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  #1  
Old 03-19-2013, 03:50 PM
GGNJ GGNJ is offline
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Default Beater Classical Guitar

About 5 years ago, to get back into guitar after a 25-year layoff, I bought a Burswood nylon string classical guitar for $100 from the man with the sunglasses and black hat. (yes-Esteban)

Since then I have purchased a Martin hog steel string which is a real pleasure to play.

I would like to go back to playing a nylon string guitar, with a budget of no more than 500 or so.

With this cost uptick, will there be improved play-ability and sound?
Will there be a difference between the $100 beater and the $500?

Any recommendations are appreciated.
Gerry
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:53 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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The difference I can think of is a solid top as opposed to a laminate. That in itself can be a pretty big difference. In fact, there are some all-solids out there for just about $500 (Madrigal comes to mind if you don't mind a flamenco nylon string).
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:54 PM
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There will be a diffrerence between the Esteban and a good, used 500.00 guitar.

In that price range, as always, I'd steer you toward Cordoba guitars The C9's can be had used for that price. Other decent options would be a used Alhambra 4P or Yairi CY series.

Be prepared to have some setup work done on them to get them to their best.

I've found Guitar Center's used gear site can be a good resource for instruments in that price range. I'll keep my eyes out for you.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:55 PM
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i think other differences are better tuners, better fretwork, better fit and finish. especially used.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:58 PM
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sending you a PM....
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:17 PM
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Default alvarez japan

Im always on the lookout for a decent classic alvarez. Be warned that most of these old guitars have been beat nearly to death. They always play nice tho and they have a good tone.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:07 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
In that price range, as always, I'd steer you toward Cordoba guitars The C9's can be had used for that price. Other decent options would be a used Alhambra 4P or Yairi CY series.

Be prepared to have some setup work done on them to get them to their best.

I've found Guitar Center's used gear site can be a good resource for instruments in that price range. I'll keep my eyes out for you.
Yes, Cordoba came to mind for me as well. But rather than a used C9, a new C5. I had a C5 and consistent with internet reports, I was amazed by the sound. Full disclosure, I did upgrade the nut and saddle.

I would however recommend against GC used or used in general. You can find decent "student" level guitars in the $500 range. You just have to look a bit.

I would also recommend against lowering the action too much. You want a nylon to take advantage of the nylon, yes? Then don't go too far beyond what is considered standard classical action. I made the mistake of bringing my C5 down too much. Now that I have moved "up" a bit on guitars, I look back and chuckle. The action on the classical really helps drive volume and gives you a range of sounds.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the.ronin View Post
Yes, Cordoba came to mind for me as well. But rather than a used C9, a new C5. I had a C5 and consistent with internet reports, I was amazed by the sound. Full disclosure, I did upgrade the nut and saddle.

I would however recommend against GC used or used in general. You can find decent "student" level guitars in the $500 range. You just have to look a bit.

I would also recommend against lowering the action too much. You want a nylon to take advantage of the nylon, yes? Then don't go too far beyond what is considered standard classical action. I made the mistake of bringing my C5 down too much. Now that I have moved "up" a bit on guitars, I look back and chuckle. The action on the classical really helps drive volume and gives you a range of sounds.
And I've got a C9 Cedar that sounds better than many 1500.00 used guitars I've had here in the last 4-5 years. It's all solid, extremely lightweight and very pleasing tonally.

I wasn't suggesting taking the guitar's action down below what's "normal" (about 3mm/2.5mm) but being prepared to do what it takes to get it there.

I paid less than 1/3 of street/new price for the C9, so I'm very happy buying used when I can. Buying from GC is always a crapshoot, but if you ask lots of questions, you can get some peace of mind. If it doesn't work out, you can either ship it back or take it to a local GC for a full refund.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:24 PM
Guit Hacker Guit Hacker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
If it doesn't work out, you can either ship it back or take it to a local GC for a full refund.
Amen. I've taken advantage of the return policy and it was completed with little hassle.

The Cordobas are a great value for the money but out of the dozen or so I've played about 75% have very buzzy D strings. So fitness' recommendation about needing to get it set up properly is probably an accurate statement, at least in my experience.

Some of the older Yamaha's even with laminate b&s can be solid choices. However, I wouldn't buy one of them sight unseen since there can be huge variances in those instruments.

FWIW, I do have an all wood (spruce/rosewood) student luthier classical with cut away that I would sell for $500 shipped. It plays easily and has good intonation. My only gripe are the tuners, but I've honestly become a tuner snob since experiencing what a $300 set of tuners can do for a classical guitar.

Good luck with your search and keep us posted.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:27 PM
RWG RWG is offline
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About 10 years ago I went from a $200 beater classical to a $500 student classical. The beater was a Dean and the better guitar, which I still have, is a Manuel Rodriguez. At that time Fender imported them from Spain. Now Guitar Center sells them but I am not familiar with the quality of the new ones. I don't know what $500 in 2003 translates into 2013 dollars. I recently had my action lowered and it actually improved the sound as well as making the guitar easier to play. I use rest strokes and free strokes and cannot induce a buzz anywhere with this new setup. I haven't measured it. I had pros do the set up and just trusted them. When I was shopping 10 years ago I read an article that said a solid cedar top in the student range would usually be better quality than a spruce top, solid or laminate, in the same price range. The article said that select spruce went on more expensive guitars. So I went with solid cedar and I have been happy with this guitar. I was able to find the article:
http://classicalguitarbuilder.com/ma...ewsletter.html
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:17 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
If it doesn't work out, you can either ship it back or take it to a local GC for a full refund.
Indeed, and if their return policy has not changed since my last experience there a few years ago, they are very liberal.

I also agree with you on the affordability of used. I hope I didn't come off refuting you.

In my own experience, I would check GC and craigslist and fleabay mostly exclusively. After some digging (and it takes some digging), I found a lot of stores that sold online. (Not naming them cos I'm not sure waht this board's policy is on that.) And often times, they carried guitars that were not on their site that was well within "student" price range. So there's a lot of affordable guitars out there brand new. I just picked up a brand new Saez Marin flamenco all solid woods for $100 above the OP's price range (full fisclosure: +$100 for gigbag and shipping).
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:28 PM
kats45 kats45 is offline
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I agree that the solid top is most important. Cordoba's are nice. I just purchased a C10, which is amazing to me. I have a Yamaha CG171S for sale, listed here on the forum. It's a great guitar, but don't need two classical guitars. Check it out if you're interested. The spruce top is a bit darker than reflected in the pic.

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...=yamaha+CG171S

Good luck in your search.

I should add that when I was searching, I tried a couple of the lower end Cordoba's and wasn't impressed. Cheap tuners and lack of projection. This was a C5 and a C7; hence I went with the C10, and am very pleased.
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