Why You Need a Classical Guitar
If you check your cupboards, have a quick look in the attic or behind that pile of “stuff” in the garage that you swore you would tidy up last year, chances are you’ll probably find a classical guitar. Every household owns one, but no one ever remembers buying one. They’re like the mysterious mountain of Tupperware that manifests itself in kitchens across the country on a daily basis.
If you’re like me, the thought of a classical guitar brings to mind traumatic flashbacks to the £30 “guitar” forced upon you during your primary school years. From the hideously wide neck and offensive sound, to the action so high it required a metric-ton of force just to press a single string to the fretboard, they were dreadful (and are likely responsible for many potential guitarists swearing off the instrument for life). Well let me tell you, not all classical guitars are created equal, and maybe it’s time you revisit the idea of adding one to your ever-growing guitar collection!
What makes them different from an acoustic guitar?
We can go ahead and get the obvious one out the way first. The nylon strung guitar has… well, you guessed it, nylon strings! These are a lot softer, both in feel and sound, and an added bonus is that they aren’t as harsh on your fingers. This is why they are often favoured by beginners, as every guitarist remembers the pain of our fledgling foray into the world of steel-strung instruments.
The last big difference is the neck. The neck on a classical guitar will be wider than a steel string acoustic guitar, and this typically results in a wider string spacing as well. This is perfect for flamenco-style guitar playing, but can be a hindrance if you’re looking to simply play chords in the open position.
Not just for Spanish music!
From Metallica’s iconic ballad Fade to Black to Fleetwood Mac’s dreamy 1987 release Big Love, and of course the flamenco-inspired middle section of Queen’s Innuendo, many more contemporary bands have used nylon strung guitars to glorious effect. Since the classical guitar has such a distinctive sound, it can really stand out when thrown into a song that wouldn’t typically make use of the instrument. Try adding one to the next song you write. You never know, it might be all that it needs to make it hit!
Which guitar should I get?
Luckily for you, here at Kenny’s Music we currently have the biggest selection of excellent classical guitars we have ever stocked! With entry-level guitars from Jose Ferrer, Epiphone, and Fender, the very reasonably priced Spanish-made Raimundo range and lastly, our epic sale on Yamaha NTX and NCX guitars, we have a classical to fit every price point and every style of player!
Here are a few of my top picks:
Yamaha NCX700 Natural
This guitar is a must-try! The NCX700 easily accommodates a wide range of musical and playing styles and offers the perfect place to start exploring the nylon string sound. The NCX700 inherits many of the characteristics of classical guitars, such as fingerboard width, neck shape, body thickness, and 12th fret joint. However, this electro-classical guitar features exceptional materials: Solid Sitka Spruce Top, Eastern Mahogany Back & Sides, Rosewood Fingerboard and Bridge; and a cutting edge pickup/preamp System61 (A.R.T. 2-way)
The Cort CEC3 has taken inspiration from traditional steel-string acoustics and features a cutaway, narrower nut width, and Fishman electronics. This is the ideal guitar for the steel-string player who loves the nylon-string sound.
Fender’s FC-1 classical guitar is an affordable and great-sounding instrument that doesn’t compromise on tone, feel or value. Features include a laminated spruce top with fan bracing, laminated basswood back and sides, traditional classical body shape, wide neck with comfortable “U”-shaped profile, as well as Fender classical headstock shape, flat fingerboard radius and more.
So there you have it, the classical guitar. A misunderstood and often neglected instrument that deserves a place in your guitar collection!
P.S.- Please go and fetch the one out of the attic. It’s cold and dark up there, and it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle to finding One Eyed Willie’s treasure.