The 5 Best Classical Guitars Under 500 Reviews

Classical-Guitars-Under-500-ReviewsWith the best classical guitars under 500 dollars you’ll get clear, crisp, mellow tons, and the nylon strings are easier on your fingertips, all without busting your budget. Of course you’ll only get to reap these benefits if you get a quality classical guitar.

There was a time in the past when you had to spend thousands of dollars to get a good classical guitar. However technological improvements have allowed brands to reduce the price to under 500 dollars.

If you are a more advanced guitarist you maybe would like to check out the best classical guitars under 1000. If you’re new to classical guitars or on a tight budget, these reviews will be your guide. For less than 500 bucks you can get a quality musical instrument here.

Top 5 Classical Guitars under 500: Comparison Chart

Product
Back & Sides
Top
Neck
Finish
Scale Length
View On Amazon
African mahogany
Solid Canadian Cedar Top
Cedar
Gloss
25.66”
Rosewood
Solid Spruce
Mahogany
Gloss
25.66”
Mahogany
Spruce
Mahogany
Gloss
25.66”
Wild cherry
Solid Cedar
Mahogany
Semi-gloss
25.66″
Indonesian Mahogany
Spruce
Nato
Gloss
25.66″

 

Best Picks of Classical Guitars under 500

#1: Cordoba C5 Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar with Gig Bag

Cordoba is a well respected name in the industry, so it’s no wonder the C5 is one of the top classical guitars under 500.

The C5 uses the latest technology for optimum sound quality while maintaining the same level of craftsmanship of classic Spanish guitars. The C5 is lightweight, responsive and easy on your fingertips.

Part of the classic Iberia line, the C5 epitomizes the classic Spanish guitar with its bone nut and saddle and rosewood fingerboard. The C5 body is comprised of mahogany sides and back.

Cordoba C5 Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar with Gig Bag
  • Solid Canadian cedar top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Lightweight, full-size classical with 52mm nut width
  • 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

The soundboard is Canadian cedar top that adds the finishing touch. Tuning and fretting are easy, and the tone is rich and warm. Add the wood mosaic rosette and mother of pearl inlays and you’ve got the complete package.

The C5 has a full width 52 mm nut but it’s lighter than other guitars in its range. This makes it appealing to new guitarists who may find traditional classical guitars too big.

The full nylon strings and mahogany body produce the round, full sounds you’d want from a classical guitar. The strings are lighter compared to steel so there’s better resonance and vibration.

The C5 has a bracing pattern that provides the soundboard more room to vibrate. This in turn allows for better response to string tension and clearer sounds.

The large soundboard surface area makes the C5 louder and clearer than other classical guitars.

The C5 has a two way truss rod that lets you change the guitar neck’s relief. The truss rod is also lightweight so it’s comfortable to play.

Highlighted Features
  • Comes with a durable gig bag
  • High tension Savarez Cristal Corum Strings
  • Full size 52 mm nut
  • Mahogany sides and back
  • Beautiful Canadian cedar top

#2: Takamine GC5CE-NAT Acoustic Electric Classical Cutaway Guitar

Glenn Frey used a Takamine and it’s also been played by Bon Jovi and other artists, testament to its accuracy and craftsmanship. Part of the G Series, these are among the best classical guitars today and the GC5CE shows us why.

The  GC5CE is very responsive, with the strings producing clear, crisp tones. The  GC5CE also comes with an onboard TP-4T preamp system for superior sound and controls.

The GC5CE also comes with gain controls, a 3 band EQ and a built in tuner. All of these are well integrated so you can take full advantage of its power and versatility.

Takamine GC5CE-NAT Acoustic Electric Classical Cutaway Guitar
  • With deluxe appointments, solid-top construction and great performance features including a Venetian-style cutaway and Takamine electronics system, the GC5CE is an acoustic-electric classical guitar that's built to bring your music center stage
  • Ready for the demands of any performance situation, the GC5CE features a fan-braced solid spruce top and rosewood back and sides that produce warm, rich nylon-string sound
  • The slim mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard provide great feel and playability
  • Takamine TP-4T preamp system gives you a built-in tuner with three-band EQ and gain controls for rock-solid amplified performance and versatility
  • Other great features include a dovetail neck joint, beautiful inlaid mosaic rosette, synthetic bone nut and bridge saddle, rosewood head cap, gold tuners with white pearl buttons and a luxurious gloss finish

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

Design wise the GC5CE has a Venetian-style cutaway for faster access to frets. A closer inspection shows it has a synthetic saddle and bone and a rosewood fingerboard.

The solid top built, acoustics and comfortable strings make the GC5CE-NAT a good choice for live performances.  The glossy body finish gives it a striking appearance that other guitars can’t match.

The tone is superb and doesn’t sound off even with little tuning. It isn’t as large as other classical guitars, but since these are nylon strings the sound quality is better.

The guitar doesn’t just sound good but looks impeccable as well. The guitar comes with a case that’s a perfect fit for the guitar.

A manual is included so new guitarists can start right away. You can play the GC5CE immediately though some may want to tinker with the tuning first.

All guitars say they’re the best but few live up to the hype. I can say that the GC5CE is one that really does. For sound quality it’s hard to top.

Highlighted Features
  • Takamine TP-4T preamp system with integrated tuner
  • Inlaid mosaic rosette
  • Fan-braced solid spruce top
  • The latest Takamine electronics system
  • Beautiful mahogany body

#3: Ibanez GA5TCE Full Sized Thinline Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar, Natural

The GA5TCE is one of the best classical guitars for the money as it combines function and style. This is also worth looking into if you have played with steel string guitars and want to try something different.

One of the things you’ll notice with the GA5TCE is the neck is narrower compared to most classical guitars. It’s more like those you’d see on an acoustic, and that’s a good thing as it means less adjustments needed on your part.

Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA5TCE)
  • Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back And Sides
  • Thin Line Body

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

Ibanez is known for quality guitar construction, so as you might expect the GA5TCE is well built. Its soundboard is made of spruce and provides clear, warm tones.

The sides and rear are comprised of solid mahogany and serves up quality sustain and consistent warmth. The guitar also has a Piezo pickup preinstalled so you can hook it up with an amp.

The GA5TCE has classical tuning and gold hardware for better sound and action is exceptional. If you find it too high it’s easy to make adjustments until the sound comes out right.

The guitar weighs 8.8 lbs so it is lighter than others in the market today. Combine this with the narrow neck and it is easier to get the rhythm you want.

This guitar is ideal if you’re learning how to play, but this is not just a trainee’s guitar as the quality is good enough for serious playing.

One of the most common mistakes new guitarists make is thinking you need to spend thousands of dollars to get a quality guitar. That is not the case at all as the Ibanez GA5TCE has shown.

Highlighted Features
  • Easy to learn
  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • 3 band EQ and Piezo pickup included
  • Easy to tune
  • High gloss finish

#4: La Patrie Guitar, Etude QI

Classical guitars under 500 reviews look for certain qualities, and I have to say that the Q1 meets those requirements. La Patrie has a couple of other guitars in this range, but the Q1 is the best of them.

The biggest selling point of this guitar is its soundboard. Made of solid cedar, it’s got a rich, warm sound that’s superior to those of other guitars.

The smooth, crystal clear sounds are matched by its construction. While good enough for serious music, the Q1 is simple enough for novices and intermediates.

Pluck the strings of this guitar and you’ll hear the difference compared to a regular guitar. The sound is pleasant to the ears particularly on the bass.

La Patrie Guitar, Etude QI
  • North American made
  • Radiused fingerboard for added ease and comort
  • Pressure tested solid cedar top
  • Double function truss rod
  • Tusq nut and compensated saddle for better intonation

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

Its treble strings aren’t as sharp as other guitars but they complement the rest of the sound The Tusq nut and saddle are also better than what I expected.

Tusq is a synthetic material that replicates ivory, providing sound that rivals that of true bone saddle. If you give a listen you’ll realize that it sounds better than the average guitar in this range.

Those new to classical guitar sometimes think that you have to spend a lot of money just to get a quality product. However that’s not true as the QI is affordable yet feature packed.

The guitar works fine as is, but it’s easy to plug in and get the sound you want. Plugging it into PAs is easy and its also light.

The guitar sounds great out of the box and the neck is well designed. The neck is a little wider but it works in its favor.

Highlighted Features
  • Made from quality materials
  • Clear, crisp sound
  • Compensated saddle for superior tone
  • Tusq nut for enhanced toning
  • Cedar top is pressure tested

#5: Yamaha C40 Full Size Nylon-String Classical Guitar

Yamaha makes some of the best classical guitars in the world and the C40 is the one to try if you are a beginner.

The C40 has Indonesian mahogany sides and back, a spruce top and a melamine finish on the back. Its 19 frets are set on a rosewood fingerboard.

It has a standard headstock equipped with six chrome YTM-01 tuning equipment. The bridge is regular rosewood.

Sound has excellent preset action so you can use the guitar right away. This action is adjustable so you can have it just the way you want.

The strings and tuners are well made and provide accurate bridge intonation. You can play the guitar in different ways, but the general tone is warm and mellow.

The C40 has excellent tonal range and is better compared to those on other guitars. For beginners it’s the perfect way to learn how to play classical guitar without spending a lot of money to do so.

The C40 fingerboard is flatter than those on other classical guitars. Ordinarily this would cause some problems for those with small hands. However in this case it’s not a problem because Yamaha made sure it’s comfortable to use.

A common mistake made by new guitarists is to assume that you have to get the biggest, most expensive classical guitar. In fact you need to start with a beginners’ instrument before you can master the other ones.

Any way you look at it, the C40 is a superb classical guitar. From the strings, neck, fingerboard to the construction, it’s got the features that novices and even long time guitarists will like.

Highlighted Features
  • Melamine gloss finish
  • High quality strings
  • Javanese Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Indonesian sides and back
  • Built for beginners

 

What is a Classical Guitar?

A classical guitar is made from wood with nylon strings, whereas electric and acoustic guitars use metal strings. A typical classical guitar has 12 frets and similar to an acoustic instrument.

A classical guitar has 6 strings encased in nylon. Classical guitars have a lower tension than acoustic guitars.

Due to the low tension it is possible for a classical guitar neck to be built from wood and no metal truss rod in it. These guitars also have lighter bracing compared to acoustic guitars.

Although available in different styles, majority of 6 string classical guitars are 48 to 54 mm wide by the nut.

How to Choose a Classical Guitars Under 500

Choosing a classical guitars doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are the major factors to remember.

Size Counts

A full sized classical guitar is preferable, though smaller sizes like 3/4 or 1/2 are available if you have small hands.

A 3/4 classical guitar is tuned in the same manner as a full sized one. A 1/2 guitar however, are tuned minor 3rd or major 2nd and that’s a huge difference.

However if you’re buying the guitar for a child or you’re just starting out a 1/2 guitar will do and it’s cheaper too.

Materials

Top tier classical guitars have ebony fingerboards which is very steady but also expensive. Rosewood is a good alternative as it is not as costly but does not compromise the tone. It’s for this reason why most classical guitars have rosewood fingerboards.

The most expensive classical guitars have an ivory nut and saddle.  But the ones in this review – and most available – use a synthetic material that simulates bone.

Some nuts are even made of plastic and that’s all right because hey don’t have any effect of the sound anyway.

Plastic saddles produce less resonance, but that’s evident to the trained musicians. However it’s no trouble to replace plastic saddles.

Guitar Body

Do not buy a guitar with laminated, pressed wood or plywood soundboards as the guitar will sound dull. Look instead for cedar or solid spruce soundboards as they have better tones and more durable.

Cedar and spruce soundboards may be more expensive, but think of it as a good investment and you’ll get the best possible sounds.

Brand

You should only buy classical guitar from a reputable brand. Don’t settle for knock offs because it will cost you more.

Things to Consider Buying Used or New Classical Guitars

If you’re looking for the best used classical guitars, take note of the following.

Seller Reputation

Buy only from a reputable seller. If you’re buying online, check the seller’s reputation based on customer satisfaction. If there’s negative or no feedback posted on their site, think twice.

Read the Fine Print

Know what you’re buying and if there are any dents, smudges or other defects. Any problem with the guitar should be in the product description.

Terms of Agreement

Have everything in writing so there are no misunderstandings later. Everything from the payment, refund, shipping, etc should be stated clearly.

Things to consider buying used or new classical guitars

As for the guitar itself there are a few other features you’ll want to look into.

  • Buy a classical guitar with closely spaced grains on the soundboard. Tightly packed grains indicate more resonance and less vibration.
  • Compare guitar body thickness. The thinner the body the more pronounced high registers will be, while a thick body emphasizes low registers.
  • The sides and back don’t impact the sound as much as the soundboard. Solid wood is preferable but laminate will do. In fact some guitarists prefer laminate as it’s more stable.
  • The string action refers to the span between the fretboard and strings. High action is harder to play but yields more sound. Low action is simpler to play but doesn’t provide as much buzz protection.
  • The string spacing needs to be equal. Wide or narrow it’s up to you, just make sure the spacing is even.

There are a lot of things you’ll need to look into, but these are the most important and should not be overlooked. The more informed a buyer you are, the greater the chance you’ll get a high quality classical guitar.

Final Verdict

Now that we have done thorough reviews of the 5 classical guitars here, and they’re all well designed. But for overall performance, sound quality and value, the Cordoba C5 gets my nod as the best of the lot.

The C5 is superbly built and easy to use, exactly what beginners need from a classical guitar. The tone quality is sharp and clear, and fretting is simpler compared to other guitars.

The C5 is designed for novices yes, but the fretboard, soundboard, strings, wood mosaic rosette and other components are comparable to more expensive guitars.  After taking thee into consideration, I have to say the C5 is the best classical guitars under 500.

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