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Unread 09-27-2009, 09:50 PM   #1
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What is the best classical guitar for a student?

I'm am currently attending university as a music major and will be needing a classical guitar for my studies starting next semester. Having played exclusively electrics my entire playing career I know what I like but I have no idea what I like or need in a classical guitar.

The only experience I have regarding classical guitars is with the two following guitar.
- My mothers insanely nice Contreras. I don't know the exact history of this guitar but I know its a 10k+ guitar that my uncle (who was a german jazz guitarist in the 40s-60s) bought from a pupil of andres segovia's. Coming from an electric background the neck is very uncomfortable (very flat and thick) for me but I recognize that the projection and timbre of the guitar are superb.

-My sister's Espana. This is from the early 80s I believe so I don't know if they had anything to do with dean at this point. The guitar itself is a rather high quality student model but one can tell it is considerably less resonant than the contreras and the neck is more rounded like a strat kind of neck.

Anyways I am looking to buy a student classical guitar that will serve me well for the next 4 years. Price range is around $300. Is there anything that is good in this range? Or do you have to go considerably higher to see the good stuff. I keep hearing the yamaha stuff is really good for the price. What models of theirs should I check out? What other brands and models should I investigate? Do neck profiles differ drastically on different makes of classical guitar or are they all pretty similar?
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Unread 09-27-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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In that price range you'll find 100 duds for every 1 that will actually be playable and stay in tune decently. May want to look at a good luthiers student models like Kenny Hill. I believe they start around $600-700. The Ramirez "E" models can also be had used in that range and are pretty decent guitars. To me that's the median range where CG's become capable in terms of construction, playability, and decent tone. It all just depends on what you want but if you're serious about studying guitar you definitely don't want the actual instrument to be your weakness and frustration.
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Unread 09-27-2009, 10:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rogueleader View Post
Price range is around $300. Is there anything that is good in this range?
No. Besides relatively minor upgrades like the nut and bridge, $300 for an instrument you'll expect to last you 4 years is, well...

What do you expect out of a $300 electric into a $300 amp, neither of which can be upgraded?

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Unread 09-27-2009, 10:25 PM   #4
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So there isn't really anything thats of any real quality below $600?
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Unread 09-27-2009, 10:53 PM   #5
 
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So there isn't really anything thats of any real quality below $600?
Right. Like I have a Yamaha with a great sound for like 300$ dollars but it doesn't always stay in tune. Plus the tone could be so much better. Like my teacher has a custom Classical he got for college he has a Masters in music. He said he payed like 1,500$ - 2,000$ for his classical. Plus he has had it for a very long time. If you want to talk to him about classical here is his myspace.
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Unread 09-27-2009, 11:10 PM   #6
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It'd be like playing a cheap knock off of a knock off of a gibson. Within months of practice/developing if your teacher or peers haven't told you about the poor tone, you'll begin to hear it for yourself. Then, the quality acts as a catalyst for you not to practice.

I have a Ramundo c-128 student concert model and it's probably one of the best sounding guitars I've heard that isn't hand built. But the second you hear a good hand built there is little comparasion (although when Paval Stedil played it, it sounding awesome).

So the best advice someone could give you is to look in the 700-1000 range. I know that is more then double what you are looking to spend, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

I didn't read your entire post, but I thought I saw something about borrowing a guitar. That might be your best option, but ultimately if you stick with it, a cheap investment will not be worth it in the long run as a performing instrument.
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Unread 09-28-2009, 12:12 AM   #7
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It'd be like playing a cheap knock off of a knock off of a gibson. Within months of practice/developing if your teacher or peers haven't told you about the poor tone, you'll begin to hear it for yourself. Then, the quality acts as a catalyst for you not to practice.

I have a Ramundo c-128 student concert model and it's probably one of the best sounding guitars I've heard that isn't hand built. But the second you hear a good hand built there is little comparasion (although when Paval Stedil played it, it sounding awesome).

So the best advice someone could give you is to look in the 700-1000 range. I know that is more then double what you are looking to spend, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

I didn't read your entire post, but I thought I saw something about borrowing a guitar. That might be your best option, but ultimately if you stick with it, a cheap investment will not be worth it in the long run as a performing instrument.
My mom lets me borrow hers as long as it stays in the house. There is no way she would let me take it to college. My e530 had an extremely close call with a beer yesterday so I obviously see her point.

None of the yamaha stuff is any good within the sub $500 range? By won't hold tune, exactly how bad is that? I don't mind retuning between songs. The professor recommended them (yamaha) as his preferred brand for student models but he didn't know any models off the top of his head.
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Unread 09-28-2009, 12:23 AM   #8
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I'd say check out some of the ones on the RondoMusic.com site, (Agiles). They're incredibly inexpensive and being an Agile player who's turned a lot of people onto this company I've heard zero complaints about em \m/

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Unread 09-29-2009, 10:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogueleader View Post
My mom lets me borrow hers as long as it stays in the house. There is no way she would let me take it to college. My e530 had an extremely close call with a beer yesterday so I obviously see her point.

None of the yamaha stuff is any good within the sub $500 range? By won't hold tune, exactly how bad is that? I don't mind retuning between songs. The professor recommended them (yamaha) as his preferred brand for student models but he didn't know any models off the top of his head.
Hi, it's the tone that would suffer, not necessarily the tuning. Although the quality of tuners would also effect the stability to hold a tuning or how exactly tuned it would be.

A nice yamaha would work. Just watch out for cheap wood. They sneak a lot of tricky labels on the wood combination. Try to avoid laminate woods!
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Unread 09-30-2009, 12:54 AM   #10
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I would suggest looking into the LaPatrie line of guitars as well.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 01:05 AM   #11
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I'm in the same boat, and I have a yamaha c40 that cost me $150 and works just fine.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 07:33 PM   #12
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I'd suggest something like this. I have one of those (pretty sure it's the same model but I'm not home right now and can't check it). It's almost within your price range and it's a pretty good guitar to get you through college. I wouldn't count on it as a professional instrument, but it is definetely an ok instrument to get you started. It's been working fine for me.
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Unread 09-30-2009, 08:25 PM   #13
 
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I'd suggest something like this. I have one of those (pretty sure it's the same model but I'm not home right now and can't check it). It's almost within your price range and it's a pretty good guitar to get you through college. I wouldn't count on it as a professional instrument, but it is definetely an ok instrument to get you started. It's been working fine for me.
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Unread 12-02-2009, 08:58 PM   #14
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My Yamaha C40

Just starting out my classical class, with a new C40. My teacher gave me these reasons, buying this model : Cheap, Good production, Good Sound, Easy to play with, Can be taken everywhere, Your friends can borrow it, Good to learn basics for the first 1-2 years, etc. I asked him if I would buy a spanish made that costs around $700-1,000 for my classes. He said "U are learning the basics, and you don't have enough skills to judge the good quality of a guitar yet. So, stick with this C40 for a year and if you decide to continue this passion, then go for a spanish-made one at the best budget that you can afford".

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Unread 12-03-2009, 01:07 PM   #15
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That's a pretty condescending perspective, but he has something of a point in that it's tough for a beginner to have enough information to make an informed decision on an expensive instrument they'll have for a number of years. That said, there are absolutely things that even the most inexperienced guitarist can recognize, and if you're tiring of the C40, then who's to tell you you can't upgrade?

As for a student model, I really don't think you need to be spending more than $500 on a classical guitar to get down the basics. Yes, it's true that you'll grow out of a less expensive one, but how many people's first guitars were over $500 dollars? And did that really stop them, if they were interested?

If you can find a guitar that's nicely set up and well maintained by the shop carrying it, you shouldn't have to spend more than $300 to get a decent classical that you'll be comfortable playing for a while. Look for instruments with solid tops (not laminated) for superior tone, and after that consider the quality of the tuning machines, fretwork, and fit/finish. As an example, Washburn's C80S is a solid cedar top that I've found to be pretty consistent (set up a handful of them from the factory without issue) and will run you about $250.

I would not purchase an acoustic guitar online and have it shipped to me, sight unseen.

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