Finding the Best Nylon-Stringed Classical Guitars Under $500 – A Journey To Remeber

Best Classical Guitars Under $500

With $500 in your pocket the classical guitar world really is your oyster! While you’re still a few hundred dollars off the true premium market, in this category things are starting to feel more high-end.

Woods get better, playability increases, and electronics – when included – are more advanced. You can find yourself with a performance-worthy instrument that could last a lifetime, if looked after.

On this page, we’ve searched through the current classical guitar market to produce a short chart that represents some of the best choices, whatever your style. Whether a keen flamenco player, classical maestro, or an electric guitarist making the move to classical guitar, there’s likely to be a model to suit you.

Top 5 Classical Guitars Under $500:

ImageAcoustic Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Lucero LFN200SCE Lucero LFN200SCE

Total of 4.70/5  

Modern playability, style and value demonstrated by this cool Lucero.

+ - Kremona Soloist S65C Kremona Soloist S65C

Total of 4.70/5  

Great sound and stability from the respected Bulgarian brand.

+ - Breedlove Pursuit Nylon Breedlove Pursuit Nylon

Total of 4.70/5  

A delightfully unique electro-acoustic classical with USB connectivity.

+ - Cordoba C7 Cordoba C7

Total of 4.53/5  

The C7 is a great classical guitar from quality brand

+ - La Patrie Motif La Patrie Motif

Total of 4.50/5  

A compact La Patrie that outperforms many competitors.

Lucero LFN200SCE

Lucero LFN200SCE

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As we mention in our full review of Lucero’s LFN200SCE this modern electro-acoustic classical guitar sits in the more affordable part of our chart, which makes it a very interesting prospect – especially when the tone on offer matches the rest of the models on this list. It’s a great-looking instrument, with a highly-glossed solid select spruce top, and dark Indian rosewood on the back and sides. Geared towards those players more comfortable with the playability of an electric or steel-string acoustic, the LFN200SCE sports a slimmer neck profile with an ample cutaway, meaning speed and access to the full 18 frets is no problem. It sounds great too, thanks to the quality tonewoods and the versatile Fishman Clasica III Preamp.

Kremona Soloist S65C

Kremona Soloist S65C

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The Kremona Soloist S65C is the full-sized version of the companies Fractionals. There are six models that make up this series ranging from 440mm to 650mm scale lengths. They all use the same components and woods to create a line of guitars that can literally grow as young players grow-up. The top is cedar with sapele back and sides. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also made of rosewood. The wood purfling and rosette makes this a very good looking classical guitar. The sound projects well with very good treble and a sharp low-end that does not disappear in the mix. It also includes a gig bag so the S65C can travel to lessons unscathed.

Breedlove Pursuit Nylon

Breedlove Pursuit Nylon

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This unique electro-acoustic classical model is part of Breedlove’s Pursuit Series, which is geared towards performing players and – thanks to the addition of USB connectivity – those experimenting with recording. It breaks the mold a little with its design, which includes a generous single-cutaway, tortoiseshell binding, and that distinctive Breedlove headstock. However, it sounds very much like a traditional nylon stringed guitar, thanks to its solid cedar top and laminate mahogany back and sides, offering a warm and mellow tone. As we mention in the full review of the Breedlove Pursuit Nylon, this model features a slimmer nut width and a radiused fretboard, meaning it’s well-suited to steel-string players looking to add a nylon-string guitar to their collection.

Cordoba C7

Cordoba C7

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The Cordoba C7 is a classical style guitar. It is a great instrument for a beginner, because it is affordable and well crafted. A new player won’t be struggling to get notes out since the C7 almost plays itself. The top is spruce with traditional Spanish bracing, which helps with resonance and projection. Rosewood is used for the bridge, fingerboard, binding, sides, and back. The gold tuners have a floral pattern so they are not only very stable, but pretty, too. One non-traditional aspect of this guitar is that it has a truss rod. It adds all the benefits without any of the drawbacks of poor balance. The tone is warm and well balanced.

La Patrie Motif

La Patrie Motif

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The La Patrie Motif is a rebel. It goes against the grain of what a nylon string classical guitar should be. It has cherry back and sides with a solid cedar top. The body size is that of a parlor guitar which is non-traditional. Continuing with the non-traditional, the neck has a truss rod and the fingerboard has a slight radius. All of these add up to a good guitar, but not a good classical guitar for someone wishing to use it in performance. The treble strings have the louder voice of the bass, and the tone does not project as well due to the smaller body size. A very good guitar for a beginner or small framed player.

What to Look for in a Classical Guitar Under $500?

Tradition is a word we use a lot when talking about classical guitars, but there’s a reason. Whether you’re purchasing a classical guitar worth $100 or $1,000, they all demonstrate traditional features that are rarely tinkered with – wide necks and slotted headstocks for example.

However, as we approach the higher end of affordable, the guitars in this $500 price range should all justify their substantial price tags by showing good quality as standard – not the exception.

Naturally, the materials, construction, and electronics will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but general design tends not to stray too far from the norm. As a classical instrument, the majority of classical guitars will still show the traditional non-cutaway design, although cutaway versions are readily available for those players who explore the highest registers.

Some brands also add elegant binding and adventurous rosettes to their models, which nod to the fact that these are instruments of higher quality and craftsmanship than the entry-level market.

While cedar, spruce, mahogany and rosewood all still dominate, these woods will be slightly better quality in this mid-level range, and a solid top is now a necessary inclusion, although laminated back and sides are still standard.

Electronics on these guitars also tend to be slightly more advanced, with systems including more versatile preamps – 3-band EQ as standard, with phase switches and built-in digital tuners. This all results in a guitar worthy of recording or stage performances, whether miking up or plugging directly into an amp.

Ultimately, guitars in this range offer guitarists a taste of premium, and an instrument they want to look after, and pick up and play again and again.

Buying Used or New?

You can certainly pick up a bargain when buying a used guitar. Someone who has spent $1,000 on a Cordoba needs to get rid of it to free up cash – that’s where you step in and take it off his hands for half the price! Just like buying new, having $500 in the secondhand market will grant you a myriad of options and you can really find some bargains.

Just make sure you are careful and avoid the pitfalls of pre-owned. Buy from a reputable online store or a local guitar retailer, who can offer you a guarantee and returns policy, should something go wrong or you change your mind (even in this range it happens). Avoid flea markets or garage sales, unless you can thoroughly test the guitar (though an amp if it’s an electro-acoustic) and are 100% confident it’s not faulty or – even worse – a fake!

The Final Word

If you do have half a grand to spend on a classical guitar, then congratulations – you have access to hundreds of quality models. Whether you spend the full amount on a guitar, or a portion on a guitar and a portion on an amp, your options are endless.

Be sure to keep checking back, as we often refresh our charts and something you find here this week might be in the under $300 category page next week!


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