Choosing Your Instrument

The Classical and Steel String Guitar
What You Should Know Before Choosing!

For new players, choosing the right type of guitar can be a difficult decision. This guide lists the basic features of two popular types of guitars so that you can make an informed decision when buying a Nylon String Classical Acoustic or Steel String (Acoustic or Electric) Guitar.

 

Here are some features that describe the basic anatomy of the Classical Guitar, its distinct features and playing style. 

  • It has strings made from nylon filament. This material tends to hold its tune better than steel strings and is less affected by changes in temperature.

  • The nylon strings are not abrasive or tightly strung. This makes it a great choice for beginning guitarists because it is easier on the fingers.

  • The classical guitar has a wider neck than other guitars and the strings are spaced wider respectively. This facilitates the use of the right hand fingers for "fingerstyle" technique.


  • The body of the guitar is not as large as its counterparts.

  • Fingerstyle technique is generally used when playing a classical guitar. It involves using the fingernails and fingertips as a plectrum (pick). This allows for widely spaced harmonies, notes played simultaneously on different strings, to be played very early on in the learning process because you are using multiple plectrums at once, your fingers.

  • The tone is warm, smooth and is often described as having a warm, relaxing or romantic quality


  • Contrary to the name, classical guitars do not only serve the purpose of playing classical style music. Many modern guitarists play a classical guitar.
Steel String Guitars
What You Should Know Before Choosing!
Here are some of the significant features of a Steel String Guitar. 

  • A pick is commonly used to pluck the strings.

  • Strumming across all strings or plucking individual notes is the most popular method of playing. Some individuals use fingerstyle technique, but typically don't use their fingernails.


  • The neck is slimmer, creating less distance between the strings. This makes strumming easier but playing widely spaced notes more difficult.

  • The strings are wound with steel and therefore more abrasive to finger tips and harder to press down. Over time and practice, fingertips and muscles become stronger making this easier to deal with.

  • The tone has a metallic quality. This has to do with the strings being made with a harder metal, as you may have guessed. Additionally, plastic picks create a very different sound than fingertips, usually more abrupt. This is not a bad thing. It depends on your preference.

  • Most present day popular guitar music is played on a steel string guitar.


  • Lastly, these guitars are more suited for electronic amplification than classical guitars.
Time to Choose!
Instruments of all types can be played at an advanced level. It ultimately boils down to who you are musically and which instrument represents your taste. No instrument is "better" than another and no article can adequately describe the sounds that they make. Take a trip to a local music store and try out some of the guitars using the information you have now. If you don't feel comfortable playing it yourself, the store will most likely have someone there to play for you. Remember, you don't have to buy the day you start looking. Take your time and make a decision when you are ready, not the salesman.

Good Luck!

-Blake


Call (940) 206-5488 or email info@wolfmusiclessons.com with any questions you may have about choosing your guitar. If you are interested in starting guitar lessons Click Here to submit a contact form directly.

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