Starting on the fun and gratifying path of learning to play guitar starts with picking the right guitar. Choosing between a classical and an acoustic guitar can be the perfect way to showcase your style. With their distinct differences in sound, structure and design, these two types of guitars are great for creating different genres or styles of music. Whether you’re a beginner searching for your first instrument, or a seasoned musician interested in exploring new sounds, learning about the subtle nuances between classical and acoustic can help you find just the right one for your own playing style. So, let’s dive into what makes each type of guitar truly unique!
What is a Classical Guitar?
Although it may seem self-evident, classical guitars are typically used in ensemble settings, such as in an orchestra or band. Because of its acoustic design, the plucked string’s sound is augmented by the instrument’s soundboard and cavities. A typical classical guitar is a sort of acoustic guitar. This guitar has a special moniker because it was the first to be manufactured. The guitar’s ancestry can be traced back to the baroque guitars of the 17th and 18th centuries.
What is an Acoustic Guitar?
Acoustic guitars are relatively modern-made guitars. It has a fretboard, soundboard, and sound cavity, just like a classical guitar, and the sound is produced by plucking or strumming the strings. No electrical amplification is necessary for the vibrations to be heard. An acoustic guitar with an amplifier can be used for various musical styles. Acoustic guitars are better suited to rock, folk, and blues genres.
What Distinguishes a Classical Guitar from an Acoustic One?
Each style of guitar is distinctive in its way. Here are some of the most glaring distinctions between guitars beyond the music they play:
The primary distinction between acoustic guitars and classical guitars is in the instrument’s strings. The strings can be made from either nylon or steel. Classical guitars are always made up of nylon strings, while acoustic guitars employ steel strings. The types of strings are how most people recognize the difference between the two sorts of guitars. Classical strings may be more than six (up to eight), while acoustic guitars only employ the conventional six strings.
When strumming an acoustic guitar, you’ll notice tiny balls at the point where the strings are fastened near the sound hole. Changing the strings on a classical guitar is different from changing the strings on other guitars since the classical guitar uses a wrap-around bridge to attach the strings. Classical Guitars have a tie block where the strings get fastened on in a precise way. Steel-string instruments utilize string pegs that press-fit the string into place.
3. Neck Size
An acoustic guitar’s neck is thinner than a classical guitar’s. The classical guitar’s larger neck facilitates precise finger placement, allowing all four fingers to rest on the fretboard at once. Most classical types have larger guitar necks but aren’t thick, whereas acoustic guitars have thicker necks.
4. Body Size
You can see a clear variance in the body size of each guitar. The body size of a classical guitar is often smaller than that of an acoustic. Thickness is increased along the sides, and the back is rounded. Every guitar category can come in different sizes and designs, but the standard acoustic steel string has a long body and strings for strumming chords. Acoustic guitars have a significantly higher construction quality since they must survive the strain of steel strings and the heavy wear they typically receive. Think about the various ways people play instruments and how the instrument changes depending on how the player is seated.
5. Tuning Pegs
Tuners on the headstocks for nylon strings of a classical guitar are too hard to wind on a steel-string tuner. Because of its thickness, it won’t go through the opening or be able to be pulled onto the peg.
6. Fret Markers
The third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth frets of steel-string guitars typically contain markers. There can be a few or none for classical guitar. The dots are helpful markets to guide your hands on the frets.
The classical guitar’s distinctive tone, produced by the instrument’s nylon strings, is soft and soothing. Because of its steel strings, an acoustic guitar produces a vibrant and multicolored tone.
8. Musical Genre and Preferred Playing Technique
Classical guitars were designed for classical music and the Spanish picking style, as we mentioned earlier. Acoustic guitars may perform many other forms of modern music, including modern rock, folk music, blues, country music, and pop. Nylon string guitars are typically used to perform western art music throughout the baroque, renaissance, and romantic eras.
Acoustic guitars tend to be louder than electric ones because of the high tension created by the different types of strings. Although modern classical guitars are louder than their forebears, they provide a softer sound overall.
10. Right Hand
Depending on the sort of guitar you play, you’ll need to employ your right hand uniquely. When playing a classical guitar, you can use your fingernails or apply pressure with your fingers instead of a pick or finger picks.
Classical guitars are cheaper because their body sizes are smaller, and they weigh less than acoustic guitars. The lower price makes them more appealing to beginners and sometimes even necessary.
When choosing between the two types of instruments, it’s important to consider what type of music you want to play and how you want to play it. Classical guitars give them a softer sound played with the fingers rather than with a pick, which gives them a different sound from an acoustic guitar. Try out both types of guitars at your local music store before making a decision. And don’t forget – we offer free guitar tabs on our website so you can learn to play your favorite songs no matter what type of guitar you have! Good luck!