The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    I've played in college and had a cheapo Alvarez that I used as a student guitar. It worked but I sold it to fund my first archtop. I'm looking to get a classical and now think I want something more mid to upper-range -> not a concert level instrument but something either high-student or conservatory grade. Something that if I buy I will hang on to. It seems information on classical guitars is much much, more limited than for electric guitars so I'm having a bit of a difficult time finding things in that price range. So far, I have found the Cordoba C12, Ramirez SPR or 4NE (on the higher end of the price range), or the Alhambra Linea Professional (also very pricey). Does anyone have any suggestions?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Check out the used Yairi CY116 here if it is still for sale.

    Check out Saers guitars and Kenny Hill made in China models

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues View Post
    Check out the used Yairi CY116 here if it is still for sale.

    Check out Saers guitars and Kenny Hill made in China models
    A friend of mine who had a world-class classical carreer told me once that other than e.g. violins or archtops a classical guitar looses its acoustic capacities after only a few years. Because of the way those guitars are built the top gets cracks and the tone does not carry over a distance in a(n unamplified) concert anymore. The guitar stays playable and could be used in a studio maybe still.

    So depending on what you plan to do I would think twice before buying a used classical guitar.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bop Head View Post
    A friend of mine who had a world-class classical carreer told me once that other than e.g. violins or archtops a classical guitar looses its acoustic capacities after only a few years. Because of the way those guitars are built the top gets cracks and the tone does not carry over a distance in a(n unamplified) concert anymore. The guitar stays playable and could be used in a studio maybe still.

    So depending on what you plan to do I would think twice before buying a used classical guitar.
    generally that applies to spruce-topped guitars more than cedar tops. A used cedar topped classical guitar that sounds good when you get it will most likely remain consistent for many years. Spruce may lose some of its snap and a little volume, but only if played professionally for many years. For OP, it seems that a used classical could be a bargain, and would give him years of service. I've worn out one classical guitar, but I played it hard for many hours a day for years. On the other hand, my Contreras started out great, and got better for 25 years, as have my Lester DeVoe concert flamencos.

  6. #5

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    look at Orterga guitars....I think you will find quite good instrument.
    Home - Ortega Guitars

  7. #6
    I was recently recommended a Yamaha GC42 - any thoughts on those? I know Yamaha makes very good electric instruments at least.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bop Head View Post
    A friend of mine who had a world-class classical carreer told me once that other than e.g. violins or archtops a classical guitar looses its acoustic capacities after only a few years. Because of the way those guitars are built the top gets cracks and the tone does not carry over a distance in a(n unamplified) concert anymore. The guitar stays playable and could be used in a studio maybe still.

    So depending on what you plan to do I would think twice before buying a used classical guitar.
    Hi, B,
    Your friend should not have said that if he was a "world-class" performer playing CG. A quality, luthier-built instrument will have an effective playing life with heavy, professional play time(4-6 hours daily) of 12-20 years minimum and perhaps more for the right instrument and many years after that where the instrument will maintain a high-level, dependable, personal sound. Few players will ever reach those numbers in a lifetime of playing. For example, Ramirez 1A guitars from the 60's are still highly prized by some players because of their unique sound and pedigree. I have three luthier-built guitars all over 20 y.o.: A LoPrinzi Spanish Grand Concert C(cedar), a Brune 30C, and an Esteve IGR08C(gigging guitar). All three are solid wood instruments and have improved over the years. None has deteriorated in sound. So, for the OP's question--I would recommend a used Esteve 1GR08 cedar for $800. to $1000. US(depending on condition) or new for +/- $2000. US. However, there are dozens of solid wood well-crafted guitars that would fit the bill. I, generally, prefer the Spanish-built instruments over others if you're buying used in that price range.
    Marinero

    P.S. Dealing with a renowned luthier such as R.E. Brune of Illinois, who also sells used CG's, would insure you are making the right decision. M

  9. #8

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    I’ve been through several classicals over the years. I currently own a Taylor Academy 12-N that I’ll never part with. Beautifully designed and built with the richest tone I’ve ever heard from a nylon string. The neck is exquisite and slightly narrower than a classical, which suits me perfectly.


  10. #9

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    Check out Kenny hill…guitarsint.com might have some in stock.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, B,
    Your friend should not have said that if he was a "world-class" performer playing CG. A quality, luthier-built instrument will have an effective playing life with heavy, professional play time(4-6 hours daily) of 12-20 years minimum and perhaps more for the right instrument and many years after that where the instrument will maintain a high-level, dependable, personal sound. Few players will ever reach those numbers in a lifetime of playing. For example, Ramirez 1A guitars from the 60's are still highly prized by some players because of their unique sound and pedigree. I have three luthier-built guitars all over 20 y.o.: A LoPrinzi Spanish Grand Concert C(cedar), a Brune 30C, and an Esteve IGR08C(gigging guitar). All three are solid wood instruments and have improved over the years. None has deteriorated in sound. So, for the OP's question--I would recommend a used Esteve 1GR08 cedar for $800. to $1000. US(depending on condition) or new for +/- $2000. US. However, there are dozens of solid wood well-crafted guitars that would fit the bill. I, generally, prefer the Spanish-built instruments over others if you're buying used in that price range.
    Marinero

    P.S. Dealing with a renowned luthier such as R.E. Brune of Illinois, who also sells used CG's, would insure you are making the right decision. M
    Hi M,

    I am not talking BS here. AFAIK my friend sold the larger part of his jazz record collection to buy a 5000,— DM Ramirez (IIRC?) which might be 5000,— EUR/USD today. He was touring internationally and practicing a lot. When I met him he had quit the classical business for around 5 years and not touched his guitar for that time. We were talking about guitars and he told me about what I have written above. Maybe it was a spruce top, I am not sure. I think the discussion started because I showed him my first guitar a 500,— DM student model from a German luthier whose name I have forgotten. It had some cracks on its spruce top and he said that was normal after a few years. He played it and was surprised how good it still sounded. But he explained me that such an older guitar would carry through acoustically in a larger hall, so it would only have use in a miked studio situation. (Unfortunately my guitar got stolen later.) And he told me about his expensive guitar that was practically dead.

    I just tell what I was told and wanted to speak out a warning. Anybody can buy what he wants. Anyway I just follow the discussion about expensive archtops and classical guitars just from the side. I practice and play on a 400,— EUR China built Walden dreadnaught with roundwound nickel electric guitar strings (13-16-26-36-46-56) because flatwounds are two expensive for me. (The Walden was a bargain, the second one of the same model in a shop, first one sucked, second one was a keeper immediately). For my Thorndal Strat (I was one of Gregor Olbricht’s first endorsers, meaning half price and being on the website right behind Richie Blackmoore LOL) I use 10-13-16-26-36-46 so most string gauges suit both guitars. Maybe I win the lottery jackpot one day then I am gonna buy guitars for all of us. Meanwhile I have fun on what I have and try to have a good sound and a good groove.

    Cheers Bop Head

  12. #11

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    Check out Tom Prisloe's Pavan guitars - especially the TP 30 - it comes in way about it's price point. Tom used to own the Santa Fe Spruce Company back in the day and is a world class builder in his own right. He ships the tops to Spain and has the guitars built to his specs (rumored to be by Esteve but no one's talking), then he does all the set up work when he gets them back to his shop in New York state. I've owned a couple and they're really nice instruments. Right now I'm lusting after his flamenco negra model. Most of his guitars can be had in either 650mm or 640mm scale length and with cutaways. Quite a few demo videos on YT. He also gives a good return period if you don't like it. He also likes to talk guitars if you get him on the phone.

  13. #12

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    Agree with Skip the Pavan guitars Tom Prislow sells are really above their price point. I had a cedar top 240 I studied with for two years, it was a sweet sounding instrument, that had that feeling of being a tad better than I was at the time. I have found in that medium price point some CGs give you the sense that there’s a limit to what you can get out of them. The Pavan seemed to be willing to give more when you dug in. Suppose thats called inspiration. I did have a New World China build, it had limits and just went so far.
    As I recall, Tom was easy to talk to on the phone, he has my vote.

    FWIW I don’t see many professional CG players swapping out their guitars after two three years. People still fight over/pay large dollars for instruments built by famed makers from late 1800’s on. Hauser anyone?
    (Of course that does not include those that skip from sponsor builder to new sponsor builders for better deals)))
    jk

  14. #13

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    "I am not talking BS here." Bophead

    Hi, B,
    I'm not criticizing you but rather your friend despite his "background?" His remarks are incorrect. Period. So, for the record, "cracking is not normal on a spruce or cedar top unless abused or caused by excessively high or low levels of humidity. And, the only guitar I know that is practically dead is my "boat guitar"-- a Yamaha GD-10-- a luthier-built model with a solid spruce top and the common cloudy polyurethane finish(factory error) which despite tweaking and uncountable string choices . . . is unbearable to play despite its quality build. So, there's the rub. By the way, welcome to JGF . . .
    Marinero

  15. #14

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    I mostly hang out in a classical guitar crowd online. In my experience the thought that a CG is beginning to lose its capabilities in just a handful of years is nothing that I have ever encountered. Some would say it takes almost that long for a spruce top to reach its peak. I have seen serious discussions about guitars beyond age 40-50 years, however (with no agreement one way or the other). OTOH, I have a Jesus Marzal guitar circa 1984 that has lost nothing that I can detect (cedar/IRW).

    dave

  16. #15

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    I have to agree with Dave. I have friends who are luthiers and friends who are serious classical guitarists. I have never heard the theory that classical guitars somehow wear out and lose their volume. I know people who seek out German spruce guitars from mid century because they are believed to be cannons. To the contrary, the consensus seems to be that spruce topped guitars don’t find their voice for three or four years, and only get better with time. In fact, I know of one luthier who puts his spruce guitar in a soundbox for three months to simulate being played for several years before they ship the guitar.

    I admit, however, that my experience is exclusively with luthier built guitars, not mass produced guitars. That said, I own a 45 year old guitar I had made (inexpensively) in Madrid that has no cracks. Every time I pick it up I’m shocked at its tone and volume. I disagree that is “normal” for tops to crack, and consider it a sign a guitar has not been properly cared for.

    YMMV


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris32895 View Post
    I've played in college and had a cheapo Alvarez that I used as a student guitar. It worked but I sold it to fund my first archtop. I'm looking to get a classical and now think I want something more mid to upper-range -> not a concert level instrument but something either high-student or conservatory grade. Something that if I buy I will hang on to. It seems information on classical guitars is much much, more limited than for electric guitars so I'm having a bit of a difficult time finding things in that price range. So far, I have found the Cordoba C12, Ramirez SPR or 4NE (on the higher end of the price range), or the Alhambra Linea Professional (also very pricey). Does anyone have any suggestions?
    What price range are you considering?

  18. #17

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    Make sure you are getting good information about the finish of any instrument you consider. In the classical guitar world, the term “lacquer” seems to mostly mean polyurethane. Few classical guitars these days are finished with nitro. I suggest looking for a nice French polished guitar that is in your range. It makes a huge difference in the sound.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark M. View Post
    Make sure you are getting good information about the finish of any instrument you consider. In the classical guitar world, the term “lacquer” seems to mostly mean polyurethane. Few classical guitars these days are finished with nitro. I suggest looking for a nice French polished guitar that is in your range. It makes a huge difference in the sound.

    Hi, M,
    Most hand-rubbed finished CG's are very expensive and unpractical to own since they will feel every bruise, bump, and assorted offense that happens during playing/handling. They also need to be cleaned and refinished occasionally, due to wear, dirt, etc. Poly and nitrocellulose lacquer is the soup du jour for the lion share of guitars made today and for good reason. Also, with the high-tech instruments being made today(design)by professional luthiers, it would be difficult to make the case that a hand-rubbed guitar is better sounding. As an aside, however, my LoPrinzi Spanish Grand Concert with a nitro-finish took the sharp end of a pencil last week as I was writing down some corrections on a score and will forever be scarred.
    Marinero

  20. #19

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    Cordoba C10 (I own/love). You don't need the C12..They're the very same animal; C12 just fancier woodwork...
    You can get an 'out of box' C10 via Guit Center or eBay approx $1,100.00-ish...I call it 'entry-level concert' IE. Not student-beginner.

    Another make I tested and loved is Kremona, their Solea model..No truss rod..Excellent quality control, woods, sound, same cost...
    Better tuners than the C10..
    M

  21. #20

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    Is my Ramirez 1A too expensive for you? See For Sale section. It won’t wear out for 500 years.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Is my Ramirez 1A too expensive for you? See For Sale section. It won’t wear out for 500 years.
    Hi, R,
    That's a beautiful instrument. Are those Rogers tuners? I'm only guessing due to the script on the keys.
    Marinero

  23. #22

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    Antonio Sanchez are great guitars - made in Spain.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris View Post
    Antonio Sanchez are great guitars - made in Spain.
    multitalented fella clearly

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, R,
    That's a beautiful instrument. Are those Rogers tuners? I'm only guessing due to the script on the keys.
    Marinero
    R = Ramirez!

    Though I prefer…

    R = Rob!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    R = Ramirez!

    Though I prefer…

    R = Rob!
    Ramirez is a great guitar.
    A long time ago I wanted to buy a real Ramirez - unfortunately it was very expensive. I saw such an instrument in a music store in Denmark.
    Now it is also not cheap.
    The truth is, good instruments cost a lot.