Steel-string and classical acoustic guitars (nylon-stringed) Often confused, acoustic guitars with steel or nylon strings are perfect for beginners because they require no amplifier or electricity to play them. However, these models are different in their construction and sound. So, would you rather use a steel-string guitar or a nylon-string guitar?
The acoustic steel-string guitar, also known as a "folk" guitar, differs from the classical model in three main ways: construction, playability and, of course, the strings it uses.
The construction: Like electric guitars, steel-string acoustic guitars come in several shapes, with two major trends: dreadnought and auditorium. Each shape has its own acoustic signature, and advantages in terms of versatility of sound, character and playability. The classical guitar (or Spanish guitar), on the other hand, has kept a fairly traditional shape that has remained almost unchanged for several decades. Regardless of the brand, the neophyte will find few differences in terms of overall shape. However, there will be big visual differences due to the wood species chosen for the back, sides and parts of the guitar.
Playability: The width of the neck at the head nut (where the strings rest) is much narrower for steel string acoustic guitars. This makes it easier for the fingers to be placed and to move between the frets. For a classical guitar, the width at the nut is usually 52mm, which requires a more... classical positioning of fingers, wrist and arm!
The strings: Steel-string acoustic guitars have metal strings that are much harder, and tend to hurt a bit more at the beginning of the learning process. Classical guitars, on the other hand, are built with nylon strings, which are thicker but softer, and will cause less pain to the beginner's fingers.
Are you a beginner and you don't know how to choose between a steel-string or a classical guitar? It all depends on the style of music you want to play.
Do you like classical music or Spanish tones, Gypsy, flamenco or bossa nova? Then the classical guitar for beginners is for you. The nylon strings will bring that warmth, that softness that is specific to this kind of music.
However, if you prefer a more powerful tone, a little more Folk, pop or rock, opt instead for the acoustic steel-string guitar for beginners. Its metal strings will bring the brightness, projection and dynamics of these musical styles.
Whatever your choice, both classical and steel string acoustic guitars have the added advantage of being playable without an amp, which is an investment less. Most importantly, they can be played anytime and anywhere: a perfect companion for your holiday.