Antonio Giuliani CL-5 Classical Guitar Review

Antonio Giuliani CL-5 Review

If you’ve been scouring the internet, trying to find your next classical guitar then the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 just might be the one.

Maybe you’re a complete beginner looking for your first guitar or maybe you’re a student searching for a brilliant upgrade.

Either way, this classical guitar just might be your next companion.

Let’s take a closer look and find out!

At a Glance…

Antonio Giuliani Classical Mahogany Guitar Outfit (CL-5) - Acoustic Guitar with Case and Accessories...
  • [HIGH-QUALITY GUITAR] Antonio Giuliani is known for fine craftsmanship. Playing music with a thoughtfully constructed guitar, as you know, makes all the difference. Take a look at our technical...

✔️  What we like: Showcases excellent craftsmanship and comes in a bundle (with lots of extras)

❌  What we don’t like: If the model was constructed with slightly better woods, it would be suitable for advanced players

Standout Features

  • Solid cedar top
  • Set up by professional luthiers
  • Dual-action truss rod

Our Verdict: The Antonio Giuliani CL-5 is easily the best student guitar under $500. It’s handmade with great attention to detail, professionally set up and incredibly versatile. I found it pretty difficult to find any limitations for this guy and that’s saying something! This guitar would be the perfect first guitar and would see the player right through to advanced lessons.

Who is the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 Best Suited To?

If you’ve read any of my violin reviews before, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Antonio Giuliani instruments. So, it’s safe to say I was pretty excited when I realized they had classical guitars on offer as well. I’d say the CL-5 is best suited to students.

It would be a great beginner guitar but it also has everything an intermediate to an advanced student would need. The Antonio Giuliani CL-5 would actually be ideal for teenage or adult students. Kids have to start out with smaller models and upgrade as they grow up whereas adults can usually progress with the same guitar.

So, if you are an adult beginner, it’s a good idea to start off on a model that will see you right through to advanced lessons. In terms of style, this guy is pretty versatile which, again, makes the model fantastic for students.

The Antonio Giuliani CL-5 is made with traditional Spanish craftsmanship, so it would even suit flamenco players. This guy’s an all-around gem!

Features & Benefits

Close up of Antonio Giuliani CL-5 Body and Neck
Image Credit – Kennedy Violins

Body & Neck

The Antonio Giuliani CL-5 is one of the most beautiful student guitars I’ve come across. It has a gorgeous grainy cedar top which is adorned with a unique inlaid rosette (wow, I sounded pretty eloquent there… That’s not like me). I know you probably saw this coming but, I have to say, the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 looks pretty darn expensive for a guitar under $500.

I love the dramatic grain on its fingerboard, I think that’s a really nice touch! In fact, it’s quite similar to the Takamine guitar I reviewed recently but I think this one takes first place.

Now, this wouldn’t be one of my reviews if I didn’t mention the craftsmanship. Although Guiliani specializes in violins, you actually couldn’t tell when it comes to this guitar. From the dovetail neck-joint to the traditional Spanish bracing, every detail has been handmade to produce an incredible guitar with excellent playability.

I know, they should really just hire me at this point!


I know I’ve already mentioned it but I can’t stress enough how versatile the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 is. First of all, it’s set up by professional luthiers (Kennedy violins will set the action to suit your preference) before it’s sent out to you and, if that wasn’t enough, it also has a two-way truss rod.

For those of you who don’t know, a truss rod allows you to both harden or loosen the tension and lower or heighten the action of the strings. I mean, us classical guitar players can get quite particular about the way we like things.

I’ve never come across a classical guitar that would suit every player in every style, so having a truss rod makes things ten times easier. This model comes with a spare set of string as well which I think is awesome. You never know if the pre-installed strings will suit your playing style or not! Plus, it’s a good idea to have spares on hand at all times (you know, in case one goes “ping” when you’re trying to practice).

Oh, and the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 has a real bone nut and saddle which work wonders for the sound!


YouTube video

I’m not going to lie, I expected the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 to sound much more mellow than it actually does but that’s definitely not a bad thing. I’ve mentioned before that a slightly brighter classical guitar is better for students because it will allow them to really hear the notes.

Guitars that are too warm can hide a multitude of sins so I love that the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 has quite a sweet tone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bright or “plasticy” sounding in the slightest, it just has a little more clarity than most cedar top guitars in this price range. It also has beautiful sustain and great volume so I’m incredibly impressed.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid Canadian cedar top, mahogany back and sides
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Indian rosewood
  • Pickups: None
  • Bridge: Indian rosewood, real bone saddle

One of the best student classical guitars on the market


Okay, I’m really going to have to nitpick to find limitations here because clearly, I’m in love with this classical guitar. To be honest, I think its only real limitation is the materials. If it had a raised, ebony fingerboard to enhance the sustain, I’d probably call it an advanced model rather than a student model.

However, those specs really aren’t to be expected in this price range anyway. This guy comes with so many added extras as well so I can’t really bash it (which isn’t like me; I can usually find one or two insults to throw out).

At the end of the day, the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 is one of the best student classical guitars I’ve found in any price range but it just happens to be under $500!

Kennedy Violins tuner in use on Antonio Giuliani CL-5 guitar
Image Credit – Kennedy Violins

What Strings Does the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 Come With?

You can choose to have the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 strung with either Savarez or D’Addario classic strings. The outfit also comes with spare Portland strings!

What Accessories Does the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 Outfit Come With?

The Antonio Giuliani CL-5 comes with a heavy-duty, padded soft case; a clip-on tuner that works for most string instruments; and a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Is the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 From Kennedy Violins?

Yes! You can buy the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 from the Kennedy Violins Amazon store. It comes with a lifetime warranty as well, which is pretty handy if you ask me.

The Best Student Classical Guitar Under $500

Whether you’re looking for your first classical guitar or an excellent upgrade, I hope I’ve helped you decide whether the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 is the one for you. It’s safe to say I’m incredibly impressed by this guitar. I didn’t know Kennedy Violins sold classical guitars until I started researching classical guitars under $500!

I mean, they’re one of my favorite violin brands so I’m not surprised their other instruments are brilliant as well. Anyway, I’ll stop ranting and raving about the Antonio Giuliani CL-5 and let you order your new classical guitar.

Let me know if you go for this model or another one!

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