Classical guitars are known for their rich, warm tones and comfortable playability. When you look at the higher end of quality, you'll find some truly beautiful instruments that sound and feel majestic when played.
However, choosing a high-end classical guitar can be a bit of a tricky process - and you want to make sure you pick the best model if you're going to invest a large amount of money on one.
If you're on the hunt, you've come to the right place - because in this guide, we're going to share the highest quality classical guitars on the public market. We're also going to give you a guide packed with essential tips to help you find the best model for your needs!
One of our favorites is the Godin MultiAc. This unique-looking instrument has a faithful classical tone but is packed full of modern features and design techniques. It's somewhat like a classical guitar from the future!
Although some musicians might prefer something a bit different, classical musicians have come to the right place. Keep reading for our full exposé of the finest classical guitars on the market today.
Quick Summary of the Best High-End Classical Guitars
Best High-End Classical Guitars
The following classical guitars are truly the cream of the crop. Sure, they're going to set you back a couple of dollars - but it's totally worth the price if you are serious about your craft as a classical guitarist.
The guitars below cover a budget range from around $1000 to $4500, so you'll be able to find something suitable if you are looking for 'entry-level high-end' or something truly at the top of the spectrum.
- Body Shape: MultiAc Deluxe
- Electronics: LR Baggs Custom
- String Type: Nylon
- Wood Used: Spruce top, Mahogany back/sides
As soon as your eyes fall on this guitar, you can instantly tell it's something special. This uniquely shaped and styled guitar has a sound that stands out as much as its looks - and has a high level of expressivity and articulation.
While the front face is clearly unique, this guitar is also a lot slimmer than most acoustic guitars - having a thickness closer to a standard electric guitar like a Strat or Tele. This makes it very comfortable to play. But don't let its body profile deceive you; this guitar's sound is full-bodied, rich, and warm - you really couldn't tell it's half as thick from listening to it.
The electronics in this guitar are particularly attractive and come with some extra controls and features over typical electronics. You get a 3-band EQ, a master volume control, a saturation slider, and even the ability to blend between two pickups, all from the front of the guitar. The way the sliders are built into the guitar is very cool and adds to the unique aesthetic of this instrument.
If you're looking for a unique and premium instrument to play classical music with, the Godin MultiAc will not disappoint. This guitar is truly worthy of classical guitar players at the top of their career.
- Body Shape: Grand Auditorium/Yamaha CG
- Electronics: Atmosfeel Electronics with Mic, Pickup, and Contact Sensor
- String Type: Nylon
- Wood Used: Sitka Spruce top, Walnut back/sides
Offering a great entry point into the deluxe classical guitar marketplace, the Yamaha NCX3 is a versatile instrument providing a hybrid traditional/modern approach.
Featuring nylon strings for a true classical sound, this guitar is also fitted with a high-quality electronic system for amplification and recording. This gives you the best of traditional classical guitar tones with modern flexibility.
The neck is wide and curved, as is common in nylon string guitars, giving it a fantastic, comfortable feeling for classical-style playing. Another modern addition to this acoustic guitar is the choice to include a cutaway - making it easier to play the higher-up notes.
The tone is rich and dynamic, and at this price point, there isn't much to be sniffed at. This is definitely one of the best classical guitars in the $1000 dollar range!
- Body Shape: Lightweight Spanish Flamenco
- Electronics: Fishman Prefix ProBlend system
- String Type: Nylon
- Wood Used: Solid Spruce top, Indian Rosewood back/sides
This flamenco guitar gives players premium tonewoods, a sweet tone, and a full set of pro features. It is designed to offer a faster playing feel thanks to the unique construction style lending itself to flamenco techniques. Cordoba has decades of experience building classical and flamenco guitars, so you can rest assured that this has been crafted by some of the finest luthiers in this corner of the market.
Being a nylon string guitar, it has a soft yet warm tone, and you can really feel and hear the attention to detail that has been put into it during the construction process. For example, it has Spanish-style fan bracing (common in flamenco guitars), giving the guitar's top more resonance and vibrational freedom.
You can also use this as an electric guitar, thanks to the built-in pickups. This lets you harness the power of both traditional classical guitars and electric guitars in one package - nice!
- Body Shape: Grand Concert
- Electronics: Taylor ES-N
- String Type: Nylon
- Wood Used: Spruce Top, Rosewood back/sides
For starters, we think the neck design of this guitar is something magical - not only the aesthetic but also the feel. It just feels fantastic to touch and is super comfortable to play.
A unique feature of this guitar is the wood thickness used throughout the body. Taylor has precisely engineered the thickness of the wood to maximize tone and resonance - while also being lightweight and comfortable.
The included Taylor ES-N electronics have a decent level of customization and let you shape your plugged-in tone in detail. That said, the unplugged tone is already incredibly tasty. It has superior sustain and dynamics and projects your skilled playing with a high level of accuracy.
The grand concert body style promotes comfortable playing and high tonal balance. The 812ce-N's body is slightly smaller than an average gand concert shape, making it easier to hold and less fatiguing. So, this is a great choice for fingerstyle players or guitarists with shorter arms. Don't worry about the size reducing the volume, though, as the Rosewood back and sides and solid Spruce top offer a sparkling and full projection.
If you're looking for a gorgeous, well-balanced nylon string guitar with a comfortable shape and premium quality - this model from Taylor could be a prime pick.
- Body Shape: Classical
- Electronics: No
- String Type: Nylon
- Wood Used: Solid American Cedar top, Solid Madagascar Rosewood back/sides.
Don't let looks deceive you - while this guitar looks fairly ordinary, the sound and quality are far from average. This is an extremely well-made, authentic classical guitar from Yamaha, offering perfect playability and an addictive tone.
Using a very traditional aesthetic, this guitar takes decades of guitar manufacturing experience and condenses it into a majestic instrument. The tonewoods are the finest around, the specs and shape are superior, and the tone is something to be admired. If you are a pro guitarist on the hunt for a classical guitar, this is one of the best out there.
- Body Shape: Rodriguez
- Electronics: No
- String Type: Nylon
- Wood Used: Solid Canadian Red Cedar top, Solid Indian Rosewood back/sides
If you haven't heard of the name Rodriguez - they are a family widely regarded as master classical guitar luthiers and have been building the finest guitars for three generations. This guitar is based on a 1970s design by famous luthier Miguel Rodriguez Serrano. It has a very Spanish sound, with lush round bass and rich, crystalline highs.
This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime guitar - and has incredible quality and engineering across the board. The design and sound of this guitar is very faithful to early classical guitars - and the luthier's skill is masterful.
This guitar has been created without any electronics in order to avoid any kind of compromise or acoustic interference - creating the purest tone possible. The wood thickness, bracing, measurements, neck specs, and every other element have been perfected through countless hours of design and engineering refinement.
This harnesses the best of traditional design and contemporary engineering. The 'recipe' is true to classical guitars, but the way it's been made utilizes the cutting-edge precision of modern tools - creating a truly one-of-a-kind guitar.
Best High-End Classical Guitars Buyer's Guide
If you're in the market for a high-end classical guitar, chances are you're prepared to invest a decent amount of money.
When you're spending this much cash, you want to make sure that you are finding the perfect guitar for your needs. This can take a while to work out - but it's completely worth doing it. Guitars in this price range are basically as good as they get - so there won't be any qualms in terms of quality. The main thing is working out which designs and specs will be the best match for you.
Make sure you spend some time considering the following topics, as this will help you narrow down your search!
One of the first things to consider is what kind of body shape you are looking for.
Traditionally, classical guitars use the 'classical' body shape (imagine that!). This shape looks like a figure 8, with symmetrical curves. These are typically slightly smaller and thinner than a dreadnaught with curvier edges.
However, you can find many newer classical guitars using the 'grand auditorium' shape. This is a more modern design that features a cutaway - making it easier to reach the higher frets.
These are the most common shapes for classical guitars, and they both have slightly different tones and suitability for playing styles.
If you think you want easier access for higher frets, go for a cutaway - otherwise, I'd suggest that you go for the classical style. Ultimately, the choice is up to you!
The next thing to think about is the string type.
Typically, classical guitars use nylon strings. These have a softer, warmer tone and are lighter on the fingers. If you want to achieve a true classical tone, then nylon strings are a must.
However, in today's age, many musicians find that nylon strings are too quiet and not bright enough for some performances. This is why you can now find a lot of classical guitars fitted with metal strings - changing the feel and tone of the guitar.
The choice here depends on what sound quality you are looking for and, to some extent, how you like the guitar to feel.
If you're looking for a more authentic sound, nylon strings are the way forward. But, if you want a classical guitar with a more modern sound, have a look at a steel-string guitar.
In this price range, you'll find that most classical guitars come fitted with electronic pickups - although not all of them. So this is a very important consideration.
The benefits of built-in electronics are clear: it's easier for recording or amplifying your guitar. If you plan on playing on stage, you'll probably want to go for a model with a pickup. Although, you can still use microphones if that suits your performance style.
That said, electronics come at an extra cost. For example, a $4000 classical guitar with a pickup will probably have a slightly lower quality than a $4000 without one because the R&D budget has been spent differently.
Generally, I would suggest going for a model with a pickup, as it facilitates a bunch of guitar-playing activities.
The tonewood used in a guitar has a large effect on its sound, usually changing the brightness, resonance, and tone.
This is quite a nuanced decision, which may take some experimentation and studying to hear the difference. However, if you are looking at guitars in this price range, then you are probably already a bit of an expert.
Softer woods create mellower, warmer tones, like spruce and cedar. But harder woods create a brighter tone, like rosewood and mahogany. Do some research into the type of wood you would need to achieve the sound you desire.
the neck of a guitar is one of the most important areas in terms of comfort and playability. Because the neck is where the majority of dexterous work is performed, you want to make sure that it feels like an extension of your body.
This is easier said than done because there is essentially an infinite range of neck spec combinations to choose from. The best way to find your feelings is to try out as many guitars as you can and make note of which specs feel best for you.
The main elements of neck specs to think about are
- Scale length - Determines the length of the neck and how much space is between each fret.
- Nut width - Determines the width of the neck and how much room there is from the top to bottom of each fret.
- Neck shape - There are a range of neck shapes that describe how the back side of the neck is formed. Typically C or D shape necks are the most popular for classical guitars, although some players prefer V or U.
- Fingerboard radius - This measures how curved or flat the fingerboard is. Curved fingerboards are known to be better for playing chords, whereas flat boards are better for solos and melodic work.
These specs are quite specific, and we don't have room to go into much more detail than this right here. But we suggest you spend some time researching the options available and play different types to get a feel for what you like. If you're looking for something that fits you like a glove, it might take a bit of research - but it's worth it!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which classical guitar is the best?
Are expensive classical guitars worth it?
Expensive classical guitars are absolutely worth it - if you have the budget and needs. Because they are an acoustic instrument, much of their sound quality depends on their manufacturing and design - which can be improved with higher costs.
Do old classical guitars sound better?
Whether old classical guitars sound better depends on a couple of factors. If the guitar isn't looked after well, chances are the quality will be damaged. Although many types of tonewood mature with age and become even richer and smoother in sound quality.
Overall, the best high-end classical guitar depends on your unique preferences and tastes. Spend some time looking over the considerations above to make sure you get the best one for you - it's worth the time!
One of our favorite models is the Godin MultiAc. It has a beautiful and unique appearance and a highly customizable electronic circuit. It's also not the most expensive model on this list but has super high value for money. It's also very comfortable, thanks to the thinner body depth. This is truly a one-of-a-kind classical guitar that makes the most of modern technology but captures an authentic classical sound.