For many people choosing which classical guitar to buy, particularly their first, can be a confusing and daunting prospect.

There are a number of considerations;

Size – For most students under the age of ten or eleven it is probably better to start playing with a ¾ or even ½ size guitar. Clearly this depends on the size of the child but it is important that the instrument is comfortable to play and that it is of a size that enables correct technique to be developed. One word of caution though, many cheap junior size guitars on the market are of inferior quality and poorly set up, may be difficult to play, and will therefore not help in the students’ progress, and of course in no time at all they will be outgrown!  Often the more talented and motivated young players will overcome a slight size obstacle and prefer a full size instrument as they identify it as being more mature.

Budget – It is always good to have in mind how much you want to invest in your guitar before you begin to look. As with most purchases you will generally get what you pay for.  The Primavera and Primavera II models are the entry into the Mercian range and are of a very high quality and will give students the  motivation that is to be gained from playing a top class instrument. If you wanted to make a bigger investment and look at the Mercian mid-range instruments such as the Levante or Cante then you will have a guitar more than capable of taking a student through the grading system and on to further education. With our Concierto series of guitars we have fully hand-made instruments, produced by master luthiers from the very best materials, and which will give a lifetime of top class response, whether you are an advanced player or performer.

Standard of playing – It is important to choose an instrument that reflects the standard of your playing and also your aspirations. If you are an enthusiastic student with designs on gaining grades and diploma, or an advanced musician playing for pleasure it would be wise to choose the best guitar that your budget allows. 

Cedar or Spruce top? This is always a matter of great debate in guitar circles. All Mercian full size guitars are constructed with either solid cedar or spruce soundboards or tops. These are made from ¼ sawn timbers which are then split open like a book and the two pieces glued together. The soundboards are very strong along the grain and very flexible across the grain. Bracing glued on the underside of the soundboard adds strength and transmits the vibrations from the strings across the top radiating the sound outward from the guitar.  Solid soundboards will start off stiff and tight but players will find that they will vibrate more freely as the guitar is played and ages, thus enhancing the tone. Spruce top guitars will generally have a brighter more separated tone which lends itself to playing a wide range of music particularly multi-voiced or baroque music as it will highlight the clarity between the voices. Cedar top guitars could be described as having a warmer, rounder sound with a blend of tones perhaps more suited to romantic music and traditional Spanish music synonymous with the classical guitar. Having said that, it is always of course, a matter of personal preference.

Up to and including the Cante our guitars are constructed with high quality and superbly finished rosewood laminated back and sides and give excellent quality of sound. Our more advanced instruments have solid book- matched rosewood back and sides which give a very powerful sound projection and splendid appearance.

If you would like any more  help or information please call or email us.

Mercian Music

Fine Classical Instruments