The 5 Best Classical Guitars under 1000 Reviews

Classical-GuitarsIf you want the best classical guitars under 1000 you’ll need to look beyond the price tag, though that’s important too.

While there are a lot of classical guitars that cost less than $1000, the quality varies. In general the quality of under $1000 classical guitars have improved a lot. The classical guitar has a softer tone than electric or steel stringed guitars, but they’ve got other features too.

If you’re not sure what to buy, this is the review for you. I have prepared this guide so you can choose from any of the five guitars and be assured of their quality. The chart below is an overview.

 Top 5 Classical Guitars under 1000: Comparison Chart

Products
Top
Sides and Back
Neck
Other Features
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Solid Stika spruce
Solid rosewood
African mahogany
Preamp System 61 2-way A.R.T., classical style body
Solid European spruce
Solid Indian rosewood
Solid European spruce
Ebony fingerboard,  Mother-of-Pearl “Esteso” Rosette
Solid European spruce
Solid Indian rosewood
Honduras cedar
Kremona Arete medium-high strings, bone nut and saddle
Solid Canadian cedar
Indian rosewood
Solid European spruce
Fan bracing pattern, rosewood bridge and fingerboard
Solid western cedar
Solid African sapele
African mahogany
wood binding and rosette, bone nut and saddle

Best Picks of Classical Guitars under 1000

#1: Yamaha NTX1200R Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar, Rosewood

The NTX1200R is one of the top classical guitars under 1000, providing versatility and feel that is akin to more expensive guitars. While less than a thousand bucks, the guitar has professional level features.

If you’re looking for a way to add some warmth to your musical repertoire, the NTX1200R will do fine. The cutaway design, fret neck joint, narrow neck and slim body makes the guitar comfortable to use.

Yamaha NTX1200R Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar, Rosewood
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Solid Rosewood Back & Sides
  • African Mahogany Neck
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • A.R.T. 2-Way Pickup/Preamp System

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The NTX1200R is suitable for rock, pop, jazz, classical music, Latin and other styles. With its cutaway design and thin line built, you’ll be at ease standing or sitting down.

The guitar’s stika spruce top balances the tone and keeps it warm. With its rosewood sides and back and African mahogany neck, the NTX1200R delivers a distinct tone that won’t get drowned out by other musical instruments.

The guitar uses solid rosewood and it offers support for the soundboard. The end results are mellow yet powerful tones for different types of music.

The NTX1200R comes with A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) technology created by Yamaha. ARE uses proprietary techniques to control atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature so the wood is more acoustically tuned.

Even if you don’t know all the technical details there’s arguing with the results. The NTX1200R has a striking sound similar to high quality vintage guitars.

The guitar manages high range dissonance well while maintaining a sharp tone. The other guitars in the NXT series have also undergone this procedure and produce the same clear tone.

There are a lot of ways to describe the NTX1200R sound, including clear, outstanding resonance and mature. Using ART technology, the guitar delivers crisp, energizing and natural classical, acoustic tones.

The NTX1200R has exceptional feedback rejection, an expansive range and patented multiple layer contact sensors for natural and precise sounds. The guitar’s 2-way contact pickup mechanism to prevent feedback vibration.

This system is mounted on the bass and treble sides, and together with the multilayered damper ensures purity of tone. The nylon mid range strings are warm and the preamp lets you set the bass and treble pickup volume. There’s an onboard tuner and a 3 band EQ on the System 61 preamp too.

Highlighted Features
  • ART 2 way pickup / preamp system
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • African mahogany neck
  • Rosewood sides and back
  • Stika spruce top
  • 14 fret neck joints
  • Nylon string tone
  • For different music genres

#2: Cordoba C10 SP/IN Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

Cordoba has manufactured some of the best classical guitars of all time, and the C10 ranks close to the top. One of the pioneers in the Luthier Series, the guitar has features that rival more expensive models.

The guitar’s back and sides are solid Indian rosewood and the top is European spruce, and that says a lot about its quality. The Cordoba fan bracing provides the center of the soundboard with a greater surface area.

Cordoba C10 SP/IN Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
  • Solid European spruce top
  • Solid Indian rosewood back and sides
  • Hand inlaid Mother-of-Pearl "Esteso" Rosette
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Includes Cordoba Polyfoam case

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The large surface offers the C10 with more vibration room. This also leads to a better response to the string tension.

These features make the C10 louder than a typical guitar and also has a clearer, richer tone. The affordable price makes the C10 an excellent choice for a beginner.

The C10 is also for intermediate guitarists who want to upgrade their instruments, and it’s also for serious guitarists who want a quality guitar.

Spanish heel construction is used for the C10 just like in all the guitars in the Luthier Series.   During the process the top is joined to the neck followed by the sides and the back.

Once the guitar is sealed the C10 vibrate as a single unit, leading to cleaner, crisper sound. Like a regular classical guitar the C10 has a flat fingerboard and standard neck.

The guitar also has a 2-way truss on the neck and added more options. The C10 also provides two variants, the Crossover and the C10 Parlor.

The full sized Crossover has a 48 mm nut width, radius fingerboard and a slim back profile. The C10 Parlor is also a full sized guitar with 50 mm wide nut and a 7/8 size body.

Both variants come with Savarez Cristal Corum strings, a high gloss finish and a rosewood bridge. Both C10 variants have a mother-of-pearl weave rosette, adding a beautiful look to the guitar.

The guitar’s look is more impressive than others in this price range. Lots of guitars have a solid spruce top, but its use of Indian rosewood gives the C10 a different look and feel.

As far as classic guitar goes, the C10 is a winner.

Highlighted Features
  • Indian rosewood sides and back
  • High gloss PU finish
  • Bone saddle and nut
  • Mother-of-Pearl “Esteso” Rosette, hand inlaid
  • Cordoba polyfoam case
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • European spruce top
  • Cordoba Premium Gold Tuning Machines

#3: Kremona Rosa Morena Flamenco Series Nylon String Guitar

The Kremona Rosa Morena is one of the best classical guitars for the money, providing excellent performance at a price you can afford.

Just like others in the Flamenco Series, the Rosa Morena is made from European spruce and rosewood. The end result is a more dynamic range and a warm, rich tone.

The Rosa Morena delivers the sound of a powerful classic guitar, but it’s also got some subtlety in the tone.

The spruce top is complemented by a glossy finish, bone nut and saddle and rosewood fingerboard. The guitar is also equipped with Kremona Arete medium-high strings that make playing more comfortable.

A gig bag is included so you‘ ll be able to take the Rosa Morena with you. Quality is also evident throughout the guitar with its bone nut and saddle, Honduras cedar neck and quality tuning machines.

Kremona Rosa Morena Flamenco Series Nylon String Guitar
  • Solid European spruce top
  • hand inlaid wooden binding and rosette
  • Authentic bone nut and saddle
  • Handcrafted in Europe
  • Branded, dual-pocketed padded gig bag with neck support

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Going back to the strings, they’re very responsive, with clear tones, plenty of warmth and excellent range. It sounds impressive playing classical music, flamenco, Latin, country, folk and acoustic, underscoring its versatility.

The trebles are crisp and bright, making the tone clean. Its expressiveness is complemented by the resonant bass, allowing it to stand out even if you’re playing in a band.

You can fine tune the guitar to play in various ways, but it excels in low, fast action. Its neck is also thinner than the typical classical guitar but it has no adverse effect on performance.

Overall the Rosa Morena has an excellent design, with mellow tones, clear sound and a high quality gig bag to boot. The finish and fit are excellent as well.

The top protector is a nice addition, plus the sides and back are exceptionally made. Just like other classical guitars, the Rosa Morena does not have marker dots but that’s not a big deal.

The default setup should work fine for most classical guitarists, but it’s easy to tweak the settings to suit your needs. The craftsmanship is superb and the materials are high quality.

Playing the guitar is comfortable, with a sweet tone and long sustain necessary for classical music. From the strings to the rosette and fingerboard, everything is in place.

Highlighted Features
  • Handcrafted
  • Genuine saddle and bone
  • Inlaid rosette and wood binding
  • Spruce top
  • Honduras cedar neck
  • Durable construction
  • Indian rosewood fingerboard
  • Dual pocket gig bag

#4: Cordoba C7 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar

I have already mentioned that Cordoba makes some of the best classical guitars in the world. Well, here’s another reason, the C7.

The C7 has Indian rosewood for the sides and back and a solid wood for the top. The soundboard makes a huge impact on the sound, and the wood choices here is a good one.

The most distinguishing aspect of the C7 is its sound. It has depth, clarity and it’s been streamlined so everything comes out clear. You have the option of a solid European spruce or solid Canadian cedar top, and either way you get excellent results.

Cordoba C7 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
  • Solid Canadian cedar top
  • Indian rosewood back and sides
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Savarez Cristal Corum strings in High Tension, 500CJ
  • Includes Cordoba gig bag

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This guitar has a fan bracing pattern to further enhance the sound emanating from the strings. Compared to previous releases, the C7 sounds louder, clearer and with better range.

Most starter / intermediate guitars are barebones, but the C7 comes with a striking gloss finish, rosewood binding and inlaid wooden rosette. There is also a C7 version with electronics available.

The C7 is a full sized guitar so you get excellent sound without any rattling. The soundboard is flat and you can tell from the strings that this is a well-made guitar.

The pearl inlay and the other features make the C7 stand out not just in the sound department but in the aesthetics as well. In most cases you can use the C7 out of the box, but if it needs fine tuning that won’t be a problem.

Buzzing is a common problem with a lot of low quality guitars, but the C7 allows you to tweak the guitar if you hear some along the higher frets. For customization and versatility, the C7 is one that’s hard to match.

If you’ve been using a beginner’s guitar and want to upgrade, the C7 is a sensible choice. You get high quality tones and comfortable to play strings without putting a lot of pressure on your fingers.

The C7 faces a lot of competition, but with its handcrafted design and clear tone delivers excellent performance. This is a guitar that beginners and long time guitarists will appreciate both for the sound and aesthetics.

Highlighted Features
  • High tension Savarez Cristal Corum strings
  • Cordoba gig bag
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Indian rosewood sides and back
  • Canadian cedar top
  • Hand inlaid wood rosette
  • Natural gloss finish
  • Fan bracing pattern

#5: Kremona Sofia Artist Series Nylon String Guitar

I’ll conclude my classical guitars under 1000 reviews with another product from Kremona. The Sofia Artist series have been specially handcrafted to provide the highest quality sound possible.

The Sofia has a western cedar top, Indian rosewood headstock, bridge and fingerboard and African mahogany neck. The wood used on a guitar has a huge effect on the sound, so it’s good to see the Sofia Artist series employing only quality materials.

The strings are very responsive and produce a distinct timbre that’s hard to find in other guitars. Strumming or fingerpicking you’ll notice the guitar is expressive, warm and lively.

Kremona Sofia Artist Series Nylon String Guitar
  • Solid western cedar top
  • Solid African sapele back and sides
  • Authentic bone nut and saddle
  • Adjustable Truss Rod
  • Handcrafted in Europe

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The guitar stays in tune longer than most so you can just focus on playing. With its machine heads and tuners, getting the Sofia in tune again is easy.

A deluxe case is included so you’ll be able to take the Kremona Sofia with you wherever you go. This is a heavy duty case and can handle different conditions and protect your guitar.

Kremona makes a lot of quality guitars and their expertise is evident here. Usually with cheap guitars a compromise is made on one area, i.e. back, sides, strings, but with the Sofia everything is top notch.

The guitar isn’t too heavy either so it won’t tire you out while playing. It has a great sound, excellent sustain and quality craftsmanship. You don’t need to be a seasoned guitarist to see and hear the difference.

Don’t mistake the guitar’s lightness for vulnerability as this is solidly built. A quick look at the construction shows that it’s clearly designed for regular use.

The guitar’s high quality means it is good enough for advanced guitarists but it’s also simple enough for a student to learn. The more you play the more you’ll notice the subtleties in the tone, resonance and range. The Sofa also has a deep bass, very distinct even when you’re playing in a band.

There are a lot of excellent classical guitars, but most of them cost a fortune. The Kremona Sofia is a notable exception that makes it a good choice for beginners and if you’re searching for an alternative to the expensive models.

Highlighted Features

Set dovetail neck joint

  • CGHC deluxe hard case
  • Bone saddle and nut
  • African mahogany neck
  • Sapele sides and back
  • Kremona Arete Strings
  • 19 frets
  • 52 mm at nut

 

What is the Difference Between Acoustic and Classical Guitars?

Both are acoustic guitars, but an acoustic guitar uses steel strings while a classical guitar uses nylon. Nylon strings are thicker and softer than steel, so a classical guitar has a more mellow sound than an acoustic.

A classical guitar has a wider fret board than an acoustic and usually does not have fingerboard inlays. An acoustic guitar’s body is larger and based on the dreadnought.

Spanish guitars, Flamenco and Gypsy Kings music are examples of classical guitar, while almost all modern pop rock groups use an acoustic guitar.

How to Choose a Classical Guitar under 1000

Keep the following in mind when choosing a classical guitar.

  • A solid top sounds better than laminated guitar tops.
  • Solid backs, sides and top are better than solid top only.
  • Guitars with binding have superior sound compared to one without it.
  • Inspect the guitar from extreme angles. If the frets are not parallel, it means the guitar’s neck is twisted and should be avoided.
  • Make sure the neck bridge is joined to the guitar’s face.
  • A flat soundboard is necessary if you’re buying a new classical guitar. A slight curve in older guitars is acceptable but it cannot be by much.
  • You can amp a classical guitar via a pickup or contact mics. The process may vary depending on the guitar.
  • Gently tap the guitar’s face and listen for reverberation. A well-built classical guitar should respond with full string resonance.
  • A cheaply made guitar doesn’t produce a lot of resonance, instead sounding dull. You will probably also hear parts rattling when you tap.
  • Do you feel the frets when you slide your hand along the edge of the neck? It means the guitar is too dry or poorly made.
  • Fretboards are usually rosewood or ebony. Ebony costs more but has a superior feel.
  • Spruce and cedar are common for tops and rosewood for the back and sides. You’ll only know what is right for you if you play using different tonewoods.
  • No two guitars will sound the same, but as you play you’ll figure out which suits your style.
  • If buying a used guitar, listen for signs of wood rattling. This is more frequent with high end classical guitars due to their sensitive design.
  • Buy only from reputable brands.

Advantages of Owning a Classical Guitar Under 1000

Besides costing less than a thousand dollars, a classical guitar offers other benefits.

  • You can play Flamenco and other types of classical music the way they’re supposed to be played. As pointed out earlier, acoustic and classic guitars don’t sound the same.
  • The strings are easier on your fingers and more comfortable to play.
  • The top, sides and back woods are high quality.
  • Classical guitars are versatile. You can play them as is or amplify the sound.
  • Classical guitars have a warm, mellow tone and is softer than acoustic.
  • Classical guitars are not as heavy as acoustic guitars so it is easier for a beginner.
  • These guitars provide a lot of flexibility in terms of how you can play it.
  • Some classical guitars have electronics installed so you can amplify the sound.

Top Classical Guitar Brands

Here are the biggest classical guitar makers in the world today.

Taylor

Taylor is known for its high end guitars but the company also manufactures affordable guitars for beginners and intermediates.  Regardless of price, Taylor guitars are highly sought for their craftsmanship and sound.

Cordoba

As has been mentioned several times here, Cordoba is one of the top manufacturers of acoustic and classical guitars. Since its founding, Cordoba has carved a solid reputation for making outstanding guitars.

Kremona

Kremona is another top guitar brand, recognized for their craftsmanship and use of innovative technology. Kremona has several guitar lines that cater to the needs of different guitarists from beginner to advanced.

Yamaha

Yamaha has been making high end guitars for more than 50 years, and in spite of competition has a devoted following. From classical, acoustic to electric guitars, the company continue to create quality guitars.

 Final Verdict

Classical guitars don’t have to be expensive to be good. As I have demonstrated in these reviews, you can get a high quality guitar while spending less than a thousand bucks.

I can say that each one here is exceptionally made, but the Cordoba C10 is a cut above the rest. The craftsmanship is superb, from the body, the fingerboard, strings, nothing is out of place here.

Compiling this list of the best classical guitars under 1000 was not easy, and neither was coming up with a winner. But for quality of sound, tone, range, resonance and that classical appeal, the C10 takes the top spot here.

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