Canadian guitar manufacturers Godin have been producing top of the line classical guitars for years now, both under their own label and the La Patrie imprint. The Etude is La Patrie’s most affordable classical model, with a price tag just under $400. Yet, while the cost may be more beginner-friendly, the features this guitar offers are anything but entry level. Let’s check out what makes the Etude one of the best classical guitars for beginners on the market today.
The Etude features a solid cedar top – the solid wood offers projection and smooth tonal response miles above laminated tops, which are more common among beginner guitars. The back and sides are made of laminated cherry (a wood native to Canada, where the Etude is built), and the thin neck is made of mahogany and topped with a rosewood fretboard.
The body is finished with La Patrie’s satin polish, which helps the guitar breathe and age naturally over time to unlock prized vintage tones. The fingerboard is 2” wide at the nut – a standard width for classical guitars, and is slightly radiused to maximize comfort and playability for new guitarists. While it may be a bit wider than electric or steel-string guitars, the extra space is great for beginners still working on their fingering precision.
Overall, the materials and build quality on this guitar stand up to models well above its price.
Much like the body construction and neck, La Patrie opted for high-quality hardware on the Etude. The carved rosewood bridge matches the fingerboard and hosts GraphTech compensated saddles to help preserve perfect intonation.
At the other end of the neck, the strings cross a premium Tusq nut. The standard tuners do a good job keeping the guitar in tune – with less pressure on the neck than steel-string models, classical guitars tend to naturally hold their tuning for longer periods of time.
The Etude condenses high-end classical sound into a beginner-friendly package. Like all classical models, this guitar really shines with delicate fingerstyle playing – picked leads and strumming work fine, but don’t play to the Etude’s strengths nearly as well. The range is well-balanced with a slightly stronger bass response.
Players can easily coax both warm, rich low end and sweet, elastic treble tones out of this model. The solid cedar top lends a nice projection boost to your sound; what this guitar lacks in electronics it makes up for in acoustic capability. Ultimately, the Etude’s wide tonal range and clear articulation are sure to satisfy any acoustic aficionado.
Beginners looking to take advantage of a classical guitar’s unique setup and sound can’t do much better than the La Patrie Etude. This model’s premium construction and sweet tones put it far above other guitars in its price range. More advanced players will love the Etude’s expressive dynamics and high-quality hardware.