buying classical guitars
I've been meaning to post this for a while:
I'm interested in buying a classical/Spanish guitar but am a bit lost due to all the names I've never heard of, e.g. Manuel Rodriguez, Jose Fernandez, Cardenas, Alvarez etc. How are you supposed to know which of these guitars are the real deal and which are knock-offs? I am looking for a reasonably low-priced guitar, say under Â£200 ($300), possibly an online purchase. But browsing through the guitar shops I find it hard to tell the difference between a bargain and a rip-off. When I find one I like I have no idea if it's a Â£50 guitar or a Â£200 one. Of course there are other brands like Yamaha and Takamine but I would like to get something good quality with a Spanish name on it. Are there any guidelines that could help people like me sort the Staggs from the Fenders in the world of classical guitars?
Why don't you check out these two sites to see what's being said about some of the guitars you're seeing and considering:
You should probably hit the shops to hear and feel the guitars for yourself, even if you do intend to buy online. Also, don't assume that because it has a "Spanish" name, that it will be a good guitar, or the reverse. Yamaha makes some very nice Classical guitars as do a few other non-Spanish manufacturers.
Good Luck & Welcome!
If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
- Audre Lorde
I'm not sure what 'the real deal' is... in some cases, Spanish names are just a marketing device for other companies. Heck, I've recently discovered that over half the guitars in the world are actually made by ONE company (Samick), even though they have over 4000 different names on the guitars... some of them BIG names who subcontract part or all of their assembly work.
If the 'real deal' means a recognized name in classical guitar building, you won't find it in your price range. In electric guitars, it's easy to get a Gibson like 'x' plays or a Fender like 'y' uses... but the guitars used by the big names in the classical world are built by folks like Kohno, Fleta, etc. - not exactly household brand namess - and you won't touch even their bottom-of-the-line instruments for less than four figures.
Name isn't particularly important in classicals. The top makers only do a few hundred instruments a year at most, and many build a lot less than that. In the price range under $300, you're hoping for decent action and decent tone. Let your ears and fingers judge which one is best. The ones in the <$100 price range probably won't do it for you - the $200-300 ones might.
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