If you’ve been looking for a great new classical guitar then the Godin Etude just might put a smile on your face.
Maybe you’re looking for a gigging companion or maybe you need a brilliant, affordable new upgrade.
Either way, I think I’ve got you covered.
The Godin Etude is one of the best classical guitars I’ve found under $500, so I’m excited to share it with you!
At a Glance…
✔️ What we like: A professional-level guitar but at an affordable price point
❌ What we don’t like: The fingerboard isn’t shaped to the soundhole
- Solid cedar top
- Mahogany fingerboard
- Semi-gloss finish
Our Verdict: If you’re looking for an advanced classical guitar model on a budget the Godin Etude is the best you’ll find in this price range. It has a great dynamic range, brilliant response, and is just a dream to play all-round. If you love rustic guitars with a traditional sound, the Godin Etude will be right up your street!
Who is the Godin Etude Best Suited To?
I think any player could fall in love with the Godin Etude. It has fantastic playability and a beautiful sound. As I mentioned in my summary, the Etude could easily be played by pros. If you’re looking for an affordable classical guitar to bring to gigs, this guy could be perfect.
In terms of style, I think both classical and jazz players would be really drawn to Etude’s warm sound. Flamenco players would most likely prefer something a little brighter, like the Kremona Rosa Morena.
You might want to steer clear of models over $300 when it comes to younger kids as well (unless they’re REALLY serious) but that sort of goes without saying. Aside from that, I think the Godin Etude could be the perfect, affordable upgrade for any player!
Features & Benefits
Body & Neck
Okay, if you’ve read any of my blogs before, you’ll know how much I love a matte finish. I think it really helps with my left-hand playability but I still love how glossy guitars look. When it comes to classical guitars, anything other than gloss is pretty hard to come by – especially in this price range. So, when I saw that the Godin Etude had a semi-matte finish I was pretty excited.
Finally, the best of both worlds (god, I’m such a geek)! The Etude had such a gorgeous traditional look as well with its exposed grain and contrasting sides. Plus, the mahogany fingerboard is a really nice touch. I also love the Etude’s asymmetrical headstock; it adds a little bit of a modern twist to the guitar’s traditional aesthetic.
The rosette sort of does the same thing, its butterfly pattern is gorgeous but not too feminine. Honestly, Godin is so underrated when it comes to craftsmanship. I mean, the cream binding is to die for (if you’re a crazy guitar lady like me).
So, let’s talk about some of the details that make the Godin Etude model so advanced compared to the other guitars in this price range. It has a Graphtech TUSQ nut and saddle which I absolutely love. I’m usually not the biggest fan of synthetic nuts but TUSQ is a whole different story.
It offers so much clarity and sustain which is ideal for such a warm guitar. I think little touches like this make all the difference. They could easily have used a poor-quality plastic but they’ve really pulled out the stops to make sure this guitar sounds high-end but at an affordable price range. Also, in terms of aesthetics, I can’t get enough of the tuners.
Those cream machine heads brighten up the look of the guitar and compliment the binding beautifully. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with this guitar?
As you would expect from a guitar made of cedar and Canadian cherry, the Etude has an incredibly warm sound. Not only is it beautifully soulful but it has great sustain and response as well. Sometimes dark wood guitars can sound so warm that the notes get a little bit lost but I think the TUSQ adds the perfect amount of brightness.
Every string rings out with clarity! Aside from classical players, I think the Etude would be perfect for any jazz guitarist. Its dynamic range is next level and I absolutely love the balance in tone overall six strings. Honestly, I think this guy is a bit of a steal.
I mean, some $1000+ guitars don’t even sound like this. As far as I’m concerned, you really can’t beat the Godin Etude in this price range!
- Body Material: Solid cedar top, Canadian cherry back, and sides
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Fingerboard Material: Mahogany
- Pickups: None
- Bridge: Rosewood
Okay, we all know I’m a bit of a nitpicker so I have found something about this guitar that I’m not too fond of. I wish the end of the fingerboard was shaped into the soundhole. I think the straight edge looks a little jarring which is a bit of a shame.
Most people probably wouldn’t notice it and I suppose it helps with playability in the higher register. I mean, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually used the 19th fret. On the other hand, if any of you are hard-core high register players then you’ll maybe like this feature. To be honest, this is the only thing that lets the guitar down for me.
Although attention to detail is important to me, the straight edge wouldn’t put me off buying the Godin Etude! By the way, I’m sorry if I just pointed out something you would never have noticed… Just pretend I never mentioned it!
Popular Questions About the Godin Etude
As I mentioned earlier, Godin classical guitars are hugely underrated. Godin makes some incredibly well-crafted classical models! They are known mostly for their electric-acoustic models like the Godin Multiac, so their acoustic classical models aren’t as popular but they are just as fantastic.
Various famous artists such as Ian Thornley, Nelson Rios, Joseph Arthur, and Mike Kerr play Godin Guitars. So, I mean, if Godin is good enough for those guys they’re good enough for us, right? I mean, they’re mostly rock and indie players but you could always be the first famous classical Godin player, my friend!
Godin guitars are mostly made in Canada; their necks and bodies are crafted in La Patrie, Quebec, and are then assembled in either Quebec or New Hampshire! I don’t know about you but I love locally made guitars!
The Best Affordable Professional Classical Guitar Under $500
Whether you’re looking for an affordable, professional standard classical guitar or just a brilliant upgrade, I hope I’ve helped you decide whether the Etude is your guitar. Once upon a time, you’d have to throw down at least $5000 for a guitar of this standard so finding great models like this makes me so happy.
I think anyone, no matter where they come from or what their budget is should be able to play the guitar. Brands like Godin are making it so much easier for us music junkies to play our favorite instruments! Thank god for that.
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Fiona is a musician and writer. When she’s not working, she’s either playing the ukulele or finding another instrument to add to her collection.