Should You Teach Yourself to Play on a Steel String or Classical Guitar?

So what is it better to start off learning guitar on – a steel string acoustic guitar or a classical nylon string guitar?

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While there is no definitive answer to this question, I’ll let you in my own disastrous experiment in the world of classical nylon string guitars.

Hopefully then you will be able to make your own decision.

The first guitar I got was a nylon string acoustic.

I’d heard all about sore fingers from steel strings so I decided to ‘cheat’ a little bit. I figured the softer strings and the wider fret board would be easier to start off on. Once I’d got a little bit better I could move onto the steel string acoustic without any problems.

The whole classical guitar experiment backfired on me though.

Here are the facts you need to know …

Nylon string guitars are commonly used by classical guitarists.

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Strangely enough, they are also used by a lot of heavy metal guitarists for the acoustic parts of there songs. ‘Nothing else matters’ by Metallica is an example of this.

The fret board of the classical nylon string guitar is generally wider, the strings are not as tensioned and the guitar itself is normally smaller and lighter.

But, the main difference between steel string and classical nylon string guitars is that the bottom 3 strings of the classical guitar are nylon. The sound of these strings is unique even in comparison with the three bass strings of the guitar.

This leads to a tonal and tension difference in the two sets of strings.

This tension difference is great for finger picking classical guitarists, but makes the guitar sound horrible when strummed with a pick – which is most likely what a beginner guitarist would need to do

So if you’re only starting to learn guitar, your best bet is to get a decent steel string acoustic. The closer string spacing and more even string tension make them ideal for playing most styles of music

Classical guitars are great if you want to only play classical music, but if you’re interested in a broader perspective you will need to learn on steel.

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