I am a relatively new recreational player interested in getting a classical guitar for under $250. I am looking for something that is also easier to play, perhaps with a narrower neck?

I see some nice sounding used models like Aria 551 (Japan) from the 70's that have spruce tops and have aged well

Can you recommend some good brands from that period? Am I better off with an older model than new?

I see newer models like Cordoba C5 (used) in that range. What are recommended brands for newer models?

I see Yamahas from Korea nad the like and they are said to be soft.

Are Classical guitars more prone to neck problems and separation from the body?

I am sure it is complex subject. All comments appreciated thank you
So, likely what you need is what they are calling a "crossover" guitar. A nylon-stringed instrument that is configured more like a steel-string with a narrower neck. Most of 'em are acoustic-electric.
You may have a hard time finding one in that price range....
Perhaps used. If so, make sure the electronics work!

Since nylon strings have but about half the tension of steels, there tends to be little problem with neck warpage or any other mechanical trouble.
Quote by bruce em
...[ [....Are Classical guitars more prone to neck problems and separation from the body?....[ ]....
You would be better off asking this question in the context of, "are acoustic guitars in general, prone to neck separation..., etc....".

Survey says, an emphatic,"yes". Although, much of it is caused by poor treatment. Lack of humidity, heavy strings, poor manufacturing, and more All of these factors can have dire consequences. With 12 strings, tuning to standard pitch can be quite destructive. (Even a, "light gauge 12 string" set, has about 250 lbs of tension at concert pitch).

Acoustic guitars become more fragile, as their price escalates. This is because solid woods are not as tough as plywood, and are more prone to warping, splitting, checking...etc.

So, as bikewer has already pointed out, string tension isn't going to be an issue with a nylon strung guitar, but any acoustic isn't going to tolerate anywhere near the mistreatment of your basic Les Paul knockoff.

Classical guitars may have a residual bad reputation due to the fact they once had necks without truss rods, perhaps lousy adhesives, green wood or whatever. But in today's market they are pretty much built to the specs of their steel string counterparts, and might possibly outlast them.

Although, the sound boards and its braces are likely to be somewhat thinner, to produce more output, proportional to the generally more delicate input of finger style playing. This as opposed to being blasted with a plectrum, which dumps plenty of energy into moving the soundboard.
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 3, 2014,
OK Thank you so far, now what brands are recommended (and at what price range)

I see used Cordoba C5s, used 1970s Aria, and others for under $200,

What should I avoid ?
Well Bruce, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings. But, AFAIK, most of the regulars in this forum are steel string aficionados / abusers.

We get questions like yours from time to time, but I'm not sure they always get resolved to the TS' satisfaction.

You're certainly welcome to hang out and wait for some more responses. In fact, we enjoy the company.

In the long term though, if I were you, I'd search for a more specialized forum dedicated to nylon string instruments. I think your interests might be better served.

I will say classical guitars, in the traditional sense, mostly all have fairly wide, flat, necks. People dedicated to finger style guitar generally prefer it that way.

Are you switching from steel string, or is this your point of entry to the hobby?
i have absolutely nothing of value to add to this thread....carry on.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
Thanks again, No not switching; looking for a crossover with a narrower neck but may go with standard. Played a stunning 1970 Rodriguez before I was told the price.

I was really hoping for some users experience but as with all things, will have to do the legwork and play some and compare. Not buying any dead wood. I am also not jumping onto an unseen/unplayed instrument even though I can have anything I want.

So far the Cordoba C5 looks like a X-over and minimum level with a solid top. It also has a truss rod which is ok with me. Just have to find one and play it.
My only question would be whether you really need the wider neck to play true classical style. I mean, the name is "classical" meaning you are learning to play in a way that has evolved over centuries, very precise and formalized, not just making up your own style from scratch. And it is very nit-picky of the smallest details, based on all that experience, from where you put your thumb, angle of arms/hands/fingers in relation to guitar, etc.

Anyway, you certainly can learn a hybrid form, and that may be great, I just wonder if you might look back and later wish you'd jumped in 100% rather than doing a hybrid approach. I cannot say if there would be anything limiting by a narrower neck, since I've never tried it, so all I can do is ask the question, not answer it.

Bernie Sanders for President!
Hi, I study classical guitar at college and can hopefully provide some insight.

1st, like the others have said, make sure it really is a classical guitar that you want. Classical and fingerstyle are very different.

That being said, if you are looking for a classical guitar, Cordoba and Yamaha are both great. I personally have a Cordoba C7, one of my classmates had the C5 you mentioned, and another has a Yamaha. All of them are excellent.