Best Classical Guitar

Here is our selection of the best classical guitars, covering both boutique instruments built by small scale luthiers (as opposed to small scale classical guitars) and readily available mass produced guitars.


This page is sponsored by Sweetwater so you can click through to get the full specifications, the latest price, and purchase any of the Classical Guitars stocked by Sweetwater that we have recommended.

Professional classical guitarists almost exclusively play handmade "boutique" instruments that are designed and built by small scale guitar makers. This way quality is ensured and it gives them a say on the build or material used, but it comes with a hefty price tag and a long wait time that not everyone can afford. We have selected the most influential, iconic, and widely used guitars from among these elite bunch for you to feast your eyes and ears on.

Since many don't have access to the the kind of luthiers mentioned above, our list also includes the best among the mass production classical guitars in the market today. They can serve as great starting points to narrow down your choices if you are looking to procure a classical guitar. If nothing else, you can also use this list as a quick talking point if you want something to argue about with another guitarist, that's always fun!

Regular Classical Guitars

These easily accessible mass produced classical guitars that will give you more than your money's worth, covering both traditional builds and modern ones for those that want to crossover into the classical guitar realm for a change of sonic scenery.

Cordoba C10S

At just over one grand, the Cordoba C10S is a standout classical guitar, featuring all-solid wood construction and impressive build quality that can easily be mistaken for a handbuilt traditional instrument. It features a solid European Spruce top supported by Spanish-style fan bracing, a feature that is normally found on instruments that cost twice or even more. The back and sides are crafted from solid East Indian Rosewood, another premium tonewood that gives this classical a bit more clarity and brightness than the usual cedar top & mahogany configuration. Completing its top-notch features are the solid African mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, and rosewood bridge. Designed to play like a traditional classical guitar, it has a scale length of 25.6" and nutwidth of 2". Truly a great bang per buck classical guitar for those looking for a workhorse instrument with traditional build and cosmetics.

Manufacturer: Cordoba | Get the latest price & reviews at

Official video demo of the Cordoba Luthier Series C10:

Takamine P3FCN

The Takamine P3FCN is a modern take on the classical guitar, retaining traditional tone while implementing modern electronics, comfortable neck profile and body shape. This guitar features a solid cedar top with scalloped X bracing, solid sapele back and sapele sides. The body's distinct cutaway shape follows Takamine's modern FXC design, which helps improve acoustic projection and tone. As expected from the company that popularized the acoustic-electric guitar, this classical instrument sounds great when plugged in, thanks to Takamine's CT4B preamp system. Scale length is 25.563" while nutwidth is 1.870", allowing for modern playability. If you're looking for a workhorse classical guitar that plays close to an acoustic-electric, you should check out the Takamine P3FCN. Manufacturer: Takamine | Get the latest price & reviews at

Watch the Takamine P3FCN demo:

Yamaha C40

One of the most popular and best selling classical guitars for many years now, the Yamaha C40 continues to be the ultimate beginners' classical guitar. Be it for formal music lessons or for simply learning guitar at home, this classical guitar is up for the job, and has become the student guitar of many players today - myself included! For its price, it sports true to form specs and materials, like the 2" nut width, 25.56" scale length along with the combination of spruce and meranti wood for the body. This allows students and beginners to develop correct classical posture and finger techniques. The tone department of this guitar is no slouch either, because it has projects a hefty, resonant and clear tone. Finally, the Yamaha C40 is meant to handle years of use, after decades of abuse, my own C40 is still a playable and great sounding instrument. The Yamaha C40 is the best classical guitar for budget conscious players and for serious students of the classical guitar discipline. Manufacturer: Yamaha | Get the latest price & reviews at

Official video demo of the Yamaha C40:

Boutique Classical Guitars

These are the classical guitars built by master luthiers for the privileged few. Don't be surprised to see these guitars priced way over what you'd normally expect, and you should have enough patience to go through the long wait list of these popular guitar builders. Still, the price and wait time is more than justified once you get to play these truly special instruments.

Greg Smallman and Sons

Greg Smallman and Sons
2002 Greg Smallman

Greg Smallman's work, popularized by guitarist extraordinaire John Williams, is recognized the world over for its innovative and unique design. His guitars feature an arched and carved back which is thicker than traditional designs. The most unique feature of his guitars is its innovative lattice framework - made of balsa wood and carbon fiber. This gives Smallman guitars more pronounced tone and louder sound. Another notable feature is its unique and comfortable armrest. The Smallman is our top pick from among the best classical guitars - a perfect melding of traditional and modern design. Manufacturer: Greg Smallman Price Range: $10K up.

Matthias Dammann

Matthias Dammann
2008 Matthias Dammann

Matthias Dammann pioneered the "double top" design which gives classical guitar players added volume while retaining traditional tone. The sandwich top features ultra thin soundboards with a hollow space in between, and utilizes a polymer called Nomex for the spacers. This allowed the top to move more providing a boost in volume, which became sought after by guitarists who play on venues that use no amplification. Big name classical guitarists like David Russell and Manuel Barrueco are just some of the few that are impressed with this guitar.
Manufacturer: Matthias Dammann Price Range: $10K up.

Manuel Barrueco playing Danza de los Los Vecinos on his Matthias Dammann guitar:

Antonio de Torres

Antonio de Torres
Antonio de Torres

If you are looking for the best classical guitar and you have all the money in the world, then you won't go wrong if you go to the source - Antonio de Torres. He is revered as the guy responsible for the design of modern classical guitars. Torres' guitars exemplify clarity and balanced tone and his design influenced the way the world made guitars. Up to now, his guitars still stand as the template by which many luthiers build their designs upon. Of the 400 guitars that Antonio de Torres made, only 90 are currently known to survive, which is why every existing guitar is revered by scholars, collectors and musicians.
Manufacturer: Antonio de Torres Price Range: $70K up.

Here is Stefano Grondona with a 1887 Antonio de Torres SE 107 playing F. Schubert's Minuetto:

Daniel Friederich

Daniel Friederich
Daniel Friederich

Daniel Friederich guitars are known for amazing aesthetics and traditional but powerful tone. His guitars have an elegant and graceful body shape matched with a distinctive headstock design that makes them easily recognizable. Many classical guitar masters use Friederich guitars as their main instruments and they helped build the brand's popularity and consequently raised the demand and price. If you are looking for traditional design and tone with modern quality - then this is the ultimate classical guitar choice. Friederich has closed his wait list but he does send one instrument per year to Guitarsalon.
Manufacturer: Daniel Friederich Price Range: $10K up.

Daniel Friederich guitar in the hands of Marc Teicholz playing his arrangements of classical pieces:

Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez
Jose Ramirez 125 Anos

The Jose Ramirez name is synonymous to Spanish Classical and Flamenco - they are the C.F. Martin & Co of Classical guitars, producing guitars for all price points, while retaining their master level workshop in Spain. Now in its fifth generation, the family business continues to provide quality and affordable guitars. The Jose Ramirez 125 AƱos is a limited edition model that commemorates the 125th anniversary of the Ramirez guitar making company. It features all solid tonewood body. This is the top classical guitar you can get at a relatively affordable price.
Manufacturer: Jose Ramirez Price Range: $2.4K up.

Ivan Chavarria on a Ramirez '125 Anos guitar:

Manuel Rodriguez

Manuel Rodriguez
Manuel Rodriguez FC

Manuel Rodriguez is another famous family of classical guitar makers in southern Spain. The Rodriguez design is somewhat sleeker and slimmer, known for its larger body. Their design is mainly influenced by Antonio de Torres and they continue in this traditional design method up to this day. The Manuel Rodriguez FC is one of their affordable models that feature solid tone woods - solid cedar top matched with solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Workmanship is also topnotch for its price, and it closely rivals the Ramirez for the title best mass produced classical guitars.
Manufacturer: Manuel Rodriguez Price Range: $1.7K up.

Here we can see a vintage 1955 Manuel Rodriguez in the hands of Grisha:

Additional Information:
Exceptional Artists
Classical Guitar Resources

These guitars are our top choices. Should you have any suggestions that you think others should check out, do let us know through the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Related Articles:

classical guitars Roundup of the Best Nylon String guitars

tuners Come and see which Acoustic Guitar Tuners we rate as the best available.

Share This Article

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

1979 Manuel Contreras "double top"

I would appreciate opinions concerning a concert classic guitar made by the late Manuel Contreras bearing his original signed label dated 1979. This guitar is one of the unique models created by Manuel Contreras which was his "double top" system, that is, a back with another soundboard laminated to it. This can be seem through the soundhole where the interior wood of the back is a cedar material, and the exterior material is Brazilian rosewood.

Made of the following materials:

Top: Fine quartered spruce
Sides/Back: Book matched Brazilian rosewood
Bridge: Brazilian rosewood with bone inlays
Neck: Spanish cedar with grafted heel and head
Fingerboard: ebony with nickel-silver frets
Nuts, saddle: ivory
Bandings: Rosewood with white filets, herringbone top
String length: 660mm (54mm nut)
Rosette: Black/white geometric with herringbone borders
Varnish: Catalyzed urethane

Purchased new, from Spain, by current owner.

Repairs: Two tiny hairline cracks in the lower bout of the side located midway between the top and back, repaired in 1995, and the action was lowered. Otherwise, the instrument is in excellent original condition.

all guitars


Excellent Classical Guitar Playing

We're glad you enjoyed the videos - there are some brilliant performances there!

Consider guitars made by Ross Gutmeier

I auditioned some of the finest guitars and price was not a consideration in my selection. I wanted the one guitar that was a truly beautiful instrument. One person who owned one of the top guitars listed played my Gutmeier and said that the Ross Gutmeier sounded better than their $40,000 guitar. The Gutmeier has a true balance, amazing detail, a rich sound,l and it is loud. I enjoyed the site and hopefully you can add the Ross Gutmeier guitar to the list of the finest guitars. It truly deserves the recognition.


Hello: Are Garcia Classical guitars considered a high quality instrument?

Thank You


I feel the Francisco Navarro Garica Special Grand Concert guitar is the best for under $5,000

So glad you included the Yamaha C40

Hey Alexander - great job including the Yamaha C40, it was also the first guitar I learned to play on and I really believe Yamaha make the best beginner student classical guitars.

For Sale: Burguet Flamenco Guitar Model ABF Blanca

The following guitar is for sale - please contact via Facebook if you are interested.

Burguet Flamenco Guitar Model ABF Blanca

Scale 650 mm

Top Spruce

Back / sides Cypress

Neck Cedar

Fingerboard Ebony

Finished Lacquer

Hard case included

Amalio Burguet, guitar maker:

Amalio was born in 1951 in Catarroja, a small town near the sunny city of
Valencia. From a very young age he showed a great ability to make guitars.
After working in various workshops, he soon became won over by the magic of
the instrument with six strings - the Spanish Guitar.

In Valencia the tradition of producing the best guitars in the world had
always existed, but at the same time he admired some guitars that were made
by single guitarmakers. Using the best of both worlds to create a guitar
within reach of everybody: Students and musicians.

During the conservatoire years, special attention was given to every detail
associated with materials, temperature and humidity and the way of making
the instrument.

Here are some pictures:

Please contact via Facebook if you would like more information.

Woah I love those classical

Woah I love those classical guitar brands. Cordoba is the brand I am currently using

Demo song for the Takamine P3FCN

What song is the lady playing for the Takamine P3FCN?Thank you

The lady is playing Pica

The lady is playing Pica Pica a Venezuelan Vals.

Check out Godin

Why not Godin? Check out the La Patrie (named after the village in Canada where they're made) Collection Series. Solid Spruce top, Indian Rosewood back and Sides, truss rod all for $500 US. Have been playing it for two years and it only gets better. I have compared it to Spanish guitars costing over twice as much and found them disappointing. The neck design makes it a wonderful choice for beginners. Before spending $1-2,000, this guitar should be considered.

La Patrie Collection

La Patrie Collection (Godin) is fantastic for the price.

From luthiers, it is difficult to beat Sergio Abreu, from Brazil.


In 2005, I started taking guitar lessons, my husband generously bought me a Hohner Dobro. Eventually, I owned quite a collection. I have about 5 Ibanez guitars. I have an Ibanez acoustic bass guitar, and in Nov. 2016, I saw that the equalizer got quite sticky, "melted", popped off the guitar, fell on the floor and cracked. The entire pickup fell into the interior bottom of the bass. Over the last 2 years, the other guitars are following suit. 2 of them are classical guitars, and I'm very upset that my favorite, which is a bright tangerine orange classical, is doing the same thing. I've always tried to make sure that conditions in the room were neither too cold or too warm, and not too low or high humidity. Then I was reading about the use of "plasticized vegetable proteins" in the construction of guitars. Could that be what is this? This is only happening to the Ibanez guitars that I own, but not to any of my other different brands.

Gutitar from John M. Gilbert

Obtained from inheritance, in EXCELLENT condition!

Classical Guitar, John M. Gilbert, 1984, labeled made by/John M./Gilbert/1485 La Honda Rd./Woodside, Calif./Serial 89/Date 1980, the label signed John M. Gilbert, scale length 658 mm. with case.

Luthier John M. Gilbert (1922-2013) was a well known builder of classical guitars. Gilbert will always be remembered as one of the more successful and popular "innovative" makers of the past 40 years. His instruments were played by an entire generation of guitarists that included the likes of David Russell, Raphaella Smits, David Tanenbaum, Marc Teicholz, David Leisner, Fred Hand and many others.

Gilbert's approach to guitar making was largely influenced by his engineering background (he had been a machinist for Hewlett-Packard) He had an extensive knowledge of building and a mathematical mind. which means that he was extremely precise but that he also had innovative ideas with respect to sound production that was very controlled and exacting.

The Guitar is in excellent condition! It is constructed from different kind of wood like cedar and rosewood. Several different species are used and the choice of material reflects the purpose of the part.

It comes with the original, high quality case and several sets of spare strings.

Sound-wise this guitar is a classic Gilbert allowing the artistry of the player to reign supreme in determining the color, and dynamic possibilities of each performance. The label is signed by John M. Gilbert.

The guitar comes with an authencication signed by Gilbert himself from when he examined it in 1990. At this time he valued the guitar at 5000 USD.

Asking price: 8075,- euro

Product can be tested in Valencia, Spain
Shipping costs excluded.

#johnmgilbert #johngilbert #gilbertguitars #classicalguitar #davidrussell #raphaellasmits #davidtanenbaum #marcteicholz #davidleisner #fredhand #inheritance #guitar1984 #collectorsitem #classicalmusic #guitar #acousticguitar #antique #oldguitar #luthier

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

Contact | Contents | Privacy Policy | Forum

Copyright © 1999 - 2024 , All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.