You have many options when selecting a new Classical Guitar. It can be easy to loose yourself in the array of specifications and options. To make the buying choice easier, wether you’re buying from Calido Guitars or someone else, we’ve distilled the most important information down into a basic checklist.
TIP 1: Understand Materials, Quality of Sound, and Guitar Price
The quality of sound is directly related to the quality of the guitar’s construction materials. Quality materials are more expensive.
As you might expect, finer materials (and better sound) can be more expensive. The good news is, you don’t have to pay a lot for a a very nice sounding, quality built, student guitar. Several brands sell finely crafted instruments with midrange materials at a reasonable price. You can find several examples in the Calido Guitars online store.
The top of the guitar, known as the Soundboard, is typically constructed with either Solid Cedar/Solid Spruce, Laminate Cedar/Spruce, or Basswood (sometimes called Linden). Typical woods for the guitar back and sides are Laminate Indian Rosewood, Mahogany and Basswood.
Fret board materials do not affect the quality of guitar sound, but do relate to the quality of the instrument and its construction. The most common woods of student guitar fret boards are Ebony, Rosewood, and Stained Maple.
Many top quality student level guitars are made with solid Cedar tops and Mahogany back/sides with Rosewood fret boards. Online prices for these guitars range from $170 – $500. Good quality student level guitars with Spruce laminate tops, Mahogany back/sides, and Rosewood fret boards are available online for $135 – $200. An example of a guitar in this price range is the Cordoba CP100 Student Guitar or the Cordoba C1 Protege pictured below.
There are perfectly acceptable guitars at the low end of the price spectrum, too. These guitars are typically made with the less costly Basswood back/side with either Spruce laminate or Basswood for the tops. These lower cost guitars are available online for $90 – $140.
All of these guitars are available for schools and teachers from Cálido Guitars at a discount. Contact us if you would like to participate in our Educational Discounts Program.
TIP 2: Use Quality Guitar Strings
The next most important material for a well-constructed guitar is the strings. Guitars sold in the Calido Guitar store are setup and ready to play out of the box. For the lowest price student guitars, that means complete string replacement with quality D’Addario EJ27H strings. The difference is quite noticeable. All the higher cost guitars come with either D’Addario or Savarez strings. These strings are an important factor in the quality of sound for the higher cost guitars.
TIP 3: Buy a Guitar That has Been Properly Set Up
Guitars shipped from the factory are rarely ready to play when they arrive on your doorstep. Several factors can affect a guitar’s readiness, and the student-level guitars are especially sensitive to changes in humidity, temperature and the occasional bump during shipping from the manufacturer. As mentioned in Tip 2, the lower priced student guitars often ship with lower quality strings that need to be replaced.
When buying your student guitar, especially if it’s your first guitar, make sure you are buying from someone who sets up the guitar for you. This way, all adjustments and any replacements are done before it arrives. The professionals at Calido Guitars are experienced at setting up guitars. For someone who has never set up a guitar before, this can save you many hours of frustration!
Calido Guitars will soon publish a blog post on the steps we follow to inspect and set up every guitar before it ships, stay tuned!
TIP 4: Buy the Right Guitar Size
Getting the correct size guitar is important for any player, but it is especially true for children. Resist the urge to purchase a guitar the child will “grow into”. A guitar that is too large can reinforced improper posture and lead to pain during play. A good instrument investment is one the child can use for years, and upgrade to a larger size when appropriate.
A guitar that is too large will make it difficult for a child to make the proper reach with both the right and left hands. Having their arm too high in reaching over the guitar can be uncomfortable and over time painful. Over-reaching for the frets puts a student at a great technical disadvantage since their muscles are already stretched, causing tension and making it difficult to properly move their fingers on the fingerboard.
A frustrated student may choose to put the guitar down for good simply because a poorly-matched guitar is painful to play.
The following chart will be helpful, but the best way to choose the proper size guitar is to have the child try different sized guitars while being observed by an experienced instructor.
|AGE||Player Height||Guitar Size|
|4-6 years old||3’3″ to 3’9″||1/4 Size|
|5-8 years old||3’10” to 4’5″||1/2 Size|
|8-11 years old||4’6″ to 4’11”||3/4 Size|
|11-Adult||5′ or taller||4/4 Size|
TIP 5: Take Advantage of Student Discounts
If you’re purchasing your instrument(s) for a class or school, your purchase may qualify for special discounts. There is no harm asking the company you are purchasing from if they offer an educational discount, and if your purchase would qualify. Different companies may offer different types of discounts, especially if you are purchasing several guitars at once.
Contact us if you would like to find out about our Educational Discounts Program at Calido Guitars
TIP 6: DON’T PANIC (Call an Expert)
Don’t be alarmed! If you’re a parent buying your child’s first student guitar and not sure where to start, we are happy to chat with you via email or voice. We can help you understand your options and evaluate the best choices available. We are committed to seeing your new music student succeed, and happy to help you make the best instrument investment.
Calido Guitars can be reached at either [email protected] or 979-297-4733