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January 3, 2022
Classical Guitar Buying Guide: For Beginners and Masters

Classical Guitar Buying Guide: For Beginners and Masters

Classical guitars and nylon-string guitars are some of the most popular types of guitars for those learning the instrument. While their easy-to-play nylon strings make them popular for students, these guitars offer so much more.

There are smaller scale guitars that are perfect for a child who wants to get started on guitar, traditional Spanish-style classical guitars, flamenco guitars, and the ever-evolving fusion classical guitars. Nylon-string guitars are also perfect for anyone who wants to expand their arsenal of sounds. If you're looking to nail a vintage country sound that can be found with Willie Nelson's favorite guitar, 'Trigger,' or an unusual flair on that track that's missing something, consider a nylon-string guitar! Use this buying guide to help you on your path.

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Pro-Level Classical Guitars
Made with the the best materials by luthiers at the top of their game, these professional-level classical guitars project enough for anyone in an auditorium to hear. With traditional Spanish building techniques, these classical models are a sure bet for anyone who wants more from their classical guitar. At this level, you will find a variety of tonewoods to choose from, so it's wise to learn about the unique characteristics of each.
Classical Guitars
For those who are looking to dip their toes a little deeper into the world of classical guitar, there are lots of options to choose from. While these guitars are made with mostly traditional techniques, there are some modern touches like adjustable truss rods that make them easier to maintain. Fretboards on classical guitars are generally wider than those on steel-string acoustics. This provides room to stretch your hand across the fretboard and gives your other hand extra space to pick individual strings.
Fusion, Contemporary Acoustic-Electric Nylon-String Guitars
The world is an ever-changing place. While the classical guitar has been around for well over 120 years, people tend to want a little more. These fusion guitars feature non-traditional features like a fretboard radius, onboard electronics, and even MIDI pickups. They can be used for a singer-songwriter who wants a mellow tone or for a virtuoso who wants to make out-of-this-world sounds.
Flamenco
While classical guitars produce clear, round attack, flamenco guitars have low action, fast-playing necks, and different tonewoods. Whereas classical guitars often have cedar tops with mahogany or rosewood back and sides, flamenco guitars have spruce tops with any species of back and sides and generally a thinner body depth. This gives them a percussive sound with a very sharp response and plenty of volume -- especially important when trying to be heard over stomping dancers and other performers.
Small-Body Classical Guitars
Classical guitars are perfect for anyone who wants to start learning guitar. Since they have nylon strings, these guitars are much easier to start playing without having to build calluses like a player needs to on a traditional steel-string guitar. There are plenty of smaller scale guitars to choose from depending on the age of the aspiring musician.
Electronic Options & Accessories
The classical guitar's 19th-century originators never dreamed of a guitar with an LED display, but modern technology has made these instruments well-equipped for gigging musicians of all stripes. When shopping for an acoustic-electric classical guitar, consider its tonewoods and shape, but don't overlook its electronic features.

Electronic options to look for on a nylon-string guitar:
- Discreet Preamp System: Allows you to dial in your preferred sound and project it through an amp or live sound system.
- Onboard Tuner: Keeps you in tune with no extra equipment needed.
- MIDI Functionality: Gives you access to an entire symphony of MIDI synth sounds.

If you choose a classical guitar that's strictly acoustic, fear not -- you can still plug it in and get great amplified sound with an external pickup. Tuning is easy with a clip-on tuner. No strap pins on your classical guitar? Just loop the Levy's M20 strap around your neck and hook its hook in the sound-hole. Add a capo sized to fit your classical guitar's wider fretboard, and you'll have everything you need for the gig.
Nylon Strings for Classical Guitars:
Even before being wound on a guitar, strings have an inherent tension level that affects their sound and feel. This tension is determined by the string materials and the ratio between the string's core and wrap wire.

String tension is a matter of personal preference:
- Harder tension strings tend to feel stiffer in your hand, though many players prefer the added resistance they provide.
- Lighter tension strings will have more slack, which other players find more comfortable.
- Medium tension strings fall in between. Try these popular brands to find the right strings for you: