Classical guitars are instruments that are usually used in spots where art is well coveted, and music is taken as an art form. It’s a far cry from the typical acoustic guitar that we’re used to – since classical guitars are usually made with rounded sounding tonewoods with less punch and with strings made of nylon instead of the crunchy and punchy tone and reverberation of steel strings. This magnificent instrument is a beauty to play with, especially that it requires a level of intricacy and eloquence when delivering a musical performance. Intimidating as it may be, it’s still a friendly instrument for those who want to get started on it as a hobby or profession. Hence, we created a quick list of several of the best classical guitars under $200. Check it out below!
Top 8 Classical Guitars Under $200 2021
1. Cordoba C1M Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Protégé Series – The Balanced Choice
- Size: Full-Sized
- Material: Mahogany and Spruce
- Thickness: 14.63 inches
- Weight: 3.19 pounds
- Outstanding feature: It’s a well-put together entry from Cordoba that’s hard to go wrong with
Cordoba manages to put out a fight by offering an affordable classic guitar with premium looks and amazing tonality and sound. The Cordoba C1M Classical Guitar from their Protege Series manages to get the point across clearly – you can always start small when trying out such niche hobbies and interests. The acoustic nylon guitar performs surprisingly well, not to mention the fact that it actually feels nice to the touch and performs just as well. It may not be the best acoustic nylon classical guitar out there, but we simply can’t deny how much the Cordoba CM1 manages to balance everything out – cutting off much of the price while making sure the overall quality is not sacrificed.
- Elegant-looking spruce top and mahogany sides
- Great tones and sonic projection
- It’s a straightforward well-thought of guitar
- Quite an array of options for sizes
- People may prefer a darker looking finish on the guitar
- People may only take it as a gateway guitar that won’t last a lifetime
- Some players may prefer a thicker neck
2. Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA1) – The Standard Choice
- Size: Full size
- Material: Spruce top, agathis body, nato wood neck, purpleheart fretboard
- Thickness: 6 inches
- Weight: 4.6 pounds
- Outstanding feature: it’s a premier-looking, standard classical guitar that’s quite hard to go wrong
Ibanez’s entry doesn’t leave much room for questions, as the guitar manufacturer makes sure to put out an entry that makes jaws drop even from across the room. This guitar sports a spruce top, agathis wood back and sides, and a purpleheart fretboard, a combination that stands uncommon yet manages to pull through with great sonic projection and unparalleled performance.
- Amazing build quality
- Great tones and classic aesthetic
- Astounding sound projection with exquisite inclusions
- Some may prefer a different neck feel
- The body could be bigger
- The purpleheart fretboard may take a bit of getting used to
3. Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Solid Red Cedar, (1OP-US) – The Versatile Choice
- Size: Full sized
- Material: cedar top, mahogany back, sides, and neck
- Thickness: 6.5 inches
- Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Outstanding feature: super customizable, great tone and overall sound quality
Alhambra’s entry is sure to make people think twice, as they manage to offer quite a customizable guitar. They offer if you’d prefer a cutaway or not, a high gloss finish or an open pore finish, and you can even pick if you’d like a red cedar top or a Canadian cedar top. This ultimately allows for players to dig deep and pick a guitar that suits them well and that they can comfortably play with. With regards to sound quality, the Alhambra 1C-US manages to put out great warm tones and amazing sound projection, overall making it hard to complain especially that it’s being sold at such a steal of a price.
- It’s offered in different finishes and cutaways
- It looks super good
- It’s a pretty versatile guitar that sounds astonishingly excellent
- The cutaway proves limiting to left handed players
- People may opt for a spruce top instead of cedar
- People may opt for a better looking gloss finish
4. Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA2) – A Wise Alternative
- Size: Full sized
- Material: Spruce top Agathis back and sides
- Thickness: 6 inches
- Weight: 4.55 pounds
- Outstanding feature: standard classical guitar looks and sounds but offered with a different layer of uniqueness
Ibanez’s second entry proves to be a stunner, as the GA2 easily manages to wow an audience. The spruce top it has makes up for quite a beautiful level of sound projection, while the agathis on the other hand makes sure to offer quite a warm and delicate tonality. The nato wood neck and purpleheart fretboard also gives a different kind of playfeel which may take a bit of getting used to. Nonetheless, it’s a superb guitar that one would have a hard time not liking.
- A well-balanced guitar in terms of aesthetic and quality of sound
- Great color and sound projection
- Superb and on-point build quality
- Some may opt for a Mahogany back and sides instead
- The nato and purpleheart’s feel may take a bit of getting used to
- Only serves as a gateway guitar that you’d change once you get better at playing
5. Pyle 36” Classical Acoustic Guitar-3/4 Junior Size 6 Linden Wood Guitar – The Balanced Option
- Size: ¾ Junior
- Material: Basswood top and maple back, sides and neck
- Thickness: 3.4 inches
- Weight: 4.99 pounds
- Outstanding feature: great set of inclusions and peculiar sounding guitar
Pyle’s entry to the list offers an amazing looking classical guitar made from a mix of basswood and maple. It offers quite a peculiar mix of punchiness and warmth, but at least it manages to deliver quite an astounding level of sound projection. The inclusions on the other hand only make things questionable, as no one really uses straps nor picks to play on a classical level. The clip-on tuner and extra strings prove to be a worthy inclusion though, but the microfiber cleaning cloth just adds as a poor excuse to raise the price of the guitar. Nonetheless, it’s a worthy pick up if you’re just starting out, but surely you’d move into a better guitar a little way down the road.
- Great build quality
- Interestingly peculiar tonewood
- Charming finish
- Some players may not appreciate the tone it delivers
- Some may opt out of the inclusions for a cheaper or better quality guitar
- The pale aesthetic may not be appealing to some people
6. Classical Guitar with Soft Nylon Strings by Hola! Music – An Interesting Choice
- Size: ½ to Full
- Material: spruce top and mahogany sides
- Thickness: 5.6 inches
- Weight: 6.49 pounds
- Outstanding feature: very classic build and is pretty easy to pick up and play
Hola! Music’s sole entry to this list manages to fail in disappointment, as this classical guitar is packed with surprises that you never knew it would manage to pull through with. Aside from the ability to choose from a flexible array of sizes, Hola! Also offers a full sized cutaway variant for those players looking for more frets to play. The spruce top and mahogany back and sides is a classic choice to any classical guitar build, yet the Hola! Falls short as other guitar luthiers have managed to come up with a more superior sounding guitar with the same tonewoods. Nonetheless, the Hola manages to offer quite a splendid sound and overall tonality, we just hope they could cut the prices off a bit so they could manage to compete better.
- Great, approachable price point
- Never-go-wrong build quality
- Classic aesthetic
- May be too simple for some
- People may prefer a more peculiar tonewood used
- Guitar luthiers have managed to build a better sounding guitar with the same type of wood
7. ADM Full Size Classical Nylon Strings Acoustic Guitar – The Peculiar Choice
- Size: Full
- Material: Spruce top, basswood back and sides
- Thickness: 3.75 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Outstanding feature: great set of inclusions and amazing overall build
ADM’s sole entry on the list offers a spruce topped guitar with basswood sides and back. It comes in a natural high gloss finish, giving the classical guitar very acoustic-looking aesthetics. Sound-wise, ADM’s entry is particularly not that much of a stand out, but it does manage to deliver a certain level of quality and tonality that you could only get from this guitar. Problem is, you’d definitely be opting for a more expensive guitar in the long run, as this is more of a gateway instrument than something that’s supposed to last a lifetime.
- Astounding number of inclusions
- Peculiar looks for a classical guitar
- Great sound quality and build
- People may opt for a better classical guitar with no inclusions
- The poplar neck may take a bit of getting used to
- Not everyone may like the basswood’s warmth
8. WINZZ 39 Inches Classical Guitar – The Different Choice
- Size: full sized
- Material: basswood top back and sides, richlite fingerboard, birch wood neck
- Thickness: 6.5 inches
- Weight: 4.49 pounds
- Outstanding feature: great set of inclusion, passable build quality, glossy finish
The thing about the WINZZ is that it managed to combine several peculiar tonewoods but only managed to put out a passable instrument. With a basswood top, back, and sides further strengthened by the use of birch on the neck and richlite on the fretboard, it’s a weird amalgamation of sorts that can only put out so much great tone and sound projection. It’s inclusions make up for its lackluster quality somehow, managing to be able to become a great pick me up but not an axe for long term use.
- Well finished guitar
- Amazing inclusions and amenable quality
- The guitar feels nice to play on
- People may opt for more peculiar tonewoods
- People may want a better guitar with no inclusions for the same price
- People may want a different finish
Tips On Choosing the Perfect Classical Guitar For You
Looking for the perfect classical guitar to play might stand a bit intimidating – especially since there are several options out there to look out for. Truth be told, it’s actually more simple than you would imagine, as you’d get to choose between three main types (or styles) of classical guitar builds then you’d mix and match the tonewood and inclusions (tuning pegs, strings, bridge, inlays, etc.) you prefer.
The Three Styles You Can Choose From
First off the list is the classical guitar that we’re all used to. Most classical guitars have flat fingerboards (for easier fretting) and relatively wider necks (for ease of running through singular notes as it is with classical music.). The strings are also farther apart from one another, ensuring easier plucking for the player using it. The overall set-up allows for ease of play on more intricate pieces with complicated arrangements and fretting, and the fingerboard stays purposely flat since the thumb lays mostly on the middle. This design choice was done so the fingers have more ease of access and reach to the overall board – both across and along the fretboard.
Up next on the list is the flamenco guitar, which is noticeably more slim than a classical guitar. The most notable difference here would be the existence of the tap plate (golpeador), as flamenco style of music is quite percussive and would require some reinforced structure added to it to make sure that it doesn’t give in (or worse, break). Also, the flamenco guitar has a flat angled neck for lower action and little to no resonance (which means after a note is played, it dies out easily without reverberation extended).
Lastly, we have the hybrid or crossover classical guitar, which offer narrower necks, longer scale lengths, and traditional acoustic bracing patterns for the same amount of response and reverberation. Some of them also offer a cutaway, more or less mimicking the vibe and feel of an acoustic guitar yet still managing to sound like a classical guitar. Some more complicated versions even boast electric pickups and truss rods, which may come a bit excessive for classical playing unless one finds use for them.
The Differences of a Classical Guitar From an Acoustic Guitar
For one, the classical guitar has a flatter fingerboard, unlike that of the acoustic guitar’s more rounded and C shaped neck. Also, the bracing is different – with the classical guitar having a lighter structure with a fan-like shape for better resonance. The strings used are also different, with the classical guitar making use of nylon strings for a thicker and mellower sound while acoustic guitars use steel strings that are punchier and more crisp. The bridge is also different, as classic guitars have wrap-around bridges while acoustic guitars make use of pegs. Lastly, there’s the tuners, as classical tuners often make use of horizontally winding tuners that tighten from the back of the headstock while acoustic guitars have vertical winding tuners that tighten from the side of the headstock.
The differences in build ultimately contribute to the differences in playstyle and handling, which trickles down to how the guitar would sound and what songs you may deem apt to play on them. These are the things you would consider in grabbing yourself an acoustic or classical guitar, as it puts a fork in the road of your choice despite both guitars looking and feeling quite the same.
What to Expect From $200 and Under
Let’s not lie to ourselves: we are mostly used to seeing good quality classical guitar at around the $400-$600 range. Thing is, the price can sit a bit gatekeep-ey, as not everyone is willing to shell out that amount of money just to pursue a hobby that may eventually turn into passion. Nonetheless, we have searched far and wide for classical guitar offerings of $200 and under, and here is the final tally for all of them.
To start on the summary, let’s first go over the tonewoods. The most common tone wood used on a classical guitar would be spruce on the top and mahogany on the sides. From our selections, we can see that most of them have spruce tops such as the Cordoba C1M Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Protégé Series, Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA1), Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA2), and Classical Guitar with Soft Nylon Strings by Hola! Music. The spruce top gives the classical guitar its distinct sound projection, while the mahogany back and sides is what gives the guitar its trademark warmth that it’s well known for. You can get this sound from the Classical Guitar with Soft Nylon Strings by Hola! Music, Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Solid Red Cedar, (1OP-US), and Cordoba C1M Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Protégé Series. The classical guitars are also offered in different sizes, but they’re mostly for ease of playability depending on the guitar size vis-a-vis player size. That’s why the Pyle 36” Classical Acoustic Guitar-3/4 Junior Size 6 Linden Wood Guitar comes at a bit smaller size, while Classical Guitar with Soft Nylon Strings by Hola! Music and the Cordoba C1M Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Protégé Series offer sizes from ½ Junior up to the 39” full.
Let’s circle back and talk about our top 3 classical guitars under 200 dollars for this year, the Cordoba C1M Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Protégé Series, Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA1), and the Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Solid Red Cedar, (1OP-US).
First off the list is the Cordoba C1M Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar, Protégé Series, a stunning spruce topped guitar with mahogany back and sides that’s not afraid to shy away from admitting it’s the best on the list. It has quite a notable number of parts, especially that it has a truss rod, a great set of gear tuners, and a sturdy bridge. It sounds great, it looks nice, and it definitely deserves the top spot.
Up next is the Ibanez 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Natural (GA1), which proves that Ibanez can take on any guitar in the market. It boasts a tone as bright as its aesthetic, not to mention the fact that it offers superb sound projection that’s quite hard to go against with. It’s a balanced guitar for season players or people looking to get into the guitar. The price point makes it truly a charmer, putting it in a place that proves to be a close second.
Lastly, we have the Alhambra 6 String Classical Guitar, Right, Solid Red Cedar, (1OP-US), offering a Canadian or red cedar top and comes in sizes from ½ to the full 39”. You may also opt for a cutaway if needed, proving Alhambra can provide quite a versatile guitar for any age or player type. The bracing and build on the 1OP-US is quite good, as the guitar offers great tonality and sound projection thanks to the mahogany back and sides on this guitar. It’s also nice to play on, as the mahogany neck never disappoints.
We do hope our list of classical guitars helps you find the axe of your choice for under 200 dollars. We do believe we have successfully managed to throw out quite a variety, making sure there’s a perfect instrument for everyone to start with. May it be that you’re picking up a cheaper guitar or you’re opting for a more expensive option, do remember that the most important part about picking up a guitar is to make sure you get the catharsis that you’re looking for in the music. It’s never always about the instrument, but it’s about where your heart would take you.