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starter classical guitar

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Aug 10, 2022 - 7:59:36 AM

Heady

USA

202 posts since 4/25/2021

Hi.

I'm in my late 40s and in a rewarding and stable career in science ed. I was about halfway to a PhD in Science Ed, but lost interest over the pandemic, and got reacquainted with my viola... and my flute... and discovered the banjo, and ukulele, and....

I'm taking a leave of absence from (and unlikely to return to) the PhD program and starting over at community college as a music major. I'm not delusional - I'm not planning a career change - I just want to do this because it was my original plan as a teen and then I chickened out. I made audition tapes for all but my dream school (Eastman) and even for Eastman had made my second instrument and piano tapes but was saving my primary instrument (viola) for last. And then I just got hit with self-doubt and went another way all together.

So.... one of my fall classes is Fret-board Harmony and I'm going to need to get my hands on a baby classical guitar.

I have fooled around with my husband's regular acoustic guitar (~20-year-old well cared for ovation acoustic-electric, do not know more specs) and really struggle with the size. I've been trying to learn how to do basic repairs, so I got my parents to let me take a whack at a badly mistreated 50-year-old Royce 3/4 classical guitar. I fixed it up enough that my mother would like to start taking lessons now. But the size of the 3/4 classical was PERFECT for me, so that's what I'm looking for.

My college roommate is a classical guitar teacher out west and she has her students start with Yamahas (she's the one who gave me a string recommendation when I was fixing up my mom's). I have an entry level Cordoba concert ukulele that I am happy with. So those are the two brands I'm looking at, though I'm open to other suggestions.

Does anyone in this forum know anything about beginner/student grade classical guitars? Specifically, 3/4? I'm a viola major and all squared away with my primary instrument. It's just the guitar for the fret-board harmony course I'm looking to acquire. It's for understanding composition mostly, but I don't want it to sound terrible, or need frequent repairs.

Basically, I want to achieve cold fusion - I want to pay the price of a terrible instrument and get a not terrible instrument - lol - but ready to compromise within a very tiny budget.

Aug 10, 2022 - 8:15:41 AM

Heady

USA

202 posts since 4/25/2021

oh - since what one person considers a tiny budget is another person's loose change etc. - let me quantify: I've found a bunch of things on Amazon and Reverb between $140-$190 that I'm considering. I can creep it up a little bit, but under $300.

I did the math and accounted for tuning in 5ths etc. and considered the scale length of my banjo and tenor guitar and think a 7/8 would be doable as well, but definitely not full size. I can't handle a full acoustic and it looks like a full classical is a smidge bigger. And I don't want a half because I don't want to look like I'm showing up at MIT with a box of crayons.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:14:31 AM
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rcc56

USA

4425 posts since 2/20/2016

Yamaha is a safe bet. It won't sound like a fine handmade instrument, but it won't sound awful either, and will hold together for many years if well cared for.

Cordoba is well-established now. I have not spent any time with one, but my local store has been carrying them for several years with no complaints.

Expect an instrument by either company to need some minor set-up work to play at its best.

If you're at least 5 feet tall and your hands are in good shape, you should be able to handle a 7/8 guitar with no problems.  You would probably be able to handle a full size as well, as long as it does not have a long scale, which is equivalent to a long stop on a viola.  The left hand principles for a guitar are different than those for a viola or a violin.  Generally, we use four fingers to cover four 1/2 steps [1 finger per fret] rather than using four fingers to cover a tetrachord [half of a major scale].

Edited by - rcc56 on 08/10/2022 10:21:18

Aug 11, 2022 - 4:12:31 PM

Heady

USA

202 posts since 4/25/2021

went with the starter Yamaha 3/4 for the commonly advertised price

not much of a negotiator but I got a gig bag thrown in :)

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