I'm not officially a "professor" but teach all classical guitar program levels including undergraduate levels.

When in 1996 I first picked up a 1973 Hernandis grade 1 at a local store and heard the beautiful tonal resonances I could only conclude that I had found a pearl of great price. I had been limited to cheap Spanish made(Washburn classical--not recommended) and Korean made(Takamine Jasmine) models. I was a student at the University at the time. I repalced the strings on the Hernandis and could not believe my ears. My playing and enjoyment of it improved by multiples!

When I first brought the instrument to my lesson with L. Hammett at the Univ. of Oklahoma he immediately congradulated me and commented that the resonance and beauty of sound was better than his best guitar at the time(a spruce top classical made originally for Elliot Fisk by a luthier who's name I do not remember). It was after this comment that we examined the make--Hernandis--and read that it was indeed made in Japan.

By the quality of the woods, the ease of playability of the neck, the lightness of the instrument in the hands, I believed that I had found the perfect student guitar for my studies. It had even a brighter resonance that another students Yairi and yet another's Ramirez. It had flaws--I had to re-glue the bridge after it pulled up with high-tension strings. There is now a hairline crack in the top where it meets the neck running along the "sky" side of the neck. The action was high at about 5mm at the 12th fret (like an out-of-the-shop Ramirez) and I lowered it myself to 3.5mm.

The most amazing part is that I bought it for $350 with fingerprint smudges and missing strings. When I manage to put together $3000 I will buy a Ramirez 4E, as this seems to be the next step up in tonal quality from the Hernandis grade 1 that I have. The Ramirez 1a will be of much higher quality and is also loud enough to fill a concert hall, but not all students can afford one.

It is perhaps not a professional concert grade instrument although I do know of some professional guitarists who boast of their Hernandis. It is an acceptable choice for a serious undergraduate guitar student and is more than sufficient for any amatuer player. The Ramirez 1a will be of much higher quality and is also loud enough to fill a concert hall, but if you cannot afford that you.

...read the full guide with pics here