Pick Of The Week

Pick of the Week: Lissarague Classical (and Other Nylon String Guitars)

At any given moment, we always have a small selection of luthier-made nylon string guitars in the shop, from builders all over the world.


Our current Pick of the Week is Australian luthier Kim Lissarague's ziricote and cedar classical, which we love for its rich tone and breathtakingly powerful projection. While we highlight this one, we wanted to shine a spotlight on our other nylon-string guitars, which present a wide array of options for the serious classical guitarist as well as the fingerstylist looking for a great crossover nylon string.

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Though he may be a well-rounded luthier these days, crafting everything from nylon-string to electric guitars, Robert O'Brien got his start building in the classical guitar world with renowned Brazilian luthier Antonio Tessarin and Spanish luthier José Romanillos. His roots as a fine nylon-string builder show through on this standard model classical. Rich and resonant from low to high, the bass on this guitar is strong and commanding, while the trebles sing and sparkle above. The generously wide neck with its 2-1/8" nut width gives plenty of room for pulling off complicated right hand picking patterns, while the excellent set-up and playability make left hand execution easy, even for steel-string players. An ultra-thin French polish finish protects the woods while inhibiting vibration as little as possible.

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The father-son team of Orville and Robert Milburn specialize in handcrafting classical guitars over in Oregon. The combination of cedar and Brazilian rosewood on this nylon-string is as rich, deep and warm as could be, with incredible sustain. A unique rosette of what we suspect may be Oregon myrtlewood adds a local flair to this beautiful nylon-string. This pre-owned model does show some signs of honest play wear (visible in the photos, primarily below the strings near the bridge and above from the right thumb). But for a serious classical player who wants excellent tone and doesn't mind player's grade status, this Milburn is a great option.

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This is a beautiful and unusual classical guitar, crafted by luthier Paul McGill right here in Nashville, TN. The back and sides of this guitar are Central American - likely Nicaraguan - rosewood, and the top is made of old-growth German spruce with two cedar wings on either side. This is number 3/3 of the Tommy Jones models featuring this unusual combination of top woods.

This guitar has a beautiful deep tone, and yields a very traditional sound despite the non-traditional tonewoods. It has a pleasing clarity across all registers. There’s one small cosmetic mark in the wood on the upper treble side, which has absolutely no effect on the sound of the instrument.

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California-based luthier Kirk Sand has been building since the 1970s, crafting a wide range of electric and acoustic guitars. His specialty, though, is his electric nylon string. Initially designed with Chet Atkins in mind as a feedback-resistant mahogany guitar, Kirk's Rosewood Model has a stronger acoustic presence. Aside from the lack of a soundhole, the construction and bracing are much like a standard, traditional classical. Utilizing the same RMC pickup system that you've seen on Godin guitars, this guitar has a wide array of tonal options when plugged in. With a slim body just over 3" in depth, and a comfortably wide nut and D-profile neck, this guitar has excellent playability, and would make a great crossover nylon string for an electric or steel-string player.

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