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Affordable classical guitars for a range of budgets
Beautiful, rich sound for studio and stage performance
Durable models to stand the test of time
The classical guitar, otherwise known as the “Spanish guitar” (or even the “flamenco guitar”), is known for its easy playability and rich, resonant sound. You can either play this beautiful musical instrument as a soloist or as part of an ensemble – there’s nothing quite like the stunning, harmonic tone it produces.
We’ve completed all the research and rounded up some of our favorite classical guitars under $500. So whether you’re a beginner looking for your first classical guitar, or an intermediate player needing a new instrument, we have both acoustic and electric options to suit all budgets.
WHAT ARE THE BEST CLASSICAL GUITARS UNDER 500?
Our top pick for the best classical guitars under $500 is the Cordoba C7 SP. This model delivers premium features at a reasonable price, making it a great choice for both beginners and intermediate players.
You may be looking for a premium guitar to keep up with the demands of your playing. In this case, we recommend the Kremona Soloist S65C GG. With its beautiful design and stunning sound, this is a fantastic instrument for all playing levels.
If you’re looking for the best classical guitar on a budget, make sure you don’t bypass the Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size. This high-quality instrument blends traditional craftsmanship with modern engineering to bring you a guitar that’s well above its price point.
Read on for the 5 best classical guitars.
Kremona Soloist S65C
Ibanez GA Series GA5TCE
Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size
Cordoba C7 SP
1. Kremona Soloist S65C
The Kremona Soloist S65C has a premium feel to it, and it’s not difficult to see why. Constructed with projection in mind, this is one of the best classical guitars for intermediates and professional players. It even comes with an included gig bag.
Design-wise, this model has been engineered to bring out all the beautiful details in your playing. The solid red cedar top will deliver the warmth and richness you long to hear, and the sapele sides and back ensure your tone is balanced.
The 25.6-inch scale length is easy to play and reminiscent of other acoustic guitars. Other features of this classical guitar include an African mahogany neck, wood fiber binding, an Indian rosewood fretboard and bridge, a wood rosette, and Royal Classics strings. It also features gold-plated tuners to add a touch of class to your guitar playing.
Few things can beat that traditional classical guitar sound, and the Kremona Soloist S65C definitely delivers.
THIS CLASSICAL GUITAR IS FOR
If you’re looking for a classical guitar to take to concerts and gigs, this is the best model for you. Engineered with projection in mind, this is the perfect professional guitar to support you in concerts. It even comes with a gig bag!
2. Ibanez GA Series GA5TCE
The Ibanez GA5TCE offers a spin on the traditional classical guitar with this acoustic-electric combination. With a rich sound to rival even the most expensive classical guitars but at an affordable price, many things make the GA5TCE so special.
It features a thinline cutaway body, giving you access to higher registers and letting you hit all the notes you need with ease. The gold hardware only enhances the stylish and sophisticated appearance of the guitar.
If you’re looking for a high-quality classical guitar, the Ibanez GA5TCE has everything you need and more. With classical nylon strings but modern electronic hardware, this acoustic-electric guitar will take your sound to the next level.
Don’t let the thin body put you off. Whether you want to use this guitar for home recording, or small performances, it delivers that beautiful, classical sound without the fatigue that comes with heavier guitars. Amplify every single detail of your sound with the built-in piezo pickup. The 3-band EQ is also a great addition, especially if you only own a simple amp.
The Ibanez GA Series GA5TCE offers the best of both worlds when it comes to acoustic and electric guitars. With an acoustic hollowbody and a deep, rich tone combined with high-quality electric components, this is one of the best classical guitars under $500.
THIS CLASSICAL GUITAR IS FOR
If you’re looking for a classical acoustic-electric guitar on a budget, this is the best model for you. It has everything you need for at-home recordings or small gigs.
3. Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size
With a traditional classical guitar construction and beautiful sound, the Cordoba Dolce is definitely worth your consideration. Cordoba describes their guitars as a “direct descendant of the Spanish tradition.”
This guitar offers great playability and stunning sound in a compact 7/8-sized body. With a solid Canadian cedar top and a mahogany back and sides, this classical model gives you a sound you can rely on, whether you’re recording in the studio, performing on stage, or practicing at home.
This responsive guitar feels natural to play. It’s easy on your hands, and the small body is comfortable to play. Make music for hours without fearing the fatigue that often comes with heavier models. The truss rod will ensure there is neck stability and easy adjustment. It also features Spanish fan bracing for improved sound.
Cobdoba’s classical guitars come in natural wood varieties, meaning you’ll always get a model that is entirely unique.
The Cordoba Dolce is a beautiful guitar with that classic, clear sound. It blends great playability with a beautifully balanced tone – you’re sure to love it.
THIS CLASSICAL GUITAR IS PERFECT FOR
If you’re looking for a classical guitar with a traditional look and feel, this is most definitely the best guitar for you.
4. Ibanez GA34STCE-NT
The GA34STCE-NTis the second Ibanez guitar we’ve included on our list, and it’s not hard to see why. The build quality, electronics, and sound produced work together in harmony to create a beautiful classical guitar you’ll be proud to show off.
There is much to love about this classical guitar. Everything about it is designed to provide great sound and comfort, from its cutaway classical body shape to its solid spruce top, which delivers definition with every note.
The projection is impressive, making it a good choice if you’re planning to perform on stage with your new guitar.
This guitar features a purpleheart fretboard, which not only makes complex finger playing effortless – it also gives a stylish touch, as well. This guitar’s eye-catching design will turn heads wherever you go.
It also features an onboard tuner, making it one of the best beginner guitars if you want to get started with a classic model.
The budget price tag is nothing to scoff at, as it’s a great-sounding guitar that plays like a professional model.
In terms of electronics, Ibanez has designed the GA34STCE-NT to reproduce every stunning detail of your authentic acoustic sound. The under-saddle pickup is engineered to capture a range of tones and will even pick up on your palm hits. Plan on recording in-studio? This model also has balanced XLR and 1/4-inch outputs, giving you even more recording options.
The Ibanez GA34STCE-NT features a detailed and rich tone, a lightweight and comfortable body, and excellent electronics. It’s a professional model at the budget price – what could be better?
THIS CLASSICAL GUITAR IS FOR
With its amazing sound, onboard tuner, and XLR and 1/4-inch outputs, this is one of the best classical guitars for musicians looking to record in-studio.
5. Cordoba C7 SP
Cordoba encourages your individuality as a budding artist. In fact, one of the best things about Cordoba guitars is that every single handmade guitar is completely unique. Even if you buy the same model, it’ll still look one-of-a-kind.
This classical guitar may be priced under $500, but it has premium features that should belong on much more expensive models, such as the two-way adjustable truss rod, hand-inlaid wooden rosette, and the sleek high gloss PU finish.
This full-sized guitar delivers the sound and style you need. With its traditional fan bracing for sustain, rosewood back and sizes, and solid top, you experience a tone that’s full of detail, no matter the piece you’re playing. The Savarez strings ensure you get that beautiful, warm, classic nylon string sound.
Individuality is at the forefront of Cordoba guitars. Purchase this guitar, and not only will you get a beautiful-sounding instrument at an affordable price, but also a model that’s entirely unique.
THIS CLASSICAL GUITAR IS FOR
Both beginners and intermediate players will adore this guitar. Purchase it as a beginner and keep it with you as you grow.
FAQs and Buyer’s Guide
What is a classical guitar?
Otherwise known as the “Spanish guitar,” a classical guitar has most of the features you’d find on a typical guitar, such as the frets, a sound hole, a hollowbody, and six strings. At first glance, a beginner might mistake it for a typical acoustic.
However, there are a few differences between the guitar types, one being the distinct sound you get with a classical guitar.
You tend to play classical guitars with your fingers rather than with a guitar pick. Players will often use their fingernails to strum, and they’ll also “finger pluck” to get the sounds they want. This is because the strings on a classical guitar are made from nylon. They’re softer than other types (such as steel string acoustic guitars), which makes them better for beginners and easier for finger plucking.
You’re also more likely to find a slightly wider fretboard to accommodate more complex finger techniques and a neck that’s slightly short than other guitar models, making playing a lot easier.
The classic, hollowbody design of this guitar type gives you a deep, rich, and resonant sound without amplification.
Finally, classical guitars will feature a “rosette” around the sound hole – a beautiful staple of this musical instrument.
Although they’re mainly used for classical pieces or as flamenco guitars, you can use these beautiful models for other styles of music as well.
How much should a good classical guitar cost?
Like with most acoustic guitars, the best classical guitar for you (and its price) will differ depending on whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, or a professional.
Beginner players shouldn’t spend thousands on a professional model with lots of features if they’re just getting started with playing the guitar. In turn, professional players might find an entry-level classical guitar to be too basic for them.
If you’re a beginner, a good starting price is $150. You don’t want to spend too little on a nylon string guitar, as it’s likely to be made from cheap materials that won’t last through the endless hours of practicing you’ll need to put in. Furthermore, classical guitars should deliver a sound quality that’s full of depth and detail, no matter the piece of music you’re playing.
We’ve included both beginner and intermediate classical guitars on our list, ranging from $250 to $500. From traditional classical guitars to electric guitars, our suggested models are bound to suit every buyer’s preference and budget. It’ll take the stress out of buying a classical guitar under $500.
What is the most beautiful classical guitar piece?
There are so many beautiful pieces of music out there you can play on your classical guitar. One popular choice is Guitar concerto in D by Vivaldi. This stunning piece was originally composed for the lute, but it works wonderfully with the classical guitar.
Other options include Asturias by Albéniz and Bourrée in E minor by Bach. Like Guitar concerto in D, Bourrée in E minor was also composed for the lute, and it suits the classical guitar perfectly.
If you’re looking for more modern songs to play on your classical guitar, popular options include: Photograph by Ed Sheeran, Wonderwall by Oasis, California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & The Papas, and Hello by Adele. But really, anything can be played on the classical guitar! So pick a song you love and get started.
Which guitar is best for classical music?
Nylon string guitars are best for classical music, and most classical guitars will come with this feature.
Nylon strings are softer than the steel strings found on traditional acoustic options, making them a lot easier on the fingers when it comes to finger-picking. There are many classical guitars available at a range of budgets for you to try. Popular, expensive brands include Yamaha and Taylor Academy. If you’re looking for the best classical guitar under $500, try brands like Cordoba, Ibanez, and Kremona. These companies offer high-quality classical guitars at affordable prices.
Is it OK to strum a classical guitar?
It’s possible to strum a classical guitar, but that’s not what these musical instruments are made for. Nylon string guitars shouldn’t be played with a pick, as it can make notes sound dull and lifeless and may even break your guitar strings. Classical guitars are usually played with your fingers and fingernails, as these techniques will help you achieve that gorgeous bright, and beautiful sound. If you wish to strum on a classical guitar, always use your fingernails instead of a pick.
Is classical guitar the hardest to learn?
Complete beginners might find classical guitars the hardest to learn because of their neck shape. Classical guitars tend to have a wider neck, which can make chording difficult. Furthermore, because of all the fingerpicking techniques and the attention to detail, guitarists have often dubbed this instrument as the hardest guitar to learn. However, this doesn’t mean steel-string players have it easier. Learning to play any musical instrument is difficult, requiring patience and hours of study. The best thing to do is pick up a guitar type that you can’t wait to learn; that will help you stick to a practice schedule.
Buying a classical guitar can sometimes feel like a headache. With many great classical guitars available, all at different price points, it can be difficult to know where to start looking. If you’re a beginner who’s deciding to learn the classical guitar, or you’re an intermediate player looking for an upgrade, we’ve rounded up the best classical guitars just for you.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional or an electric model, we have guitars to suit all classical guitarists, no matter their playing level and style.