In today’s global world, Spain is not the only country making and selling classical guitars for beginners; the market is flooded with ‘low-cost’ instruments made in Asia, as well as several other European countries.
Yet there is no place in the world with stronger cultural ties to this instrument than Spain; the classical guitar is as inextricably linked to these shores as the bagpipes are to Scotland. So, before you buy a student guitar, it’s worthwhile doing your research: you may be surprised to learn that each of the most renowned Spanish manufacturers – Admira, Alhambra, Camps, Prudencio Saez and Raimundo – has a student line of exceptionally affordable models. And the difference between the quality and features of these instruments compared to others on the market is greater than any possible saving you might make. So, let’s take a look at some of them:
Camps: Outstanding instruments, for a song
At Camps Guitars you don’t need to be a concert guitarist to merit – or indeed invest in – the genuine article. Camps produce a first-class selection of instruments for guitarists in the early to intermediate stages of their musical journey at extremely competitive prices (from €255 upwards, at the time of publishing). Models such as Camps Eco Ronda, Camps Son-Satin T, Camps Sinfonia and Camps ST1-T all have an incorporated truss rod and come in at under €500. Light and comfortable to hold, they have all been especially designed to offer the student guitarist the highest playability and excellent sound quality.
Alhambra: Sounds so good
You don’t always get what you pay for; sometimes you get more. All six entry-level Alhambra Guitars are the byword in quality and design. The Alhambra Z-Nature, 1C Black Satin, 1C HT Hybrid Terra, the Alhambra 2C, Alhambra 3C and Iberia Ziricote range from around €300 to €560 (at the time of publishing) and have exceptional sound output and projection. These beautifully crafted Spanish guitars offer a wider range of tonal possibilities than comparable models in this price range, making them a solid choice of first instrument. Hear the Alhambra 1C and 3C for yourself, below:
Admira: Economy + class
As well as a special sub-category of special sized guitars for kids (the Infante and Malaga 1/2 sizes, Juanita, Triana and Malaga 3/4 sizes and Malaga 7/8), Admira make a series of full-sized guitars for beginners that are almost impossible to eclipse, if you’re looking for great price-quality ratio. Instruments start at around €160, including the Admira Paloma, the Irene Conservatorio, the Granada Conservatorio, the Luna Classical and the Juanita Estudio Classical. Admira pay special attention to the action of their student models, achieving a perfect balance of playability, resonance and sustain.
Prudencio Saez: State of the art
The artisans and luthiers at Prudencio Saez produce six studio models ranging in price from around €390 to almost €600 (at the time of publishing) for beginners to intermediate players. For the price you get the excellent craftsmanship, select woods and the sublime sound quality you would rightfully expect from the high end of a guitar maker’s collection. The Prudencio Saez 1-S, Prudencio Saez 2-S, 3-S, 4-S, 5-S and 6-S all have a solid cedar or spruce top and each of them produces a rich, well-balanced sound, with plenty of volume. Add to the mix great projection and an exquisite finish, and you looking at (and listening to) something more akin to professional instrument, but for a very reasonable price.
Raimundo: Well heeled
When it comes to quality, Raimundo make no concessions: every guitar built in their workshop near Valencia in Spain is made with the traditional ‘Spanish heel‘, including the more economical student models, which start at around €380. This is a laborious style of construction (the guitar is painstakingly assembled around the neck), but it offers manifold advantages, including a far superior resonance.
This artisanal style of guitar-making means that each instrument is essentially one of a kind. The Raimundo 104B, Raimundo 118, Raimundo 128 and Raimundo 130 are all, therefore first-class instruments for beginners. Other attributes worth mentioning are the perfectly calibrated action, open, balanced sound and flawless finish of all four student models.
Choosing a guitar obviously comes down to your own personal needs and budget, at the end of the day. On the GFS website, you can find an in-depth description of each of the student models cited on this page, as well as a technical sheet detailing the specifications of the instruments. We recommend that you review this information before buying an instrument.