Which great guitarist do you remember playing in your favourite band when you were growing up? Jimi Hendrix? Slash? Brian May? Joni Mitchell? Angus Young? Tommy Emmanuel?

Often, the guitar player in a band is more front and centre than the lead singer. Guitar playing is an art form in its own right.

Are you keen for the attention or do you just love the performance sound of these string instruments?

If you're set on taking guitar lessons, the first thing to do — before you begin to learn music theory, basic chords or scales and how to read scores — is buy a guitar.

But, what sort? Acoustic or electric? What about bass?

And what brand? Yamaha or Fender? Gibson or Cordoba?

Decisions — there's so many! Where do you start when you're a beginner?

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Madison
5
5 (20 reviews)
Madison
$40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Irfan
5
5 (5 reviews)
Irfan
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Willian
5
5 (11 reviews)
Willian
$70
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Gilson
5
5 (10 reviews)
Gilson
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kristina
5
5 (5 reviews)
Kristina
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ruben levi
5
5 (5 reviews)
Ruben levi
$100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Declan
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Declan
$60
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What is a Classical Guitar?

Most teachers recommend starting to learn on the classical guitar as it is the easiest to learn how to play. Certainly, the nylon strings and neck shape make developing the right technique easy. Unfortunately, if you're a rock fan, learning classical guitar as a beginner means that you'll have to wait a little longer before you can start playing your favourite rock songs.

That's okay though because you'll be developing your technique inspired by the likes of classical guitar players like Sharon Isbin, John Williams and Miguel Llobet; and you'll be adding to your repertoire by playing music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, through to contemporary classical music pieces.

Classical guitar gives beginner students a good basic grounding in musicianship, as well as a broad appreciation of classical music and great fingerstyle ability. In fact, it is said that the guitar players who have the best technique all made their start learning classical guitar.

It's natural to want to dream of giving a solo performance or headlining a guitar festival but first, let's deal with the practical issues — where do you buy a guitar so you can start your practice sessions? And exactly how much is one of these nylon string instruments going to cost?

Relax! From cheap guitars to deluxe models worthy of the great guitarists, there's a guitar out there to suit every budget.

Make a start with guitar lessons in Melbourne.

A Few Tips on Buying a Classical Guitar: Where and How Much?

All industries have scammers and dodgy dealers and music is no different. Scammers don't discriminate and don't care if you're a beginner or a professional, a teacher or a student.

However, it is those students who are at the beginner end of the learning spectrum, and looking to buy their first guitar or first set of accessories — whether it's a set of nylon strings or a couple of top range amplifiers — who are most often duped.

Don't let these people play you around. Be cautious. Ask for advice from a teacher or someone who knows what they're talking about.

Buyer beware: the internet

While we're on scams, the internet is where these operators hang out. These days, we all go to the net to look for things we want to buy: instruments, accessories, amplifiers, lessons.

Again — proceed with caution.

By all means, if you want to get an idea of the price range of a classical guitar, check online but remember the canvassing area is huge and may not be accurate.

Typing 'classical guitar' into your search engine will give you a list of retail stores, some with a price filter and easy to see a range of prices. For example, The World of Music tells us their classical guitars range in price from $100 to $2200.

The guitars at the lower end of the scale are not necessarily cheap and nasty. However, this is where the 'beware' comes in.

Nice-looking classical guitars on a little-known site may be advertised for $50 but unless you can see them before you buy, you really have no idea what they look or sound like.

Where can I buy a classical guitar?
If you buy online, you don't have the opportunity to try playing the guitar first | Source: Pixabay - Digital_Works

So, if you're a beginner and have only just started to learn guitar, it's better to avoid buying one online.

Expert advice: a music specialty store

As a beginner, your best bet is to visit your local music store. The people who work here are usually music enthusiasts themselves and play the instruments they are selling, often in a band.

Know your budget and make this clear to the salesperson who should then show you a range of guitars within this budget. Ask lots of questions — from advice about the best string brands and best accessories through to their basic tips on playing technique and the type of music you can play or where to take lessons.

Although you're in the market for a classical guitar, it doesn't hurt to ask about electric, acoustic and bass guitars as well.

In terms of price, you'll find the same range of pricing in music stores as what you see online.

If you have money to spend and really want an investment-worthy guitar, go to a luthier. Luthiers specialise in custom-made and personalised guitars. For the beginner, though, you're probably better off in a trial phase with cheap guitars until you know you've caught the music bug.

Budget-friendly: a second-hand guitar

If your budget doesn't stretch to a new guitar, check out second-hand sites where you can find cheap guitars that still have a great sound and feel.

As with online purchases, though, it is always best to ensure you can see the guitar, and play it before you finalise the purchase.

Second-hand guitars range in price according to their age or the material they're made out of. You should be able to get a second-hand classical guitar with good sound quality for around $100 to $150. Sometimes there may be accessories, like spare nylon strings or cases, included — it doesn't hurt to ask.

Set on rock music? How much do electric guitars cost?

The best Guitar tutors available
Madison
5
5 (20 reviews)
Madison
$40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Irfan
5
5 (5 reviews)
Irfan
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Willian
5
5 (11 reviews)
Willian
$70
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Gilson
5
5 (10 reviews)
Gilson
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kristina
5
5 (5 reviews)
Kristina
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ruben levi
5
5 (5 reviews)
Ruben levi
$100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Declan
5
5 (6 reviews)
Declan
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mariella
5
5 (3 reviews)
Mariella
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Madison
5
5 (20 reviews)
Madison
$40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Irfan
5
5 (5 reviews)
Irfan
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Willian
5
5 (11 reviews)
Willian
$70
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Gilson
5
5 (10 reviews)
Gilson
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kristina
5
5 (5 reviews)
Kristina
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ruben levi
5
5 (5 reviews)
Ruben levi
$100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Declan
5
5 (6 reviews)
Declan
$60
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mariella
5
5 (3 reviews)
Mariella
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Reasons to Start Guitar Lessons with a Classical Guitar

As already mentioned, the best reason for learning classical guitar first as a beginner is that it is the easiest to learn to play. It's one of the most popular string instruments for its basic playability, classic sound and repertoire variety.

Still want to learn an electric or acoustic guitar first? The type of lessons and the guitar you learn on is your choice, of course, but take a moment to consider the following:

  • Size and structure

On classical guitars, the space between the neck and strings is usually larger than acoustic, bass or electric guitars. This means a beginner will more readily learn and develop good strumming techniques.

The marking of the frets and the spacing between each string also help the beginner learn how to best position their fingers to play.

  •  Sound

The sound of the classical guitar is all guitar. There are no added effects. For a beginner, it is important to get used to the sound of the instrument itself, without distractions.

  • Accessories

Because classical guitars have no added bits, there is no need to spend extra on the accessories needed for bass, electric and acoustic guitars. Sure, you'll need spare nylon strings but initially, you can save on other accessories like amplifiers.

What accessories do you need for a classical guitar?
Classical guitars don't need amplifiers for great sound, so you can play them anywhere | Source: Pixabay - Free-photos

It's not only beginners who play classical guitars, plenty of experienced and top professional players continue to play and perform on their classical guitars.

You won't be limited to a repertoire that consists solely of classical music either. A whole range of styles, including folk, flamenco, Latin and even pop are able to be played.  Don't worry about not having amplifiers; other accessories, like microphones mounted on the soundboard near the bridge, have the same effect.

Another advantage is that classical guitars are easy to transport. Not only are they light, but they don't have all the other accessories to weigh them down. This means you can do your in-between lessons practice anywhere at any time.

Why Is There Such a Price Difference?

You might be wondering why there is such a huge range of prices for these string instruments which essentially look the same? The thing is, once you become more familiar with classical guitars, you too will notice the subtle differences, such as:

  • materials — guitars can be made from different types of wood, including mahogany, maple, spruce and red cedar, some more expensive than others
  • use — folk and flamenco guitars, for example, are different than your basic classical guitar; there are also left-handed guitars, which are rarer, so more expensive
  • manufacturer — often based solely on reputation, some brands (such as Yamaha) are notably more expensive in general than others.

To help you make a start, here are a few of the top guitars for beginner students, as recommended by music teachers.

Valencia Series 100

  • offers a range of sizes in the series
  • classic, sturdy finish and good sound
  • price range starts at $119

Yamaha C40

  • classic style
  • good sound
  • one of the cheapest in the Yamaha range at $199

Cordoba C5

  • cedar and mahogany
  • ideal for flamenco
  • great entry-level guitar at $479

Once you have a little more playing and technique experience, you may wish to upgrade — either to bass, acoustic or electric once you have fingering and playing technique down, though by now, you're probably in love with your classical guitar but want better sound quality or versatility.

Cordoba F7 Flamenco

  • traditional flamenco wood of European spruce and cypress sides
  • perfect for beginner and intermediate flamenco players
  • price in the $900 range

At some point, you might decide you'd like to play your music on stage or in a band or string ensemble. Essentially, you need your sound and songs to be heard by the audience during your performance.

Classical guitars don't use amplifiers, so you will need to purchase an external microphone to attach to your soundboard.

You might need some extra accessories too, such as spare strings, tuner, spare picks and a strap.

If you're keen to start practising for performance but not sure if you have what it takes in terms of technique, repertoire or nerves, a guitar teacher could be helpful. If there are no teachers near you, try online guitar lessons.

Are Cheap Guitars Okay?

Not all cheap guitars have poor quality sound. In fact, if you know what you're looking for and are prepared to shop around, you may well find a hidden vintage bargain.

Second-hand shops or online sites dedicated to pre-loved instruments can be a treasure trove for music teachers and students alike.

As previously mentioned — buyer-beware when shopping online, however, if you make sure you see the instrument or accessories and meet the seller in person before you hand over your money, you should be fine.

Music stores that sell new instruments often also sell second-hand instruments, including guitars of all types — classical, hybrid, acoustic, bass, electric. They will have had their sound and playability tested by staff as well.

Remember to look for great guitar lessons on Superprof, where you can often trial the first lesson for free.

Are second-hand guitars okay?
Your local music store will probably sell used as well as new guitars and other instruments | Source: Pixabay - Werner Camps

Are used guitars really okay?

The price is the best part and if you buy a used guitar from a reputable seller, you may well find yourself with a top of the range guitar that you would never be able to afford if it was new.

In addition, because they've been played (broken in) by another player, a used guitar is often easier to play and is great to take along and play at each lesson.

Of course, you should carefully check every part of the guitar. The strings can be changed but if the neck is damaged or the body is cracked, there's not a lot you can do.

Is it Better to Buy a New Guitar?

We live in a disposable society where a great many of us choose to buy something new rather than make do with second-hand or used items. We also like to own the next new shiny thing even though our current possessions are perfectly serviceable.

However, there are distinct advantages to purchasing a new guitar, the most notable of which is that, as a beginner, you are more likely to get the best and most useful and accurate advice from a music specialist in a shop rather than an unknown individual seller you found online.

That's not saying that all online or individual sellers are dishonest but buying from a store means you can access the warranty, take the instruments back for servicing and receive all sorts of useful advice — they may even have teachers they recommend for private or group lessons.

What is the best classical guitar brand?
There are so many different brands and styles when it comes to guitars, it can be overwhelming. Ask for advice. No question is too silly | Source: Pixabay - Pierre Prégardien

Where should you go to start looking for guitars?

There are many options from small specialty music stores to large chains or even department stores. If you know what you're looking for, or with someone else who does, it really doesn't matter where you shop.

However, if you're on your own, heading to your local music specialty store is always the best bet. They may be more expensive but will have a much wider range to choose from and staff who know what they're talking about.

If you want to find out where the best guitar teachers and lessons are in your area, search online for 'guitar lessons near me' or even begin online bass guitar lessons with Superprof.

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Kellie

Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.