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Nylon Classical Guitar


In this article I take a look at the Nylon Classical Guitar, explain about the strings and how it differs from the steel string guitar.


When we think "Classical Guitar" we often think nylon strings and this is a good thing. The nylon strings are part of what gives the classical guitar its unique and beautiful sound that is quite different from the acoustic or folk guitar with its metal strings. The three pictures below show the difference between nylon and steel strings and the difference between the guitars. The black guitar is a traditional folk guitar with metal strings. The Orange guitar is a nylon string classical guitar. They are of course very similar in appearance but there are some important differences and I will point these out.

Nylon String
Bronze wound steel string
Close up of a nylon string Ball end guitar string


Two Guitars


When it comes to these two major types of guitars the wood is different, the construction is different, the shape is slightly different and the internal structure is different. These things are part of the reason why they sound so different. They also play and handle very differently and the biggest reason for this is the width of the neck where a player stops the strings with his or her left hand.

Close up of guitar necks

By the picture above you can see that the classical guitar on top has a broader neck. This allows for quite a bit more finger room. The classical guitar is designed more for playing single notes while the traditional folk guitar is designed more for chord playing in mind.

On a classical guitar the first three strings (shown by the pointing hands) are nylon. The remaining three strings are a composite made of a core of plastic threads (often Perlon) that are wound with either bronze or silver plated copper wire. So it s these three nylon strings that give the classical guitar it's common name of nylon stringed guitar. The acoustic guitar typically has strings that are steel and wound with bronze.

The fretboard is wider

Another difference between Steel Strings and Nylon strings

The strings also differ in how they connect to the bridge of the guitar.

End of the Nylon String
End of the Steel String
End of a nylon string
End of a steel string

The nylon string simply ends. This type of string is fed through a hole in the bridge and tied in a knot. The end of the steel string has a ball on it. This ball is pushed into a hole and then secured in place with a peg.

Nylon strings knotted onto the bridge
Ball end strings pegged onto the bridge
Nylon strings knotted onto the guitar Steel strings pegged onto the guitar

Selecting A Nylon Classical Guitar

The most important thing you have to consider when purchasing a nylon classical guitar is the manufacturer. This is the best way to insure you get a good sounding instrument, life time performance, and good value for your dollar. Here are two manufacturers I recommend: Yamaha because they make good quality instruments at an entry level price. And Alvarez if you are looking for a more professional quality instrument. I also have plenty more classical guitars here including 3/4 size for younger players. Classical Guitars If you are looking for strings I have a selection of them here Classical Guitar Strings


Yamaha nylon classical guitar Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar Package

Yamaha guitar packages are an affordable, all in one solution to guitarists seeking a high quality instrument with multiple accessories. The C40 package includes a full sized Yamaha C40 nylon string classical guitar, a guitar case and a CD with examples for the student to listen to and play along with. The C40 guitar features beautiful Indonesian Mahogany back and sides, a Spruce top, Javanese Rosewood fretboard and bridge, and chrome tuners.






Alvarez guitar Alvarez Acoustic Guitar AC60SC Cutaway Classical Top Solid Cedar Back & Side Mahogany

This is the acoustic/electric version of the AC60S. The Alavarez AC60SC features their exclusive system 600T electronics--which will produce a natural acoustic/electric sound from speakers, and a Venetian cutaway for ultimate playability. The soundhole rosette is finely detailed, which is signature for any Alvarez guitar. The solid cedar top produces brilliant tone with tremendous sustain, clarity, and tightly focused bass. Combine this with the mahogany back and sides, and this guitar will provide lush, full-bodied tone with amazing projection.