How Much Does A Classical Guitar Cost? (14 Models That Make Sense)


What’s the right price of a classical guitar?

Classical guitars come in a bewildering price range with the cheapest model at $50 and the most expensive well over $5,000. I have researched various models within various price bands that are excellent value for the money. Whatever your budget, you should be able to find a good guitar here.

So what exactly is the right price for a good classical guitar? The price of a guitar is related to the playing level. A beginner can expect to pay in the $150-$200 range, an advanced beginner around $500-$800 and an intermediate player in the $1,500-$2,000 range. For expert or concert players, luthier-made guitars cost more than $5,000.

A costlier guitar is not always a better guitar. A cheaper guitar is not always bad. Barring the truly (absurdly, in my opinion) cheap options, say, below the $100 mark, you can find true bargains inside every budget.

For the truly advanced and expert players, the world of custom-made, luthier guitar spreads its arms wide open to lure the unwary… which is another story altogether and we’ll do it another time.

For now, the following listings feature some of the excellent value-for-money classical guitar brands/models for the absolute beginner, an advanced beginner and an early to middle intermediate player. These classifications are clumsy, I know, but you know where you’re at.

We’ll also cover some excellent options for young children and adults with small hands.

Right priced guitar for the beginner

All guitars for beginners listed here are regular, full size (650 mm) guitars. For folks with small hands or children below 11 who typically look for smaller sized guitars, there is a separate sub-section below.

All prices in this section are in the reasonable range. I’ve given links to online stores where you can check the latest price.

Lucero LC100, a popular choice

Lucero LC100 classical guitar
Top woodLaminated Spruce
Other woodsMahogany for sides and back, other unnamed hard woods for fingerboard and bridge
Number of frets18
FinishNatural gloss
Interesting featuresIn addition to the Natural finish you get a Black finish variant too. Cool!
NotesAlthough I haven’t played it myself, there are simply too many voices in favour of this guitar model online that are hard to ignore. People praise its sturdy construction and expect it to last for years. They enjoy its ‘loud and clear’ sound. They observe it’s a solid and well made instrument. It’s a great guitar for the price, they say, and is comparable to instruments that cost much more. Crowd tested, folks. The Lucero is getting a lot of love from satisfied users.
Guitar Center linkLucero LC100 at Guitar Center
Lucero LC 100 Classical Guitar Key Summary

Yamaha C40II, the eternal evergreen

The original C40, of which this appears to be a variant, has earned its stripes for at least a couple of decades now. Both the newer C40ii and the earlier C40 have similar, if not identical, features. The C40II is cheaper by about 20 dollars. I highly recommend this guitar, it is a true find in its category – excellent build, good sound and consistent quality. The price is at the lower end of our range. Feel free to check out my C40 review if you want to research this one in depth

Top woodLaminated Spruce
Other woods
Mahogany/Meranti/Nato for sides, back and neck. Rosewood for fingerboard and bridge
Number of frets18
FinishGloss
Interesting featuresThe C40II is a variant of the much older C40, an evergreen favourite of classical guitar students and teachers
Affiliate linkYamaha C40II at Amazon | Yamaha C40II at Sweetwater
Yamaha C40ii Classical Guitar Key Summary

I have written an in-depth review of the Yamaha C40. If you’re interested in this model, you’ll find this detailed review useful.

Cordoba C3M, a serious step up

Cordoba, like Yamaha, is now a respected name in beginner and intermediate classical guitars of exceptional quality. The C3M is on the higher end of the budget range, but weighs in well. With its solid (not laminated) top of cedar, it is known for its ease of playing, lightness in construction and a lively sound. If you can reach for the slightly higher price, it is well worth your while and will probably last you through your advanced beginner stage as well.

Top woodSolid Cedar
Other woods
Mahogany/Nato for sides, back and neck. Rosewood for fingerboard
Number of frets19
FinishSatin Matte
Interesting featuresAt this price level the saddle/nut is usually plastic. The C3M uses bone, found in higher priced guitars. The Spanish classic Fan Bracing under the top wood is an advanced feature as well.
Affiliate linkCordoba C3M at Amazon | Cordoba C3M at Sweetwater
Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar Key Summary

Yamaha CGS 104A, students’ favorite

This is one of those models where the sound quality feels more ‘expensive’ than the actual price paid. Coming from the able stables of Yamaha, the 104A deserves serious consideration for all its features – good woods, great build and continued student confidence over the years. Wherever there is formal education concerning the classical guitar – online, a real college or with a tutor – the 104A comes up for discussion. You can’t go wrong with it.

Top woodLaminated Spruce
Other woods
Laminated Meranti/Nato for sides, back and neck. Rosewood for fingerboard
Number of frets18
FinishGlossy
Interesting featuresThis is a leading model out of Yamaha’s Student Series. Everything about it is full-size specs.
Affiliate linkYamaha CGS 104A at Amazon
Yamaha CGS 104A Classical Guitar Key Summary

Cordoba Protege C1, feature rich

This is part of Cordoba’s Protege line of guitars for young, aspiring guitarists. It comes in two size variants: the full size and the 3/4 size. The 2-way truss rod, the Mahogany-Rosewood wood choices, the Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ strings, a Hauser-styled mosaic rosette, a high gloss polyurethane finish… all suggest a quality instrument. Highly recommended. You will play this for years

Top woodSpruce
Other woodsMahogany for sides, back. Rosewood for fingerboard and neck
Number of frets19
FinishHigh gloss
Interesting featuresIt comes with a traditional Spanish fan bracing under the top wood and, unusual for the price range, has a truss rod for adjusting neck angles
Affiliate linkCordoba Protege C1 at Amazon | Cordoba Protege C1 at Sweetwater
Cordoba Protege C1 Classical Guitar Key Summary
There is a similar model C1M which is essentially the same guitar as the C1 but with a matte finish. The C1, as noted, has a high gloss finish.

Guitar for the very young or those with small hands

Yamaha CGS 102A 1/2 size for the little one

Even though they say it themselves that Yamaha is famous for producing great-sounding budget classical guitars, it happens to be true. The smaller 1/2 size makes it easy for small hands to reach the frets. It’s probably too small for adults with small hands but very right for an 8 year old or younger.

Top woodSpruce
Other woods
Meranti for sides, back, Rosewood for fingerboard and Nato for neck
Number of frets20
FinishGloss
Interesting featuresIts scale length (distance from nut to bridge) is a reduced 21 inches (about 530 mm) as against a full size of 25.6 inches (650 mm). Yamaha calls it 1/2 size
Affiliate linkYamaha CGS102A at Amazon – you can save a few dollars if you buy just the plain guitar without accessories like gig bag, tuner, instructional DVD, etc. | Yamaha CGS102A at Sweetwater
Yamaha CGS 102A 1/2 Size Classical Guitar Key Summary

Yamaha CGS 103A II 3/4 size for the not so little

This is a favorite among many teachers for their students. Perhaps because it’s not too small like the 1/2 size and not full size either. Very right for a child under 11 years, it may appeal to adults with small hands too. For children certainly, the 103A is a dependable Yamaha product with its renowned consistency in good sound and great construction. Comes with the quality Savarez D’angelico Light Tension strings. Should be an easy choice to make.

Top woodSpruce
Other woodsNato for sides, back and neck, Rosewood for fingerboard and bridge
Number of frets18
FinishNatural
Interesting featuresIts scale length (distance from nut to bridge) is a reduced 23 inches (about 585 mm) as against a full size of 25.6 inches (650 mm). Yamaha calls it 3/4 size
Affiliate linkYamaha CGS103A II at Amazon | Yamaha CGS103A at Sweetwater
Yamaha CGS 103A II 3/4 Size Classical Guitar Key Summary

Cordoba C1M 3/4 -1/2 sizes, great choices

The C1M 1/2 size and 3/4 size are part of Cordoba’s impressive Protege line of classical guitars. Both feature the premium Savarez Cristal Corum strings and have everything in common except for the length. Again, the 1/2 size is only for young children while the 3/4 size (longer than the Yamaha’s equivalent) should be OK for children below 11 years as well as adults with small hands. These are excellent Cordoba variants.

Top woodSpruce
Other woodsMahogany for sides, back and neck, Rosewood for fingerboard and bridge
Number of frets18
FinishMatte
Interesting featuresThe 1/2 scale length (distance from nut to bridge) is a reduced 22.8 inches (about 580 mm) as against a full size of 25.6 inches (650 mm). The 3/4 scale length is 24.2 inches (about 615 mm). Cordoba has marginally less width of the neck at the nut at 1.875 inches (about 48 mm) than the Yamaha
Affiliate linkCordoba C1M 3/4 at Amazon | Cordoba C1M 3/4 Size at Sweetwater
Cordoba C1M 1/2 at Amazon | Cordoba C1M 1/2 Size at Sweetwater
Cordoba C1M 3/4 and 1/2 Size Classical Guitar Key Summary

Cordoba Dolce 7/8 for adults with small hands

This is perfect for those who wish to play on a smaller instrument. 630 mm may not seem much smaller, but there is ease of playing here for adults. It is certainly beyond the price range in this review but I included it because it is an outlier student guitar, the first one here with a solid wood top, a significant leap from laminated tops. As any Cordoba, the Dolce 7/8 is lightweight and comfortable. The specs are outstanding. You get a truss rod to adjust the neck angle. And it comes with the premium Savarez Cristal Corum 500CJ strings. If you’re serious about the classical guitar, this one can stay with you through the advanced beginner stage too without looking for a change.

Top woodSolid Canadian cedar
Other woodsMahogany back, sides and neck, Rosewood fingerboard
Number of frets19
FinishHigh gloss
Interesting featuresThe Dolce 7/8 scale length (distance from nut to bridge) is a reduced 24.8 inches (630 mm) as against a full size of 25.6 inches (650 mm). It has a solid cedar top, not laminated
Affiliate linkCordoba Dolce 7/8 at Amazon | Dolce 7/8 at Guitar Center
Cordoba Dolce 7/8 Size Classical Guitar Key Summary

Guitar for the advanced beginner

Cordoba C7 Cedar/Spruce, Step up

With high quality woods, you get a high quality instrument for the price. The C7 has earned a name for itself for its clear sound definition and ‘throw’. It is light and loud. It can be a great travel guitar or gigging guitar. It is certainly a step up from the laminated top sounds and an entry to the next level with not that much of a jump in price. It should serve a diligent classical guitar student at least a few years before the need to strike out to something new surfaces once more. The cedar variant is warm with a good sustain. The spruce variant is tighter in sound with ringing clarity. Either will follow you comfortably into a weekend coffee shop gig or two. (I have a comparison review of the C7 and C9 models if you have both on your shortlist)

Top woodSolid Western Red Cedar OR Solid European Spruce
Other woodsIndian Rosewood for back, sides and fingerboard, Mahogany for neck
Number of frets19
FinishGloss
Interesting featuresChoice of cedar or spruce top at the same price. Quality tonewoods and traditional Spanish-style fan bracing. Good projection. Nut and saddle are made of bone, not plastic
Purchase linksCordoba C7 Cedar at Amazon | Cordoba C7 Cedar at Sweetwater
Cordoba C7 Spruce at Amazon | Cordoba C7 Spruce at Sweetwater
Cordoba C7 Classical Guitar Key Summary

Yamaha CG192S, an evergreen staple

You are up and running into the adult world of well made, good sounding guitars and away from laminated tops. A rich black ebony fingerboard has a good feel to it. The spruce top is solid. The 192S is heavier than the Cordoba C7 and the feel is different. It is built like a tank and should last many years (typical of Yamaha guitars mostly). The sound is bold with good projection and clarity. The mid-range stands out. It is all in all this is a popular, classic Yamaha model in a wholesome, traditional style.

Top woodSolid European spruce top
Other woodsRosewood back, sides and bridge, Mahogany neck, Ebony fingerboard
Number of frets19
FinishGloss
Interesting featuresAn ebony fingerboard feels right and proper and gets you into the big boy/girl club. White mother-of-pearl peg tuners.
Affiliate linkYamaha CG192S at Amazon | CG192S at Guitar Center
Yamaha CG192S Classical Guitar Key Summary

Alhambra 4P, a great Spanish alternative

There is something to be said about even factory made classical guitars that are manufactured in Spain. The home of the Spanish Guitar knows a thing or two about the art of making it. I myself have in my collection an Alhambra 7P with its rich sound and a ‘touch’ you cannot simply find in beginner guitars. The 4P is built robust, plays well and sounds sweet. It has the traditional fan bracing construction underneath the top wood for the best resonance. The fingerboard is ebony. It also happens to be among the top selling models for the company. Which frankly is no surprise. If you can stretch your budget, just go for it. There’s years of enjoyable playing built into it.

Top woodSolid Canadian Cedar
Other woodsLaminated Rosewood back and sides and bridge, Mahogany neck, Ebony fingerboard
Number of frets18
FinishGloss
Interesting featuresThis is above our prince range, about $800. If you can reach here, you have yourself a Made in Spain classical guitar. An ebony fingerboard and all other details just right
Affiliate linkAlhambra 4P at Amazon | 4P at Guitar Center
Alhambra 4P Classical Guitar Key Summary

La Patrie Presentation, well made in Canada

La Patrie is a popular brand of guitars from a village near Quebec for many years. Its mid-price range guitars are just the ticket for an advanced beginner/early intermediate student. Above the popular Concert and Etude categories is the Presentation, a worthy guitar. It is a respected guitar, known for its playability (lower action) as well as its solidness (it’s actually heavier than, say, the Cordobas). With a 7-fan bracing, this reasonably priced instrument is an all solid-wood guitar, popular with intermediate players for all the right reasons.

Top woodSolid Canadian Cedar
Other woodsSolid Rosewood back and sides and bridge, Mahogany neck, Rosewood fingerboard
Number of frets18
FinishSemi-Gloss custom polish
Interesting featuresThe back and sides are of Rosewood, a wood known for its resonance. Made in Canada with real quality woods
Affiliate linkLa Patrie Presentation at Amazon
La Patrie Presentation Classical Guitar Key Summary

Cordoba C9 Spruce, over budget and brilliant

I’m tempted to include the highly regarded C9 into the mix even though the price is higher and outside our range. It is really a step up into the next level with its quality tonewoods and the resonance of spruce and rosewood. It has an evenly balanced tone loved by its fans, warm and bright at once with excellent projection. The neck is of Mahogany “for maximum transfer of string energy to the spruce top” according to the manufacturer. It looks gorgeous, it plays exceedingly well with nice, rich lower bass notes. I highly recommend this well-made instrument to any aspiring late beginner/early intermediate student as a reward for their past efforts as well as something to look ahead to for some years to come. Sorry to wax lyrical, I really like this guitar. (Feel free to read the comparison review of the C7 and C9 models.)

PriceHang on, this one is above the ‘reasonable’ range!
Top woodSolid European Spruce
Other woodsSolid Mahogany back and sides and neck, Indian Rosewood fingerboard and neck
Number of frets19
FinishGlossy
Interesting featuresMother-of-pearl rosette inlay, gold tuners with ebony buttons, Spanish-style fan bracing make for a gorgeous instrument inside and out
Affiliate linkCordoba C9 Spruce top at Amazon | Cordoba C9 Spruce at Sweetwater
Cordoba C9 Classical Guitar Key Summary

For a detailed discussion of the Cordoba C9 (including Spruce and Cedar options plus the 630 mm Parlor variant), do check out my review of the C9.

And then some more options…

I should really mention a few more options. Not just because there are fabulous options out there, but also because they are not all that wildly expensive either.

I’m talking about good classical guitars made in Spain, not usually found among the usual online stores. They are not normally recommended on online review sites as well.

Being a member of the classical guitar community worldwide and in touch with what’s winning the favour of guitarists at every level, I wish to point out these models which are in turn from top class, high repute brands. Solid, quality manufacturers without the huge marketing budgets of the big guns.

I believe these following models are worthy of your consideration at the intermediate level of classical guitar playing. Yes, I know I’m pushing it… but hopefully by not too much. They are not as costly as you may think.

Prudencio Saez G11

Hermanos Camps SP6

Hernandez Professor

Esteve 7CE

Raimundo 132 Cedar

You will not find them in regular online stores but on sites like: Guitars From Spain, Guitarrras de Luthier and Casa Luthier. To be clear, any of the guitars in the main list above are great choices in quality and price. They will leave you more than satisfied.

If you wish to explore the ultimate step in a guitarist’s journey, there are always luthier-made guitars! Hear what 11 owners of luthier-made classical guitars have to say about them (with audio samples).

If you’re interested in the Yamaha range of classical guitars in particular, I recommend you read our review of all the Yamahas for beginner and intermediate guitarists.

Happy hunting!

Nylon Plucks

Narayan Kumar is a passionate classical guitarist and an online research buff. He is also one half of the online classical guitar duo DuJu who put out guitar duets regularly on their YouTube channel. Read more about Narayan.

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