Best Classical Guitar Brands

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The best classical guitar brands offer reliable construction, good tone, and consistent setup. I this article, I’ll recommend my top picks for nylon string guitar brands.

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Keep in mind that these are factory guitars, not luthier-made models. I personally play a Cordoba C12 and have performed with it numerous times. Of course a luthier-made instrument would be another level, but the Cordoba does just fine. If you’re looking for your next instrument, check out my picks for the best classical guitars.

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Best Classical Guitar Brands

My top recommendations for the best classical guitar companies (at the factory level) are:

  • Cordoba
  • Yamaha
  • Alhambra
  • Alvarez
  • Ortega

These brands have made a name for themselves in the classical guitar world, so you can expect quality craftsmanship and beautiful sound from their instruments.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, checking out one of these brands could be a great starting point for finding your perfect classical guitar under $1,000.

1. Cordoba

Cordoba is my top pick for the best classical guitar brands. Cordoba is known for their high-quality nylon string guitars, which are perfect for students and performers alike. With a wide range of models to choose from, Cordoba offers something for every player, whether you’re a beginner or a professional. You can find guitars that are a few hundred dollars to over $2,000 from the brand.

Their guitars are known for their excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail. Higher models like the C12 use solid woods and have extra features like raised fingerboards. Whether you’re a classical purist or a modern player, Cordoba has a guitar that might suit your needs.

2. Yamaha

If you’re in the market for a beginner classical guitar, you can’t go wrong with Yamaha. They’ve a solid reputation for producing high-quality instruments that cater to both beginners and professionals.

Yamaha offers a range of classical and acoustic guitars, including the Yamaha CII and Yamaha NTX models. These guitars are perfect for those who prefer a nylon string classical guitar. My uncle actually gifted me an old Yamaha that I played on for many months. The guitar was a beginner acoustic and over 20 years old, but it still sounded good.

Yamaha is a versatile brand that makes many types of guitars. You can find steel string and beginner flamenco models from the company, as well.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, Yamaha has the right guitar for you. Don’t hesitate to try out their nylon string acoustic guitars or explore their steel string options.

3. Alhambra

Alhambra is my third pick for reliable classic guitar brands. They’re known for producing some of the best classical guitars for the price on the market.

Alhambra guitars offer solid tops like spruce and cedar at a great price point. These wood choices gives the guitar a beautiful and resonant tone. Whether you’re playing a piece by Bach or a flamenco guitar solo, the solid top of an Alhambra guitar will deliver a high-end classical sound.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-play classical guitar that’s both high-quality and affordable, Alhambra is a brand you should consider. Their guitars offer exceptional value for the price and are built to last.

4. Alvarez

Another one of the top classical guitar brands to consider is Alvarez. They offer a wide range of guitars, including nylon string guitars, steel string guitars, parlor guitars, and even flamenco guitars.

Alvarez guitars are made with the finest materials, such as Indian rosewood for the back and sides and a mahogany neck for durability and stability. The build quality of Alvarez guitars is outstanding, ensuring that you get a guitar that will last for years to come. Alvarez offers a wide range of price points and excels in the higher-end range above $2,000.

Their cedar top and European spruce options provide a rich and balanced tone, making them a great choice for both beginners and professionals alike.

5. Ortega

Last on my list of the best classical guitar brands is Ortega. Having a high-end instrument is essential. Ortega offers a wide range of options, whether you prefer a steel string or nylon string guitar.

One of their standout models is the Ortega RCE159MN, which features a solid cedar top and rosewood back and sides. This combination produces a rich and warm tone that’s perfect for classical music.

If you’re looking for something different, the Ortega RCE145 is a great choice. The acoustic-electric model has a built-in pickup to amplify your tone. With Ortega, you can trust that you’re getting a quality instrument that will enhance your playing experience.

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Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Nylon String Guitar Brands

When it comes to finding the best nylon string guitar brands, there are a few things you should consider.

Here are some tips to help you in your search:

  • Price Point: Determine your budget and find brands that offer quality guitars within that range.
  • Playing Experience: Consider your skill level and choose a brand that caters to entry-level guitar players or offers options for more advanced players.

Classical vs. Flamenco Guitars

If you’re unsure about the differences between classical and flamenco guitars, let’s delve into the details.

Classical guitars are the traditional Spanish guitars that are often used in classical music. They’re nylon strung guitars and are known for their warm and rich sound quality.

On the other hand, flamenco guitars have a brighter and percussive sound that complements the rhythmic and passionate nature of flamenco music. The string action is very low, which facilitates fast playing and provides a buzzy sound. The strings are low to the top of the guitar so the player can easily hit it with their fingers (a technique called golpe).

When it comes to choosing the best classical guitar brand, it ultimately depends on your personal preference and the sound you’re looking for. Some well-known classical guitar brands include Yamaha, Cordoba, and Ramirez. For flamenco guitars, brands like Alhambra and Juan Hernandez are highly regarded.

High-End Classical Guitar Brands (Luthiers)

When it comes to investing in a high-end classical guitar, you can’t go wrong with renowned luthiers (if you have the cash). Various luthiers have earned their reputations for crafting some of the best classical guitar brands in the world.

Here are a couple of reasons why their guitars are so highly regarded:

  • Exquisite craftsmanship: Luthiers pour their heart and soul into every instrument they create. The attention to detail is evident in the flawless construction and meticulous finishing of their guitars.
  • Superior tonal quality: High-end classical guitars are known for their balanced tone and rich resonance. The guitars are made with carefully selected solid woods that a factory brand might not be able to source.
  • Premium features: These luthiers spare no expense when it comes to the materials used in their guitars. You’ll find intricate rosettes, bindings, and inlays throughout the instrument.
  • Personalization: Luthiers can personalize your guitar to make it comfortable and sound exactly how you want it to sound.

Investing in a high-end classical guitar from a reputable luthier is a decision that will bring you joy for years to come.

Best Classical Guitar Brand: Conclusion

To sum up, my picks for factory-level affordable classical guitars are Cordoba, Yamaha, Alvarez, Alhambra, and Ortega. That said, you can find great instruments from many other brands, and you may decide to get a luthier-made guitar instead. Whatever you choose, your next instrument is sure to inspire many more practice hours and performances.

Classical Guitar Brands: FAQ

Below are a few frequently asked questions about the best classical guitar brands:

What is the best classical guitar string brand?

D’Addario is certainly the most popular classical guitar string and many people are happy with them. Other great options are Savarez, Aquila, La Bella, and Augustine.

Are expensive classical guitars worth it?

Up to a certain level, investing more money is worth it to get all solid wood construction and features like bone nuts or raised fingerboards. Once you hit about $4,000 you enter luthier-made territory. At this level, a luthier-made guitar may speak to you much more than a factory-made instrument. On the other hand, you might pay twice as much for a guitar that is just 10% better in your opinion. Either way it’s important to play these high-priced instruments in person.

What is the most recommended classical guitar brand?

Cordoba and Yamaha are both heavily recommended in the classical guitar student world because they offer reliable instruments at the entry level.

Further Reading