Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Classical Guitar
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player looking to upgrade, buying a classical guitar can be an overwhelming process. But as long as you have a handle on exactly what you are looking for – you should find that the process of buying the best classical guitar for beginners is a lot simpler than it may seem!
Our Classical Guitar Buyers Guide will tell you everything you need to know before you make your purchase! Read below to discover how to choose a classical guitar within your price range and what you need to know when selecting the best guitar for you.
Learning how to choose a classical guitar will be a vital choice – if you choose the wrong instrument for you, it can affect your enjoyment as you learn and play.
And you may find that if you choose the wrong instrument the first time around, you will face more expense when buying a guitar that is suitable for your size and playing style
For those who are interested in our acoustic guitar guide please visit our acoustic guitar buying guide page here.
What are the Pros and Cons of Buying a Classical Guitar?
Before we delve into the specifics of our Classical Guitar Buyers Guide, you should take a few minutes to make sure that buying a classical guitar is the best choice for you. Learning to play a classical guitar comes with both benefits and some aspects of playing you should consider before you decide which guitar is best for you.
So, make sure to take a look at our pros and cons list below before discovering how to choose a classical guitar.
Pros of Buying A Classical Guitar
- Classical Guitars have a Unique and Beautiful Tone. If you gravitate to the warm, clear sounds of Spanish or Brazilian guitar playing – you'll enjoy learning to play a classical guitar!
- The Nylon Strings on a Classical Guitar are Easy to Play. When compared to the steel strings on an acoustic guitar, many beginners find that a nylon string guitar is easier to play and causes less pain and callouses when it comes to learning fretting.
- You Will Be Able to Pick Up Finger Picking Techniques Quickly. When learning how to play classical guitar you will find that there is a concentration on finger picking which will allow you to develop your playing speed and skill quickly.
- Your Classical Guitar Skills are Easily Transferable to Other Guitars. Learning to play on a classical guitar will put you in a good position to comfortably transfer to playing either acoustic or electric guitars.
Cons of Buying A Classical Guitar
- Classical Guitar Playing isn't Suited to All Types of Music. Although classical guitars are great to learn on with a beautiful tone, if you want to branch out into playing pop or rock music – you'll need to also invest in a guitar with steel strings.
- A Classical Guitar Has a Wider Neck and Fretboard. If you have small hands or are used to the smaller necks of an acoustic or electric guitar – you may struggle to adjust to fretting on classical guitars initially.
- Nylon Strings Won't Prepare your For Playing an Acoustic. Although initially painful, the calloused fingers you develop while learning how to play an acoustic guitar can end up being quite useful as you play more and more! If you eventually plan to move to acoustic playing, you won't have had the chance to develop your fingertip resistance to the harder acoustic guitar strings.
How to Choose a Classical Guitar – Your Ultimate Guide
Now you are certain that buying a classical guitar is the best choice for you, we can take a look at the specific aspects of the instruments you will need to look out for. There are a lot of decisions for you to make – so let's begin!
What is Tonewood and How Does it Affect a Classical Guitar?
Guitar wood isn't just about the look! The type of tonewood used in the classical guitar will affect the sound and tone of your instrument. So, when you start to learn how to choose a classical guitar, you need to learn which woods are best for the sound you are going for. Your classical guitar choices will generally feature the following guitar woods:
- Rosewood is a quite common tonewood that is used in the production of a lot of different guitars. This type of guitar wood is very versatile and creates a good sound level, making it an excellent choice for classical guitars for beginners.
- Spruce Wood is used in a lot of classical guitars due to its versatility and is often found on the soundboard section of the guitar. This type of tonewood produces a sound that is clear and sharp and will remind you of the sound produced by Flamenco and Latin classical guitarists.
- Cedar Wood produces a warm, soft sound that is favored by guitar players looking for a softer sound quality than spruce wood. As with spruce tonewood, you will usually find that this book is used in the top wood or soundboard section.
- Maple Wood is also used for creating soundboards on classical guitar but is also often employed in creating classical guitar sides and necks. This tonewood is a bit denser than the options above and will create a sound with more volume. This makes it a smart choice for live performing or recording.
- Mahogany Wood is also used to create the neck and sides of some classical guitars. This tonewood will give you a solid, rich, and warm sound that you may be familiar with if you listen to Blues music.
So, before you get started buying a classical guitar, take the time to think about which sounds and types of music you enjoy listening to. The more you like the sound you produce, the more motivated you will be to practice!
The Different Parts of a Guitar and How they Affect Your Playing
When buying a classical guitar, it is essential that you are familiar with the distinct parts of a guitar and how they can affect your sound and style of playing.
What is a Soundboard on a Classical Guitar?
A soundboard on a classical guitar has a significant impact on the tone of your guitar. And a high quality soundboard is likely to be reflected in the price!
When you strum or pick the strings on your classical guitar, it is the soundboard that creates the sound as the strings vibrate against it. This sound is then enhanced and amplified by the shape and sound hole of the guitar. So, as you can imagine, it has a massive influence on the sound of the instrument.
A solid wood soundboard will give you high quality sound, but beginners will find that a classical guitar with a plywood soundboard can be a good option to learn on. More seasoned players will usually opt for solid wood options on a soundboard.
What is a Fingerboard or Fretboard on a Classical Guitar?
When learning how to buy a classical guitar, it is important that you understand how the fretboard can affect your playing style when you learn. a fretboard is the thin, long part of the guitar where you will press your fingers down to create notes as you play.
As we discussed above, you will find that the fretboard on a classical guitar is wider than that of other types of guitars. You will need to think about the size of your hand when it comes to which type of classical guitar you will be able to play comfortably as you learn.
There is also the spacing between the strings and the fretboard to consider, think about whether the wider or thinner placement on a guitar will be easier for you to learn on as you are holding the strings down and fretting.
How Does the Body of a Classical Guitar Affect Your Playing?
The body of a classical guitar will have an enormous impact on the sound and also your comfort as you are learning how to play. For this reason, you must think about which guitar shape is best for you.
Classical guitars with thicker body shapes tend to produce a deep, rich sound. Thinner body shapes on a classical sound will produce a higher sound. The best way to test out which you prefer is to play some different shapes in a music store and see which you prefer.
What are the Nut and Addle on a Classical Guitar?
The nut and saddle on a guitar hold the strings in place. With expensive classical guitars, these parts will be constructed from bone, on cheaper beginner versions they will be made from plastic. The bone versions will lead to an increase in the vibrations and sound when you strum.
How Important at The Tuning Pegs and Head on a Classical Guitar?
Make sure that you invest in a classical guitar that has high quality tuning pegs that make it easy for you to adjust the strings. Cheaper mediocre quality plastic tuning pegs can make this process more difficult.
How Does Guitar Size Affect Your Playing?
As well as thinking about the type of materials that are being used, you will also need to consider what size guitar you will be comfortable playing. It doesn't matter which top guitars you pick, if your instrument is too small or too large, you'll be uncomfortable and feel less inclined to practice.
What are the Classical Guitar Sizes?
- A 1/4 sized guitar is suitable for small children up to the age of 5 or 6.
- A 1/2 sized guitar is also suitable for playing by children aged up to 8 or 9 years old.
- A 3/4 sized guitar is suitable for older children and petite adult players.
- A full size guitar is suitable for adults.
You should also consider whether you need to use a guitar suited for a right or left hand player.
Summary: Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Classical Guitar
There are plenty of things to think about when you begin the process of buying a classical guitar but try not to get overwhelmed. Read through our classical guitar buying guide above and make a note of what you need to keep in mind.
As long as you take your time and don't make any rushed decisions you should find that buying a classical guitar is an incredibly fun and exciting experience! Learning how to choose a classical guitar will stand you in good stead as you invest in your beginner's guitar and then choose more expensive instruments as your playing skill progresses.
Related Reading: Acoustic vs Electric Guitar Buying Guide For Beginners