The Art of the Nylon-Stringed Guitar
One of the most beautiful genres of music has always been classical guitar. For centuries, the nylon-stringed guitar has brought inspiration, passion, and joy to millions. If you have been inspired to learn classical guitar, congratulations! It can be an occasionally challenging but very rewarding mode of music to learn. In this article, we will go over a few basics about learning classical guitar.
How is a Classical Guitar Different from a Steel Stringed Acoustic?
Despite their similarity in appearance, classical guitars differ in many crucial ways from their steel-stringed counterparts. They are typically considerably smaller. Their necks are wider. Nylon strings are much softer and gentler on the fingertips than steel strings, which adds to the different feel. The sound is quite different; it is much “lighter” and quieter than a steel stringed acoustic being played with the same intensity.
As you will learn from your guitar instructor, the classical guitar is held and played differently than steel-stringed guitars. Classical guitar is typically played while seated, with the guitar on your lap and one foot placed on a footstool. Classical guitar is played with your thumb plucking from the top of a string downwards (downstroke) and your other fingers plucking from the bottom of string upwards (upstroke). You would never use a pick. Your fingers are always in contact with the strings.
Choosing the Right Guitar
As with any other musical instrument, classical guitars are available in differing qualities and covering a wide price range, but don’t be overwhelmed. Find a few within your price range, then sit down and give each one a try. One will likely stand out over the others in terms of how they feel and sound to you.
Guitars are often less expensive online, but give your local dealer a chance to meet or beat the price of an online retailer if they spent a considerable amount of time helping you out. Besides, his or her expertise is more likely to get you the right fit the first time.
Learning to Play
There are many excellent books available that can teach you how to play classical guitar. Likewise, there are many websites and YouTube videos that can show you valuable playing skills. Both of these methods can be effective if you concentrate and carefully mimic what is being taught. They can be great for learning the very basics. But because classical guitar is a highly stylized and specialized genre and needs more finessing than other styles, it is highly recommended that you get one-on-one lessons with an instructor who is proficient in classical guitar. The investment in this education will pay large dividends for you as long as you stay the course and work at what you are being taught.
Classical guitar is one of the most beautiful and uplifting genres of music out there. Because of its highly stylized nature, it is typically more difficult to play than other forms. But when you master it, you will see how rewarding the hard work was.