7 Top Picks for Best Classical Guitar Under 2000

A well-made classical guitar is a work of art both sonically and aesthetically. And if you've developed your playing style to the point that you've graduated from being able to play a high-end instrument, choosing the right one to support both the type of music you perform and your playability preferences. In the article, we've gathered our top seven picks for best classical guitars under 2000 dollars to help you select your next classical guitar.

Our Top 7 Picks For The Best Classical Guitar Under 2000 Dollars

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Cordoba

C12 CD

Cell

Kremona

Fiesta CW-7

Cell

Prodipe

Soloist 900

Cell

Yamaha

NCX5 NT

Cell

Cordoba

45 Limited

Cell

Takamine

TH5C

Cell

Godin

Multiac Series

ACS-SA

Cell

Review of our Top Picks

Cordoba C12 CD -- Best Traditionally - Designed Guitar

Important Features

  • All-solid cedar, rosewood, and flamed maple design creates a tonal balance perfect for classical music
  • Lattice bracing offers unparalleled projection and has the great sound of vintage classical guitars
  • The very responsive soundboard is ideal for nuanced playing
  • Mother of pearl inlay, maple binding, and gold tuners with ebony buttons make the acoustic guitar sound as good as it plays

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unusual yet balanced tonewood configuration improves projection
  • Mahogany neck and bone nut and saddle contribute to rich sound with plenty of harmonics
  • Handmade, traditional design is both beautiful and highly playable
  • Guitar comes with a humidified archtop case to ensure the guitar stays in prime playing condition

Cons

  • This guitar is made in true classical tradition, so those looking for thinner necks or other departures from traditional design may want to choose another guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Cordoba has long been regarded as one of the best manufacturers of classical guitars for every level of player. The C12 CD is made with lattice bracing, which was commonly used in classical guitar design before fan bracing became prominent. Lattice bracing improves a guitar's projection, and it also makes for an extraordinarily responsive soundboard.

The acoustic guitar also has a somewhat unusual tonewood configuration--a solid Canadian cedar top offers warm, mellow sound. But the Indian rosewood back and sides balance out that warm, midrange-focused sound with bright highs and deep yet defined lows. The back also has a centre wedge of flamed maple, which improves projection and offers a distinctly beautiful aesthetic.

Our Star Rating

The classical guitar has the best traditional design--lattice bracing makes it a fantastic choice for players who want each nuance to count. We give it five out of five stars.

Kremona Fiesta CW-7 -- Best For Alternate Tunings

Important Features

  • Tonewood configuration balances responsive warmth with the detail of solid rosewood
  • Ideal build and playability for fingerstyle guitar
  • Bone nut and saddle support harmonic-rich tone
  • Seven strings make it sound especially great in several different tunings

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Venetian cutaway and Fishman electronics make it a highly playable performance guitar
  • Quality appointment like a hand-inlaid rosette, ebony bridge and fretboard, and black matte tuners make its looks stand out
  • Great playability and responsiveness make it a great choice for fingerstyle players
  • Comes with a hardshell case for protection

Cons

  • Players used to six-string guitars may need some time to adjust

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

A few guitars on the list include unusual specifications for players who want to step outside of the box. The Kremona Fiesta CW-7, from Bulgarian manufacturer Kremona, is a seven-string guitar that was developed for the Russian Romani player Vadim Kolpakov. The CW-7 is designed for players who like to perform in several tunings, although it also is equally expressive in standard tuning.

It has an all-solid construction, with a cedar top, solid rosewood back and sides, and a Honduras mahogany neck. It also is ideal for players who prefer to plug in when they play--it comes with Fishman Prefix PRO Blend electronics for full, natural amplified sound.

Our Star Rating

The guitar is the best for playing in alternate tunings because its seven-string design gives it unparalleled versatility. We give it five out of five stars.

Prodipe Soloist 900 -- Best For Modern Sound

Important Features

  • Cedar and ovangkol construction gives it a distinctly modern tone
  • Ebony fingerboard and classic neck profile keep it highly playable
  • All-solid, no-cutaway design makes it a great choice for players who value traditional design
  • The lightweight body makes it easy to hold and play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Responsive soundboard makes it ideal for fingerstyle
  • Tonewood configuration balances warmth and projection
  • Highly playable neck makes it a great choice for solo performers
  • Rosewood binding offers a pleasing aesthetic touch

Cons

  • Some players might not prefer the modern sound of ovangkol

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Prodipe may be a slightly less well-known manufacturer in the US, but the Soloist 900 combines modern and traditional elements to suit modern performers. Like many guitars on the list, it features all-solid construction with a cedar top and neck. The back and sides are made of ovangkol, which isn't always found on high-end instruments.

However, ovangkol sounds like a combination of mahogany of rosewood, making it a great choice for players who want a balance of warmth and detail. The ebony fingerboard makes the neck highly playable, and the bone nut and saddle only enhance the tone.

Our Star Rating

The guitar has the best modern sound thanks to its unusual tonewood configuration. We give it four out of five stars.

Yamaha NCX5 NT -- Best For Electric Players

Important Features

  • Slim neck, Thinline body, cutaway, and ebony fingerboard make it highly playable, especially those used to playing electric guitars
  • Bone nut and saddle help create a tone that's rich with harmonics
  • Atmosfeel electronics combine three different sensors for natural tone
  • Distinctive inlay gives it a unique look

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solid European spruce top is responsive and bright
  • Versatile electronics let you shape your perfect live sound
  • Slimmer profile makes it easy to play, especially for non-traditional players

Cons

  • Laminated back and sides don't sound as rich as solid wood
  • Traditional classical players may find the design doesn't meet their needs

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Yamaha might not be the brand you think of when you imagine a high-end classical guitar, but the NCX5 brings you quality classical tone in a guitar that plays as easily as an electric. This guitar features a slimmer neck and a Thinline body style, making it an easy choice for those who normally play electric. Its unique,

Yamaha-designed bracing compensates for the narrow-body by offering full, rich, and nuanced sound, and the onboard Atmosfeel pickup and preamp make it effortless to plug in and play. This guitar features a responsive, European spruce top that leans toward the bright side, and the back and sides are made of laminated walnut. An ebony fingerboard keeps the African mahogany neck slick and playable.

Our Star Rating

The yamaha is the best guitar for players who are used to playing electric instruments thanks to its slim, playable neck and Thinline body. We give it three and a half out of five stars.

Cordoba 45 Limited -- Best Collector Guitar

Important Features

  • Stunning black and white ebony back and sides give it a distinctive look
  • Solid cedar top makes it a responsive instrument that's brighter than cedar-topped choices
  • Cedar neck and bone nut and saddle help create a warm, rich sound
  • Traditional build is ideal for players who want to play in the classical tradition
  • Included humidified case helps keep it in top condition

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unusual tonewood configuration gives it a clear sound with crisp attack
  • Traditional build is great for fingerstyle playing
  • Rare black and white ebony back and sides make it a wise choice for collectors

Cons

  • Laminated back and sides mean it won't sound quite as good as an all-solid instrument

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

The cordoba 45 limited is the second Cordoba guitar on the list, and a limited number are available. The limited availability is mostly thanks to the black and white ebony back and sides. This rare wood has a stunning, marbled appearance, and it imparts clarity to your tone that you don't often find. However, the back and sides are made of laminated wood, which won't have the same full tone as solid wood.

The solid spruce top and the cedar neck work to warm up the sound a bit, creating a balanced and versatile tone. As part of Cordoba's Espana series, this guitar is made in the true classical tradition, with Torres-style bracing and a classical neck profile.

Our Star Rating

The cordoba 45 limited is the best guitar for collectors thanks to its limited availability and stunning marbled back and sides. We give it four out of five stars.

Takamine TH5C -- Best For Live Performance

Important Features

  • Uniquely versatile preamp and pickup system lets you customize your live sound
  • All-solid, cedar and rosewood build creates balanced yet detailed sound
  • Fan bracing supports both durability and projection
  • Cutaway and ebony fingerboard makes it a highly playable instrument

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Handmade, all-solid construction is both beautiful and playable
  • Unique pickup system lets you plug in and playHas a solid top
  • Blend of traditional design and modern playability features is ideal for performers

Cons

  • Traditional players may prefer a guitar without a cutaway

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Takamine is another manufacturer that crafts guitars for every level of player, but this handmade, all-solid guitar is ideal for players who want a responsive instrument made of premium tonewoods.

The TH5C features a cedar top and rosewood back and sides for a balance of warmth and detail, and the mahogany neck is both beautiful and a great choice for those who want maximum responsiveness. An ebony fingerboard keeps it highly playable, as does the Venetian cutaway.

This guitar also has premium electronics for those who want to plug in and play. It features Takamine's Cool Tube preamp system, which offers versatile tube tone--you can adjust it anywhere from the classic bright sound of traditional classical music to the thick warmth of a tube amp. It also has an auxiliary input if you choose to add and connect a second pickup.

Our Star Rating

The Takamine TH5C is the best guitar for playing live, thanks to its unique and customizable electronics. We give it five out of five stars.

Godin Multiac Series ACS-SA -- Best For Recording

Important Features

  • Cedar top and Silverleaf maple body balance projection and warmth
  • The slim neck and thin body make it play like an electric guitar
  • Guitar synth connectivity expands both performance and recording options
  • The lightweight body is comfortable to play, even during long sessions

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Versatile connectivity options are easy to pair with synths and effects
  • Thin body and slim neck are highly playable
  • Quality tonewood selections offer balanced tone and excellent sustain

Cons

  • This is likely not the guitar for those who prefer to play traditional, acoustic classical music

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

A few of the guitars on our list combine traditional design with modern features, and this is one of them. Thanks to the 13-pin synth connector, this guitar is also a great option for recording or experimental music. It's made to play like a steel-string guitar but sounds like a nylon string--it features a slimmer, playable mahogany neck with a durable Richlite fingerboard.

The chambered Silverleaf maple body offers both sustain and projection, and the solid cedar top adds responsive warmth. The Tusq nut supports sustain and a tone that's rich with harmonics, and Godin's quality electronics lets you plug in and play on stage or in the studio.

Our Star Rating

The Godin Multiac Series ACS-SA is the best option for recording thanks to its guitar synth connectivity. We give it four out of five stars.

What Do You Need To Consider Before Buying A High-End Classical Guitar?

By the time you're ready for a high-quality guitar, you likely know what you want (and don't want) in an instrument. Here are some things to think about before buying.

Traditional Vs Modern

If you're someone who plays traditional classical music like Xuefei Yang or John Williams, you probably prefer a guitar that's built in a traditional style. These guitars have wider necks to allow for the complex fingerings found in classical music, they usually don't have cutaways, and many are not equipped with electronics.

On the other hand, if you don't strictly play classical music or if you mainly play electric guitars and are looking for a nylon string instrument to perform with sometimes, you might prefer a guitar that has some elements of modern design. Some of these guitars include features you may find useful:

  • Slimmer necks that may be easier to play (especially with smaller hands)
  • Cutaways for easier fret access
  • Thinner bodies for ease of playing while standing
  • Expanded electronics options

What Tonewoods Do You Prefer?

Tonewood choices, and especially the wood used for the soundboard, are crucial to consider when buying a classical guitar. Depending on your playing style, certain tonewood choices may be ideal, while others could detract from the sound you're trying to create. For those who want to use the guitar to play a variety of styles, spruce is an excellent choice, as its balanced, somewhat bright sound suits a variety of musical styles.

On the other hand, cedar is becoming much more popular in classical instruments. It produces more overtones and has a slightly warmer, more mellow sound. Spruce and cedar aren't the only soundboard materials you'll find, but they are the most popular.

The wood used for the back and sides are also important. Rosewood and mahogany are two of the most commonly chosen options. Rosewood is known for its ability to enhance both lows and highs, and it has a clearer, more detailed sound. On the other hand, mahogany imparts a warmth and depth to your sound.

When selecting a guitar, make sure you listen to sound demos of each. ideally, listen to demos done by a few different players. The demos will give you a sense of whether what you're hearing is shaped by the construction of the guitar and what is shaped by the style of the person playing it.

Do You Need Electronics?

Many traditional players perform on all-acoustic guitars, using a high-quality microphone to amplify. However, depending on where you perform, you might prefer a guitar with built-in electronics. The electronics are especially helpful when playing venues with a lot of background noise or while performing with others.

If you do intend to perform live and prefer to plug in a while doing so, make sure you take as much care researching the guitar's electronics as you do research the guitar itself. Many higher-end guitars have electronics that involve multiple pickups, which usually creates a more natural sound. For instance, pickup systems like the Atmosfeel involve an under-saddle pickup, an internal microphone, and a soundboard contact sensor.

In Conclusion

Every guitar on this list is a quality instrument. However, our top choice for the best classical guitar under $2000 the Cordoba C12 CD. This guitar is built in the true classical tradition, and its lattice bracing, and quality tonewood configuration creates a detailed tone that projects well. That said, we think the Kremona Fiesta CW-7 and the Takamine TH5C are excellent runner-up choices.

The CW-7 is a brilliant choice for people who prefer playing in alternate tunings, while the TH5C is ideal for those who want a natural, customizable plugged-in sound. A quality classical guitar is an investment--make sure you listen to sound demos, consider your own needs as a player, and choose the right one for you.

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