Best Classical Guitars
Don’t purchase a Classical guitar until you’ve read this. We are here to guide you on how to find the best classical guitar. We will show you what to look for in a classical guitar, what’s an important feature? And what’s just a gimmick to make you spend more cash than is necessary.
Classical guitars were originally called Spanish guitars, that’s because they were used to play traditional Spanish guitar music. The Classical guitar we have nowadays are all basically copies of 19th century Spanish guitars made by the great Spanish guitar maker, Antonio de Torres. He was responsible for many advances in guitar manufacture, things we take for granted were developed by SenorTorres.
Torres always made the soundboards from European Spruce, he also developed the best way to brace the sound board by using fan bracing. This allowed the sound board to be made bigger but from thinner pieces of wood to improve the sound quality. It was for this reason he improved the bracing to strengthen the sound board. This bracing system is still in use today.
The guitars Torres built were so far superior to guitars made by other luthiers (Stringed instrument makers) that they literally changed the way Spanish and by extension classical guitars were made throughout the world.
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Which Type Of Classical Guitar Are You Interested In?
Once you have decided that a classical guitar is for you, you’ll need to decide which type. There are 3 main styles or types of classical guitar to choose from and they are:
The Classical Guitar
Apart from the strings, the main difference between the classical guitar and the traditional acoustic guitar is the size. The best classical guitars have a wide neck and a flat fingerboard.The wider spacing allows for more fretwork and hand positioning and they can really only be played correctly by positioning your thumb in the middle of the back of the fretboard.
The Flamenco Guitar
Flamenco guitars were designed by flamenco players, they are similar to classical guitars except, flamenco guitars have a shallow body compared with classical guitars. They usually have flatter necks to allow a lower action which is needed because of the speed in which the notes are played. Flamenco guitars often have an extra scratch plate known as a golpeador to protect the guitar body from damage during playing and tapping.
The Crossover (Hybrid) Classical Guitar
These tend to have narrower necks, and longer fretboards, some with large scratch plates (some without) . Some describe these as the best of both worlds, but others steer clear because they claim they are neither one thing or the other.
So now you have some basic idea of the 3 main types of classical guitars. Keep reading to find out what to look for before buying a classical guitar.
Best Classical Guitar Buyers Guide
There are a few practical considerations to take into account before committing to buy any guitar. To purchase a classical guitar it is good to know about the company that made it. How much experience they have in making guitars, and so on. Read on for what we consider to be the most important questions to ask before buying a classical guitar.
Which Company Made The Guitar?
There are some amazing classical guitar manufacturers out there, to get the best chance of buying a great guitar to suit your needs, it is best to start with the manufacturer.
How Much Experience Do They Have In Making Classical Guitars?
How old is the company? Have they always made Classical Guitars?
You often hear phrases like “having been in the guitar industry for 100 years” but check that claim out, they might have been in the guitar industry but not in the guitar making business until quite recently. They could just as easily have sold Classical guitars for 85 years and then only begun making them 15 years ago. You can see how misleading that can be.
What Do They Make Their Guitars From?
What wood has their classical guitars been made from? Is it solid wood or laminate? How much of the guitar is solid wood? How about the tuning screws? What are the scratch plates made from? Does it have traditional bracing to support the soundboard? The better classical guitars have a solid wood top, matching back and side wood (made from good quality wood).
Do They Offer A Warranty?
Most quality guitar makers offer a manufacturer’s warranty, but it’s always best to check how long is it for? And what does it cover?
Is The Guitar Supplied With A Case?
If so, what type of case is it. A soft case or a reinforced case? The stronger the case the safer your guitar will be in transit. The best cases are solid to the touch with some sort of soft lining inside. Shaped specifically for that particular guitar.
Does the model you are considering have any reviews online? What do they reveal about that particular model? Are there any negative reviews? What do they concern and has there been any response from the manufacturer concerning that complaint. We usually decide by checking the ratio of positive reviews to negative.
There doesn’t seem to be a standard size to the classical guitar, so you need to get the feel of a few of them. They should fit into your arms comfortably with the left arm reaching the fretboard with ease. Try your fingers on the fretboard can you move them easily? Is there enough room to fit your fingers on the frets?
With classical guitars there is even more choice: you can get ¼ size, ½ size, ¾ size and full size models. Just because you think you know what size you need it is always advisable to try as many different models as possible to be sure to get the correct fit for you.
What Size Classical Guitar Should You Buy?
|¼ size||2 to 5 years old||75 to 100 cm|
|½ size||5 to 8 years old||100 to 125 cm|
|¾ size||8 to 12 years old||125 to 165 cm|
|4/4 (full)size||12 +||165 +|
Clean lines, perfect frets, a straight neck and fretboard. With a decent finish.
How Heavy Is The Classical Guitar?
Remember you will be holding it for at least an hour at a time, it should feel light but with a solid construction. If it feels heavy, it’s probably not the one for you. Time to look for a different model. Take your time, the decision you make will be with you for many years to come (Hopefully). Don’t be afraid to explain to the shop owner it doesn’t feel right, they’ll have heard it all before, in fact it shows you are serious about buying a guitar.
How Much Does A Classical Guitar Cost?
The price you will pay for a classical guitar is very much determined on the make and model of guitar you choose. A cheap model from an unknown company will cost around £35.00 rising to around £4,700.00 for a top of the range model. Of course you will find a decent classical guitar for around £100.00, for that price you can purchase a full size classical guitar complete with case, strap, electronic guitar tuner, picks and spare strings.
Most Classical, Flamenco and Hybrid guitars are designed to be played with nylon strings. Nylon strings are easier on your fingers than steel stringed guitars. It is not advisable to add steel strings to a guitar designed for nylon strings. If you do you run the risk of splitting the guitars neck due to the extra strength of the steel strings.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is possible to use a pick on a classical guitar but it is not advisable. Classical guitars with nylon strings are designed to be fingerpicked to get the best sound from them.
Under no circumstances should you put steel strings on a classical guitar. Guitars designed for nylon strings don’t have truss-rods to protect the neck from damage under tension. The neck could possibly warp, or even split if you add the wrong strings.
Classical guitars should be restrung after around 3 months of playing. But you should remove and replace one string at a time to prevent any neck damage.