The Best Classical Guitar: A Thorough Guide (2023 Edition)

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If you’re looking for the best classical guitar, you’ve come to the right post!

A quick note from the site owner:

If you’re wondering whether these recommendations are genuine, I get it!

I come across blog posts all the time where I’m wondering if they actually did any research or if they’re just recommending the products with the highest commissions.

In short, that’s not how we operate around here.

Rather, this is how it works.

I have instructed David, the author of this post, to write about the best classical guitars based on his experience and research.

I have not told him to include (or not include) any specific instrument.

Furthermore, neither of us has been given any of these instruments to include in this post.

And we haven’t been paid by any of these guitar manufacturers either.

That said, I will use affiliate links for any instrument David recommends when available.

Now, back to the article!

Yamaha GC42

Yamaha GC42 Handcrafted Classical Guitar

Although not the cheapest one, Yamaha’s GC42 is one of the finest classical instruments you can find today.

Its American cedar top works perfectly with Madagascar rosewood used for the back and sides.

This provides it with a great tonal balance and projection.

What’s nice is that the cedar top gives it clarity and dynamic response.

Meanwhile, rosewood brings an influx of low-mids, giving some smoothness to the tone.

Then we have a super comfortable mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard.

Along with that, we have a real bone nut and a real bone saddle.

Finally, we have super-stable and reliable YTM-81 tuning machines.

From Bach’s pieces to even some contemporary works with jazzy vibes, this one does it all.

Takamine TH8SS

Review: Takamine’s Well-Built H8SS Boasts a Balanced, Transparent Sound

Toning it down a little with the price tag, Takamine TH8SS is another impeccable classical guitar.

Its spruce soundboard is accompanied by rosewood sides and back, as well as a mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard.

What I find impressive with this guitar are its finish and overall appearance.

Its dark back complements the light spruce top.

But things get to a whole new level with its soundhole rosette and binding.

However, this one also comes with a Palathetic pickup and CTP-3 Cool Tube preamp.

In case you’re wondering, yes, this is an actual tube preamp with a 12AU7 tube in it.

The preamp is extremely versatile and gives some super-realistic tones.

Ovation Timeless Classic

The Timeless Classic Nylon Mid Depth Natural Guitar (1773AX-4) - Mark Kroos Demo

We could argue that Ovation guitars are for those who have a more specific taste.

Sure, some would argue that Ovation Timeless Classic may not be an actual classical guitar.

After all, Ovation’s Lyrachord material for the rounded back isn’t wood.

But this guitar serves the purpose and can achieve more than you’d expect.

Its solid cedar top and the composite back bring a fairly bright tone.

But there’s still a fair amount of those rich mids in there which give it a serious punch.

Then there’s also the OP-Pro preamp that gives a lot of other options and a pretty great amplified tone.

This isn’t your regular classical guitar, especially with its tone and a pretty narrow neck.

However, it’s an incredible “hybrid,” so to speak, that brings a more modern twist.

In case you want to experiment with classical guitar music, I’d recommend this one.

Journey Instruments FC522

Review: Journey Instruments – FC522 Collapsible Classical Guitar

This may be another controversial mention on the list, but I really love Journey FC522.

Firstly, this is a travel guitar with a detachable neck.

But at the same time, it brings a normal scale length of 25.59 inches.

What’s also impressive is that it brings the performance and sonic characteristics of a genuine classical guitar.

There’s also an onboard passive pickup that opens up more tonal options.

We have an outstanding cedar top, pau ferro back and sides, and even an armrest slope on the body.

And don’t even get me started on its beautiful finish.

I’m sure that you’ll be able to surprise everyone with how incredible it sounds for such an unconventional design.

Taylor Academy 12e-N

Taylor Academy 12e-N Review & Demo
Taylor Academy 12e-N Nylon Strings

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Although we usually remember Taylor for their Western-style steel-string guitars, they also have some great classical instruments.

Academy 12e-N brings a nylon-string twist to one of their regular models.

Here we have a grand concert body with an armrest slope design on the lower bout.

A fine solid spruce top is accompanied by sapele plywood back and sides.

It’s a more affordable alternative to some of the pro-tier classical guitars.

Nonetheless, it still brings some great sonic qualities.

We also have a TUSQ nut and saddle that further improve the tone and stability.

Additionally, the guitar comes with Taylor’s Taylor ES-B electronics.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent instrument at this price level.

Taylor 812e-N

But in case you need something more refined, Taylor also offers the magnificent 812e-N.

Although it’s an electro-acoustic design, with a pickup and preamp, it’s one of the best classical guitars on the market.

It takes no more than a glance to notice its wonderful binding, thick glossy finish, and soundhole rosette.

And it sounds as good as it looks.

The spruce top gives it brightness and great response.

Meanwhile, the rosewood back and sides fill the bottom ends and mids, providing you with a balanced tone.

The tonewood combo also brings great projection and volume.

The guitar also comes with Taylor’s ES-N electronics that keep the natural tone of the instrument when plugged in.

You can’t go wrong with this one.

Takamine TC132SC

Takamine Pro Series - TC132SC ( Electro Acoustic Classical Guitar )
Takamine TC132SC Classical Nylon String Acoustic -Electric Guitar

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In case you love classical guitars with a single-cutaway design, Takamine’s TC132SC would be worth checking out.

Once again, we have the regular cedar top and rosewood back combo.

Then we have a bone nut and saddle which is a great touch for this price tier.

Its deep and Venetian-style cutaway allows comfortable access to higher frets.

It might be unconventional to some, but it really works well if you use the upper register a lot.

On top of this all, we once again have the tube-driven CTP-3 preamp.

This one’s got both the looks and tone, all while keeping the price at reasonable levels.

Takamine GC5

Takamine GC5 Classical Guitar
Takamine GC5 Classical Guitar

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There’s another Takamine that I want to mention.

However, we also need to look into more affordable options.

And, in all honesty, hardly anything in the budget-friendly category compares to Takamine’s GC5.

It’s a simple straightforward classical guitar for students who are serious about their progress.

However, in my opinion, it gets you covered even for some more experienced players.

Its lower price also makes it a great option as a backup instrument.

What’s interesting is that GC5 comes with black walnut back and sides.

Along with its solid spruce top, you get a pretty full and subtly unique tone.

You can notice the bottom ends, but at the same time, every picked note has a pretty good attack.

It’s also a pretty-looking instrument so you can’t go wrong with it at this price. 

Cordoba C7

Cordoba Guitars - C7 Cedar
Cordoba C7 SP Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Iberia Series

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Another budget-friendlier guitar, Cordoba’s C7 is an incredible intermediate student guitar.

But once again, I’d argue that this one can achieve more than just that.

After all, Cordoba knows how to make great guitars for the price.

Its Canadian red cedar top works perfectly with Indian rosewood back and sides.

What I find impressive about this guitar is that it looks as if it’s way past its price tier.

This is especially with its chocolate-like shade of back.

Its Cordoba Gold tuning machines are pretty great as well, providing great stability and reliability.

Yamaha GC82C

Yamaha GC82C by AcousticThai.Net

You just can’t miss this one.

Yamaha offers stuff at all price levels.

But GC82C is one of their best instruments overall.

Yes, it’s incredibly expensive, but this is the top-tier professional classical guitar that you’ll want to get.

This is a hand-crafted guitar from Yamaha’s Japanese factory with an American cedar top and Madagascar Rosewood back.

It also comes with a somewhat lesser-known cedro neck and an ebony fingerboard.

The headstock has some pretty outstanding carvings on it and it’s equipped with Gotoh 35G510QC-M tuning machines.

Of course, everything is rounded up with bone nut and bone saddle.

The instrument’s design is kept simple although the guitar still looks like a million bucks.

Its dynamic response is out of this world and the tone is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

I guarantee that.  

The Best Classical Guitar: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you think through which classical guitar is best for you!

And if you want to read more about guitar recommendations on this blog, then check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

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