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Beginner to Advanced Best Classical Guitars 2018 UPDATE Guide and Review


Regardless of whether you listen to guitar music on a classical guitar as played in the likes of flamenco and Bach or on an acoustic guitar in bluegrass, country or a rock concert, it’s hard not to love it. You might tell the difference between the two In case you possess a keen ear for music, but the more visual of the masses can tell them apart easily.

Acoustic guitars:

  • There’s a system that changes the strings is peg based.
  • Have a narrower neck.
  • Have fret markers.
  • Their strings are steel.
  • Their guards are plectrum or pick
  • Their bodies, by rule, are larger and shaped like a pear.
  • Their tuning pegs and fretboard are very dis similar to each other on a headstock that’s closed.

Classical guitars:

  • They have a wider neck.
  • Their strings are nylon.
  • They have smaller bodies that are shaped like an hour glass.
  • Their string change system is a notch.
  • Their tuning pegs and fretboard are perpendicular on an open headstock.


If you’re out looking to get a classical guitar, well, today is your lucky day. We are going to be reviewing classical guitars and give you a list of the top 21. We hope that after this read, you will be a step closer to making a choice for acquiring your instrument.

1/ Yamaha GC22 Handcrafted Classical Guitar Cedar

For a musician that’s passionate about guitars, I would recommend you check out the sounds of this guitar on YouTube and even the making of the instrument. Yamaha is a big name in the musical instruments industry, known for their quality brands. The Grand Concert, as seen in its name, is also included in the classical guitars category.

The cedar tops on this guitar will give you some really warm sounds that are unmatched by the spruce. In case you do not like the strings that come with this instrument, you can play around with new ones until you get the sounds that you prefer.

This type of model is a great choice if you live in an area where the humidity changes seasonally, since it isn’t fazed by climatic extremes. However, we would still advise you to get a humidifier for the sake of general care and upkeep. Some people have criticized it for the saddle being too high, but it is adjustable. The bridges and strings are an aspect to look out for.

 For protection, the case doesn’t have much to write home about but that its semi hard, which is a better option than the regular guitar (gig) bags.
Yamaha GC22 Handcrafted Classical Guitar Cedar




2/ Cordoba C5 Iberia Series Classical Guitar

A similarity between the C5 and C7 is that both of them are made by Cordoba in the Iberia series, with the main discrepancy being that this C5 has a cedar top and may either come with a bag or not, while with the C7, you get a guitar (gig) bag whether or not you want or need one.

This being said, the bag in question is very good quality, with padded cushions that make it very comfortable to carry around campus or in town. Even though the listing states that the instrument is a lightweight guitar, some people do not consider 16lbs quite light. This of course isn’t the case with some models we have seen here, that are actually inexpensive. The guitars sides and back are made from mahogany, a hardwood, making it very durable but this fact increases its poundage, making it somewhat a bit heavy for some people to carry around comfortably.

 Of course there is bound to be negative reviews, and this is the case for the C5, though we aren’t sure why. This aside, it is wise to maintain a positive attitude for there have been some good reviews from people who are very satisfied with their guitars. Keep this in mind when making a comparison is what I would say.
Cordoba C5 Iberia Series Classical Guitar




3/ Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar

And now we take you back to the outspoken Cordoba Company’s brands of guitars. This one is from the series of Iberia. Most of these are very affordable, whether it’s for student model that’s half sized or a taller ones or even the professionals.

This model isn’t any different. With a nut width of 52mm, this model is full sized, and it has the option of adjusting the strings relief. The included truss rod therefore makes it possible to alter the distance between the fretboard and the strings.

This guitar comes with Saravez Cristal Corum strings (High tension), but one can change them into something else if you would prefer to. The ‘M’ in the name describes the matte finish on the guitar, meaning that you would want to be careful to be wary of nick, cuts and any other damage.

 The C3M doesn’t include in its package the humidifier block or a case, so be sure that you purchase these separately. For the beginner looking for a great guitar, worth little cash to spend, this is the instrument to check out.
Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar




4/ Cordoba C12 CD Acoustic Nylon String Modern Classical Guitar

One of the vital tips on guitar care is to maintain the woods moisture and suppleness. As a result, most people buy a separate block of humidifier for the guitar. Things are different with this guitar though, since it has a humidifier with it as part of the package. All you have to do is weekly humidification. As far as the classical types go, this guitar is ranked first.

Outstanding features and aspects are:

  • Cedar top - The feature offers a sound much warmer and deeper than those with the spruce tops. This is especially useful for those people that want to record with a variety of guitars.
  • Mother-of-pearl rosette inlay - Those who have experienced playing guitars with this accent will appreciate the inlays beauty especially. This rosette design is motivated by the Domingo Estate of the 1920’s, especially a nice treat for them that appreciate such historic detail. In the event that history doesn’t intrigue you, then the sheer colors of this guitar really do enhance the said pattern.
  • Hard shell case - Not to say that the guitar (gig) bags that come with most guitars are bad, but for such a beauty, you will surely need a harder shell for protection.
  • High action - This type of guitar isn’t suited for anyone who’s played the classical guitar and prefers low action.
Cordoba C12 CD Acoustic Nylon String Modern Classical Guitar




5/ Cordoba 45MR CD-MR Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

This beauty, which is a part of the Espana series, brings to the player the character and essence of the Spanish music since it’s handmade in Spain with the handsome 80’s and 90’s body as an inspiration for its build and sound. For the musician that desires as much as possible to have a connection to the authenticity and traditions of the origin, this is an amazing pick because the nylon strings did originate from Spain.

The guitars from Cordoba generally gets good and consistent reviews, with this model living up to it. For the 45MR, the perks that you will be getting are:

  • Comfortable playing - It is going to be a bit of a challenge to buy a guitar online if you haven’t ever played one before. For the best fit, walk into a shop and get guides on one that will be a best fit.
  • Solid wood equals solid sound - Imagine the sounds from a top made from cedar with a contrasting background created from the back created with mahogany and an ebony fretboard. That, coupled with the ability to alter the strings as you wish is what you get from this instrument.
  • A case is hard shell and a Humicase Protégé

This simple, yet very worthwhile investment is enough to convince you.

 If you are very passionate for the traditions, culture and just good old authentic sounds, this is the toy for you.
Cordoba 45MR CD-MR Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar




6/ Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

In case you still haven’t caught the drift, let me fill you in. The Cordobas that have been featured here are cedar tops. The abbreviations on their brand names, “SP” and “CD” are an indication of the type of wood used to make the guitars top. This is sure to give you an easier time if you’re looking for a specific sound because you can tell them apart with the strings supplied by the factory alone.

There is an amazing contrast of color between the spruce and the rosewood back, bridge and fretwood on the C7. As we learnt from a professional guitarist, a learner should have a seemingly easy time starting with this instrument irregardless of it having high tension (500CJ) Saravez Crital Corum Strings. For someone used to playing the guitar, but wants to “jam” on a road trip and even a little gig, the Cordoba C7 is a great choice.

If you wants something that just feels and sounds top dollar, something that you want to use for teaching or an inspiration medium, this instrument is the deal.

These guitars (Cordobas generally) have made many appearances on our list because the company produces instruments that are long lasting,way beyond the initial buying date, with a respectable body and a build so solid that it will be worth every cent spent.

The fretboard, back and bridge are all made from rosewood but the inlay is the more traditional design that Cordoba has come to be known for. The high tensile strings on the guitar give it a very clean and clear sound, but you can replace the strings with another nylon set for the kind of sound that you want.

Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar




This model, as well as many other Cordoba brands, come with a case or a guitar (gig) bag. This is great for keeping the guitar in good shape, especially if a humidifier is inclusive. On the listing on Amazon though, there isn’t much difference or more information between the reviews on this brand and other Cordoba guitars, which is unfortunate.

7/ Cordoba Fusion 12 Rose Acoustic Electric Nylon String Classical Guitar

This type of guitar offers a kind of variation in the Cordoba list of guitars. They are well known for their unique and very high quality range of Spanish guitars which have wider necks. This model however has a narrower one which might pose a challenge for someone who’s gotten used to the electric or acoustic guitars with steel strings.

With this guitar, Cordoba decided to make something that encompasses traditional rich Spanish sounds but with a body much slimmer and a narrower steel string neck. One can also switch from acoustic to electric using the added module of Fishman-Presys with a tuner that’s built in, explaining the origin of the term “Fusion” in its name.

You get all of these features plus the stunning body appearance with the Indian rosewood, and a choice between the non cutway or cutway styles. This guitar has a bag included, meaning you don’t spend any more on it. Don’t forget the humidifier block though.

This should be in your “short list” if you want to try the Spanish sounds on a pure nylon string guitar after getting used to steel string electric or acoustic hybrids.

Cordoba Fusion 12 Rose Acoustic Electric Nylon String Classical Guitar




8/ Kremona Artist Series Sofia Classical Guitar

Most of the guitars that we have so far discussed are in the range of 10-18 pounds. Therefore, with the Kremona, you get to experience a highly superior sound with the extra weight as it is only 8 pounds.

Handmade in Bulgaria, the “Sofia” is handled with an amazing support staff that will ray to rest your questions in case you may have your concerns about products crafted in China. The top’s made with cedar, with a bone saddle and nut, with an authentic African sapele sides and back completing a very clean and pleasing look.

 The Kremona Sofia has a much slimmer neck and body, as far as other Spanish guitars go. With Spanish made strings that are Classic Royal Sonata, and the origins of the instrument, this is an investment that is worth every professional’s effort, for a price that just about anyone can afford.
Kremona Artist Series Sofia Classical Guitar




9/ Cordoba C7 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

This a cedar top C7 review, which, having already mentioned, is sister to the C7 spruce top. The makings of this guitar are very similar to the spruce top, with the only difference being that instead of the tones being bright, you will get a much warmer tone.

This instrument can record tracks for you, with the exception of having to make adjustments on the sound in order to get your desired sounds mix regardless of whether or not you replace the strings with your preferred choice. If you already own the spruce top, and are intending to put down some tracks, we would advise that you stick to it.

We also failed to mention that on the Amazon website, it mentions that they have the classical and acoustic forms in both spruce and cedar and tops. In parentheses though, they have ‘C7 - CE, only cedar top’.

In summary, this model (C7-CE) is entirely a very different instrument, coming with a number of accessories inclusive of the guitar (gig) bag.

Cordoba C7 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar




10/ Cordoba GK Studio Negra Left-Handed

This is the review that is going to interest you if the salsa and flamenco music of Gipsy Kings gave you much warmth and joy. Clearly, the Cordoba, is reputed for their great instruments, and this left handed GK Studio (Signature instrument for the Gipsy Kings) could be fit you.

This model has an Indian rosewood back and a spruce top from Europe and is a hybrid acoustic-electric cutaway. Packing a tuner that’s onboard, this guitar has a Fishman-Presys electric guitar system. This GK comes with strings from Saravez Cristal Corum , but it is easy to play and handle regardless of them being high tension because of its neck, which is low relief. The sounds on this instrument are bassier in contrast to the much brighter ones of a “blanca” guitar. To get a picture of the kind of experience that you will get, check out the video with its amazon listing.

The GK Negra comes with a guitar (gig) bag, saving you the extra buy. Since it’s not a part of a guitar kit though, the humidifier block is not included and you will have to get one yourself.

 We however could not, get a video for this left handed guitar model. Indulge in its right handed model instead.
Cordoba GK Studio Negra Left-Handed




11/ Full Size Classical Guitar Music 39 Inch Guitar Beginner Package-Gloss Natural

For those of you that want to get a guitar without buying the extra accessories, buying one that is a part of a kit would be a good idea. The IMusic 39” starter kit has the following:

  • A guitar, spruce top, with a maple neck, bridge and fingerboard and linden sides and back.
  • Three picks
  • Guitar (gig) bag- nylon
  • Strap
  • Plastic tuner
  • Extra strings

The listing on Amazon says that this is an “ambidextrous” guitar. This is seldom seen, because most of the guitars that we come across are either left or right handed.

The low key I-Music Company is not a name that you hear quite often in the industry, since their competition are more publicity outspoken. This isn’t to say that they have skimped on the innovation and quality of their products though.

 Their kit is a great deal for anyone who would want a starter pack to begin a budding hobby at a very affordable price. This excludes the block of humidifier, which any salesperson will insist to you is an essential for guitar maintenance and care.
Full Size Classical Guitar Music 39 Inch Guitar Beginner Package-Gloss Natural




12/ Jose Ramirez R1CWE Classical Guitar with Cutaway and Pickup

The Legacy of Jose Ramirez Spanish Guitars isn’t a name that you’re familiar with if you are a relative starter on classical guitars. The legacy has been here for over 100 years, starting in the 1800s with the originally first Jose Ramirez. The workshop has recently been taken over by Amalia, Jose Ramirez the fourth’s daughter.

You cannot ere with the R1CWE, a series that was begun in the year 1991 by Jose Ramirez the Fourth. Spanish handmade and especially certified and inspected by the workshop, this coupled with the pedigree that it has isn’t something that you can overlook. This guitar has:

  • Sides and a back that is made from African Mahogany and the top being cedar
  •  Fishman Prefix system with a Pick up Pro-Blend
  • Cutaway design
  • The ships have a hard case that is TLK, with the logo of the Jose Ramirez on top.

The sounds from this guitar are clean and crisp, with the warmth that is gotten only from an instrument with a top made from cedar. Unfortunately, this instrument seems to have been discontinued, and as result, there aren’t much reviews on it. Even the Jose Ramirez website doesn’t have much to offer on this front. You could get it from other sites, but they will more often than not be, already used.

Jose Ramirez R1CWE Classical Guitar with Cutaway and Pickup




13/ Yamaha C40 GigMaker Classical Acoustic Guitar Package

The C40 Gig maker might be your solution if you are out shopping for an all-encompassing guitar with about everything that you might need. This instrument comes with the following:

  • One spruce top fully sized guitar, with the sides and top made from Indonesian Mahogany and the 19-fret fingerboard with a Javanese origin.
  • A digital tuner
  • A DVD (to start you off in mastering specific songs), and a guitar (gig) bag that’s padded.

If you do not own one already, then you will have to purchase the very important humidifier because the kit doesn’t include one.

We should however mention that even though the listing of this guitar mentions “Yamaha”, and a “lifetime warranty that’s limited”, the information above is actually misleading. The guitar is not, as told by one reviewer, shipped by the Company Yamaha but instead by a New Jersey supplier of instruments.

 Secondly, the Yamaha internet sales are not warrantied at all. The only warranties that they put are on the original Yamaha instruments and on the dealers that they have licensed. The New Jersey Company that was brought up by the reviewer doesn’t fall under Yamahas licensed dealership.

 Aside from this though, many other reviewers who have tried this instrument mention that the sound bellies its lower pricing, meaning that this is a kit to definitely keep an eye for.
Yamaha C40 GigMaker Classical Acoustic Guitar Package




14/ 39 Inch Full Size Black Student Beginner Classical Nylon String Guitar

For someone with a tight budget, it’s going to be an uphill task to find a classical guitar, whether it’s meant for a learner, a small child, a teenager or even yourself.

The guitar by DirectlyCheap, which is full sized and black should be the top of your top list if you’re in this category. For the price, this model is made of linden, catalpa and basswood, with an inlay that’s ornate and produces one lovely sound. Like many shipments, you will personally be tasked with setting up the guitars neck, Ask for professional hand for this if it proves hard.

There have been two reviews that state the issue where the bridge came off the instrument, but this occurrence is very rare. The Amazon listing of this guitar also mentions that there is an inclusion of a pick in the shipping, but three quarters of the reviews have lamented on its absence altogether.

  Though the classical guitars are often played without the use of a pick, it’s your choice whether to buy this model or some other one, what with the possibility of the missing item in the shipment. With all this in mind, this is still a great choice for a meagre budget.
39 Inch Full Size Black Student Beginner Classical Nylon String Guitar




15/ Yamaha C40 Full-Size Classical Guitar

Do you want to get a replacement for a guitar that you owned or want to pick up guitar playing as a hobby but do not have (or want to) a lot of bills to spend? Then the YamahaC40s classical full sized guitar is the fit for you. The guitars features are:

  • Has a beginner’s design, without skimping on affordability and quality.
  • Very light- 4.8 lbs. in shipping weight
  • The top is spruce, with the backs and sides made from mahogany, neck in nato wood, a rosewood fretboard with the melamine gloss finish.
  • Though it may be the full sized, the guitar is just 24” inches long, making for a great instrument for teenagers, children and adults with a shorter stature.

A certain Amazon reviewer mentions that you will definitely need to replace the strings on this guitar with some of your choosing if you are looking to attain the best out of its sounds, yet another says that he uses the same to compose and doesn’t mention any issues with the strings. All in all, for a cost conscious person, who still wants a great quality instrument, this C40 brand should be among your top list of comparisons to check out.

Yamaha C40 Full-Size Classical Guitar




16/ Yamaha CG122MCH Solid Cedar Top Classical Guitar

This fully sized guitar ships at only a lightweight of 5.5lbs., making it very easy to haul the case around and also hold it while playing. This CG122MCH Yamaha model, is a classical guitar that shows off its rosewood fretboard and a cedar top. The elegant inlay gives the finish a very elegant look, with its 3-ply neck whose construction style prevents warping. The matte finish on this guitar gives it a classic old school look that is great in a photo session since there isn’t any glare produced.

For those who are still relatively unfamiliar with the cedar top kinds of guitars, they do provide a richer and warmer tone than you could get with a top crafted from spruce. Most artists usually prefer using the spruce tops for the purposes of sound level recordings, though this doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot record with the cedar. The cedar will just require a recording setup that’s quite different.

 Although this is one of the lower end guitars, at least for some people, many others who have bought it proclaim that this guitars tone is just as outstanding, if not even better than one that is higher priced. The action on this guitar is also pretty low, a feature that is really good for beginners.
Yamaha CG122MCH Solid Cedar Top Classical Guitar




17/ Yamaha CGS104A Full-Size Classical Guitar

Yamaha has yet another one of their numerous budget friendly instruments in this guitar. Their being only one photo of the guitar on Amazon, we have no way of knowing what they mean when they mention that the back is made of “medanti” wood. The single photo is of the guitar’s front and it clearly reveals that the top is made of spruce. If you’re very curious about the back, then you would have to Google it.

The manufacturer of this guitar also doesn’t include in the description what they means by a “natural’ finish, unless what they are talking about is the fact that there isn’t any finish on the front at all. In the event that this is actually the case, then they should mention it since it really does mislead the buyer.

This review is done particularly for the full sized one that measures 40 inches, though most of the reviews that you will read on Amazon have been done for only the half and three quarter sizes. In case you’re a grown-up who has small hands, instead of fretting with the full sized guitar, getting it in a smaller size would be advisable. The size of the guitar doesn’t affect the tone of this model in any way, which some reviewers have described as being very good for its low price.

 Purchasing this guitar will require that you buy a separate guitar (gig) bag or a case, among, of course other accessories that aren’t included.
Yamaha CGS104A Full-Size Classical Guitar




18/ Yamaha C40II BL Classical Guitar

Earlier in this review you may have read what we think about the Yamaha kit C40 Gigmaker. This guitar is quite similar to the aforementioned model, except that it is the C40II, with it being in limited edition category because of the black color. This instrument has an inlay with a rather diminished traditional look. In place of the ornate being the usual rossette style, it is a pattern stripe all around its sound hole, hence giving the guitar a somewhat jazzy look. Read on if this description is the kind of thing you may want.

The sides and back of this guitar are made with medanti, rosewood bridge and fretboard and a spruce wood for the top albeit it being black. This guitar, being full sized (52mm), can also be acquired in the 7/8 inch size although it doesn’t come in black color for this size. The common denominator for both these sizes is the glossy finish, and the type of wood that is used.

 On closer look, you will notice that the reviews on the listing on Amazon for this instrument are pretty much similar to those of the Gigmaker, hence making it a bit difficult to get any specific and unique information about this particular model.
Yamaha C40II BL Classical Guitar




19/ Cordoba Dolce Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

The thing that stands out between the full sized and 7/8” is the size of the nut. The fully sized nut is 52mm, 2mm bigger than the 7/8” one. This might seem like a small difference, but it might mean the gap difference between one easily reaching the strings and full on stretching your hand too much. That’s how significant the difference is.

With sides and a back that’s made from mahogany, the Dolce’s top is cedar with a set of high tensile strings of the usual Saravez Cristal Corum. This instrument is suitable for smaller people at 38” and 9lbs, a bit lightweights and shorter than what we have seen so many times. This guitar, however doesn’t have any accessories or the guitar (gig) bag as part of the purchasing purchase, so be sure to have a number of things to buy to go with it.

 Many of you may be wondering what the deal with its glossy finish is. That small feature may be the one difference between having your instrument cracking and remaining intact when the temperatures gets extreme. This model cones with the truss rod, meaning that you can adjust the relief on the strings making it very suitable and easy even for beginners.
Cordoba Dolce Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar




20/ Jose Ramirez 4NCWE Classical Guitar

So far we haven’t come across a lot of cutaway style guitars or even the Jose Ramirez in this list, but here we are. This is a hybrid guitar, or in layman’s language, this classical guitar has an electronic pick up. This instrument has Indian rosewood around the sides and back, was handmade in Spain and a cedar top. The case of this instrument (comes with one) is a hard case, meaning that you will not have any worries about any damage while in transit.

Putting into consideration the fact that it is made of rosewood and solid cedar, this guitar would be expected to be heavier than its 11lbs. With a pick up system (Prefix Pro) and an electronic part that from Fishman, the guitar doesn’t quite disappoint. Included is a battery (9V), which gets a sigh of relief for those who don’t have one by the time your instrument arrives.

With only a pair of reviews on the Amazon page for the guitar, seeing that bit is quite hefty priced in comparison to the others, these reviews are really positive. This instrument has a very rich tone because of its cedar top, and the choice to switch to the electrical pickups when you choose to really does make this instrument one of a kind for the guitarist that is out to get a very professional sounding guitar.

Jose Ramirez 4NCWE Classical Guitar




21/ Jose Ramirez 3NAE Classical Guitar

We finally come to the very last item on the list: The classical guitar 3NAE from Jose Ramirez. This instrument was designed in 1986 originally by Jose Ramirez the third. This was however rivalled by the design done by Amalia Ramirez in 2008, improving on both the reconstruction and decoration.

Its specific unique features are:

  • A spruce top coupled with Indian sides and back
  • Spanish handwork
  • Included is a hard case

The Amazon web page lists this item as weighing 18lbs, which is most probably as a result of including the case. Although there aren’t any more reviews on this instrument, just remember that with the spruce top, you are going to get a clearer treble and higher sounds than you would get from any cedar top guitars. This model, in comparison to the other Jose Ramirez brands is very pocket friendly. This was Amalia’s idea in an effort to revive this 3N series.

 This guitar would be a great acquisition for the musician that is looking to get an instrument for gigs, rather than for a beginner. The beautiful sounds, however could actually tempt even a beginner to continue practicing on it on a regular basis.
Jose Ramirez 3NAE Classical Guitar


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In conclusion…

This is by far one long list. We advise that you do take your time and patience going through it and considering the options that you have. Some points to look into more carefully are:

  • For whom the guitar is being purchased for?
  • What age bracket is the recipient in? His/ her height and size?
  • Is the purchase being done for the purpose of a hobby, or is the aim to horn skills into professional music?
  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Will getting a kit help in efficiency than trying to recall all the accessories needed?

Now we summarize the top classical brands that we have reviewed based upon the prices to perhaps aid your decision making process.

Jose Ramirez: These models of guitars are generally at a higher price than most of the other brands. They are essentially for the true musician who wants to up his stage or even go world class, so to speak.

Cordoba: These instruments are mid-range. This is the guitar for the guitarist who is serious about getting better and more professional on his craft. They are, at a higher price than what we are going to mention below.

I-Music/Yamaha/DirectlyCheap: These are the kind of guitars that are plenty among the student population, and hence are much easier on the wallet in comparison to the ones that we gave mentioned above, just in case the student tries u tans decides that the guitar after all, isn’t the instrument for them.

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