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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so my dad owns a barebones entry level guitar.

Being frugal he would never buy something better despite playing for over 50 years.

So that said I'd like to learn a bit about what companies and models and features do people look for?

I would be most interested in finding out which ones are easiest to find. For example, I imagine there might be quite a few used classical guitars floating around on the used market from parents of kids who gave up on it (and maybe the parents splurged on something above entry level),

Ideally something in the used for around 200 to 300 would be good. Anything more expensive and I think my dad would be too embarrassed to accept it as a gift.

To put it in electric terms..... I'm looking for the classical equivalent of entry level to mid range Ibanez or Epiphone.
 

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Guiterrorizer
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Wirelessly posted

Or just get him something better and dont tell him what it cost?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Okay that's a possibility (probably one that I won't be considering).

But it still doesn't answer the question of what are good "above entry level/mid range" classical guitars that are easy to find.

I looked on kijiji and there are many classical guitars that range from $50 to $350 but not knowing a thing about good companies etc it is tough to evaluate.
 

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Okay that's a possibility (probably one that I won't be considering).

But it still doesn't answer the question of what are good "above entry level/mid range" classical guitars that are easy to find.

I looked on kijiji and there are many classical guitars that range from $50 to $350 but not knowing a thing about good companies etc it is tough to evaluate.
Look for something used with a solid top, preferably spruce. There are plenty of South American made ones that go for good prices and of course companies like Yamaha, Takamine, Guild, Ibanez and others that make decent guitars new and used. But ideally a solid top is the go and if it's that sort of budget you're looking at, most anything else would be splitting hairs. However if you can extend your budget a bit, old Gibsons sell for a pittance due to people being snobs. This one has 10 hours left and you might get a bargain at under 500 for a vintage guitar that's had time for the wood to become more tonally sound. Vintage 1964 Gibson C 0 Classical Folk Acoustic ExCond USA Made OHSC NR | eBay
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow that is an awesome deal.

One local music chain with a website is long and mcquade.

I notice that some classicals have an electric option what is that about?
 

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Wow that is an awesome deal.

One local music chain with a website is long and mcquade.

I notice that some classicals have an electric option what is that about?
Basically a piezo pickup under the bridge usually. If you're looking to keep to a budget and live performance isn't a requisite, then forgo the pickup. You'll typically get a better sounding guitar with better materials and workmanship as electrified models typically hold their resale value better. If it's for your father and he plays for personal gratification, then a pickup will be superfluous. Also, most classical guitarists I know eschew cutaways as they do affect the sound a little by shrinking the size of the body enough to effect the tone. Not such a problem with a steel string but nylon stringed guitars are affected much more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks he just bought Guitar Pro 6 and I'm not sure if he has any intentions of hooking his guitar up to a computer. This was the only reason that I thought a pickup might be useful.
 

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Thanks he just bought Guitar Pro 6 and I'm not sure if he has any intentions of hooking his guitar up to a computer. This was the only reason that I thought a pickup might be useful.
If he were to hook a guitar up to GP6 he would need a hex based system with midi, something like a Godin Multiac and they're not too cheap. A pickup would be good for live work or even recording without a mic (though it would sound terrible) but that requires a whole other set of software and a recording interface.
 

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Tarantula Lobbyist
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Has your Dad been playing classical guitar for 50 years, or guitar for 50 years?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Classical for 50.

He plays a mean "Spanish Lullabye" but for the most part he is self taught and with retirement he is trying to arrange songs that he likes. Nothing complicated (mainly folk/gospel) but certainly requires a good working knowledge of music theory.

Edit: lol I always thought that was the name of the tune he often played turns out I was wrong. But it is certainly in that Spanish fingerstyle of play.

Edit: Ah ha! Romance for Guitar aka Spanish Romance that is his bread and butter. Found it by googling top classical guitar songs

 
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For a cheap classical I haven't found anything in stores that beats some of the lower end Yamahas, of course there are slews of older classicals which are better on the used market, but it can be fairly hard to determine quality and condition on ebay and such.

Check craigslist and your local music stores for what's available, I got a very nice late 60s/early 70s student classical for under $200, but depending on what's available, your best bet may be a yamaha.
 

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Yamahas are very nice. I feel La Patrie are right there as well, and at 399 or so new you may well be able to get a used one reasonably. The Concert, Presentation, and Collection models are all solid wood and street for $479.00, $595.00 and $695.00 respectively.
 

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I MG.org salute you.
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^:agreed:

You will be hard pressed to find a solid wood classical at a lower price point than the La Patrie's. They are made in Canada by Godin, the same makers of the infamous, and highly regarded Seagull acoustics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I can't be 100% but I think the guitar he had since the late 60s was a Seagull. What makes it infamous?

Unfortunately that guitar was damaged beyond repair in a move.

The guitar that replaced it I am certain is the cheapest he could find.

Edit: google image indicates it was not a seagull. The sticker inside the "hole" was not what I remember.

That said still curious about what makes them infamous.
 

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They are "infamous" in their way as being extremely inexpensive for the quality you get. It is not remotely a derogatory term, as it is well understood that a $400 Seagull is as good as any other $750-800 guitar by anyone else.

If you can swing the price, get a La Patrie "Collection" model used. Hopefully you can do that in the 400-500 dollar range and you will have an excellent guitar by any standard. Certainly better than what your Dad is playing now. ( And its always a good idea to buy Dad the best guitar you can :) )

jim
 

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I MG.org salute you.
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^:agreed:

Yep, around this board every time someone asks for input on a good, reasonably priced acoustic, Seagull is sure to come up. La Patrie is the gut string side of Seagull. Must be thanks to all the trees in Canada but it is tough to find solid wood guitars, let alone just solid tops, in their price range. I do find the tops on the La Patries to be a little on the thick side, thus they don't resonate as well as a "finer" gut string but you will also be paying a MUCH higher price for a good nylon. It's been a few years since I was looking for a gut string but it pretty much used to be;

<$300 Pretty much junk
$300-600 Some decent to good stuff here but often not much better than junk. Yamaha & La Patrie being a sweet spot.
$600-1500 On average, better but not usually noticeably more so than the Yamaha's & La Patries in the $300-600 range.
>$1500 This is the range where you start getting into "good", pro-level nylon strings (actually closer to $2000). Unfortunately, differences are pretty subtle with the "richness" and "balance" of the tone being pretty subjective and sustain tending to be the biggest improvement.

The reality is that the market for nylon string guitars, at least in North America, tends to be dirt cheap stuff (aka junk) for people wanting to try their hand at guitar and find steel strings too hard on the fingers, and student/semi-pro players that are willing to drop good money for something of high quality. There doesn't seem to be that much of a "mid-market" so guitar makers have generally filled it with junk at a mid-market price point just to pander to the naive.

This of course is a broad generality. Yamaha and La Patrie are notable exceptions for actually making a better instrument in that mid-market price range. Again though, differences in nylon strings tend to be very subtle to those that don't take it very seriously. This might be why your Dad has been perfectly happy with his cheap instrument for so long. That said, he could probably also appreciate the step up in quality with a Yamaha or La Patrie without breaking the bank.

*EDIT* Alvarez also makes some decent mid-range stuff.
 
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^He pretty much nailed the price ranges, a really nice classical is going to cost you 1500, and a top end one with cost you north of 3 gs. The differences between the beginner and mid range models really comes down to just finding a good sounding guitar, (one of two identical model guitars can sound much much better), and Yamaha or Le Patrie is probably your best bet at finding a good one. (I haven't played a Le Patrie, but having played many Godins and Seagulls I can understand why these guys are giving them rep)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think I will try and save up for a La Petrie collection.

I saw on used on kijiji asking 450 and probably willing to take a bit less than that. Unfortunately, I just can't financially swing that right now.

But since I am not on a timeline I can save up and bide my time.

I think my best hope is for a music student who upgrades and is looking to dump their LPC.

Thanks very much for all the info. My dad never asks for anything and over the years probably cheaped out on stuff for himself so it would really mean a lot to me to be able to do something nice for him for all he has done.

Just out of curiosity what brands get thrown around when you go beyond 1500? Is Dean as big in the classical side as it is on the acoustic side of things?
 

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I'm not sure about most of the brands but a "traditional" classical guitar doesn't have a truss rod so checking the neck is always something you'd want to do on a used one because if it's jacked up you can't just tweak the rod and be all set.
 
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I think I will try and save up for a La Petrie collection.

I saw on used on kijiji asking 450 and probably willing to take a bit less than that. Unfortunately, I just can't financially swing that right now.

But since I am not on a timeline I can save up and bide my time.

I think my best hope is for a music student who upgrades and is looking to dump their LPC.

Thanks very much for all the info. My dad never asks for anything and over the years probably cheaped out on stuff for himself so it would really mean a lot to me to be able to do something nice for him for all he has done.

Just out of curiosity what brands get thrown around when you go beyond 1500? Is Dean as big in the classical side as it is on the acoustic side of things?
Generally for 1500 or so you can buy a guitar built by an apprentice of an established luthier and for 3 gs+ you can buy a guitar built by an established builder. The classical world is different as there are few mass produced brands building quality guitars and quite frankly most of them won't stand up to what is available elsewhere.
 
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