Those that are already into the guitar world, know that there are a million varieties of guitars that each has their distinct qualities and each is so worth having. However, you cannot own every single guitar, nobody has unlimited funds, and even if you had, you wouldn’t find the time to play them all. But still the more the better, and nobody can resist the urge to buy a new guitar. One of the most attractive guitars in the market, in the acoustic department is classical guitars, coming in with their slim bodies, beautiful shapes, and glossy finishes. I know that it will hit you sooner rather than later, and you will fall in love with one of these, and once you have caught the bug it is really difficult to resist the urges, and I would suggest you let go and buy a beautiful classical guitar.
While there are tons of models out there ranging from super-budget prices to more expensive and somewhat collector classical guitars, I would suggest every enthusiast stick to the under $1000 range to get the most for their price while still getting a perfect guitar that will play out amazing tones.
For that purpose today I have decided to deliver a buying guide for the best classical guitars under $1000. I have written this based on years of experience with guitars, industry-wide research, and customer feedback. I will deliver you the best picks in the market when it comes to classical guitars under $1000, what is the difference between acoustic and classical guitars, what you should look for in a classical guitar under $1000 and answer some frequently asked questions. Without further ado, let’s get on with it.
As far as classical guitars under $1000 go, these models here are the best and fail-safe, each of them will provide amazing distinct tones, and are hand-picked by me based on my experience and buyer feedback. If you can’t be bothered with all the details take a look at these excellent guitars. They are all listed in no particular order, and I think you will find the perfect classical guitar for you here.
The 7 Best Classical Guitars Under $1000
7. Kremona Verea Performer
First in this list, we have a perfect traditional classical nylon-string guitar that has perfect looks and is one of the best sound for its price, the Kremona Verea Performer. I found that it worked great on stage and its acoustic-electric nature will allow you to hop up on stage to deliver some amazing sounds, let’s take a closer look.
First off I have to say that the Kremona Verea Performer is made out of the best tonewoods, as it sports a solid cedar top and rosewood on the sides and back. The craftsmanship is top of the class and everything is thought to perfection, definitely no weak points in the wood. The binding is excellent as well and the wood rosette pattern around the soundhole is under-appreciated as it looks just excellent.
The neck is also done with the best materials as it uses a great Honduran cedar with an Indian rosewood fretboard for tone and smoothness. The adjustable truss rod and the cutaway shape make this guitar extremely playable and I don’t think you will be disappointed with this excellent guitar.
In terms of hardware, the Kremona Verea Performer uses an excellent Fishman Presys Blend active system that will provide you an amazing range of adjustability with any kind of acoustic amp, or even straight through a pre-amp. This system brings the best versatility since it utilizes a piezo transducer under the saddle but it has a condenser microphone as well.
In terms of sound, this guitar delivers true to heart classical guitar sounds with hints of personality scattered around the tone. For example, I found the sound a little deeper and richer, while still delivering tons of clarity and detail, just excellent a must buy.
6. Yamaha SLG200N
Next up we have an interesting classical electro-acoustic guitar, which is a little strange but very useful for tons of users, the Yamaha SLG200N silent guitar. This is the best guitar for a professional musician that is traveling a lot, thanks to its lightweight and compact body, but it still offers a lot of tones and sound for its price, definitely an excellent must consider guitar.
When you will first take a look at the Yamaha SLG200N, you will notice that this guitar is a bit non-traditional and very futuristic since it doesn’t have the classic guitar construction. However, if you know how a silent guitar looks you will fall in love with this guitar since it looks extremely beautiful and impressive. If you are traveling often or live in an apartment complex and can’t practice with a normal guitar this is your best option in the market.
In the construction department, the Yamaha SLG200N is made out of mahogany on its neck that is perfect and the whole frame is made out of a combination of rosewood and mahogany. The bridge and fretboard are made out of solid rosewood which delivers playability and sleekness. While overall this guitar mostly looks like a decorative item, it is constructed very carefully and Yamaha won’t let you down.
This amazing electro-acoustic model comes with SRT Piezo pups that are perfect for live performance, and deliver some great performance. On top of that, the Yamaha SLG200N is packed with SRT Thomann Mic Modelling Preamp system from Neumann U67 series with under saddle pups. In the package with this guitar, you will find a nice soft bag, two AA batteries and a pair of in-ear headphones that aren’t the best.
In terms of sound, the Yamaha SLG200N delivers the best classical sounds in the market quietly and softly. However, when combined with a preamp you can fill venues with thick sounds, a must consider for every classical guitar lover.
5. Cordoba C9 CD/MH
When it comes to classical guitars nobody makes them better than the Spanish manufacturer Cordoba, and its C9 CD/MH is one of the most impressive all-around in the classical guitar market. This under $1000 model has is made out of solid-wood construction and this traditional guitar is just perfect.
I have to start this review by saying that the Cordoba C9 CD/MH is a good looking instrument. It is a timeless piece that will look good even after centuries, a traditional classical guitar with premium construction and materials. Talking about premium touches this Cordoba has a Pearloid and ebony rosette around the soundhole and more wood purfling up top, back and sides, just perfect.
To justify its price the Cordoba C9 CD/MH has a Spanish fan-braced top that is built with Canadian cedar, but you also can get the European spruce model as well. Ont he back and sides you will spot mahogany and it has a glossy finish all around. The neck is made out of mahogany with a glossy finish for smoothness, and it has a C-shaped neck. Up top has a rosewood fretboard, with a 2.04-inch nut width with 19 total frets.
Apart from its flawless craftsmanship the Cordoba C9 CD/MH has amazing hardware. It is packed with a set of Premium Gold tuning machines that are a homegrown model. Moving on it has black ebony-style buttons, and a bone saddle on the rosewood bridge. The strings come from Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ, which are in my opinion one of the best in the market.
This guitar is not for the faint-hearted, and its sounds will leave a mark. This guitar is concert-worthy delivering some amazing tones from its solid wood, warm and a little mellow, one of the best in the market.
4. Yamaha CG-TA
When Yamaha is mentioned all things come to a stop as the manufacturer knows how to make an instrument, from budget and beginner-oriented ones to high-end specialty tools, and the Yamaha CG-TA is no different. This classical nylon strung electro-acoustic guitar is one of the best in the market.
In terms of build, this beast is made out of solid Engelmann spruce top, which goes hand in hand with the ovangkol back and sides. These materials are put in the traditional classical guitar shape body of this model, and it looks just amazing. The choice of ovangkol tonewood comes as a pretty strange choice, however, it is pretty sustainable and delivers a rich midrange. The build quality is always amazing with Yamaha, and you shouldn’t be concerned at all.
Moving on the neck of this guitar is made out of nato, which delivers similar tones to mahogany and looks just as good without raising the costs. On top of that, you will find the rosewood fretboard that has 19 frets, which are all warm like a truly classical and the playability is perfect like always.
The biggest selling point of the Yamaha CG-TA is it is two pre-installed onboard effects, to be exact two types of reverb, room, and hall. This is pretty innovative and it is very impressive, to say the least since it delivers a great custom-designed System 70 TransAcoustic actuator to help and make things amazing. Going further the tuners are die-cast with a gold finish and overall everything looks good and plays just as good.
Even without the onboard effects, this amazing guitar sounds perfect, delivering a great warm sound with a little hint of sharpness on the midrange that delivered punch and power, just amazing. With a bit of experimenting, you will see that the Yamaha CG-TA is much more than a classical guitar.
3. ESP LTD TL-6N Thinline
For those that like a little innovation, futurism and some head-turning action I have a perfect guitar from ESP LTD, the TL-6N Thinline electro-acoustic classical guitar. However, let’s start with the obvious this is not your traditional classical guitar, and like the company’s all its models this is a little more designed for aggression and power, while still carrying on the warm and mellow tones.
Like I said earlier this is not your average classical guitar, since it features a 25-inch scale length and a pretty thin body, giving an electric guitar feel to it when held. It has a bit of Les Paul feel to it with its aggressive cut-away and semi-hollow body. In terms of materials it is made out of mahogany with a spruce top, and it doesn’t feature a traditional soundhole like in most of the classical guitars, instead of that there is a thorn-shaped soundhole but not in its traditional place.
Similar to an electric guitar, the neck is attached to the body at the 16th fret and it has 22 frets in total, jumbo ones. It features a mahogany neck as well and it is super smooth to play and has a nut width of just 1.89-inches combined with its super playable thin U shape. The fretboard is made out of rosewood and overall I don’t have anything to complain about the construction of this guitar.
In terms of hardware, it is packed with tons of goodies that will come in handy in the long run. The most important of them being the under saddle B-Band transducer, which is supported with the B-Band T-7 preamp. All of this delivers a pretty versatile system that provides plenty of volume control and a 3-band EQ, complete with the built-in digital tuner that does wonders.
In terms of sound, acoustically this guitar sounds a bit quiet due to its lack of traditional soundhole, however, plugged in it sounds like a proper classical guitar with hints of aggression to it. The tones came out very rich and the tone is very easily shaped with this guitar, a must consider for everybody.
2. Cordoba C7 CD
Moving on we have another Cordoba model that has is capable of doing so much more than its price would suggest, the Cordoba C7 CD. This thing is a perfect option for beginners and enthusiasts, however, if you know how to push it, it can be perfect even for skillful session musicians, definitely one of the very best in the market.
Like any Cordoba guitar, the C7 also has the traditional classical guitar shape that is the company’s specialty. This is a near-perfectly built guitar in every sense, it comes ready to play right out of its box, everything is so well-though and I can’t realistically complain about anything about this device, just solid all-around.
In terms of tonewood, it uses solid European spruce up top with Indian rosewood on the back and sides. Moving on it has a mahogany neck, that makes this guitar worth so much more, and it has a superb Indian rosewood binding to add some flair to the look of this guitar. You will feel that this guitar feels perfect in the hands, substantial and something of value.
In terms of hardware, it has a traditional rosewood bridge and a bone saddle, nothing remarkable, however, with the combination of the aforementioned Indian rosewood, it elevates things in terms of tone. It is also packed with a set of GK tuning machines that are super reliable and very durable overall.
In terms of tone and sound, the Cordoba C7 CD is very strong overall as it doesn’t deliver anything to be concerned off. It delivers tons of volume and it has some nice response all across the frequency range, complete with the treble, bass, and the super-rich mid ranges. Mellow and warm just like a true classical must be, just amazing, the most bang for your buck in the classical guitar range.
1. Godin Multiac Encore
When it comes to classical guitars they mostly look the same rocking that traditional classical look that we are fans of, however, every once in a while we see some futuristic models like the Godin Multiac Encore. This guitar is the perfect model for those that want to spice things up in terms of looks as well as in terms of tones. Let’s take a closer look at this one.
I have to say that if you are looking for a traditional classical guitar, you are better off with the aforementioned Cordoba model. This thing looks really unlike any other classical guitar on the market, and it is so modern and cutting edge, making you fall in love with it at first sight. It has more of a Stratocaster cutaway shape and has no sound hole up top, none.
It is constructed from a solid cedar top and it has a chambered design that lets tons of air in the middle to deliver beautiful sounds, it also has basswood wings in its body configuration that make this device super attractive. Everything resonates perfectly and it sounds lively. Moving on the neck is made out of mahogany and it has rosewood up top that was pretty smooth.
In terms of hardware, this beast is pretty much unique, as it features an amazing dual-transducer piezo pickup system of which one is located under the bridge and the other on the soundboard. Five sliders give you control for volume, treble mid and bass EQ and blending. Extremely versatile and overall I can’t that there is anything to be complained of.
In terms of sound, the Godin Multiac Encore sounds perfect on its own due to its superior selection of tonewood and superb body design. Super smooth and warm, with superb definition, delivering the traditional classical guitar sound. On top of that when you make use of an amp and the dual transducers it is amazing, delivering so much more than you would ever think it could. Exceptional in every way, this guitar will be your favorite classical ever. Definitely deserves its spot on this best classical guitars under $1000 list.
The Difference Between Classical and Acoustic Guitars
Many guitar players especially beginners, confuse acoustic and classical guitars from one another, and most state that they are the same thing, but don’t be fooled since there are some major differences between the two making each one distinct and characteristic to its own.
The biggest difference between classical and acoustic guitars is that they utilize a different kind of strings. An acoustic guitar uses steel strings, whereas a classical guitar uses nylon strings and this alone makes these two very different from one another.
To be exact nylon strings have a little bit mellower sound, and are pretty much easier to press on the fretboard, and are a little thicker than their steel counterparts. The tones are a little softer and cozier compared to the bright and snappy sound of steel strings. With simpler words, it is a whole new world to explore, something different and you will rejoice with this one.
Moving on the other difference between these two types of guitars is the fretboard. On an acoustic guitar you will spot a thinner fretboard than on a classical guitar, and on top of that classical guitars don’t have dot markers on their 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th and 14th frets, which are amazing for beginners to find their way faster on the fretboard. While the fretboard of these guitars is made from various types the most popular choice is always rosewood.
Body Shape and Style
When you will first see a classical guitar you will instantly notice that it is much smaller than your typical acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars are characterized by their large, dreadnought shaped bodies that are a little bulky and are heavier than their classical counterparts. On the other hand, classical guitars are much smaller and lighter in weight, but they won’t have the cutouts that many guitarists come to know and love, but the accessibility to higher notes is there nevertheless.
What You Should Look for in a Classical Guitar Under $1000
I know that if you are not sure about your options when buying a guitar, things can get a little difficult and stressful. Fortunately, if you know what you are looking for things won’t look so grim after all. If you follow my tips here while choosing a classical guitar I guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed with your choice.
First off I recommend to everyone to set out a budget for their guitar first, whether it is your first, fifth or hundredth guitar, you should set a fixed budget for it. This time around we are a little more relieved since we already know our budget, which is at $1000 max and under it. In this price range, you have countless amazing options out there that will deliver great tones and value for the price, so you don’t need to stress it out much. Since every model in this price range is excellent, maybe some are better than the others, however, there is no bad guitar in this price range.
This may sound intuitive, but many buyers still manage to overlook the sound aspect of the guitar, which is supposed to be the most important thing about a guitar. I would recommend everyone that shops for a new guitar to go to their local guitar shop and test the models that you have in the consideration to see whether or not the tones and sound of it please you. If that is not possible just go on Youtube and you will someone reviewing the sound of the guitar. Whatever you do just don’t buy a guitar without knowing what it sounds like, because that is a recipe for disappointment.
Even in the classical guitar category, you will see different body shapes and different sizes, and you should choose the one that fits your needs. You better check out the size of the instrument you want to buy and test it on your lap and while it is hanging from your shoulders, if it isn’t comfortable in the first few minutes don’t expect it to be after a few hours of practice or playing.
However, most classical guitars, have the classical shape just as their name implies. and this shape is pretty distinct and a known characteristic of this type of guitar. They are also one of the most popular beginner classical guitars, and they have nylon strings on their frets which is on the smaller side of the scale, and they will sit flush on your lap. These guitars are easier to hold and are generally more comfortable to play on. They have their origins in Spain and are associated with flamenco music, but that is not their sole purpose since their high action will allow you to play a wide variety of genres.
While you may find tons of guitars that sport thick and bulky necks, that make everything harder to play and get a hold of, nowadays there are more and more guitars that sport thinner and narrower necks. This makes the guitar easier to hold and best of all makes navigation around the fretboard easier to manage, meaning that you can play the guitar faster and easier.
Nowadays we see an interesting trend coming up that is super attractive to every guitar play, radiused necks. A radiused neck means that the neck of the guitar is curved under the fretboard, making the guitar much more comfortable to hold and play. Of course, like any other type, there are different types of radiused necks as well, including U-shaped, soft V-shaped, oval C-shaped, hard V-shaped, flat-oval shaped and medium V-shaped, and it is a matter of experience since all of them are super easy to play on. I would suggest you give multiple types a try and see which one works better for you. You should also consider getting a left-handed classical guitar if you are left-handed.
The most important factor when it comes to the tone of the guitar is its tonewood. The tonewood is the biggest component of the guitar and each guitar is made out of different combinations, and we will talk about some of them here.
- Spruce – Spruce is the most popular tonewood used so far in the market. It is worth mentioning that spruce is also one of the lightest and it delivers some amazing high-velocity sounds. Guitars made out of spruce tonewood are also extremely versatile meaning that you can play a wide variety of genres and support both strumming and fingerstyle playing. In terms of looks, they come in a lighter color, such as creamy white. My favorite thing about spruce is that they have a wide dynamic range that will make you play without any delay and great articulation of the sound. If you buy a new spruce tonewood classical guitar, you might not appreciate its value at first but after some time it will bring out its best qualities.
- Cedar – Next up we have cedar tonewood guitars, which is a darker and less dense tonewood. Those two qualities make a cedar guitar pump out some darker and deeper tones, that is cozy and slightly rich. If you are more of an aggressive player that likes to be a little harsher with your sounds, a cedar might not be the best option for you, since it will lose tons of clarity when pushed. Cedar is best for quieter music, full of clarity, perfect for ballads and calmer songs.
- Rosewood – Let’s say that solid rosewood is very expensive and it is pretty rare, so you won’t spot a complete rosewood classical guitar under the $1000. Rosewood is pretty popular when it comes to making necks, however, and fretboards as well.
- Maple – Maple tonewood is pretty light in color, even lighter than spruce, sometimes it looks completely white and it looks beautiful when used in contrast with other tonewoods. In terms of tones and sound, it delivers a super bright, cutting, sharp and clear sound, it is the perfect choice for those who want clarity in their tones. On top of that I have found out that the sustain is perfect with maple tonewood, which is mostly due to the tightness of the wood, and when you strum the strings, for example, you will be able to hear all of them.
- Mahogany – You will hear a lot of mahogany in classical guitar tonewoods, however, it is very uncommon to see a mahogany wood top guitar. You will most likely find mahogany back, sides, and necks, but there are exceptions and a lot of blues guitarists will prefer playing mahogany top guitars that deliver plenty intensity, punch, and amazing tone. In terms of looks, mahogany is a little darker, and deeper, taking almost a beautiful red-brown color contrasting light woods such as spruce. The tone is punchy and a little wooden, and it is perfect for those that want a little more power from their sound.
On classical and acoustic guitar strings are as important as the tonewood since they deliver a different quality and tone when changed. All classical guitars have nylon strings, however, different brands deliver different strings and you should know what string has what qualities and will it suit your overall playing style, however, this is a thing that can be fixed with a string swap that you can do in a few minutes.
When buying a guitar most manufacturers will throw in some extra accessories to make the package as attractive as possible, and the more the accessories the better even if you don’t need them, you will find some use for them. The most common accessories for classical guitars are cases or gig bags, a strap, and many more things.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is a classical guitar better than an acoustic?
There is no definite answer to this question as both guitars use different kinds of strings and tonewoods to deliver different distinct qualities that make each guitar individually better on its right. Meaning that everything is left to preference when deciding which is better than which.
Can I play acoustic songs on classical guitars?
You definitely can play acoustic songs on classical guitars, however, I have to warn you that the sound may not be the same as in the acoustic guitar since these guitars are different in terms of tonality. Your song may come out as a little mellow and warm, in comparison to an acoustic guitar that rocks brighter tones.
Can I play classical guitar with a pick?
While you can use a pick when playing on a classical guitar I wouldn't recommend it since these guitars are designed to be used better with fingers only and if you choose to use a pick while playing on a classical guitar you should be careful while strumming since these do not have pickguards and may be damaged and scratched easily.
Which is harder to learn classical or acoustic guitar?
Due to its larger size compared to a classical guitar, and its distinctive shape that is not as comfortable to hold for beginner guitarists, acoustic guitars are a little harder to learn to play when compared to a classical guitar. However, the difference is not very significant and you should not be discouraged.
I hope that I have thoroughly educated and gave you immense knowledge about classical guitars, their features and qualities, and what you should look out for, I feel that you are ready to buy the best classical guitars under $1000. This guide will help you narrow your list and choose the best one for you, and be sure to check out my top picks since they are fail-safe options. I hope you are pleased with this guide and until next time my fellow musicians.