Differences Between Acoustic and Classical Guitars

Mar 28, 2023

Playing guitar is a great hobby for music enthusiasts, and it’s important to choose the right guitar that suits your style and preferences. Acoustic and classical guitars are two of the most popular types of guitars, and many people often wonder what the difference is between the two.

In the above photo you can see South Hills Music student Mandy working her finger style technique on a classical guitar. The string spacing on a nylon guitar is greater than on a steel string acoustic. This gives more room for the fingers to comfortably maneuver between the strings.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few differences between playing an acoustic guitar and a classical guitar, helping you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing your next guitar.

Body Shape and Size
The first major difference between acoustic and classical guitars is their body shape and size. Acoustic guitars typically have a larger, broader body that’s designed to produce a louder, more robust sound. On the other hand, classical guitars usually have a smaller body size with a narrower waist, designed to produce a softer, more delicate sound.

Another important difference between the two types of guitars is their strings. Acoustic guitars typically use steel strings, which produce a bright, crisp sound with a lot of sustain. In contrast, classical guitars use nylon strings, which produce a softer, warmer tone and are more forgiving on the fingers.

The fretboards of acoustic and classical guitars also differ. An acoustic has a 1 5/8” width which is thinner than the nylon that has a 2” thickness.

Playing Style
The playing style also varies between acoustic and classical guitars. Acoustic guitars are commonly used in folk, rock, and pop music and are often played with a pick or strummed with the fingers. Classical guitars, are typically played with the fingers using various techniques, such as arpeggios and tremolos.

Finally, cost can be a significant factor in choosing between acoustic and classical guitars. Acoustic guitars tend to be less expensive than classical guitars, making them a popular choice for beginners. Classical guitars, however, can be more expensive due to their intricate construction and the cost of high-quality nylon strings.

Acoustic and classical guitars are both great instruments with their unique strengths and characteristics. Whatever type of guitar you choose, make sure it feels comfortable in your hands and inspires you to play and create music.

If you are still a bit confused on what you should get, stop by South Hills Music here in Pittsburgh and we will help you out. We always have several models to choose from.

Want to learn how to play the classical guitar like Mandy? Contact us to learn more!


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