Choosing the best nylon strings guitar can be challenging if you are a novice classical guitar player. The guitar market offers a broad range of options, each with different features, sounds and designs, which can be overwhelming if you have no idea how to pick a nylon-string option.
There are numerous nylon guitars available from all the trusted brands in the guitar world, with prices ranging from budget friendly options to choices that make you want to burn a hole in your pocket. Most high-end nylon-string guitars are made for some specific music niches, namely classical and flamenco, but some do well with other music areas, too.
If you find yourself struggling with deciding on the best nylon strings guitar, keep scrolling. In this post from Breathe Carolina, we’ll review 15 best nylon strings guitar options in detail, and provide an easy-to-understand guide to help you make an educated, informed decision.
Best Nylon Strings Guitar Comparison 2020
Best Hybrid Nylon-String Guitar
Best Flamenco Nylon-String Guitar
Best SIlent Nylon-String Guitar
** You will find our detailed reviews of the best nylon strings guitar below, also, click these following links to view the current prices and customer comments on Amazon.
Top Best Nylon Strings Guitar Reviews 2020
Taylor Academy Series Academy 12e-N Grand Concert Nylon Acoustic Guitar Natural
- Body type: Grand Concert/OO
- Cutaway: No
- Top wood: Solid Lutz Spruce
- Back & sides: Layered Sapele
- Bracing pattern: Academy Series Nylon Bracing
- Body finish: Matte 2.0 Varnish
- Neck shape: Taylor Standard Nylon Profile
- Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony
- Neck wood: Sapele
- Number of frets: 17
The Taylor Academy 12e-N is an entry-level guitar, and it meets all the expectations of beginners and even those who are advanced. It’s a hybrid, and it’s able to produce classical guitar tone with crisp and warm voice. The upper-midrange is responsive.
The guitar is compact and the Grand Concert shape is perfect for performing artists. The finish is smooth, and the bevelled armrest is a feature that allows us to play on the guitar for hours.
This “crossover” nylon-string has an adjustable truss rod and a slightly angled fingerboard. The narrower neck makes the guitar super easy to play, perfect for those who have smaller hands or find it difficult to play with traditional classical guitars. It comes with a soft case for travel and storing the guitar when not in use.
With a solid spruce top, the guitar produces a very nice tone. A percussive approach reveals a flamenco sound, while turning down the intensity would create some excellent sounds for bossanova melodies.
We cannot find any negatives on this guitar. At a moderate price, you’ve got a great hybrid with an easy to play neck and a nice bevelled armrest. The sound is clear and warm, perfect enough for novice players as well as advanced ones.
Cordoba C9 Crossover Classical Acoustic Nylon String Guitar
A new spin on a Cordoba classic, the original C9
Solid Canadian cedar top
Solid mahogany back and sides
Hand inlaid Mother-of-Pearl "Esteso" Rosette
Steel-string style neck
Includes Cordoba polyfoam case
The last item on our list of the best nylon strings guitar is the Cordoba C9 Parlor. It offers a new spin on a Cordoba classic, so you can try this one out if you are ever a fan of the Cordoba classic.
This model has a smaller body compared to traditional classical guitar. It’s perfect for anyone with smaller hands or young guitarists. The warm and mellow tone of nylon strings is well kept.
Built with a Canadian cedar top and solid mahogany back and sides, the C9 Parlor produces buttery and resonant sound that will please your ears. The mother-of-pearl weave rosette, premium rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a high gloss finish give the guitar a high end, aesthetic look.
The guitar comes with a polyfoam case that is lightweight and sturdy enough to protect your guitar.
Martin 000C12-16E Nylon Sitka/Mahogany Natural
Top: Solid Sitka spruce
Back & sides: Solid mahogany
Electronics: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1
Tuners: Gold, side-mounted
This guitar from Martin is a premium crossover guitar for serious guitarists. It is available at a high end price, and the build quality as well as the sound quality is excellent. It features a 000 auditorium body shape, and the body depth is easy enough for any players to experiment.
The combination of solid Sitka spruce on the top and solid mahogany on the back and sides gives this guitar a well crafted build quality and a mellow, unique, natural tone. The neck is a little bit wider than acoustic guitars, while the cutaway joins the body at the 16th fret, allowing you to reach upper frets easily.
The guitar is equipped with a Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1 pickup and preamp, allowing the guitar voice to be projected naturally and beautifully. This feature is also great for those looking for a performing guitar.
Available at a premium price, this Martin is a big investment but of course, you get the professional quality tone and an exceptional build quality. The glossy top combined with a satin-smooth back, sides and neck would make you feel like picking up the guitar and playing all the time. The guitar comes with a soft case, but we expect a hard case at this price.
Kremona Solea Artist Series Nylon String Guitar
Solid western cedar top
Solid cocobolo back and sides
Ebony fingerboard and bridge
Handcrafted in Europe
Deluxe wooden arch top hard shell case included
These guitars from Kremona Solea won't let you down in terms of craftsmanship, materials, playability and sound quality. The sound is clear, warm and well defined.
The smooth cedar top with cocobolo back and sides deliver a clear, sturdy bass and a responsive treble. The sound is lustful and rich in all registers. It also features a Honduras cedar neck and an ebony fingerboard, and they are smooth enough for your fingers to fly.
The special thing about these guitars is that they are handcrafted, so none of them look and feel the same. There might be some imperfections such as the cut, or bubbles in the varnish, but nothing is too major to hurt your eyes. The guitar comes with a deluxe hard-shell case for easy storing and traveling.
Yamaha CG122MS Spruce Top Classical Guitar
Top: Solid Engelmann spruce
Back & sides: Laminated nato
Tuners: Classical pearloid
Here’s an amazing choice of classical guitar for anyone seeking a budget friendly option. It’s an entry-level guitar with a low price, but the quality is, honestly, beyond its price point. Yamaha has done a good job of manufacturing affordable guitars that offer nice quality.
The CG122MS features a full size classical body, with a wide neck that allows you to perform complex fretting shapes and hand arrangements. The tone is articulate, warm and mellow, as expected on a decent nylon string guitar. The mid is powerful and nice, the high end is clear, the overall sound is well balanced.
The action has a perfect height. It’s friendly to beginners’ hands and is easy to play. The guitar stays in tune. You don’t have to sacrifice build quality or sound quality for its price, which is great. The CG112MS is light in weight, and its construction is solid enough for long term use.
The fretboard is not totally smooth, but it is no big deal as you can play comfortably and move around easily. The low end can be a bit weak. But overall, at such a lovely price, you get a well made guitar that is able to produce decent, warm and mellow nylon sound.
Takamine Pro Series 3 P3FCN FXC Body Nylon Acoustic Electric Guitar
Type: FXC cutaway electro nylon-string
Top: Solid cedar
Back & sides: Solid sapele
Neck: African mahogany
Electronics: Takamine CT4B II preamp
Tuners: Gold-plated classical style
Finish: Natural satin
The P3FCN is another amazing stage-friendly hybrid guitar from Takamine, a trusted and reputable guitar brand. The neck is thinner than that of a classical guitar, which can be friendlier to novice players, but also can be cramped for complicated hand shapes. It is just a matter of personal preference.
The solid cedar top features hand-scalloped X bracing and ivory binding. The Venetian cutaway allows easier access to upper registers. The special split-saddle bone bridge provides excellent intonation. The rosewood fingerboard is smooth and elegant, while providing high playability.
The solid sapele back and mahogany neck add to the warmth and clarity of the guitar sound. The guitar is also equipped with a CT4B II preamp system with three-band EQ, volume control and built-in tuner. These are great extra features that will come in handy if you want to keep your guitar in tune and stage-ready.
At a mid range price point, the P3FCN is a decent option for those looking for the best nylon strings guitar. Not only does it look stunning and gorgeous, but the sound produced is also convincing and bewitching. The guitar is specifically designed to offer classic nylon string tone in modern live and recording environments.
Cordoba F7 Paco Acoustic Nylon String Flamenco Guitar
Top: Solid western red cedar
Back & sides: Rosewood
Fingerboard: Laminated rosewood
Tuners: Cordoba gold with black buttons
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
Made of a solid Canadian cedar top with Indian rosewood back and sides, this Cordoba F7 Paco offers a unique departure from traditional flamenco guitars. It is made in honor of Paco De Lucia, and is actually inspired by several instruments in the guitar collection of Paco.
The excellent tonewoods and the well crafted build quality result in a fuller, darker, less biting tone. This Flamenco guitar is super lightweight and its body depth is a bit thinner than a classical guitar. It strikes a perfect balance between well defined, resonant low-end warmth and the precise high-end needed for flamenco voicing.
The action is low and easy to play, while the body’s depth provides comfort required of all decent flamenco guitars. Featuring a high gloss finish, maple binding, and clear Spanish golpeador, the guitar owns a high end, high quality look. It comes with a soft gig bag.
Though the F7 Paco is made for flamenco and Spanish, it sounds great for classical melodies. The volume is powerful compared to its small size. There might be some fret buzz, but you can acquire the skill needed for controlling the buzz as you play.
Yamaha NTX1 BL Acoustic-electric nylon-string guitar
Type: Contemporary Style electro
Top: Solid sitka spruce
Back & sides: Laminated nato
Electronics: Atmosfeel Electronics
Tuners: Chrome with Matt Black Shafts
Finish: Gloss body, satin neck
If you love the design and playability of steel string guitars and the warmth of nylon strings, this NTX1 from Yamaha is one of the best options. It features a narrower neck, a radiused fingerboard and 14 frets to the body, which is super easy to play.
The crossover guitar is able to produce well balanced, natural sound both when unplugged and plugged in. The built-in Atmosfeel preamp electronics are excellent, offering clear and clean tones.
Whether you want to practice in your bedroom or perform on stages, the guitar offers everything you need. The modern and comfortable design, together with nylon strings, provide you with great comfort and you are free to experiment with the sounds. Featuring strap buttons and onboard pickup system with high quality electronics, you can plug it in any appropriate amplifier for the best performances.
There’s a built-in tuner which will come in handy to keep your guitar in tune. The finish is glossy and the neck is satin-smooth, giving the guitar a high quality look. This is a great option to add to your nylon-string guitar collection.
Godin Multiac Nylon Encore Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar
Type: Single-cutaway, semi-hollow nylon electro
Top: Solid cedar
Back & sides: Hollow silver leaf maple
Electronics: EPM Dual Source System
Finish: Natural, semi-gloss
The MultiAc Encore from Godin owns a very unique and special design. It features a thinline grand concert body-shape which is comfortable to hold and play. The combination of a solid cedar top and silver leaf maple on the back and sides contributes to the warmth and tonal clarity of the guitar.
The onboard EPM Dual Source electronics offers clear, consistent and clean amplified tones that won’t disappoint your ears. This is a nice feature for serious gigging musicians looking for a studio or stage nylon string hybrid.
The fretboard feels so smooth, everything is made with just the right size and height. The sound is very clean, pure and sweet. For the highest quality of sound, you need an amplifier. The guitar is lightweight and transfers dynamics very effectively.
Coming with a soft case and a reasonable price, you can get an easy to play nylon string guitar that is made for performing and gigging. It’s worth adding to your instrument collection.
Cordoba GK Studio [Gipsy Kings Signature Model] Acoustic Electric Nylon String Guitar
Type: Cutaway electro
Top: Solid European spruce
Back & sides: Laminated cypress
Electronics: Fishman Presys. Blend
Tuners: Cordoba Gold
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane, Natural
This Cordoba GK Studio is a contemporary, lightweight flamenco guitar with traditional fan bracing, great for any guitar player. It features a soft cutaway and a deeper body than many flamenco guitars, yet slimmer than classical ones. You can easily hold it in your lap and play for hours without any discomfort.
Built with premium tone woods, including a solid European spruce top and Spanish cypress back and sides, the overall tone is bright and crisp. Overall, it’s a well balanced tone that is pleasant to your ears. The GK Studio features an action that is low across the fretboard and the mahogany neck is narrower for smooth and easy playability.
The built-in Fishman Presys Blend with 4 Band EQ and digital tuner pickup system gives the guitar a clear and natural tone when plugged in. There’s a phase switch, 3-band EQ, a tuner, volume, phase and notch controls, allowing you to adjust the sound to your liking. The guitar also comes with a Cordoba deluxe gig bag which is convenient for travel and transport.
Ovation 1773AX-4 Pro Series Nylon String Acoustic Electric Guitar
Top: Solid Cedar
Back & sides: Lyrachord
Neck: 5-piece mahogany/maple
This Ovation 1773AX-4 nylon-string guitar will make you stand out in any venue or crowd. Made from AA grade solid cedar with scalloped X bracing, and polished to a high gloss, the guitar offers a potent, balanced tone that will convince any player. A 5 piece mahogany/maple slim taper neck and an Ebony fingerboard with low action offer guitar players an easy playability and comfort.
The Mid-Depth Bowl design is extremely comfortable to hold. The neck is slightly narrower compared to classical guitars, which is great for those with smaller hands. A cutaway offers easy access to the upper registers and will satisfy the needs of soloists.
The OP-Pro Studio onboard preamp and Ovation OCP-1K pickup allow you to control the sound as you can control the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. You can get a well-balanced, crystal clear tone. The on-board tuner helps your guitar stay perfectly in-tune.
This is a high-end option, and it does an incredible job of living up to our expectations of a high quality nylon string guitar. Nylon string guitar players can now receive the best of both worlds with a traditional sounding instrument packed with modern features.
Yamaha SLG200N NT Nylon String Silent Guitar
Type: Centre core 'silent' guitar
Top: Mahogany centre core
Back & sides: Rosewood/maple laminate frame
Electronics: SRT Pickup System
Finish: Gloss, Tobacco Sunburst, Crimson Red Burst, Translucent Black, Natural
This is by far the most groundbreaking, unique looking, unconventional guitar on our list of the best nylon strings guitar, the Yamaha SLG200S. It totally breaks off the idea of a guitar having a body, as it only contains a wooden frame and a small solid-wood central core. The stunning look and a rosewood and maple frame inspire you to play whenever and wherever possible.
Made with SRT Powered System, the guitar can create the resonance of a guitar body in a bodiless guitar. It’s practical and portable. The luxury gig bag coming with the guitar lets you carry the guitar anywhere without much hassle.
The bodiless design of the SLG offers a quiet sound that allows guitarists to play without disturbing family members and neighbors, or practice late at night when everyone is asleep. It is actually 80% quieter than a normal guitar.
The built-in exclusive SRT-Powered pickup system delivers natural tone, and the on-board effects enhance your playing. It looks and feels like a high end instrument and is an amazing interaction between technology and craftsmanship. The guitar comes with a gig bag, making it one of the best travel companions. The frame is detachable, so it’s even cooler and handier to carry around.
Cordoba GK Pro Negra Acoustic-Electric Nylon String Guitar
Top: European Spruce
Back & sides: Indian Rosewood
The GK Pro Negra is one of the best gigging instruments for the serious guitarists. Built with a solid European spruce top and solid Indian rosewood back and sides, the GK Pro Negra is a flamenco guitar made for the stage. Featuring a thinner body depth and neck compared to a traditional classical guitar, the guitar is easy to hold and play.
The low action height adds to the ease of playing and better playability. This nylon string guitar also comes with a soft cutaway which lets you access upper frets easier. It is also equipped with the Fishman PreFix ProBlend pickup which provides great projection and tonal flexibility. It sounds amazing when amplified.
Made of premium, high quality tonewoods, the guitar sounds as good as it looks. It delivers a robust and bassier tone rather than bright and snappy tone. A great plus of this GK Pro is the hard case that comes with the guitar. The case has a humidor built in which is convenient.
The guitar is very lightweight and you’ll be comfortable playing it for hours. It comes with a premium price, but it is worth every penny.
Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar
Back & sides: Meranti
Yamaha C-Series provide budget friendly, cost effective options for beginners and young learners without sacrificing any part of the quality. Craftsmanship is still at an excellent level and the level of attention to detail is still admirable. The C40II is one of Yamaha's most inexpensive full-size classical guitars, but you can actually get a decent build quality and tone. It’s an excellent choice for novice players.
The CS40II is designed specifically for beginners and young learners with a scale and compact body that provide the ultimate comfort when playing. At such a low price point, the guitar is built cleanly and with precision. This guitar has no extra features such as the high quality solid top wood, or built-in electronics. It’s reasonable considering how much you pay for it.
The CS40II is lightweight, easy to play and experiment, and delivers a great feel and sound. It does a good job of maintaining the Yamaha reputation for quality levels which go beyond their price tags. You get a solidly built guitar with a warm, crisp sound of nylon strings, and it’s sure to keep you accompanied through years of your musical journey.
Godin Multiac Series-ACS Guitar (Slim Nylon)
Back & sides: Silverleaf Maple
Finishes: Natural, Black Pearl
These Goldin ACS are wonderful guitars. They are not only lovely and special to look at, but also deliver a very unique voice. The thin neck and the built-in EQ allow you to play comfortably, move your hands around easily and adjust the sound all to your liking.
The neck is not as wide as the typical classic guitars, and the fingerboard is as smooth as butter. The body is a little bit heavier, but it sits on your lap nicely. All the hardware is made of high quality materials, giving a sturdy and durable feel.
The sound is very warm, mellow and clear when unplugged. However, it can lack some resonance when amplified, but it still sounds decent.
The Godin ACS-SA Slim comes in a gig bag that is very made, with lots of cushioning. There's foam that supports the neck, and Velcro straps to secure the guitar in place.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Nylon Strings Guitar
If you’re looking for the best nylon strings guitar, then good chances are that you love and play either classical or flamenco genres. Or you can play some other genres, it’s totally up to you. Whatever styles you want to play, there are certain considerations that you have to take when picking the best nylon strings guitar.
Types of nylon-string guitars
There are three common styles of nylon-string guitar that you need to be familiar with: classical, flamenco and hybrid.
Classical guitars feature a flat fingerboard and a wider neck. The wider space might cause difficulties at first to some players, but with patience and practice, this is not much of a problem. The wider space on the fretboard and between the strings allow you to play more intricate shapes and arrangements.
Because of the wider neck, you may not be able to use your thumb for fretting. The bracing patterns are often designed with a fan shape to increase the resonance of the guitar.
Flamenco guitars are quite similar to classical guitars, but there are some key differences that you need to know. They often have a more shallow body depth, which results in a more responsive, fast and bright sound.
Some flamenco guitars feature a tap plate to protect the top of the guitar. Some are often made with a flatter angle neck that makes the action lower. The notes do not maintain longer than a classical guitar.
Hybrids, or “crossover” guitars, feature narrower necks and fretboards, while keeping the nylon strings. You get the sound that you expect from the best nylon strings guitar, while getting a more comfortable playing experience.
Besides pure classical guitars or flamenco ones, there exist several hybrids that allow you to get the warm, mellow sound of nylon strings, while keeping the features, playability and beauty of narrower-neck guitars.
These are high-end classical guitars made by luthiers. They are often made with centuries-old traditional methods and of high quality materials to endure rigorous conditions. Because a decent luthier may only make 4 to 6 guitars a year, concert guitars’ cost can reach up to 5 figure range.
So which type is the best nylon strings guitar for you? That depends on your needs and purposes.
The fretboard of a nylon string guitar is wider than the fretboard of a steel string acoustic guitar. That’s why guitar players with small hands need some time to get used to the width of the fretboard.
Fretboard on classical guitar often does not include markings which help players identify the positions of the frets, so this can be a challenge to the novice classical guitar players. It may take some time to know where you are on the fretboard.
Similar to acoustic guitars, nylon-string guitars are also available in different sizes. To get the most out of a classical guitar, most people use a full-sized one. But if you have smaller hands, or if you are choosing a nylon-string guitar for your child, then you should consider a half-sized, or three-quarter-sized guitar. These are more friendly to your hands, but the volume and power of the sound is lessened.
Tonewood is the kind of wood that the guitar is made of. This is one of the most important factors that affect the tone and sound of the guitar. While mahogany offers a warmer and richer sound, spruce tends to produce crisper and well-defined tones. Cedar is also a popular tonewood that produces warmer and darker tones. If you are totally new to music, you may have untrained ears that cannot distinguish the difference.
There are continuing discussions and debates about which tonewoods produce better tones. It’s hard to tell, because the tone of the guitar is affected by several components in that guitar. The wood thickness, types of bracing, and other construction characteristics can be just as important as the tonewoods in determining the tone.
Scale length is the space between the nut and the saddle. A longer scale length requires higher tension in the strings and produces a brighter tone.
Nut width determines the distance between the strings. It affects the playability and comfort of a guitar.
Besides nut width, action height is also a key factor that influences the playability of a guitar. Guitars with a low action allow you to move faster on the fingerboard, and techniques such as tapping or hammering are easier to apply. There might be some fret buzz, but a lower action is friendlier to beginners.
There are some features that you should look for when choosing the best nylon strings guitar.
Solid top means that the top of the guitar is a single piece of solid wood, not strands or particles compressed together. Guitars with a solid top offer you a better sound, and the sound becomes better and better as you play and as the wood ages.
One thing that almost every guitar player agrees on is that a solid wood top will provide better projection and the tones will get better over time as the wood open up, compared to a cheaper laminated wood top.
Besides the guitar itself, it would be very handy if the guitar comes with extra accessories such as soft case, hard case, tuner, spare strings. If you are a beginner, these extras would be very convenient because you don’t have to buy them separately anymore.
The guitar market offers you with choices ranging from budget friendly to high end. So no matter how much you have on your budget, you can always get a nylon-string guitar. If you are a novice player, you can opt for low-end to mid-range guitars. As your skill gets better and your ears become more sensitive, you can upgrade to high end, professional options.
You can watch this video to have a clearer look on how to choose the best nylon strings guitar:
Why are three of the strings on my nylon string guitar made from metal?
Bass strings need to be thick enough to produce lower and deeper tones, as well as to hold the tuning of the guitar. If they are made purely from nylon, they would be too thin to produce basses. That’s why bass strings are made of metal wrapped around nylon. Only the 3 treble strings are made of pure nylon.
How can I tune my nylon string guitar correctly?
You need a guitar tuner or a tuner app on your phone. The standard tuning would be EADGBE, from low to high. Adjust the tuning pegs on your guitar’s headstock based on the tuner, and you’re good to go. Over time, your ears will be able to identify the notes precisely and you can then tune the guitar by ear.
What are the differences between a nylon string guitar and an acoustic guitar?
There are some differences between a nylon-string classical guitar and a steel-string acoustic guitar. The first thing is the width of the neck. Classical music requires more complicated fretting shapes, so the neck of classical guitars need to be wider to accommodate the shapes. The neck of an acoustic guitar and the space between the strings are much smaller.
The body shape, construction and weight of these two types of guitars are also different. Classical guitars often feature a more shallow body depth, and their bracing is often more lightweight.
Because of the smaller size and the nylon strings, classical guitars produce warmer and softer sounds. That’s why they are often used in Flamenco and Bossa Nova melodies. On the other hand, acoustic guitars produce much brighter and clearer sounds, perfect for strumming and chordal work. You often see them in pop, country or folk songs.
How do I hold a classical guitar?
Due to the complicated fingering shapes in classical playing, guitar players need to play seated with one leg raised from the ground higher than the other leg. Hold your guitar at a diagonal angle with the neck pointed upward. Rest the guitar on one leg and fit the guitar curvature to the other leg.
Make sure to sit in a good posture to maintain the comfort of your body while playing. The headstock should be at your shoulder length, or a little bit shorter. If you sit with a correct posture, your body supports the entire guitar and your hands are completely comfortable to play for a long time. You can also reach upper frets more easily.
How can I maintain proper care for my nylon-string guitar?
Proper care for a nylon-string guitar is essential to its longevity. If you want to keep it with you for a long time, make sure to have a case to keep it when not in use and during travel. A guitar humidifier block is extremely helpful, especially if you live in an area with harsh climate conditions.
Conclusion Best Nylon Strings Guitar Top Pick For The Best
In a world in which acoustic guitars are dominant, the best nylon strings guitar often get overlooked. But if you stop and listen to the warm and mellow sound of nylon-string guitars, you may be convinced and in love!
The key things to consider when you are looking for the best nylon-strings guitar are your skill level, the sound you desire, and your budget. We’ve rounded up our top 3 picks to help you make the final decision more easily.
Best Hybrid Nylon-String Guitar
Best Flamenco Nylon-String Guitar
Best SIlent Nylon-String Guitar
Regardless of whatever guitar you choose, the best nylon strings guitar for you is the one that allows you to achieve your playing goals, while providing you the ultimate comfort when practicing and performing.