Buying A Classical Guitar

Buying a classical guitar can be a tough and confusing process for beginners and parents of beginners alike.

To help you through the stress, confusion and worry, we’ve put together a short guide to buying classical guitars that will take you through everything from what strings to buy, the anatomy of the guitar and even what accessories you should purchase with your new instrument.

First up, before all that, though, you need to know what to look for when buying the guitar itself.

What to look for in a classical guitar

So what should you look for? How can you assess how well a guitar has been made if you’re a newbie?


Follow the steps and ask the questions outlined below.

Check the sound of the guitar-based on tonewood and design

Try before you buy is perfect advice to follow here.

Would you buy a car before you’ve given it a test drive? No.

Would you buy a house before you’ve had a viewing? Doubt it.

So why buy a classical guitar, acoustic guitar or any other kind of guitar without first hearing it and feeling what it’s like to play?

As you try the guitar out, pay attention to how comfortable it feels to play.

Pay attention to the sound of the guitar. The sound is greatly affected by the tonewood (the wood used to construct the body of the guitar).

Each wood has a subtly different sound. As a beginner, it’s not that important to know all the differences.

Just trust your ear and go with the one you like the sound of best.

Check the guitar’s action.

The action of a guitar refers to the height of the strings above the neck. 

The higher the strings (also known as having a higher action), the harder they will be to push down onto the neck to play chords, scales and melodies. So keep this in mind if you’re buying a guitar for a beginner or are a beginner yourself.

Your hands won’t have developed the muscles and strength of a more advanced player, so it’s better to have the action set lower.

A shop assistant will be able to do this for you as part of the sale.

Value for money and brand reliability

Your budget is your budget, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking to that. 

If you get told about a famous brand of guitar that feels good the play and sounds great, but it’s three times your budget, don’t buy it.

However, a shop assistant or good website will be able to advise you on a good brand that serves you as a beginner well.

Often brands like Strong Wind, Yamaha, and 3rd Avenue will have great options available for beginners and more advanced players, so make sure you look at the most famous brands first.

Not only have they been around for years and perfected the art of making instruments for all corners of the market, but they can also afford to sell better guitars at lower prices.

After all, there’s a reason they’ve grown to dominate the market!

Recommended guitars

Classical guitars for beginners

When it comes to classical guitars for beginners, then three great options to look at are Strong Wind, Yamaha and 3rd Avenue.

Strong Wind

Best For Beginners

Tedscore: 8.2

Price: £49.99

Designed for beginners

Value for money: 8.5/10

More features: Comes with gig bag.


  • Very easy to play
  • Feels comfortable for beginners
  • Affordable


  • Not the most unique acoustic guitar (if that matters to you)

Strong Wind classical guitars provide great value for money, coming in at under £50. The beginner model listed above also includes a soft case which will be ideal for protecting this guitar from the elements during cold winter school walks.


Best For Beginners

Tedscore: 7.6

Price: £102

Designed for beginners

Value for money: 7.5/10

More features: ¾ good for kids


  • Very easy to play
  • Feels comfortable for beginners
  • Affordable


  • Not the most unique acoustic guitar (if that matters to you)

The Yamaha model is more expensive at £102, and it doesn’t include a case, but what’s lacking in accessories is made up for in build quality.

Yamaha are known the world over as a leading manufacturer of instruments. They have been making great guitars for all levels of players for decades now, and this model is no exception.

In terms of the best all-around package deal, though, 3rd Avenue really takes the biscuit here.

3rd Avenue

Best For Beginners

Tedscore: 7.9

Price: £32.99

Designed for beginners

Value for money: 7.5/10

More features: Comes with gig bag.


  • Very easy to play
  • Feels comfortable for beginners
  • Affordable


  • Not the most unique acoustic guitar (if that matters to you)

The guitar is good quality; it comes with a good case, some picks and a capo, which will be very helpful during the early stages of learning.

All this will only cost you £45.70 too. What a bargain!

Classical guitars for the intermediate player

Things get more interesting for intermediate players with the introduction of the Anygig Classical Guitar.


Best For Beginners

Tedscore: 7.9

Price: £32.99

Designed for beginners

Value for money: 7.5/10

More features: Comes with gig bag.


  • Very easy to play
  • Feels comfortable for beginners
  • Affordable


  • Not the most unique acoustic guitar (if that matters to you)

Next is the FALTDCLAS 20th Anniversary Edition.


Best For Beginners

Tedscore: 7.9

Price: £299

Designed for intermediates

Value for money: 7.2/10

More features: Higher build quality


  • Very easy to play
  • Feels comfortable for beginners
  • Much higher build quality


  • More expensive

Just like the Anygig, it also has electronics in it, meaning that it can be plugged into an amplifier.

However, the main difference is that it also has a regular acoustic body and can be played as a regular acoustic instrument which the Anygig can’t.

If you want something a little more traditional, then this is a good option.

Classical guitars for the serious classical player

For the most serious classical guitar players out there, like pros and serious students, it’s not best to recommend specific models.

Here’s why.

By this stage in your development, you will have developed a set of unique musical tastes and traits, and this same uniqueness will be reflected in your taste when it comes to buying an instrument.

As such, you’re not looking for a good guitar. You’re looking for a guitar that meets your own unique needs.

How can you know if a guitar meets these needs? Try it first.

So what should you try? 

Some great names in the classical guitar luthier world are Duncan Africa, Rafal Turkowiak, Magore and Stoll Guitars.

All of these fine companies believe in making instruments for individuals rather than the mass market and will be keen to get to know what you want and ensure your needs are well and truly met.

Pros and cons of a classical guitar

  • Beautiful Tone
  • A great solo instrument
  • Also, opportunities to join classical guitar orchestras and make friends
  • Often the hardest guitar discipline
  • Not much material from popular culture
  • Your child may not find it as relatable as acoustic or electric guitar
How a classical guitar differs from an acoustic guitar

The most significant difference between classical and acoustic guitars is that classical guitars use nylon strings, whereas acoustic guitars use steel strings.

For this reason, acoustic guitars are often called steel-string acoustic guitars to aid the differentiation.

Whilst there’s some crossover in the techniques used to play both instruments – both can be played “fingerstyle”, for example – steel-string acoustic guitars are also played with a hose of other techniques such as plectrums, slides and thumb picks.

Classical guitars do not use these techniques. 

Classical guitar technique also has a very different physicality to it.

A classical guitar requires the use of a footstool to be played. This means there’s much more emphasis and tradition surrounding the correct posture and technique. You also seldom play classical guitar stood up with a strap.

I’ve only seen it happen once!

You will also need to grow your nails to play it too.

Acoustic guitar, on the other hand, often uses a strap so that the player can play standing. 

Many acoustic players do play sat down but again, the posture is different to that of classical guitar. 

This different posture, which involves resting the guitar over one of your thighs instead of between your legs, also makes the technique of playing slightly different too.

Finally, the sound of the two is different because each uses additional material to construct the strings.

The steel-string acoustic guitar has much more of an aggressive twang to the sound, which comes from the steel strings themselves.

Classical guitars, on the other hand, use nylon strings which have a much warmer and mellower tone.

Classical guitar anatomy

Next, let’s turn our attention to the actual anatomy of classical guitars themselves.

It’s all well and good for me to sit here and give you advice about the neck, soundbox or body, but unless you know what those things are, you’ll never fully understand the advice I’m giving you.


The fretboard is the slab of wood that runs along the surface of the guitar neck. It gets its name from its job on the guitar, which is to house the frets.

The frets are the small metal lines which run vertically down the neck and are used to help create the notes when the guitar strings are pressed against them.

Don’t confuse the fretboard with the neck as a whole, though. The neck is the entire structure that connects the headstock (see below) to the main body of the guitar.

The fretboard is just one component of the neck.


The soundboard is housed inside the main body of the guitar and is a key component of what makes the guitar project itself with strength and clarity.

The soundboard combines with other parts of the guitar to create the soundbox and main body of the guitar.

Nut and Saddle

If you look at the point where the strings rest as they come to the end of the neck and move into the headstock, you’ll see a small piece of plastic that they rest on. 

This is the nut.

Its job is the support the strings.

Now look down towards the other end of the strings, and you’ll see a small piece of wood attached to the outer body of the guitar where the strings are also resting.

This is the saddle. 

Its job is to attach the strings to the body of the guitar and stabilise them.

Head and Tuning Pegs

The head of the guitar is also another point where the strings are attached to the guitar, but it’s worth noting that they connect here in a different way than to the saddle.

At the head, the strings are attached to tuning pegs which are small fork-like objects that have the strings wrapped around them.

By turning these tuning pegs, you can tighten or loosen the strings, which will help affect the pitch of each string as you tune it.


 Finally, the tonewood of a guitar refers to the wood that it has been built from. 

There are many different kinds of wood to choose from, and each will have a subtly different sound from the next.

Cedar top has been the most traditional choice for classical or Spanish guitars for a long time, but it’s also being used very commonly in the production of steel-string guitars too.

Spruce is an excellent all-around option which suits many different styles of playing.

Maple and mahogany tops are found, but most commonly, they are used for the back and sides of the guitar rather than the top itself.

What strings do I need?

A classical guitar needs to have nylon strings. A nylon string is what gives the classical guitar its warm yet smooth tone.

A nylon string is also the easiest and softest string on your fingers, and since the classical guitar is a style of guitar playing that requires you to play with your fingers, nylon strings are the only way to go when buying a classical guitar.

Guitar Size

The size of the classical guitar you buy will depend very much on who you are buying it for. 

For younger or smaller children, it may be best to go with a three-quarter sized model.

These have smaller bodies which are better suited to the tiny hands and limbs of children. They will also be much easier for the child to reach around because they are simply smaller in size.

However, if you suspect your child is due a growth spurt, then it may be best to get a full-sized classical guitar so that they grow into it.

A full seized model is also best for adults.

Guitars for children

There are plenty of classical guitars on the market designed for children. Since entry-level classical guitars are becoming a larger market sector, many makers have taken the production of entry-level classical or Spanish guitars with an increasing level of seriousness.

So how are these entry-level classical guitars unique from the kind of Spanish guitar that might be purchased by an intermediate or advanced player?

First of all, they tend to be much smaller.

Often they are three-quarter sized models meaning that the overall scale of the guitar is smaller. 

This makes them much easier and more well suited to a smaller person and smaller limbs.

These guitars also tend to be built out of much cheaper and purposefully durable materials.

As much as we all love our kids, we also know that accidents happen.

So when they do, isn’t it better if the guitar is built with those accidents in mind?

It’s far better to have a dent in something that costs less and is easy to replace if need be than some priceless old antique of an instrument!

How to care for your classical guitar

The first step to caring for your classical guitar is to ensure that it is well protected. This means getting a good case.

You can get either a soft case or a hard case.

A soft case that will be easier to transport but offers less protection.

These are almost like guitar backpacks. They have straps so they can be worn like backpacks and often have plenty of pockets and extra storage so you can comfortably transport your guitar around and spare strings, tuners, sheet music and any other important accessories.

The second option is to go for a hard case that will help keep your instrument safe and protected from wear and tear but are far less convenient to carry around with you.

A hard case can’t be worn like a backpack, and often storage is compromised to gain greater protection.

Hard Case

Best For All Levels

Tedscore: 8


Designed for all levels

Value for money: 8/10

More features: Sturdy design for maximum protection

  • Keeps guitar well protected
  • Less portable than a soft case 

Once you’re sorted with a case, make sure you use a simple, clean cloth to wipe down your guitar before and after you use it every time.

This will stop the build-up of dirt, grime and grease and ensure that the wood stays in good condition and that the strings last as long as possible.

Technical and set-up issues

This is where things get tricky. A set-up refers to items like adjusting the height of the strings (known as the “action” of a guitar), how the bridge holds the strings or the relief in the neck.

For many beginners, this is a very complex area and is something you shouldn’t attempt to do a set-up if you don’t know-how.

The best thing to do is take the guitar to your local shop and ask for a set-up. It’s very cheap (usually £20-30), and a good set-up can last for months and months. Perhaps even years, depending on how often you play.

 Accessories for your guitar

Whilst the guitars themselves are important, no guide to buying a classical guitar would be complete without a list of accessories that classical guitar players need.

Many beginner packs include these accessories (another reason why they are such a good deal!), but if you do want to buy them separately, then you should purchase the following.


Best For All Levels

Tedscore: 6


Designed for all levels

Value for money: 6/10

More features: Portable and lightweight

  • Better for kids walking to school
  • Offers less protection than the hard case
A Tuner

This will make tuning quick and easy. This clip-on tuner is ideal for either acoustic or electric acoustic.

Often beginners haven’t yet developed the skills they need to tune by ear. Having an electronic device to tune for you is perfect for new players.

Clip-On Tuner

Best For All Levels

Tedscore: 9


Designed for all levels

Value for money: 9/10

More features: Very clear display

  • An essential piece of equipment
  • Small and easy to forget 


As was mentioned above, a case is a must.

The two types of cases available to you are a soft case and a hard case. See the links above for some cases that we recommend.

Also, try to think about which type of case would best suit you or the person you are buying for.

Whilst a hard case provides great protection, it can make for a difficult walk to school.

Likewise, a soft case is far easier to carry around, but it won’t fare so well in the hold of the school bus five days a week!

Music Stand

You’ll need a place to put your sheet music when you play (and no, balanced across your knee is never a good idea).

A music stand is a must-have for any student. 

Music Stand

Best For All Levels

Tedscore: 10


Designed for all levels

Value for money: 10/10

More features: Portable design

  • An essential piece of equipment
  • There aren’t any. You need one. End of.

Neck Strap

A strap for classical guitar is much less common, but you do see some models with them. It’s very much a feature that has been borrowed from the acoustic guitar and electric guitar.

This could be a worthwhile investment if you prefer to play standing.


Best For All Levels

Tedscore: 8


Designed for all levels

Value for money: 7/10

More features: Wide design for comfort

  • An essential piece of equipment
  • Material can itch 
Foot Stool

For classical guitarists, a footstool is a must. This will help you (or your child) keep a good posture when they play.

And a good posture means better technique, less playing fatigue and ultimately, more minor playing injuries.

Foot Stool

Best For All Levels

Tedscore: 9


Designed for all levels

Value for money: 9/10

More features: Adjustable height

  • An essential piece of equipment
  • May feel awkward at first


We’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ve looked at all sorts of different guitars, from entry-level to mid-range in price. And from mid-range to custom made instruments for serious pros.

No matter what you are buying, though, the key thing to take away when you purchase a new Spanish guitar is to get something that suits your unique needs.

Those needs might be simple things. They might be complex.

But if you are unsure about what to buy, here’s a handy summary for each ability level.

Summary Boxes

Best Classical Guitar For Beginners – Strong Wind

Strong Wind

Best For Beginners

Tedscore: 7.3


Designed for beginners

Value for money: 7/10

More features: Great for kids

  • Cost-effective
  • Full-sized so your child can grow into it
  • Great build quality
  • It May need to be replaced if classical guitar becomes a serious hobby
  • It might be too big for small children
  • Doesn’t come with many accessories

Best Classical Guitar For Intermediates – Freshman Slim Body

Freshman Slim Body

Best For Intermediate/Advanced

Tedscore: 7.8


Designed for intermediates/advanced

Value for money: 8/10

More features: Comfortable body shape

  • Great sound
  • Great Build quality
  • Value for money
  • Less resonance
  • Doesn’t come with accessories

Best Classical Guitar For Pros – Get something made by a good luthier

Custom Made Instrument

Best For Advanced

Tedscore: 9.5

Price: Upwards of £1500 depending on the luthier

Designed for advanced

Value for money: 9/10

More features: It will last you a lifetime

  • Get a unique instrument for you
  • It will meet your unique needs
  • Made to fit around you physically
  • Will last for years
  • Will help you make a living
  • Will cost a lot, but it’s a good investment
  • Can take a long time to make the instrument


How much does a good classical guitar cost?

What is the best way to buy a classical guitar?

The best deals for musical instruments are usually online. An online purchase from a retailer like Amazon or Gear4Music will be perfect for most beginners and intermediates. However, if you’re a pro, then don’t buy online.

You’re likely to want to spend thousands, so always try first before buying.

What is the best classical guitar for the money?

This depends totally on the player. What’s good for a beginner isn’t good for an intermediate and what’s suitable for an intermediate isn’t good for a pro.

Is a classical guitar easier to play?

To think about it as being more accessible or more difficult is to miss the point. It’s just different from an acoustic or electric guitar.

It has its own quirks, which make it unique rather than harder.

And the fact that it’s different from its two guitar cousins (so to speak) means that you can’t really make a direct comparison.

All you can do is try it out and see if you enjoy it. 

Which are the best classical guitars?

Good brands include Yamaha, Freshman and Anygig, but again, this will depend on what level of instrument you want to buy. 

How is a classical guitar different from an acoustic guitar?

The main differences are that a classical guitar is a nylon-string instrument, whereas a normal acoustic guitar uses steel strings. 

The posture and technique are also different, and this is detailed in the article above.

What is a classical guitar?

A classical guitar (also called the nylon string guitar) is a member of the guitar family of instruments which, as the name suggests, is often used in classical music.

For more information about the classical guitar, its history and origins, take a look at this great article.

What is the difference between an acoustic and a classical guitar?

The main differences are the strings and the musical application of the instrument as a whole. The steel strings of an acoustic guitar create a more nasal, twangy tone, whereas the nylon strings of a classical create a much warmer, mellower tone.