Note from Will: If you enjoy browsing amazon they have a section of their website specifically devoted to Classical Guitars. Check it out right here
If you are have ever gone into a well stocked guitar shop you have no doubt been confused by the selection of guitars. There are literally hundreds of shapes, sizes brands and types of guitars. And the price can range from a hundred dollars to several thousand. .If you are a beginner, judging the sound quality can be difficult to do because your ear is not yet highly trained. Here are some tips to help you make a good choice.
When in a guitar shop and looking at the guitars you should always ask a sales person to help you. This way you can take guitars down and play them. If you cannot play very well you should ask the sales clerk to play for you so you can get a feel for the sound of the different guitars. If the sales clerk doesn't play you should ask if there is someone working in the shop that does play. As a last resort you should even ask other customers in the store. Not listening to the different guitars is like shopping for a car but never test driving any of them. Guitars have very different feels and tones and you should listen to a lot of them to get a sense of what you like. Don't be bashful in this respect. Guitarists are usually a very gregarious bunch and a guitarist will almost always jump at the chance to play for someone else. If you don't yet play well and you can't find somebody to play for you I recommend you not purchase a guitar. You should come back another time when someone is available to play or you can bring a friend who knows how to play.
Check the size and shape of the guitar
Classical Guitars, of course, come in different sizes and shapes and you should sit with a wide variety of them to get a feeling for what is comfortable to you. Your body shape has an effect on this. If you are over six feet tall the smaller guitars might not be comfortable for you and the fret board may be uncomfortable for your hands. So even if you can't play music you should always hold and sit with the guitars to get a sense of how the different ones feel.
Check the mechanics and playability of the guitar Here are several things you should do when considering the purchase of a classical guitar.
- Play every note on every string all the way up and down. Listen for frets that don't play properly. They will give a rattling sound and if this occurs on any fret at all you should put the guitar aside and try another one. This is a sign of inferior quality. Every string should play cleanly on every single fret.
- Check the action of the strings against the frets in terms of how much pressure is needed to play notes and chords. You should play bar chords all the way down the frets to insure good pressure. If it is too hard to press the strings in order to make a clear chord this could be a sign of an inferior guitar.
- Play harmonics on the strings. This is an excellent test of the quality of the guitar. Playing harmonics is the technique of plucking the note with your right hand and only lightly touching the string with your left hand. Test the harmonics of all the strings on the 5 th , 7 th , 12 th and 19 th frets. If you do not know how to play harmonic notes ask the sales clerk to help you.
- Examine and test the tuning pegs. Do they look clean and sharp? Wind and unwind them while watching and feeling for smooth turning motion.
- Visually examine the whole guitar. Look it over very carefully from front to back and top to bottom. Are there any small cracks? Are the frets firmly installed into the fret board? Are there any cracks or glue exposed around the bridge?
- Tap on the front of the guitar (The sound board) in a variety of different spots. Does it have a rich echoing sound or are there spots where it sounds dead and limp? The internal structure of the classical guitar is very important for the sound and important for the longevity of it. Dull thud sounds could be an indicator of an inferior instrument.
- Examine the details. Look at the purfling around the edge. This is the decorated pattern that goes around the full body where the soundboard or face meets the sides of the guitar. Is it accurately laid in? If this has variations and inconsistencies it is a good sign that the guitar is of inferior quality.
- Finally, don't hesitate to take a good look inside the guitar sound hole. You will see wooden braces in there. Do they look straight, accurate and well placed? If you see sloppy globs of dried glue around these braces it could be an indicator of inferior craftsmanship.
A Classical Guitar is a purchase that can give you a lifetime of enjoyment and you should consider the purchase carefully. Even if you don't plan on playing every day you should buy an instrument that is of good quality so it will maintain its sound quality for a lifetime. And to do this you don't need to spend thousands of dollars you just need to know how to identify a well made guitar.
Here are some fine instruments.
My Recommendation for a solid beginner Classical Guitar. Yamaha is a company that makes quallity instruments at great prices. You cannot go wrong if you choose this Yamaha. It sounds good, is well built and it will be very serviceable for many years.
Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Package - Yamaha guitar packages are an affordable, all in one solution to guitarists seeking a high quality instrument with multiple accessories. The C40 package includes a full sized Yamaha C40 nylon string classical guitar, a guitar case and a CD with examples for the student to listen to and play along with. The C40 guitar features beautiful Indonesian Mahogany back and sides, a Spruce top, Javanese Rosewood fretboard and bridge, and chrome tuners.
Looking for a beginner kit with all the extras at a rock bottom price? Note that this Valencia is a 3/4 size guitar so it is suitable for children approximately ages 8-12.
Valencia CG-150K 3/4 Size Right Hand Acoustic Package w/ Carry Bag and Instructional DVD - Everything you need in a starter 3/3 size guitar kit: Beautiful Spanish Guitar Styling, usually only found on guitars double this price! Nylon strings with Classical style open tuners Natowood fretboard and bridge. Elegant Basswood back and sides.
Looking for a good guitar and budget conscious? You can't beat this deal
ADM Full Size Nylon-String Classical Guitar with Gig Bag, E-tuner, etc, Student Beginner Kit
- Selected spruce top makes a noticeable difference in richer sound, beautiful high gloss yellow color finish.
- Decorative top binding, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, black pearl button tuners, gold hardware, nato neck, nickel silver frets.
- Fan style bracing; with dual-action truss rod, you can adjust the neck in both directions, which not only stabilizes the neck but also makes set-up easier and more precise.
- Include everything to start your music lesson: Nylon-String Classical Guitar with Gig Bag, E-tuner, Footstool, stand, Capo and Extra strings.
- Perfect for beginner students or a young player, started on this beautiful instrument will have a good chance of loving the guitar.
Amazon. com has a section of their website specifically devoted to Classical Guitars. Check it out right here