10 Best Classical Guitars of 2021

Dave Mostert
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The classical guitar is perhaps the most popular type of guitar in the world. Because of that many companies are producing them and that makes the field more open to competition.

This fact makes it a great opportunity for beginner classical guitar players to get an outstanding starter guitar that is high-quality and affordable at the same time.

Below is a list of the best classical guitars of 2021.

NameCategoryProduct
Cordoba C12 SP ClassicalBest OverallCordoba C12 SP Classical
Cordoba C3M Classical GuitarBudget PickCordoba C3M Classical Guitar
Alhambra 6 String Classical GuitarUpgrade PickAlhambra 6 String Classical Guitar

1. Cordoba C12 SP Classical

Our rating: 9 / 10

Cordoba C12 SP Classical

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Pros:

  • The overwhelming majority of the buyers were quite satisfied with the guitar – both its visual attributes and playability
  • The guitar is easily playable right out of the box, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on upgrades

Cons:

  • The instrument is a bit darker and less punchy than some of the other nylon-string guitars we have reviewed
  • The finish is rather fragile – it shows scratches rather easily if you’re not careful

The Cordoba C12 SP Classical, All-Solid Woods, Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Luthier Series, is a beautiful instrument, in an elegant design. Let’s take a closer look at some of its special features, as well as the main things to look out for.

2. Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar

Our rating: 9 / 10

Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar

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Pros:

  • Solid spruce top
  • Solid tuners
  • Nylon strings make the sound soft yet rich
  • Full, deep sound
  • Stays in tune very well
  • Beautiful finish
  • High-quality tailpiece which contributes to the full, robust sound of the guitar
  • Good value for the money
  • Lightweight instrument
  • Easy to play and learn

Cons:

  • Too narrow neck
  • Some players might find the sound not too mellow for their liking
  • No pickup

Like all our other high-quality choices, the Cordoba Dolce classical acoustic is designed in the classic guitar shape, which is modeled on a romantic Spanish guitar. It is available in a variety of sizes, but we recommend the 7/8 size for a small guitarist, who is just starting to learn classical guitar.

Cordoba acoustic guitars have a unique sound. They are characterized by a wide, bright sound. However, the sound is not as mellow as that of some of the guitars you might hear in more classical settings. This is best for someone who enjoys the sound of banjos and bluegrass fiddles.

3. Yamaha CGS103A 3/4 Size Classical Guitar

Our rating: 8 / 10

Yamaha CGS103A 3/4 Size Classical Guitar

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Pros:

  • Great sound for its price
  • Quality materials and well-built
  • Smoother and brighter sound when compared to solid-wood models
  • Good for kids as well as beginners

Cons:

  • May sound tinny to some
  • Does not have a classic look

This Yamaha classical guitar features a fan bracing pattern similar to the one found on its dreadnought guitars. The guitar has a spruce top, mahogany neck, back, and sides. Mahogany is known for resonating with crisp, bright tones. The guitar has a rosewood bridge and a mahogany neck that makes it good for beginners. The guitar neck also has a satin finish for a smooth, comfortable feel.

Yamaha provides high-end materials and quality craftsmanship with the CGS103A flamenco guitar. The guitar is a pre-owned model, but it has been given a neck reset and a fret job. It shows normal signs of use, but there are no cracks and is in great shape.

4. Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar

Our rating: 8 / 10

Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar

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Pros:

  • Wide selection of high-quality classical guitars
  • Perfect for all levels of skill
  • Optionally available with nylon strings
  • Great customer service
  • Available in two different designs

Cordoba is an award-winning guitar manufacturer that’s known for its exceptional attention to details. Cordoba has a wide range of classical guitars available, including this wonderful mid-range Cordoba C3M model.

This particular guitar has a solid spruce top with scalloped bracing and a mahogany neck, back, and sides. It also comes in two different designs. The first is the traditional Spanish style, which features a cutaway and lacks a back strip. The other is the phase design, which consists of the traditional elements with a beautiful red finish and a back strip. The phase design is more elegant and ideal for concerts, but the Spanish design is more sturdy.

5. Cordoba C10 SP Classical

Our rating: 7 / 10

Cordoba C10 SP Classical

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Pros:

  • Great right out of the box
  • Option to choose between spruce top and rosewood back and sides
  • Action and tone is very good
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Handcrafted in Cordoba, Spain

Cons:

  • You can hear occasional fret buzz from the cheaply built bridge
  • No case
  • Lacks consistency and quality control

This acoustic classical guitar from Cordoba makes it on our list because it has a lot for the price. Not only is it a real classical guitar (all solid wood), it also sounds great, feels great, and looks great.

Once you take it out of the box, it is ready to go, and it only takes a few minutes to tune. The quality control and consistency may not be so great with this guitar, but if you get a good one then you’ll like it.

This is an excellent guitar for beginners … it’s awesome to hold, feels nice, and sounds fantastic, and it’s also great to just look at. Its spruce top sounds very good and the rosewood sides and back are also attractive.

6. Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

Our rating: 6 / 10

Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

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Pros:

  • Made of genuine Spanish cedar
  • Quality sound
  • Easily affordable
  • Strong and sturdy

Cons:

  • May need to re-tune each time a string breaks
  • Can be a bit tricky to get the hang of

The Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Classical Guitar is a beautiful instrument that has been designed to help you learn the basics of classical guitar playing.

With this guitar, you’ll be able to play for hours on end without feeling overworked or tired. This guitar will be able to hold out for long periods of time without needing to be tuned. The body of the guitar is made of nato, which makes it durable and sturdy. The neck of the guitar is smooth and easy to play, which makes it easier to learn.

The spruce top is to thank for providing the guitar with the wonderful sound that enhances any musical track that it’s used on. This guitar can be tuned in the variety of standard tunings so that it can be easily used in any musical track. However, if during tuning the string is damaged, the guitar will go slightly out of tune, which is why it is recommended to tune the instrument several times throughout the morning for optimal tuning.

7. Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar

Our rating: 6 / 10

Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar

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Pros:

  • The guitar has a sleek and classy contemporary design
  • It has great projection, and the overtones are clear and pure
  • The guitar has a strong bass response
  • The instrument has a wonderful resonance

Cons:

  • The fretboard has an unpleasant sharpness, which makes it uncomfortable to hold
  • There are some buzzes and rattles at the higher frets
  • Action can be on the high side

This acoustic-electric classical guitar is crafted with solid Canadian cedar and finished with a spruce top. It comes with a hardwood bridge that provides additional volume and a contoured neck that gives you a comfortable feel. It’s easy to slide up and down the 20 frets when you play. The guitar is designed with a built-in pickup system and volume, bass, and treble controls. It has a beautiful rosewood tuning widget and a non-glare black finish. The guitar also comes with a standard chromatic digital tuner. It’s a great instrument for both beginners and professional musicians.

8. Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Bundle

Our rating: 6 / 10

Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Bundle

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Pros:

  • Solid wood produces better sound quality
  • Affordable price point
  • Expandable armrests
  • Paint finish helps to protect against sweat and skin oils
  • Lightweight at 7.5 pounds
  • Brilliant dreadnought-style body for better projection
  • Perfect for beginners or casual players
  • Beginners might find the action to be on the high end

Cons:

  • Strings have a tendency to stretch often
  • The Yamaha C40 is not the latest model and this might affect its overall quality

Looking for one of the best classical guitars in 2020? If so, the Yamaha C40 is definitely one to consider. It’s an excellent beginner’s guitar that can easily become a lifelong companion. It has a glossy finish, making it look all the more attractive. When it comes to quality, the Yamaha C40 delivers a brilliant sound to its audience. It stays in tune very well and the maple body helps to resonate the sound better.

Yamaha is known for producing some of the best guitars in the world, and we would definitely expect nothing less with the C40. It’s quite capable of holding notes like a pro and definitely doesn’t fall short of absorbing vibrations. The full sound that it produces is nothing short of excellent.

9. Yamaha CGS104A Full-Size Classical Guitar Bundle

Our rating: 5 / 10

Yamaha CGS104A Full-Size Classical Guitar Bundle

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Pros:

  • Great value for the price
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Made in Japan

Cons:

  • Action is a little high out of the box
  • Uses nomex strings, which might be downside for those who prefer classical nylon strings
  • Does not include extras like a hardshell case and polishing cloth

There are a lot of low-value classical guitars on the market today. But this affordable and beginner-friendly acoustic guitar is a great option to get started.

This item comes with an Austin bazaar instructional DVD which provides great, no-frills lessons, a thorough, albeit quite brief almanac, and a quick-start guide with the basics for assembly, tuning, proper holding, and even a quick lesson for strumming three different chords. It even comes with a polishing cloth with which you can polish your guitar.

The Yamaha CGS104A is a full-size classical guitar and is a little heavier than guitar packs with nylon strings. The use of nomex strings is often discussed as a downside because they are harder to work with and therefore break more often.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What brand of classical guitar is best?

Anyone who has spent some time in the classical guitar community knows that the world of classical guitars is a small one, and the players are fanatical about their differences. I've even heard a renowned classical guitar player brag that he knows how to tell what brand of guitar someone plays by the sound they make when they play a certain note.

There are lots of great brands of classical guitars to choose from, it all depends on your goals in buying one. Are you looking for amazing craftsmanship, superior tonal quality and a unique appearance? Or, maybe you want an instrument that has a large bottom end and that stays in tune very well? Or, perhaps your main concern is affordability, in which case you will likely want to look at the well-known brands such as Cordoba, Alvarez, and Yamaha.

What is the best classical guitar for beginners?

If you're a beginner, you're in luck. Classical guitars don't have electronics or extra features that you'll never use. They’re simple instruments designed to be played by people for whom playing guitar is a worthwhile endeavor.

If you're new to the instrument, you can keep it very simple. In fact, the most expensive classical guitar is not necessarily the best one.

Many of the same manufacturers that make very high-quality electric and acoustic guitars also make inexpensive classical models. So if you're an absolute beginner, consider purchasing a lower-priced classical model to get you off the ground, and then focus on improving your skills.

Which guitar is best acoustic or classical?

For beginners, it isn't easy to tell the difference between a quality classical guitar and an inferior acoustic model.

However, the choice of buying either type isn't as simple as it might seem in the beginning.

Once you have played the instrument for some time and you feel the urge to upgrade, you'll need to consider choosing between an acoustic or a classical guitar.

Beginner classical guitars are good for beginners, but enthusiasts starting to play often want to experiment with different tunings, alternate styles of play, jazz, and open-string chords.

In fact, some people claim that the acoustics are not sturdy enough to handle most modern guitar playing techniques and songs. That being said, acoustic guitars are cheaper than classical guitars of the same quality level. However, with an acoustic guitar, you can't tune the strings differently because they are strung with steel.

How much is a good classical guitar?

There are many factors, such as quality, that affect the cost of classical guitar. The good news is that you can find a great guitar within your range, if you do enough research.

Your first step is to determine why you need one and whether you need an acoustic or electric guitar. Then, you need to decide what you want to play. There are so many styles that it becomes difficult to make the choice.

Once you have determined what you want to play, it is important to understand what determines the cost of classical guitars. These include the acoustic guitar construction, body type, body material, and tone woods.

Each of these can significantly impact future cost as your skill level rises. As you improve, you will want to upgrade your guitar as necessary. But, you will also want to take care of your guitar as a way to keep it in top condition and save money over time.

Conclusion

The classical guitar is a beautiful and one of the most versatile instruments out there. When we tune a guitar, we want the strings to vibrate over the entire length of the neck. This is called the “open” or “vibrato” position. You can play many different chords in this position, meaning you don’t have to play all your music in the first position. This is especially important for beginners. For the easiest strumming, play with your fingers at the third fret, using your thumb.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Cordoba C12 SP ClassicalBest OverallCordoba C12 SP Classical
Cordoba C3M Classical GuitarBudget PickCordoba C3M Classical Guitar
Alhambra 6 String Classical GuitarUpgrade PickAlhambra 6 String Classical Guitar