevertheless want to invest in upgraded strings to improve the tone.
The sound quality is, however, good. The bridge isn’t adjustable, but the intonation is spot on. There’s an adjustable truss rod too. We’ve heard differing experiences of the action. Some have found it nice and low, others uncomfortably high.
The sound is just as pleasing unplugged as it is plugged in. The pickups work well, but the electronics are fairly basic. There’s a built-in tuner, but note that you won’t be able to adjust the tone or presence. Connect it up to an amp, and you’ll want to choose the clean setting for a pure acoustic sound.
Overall, this is a good performer at a reasonable price. You won’t get the most advanced electronics, but it sounds good whether unplugged or through an amp.
Just note that if you’re used to guitars that come with accessory bundles, this one doesn’t. You’ll need to buy your carry case and other bits and pieces separately.
- Good sound quality whether plugged in or unplugged
- Narrow neck and adjustable truss rod
- The nylon strings are comfortable to play and keep their tension surprisingly well, even when new
- The orange shade of the finish won’t suit everyone
- The electronics are rather basic.
5. Kremona Verea Performer Series Acoustic/Electric Guitar (Upgrade Pick)
The Kremona Verea is the second acoustic electric guitar to make our list. It’s a major jump in price from the Washburn – in fact, you could buy three of those for the price of the Kremona. So is it worth the investment?
Well, it’s certainly a very good-looking guitar. The top and neck are made of solid red cedar, and the back and sides of Indian rosewood. The nut and saddle are bone, there’s wood binding and a rosette, and a Venetian cutaway. The machines are gold with real rosewood buttons.
There’s a beautiful, natural finish throughout.
The custom neck is tapered and just 48 millimeters wide at the nut. That means it’s comfortable and easy to play, even for those with smaller hands. Some guitarists have compared the feel to that of a 1960s or 70s Gibson acoustic.
The guitar is handmade in Europe, and the quality of the workmanship shines through. It’s beautifully light. And there’s an adjustable truss rod.
One thing more advanced players will want to note, however, is the string spacing. Some may find it too narrow for advanced classical pieces.
The electronics here are a considerable step up from the Washburn. There’s a built-in tuner, adjustable volume, and three-band equalizer for the bass, mid-tones and treble. There’s also a built-in mic and under saddle piezo pickup.
But what about the sound quality? In short, it’s excellent – crisp, clear and resonant. There’s plenty of volume and a sweet tone. It sounds beautiful unplugged, and just as good plugged in.
This one comes with a carrying case too, and it’s top quality. There’s firm padding throughout, and a neck rest to keep your guitar secure inside. This will offer the kind of protection you need if you’re traveling to gigs.
Yes, this is more expensive than an entry-level guitar – but you get a great instrument for your money. And the sound here is comparable to much costlier guitars.
- Crisp, sweet tone, comparable to far more expensive guitars
- Narrower, tapered neck
- Built-in tuner, mic, adjustable volume and three-band equalizer
- The string spacing may be too narrow for some players tackling advanced classical guitar pieces
- Considerably more expensive than entry-level guitars – though it still offers excellent VFM.
6. Cordoba Mini II M, Mahogany, Small Body, Nylon String Guitar
Cordoba’s Mini II M is, as its name suggests, a mini guitar. It’s a half-size, meaning it’s shorter overall. And it also has a smaller body, making it more comfortable to play for smaller guitarists.
It’s available in a choice of two finishes – mahogany or the more expensive flamed mahogany. Both are very attractive. Note that both versions have a plain mahogany back.
The neck is made of mahogany too, and has a C-profile. The 1.9-inch nut width is narrow enough to suit beginner and crossover players.
The design is based on Cordoba’s Mini, but this version is slightly bigger in the body. It creates a fuller, warmer tone, more similar to a full-size guitar than the ukulele-like sound of some Minis.
The scale is extended from a standard Mini too. It’s 22 7/8 inches long, so it tunes perfectly to a standard E. There’s also a traditional bridge with a nylon-string tie block.
The guitar is strung with Savarez 500CJ high tension Corum strings. They’re good quality, as well as being easier on fingers than steel strings. Note that the shorter scale will mean the strings are under lower tension and will feel softer.
The action is good and the intonation is perfect. And because this is a smaller guitar, it’s very light and comfortable to play.
One thing to watch out for is that we’ve heard of some cases where the edges of the frets have been sharp. It’s not a universal experience, so this seems to be a quality control issue. Check the frets and file them down if necessary to avoid scratched fingers.
Note too that this is a guitar-only option. If you have lots of accessories to buy, you’ll need to get them separately.
- Smaller than full-sized guitars, but with a richer sound than many other Minis
- Strung with good quality Savarez nylon strings
- Light and comfortable to play
- Watch out for sharp fret edges
- You’ll need to buy any accessories you need separately.
7. Ibanez 6 String Classical Acoustic Electric Guitar, GA5TCE
The GA5TCE from Ibanez is a six-string classical guitar. It’s a little more expensive than the Washburn electric acoustic, but far cheaper than the Kremona Verea.
It’s an attractive instrument with a spruce top, and back and sides made from sapele wood. It’s light and comfortable to play too, with a narrower neck than standard classical guitars.
In a similar vein, the narrower body produces a sound that may be a little thin and bright for some. It is, though, very easy to hold and play. The intonation isn’t perfect, but it’s good up to the twelfth fret.
It comes with a built-in three-band equalizer to adjust the bass, middle notes and treble. And you can adjust the volume onboard too.
There’s also a built-in tuner. That makes life considerably easier, as the nylon strings do have a tendency to go out of tune quickly. That’s especially the case when they’re new. Play them in, and you’ll find you need to retune them less often.
Bear in mind that you can also improve the sound quality by changing the strings. You needn’t spend too much money on this, and it can give you excellent results.
An adjustable truss rod gives you the scope to tweak the action. It’s very easy to do with the tool provided. And it’s well worth taking the time – it will give you a better sound and playing experience.
This is another guitar that doesn’t come with any accessories. That will mean you need to spend more time shopping around if you’re just starting out. But players who already have tuners, picks, strings and so on won’t be spending money on things they don’t need.
- Cost-effective and attractive acoustic electric
- Built-in tuner and three-band equalizer
- Adjustable truss rod
- The narrower body produces a sound that may be a little too thin for some tastes
- This is a guitar-only option, so you’ll need to buy any accessories you need separately.
If you’ve read the reviews but are still scratching your head, don’t worry! It can be easy to be overwhelmed by all the different factors to consider. But answer these three simple questions, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the best guitar for your needs.
To start with, make sure you’re buying the right size guitar. Full-size guitars will suit most players over the age of about 12.
If you’re buying for a younger guitarist, there are some helpful online guides to choosing the right size. Look for those that match the size of the guitar to the musician’s height to get the best fit. Some guides use ages instead, but that’s a fairly rough proxy.
And note that some adults – particularly those with shorter arms or fingers – may also prefer a smaller guitar. Cordoba’s Mini II is a good example of a smaller instrument with a dedicated following among adult players. Check the diameter of the neck and the length of the scale to see if it will suit you.
Acoustic or Electric Acoustic?
Next, consider whether you want to be able to plug in your classical guitar. That’s a good option if you’re going to be playing onstage, or if you just enjoy more volume.
There are some excellent acoustic electric guitars out there at all price points. They vary considerably, so check what you’re getting for your money.
At the budget end of the scale, the Washburn C5CE offers a pleasant sound, but basic electronic functions. The Kremona Verea is three times the price, but offers superior sound quality and more sophisticated functionality.
Do You Need Accessories?
With so many good value guitar bundles out there, it’s also worth considering whether you need accessories. If you’re just starting playing, a beginners’ set that includes a case, tuner, picks and spare strings can be a good choice.
It’s often the case that the accessories in bundles like this aren’t particularly high quality. Most carrying cases in basic sets, for example, are unpadded. If you’re going to be taking your guitar from place to place, you may want to upgrade to something that offers more protection.
But there are some treasures to be found. The clip-on digital tuner included in the guitar bundle from J&Z, for example, is one of the best we’ve found.
Time to Choose!
That bring us to the end of our round-up of seven of the best classical guitars out there. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more, and that it’s helped you in your quest for the perfect instrument.
Our top pick is the three-quarters size guitar bundle from Pyle. It offers impressive sound quality for an instrument at this price point, plus a good basic set of accessories. The value for money here is excellent.
But if you have deeper pockets and want an acoustic electric, consider the Kremona Verea. It has a gorgeous tone, and is an instrument that can develop with you as your skills improve.
Whichever guitar is right for you, we hope your choice brings you hours of joy.