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Very often at the beginning, we’re not sure if we’re supposed to start off with an acoustic guitar or a classic one. We can stumble upon quite a few online pieces of wisdom, which would tell us to try a classic guitar first, but it couldn’t be further from being wrong. The practice on both of those is more likely the same, so it’s good to choose your first instrument solely because of its sound, and that’s it.
The characteristics and the tone of a classical guitar
For beginners a classical guitar might not differ as much from an acoustic guitar, but they do differ in their built and, even more so, in tone.
Nylon strings have a much warmer tone than the ones you’ll find in an acoustic guitar. Also, the way to mount them on the instrument is way different. Very often nylon strings might be finished with a small plastic ball, but if not, you’d have to tie them up upon the bridge. The action of classical strings usually serve with a bit of a bigger distance to the fingerboard, but it’s not a drastic change. Although it’s worth noting that the distance between each string is also bigger, which might bring a few days of discomfort if someone’s used to an acoustic guitar. It’s only a while before fingers adjust to new settings, and with some people it might take a bit longer, but with some people it’s a matter of one or two days of playing. For strings there’s for example D’Addario, which covers a wide variety of different strings, and more specifically, their model D’Addario EJ27N, which is definitely a go to for beginners, seeing as they’re great with longevity, staying in tune and sounding clear and warm, without unnecessary buzz. Another notable brand is Savarez, which is a perfect example of grand sounding strings for a quite low price, making them not so easy to forget, even after you switch to more expensive models.
The neck in a classical guitar is the widest among guitars. It’s joined with the guitar’s body at the level of the 12th fret, though some producers experiment with that here or there. The sound hole on the other hand, is a tad bit smaller than in an acoustic guitar.
To sum it up, a classical guitar employs a warmer tone and isn’t so loud with its softer, nylon strings, compared to the steel ones, it’s also easier to press the strings against the fingerboard.
Sizes of classical guitars
Skimming through the web store you’ll see guitars labeled with 4/4, 3/4, 1/2 or ¼ symbols. This is obviously connected to a guitar’s size, stating if it’s more suitable for an adult or a teenager and so on. If a smaller kid wants to take up playing guitar, it’s better to choose a smaller size, depending on age, probably a guitar of size 1/2 or 3/4. There are also some smaller sizes, even down to 1/8, made with a thought of children who might fall in love with guitar fairly early.
A good brand will usually stand for a quality guitar. Some of the brands might seem a little unknown, but it’s perhaps because of the fact they’re somehow mostly focused on classical guitars, see Admira or Alhambra, however, there’s still a choice with for example Fender or Yamaha, which are equally as good, with models like Fender ECS-105 or Yamaha C40. Choosing a smaller scale guitar, like 3/4, a wise choice is Admira Alba, which still stands out among the cheaper models with its natural tone. If it comes to a full-size instrument, the best choice is probably Yamaha C30. Doesn’t really matter if the guitar is destined for a beginner or a more qualified musician, the quality should be decent, and the aforementioned model impresses with its clear sound and attractive looks.
We don’t recommend to stick to any stiff patterns, seeing as music should rely on joy and passion, howsoever, most of the classical guitar players hold their neck tilted slightly up, and their left foot is supported by a small footrest, which can also be found in most music stores. If this kind of way to hold your guitar doesn’t fit your needs, don’t worry about it. Play the way that’s comfortable for you.
With a cautionary advice don’t follow all of the experiments you can find online, for example with changing your guitar strings for the steel ones, as it’s a very bad idea. Steel strings require different tension to work properly and in tune, what might essentially damage your guitar neck, which can bend or even break.
Classical guitar strings are made of nylon nowadays, but back in the past, they used to be made of animal intestines.
If you’re after a warm sound, which won’t get very loud, a classical guitar is for you. Remember to keep a spare set of strings around, seeing as the E string likes to break at certain moments, most likely due to having sharp ends on a guitar’s bridge.