Advice on Hybryd Guitar

Advice on Hybryd Guitar

I’m thinking of buying a nylon string guitar but I want one with a bit of power, good bottom end and the same geometry as my jumbo steel string. Is there a reason nobody else is playing such an instrument? Should I choose cedar or spruce for the sound board? All opinions valued.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

There is a very good reason why no one is playing the instrument you describe. Nylon strings are more elastic, so when you twang them they move much more than steel strings, so on a nylon instrument the string spacing has to be wider and the action higher than on your steel string to give them space to vibrate without buzzing.

Cedar or spruce? Depends on your playing style. Cedar responds more readily to gentle playing, but it ‘plays out’ if you play hard i.e. there is a limit on how loud it will go, and if you play hard you lose the very loud initial attack on each note. Spruce is not as responsive to gentle playing, but is very good at being loud. So if you’re going to play it like a steel string you’ll probably want a spruce soundboard, if you’re going to gently caress the strings with the pads of your fingers go for cedar. Also bear in mind that cedar is much softer than spruce, and very easily damaged. I’ve seen a cedar topped steel string that was played with a plectrum, and the guy wore right through the top in less than a year.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

Let me first say that it has been many years since I played guitar. But as I recall, nylon strings really are in a different category than any kind of steel strings, of plain steel, flat-wound steel, brass-wound steel or otherwise. Nylon strings are good strings, but they tend to be fairly soft in tone, maybe not having the power you seek.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

I play nylon strings and I much prefer the sound in sessions , much warmer and bassy, always goes down well ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

Thanks guys. I understand the whole spacing of the strings thing, I’ve owned a few nylon guitars. What I’m really wondering about is whither or not the size of the body will suit nylon strings and if so whither or not to go for cedar or spruce. I don’t intend to use this guitar for my usual destruction of good tunes. I only need it for gigging with singers, mostly finger style with finger tips rather than nails. Also, I’m curious about the effect the longer neck would have.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

If I’m correct, it sounds like you are talking about a Nylon Crossover instrument. Here are a couple of examples of some specs and sound samples of a model type from custom luthier Mark Hatcher:

Spruce top
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=304925
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257818
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=237196&highlight=Hatcher

Cedar top
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=391659

I think somewhere in there you will find specs for nut & saddle width, scale length, etc.. These were probably 12- or 13-frets to the body.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

I used to have a godin crossover with a narrower longer neck, but it was solid body nylon.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

Sorry, when you asked about the geometry I assumed you meant the string geometry, not the body size. Not sure what you mean about the ‘longer neck’ - the scale length of a short classical guitar is 25.5 inches, the same as most steel strings. If you mean using a 14 fret neck instead of 12, that in itself makes no difference to the sound, but the way it is achieved (either flattening the shoulders of the body shape or moving the bridge up the soundboard) can, but exactly what effect it has depends on a number of other factors like how the bracing is altered to accommodate the new bridge position.

But I think a jumbo body with nylon strings will be a non-starter, there won’t be enough string energy to make it work. Generally body size (or more specifically internal air volume) is matched to string energy - the less energy the smaller the body, so an 0 or 00 for finger pads, OM for nails, dreadnought for plectrum strumming, jumbo for metal fingerpicks. (Classical guitars come in at about the same volume as the OM because although the outline is smaller the ribs are deeper). If you’re not putting enough string energy into the system the internal air can’t pump the sound hole, the air just wafts in and out, resulting in a woolly bass and poor projection.

To be honest I think you are approaching this from the wrong end - the normal approach would be to think ‘I want a guitar that sounds more like this, what do I need to change to achieve it?’ rather than ‘I want to make these changes, what’s it going to sound like?’. It’s also worth remembering that people have been developing the nylon/gut strung guitar for the last 400 years, and haven’t managed any major leaps forward in the last 100. All the brilliant new innovations you see in glossy magazines turn out to be sales gimmicks that fade into obscurity in a couple of years, but if a nylon strung jumbo was a workable instrument, someone somewhere would be building them.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

Thanks for all the advice. I’ve settled on an auditorium sized Avalon Fusion 20CN with a Cedar top. I’ll let you know how it works out when I get it.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

I collected my guitar today. I couldn’t be more pleased. Avalon made me a cedar top, auditorium size, 14 fret nylon string guitar with fan bracing. It’s plays exactly as I wanted and sounds great too. I can only expect it will get better. They’d just finished two baritone guitars with spruce tops. Beautiful machines. Ended up with one of them in the boot of the car too. Landed them home a couple of hours ago and played them in familiar souroundings. Hats off to Avalon. I haven’t played anything to touch them yet. Thanks for the advice here lads.

Re: Advice on Hybryd Guitar

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