Maybe you’re a beginning guitarist looking to buy your first instrument or maybe you’re an accomplished guitarist looking to add another instrument to your collection. Either way, you’re looking for the best classical guitars under $1000. Well you’ve come to the right place!
Today we’re going to help you out as you search for your perfect instrument. We’ll provide you with some useful insights and then review the best classical guitars that you can purchase for under $1000.
What’s special about a classical guitar?
A common point of confusion for many people is understanding the difference between classical guitars and acoustic guitars. Both are acoustic instruments and don’t need to be plugged in like electric guitars, so are they really that different?
While the differences may be subtle, they are still important and valuable for you to understand. One can’t replace the other, so you want to make sure you’re picking the type of guitar that suits you best.
Here are the main distinctions between classical guitars and acoustic guitars:
- Nylon strings vs steel strings. Classical guitars are strung with nylon strings, which have a soft and mellow sound. In contrast, acoustic guitars are strung with steel strings, which have a stronger and brighter sound. The strings also feel different under your fingers: nylon strings are much softer to touch than steel strings, which can sometimes feel a bit sharp.
- Neck width. In general, classical guitars have a much wider neck than an acoustic guitar. This means that the strings are more generously spaced, allowing for easy movement of fingers in both the left and right hands. However, this wider neck may prove challenging for people that have small hands or want to play lots of chords.
- Playing styles. While not technically a physical difference between the two types of guitars, classical guitars and acoustic guitars are used to play very different types of music. Classical guitars are used to play (you guessed it!) classical music, but also a few other styles of music such as flamenco. In contrast, acoustic guitars are used for more mainstream genres such as pop and folk.
Top 8 Classical Guitars for Under $1000 Reviews
1 Cordoba C9 CD Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
This first guitar comes from manufacturer Cordoba, a maker where every instrument is a “direct descendant of the Spanish tradition.” It features an all-solid wood construction, with Canadian cedar on the top and mahogany on the sides and back. It also features a rosewood fingerboard and an Indian rosewood bridge.
A particularly beautiful characteristic of this guitar is its rosette (the design surrounding the soundhole). It is inspired by a 1920’s rosette designed by Domingo Esteso. The rosette is inlaid by hand using mother-of-pearl.
This guitar follows the traditional design of classical guitars and therefore it does not include a pickup or any other electronics. While this may be preferred by purists, this does limit the possibilities of amplifying it live which may be important to some performers.
All-considered, this is a beautiful classical guitar and the perfect choice for someone who wants a traditional and elegant instrument.
2 Cordoba Guitars C9 Parlor CD/MH 7/8 Size Classical Guitar
This guitar is a variant of the first guitar on the list, the Cordoba C9. It is made with the same all-solid wood construction using cedar on the top, mahogany on the sides and back, rosewood on the fingerboard, and Indian rosewood on the bridge. It also features the same signature rosette with mother-of-pearl inlaid by hand.
The difference is that this guitar is noticeably smaller in size and lighter in weight than the standard C9. It is called a “parlor” guitar and is a 7/8 size. Consequently, this guitar is a good option for someone who is of smaller stature and finds a full-size guitar uncomfortable to play. This is also a good option for someone who would prefer a more portable guitar for traveling.
Keep in mind that, like its big brother, this guitar also does not come with a pickup. This is great for someone who prefers the purity of an untampered acoustic instrument. However, this will be limiting for someone who needs to amplify their instrument for live performance.
3 Cordoba Fusion 14 Rose Acoustic Electric Nylon String Classical Guitar
Another guitar from the same manufacturer, Cordoba, this guitar bridges the gap between classical and acoustic guitars. It comes with nylon strings like a classical guitar, but features a neck built more like an acoustic guitar due to its narrower width (48mm), longer length (14 frets instead of 12), and curved fingerboard. It also features a cutaway body so that the highest notes on the fingerboard are more easily accessible.
This guitar comes equipped with the Fishman Presys Blend, an advanced electronics system. This system includes both a pickup and an internal microphone, which can be used to amplify the guitar via the ¼” jack output. You can blend the sound between these two sources using the on-board controller, which also has EQ knobs and a built-in tuner.
In summary, this guitar is a smart option for someone who is looking for a hybrid between a classical and acoustic guitar.
4 Kremona Rosa Morena Flamenco Series Nylon String Guitar
This guitar is made by Kremona, a company that prides itself in hand-making their instruments in Bulgaria. It is constructed of spruce and rosewood and features subtle Flamenco-styled detailing.
Like some other guitars on this list, it lacks a built-in pickup, but that isn’t really an issue for those simply wanting a traditional classical guitar. Consequently, we would recommend this guitar as a great choice for someone wanting a minimalist instrument that is built by hand.
5 Kremona Verea Performer Series Acoustic/Electric Nylon String Guitar
Another instrument from Bulgarian maker Kremona, this guitar is more of a cross-over between a classical and acoustic guitar. It features a cutaway body for easy reach of the highest notes on the guitar, and a narrower, 48mm neck.
It also features the previously discussed Fishman Presys Blend electronics system. This allows the guitar to be amplified using a blend of the built-in pickup and internal microphone, and also comes with an EQ and tuner. This guitar is also another great option for someone wanting a hybrid between a classical and acoustic guitar. When you consider that it is hand-crafted in Europe, it’s a hard deal to pass up!
6 Godin Multiac Nylon Encore Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar, Natural
This guitar from Godin stands apart from all the others as a different sort of instrument. Rather than being built with a full body to resonate the sound of the instrument, it is built with a less-resonant chamber system that is intended to be amplified. Because this design is far more resistant to feeding back when plugged-in it is a preferred choice for live performance.
In addition, it features a dual-source pickup made by EPM. This allows you to blend sound both from a pickup under the saddle as well as transducers on the soundboard.
All-told, this guitar is a great option for live gigging – maybe even in addition to owning another, more traditional classical guitar!
7 Yamaha NCX1200R Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar, Solid Rosewood
This guitar comes from well-known instruments manufacturer, Yamaha. It stands out for being one of only a few guitars on this list with all-solid wood construction, using sitka spruce for the top, rosewood on the back and sides, and African mahogany for the neck. It also features a cutaway body, making the highest notes on the guitar easier to reach and play.
This guitar comes built-in with Yamaha’s own A.R.T. pickup system which includes two separate contact pickups: one on the bass side and one on the treble side. The blend between these can be controlled by the performer to attain the desired tone.
This is a great all-around option from a well-known maker and (as you will see later) gets our recommendation for the #1 guitar to purchase under $1000.
8 Yamaha SLG200NW Nylon String Classical Silent Guitar
Lastly we look at this unusual but remarkable guitar, also made by Yahama. It is called a “silent guitar” because if it’s not plugged in, it makes basically no sound at all! This is because there is no body to the instrument to cause any sound to resonate.
Because of this silent quality this guitar is incredibly useful for practice purposes (no keeping up the neighbors with your late-night practice sessions!). It is also useful as a stage instrument because it is virtually feedback resistant.
This guitar comes with Yamaha’s SRT-Powered pickup system which emulates a true, natural acoustic tone. It also includes studio-quality effects built-in to further augment your performance.
While not a traditional guitar by any means, this instrument makes a lot of sense for someone needing to practice quietly or someone wanting to perform on a loud stage.
Finally, as we wrap things up, we want to suggest our recommendation for the #1 classical guitar under $1000: the Yamaha NCX1200R Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar in Solid Rosewood.
This guitar stands out for its all-solid wood construction and the inclusion of a built-in pickup and a cutaway body. These are features that will be useful to many performing musicians. While not the most traditional instrument on this list, we think this guitar will best serve the varied needs of those reading this article.