New GUITAR

New GUITAR

i have a takamine g series at the moment and im thinking about getting a new guitar im kind of undecieded whether to get a new nylon guitar or a new steel string guitar i wouldnt know much nylon string guitar brands either

Re: New GUITAR

Simply, it will all depend on what you would like to play and in what setting.

Steel strings are the more common choice on acoustic as they are louder and suit a wider range of styles/venues.

Although many dislike guitar in traditional sessions, I seriously doubt that a nylon strung guitar would be worth taking to a session due to the lack of volume and sustain.

In summary, if you are unsure (and if your fingers can handle them) then go for steel strings. Only go for nylon strings if you have a specific reason for actively choosing to play nylon strings, e.g. the genre you play or if your fingers can’t play steel strings. And to be honest, if your fingers can’t play steel strings then you are limited in terms of genres and venues you can play anyway.

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Re: New GUITAR

Go to a good shop ad try them all out.

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Re: New GUITAR

Sorry about the ‘ad’.. I got a code in by dose.

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Re: New GUITAR

Don’t discount nylon strung guitars. Jim Murray and Dennis Cahill use them to fine effect.
Personally, I prefer the sound and feel of a nylon strung guitar, and there are a variety of instrument types to try--the standard classical style, the lighter flamenco instrument, and ‘crossover’ guitars (a steel string-like narrow neck married with a cross-braced body). Like Gobby said, go to a shop, try out various instruments, buy what sounds and feels good to you.

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A nylon-strung guitar will most likely have a wide, flat fingerboard. It isn’t really suitable for playing rhythm-style, with strummed chords using a pick. If you prefer fingerstyle, or plucked chords, and don’t mind being quieter, then give it a try; but IMO a good nylon-string guitar is harder to come by than a good steel-string. Decide what it is you don’t like about your current guitar, and look for one that gets rid of the problem; otherwise, stick with what you’ve got.

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Re: New GUITAR

I agree with others here that a trip to a guitar shop having both nylon and steel strung guitars along with your experience at trying them will definitely be your best decision. However, if you find yourself getting too many buzzing tones from the nylon strings then that is a sign that you are trying to get more volume out of the nylon strings than they are capable of producing. Nylon works very well but its performance tends to be toward soft and subtle tones.

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“I seriously doubt that a nylon strung guitar would be worth taking to a session due to the lack of volume and sustain.”

@dcefg: That really depends on the session, the guitar and your playing technique. Backing is not about being heard *above* other instruments - it’s about occupying a musical space.

“Decide what it is you don’t like about your current guitar, and look for one that gets rid of the problem; otherwise, stick with what you’ve got.”

@gam: That sounds like sound advice to me.

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Nice video, EnDaC, and nice playing by whomever.

But it does sort of prove the point about the limitations of nylon strings--I think that guitar was new two months ago, and looks like it might last another month…unless that’s Steve Cooney’s guitar…

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Well, one could stick a pick-guard on the instrument to prevent the Willie Nelson look. And not everyone has such vigorous right-hand technique.

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I gigged for over 18 years with a nylon string for ITM/STM. Since I have very long fingers, the typical steel string neck is too narrow for comfort and as I am a finger picker by nature, inclination and training, the gut strung is my go to instrument. Used to get some funny looks at sessions and gigs until others could hear what I developed as a background style. Volume isn’t much of an issue with the wide array of small battery powered amps that are out there and when we were performing we were plugged in to a PA as the bars/pubs here in the good old USA tend to be very noisy. My advice is to find what you like, feels good to you and are comfortable playing. The difference between my nylon and a classical is that it does have a radius to the fretboard (20" compared to flat), a compensated bridge (allows the use of a capo without having to retune every time you put it on or take it off), and a pro grade piezo/preamp set up ( I avoided mics because of the volumes we played at feedback was an issue). I use an Ovation Classical price around $1000. Yamaha also has a similar classical (without the fiberglass round back) for around the same price range. Good luck with whatever you do and remember that 40+ years ago, Andy Irvine and other were trying something new when they introduced Bouzoucki and Waldzither to the world of ITM.

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Chuck - absolutely confused. What’s the difference between nylon and classical ? Surely both are nylon/gut strung ?
Unless Ovation made a traditional guitar body and so called it a classical, which I hadn’t heard of. Also not all steel-strung guitars have much fretboard radius.
Meanwhile I side with the comments about not bothering with a classical/nylon guitar to a session; certainly don’t want the extra faff of hauling around a mini-amp combo.

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“What’s the difference between nylon and classical ?”

@GPete: The answer is there in Chuck’s post - “ The difference between my nylon and a classical is that it does have a radius to the fretboard (20” compared to flat), a compensated bridge…"

In short, all classical guitars have nylon (or gut etc.) strings, but not all nylon-string guitars are classical guitars. Perhaps the use (or not) of the term ‘classical’ is somewhat arbitrary. But there certain design features that characterise the classical guitar - most notably, nylon strings and a wide, flat fingerboard. If a guitar differs in one or more of these features, it is debatable whether it can still be regarded as classical.

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My impression is that a good classical guitar should be loud enough. After all they are made to be heard without amplification. You see a lot of cheap ones on sale which often sound wimpy. Steve cooney gets heard!

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“What’s the difference between nylon and classical?”
Nylon is a type of string. Classical is a type of guitar or a type of playing.

Classical guitars almost always have nylon or gut strings. But other types of guitars can also have nylon strings. Classical guitars usually have a wide neck (nut width over 50mm). Other acoustic guitars are typically around 44mm neck width.

I would not call a full-sized acoustic guitar with a 44mm neck width a classical guitar, even if it had nylon strings.

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@EnDaC or anyone else who might know: what’s the reel played at the beginning of that video? I know it’s off-topic about guitars but I’ve been trying to find that tune for ages. It’s at the beginning of Dervish’s session “Midsummer’s Night” and I think that might be the name of the reel too, but not sure.

For me, the whole reason this issue comes up is due to fingerpicking as Chuck said. Pick on steel sounds good, fingers on nylon sound good, but whenever I put fingers on steel, it often sounds muted and weak. Maybe I need stronger fingers. Or longer nails. Or better steel strings. Something like that 🙂

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If your fingers sound weak on a steel string guitar, it could be because of the type of guitar. Large dreadnaughts are braced heavier and don’t usually fingerpick very well. A smaller OOO size might project quite well when fingerpicked because of the lighter build and bracing. It’s not necessarily weak fingers or nails.

Re: New GUITAR

Interesting, I’ll try that out!