Best Nylon Electric Guitar

The best nylon electric guitar is the Godin Multiac Grand Concert for its realistic nylon sound, reliable electronics, and quality construction.

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Nylon string electric guitars offer a unique blend of classical guitar tones with modern playability and amplification options, suited for guitarists who seek the warmth of nylon strings and the versatility of electric instruments. The best nylon electric guitars include instruments by Godin, Cordoba, and Ibanez.

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Brogan’s Quick Take

The best nylon electric guitar depends on your specific needs and budget. Consider the type of use, tonewoods, pickup system, and playability when choosing. Godin, Cordoba, and Ibanez are popular classical guitar brands offering high-quality nylon electric guitars. If you’re looking for more traditional options, check out my picks for the best classical guitar.

5 Best Nylon Electric Guitars

My top picks for the best nylon electric guitars are:
  • Godin Multiac Grand Concert
  • Cordoba Stage Thinbody Nylon
  • Godin Multiac Mundial
  • Ibanez Tim Henson TOD10N
  • Godin ACS Nylon Grand Concert

And below you can compare my top picks at a glance:

GuitarBody StyleTop WoodBack/Sides WoodElectronicsScale LengthNeck Width
Godin Multiac Grand ConcertChamberedCedarMahoganyGodin EPM Quantum Nylon, 13-pin connector25.5″1.9″
Cordoba Stage Thinbody NylonThinlineSprucePau FerroFishman Presys Blend, Narrowfield humbuckers, 3-band EQ25.5″2.0″
Godin Multiac MundialThinlineCedarRosewoodGodin EPM Quantum Nylon, Synth Access, 13-pin connector25.5″2.0″
Ibanez Tim Henson TOD10NThinlineSpruceSapeleIbanez AP11 Magnetic & T-bar under-saddle pickups, 3-band EQ24.9″1.89″
Godin ACS Nylon Grand ConcertChamberedCedarMahoganyLR Baggs Element, Godin Tru-Loc bridge, 13-pin connector25.5″1.9″

1. Godin Multiac Grand Concert Deluxe

The Godin Multiac Grand Concert Deluxe stands out as an exceptional nylon-string electric guitar for several reasons. Firstly, its design caters to a seamless blend of classical guitar tones with modern playability, making it a favorite among both classical guitarists and electric guitar players seeking the nylon string sound.

Tonewoods play a significant role in the guitar’s exceptional sound quality. The Godin Multiac Grand Concert Deluxe typically features a solid cedar top, which is known for its warm, rich tone and immediate response. This is paired with a chambered mahogany body that adds resonance and depth to the sound without the feedback issues commonly associated with amplified acoustic instruments. In contrast, many nylon-string guitars utilize rosewood or maple, which can impart different tonal characteristics such as brightness or added clarity.

The pickup system in the Godin Multiac Grand Concert Deluxe is another highlight. It includes custom voiced LR Baggs electronics, blendable sound with Lyric mic, hexaphonic pickups, and adjustable tape saturation simulation. The complex system gives you absolute control over your sound. Compared to other nylon electric guitars that might use one-piece under-saddle piezo pickups or soundhole-mounted mics, the Godin system offers a more nuanced and natural acoustic sound when amplified.

Playability is a critical factor where the Godin Multiac Grand Concert Deluxe excels. The neck is designed to be comfortable for both traditional classical guitarists and steel-string players, with a slightly radiused fretboard and a cutaway body that provides easy access to the upper frets. This contrasts with many classical guitars that have flat fretboards and no cutaways, which can make them less accessible for contemporary playing styles or electric guitarists who are not accustomed to classical neck profiles.

Compared to other popular nylon electric guitars, such as the Yamaha NTX series or the Cordoba Fusion series, the Godin stands out with its sophisticated electronics, comfortable playability for a wide range of styles, and the use of chambered mahogany for feedback resistance. While the Yamaha and Cordoba models are also designed with crossover players in mind and offer quality electronics and playability, the Godin’s unique combination of tonewoods, advanced pickup system, and ergonomic design make it a top choice for those seeking the best of both the classical and electric guitar worlds.

2. Cordoba Stage Thinbody Classical Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Córdoba Stage is another top nylon-string electric guitar that stands out in the market for several reasons. The choice of tonewoods in its construction is a significant factor contributing to its quality. Córdoba often utilizes lightweight wood such as spruce or cedar for the top, which is known for its responsive and warm sound. The back and sides may be made from mahogany or rosewood, adding to the richness and resonance of the tone. This careful selection of woods ensures a balanced and articulate sound, which is a hallmark of Córdoba guitars.

In comparison, other popular nylon electric guitars, such as those by Yamaha or Godin, also use quality tonewoods, but each has its own distinct sound characteristics. Yamaha guitars, for example, might employ their unique A.R.T. (Acoustic Resonance Transducer) pickup systems, which offer a different sound quality from the Córdoba. Godin guitars, on the other hand, are known for their dual-source pickup systems, which can blend piezo and microphone tones. However, the Córdoba Stage often features the Fishman Presys Blend pickup system, which includes an under-saddle piezo and an internal microphone. This system allows for a nuanced sound capture that can faithfully reproduce the guitar’s natural acoustic qualities when amplified.

The playability of the Córdoba Stage is another high point. It typically has a slim-profile neck, which is less common in traditional classical guitars. This neck profile, combined with a cutaway design, allows for easier access to the upper frets and a comfortable playing experience, especially for those guitarists who are more accustomed to the feel of electric or steel-string acoustic guitars.

When it comes to playability, Yamaha’s nylon string electrics might have a neck shape and action that appeal to classical players with a traditional approach, while Godin’s guitars, with their slender necks and low action, cater to those seeking a hybrid between classical and modern styles. The Córdoba Stage strikes a balance between these, providing a comfortable transition for electric and acoustic guitar players due to its sleek neck design while still accommodating traditional nylon-string guitarists.

3. Godin Multiac Mundial Classical Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Godin Multiac Mundial stands out as an exceptional nylon-string electric guitar due to its unique blend of features that cater to both classical and modern guitarists. When comparing the Godin Multiac Mundial to other popular nylon-string electrics, several aspects set it apart.

Starting with the tonewoods, the Godin Multiac Mundial typically employs a hollowed silver leaf maple body paired with a solid cedar top. This combination produces a warm and resonant tone that classical guitarists favor, while also offering the sustain and clarity that electric players seek. In contrast, many traditional nylon-string guitars might use a full classical body with rosewood back and sides, which gives a different tonal quality, slightly darker and perhaps less suited to amplified situations.

The pickup system in the Godin Multiac Mundial is also a key differentiator. Godin’s proprietary electronics, including dual source systems with under-saddle transducers and acoustic soundboard sensors, provide a highly nuanced and amplified sound that captures the guitar’s natural acoustic qualities. This level of sophistication in the electronics surpasses many other nylon electrics, which often have simpler piezo pickups that may not provide the same depth and fidelity.

Playability is a primary consideration for any guitarist, and the Godin Multiac Mundial excels in this area. The guitar features a comfortable neck profile and a radius that bridges the gap between traditional classical guitars and modern electric guitars. This ergonomic design facilitates ease of playing for extended periods, which can be especially beneficial for electric guitarists transitioning to a nylon-string instrument. Other nylon-string electrics might have a wider neck, typical of classical guitars, which can be more challenging for those accustomed to the slimmer necks of electric guitars.

4. Ibanez Tim Henson TOD10N Classical Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Ibanez Tim Henson TOD10N from zZounds

The Ibanez Tim Henson TOD10N stands out in the realm of nylon electric guitars for several reasons. Firstly, in terms of budget, it is positioned as a mid-range guitar, making it accessible to a wide array of players, from serious amateurs to professional musicians. It offers a great value proposition, considering the features it packs at its price point.

When considering the pickup system, the Ibanez Tim Henson TOD10N is equipped with advanced electronics that are designed to faithfully reproduce the warm and rich tones characteristic of a nylon string guitar. This system provides clarity and a natural acoustic sound, which is a step above many entry-level options.

Aesthetically, the TOD10N boasts a modern and stylish design, which is a departure from the traditional look of nylon string guitars. It features a sleek, slim body shape and an elegant finish that appeals to players looking for a contemporary instrument. This contrasts with the classical designs of guitars like the Cordoba C7 or the Yamaha NCX series, which adhere to a more traditional aesthetic. The Ibanez Tim Henson model’s visual appeal might be particularly attractive to younger players or those who perform in genres that are not exclusively classical or flamenco.

5. Godin ACS Nylon Grand Concert Classical Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Godin ACS Nylon Grand Concert stands out among nylon-string electric guitars for several reasons, including its pickup system, synth access, and aesthetics, which make it a great choice for both live performance and studio work.

Starting with the pickup system, the Godin ACS Nylon Grand Concert boasts a custom RMC electronics system, known for its clear and natural amplification of nylon strings, which is a significant advantage over many other nylon electric guitars that may use piezoelectric or less sophisticated pickup systems. This RMC system ensures that the guitar’s acoustic qualities are faithfully reproduced when amplified, offering players a rich and detailed sound that is as close to the natural tone of the strings as possible. This is a stark contrast to some systems that can produce a quacky or thin tone, which is less desirable for authentic nylon-string sound.

Furthermore, the Godin ACS has synth access functionality, which means it can connect to guitar synthesizers via 13-pin connectors, allowing for an incredible variety of sounds beyond traditional nylon-string tones. This feature is quite unique and not found on many other nylon-string guitars. It opens up a world of creative possibilities for the player, making the Godin ACS not just a guitar, but a versatile instrument for a wide spectrum of musical genres and styles. By comparison, most other nylon-string electric guitars lack this functionality and are limited to producing only their natural acoustic tones when amplified.

Aesthetically, the Godin ACS Nylon Grand Concert has a sleek and modern look while still retaining some classical elements that appeal to traditionalists. The chambered silver leaf maple body with a cedar top not only contributes to a warm acoustic sound but also provides a unique visual appeal with its elegant curves and refined finish. This is in contrast to other popular nylon-string guitars that might have a more conventional classical appearance or a less sophisticated design, which might not appeal to players looking for a guitar that stands out on stage both visually and sonically.

Nylon Electric Guitar Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in the market for a nylon electric guitar, there are several key factors to consider that will ensure you find the instrument best suited to your needs. Let’s break down what you should look for in your search for the perfect nylon-string electric guitar.

Budget: Your budget is the starting point when shopping for a nylon electric guitar. Nylon electric guitars come in a wide range of prices, from affordable models suitable for beginners to high-end professional instruments. Determine how much you are willing to spend as this will narrow down your options and help you focus on guitars within your price range.

Pickup System: The pickup system is crucial for electric guitars as it affects the guitar’s amplified sound. Nylon electric guitars typically use either piezo pickups, which are installed beneath the bridge saddle, or microphone systems, which are less common and offer a different tone. Some models come with built-in preamps and equalizers that allow you to shape the sound and may even include a tuner. Consider the type of sound you want and whether you need advanced sound-shaping capabilities when choosing a pickup system.

Tonewoods: The type of wood used in the guitar’s construction affects its tone and resonance. Common woods for nylon electric guitars include spruce and cedar for the top, which influence the guitar’s brightness and warmth, respectively. Mahogany and rosewood are often used for the back and sides, contributing to the instrument’s overall tone and sustain. Look for a tonewood combination that aligns with the sound you are aiming to achieve.

Playability: Playability is a critical aspect and includes factors like the neck width, string spacing, and action. Nylon-string guitars typically have wider necks than steel-string guitars, which can affect the ease of play, especially for those with smaller hands. You can play many electric nylon guitars with a strap, though, so you don’t have to use the traditional way to hold a classical guitar. The action, or the distance between the strings and the fretboard, should be comfortable for your playing style. A guitar with a cutaway design might offer easier access to higher frets if you play a lot of lead lines or solos. You can also play electric nylon guitars with a pick to get a different effect.

Player Skill: Consider your skill level when choosing a nylon electric guitar. Beginners might look for a guitar with a comfortable neck and low action to ease the learning process, while more advanced players may prioritize superior tonewoods and electronics for a more refined sound. In general, classical guitars are easier to play than steel string guitars and nylon electrics are even easier than that.

Type of Use: Think about how you plan to use the guitar. Will it be for live performances, recording, or practice? For live use, you may need a guitar with a robust pickup system and onboard preamp for sound shaping. Recording musicians might prioritize the natural acoustic sound and look for a guitar with high-quality pickups that accurately capture the nuances of nylon strings. If the guitar is mainly for practice, playability and comfort might be the most important factors.

When shopping for a nylon electric guitar, it’s also advisable to try out several models to find the one that feels and sounds right to you. The perfect guitar should meet your budget, have a suitable pickup system, be made of tonewoods that produce the desired sound, be comfortable to play, match your skill level, and be appropriate for your intended use.

Best Nylon Electric Guitars: Conclusion

Overall, you can’t go wrong with anything from Godin. That said, the Cordoba Thinline is a great budget option, as is the Ibanez Tim Henson.

Crossover Nylon Guitar: FAQ

Below are a few frequently asked questions about nylon electric guitars.

What are nylon electric guitars?

Nylon electric guitars, also known as nylon-string electro-acoustic guitars, are acoustic guitars with nylon strings that are equipped with pickups, allowing them to be amplified like electric guitars.

What are the advantages of nylon electric guitars?

Nylon electric guitars offer the warm, mellow tone of classical and flamenco guitars, while providing the ability to amplify the sound for live performances or recording. They are also easier on the fingers compared to steel-string guitars.

What styles of music are nylon electric guitars suitable for?

Nylon electric guitars are versatile instruments that are well-suited for a variety of genres. You can play anything from traditional classical guitar repertoire to flamenco, jazz, Latin, and world music. They can also be used in pop, rock, and folk music for a unique sound.

What should I look for when choosing a nylon electric guitar?

When selecting a nylon electric guitar, consider factors such as the quality of the materials (e.g., solid wood vs. laminate), the type of pickup system (e.g., piezo, microphone, or a combination), and the overall craftsmanship. Also, ensure that the guitar feels comfortable to play and suits your personal playing style.

How do I amplify a nylon electric guitar?

To amplify a nylon electric guitar, you’ll need an acoustic guitar amplifier or a PA system. Connect the guitar to the amplifier or PA using an instrument cable, and adjust the settings to achieve the desired tone and volume.

Can I use regular electric guitar effects pedals with a nylon electric guitar?

Yes, you can use electric guitar effects pedals with a nylon electric guitar. However, keep in mind that the nylon guitar’s tone is inherently different from a regular electric guitar, so the effects may sound different than expected. Experiment with various pedals to find the ones that work best with your nylon electric guitar.

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