What is classical guitar?  How is it different from other guitars and guitar styles.

Classical guitar is a style of guitar playing using the right hand to play notes on a specially designed nylon stringed guitar instrument.  Through the ages, guitars have evolved into different lineages of styles.  Originally guitars were strung with animal gut strings, and have developed to incorporate many forms of nylon strings, steel strings and in the modern age, guitars have become amplified with electronics and acoustic pickups.

Electric guitars are easy to identify, as they usually have solid bodies and must be wired to an amplifier.  They are a staple of rock and roll and other modern styles of music made famous by Van Halen, AC/DC, the Doors and the Eagles.  Electric guitars can be found in folk music such as works by Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan.

yamaha-FG700S-acousticguitarAcoustic guitars are just that, they derive their volume with a hollow body without the need for amplification.  The most familiar style of acoustic guitars are those made famous in country or folk styles.  They have steel strings and are usually played with a pick, strumming chords and picking notes.  Variations in styles can include thumb pick and fingers with or without individual picks, working together to form a finger picking style.

Generally steel string acoustic guitars have narrower necks, and are reinforced to handle the tensions of metal strings.  Narrower necks make it easier for the performer to group chords and facilitates strumming.  One feature that you will commonly notice on a steel string guitar is the pick guard around the sound hole.  This is a surface to protect the top of the guitar from being damaged by the pick as one strums on the guitar.  Steel string guitars generally have the capability of delivering a louder volume that has a distinctive tone to the metal strings.

classicalguitar-300x259Classical guitars have wider necks, and don’t require the same reinforcements that steel string instruments require.  A wider neck allows more room for the left hand to maneuver through multiple simultaneous musical lines efficiently.  Nylon string guitars generally have a lower volume with a warmer tone.

Classical guitar has a clearly defined technique for the left and right hand.  Generally classical guitar work is performed solo, and can incorporate duets with other guitars or instruments and functions very well in ensembles and orchestras, although it does require sound reinforcement due to its limited volume.  Classical guitar has its own set of music that was developed specifically for it, including a multitude of ethnic works and traditional works from major classical composers.  Modern pop compositions take on a unique structure when adapted to classical guitar.

8va Classical Guitar Studio deals solely with classical guitar.  If you were looking for other styles of guitar instruction, I can recommend several great instructors that can help you.  For the lessons here, we use only the nylon stringed guitar.

Here is a look at classical guitar construction.

What better way to be introduced in the wonderful world of classical guitar than a full performance by one of the worlds greats! Here is a concert by David Russell. No intent on copyright infringement, but only fully intent to inspire.

Classical guitars are not expensive for entry level guitars. Also, you can rent an entry level Yamaha CG40 from Long & McQuade for a very reasonable price ( Under $20 per month ).

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For more information regarding classical guitars and guitar types, please visit Peter Sawchyn, a professional Luthier at Sawchyn Guitars at 2132 Dewdney Ave, Regina.

 

 

 

 

 

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