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==== ==== Juan Orozco classical guitar for sale by original owner, concert guitarist. Beautiful sound, made of Brazilian rosewood. Excellent condition. Great price. Find out more at: ==== ====

For one reason or another, you have your heart set on getting a new classical guitar. Whether you've been playing for two days or two decades, the same question applies - what is the best instrument you can get for your budget? The good news is that you do not have to pay an arm and a leg for a decent instrument. There are many brands available out there and many are low cost, but expect to spend at least $150 on a decent, playable instrument. On a side note, my very first classical guitar was a Suzuki concert guitar that my parents paid $100 for in 1978. Given that quality wood is getting more scarce and expensive with each passing year, my guitar is worth 4 to 5 times as much today! Some famous companies such as Yamaha, Ibanez, Washburn and Fender make classical guitars in a wide range of prices including some beginner to mid-level models in the $150 to $350 range. At the upper-end of the spectrum, top-notch brands such as Ramirez, Kohno, Bernabe can be had for prices approaching 5 figures! And no, that $20 guitar you bought on that trip to Mexico will not serve as a good instrument to learn on. It is a roughly made decorative piece that cannot play in tune and belongs on the wall next to that sombrero! At this point you might be wondering if choosing a good classical guitar is simply a matter of price. Rest assured, it is not. While price gives us a general indicator of the quality of an instrument, you can also find some real gems at stores that sell used instruments or even at your friendly neighbourhood pawnshop! Let's now look at some things to look out for when choosing a good classical guitar. A classical guitar is, by definition, a nylon-string instrument. The top three treble strings are made out of pure nylon, not unlike fishing-line, while the bottom three strings are nylon wrapped by a nickel outer core. This is the main difference between a classical guitar and a steel-string acoustic guitar. And one should never, under any circumstances, attempt to put steel-strings on a classical guitar as this will result in severe damage to the instrument! The first thing I would look at when buying a classical guitar is the type of wood used. Good quality instruments always have a top made of solid wood, usually spruce or cedar. The back and sides of the guitar can be made of rosewood, mahogany or nyatoh. Depending on the quality of the instrument, the top, back and sides may be constructed out of solid-woods or wood-ply. Wood-ply is commonly found on beginner-level instruments as it is cheaper.

The top is the sounding-board of the instrument, and is the main resonating surface where the strings attach to the bridge. A solid-top guitar will always have a richer, more well-defined tone than one with a laminate or wood-ply top. It is also not uncommon to find guitars with solid-tops but with wood-ply backs and sides. A guitar salesperson will always try emphasize that the guitar they are selling has a solid-top sometimes even when it is not. Buyer beware! A good way to check is look closely at the grain pattern of the top on the outside of the guitar and compare that with the grain pattern on the inside, looking through the guitar's soundhole. This takes a keen eye, but if the little striations in the grain pattern of the wood match up on the outside and on the inside, you can be sure you have a solidtop instrument in your hands. Then again, I have played some plywood-top instruments that sound fine and are perfect beginner guitars. A good sounding classical guitar wouldn't amount to much if the guitar's neck wasn't in good shape. Play the guitar on every fret, from low to high on each string, and listen for unusual buzzes or notes that cannot be played cleanly. This could be due to frets that are of uneven height, or more seriously, a sign that there is some warpage in the neck or fingerboard. If you're new to guitar-playing, ask the store salesperson to play the instrument for you at various points on the fingerboard, and listen closely. This will also give you the chance to check out the tone of each of the different classical guitars in the store, but from a listener's perspective, which will help you in your decision on which one to buy. A good classical guitar will usually have a neck made of mahogany, but nyatoh is also becoming popular because it is as sturdy as, but cheaper than mahogany. Higher-end classical guitars will always come with ebony fingerboards. Rosewood, usually dyed black to look like ebony is the more common fingerboard wood of choice for lower-end instruments. You can usually tell a real ebony fingerboard from its very fine wood grain - it is jetblack, sometimes with streaks of light-brown, and is almost mirror-smooth. Rosewood, on the other hand, is reddish-brown and has a coarser grain texture. Inspect the guitar closely for cracks or splits in the wood, especially at the glue joints. Higher-end guitars with nitrocellulose finishes will sometimes exhibit light finish cracks at seam points on the body or where the guitar neck joins the body. This is due to the guitar being subjected to sudden drastic changes in temperature or humidity. These shouldn't be mistaken for physical cracks. Nitrocellulose is a hard, crystalline finish and is very unforgiving in this regard. Regardless of finish-type, all guitars will benefit from an occasional wipe down with a clean polish cloth and a good quality guitar polish. My favorite guitar polish is manufactured by Maguire's - it polishes to a high sheen and even keeps fingerprints away! Check also that the bridge is well-seated on the guitar's top. There should be no gaps between the bridge and the guitar's top and there should definitely be no signs of the bridge lifting or pulling away from the body. Here, it is also a good idea to check if there is any swelling on the lower bout of the guitar's body, after the bridge - a sure sign that the instrument has absorbed too much moisture due to high humidity. This is easily remedied by placing the guitar in a low humidity environment, such as in an enclosed room with a dehumidifier.

As far as choosing string for your classical guitar, I've always been partial to high-tension nylon strings. These give the guitar a crisp, well-defined tone with the added bonus of an increase in overall volume and projection. Lastly, always keep your guitar in its case when you're not playing it and never leave it in a hightemperature environment such as the boot of your car on a hot afternoon. With some basic care, your new classical guitar should give you many decades of playing enjoyment!

Clinton Carnegie is a jazz-rock guitarist, music educator and recording artist. He has two fusion guitar instrumental albums to his name, Say What You Mean and Santiago. His music blog can be found at

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==== ==== Juan Orozco classical guitar for sale by original owner, concert guitarist. Beautiful sound, made of Brazilian rosewood. Excellent condition. Great price. Find out more at: ==== ====

Classical guitar is the perfect instrument for children to learn  

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