If you’ve never heard the soft overtones of Nylon, you have missed out on one of the biggest pleasures of the guitar world. That is what I tell people who are not aware of the virtues of the classical guitar. On the other hand, if you are here, with me, reading this, you must already be at least partially aware of the warmest sounds in the world of 6 string instruments. The classical guitar is a fascinating instrument because it has existed longer than the more famous steel string guitar and because its presence in popular culture has remained obscure, despite being prevalent. The best classical guitars are even more fascinating: their versatility and the warmth of their sound, the softness of their tones, and the ease, comfort with which they are played is unmatched.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Best Classical Guitars
- 2 Classical Guitars for Beginners
- 3 Cheap Classical Guitars
- 4 Under 500
- 5 Under 1000
- 6 Under 2000
- 7 A little bit of history
- 8 Nylon Strings and Different Build
- 9 Technique and Ease
- 10 Conclusion
Top 10 Best Classical Guitars
|1||Ortega Guitars R122SN Family Series||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|2||Yamaha C40 Full Size Nylon-String Classical Guitar||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|3||Cordoba C7 SP||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|4||Yamaha CGX122MCC||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|5||Godin Multiac Nylon Encore Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|6||Cordoba C9 CD/MH Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|7||Godin 031498 Grand Concert Duet Multiac Guitar||(5 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|8||Takamine Pro Series H8SS Hirade||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|9||Yamaha CGS102AII 1/2 Size Classical Acoustic Guitar Bundle||(4.7 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|10||Fender Beginner Acoustic Guitar MC-1 ¾ Nylon String||(4.6 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
I do have one problem with the nylon string guitar. It is more of a regret than a problem: I have never owned one. Not because I have never wanted to, but because it was so easily available to me in my home town. The nylon string guitar was very popular with a few of my parent’s friends, big fans of flamenco. So whenever I wanted to play one, all I had to do is call up my auntie Liz and ask her if I could come over. Over time my interests moved in a different direction. Still, I’m going to purchase one as. No guitar collection is complete without one.
A little bit of history
There is a reason the classical guitar is named as it is and despite the fact that you might have guessed it or know it all along, I will tell you, because I like to tell people things. Don’t hold it against me, hold it against my teachers who never told me to shut up.
The apt naming of the instrument comes from the fact that it is one of the oldest examples of a guitar and is used in the world of classical music more often than anywhere else. The instrument, as we know it today, has existed since the early 18th century. Composition of incredible variety exist for the guitar, all written from those times and on and new ones are still being written. What is even more fascinating is the fact that the guitar, despite its continued presence in the context of classical music, has also made repeated appearances over a range of genres. Country music, rock and roll and pop music have all gotten their hands on the instrument and have included its soft, warm tones in their own songs.
The classical guitar is the inspiration for the variety of guitars that exist today, but it is also the guitar where the techniques you use on your guitar were born. Fingerpicking techniques that you see so much in country, blues, rock and roll and even metal were all born on the classical guitar. Strumming, the most basic and accessible technique, was born because the guitarristas of the old knew the satisfying allure of the full sound of a guitar. The history of the classical guitar is the history of the any guitar in the world, and it deserves to be respected the way any electric Les Paul is.
Nylon Strings and Different Build
The classical guitar has a two main differences from the much more pop culture accepted steel string guitar. These differences are what make the guitar unique in sound and tone as well as in looks.
The first difference many will notice is the alternative shape of the body, the classical guitar does not have the dreadnought body style that the steel strings have. As a result the guitar has a more slender, smaller look, as well as a slightly softer, less booming sound that responds well to midtones. This body shape also results in only 12 frets being free of the body, while the rest are located on the body itself. A shorter fingerboard makes the guitar slightly shorter and the rest of the frets a little less accessible. This does not make the guitar any harder to play, just requires a slight adjustment to how it is held so that the picking hand (left or right) is free to move easily.
The second difference, and probably the most important one, noticed the second the guitar is played or even held for the first time, is the fact that its strings are made of Nylon, instead of steel. This difference is the one you would be expecting if you know that the instrument is sometimes called a nylon string guitar. These strings produce a very soft and pleasant sound and are much less susceptible to the sustain of steel string guitars. The notes played on these strings tend to be warmer and and less “twangy” than the sound of the steel string guitar. The nylon string also tends to resonate for a shorter time than the steel string. This means a faster succession of notes played without the danger of sounds getting mixed up and producing a “dirty” effect.
Technique and Ease
The alternative build and sound of the classical guitar also warrant a slight change in the techniques used to play the guitar. These techniques are not complicated to learn, but do require a certain amount of dedication to be mastered successfully. As any guitar technique does, so really, worrying about whether you will be successful in learning them is pointless.
The thing is, since you are looking for the best classical guitars this list might seem slightly redundant to you. Whether aware of them or already a master of them, I think it is still important to review some of these techniques. Just in case you need to refresh yourself on the basics. Otherwise, if you are new to classical guitars, it might be wise to considering picking up a beginner’s classical before you go for the best nylon string guitars on the market. Though don’t let that stop you from learning more about the techniques talked about below – this will only be useful.
The first thing to consider is the way the guitar is held. While a steel string guitar rests close to the hip and can be played standing up, this is not the case with the classical guitar. The nylon string is best played when resting on the leg that is on the side of the fret hand. This results in the plucking or strumming taking part below the soundhole, which further enhances the uniqueness of the guitar’s sound. It also allows the fretboard hand easier access to the frets that are on the body of the guitar. The playing of the first frets is not impeded since the fretboard of the classical guitar is slightly shorter than the fretboard of the steel string guitar, meaning easy reach.
Now for the techniques:
- Fingerpicking is a technique all guitarists are aware of and kind of love. The thing is, the classical guitar slightly alters this technique, preferring to use nails of the right hand instead of picks or fingertips. This allows for faster picking with a much more resonant sound than what would be allowed by a single pick o the fingertips of the hand.
- Arpeggios in direct translation to english mean “broken chords”. This implies playing each string of the chord in succession instead of the same time. This produces a more detailed sound than the normally played chords do.
- Hammer ons and pull offs, better knows as slurs in the classical guitar world, are a complicated technique that even advanced players have trouble with. Despite this, the technique is incredibly valuable to a good sound and could enhance your ability to mesmerize an audience.
Despite the presence of alternative techniques to learn the classical guitar is much easier to learn than many people think. It is a combination of comfort, ease on the fingers and the beautiful sound that make the guitar easy to play. The thing is, as with any instrument, the classical guitar requires persistence and dedication to be eventually mastered.
It is so strange to think that as a kid and a teen I enjoyed flamenco music so much. I mean, I used to hang out with auntie Liz specifically because I wanted to listen to her and learn how to play like her. Then over the years, as the edge of the teen creeped in and the long black hair with the heavy metal overtones campaigned to rule my life, I kind of abandoned the genre and with it the classical guitar as well. At the time I thought that the nylon strings of the guitar could not have produced any sound that would be in any way compatible with my metallic persuasions.
It was not until I finally escaped the grasp of single minded pursuit that I realized how much modern music, especially metal, is the child of the techniques used by the classical musicians. The fingerpicking and the shredding techniques so coveted by people like me at the age of thirteen, are simply an inheritance, slightly modified for genre purposes, handed down from the old masters of the art. The electric guitar is simply a modified vehicle, a reference and a heir to the great classical guitar. The mother instrument to all the new, the one that permeates the culture to its bone, even if you and me and the untrained ear or eye, miss its existence. Maybe I would have been a better musician if I had learned from the best classical guitar player I knew? Whichever it is, go on ahead and enjoy your new guitar.