6 Best Classical Guitars Under $1,000

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Looking for an affordable classical guitar that won’t cost a month’s pay? Aren’t we all. Well, I’ve found a few of the best classical guitars under $1,000 and will take you through them today.

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Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, finding a high-quality instrument is now within your reach. With options from top brands like Alhambra, Cordoba, Taylor, and Ortega, you can trust that these guitars offer superb sound and durability. And if you want to stretch your budget a bit further, check out my picks for the best nylon string guitars.

Brogan’s Quick Take

There are several options for the best classical guitar under $1,000, including the Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory, Cordoba C7, Taylor A12N Academy Series Grand Concert, Ortega R220, and Cordoba C5. These guitars offer a great combination of quality craftsmanship, beautiful sound, and affordability, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced players looking for an affordable yet reliable instrument.

(Sidenote: Do you want to keep getting better at classical guitar? Then try out tonebase — and use the code Segovia1893 for 30% off forever after a free trial. I used tonebase to help me get some tricky repertoire up to par and I think it’s the best online classical guitar course.)

6 Best Classical Guitars Under $1,000

Prices listed in these sections are accurate at the time of writing and subject to change.

So, we’re about to talk about the best classical guitars under $1,000. Believe it or not, there are some great budget options out there.

My top six picks are:
  • The Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory Classical Guitar
  • The Alhambra 4-F Conservatory Flamenco Guitar
  • The Cordoba C7 Classical Guitar
  • The Taylor A12N Academy Series Grand Concert
  • The Ortega R220 Classical Guitar
  • Cordoba C5 Classical Guitar

These guitars offer a great combination of quality craftsmanship, beautiful sound, and affordability. Below, you can compare my top picks side-by-side:

GuitarBody StyleTop WoodBack/Sides WoodNeck WoodFretboardScale LengthNut WidthPrice Range
Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory Classical GuitarClassicalSolid Red CedarZiricoteMahoganyRosewood650mm52mm$700 – $900
Alhambra 4-F Conservatory Flamenco GuitarFlamencoSolid European SpruceCypressSpanish CedarRosewood650mm52mm$700 – $900
Cordoba C7 Classical GuitarClassicalSolid European SpruceIndian RosewoodMahoganyRosewood650mm52mm$600 – $800
Taylor A12N Academy Series Grand ConcertGrand ConcertSolid Sitka SpruceSapele LaminateSapeleWest African Crelicam Ebony632mm44.5mm$600 – $800
Ortega R220 Classical GuitarClassicalSolid CedarRosewoodMahoganyRosewood650mm52mm$400 – $600
Cordoba C5 Classical GuitarClassicalSolid Canadian Red CedarMahoganyMahoganyRosewood650mm52mm$300 – $500

1. Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory Classical Guitar

When shopping around for the best classical guitars under $1,000, the Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory should be on your list as you shop for a classical. This affordable nylon string guitar offers excellent craftsmanship and beautiful sound at a budget-friendly price.

Here are a few reasons why the Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory is worth considering:

  • Solid cedar top: The Alhambra 4-Z features a solid cedar top that produces warm and rich tones, perfect for classical music.
  • Spanish heel construction: This traditional construction method enhances the guitar’s resonance and sustain.
  • Versatility: The Alhambra 4-Z is suitable for various playing styles, including classical and flamenco.

With the Alhambra 4-Z Conservatory Classical Guitar, you can enjoy the sound and playability of a high-quality classical guitar without going over budget. It’s a great option for both beginners and intermediate players looking for an affordable yet reliable instrument.

2. Alhambra 4-F Conservatory Flamenco Guitar

If you’re looking for a classical guitar with a flamenco touch, the Alhambra 4-F Conservatory is the best option under $1,000.

Alhambra 4-F from zZounds

This guitar combines the elegance of a classical guitar with the fiery spirit of flamenco.

The Alhambra 4-F Conservatory features a solid cedar top and cypress back and sides, giving it a warm and vibrant tone.

Since it’s geared toward flamenco players, it doesn’t have a raised fingerboard and it has lower action. It’s meant to give a slight buzzing sound for each note and pump up the higher frequencies.

The craftsmanship of this guitar is reliable, with attention to detail and beautiful finishing touches. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, the Alhambra 4-F Conservatory is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a high-quality classical guitar with a flamenco flair.

3. Cordoba C7 Classical Guitar

You can’t go wrong with the Cordoba C7 Classical Guitar, as it’s one of the best classical guitars under $1,000. The Cordoba C7 offers great quality and sound at an affordable price. Here’s why it stands out:

  • Traditional fan bracing for a rich and balanced tone.
  • Part-solid build with a choice of cedar or spruce top.
  • Bone nut and saddle for enhanced sustain and resonance.
  • Affordable nylon string guitar option that doesn’t compromise on quality.
  • Produces a warm and vibrant sound that’s characteristic of classical guitars.
  • Offers versatility for various playing styles and genres.

With the Cordoba C7, you’ll get a high-quality instrument that’s perfect for both beginners and experienced players seeking an affordable nylon string guitar. Its craftsmanship and attention to detail make it a top choice in the world of classical guitars under $1,000.

4. Taylor A12eN Academy Series Grand Concert

The Taylor A12eN Academy Series Grand Concert is an excellent choice for those seeking the best classical guitar under $1,000, as it offers exceptional quality and performance.

This guitar is part of Taylor’s Academy series, designed specifically for beginners and players on a budget. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and layered sapele back and sides, which not only contributes to its affordability but also provides a rich and balanced tone.

The little “e” in the name means it’s a nylon-electric guitar. This guitar has an onboard pickup system that lets you plug into a PA system, recording interface, or acoustic amp.

The A12eN has a comfortable body shape with a bevel for your arm. IT also has a smooth-playing mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard.

With its affordable price and high-quality construction, the Taylor A12eN Academy Series Grand Concert is a great choice for any aspiring classical guitarist.

5. Ortega R220 Classical Guitar

Check out the Ortega R220 Classical Guitar for a budget-friendly option under $1,000 for exceptional sound and quality craftsmanship. This guitar is definitely one of the best classical guitars you can find in this price range.

Here’s why:

  • The Ortega R220 produces a beautiful and resonant sound that will please both beginners and experienced players.
  • It has a solid North American cedar top, which contributes to its excellent sound quality.
  • This guitar is made in Spain, known for its tradition of quality classical guitars.
  • The Ortega R220 features Spanish-heel construction and a 12-hole bridge, showcasing the attention to detail and craftsmanship put into its design. There aren’t many 12-hole bridges on classicals under $1,000 (these make restringing the guitar much easier).

If you’re looking for the best classical guitar under $1,000, the Ortega R220 is definitely worth considering.

6. Cordoba C5 Classical Guitar

The last affordable option under $1,000 on my list is none other than the Cordoba C5 Classical Guitar. This guitar is known for an amazing price to value ratio. With a solid cedar top, it produces a beautiful sound that can fill a small room with warm tone.

The nylon strings on this guitar provide a smooth and mellow tone, allowing you to create beautiful melodies and intricate fingerpicking patterns. The Cordoba C5 is a great choice for both beginners and experienced players looking for a high-quality instrument that’s on the cheaper end. Its solid top and attention to detail make it a reliable and durable choice that will last for years to come.

Buying Guide: Nylon String Classical Guitar Under $1,000

Consider your personal preferences and playing style when looking to buy a nylon string classical guitar under $1,000. With so many options available, it’s important to find a guitar that suits your needs and feels comfortable to play.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Solid top: Look for guitars with a solid wood top, as it tends to produce a richer and more resonant sound.
  • Body size and shape: Consider whether you prefer a smaller or larger body size, as well as the shape of the guitar. Do you want a cutaway for higher fret access?
  • Warm and mellow: Nylon string guitars are known for their warm and mellow tone, but different models may have variations in sound.
  • Projection: Consider the guitar’s projection and how it sounds when played both softly and loudly.

By considering these factors, you can find a nylon string classical guitar under $1,000 that meets your needs and provides a satisfying playing experience.

How Do You Choose a Classical Guitar?

When you peruse the array of choices, consider the type of tonewood, overall build quality, and how the guitar feels in your hands to find one that aligns with your unique playing style.

Whether you are taking your first steps or continuing your development as a musician, there exists a classical guitar under $1,000 that will amplify your passion for music.

Remember, the ideal classical guitar for you isn’t solely defined by its price tag; its true worth is measured by the richness it brings to every note you play.

When you’re in the market for a classical guitar under $1,000, the fusion of expert luthiery with playability is paramount. Instruments crafted with tonewoods such as solid cedar stand out, providing a deep and resonant timbre.

High-quality machine heads are essential to maintain your guitar’s tuning stability. The lighter strings of classical guitars are perfect for complex finger techniques, including apoyando and tirando, and they facilitate longer playing sessions without fatigue.

Key Features to Consider

When on the hunt for an exceptional classical guitar under $1,000, prioritizing one with a solid wood top like cedar or spruce is a wise choice. These materials, especially when combined with rosewood for the back and sides, are the backbone of the guitar’s ability to produce deep and well-rounded tones.

Nylon strings play an important role, as they’re the heartstrings of the classical guitar’s signature sound, providing a distinct tone and a comfortable playing experience.

Mahogany and rosewood stand out as they lend their acoustic qualities to the guitar, ensuring that the instrument delivers both warmth and clarity. A classical guitar adorned with nylon strings becomes a vessel for the soulful timbre so cherished in classical music. The craftsmanship of a luthier is evident when the soundboard and traditional Spanish bracing work in harmony, enhancing the guitar’s sound and resonance.

A guitar’s neck, fashioned from mahogany and topped with a well-constructed fretboard, invites precise finger placement and eases the transition between notes—thanks to a wide profile that caters to careful technique.

Seeking a classical guitar that marries playability with acoustic excellence is key to fully embracing the rich heritage of classical guitar repertoire.

Acoustic Vs Electro-Classical Models

Classical guitar repertoire thrives when played on traditional classical guitars that use soft nylon strings. These strings, in contrast to the steel strings found on acoustic guitars, offer a warmer timbre that’s gentle on the fingers, making them a favorite choice for classical guitar technique.

Acoustic electric models or classical guitars with a pickup bring an additional dimension to performances, enabling guitarists to amplify their sound effortlessly during live concerts. Piezo pickups and microphone systems amplify an authentic and pure sound for pieces by composers like Fernando Sor and Francisco Tárrega.

Investing in the Right Strings

Investing in the right classical guitar strings can dramatically enhance your instrument’s sonorous warmth and clarity—a hallmark of the classical genre. Nylon strings stand in the spotlight for their pivotal role in defining the acoustic profile of classical guitars.

When players select lighter strings with gentler tension, it’s easier to fret notes and perfect finger placement techniques.

On the other side of the spectrum, enthusiasts of the robust, full tones may gravitate towards slightly thicker strings with higher tension. While these strings demand a firmer touch, they reward with a sound as grand as the Classical music era itself. It’s crucial to remember that strings shape the voice of your instrument; high tension strings not only stabilize tuning but also contribute to a more potent acoustic projection.

Embrace the longevity and quality that come with the right choice of strings, and witness how they can transcend the value of your classical guitar, irrespective of its cost. Whether your repertoire includes the sophisticated compositions of Fernando Sor or the emotive Concierto de Aranjuez, the strings you choose are instrumental in your journey through the rich landscape of classical guitar music.

Remember that some guitars might be made specifically for low, medium, or high-tension strings. Putting high-tension strings on a vintage luthier-made guitar may damage the soundboard with the extra tension.

Care and Maintenance Tips

Cedar and Indian rosewood, known for their rich tones and resonance, benefit greatly from a gentle wipe with a soft cloth to keep the guitar free of dust and in prime condition.

A quality carrying bag or hard-shell case acts as a fortress against harsh weather, while a consistent, moderate humidity setting thwarts any warping of the wood. It’s even better to keep the guitar in a humidified hard case for this.

Regularly inspecting the strings and machine heads is key to preserving the guitar’s harmonious tuning and comfortable playability.

Employing these care instructions, along with additional protective measures like a humidifier, ensures that your treasured instrument continues to resonate with clarity and beauty.

Difference Between Classical and Acoustic Guitars

The first major difference is the type of strings used. Classical guitars have nylon strings, while acoustic guitars have steel strings. The nylon strings on classical guitars produce a warm and mellow tone, which is a favorite for classical and fingerstyle playing. On the other hand, the steel strings on acoustic guitars give a brighter and more vibrant sound, ideal for strumming and playing in different genres like folk, country, and pop.

Another difference is in the body shape. Classical guitars typically have a wider neck and a slightly smaller body, while acoustic guitars have a narrower neck and a larger body. This affects the playability and the overall tone of the instrument.

Best Classical Guitar Under $1,000: Conclusion

At the end of the day, you have many great options for reliable classical tone under $1,000. My top pick is the Alhambra 4-Z, though you might be drawn to something else. I recommend playing multiple classical guitars in person if it’s possible. Otherwise, pick a reputable online dealer that has a good return policy just in case.

Nylon Guitar Under $1,000: FAQ

Below are a few frequently asked questions about classical guitars under $1,000.

Should a beginner buy a classical guitar?

A beginner can definitely start on a classical guitar. It’s often easier to learn with because nylon strings are softer on the fingers.

What is the easiest classical guitar to play?

A short scale classical guitar with low action will be the easiest to play. You can also use light tension strings to have an easier time pressing the notes down.

What are some popular brands offering classical guitars under $1,000?

Some popular brands with classical guitars in this price range include Cordoba, Yamaha, Takamine, Alhambra, and Kremona.

Are these classical guitars suitable for beginners?

Yes, many classical guitars under $1,000 are suitable for beginners. They offer a comfortable playing experience and good sound quality, allowing beginners to develop proper technique.

Further Reading