Classical Guitar or “Spanish Guitar” | Discover Features & History

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 17, 2023

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If you hear a piece by Franciso Tarrega or Mozart played on guitar, it’s very likely played using a classical guitar. 

Many people don’t know what a classical guitar is and why it differs from an acoustic guitar, even though it may look similar. 

So what is the classical guitar?

A classical guitar is also called a Spanish guitar, and instead of steel strings, it has thin nylon strings. Classical guitars produce a warm and mellow tone and have wide, flat necks, allowing effortless fingerpicking and complex chord shapes.

Classical Guitar or "Spanish Guitar" | Discover Features & History

It’s a great instrument for beginners, but it’s not easy to learn.

There’s a lot to know about classical guitars, so I’ll explain everything you need to know in this article.

What is a classical guitar?

A classical guitar is a hollow guitar that belongs to the family of string instruments.

It is made of wood and has six strings, usually made of gut or nylon. 

The neck of a classical guitar is wider and flatter compared to other types of guitars, allowing for easier fingerpicking and chord playing.

A classical guitar is a type of acoustic guitar typically used for playing classical music, as well as other genres such as flamenco and folk music. 

A classical guitar is also called a Spanish guitar, and it’s designed to produce a soft, gentle sound that is perfect for classical music.

The classical guitar has nylon strings, which differs from the traditional acoustic or electric guitar.

It’s played with fingers instead of a pick, allowing the player to control the volume and tone of each note more precisely.

Classical guitars are typically characterized by their nylon strings, which produce a warm and mellow tone, and their wide, flat necks, which allow for easy fingerpicking and complex chord shapes.

Classical guitars also have a distinctive body shape, with a wide, shallow soundbox that helps to project the sound of the guitar.

The soundhole on a classical guitar is typically decorated with an ornate rosette, often made from wood or mother-of-pearl.

Unlike steel-string acoustic guitars, often used for strumming and playing popular music, classical guitars are typically played with the fingers rather than a pick.

They are often used for playing solo pieces and accompaniments for singing.

What does a classical guitar look like?

A classical guitar typically has a wooden body with a flat or slightly curved top, a round sound hole, and six strings made of nylon or gut. 

The neck of the guitar is usually made of a different type of wood than the body and is attached to the body at the 12th fret. 

The headstock, where the tuning pegs are located, is angled back from the neck.

The fretboard, where the strings are pressed to create different notes, is usually made of ebony, rosewood, or other dense wood. 

Classical guitars often have a wider neck than other guitars to accommodate the wider spacing of the strings.

The strings are typically positioned closer to the fretboard, making them easier to press down. 

The shape and size of the classical guitar can vary, but they generally have a curved shape that is comfortable for playing while sitting down.

The physical characteristics of a classical guitar

Let’s break down the parts of a classical guitar that make it unique.


The body of a classical guitar is generally made of wood and has several unique features that distinguish it from other guitar types.

Some of these features include:

  • A resonant cavity that amplifies the sound produced by the strings.
  • Seven strings, as opposed to the six found on most other guitars.
  • Strings that are wrapped with materials like gut, ox, or sheep, that produce a warm and rich tone that is different from the brighter sound of electric guitars.
  • A truss rod located inside the neck of the guitar and can be adjusted to change the curvature of the neck.
  • A wide, flat shape ideal for the fingerpicking technique referred to as rasgueado.
  • Inlaid dots or other patterns on the fretboard help the player find the right notes.

The exterior

 The exterior of a classical guitar also has some unique features, including:

  • A bridge that is located on the deck of the guitar and holds the strings in place.
  • Sides that are curved to create a hypothetical circle, which helps to produce a more resonant sound.
  • A rosette inlay around the soundhole that is often made of wood or other materials and adds a decorative touch to the guitar.
  • A saddle that is located on the bridge and helps to transfer the vibrations of the strings to the body of the guitar.

The fingerboard

The fingerboard of a classical guitar is typically made of wood, although some modern guitars may use phenolic composite strips or other materials.

Some other features of the fingerboard include:

  • Nickel or stainless steel frets that are placed at specific points to divide the vibrating length of the string into different notes.
  • Frets that are spaced apart according to a specific ratio, which is determined by the width of the consecutive frets and the root numeric value of the exact halves of the frets.
  • An arrangement of frets that results in a specific pattern of notes that can be played on the guitar.
  • A slightly curved surface that is measured by the curvature of a hypothetical circle.

Overall, the physical characteristics of a classical guitar are what make it such an amazing instrument to play and listen to.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, there is always something new to discover about this unique and beautiful instrument.

How do you play a classical guitar?

Playing a classical guitar involves using a combination of right-hand fingerpicking and left-hand fretting techniques. 

Here are the basic steps to playing a classical guitar:

  1. Sit comfortably with the guitar resting on your left leg (if you’re right-handed) or right leg (if left-handed).
  2. Hold the guitar with your right arm draped over the top of the instrument, and your right hand positioned just above the soundhole.
  3. Use your right-hand fingers (thumb, index, middle, and ring) to pluck the strings. The thumb usually plays the bass notes, while the other fingers play the higher notes.
  4. Use your left hand to press down on the strings at various frets to change the pitch of the notes. This is called fretting.
  5. Practice playing scales, chord progressions, and simple melodies to build up your fingerpicking and fretting skills.
  6. As you progress, you can explore more advanced techniques such as arpeggios, tremolo, and rasgueado (a flamenco strumming technique).

Ben Woods has a whole series explaining classical guitar techniques for flamenco music, including rasgueado:

Remember to start slowly and focus on accuracy and technique rather than speed.

Classical guitar playing requires a lot of practice and dedication, but with patience and persistence, you can become a skilled player.

Find out more about learning to play an acoustic guitar step-by-step

What is the history of classical guitars?

The classical guitar is a precursor to the modern electric guitar and has been in use for centuries. 

It is often called a Spanish guitar or a classic guitar, and it is a common misconception that it is the same as an acoustic guitar.

The classical guitar actually has a long tradition and history.

The guitar’s evolution began with the gittern, a medieval instrument popular in Europe during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 

Over time, the instrument evolved and gained popularity in Spain during the sixteenth century.

The history of the more modern-looking classical guitars can be traced back several centuries to the development of the modern guitar in Europe during the Renaissance period. 

The first guitars were likely developed from earlier stringed instruments such as the lute and the vihuela.

By the 16th century, guitars had become popular in Spain and Italy, and a distinctive style of guitar playing had emerged that would eventually evolve into classical guitar technique. 

The first known music written specifically for the guitar dates back to the early 16th century, and by the 17th century, the guitar had become a popular instrument for both solo and ensemble playing.

In the 19th century, the guitar experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to the efforts of guitar makers such as Antonio Torres, who is widely regarded as the father of the modern classical guitar. 

Torres developed a new design for the guitar that incorporated a larger body, a curved back, and bracing patterns that allowed for greater volume and projection.

During the 20th century, classical guitar playing continued to evolve and expand, with new techniques and styles being developed by virtuoso players such as Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream, and John Williams. 

Today, the classical guitar remains a popular and versatile instrument, used in various musical genres, from classical and flamenco to jazz and world music.

Overview of classical guitar repertoire

The classical guitar repertoire is vast and diverse, spanning several centuries and encompassing various musical styles. 

It includes works by some of the greatest composers in history and lesser-known pieces by composers who wrote specifically for the instrument.

The repertoire constantly expands, with new works being composed and published yearly.

Baroque guitar music

The Baroque era (approximately 1600-1750) saw the development of the guitar as a solo instrument.

Composers such as Gaspar Sanz, Robert de Visée, and Francesco Corbetta wrote music specifically for the guitar, often in the form of suites or variations. 

The music of the Baroque era is characterized by its contrapuntal texture, elaborate ornamentation, and imitative counterpoint.

Classical guitar music of the 19th century

In the nineteenth century, the guitar experienced a resurgence in popularity, particularly in Spain.

Composers such as Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, and Francisco Tárrega wrote music that showcased the guitar’s expressive capabilities. 

The music of this era is characterized by its lyrical melodies, virtuosic passages, and use of harmonics.

20th-century music

In the twentieth century, the classical guitar repertoire expanded to include works that were more experimental and avant-garde. 

Composers such as Leo Brouwer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Manuel Ponce wrote music that pushed the boundaries of traditional classical guitar music. 

The music of this era is characterized by its use of extended techniques, unconventional harmonies, and rhythmic complexity.

What makes a classical guitar different from other guitars?

Classical guitars are designed to produce a soft and gentle tone perfect for a wide range of genres, including classical, flamenco, and romantic music. 

They are also designed to be played with the fingers rather than a pick, which allows for greater control and the development of callouses that add character to the player’s sound.

A classical guitar is different from other types of guitars in several ways:

  1. Strings: Classical guitars are typically strung with nylon strings, while other types of guitars, such as acoustic guitars and electric guitars, use steel strings.
  2. Neck and fingerboard: Classical guitars have a wider and flatter neck than other types of guitars, which makes it easier to play complex chord shapes and fingerpicking patterns. The fingerboard is also typically flatter, which allows for easier fretting of notes.
  3. Body: Classical guitars have a distinct body shape, with a wide and shallow soundbox that helps to produce a warm and mellow tone. The soundhole is typically decorated with an ornate rosette, often made from wood or mother-of-pearl.
  4. Playing technique: Classical guitar typically involves fingerpicking with the right hand rather than strumming with a pick. The left-hand presses down on the strings to produce different notes and chords. Classical guitar playing involves various advanced techniques, such as arpeggios, tremolo, and rasgueado.
  5. Repertoire: Classical guitars are often used for playing classical music and other genres, such as flamenco and folk music, while other guitars are often used for popular music.

In summary, the combination of nylon strings, a wide and flat neck, and a distinct body shape give the classical guitar a unique sound and feel that sets it apart from other types of guitars.

What strings does a classical guitar have?

Alright, folks, let’s talk about classical guitars and their strings.

The Spanish guitar doesn’t have steel strings. Instead, it has nylon strings. Yup, you heard that right, nylon strings! 

Now, a classical guitar is a member of the guitar family, and it’s all about that classical music style. It’s an acoustic wooden string instrument that usually uses gut or nylon strings. 

Now, you might be wondering, “Why nylon?”

Well, my dear layman, nylon strings are the precursor to modern acoustic and electric guitars that use metal strings. 

Nylon strings give that classical guitar its unique sound and feel. Plus, they’re easier on the fingers, which is always a plus. 

So, if you’re in the market for a classical guitar, make sure to pay attention to the type of strings it uses.

You don’t want to end up with metal strings on a classical guitar, trust me, it’s not a pretty sound.

Stick with those gut or nylon strings, and you’ll be strumming like a pro in no time. 

And there you have it, folks, the lowdown on classical guitars and their strings. Now go forth and impress all your friends with your newfound knowledge.

Really want to impress your buddies? Tell them how playing the guitars has made your finger actually bleed!

Classical guitar vs acoustic guitar

The classical or Spanish guitar and the acoustic guitar are two different guitar types.

Classical guitars typically have a smaller body size and a wider neck and are strung with nylon strings, while acoustic guitars have a larger body size, a narrower neck, and are strung with steel strings. 

The nylon strings on a classical guitar produce a warmer, softer tone, while the steel strings on an acoustic guitar produce a brighter, more piercing sound. 

Classical guitars are typically used for playing classical music, flamenco, and bossa nova, while acoustic guitars are commonly used for folk, rock, pop, and country music.

In terms of playing style, classical guitar playing typically involves fingerpicking or fingerstyle technique, while acoustic guitar playing often involves strumming with a pick or using a combination of fingerpicking and strumming.

Additionally, classical guitars often have a flat fretboard, while acoustic guitars usually have a curved fretboard.

This means that the technique used to play notes and chords can differ slightly between the two instruments.

Overall, the differences between classical and acoustic guitars come down to the type of music being played, the playing technique, and the sound produced by the strings and body of the instrument.

Classical guitar vs Spanish guitar

A classical guitar and Spanish guitar are the same thing – so the names are interchangeable. 

Many people always wonder why the classical guitar is called a Spanish guitar?

The classical guitar is sometimes referred to as the Spanish guitar because of its historical roots in Spain, where it was developed and popularized during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. 

The guitar’s early history in Spain can be traced back to the 16th century when a new type of guitar called the vihuela was created. 

The vihuela was a plucked string instrument that was similar in shape to the modern guitar, but had a different tuning and was used primarily for playing polyphonic music.

Over time, the vihuela evolved into the baroque guitar, which had six strings and was used for playing music in a variety of styles.

During this period, the guitar began to gain popularity among the aristocracy and the common people of Spain.

By the 19th century, the guitar had undergone several changes that helped to establish it as a versatile and popular instrument.

During this time, the guitar was adapted for classical music, and composers began writing music specifically for the instrument. 

Spanish composers such as Francisco Tárrega and Isaac Albéniz were particularly influential in developing the repertoire for the classical guitar.

Today, the classical guitar is known by many names, including the Spanish guitar, the concert guitar, and the nylon-string guitar.

Still, its roots in Spain and its historical association with Spanish music and culture have helped to cement its place in the popular imagination as the “Spanish guitar.”

Classical guitar vs flamenco guitar

There’s a lot of confusion about whether a flamenco guitar is the same as a classical guitar. 

But there’s a small difference between the two. A flamenco guitar’s entire body is overall thinner. 

A flamenco guitar also has lower-set strings than a classical guitar, which enables the player to play at a faster tempo by applying more pressure to the strings.

First off, let’s talk about the sound.

Classical guitars are warm and mellow, perfect for serenading your sweetheart or impressing your dinner guests. 

On the other hand, Flamenco guitars have a brighter and more percussive sound, ideal for tapping your feet and clapping your hands to the rhythm.

Next, let’s talk about the playing style. Classical guitarists sit with proper posture, delicately plucking the strings with their fingertips.

Flamenco guitarists, on the other hand, sit with a more relaxed posture, using their nails to strum the strings with fiery passion.

And let’s not forget about the aesthetics.

Classical guitars are often adorned with intricate inlays and elegant finishes, while flamenco guitars are more understated, with simple designs and earthy tones.

Pros and cons of classical guitar

Now, to determine if the classical guitar is for you, let’s discuss some pros and cons.


  • Allows for easier fingerpicking and chord playing
  • Produces a soft and gentle tone perfect for a wide range of genres
  • The wider neck and lower string tension of classical guitars can make it easier to play for beginners, and the smaller body size can be more comfortable to hold and play for extended periods
  • The nylon strings on a classical guitar produce a warm, mellow tone that is well-suited for playing expressive and emotional music
  • Classical guitars are often used in solo performances, allowing players to showcase their technical abilities and musicianship
  • Many players find playing classical guitar to be relaxing and stress-relieving


  • Lacks the volume and power of other types of guitars, especially in higher registers
  • Classical guitar playing can be challenging to learn, especially for those not used to fingerpicking or fingerstyle techniques.
  • Most players find that the softer, warmer tone produced by classical guitars is not as suitable for certain genres of music, such as rock or heavy metal
  • Lack of amplification: Unlike electric or acoustic guitars, classical guitars are not typically equipped with pickups or other amplification systems, limiting their versatility in certain situations.

Classical guitar technique and style

The classical guitar evolved to facilitate the rapid and precise playing of compositions that evoke a wide range of emotions. 

The technique employs a free stroke, where the fingers rest on the strings in direct contact, and a rest stroke, where the finger strikes the string and comes to rest on the adjacent string. 

But basically, classical guitar technique and style refer to the specific ways of playing and interpreting music on the classical guitar. 

Classical guitar technique involves the use of fingerpicking and fingerstyle playing techniques to produce a wide range of tones and dynamics.

These techniques include arpeggios, scales, tremolo, rasgueado, and many others.

Classical guitar style is characterized by the use of musical notation, rather than tablature, as well as the performance of traditional classical pieces and compositions written specifically for the guitar. 

Classical guitarists often place a strong emphasis on dynamics, phrasing, and expression in their playing, and may use rubato (the slight stretching or shrinking of tempo for expressive effect) to create a more emotive performance.

Some of the most notable techniques include:

  • Rest stroke: The musician plucks the string and allows the finger to come to rest on the adjacent string, producing a full and resonant sound.
  • Free stroke: The musician plucks the string without touching any adjacent strings, producing a lighter and more delicate sound.
  • Alternating fingers: Performers often alternate between the index (p), middle (m), and ring (a) fingers to produce rapid and complex passages.
  • Striking the strings upwards or downwards: This technique can produce different tonal qualities and is often used to evoke different moods or emotions.

Also, classical guitar technique and style involve a certain amount of attention to posture and hand positioning, as proper hand and finger positioning can greatly affect the sound produced by the guitar. 

The left hand is typically used to press down on the strings to create different notes and chords, while the right hand is used to pluck the strings using various fingerpicking techniques.

Choosing a seating position is also important when playing the classical guitar. Classical guitarists typically perform seated, resting the guitar on their left leg. 

They may use a footstool to elevate their left leg, which attaches to the suction cups on the bottom of the guitar. 

Alternatively, some performers use a guitar support that attaches to the side of the guitar.

Choosing the right seating position is crucial for maintaining proper technique and avoiding strain or injury.

To summarize, classical guitar technique and style require much discipline, practice, and attention to detail to master.

Still, they can lead to an incredibly expressive and beautiful form of music.

Most popular classical guitar players

There are many great classical guitar players throughout history, but here are some of the most popular and influential ones:

  1. Andrés Segovia – Often considered the father of modern classical guitar, Segovia was a Spanish virtuoso who brought the guitar into the mainstream of classical music.
  2. Julian Bream – A British guitarist who helped to popularize the classical guitar in the UK and around the world.
  3. John Williams – An Australian guitarist who has recorded over 50 albums and is considered one of the greatest classical guitarists ever.
  4. Paco de Lucía – A Spanish flamenco guitarist who revolutionized the style with his virtuosic playing and incorporation of jazz and other genres.
  5. Manuel Barrueco – A Cuban-American guitarist who has recorded numerous albums and is known for his unique interpretations of classical guitar music.
  6. Sharon Isbin – An American guitarist who has won multiple Grammy Awards and has been praised for her technical skill and musicality.
  7. David Russell – A Scottish guitarist who has won numerous awards and is known for his virtuosic playing and expressive interpretations.
  8. Ana Vidović – A Croatian guitarist who has won numerous international competitions and is known for her technical proficiency and emotive playing.
  9. Christopher Parkening – An American guitarist who has recorded numerous albums and is known for his interpretations of classical and religious music.
  10. Pepe Romero – A Spanish guitarist from a famous family of guitarists who has recorded over 50 albums and is known for his virtuosic playing and interpretation of Spanish and Latin American music.

Popular classical guitar brands and models

There are many reputable brands of classical guitars, each with its own unique sound and construction style. Here are some of the most popular classical guitar brands and models:

  1. Cordoba: Cordoba guitars are known for their high-quality materials, attention to detail, and affordability. Some popular models include the C7, C9, and C10.
  2. Yamaha: Yamaha guitars are known for their consistent quality and value for money. Popular models include the Yamaha C40 and the Yamaha CG192S.
  3. Taylor: Taylor guitars are known for their exceptional build quality and playability. Their nylon-string models include the Academy 12-N and the 514ce-N.
  4. Ramirez: Ramirez guitars are known for their rich, warm tone and traditional construction. Popular models include the 1A and the 2NE.
  5. La Patrie: La Patrie guitars are made in Canada and are known for their exceptional value for money. Popular models include the Motif and the Concert CW.
  6. Kremona: Kremona guitars are known for their handcrafted quality and Bulgarian construction. Popular models include the Solea and the Rondo.
  7. Alhambra: Alhambra guitars are known for their traditional Spanish construction and rich sound. Popular models include the 4P and the 5P.
  8. Fender: Fender guitars are known for their innovative designs and modern sound. Popular nylon-string models include the CN-60S and the CN-240SCE.
  9. Godin: Godin guitars are made in Canada and are known for their innovative designs and exceptional quality. Popular models include the Multiac Nylon and the Grand Concert Duet Ambiance.
  10. Luthier-built guitars: Finally, many classical guitarists prefer to have their instruments custom-built by skilled luthiers, who can create unique, one-of-a-kind guitars tailored to their individual preferences and playing style.


What is the ultimate classical guitar for beginners?

The Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar is a great option for beginners.

It is designed to be fast and easy to play, with a thin, decent neck perfect for smaller hands. 

It is also designed to be heat-resistant and stable, despite frequent temperature changes.

Does classical guitar need tuning?

Of course, like all guitars, a classical guitar requires regular tuning. 

Before you start playing your classical guitar, it’s essential to ensure that it’s correctly tuned

Tuning is the process of adjusting the pitch of each string to its correct frequency, ensuring that your guitar produces the ideal tone. 

A guitar that isn’t in tune can sound terrible, making playing difficult and ruining your performance.

There are several methods of tuning a classical guitar, including:

  • Fork method: This is a common method used by beginners. A tuning fork is struck and placed on a hard surface, and the guitar’s A string is sounded simultaneously. The tuner adjusts the string until it matches the frequency of the fork. 
  • Electronic tuner: This is a more accurate and quick method of tuning. It detects the sounds produced by the guitar and displays the corresponding note on a screen. 
  • Ear tuning: This is a more complicated method that requires a proficient ear. It’s tempting to try and learn this method as a beginner, but it takes a minimum of a month to get comfortable with detecting changes in pitch.

Why is classical guitar so hard?

Classical guitar is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while juggling flaming torches.

The neck is wider, which means the distance between frets is longer, making it harder to play chords and requiring your fingers to stretch more. It’s like trying to do yoga with your hands. 

But why is it so hard? 

Well, for starters, the shape of the neck is different from other guitar types, which means you have to adjust your playing technique.

It’s like trying to write with your non-dominant hand.

Plus, classical guitar is based on a style that requires precision and accuracy, which takes a lot of practice to master. It’s like trying to hit a bullseye with a dart blindfolded. 

And let’s not forget the physical demands of playing classical guitar. Your fingers need to be strong and nimble, like a ninja’s. 

You need to develop fine motor skills in both hands, which takes time and patience. It’s like trying to knit a sweater with chopsticks. 

So, in summary, classical guitar is hard because of the wider neck, longer distance between frets, precision and accuracy required, and physical demands of playing. 

But don’t let that discourage you! With practice and dedication, you can become a classical guitar master. 

Is Spanish guitar classical or acoustic?

So, you’re wondering if the Spanish guitar is classical or acoustic?

Well, my friend, the answer is both and neither at the same time. Confused? Don’t worry, let me explain.

The Spanish guitar is a type of acoustic guitar that is strung with nylon strings. It’s often used to play classical music and traditional Spanish music.

In fact, it’s sometimes called a classical guitar because of its association with classical music. 

However, it’s important to note that not all acoustic guitars are Spanish guitars, and not all Spanish guitars are used for classical music.

The terms “classical” and “acoustic” are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different things. 

Acoustic guitars are generally smaller and have a thinner body, which gives them a brighter and more resonant sound. 

Spanish guitars, on the other hand, usually have a larger and thicker body, which produces a warmer and mellower sound.

They’re also typically played with fingerpicking or a pick, whereas acoustic guitars can be played with a variety of techniques.

One of the main differences between Spanish guitars and other acoustic guitars is the type of strings they use.

Spanish guitars are typically strung with nylon strings, which have a softer sound than the metal strings used on most acoustic guitars.

This makes them ideal for playing classical and traditional Spanish music, which often requires a more intimate and expressive sound.

So, to sum it up, the Spanish guitar is a classical guitar that is often used for classical and traditional Spanish music.

It has a unique sound characterized by its nylon strings and larger body. 

Why is the classical guitar not popular?

See, the classical guitar is a small personal voice in the world of music, and not many people are equipped to listen to it.

It’s like trying to appreciate a fine wine when all you’ve ever had is boxed wine. 

But seriously, classical guitar requires a certain level of musical education and appreciation that not everyone has.

It’s not something you can just throw on in the background while you’re doing chores. 

Plus, the population that does listen to classical music is not necessarily the same population that would listen to classical guitar specifically. 

Another factor is that classical guitar just hasn’t been marketed as well as other genres of music.

It’s not as flashy or trendy as pop or rock music, and it doesn’t have the same level of exposure in mainstream media. 

But let’s not forget about the pros and cons of classical guitar. On the one hand, it’s a beautiful and intricate art form that requires a lot of skill and dedication to master. 

On the other hand, it can be seen as stuffy and old-fashioned, and not everyone wants to sit through a long classical guitar performance. 

So, in conclusion, classical guitar is not popular because it requires a certain level of musical education and appreciation, it hasn’t been marketed as well as other genres, and it has its pros and cons. 

But hey, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it if it speaks to you. Just don’t expect it to be blasting on the radio anytime soon.

How do I know if my guitar is classical?

So, you want to know if your guitar is a classical one, eh? Well, let me tell you, it’s not rocket science, but it’s not a piece of cake either. 

First things first, you need to look at the strings. Classical guitars use nylon strings, while acoustic guitars use steel strings.

Nylon strings are thicker and produce a mellow, softer sound, while steel strings are thinner and produce a brighter, more metallic sound. 

Another way to tell is by looking at the shape of the guitar. 

Acoustic guitars typically have a round or oval sound hole, while classical guitars usually have a rectangular one.

Acoustic guitars also tend to have a thinner body, while classical guitars have a shorter neck and a wider body. 

If you’re still not sure, try playing it. Classical guitars are meant to be played with your fingers, while acoustic guitars are often played with a pick.

Classical guitars also have a more distinct sound, with sharper tones and less sustain, while acoustic guitars are more versatile and can be used for a wider range of styles. 

So, there you have it, folks. If your guitar has nylon strings, a rectangular sound hole, a wider body, and is meant to be played with your fingers, then congratulations, you have a classical guitar!

Now go forth and serenade your loved ones with some beautiful classical tunes.

Also read: Why are guitars shaped the way they are? Good question!

Do you need nails to play classical guitar?

The short answer is no, you don’t need nails, but they can definitely help you achieve a certain sound and level of control. 

Playing with nails can give you increased volume, clarity, and the ability to “dig in” to the strings for a more expressive sound. 

Plus, you can achieve a wider range of tones and timbres with nails.

However, maintaining perfect nails can be a hassle, and they can break at the most inconvenient times.

And let’s not forget about the annoyance of poorly shaped and polished nails producing bad sound. 

But don’t worry. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of nails, you can still play classical guitar without them. 

It’s all about personal preference and what works best for you. So, go ahead and give it a try with and without nails and see what feels and sounds best for you. 

Just remember, it takes time to perfect your technique with or without nails, so keep practicing and have fun!

Is classical guitar the hardest?

So, you’re wondering if playing the classical guitar is the hardest?

Well, let me tell you, it’s a bit like asking if pineapple belongs on pizza – everyone has their own opinion.

But, I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

First off, let’s talk about the different types of guitars.

We have classical guitars, which are typically used to play classical music written by composers from Spain and Italy.

Then, we have electric guitars, which are commonly used in genres like rock, pop, blues, and heavy metal.

Now, when it comes to difficulty, it depends on what you’re comparing. Playing classical guitar requires a lot of technical skills and music literacy. 

Classical guitarists need to be able to read sheet music and play complex polyphonic pieces that involve playing multiple musical lines simultaneously.

They also need to have proper plucking hand technique, using a system called p-m-i-a, which assigns a letter to each finger.

On the other hand, playing electric guitar is more about chord-based songs and repeating patterns. 

Electric guitarists often use tablature or chord symbols to read music, which can be simpler than standard music notation.

However, they still need to have good hand positioning and picking technique to produce a nice tone.

So, is the classical guitar the hardest? It’s definitely challenging in its own way, but so is the electric guitar.

It really comes down to personal preference and what you want to play.

But hey, why not try both and see which one you enjoy more? Who knows, maybe you’ll become a master of both worlds.

Why are classical guitars so cheap?

Just to be clear, not all classical guitars are cheap – there are plenty of expensive models out there.

However, people think classical guitars are like the bargain bin of the guitar world. 

But why are they so cheap? Well, it all comes down to the materials used. 

Lower-end classical guitars are often made with laminate components: layers of wood glued together.

This is cheaper than using solid wood, which is what higher-end classical guitars are made of. 

But even within the solid wood category, there are differences in quality.

A low-cost piece of wood will produce a lower-quality sound than a better-quality piece of wood.

And even within the same type of wood, like cedar or rosewood, there can be variations in quality. 

Another factor that affects the price of classical guitars is the top. A laminated top will be cheaper than a solid top, and the type of wood used for the top will also affect the price. 

So, if you’re looking for a decent classical guitar, you can expect to pay a bit more for a solid wood, high-quality instrument. 

But if you’re just starting out or on a budget, a laminate guitar with lower-quality wood can still produce a decent sound.

Just don’t expect it to hold up to the demands of a professional musician.

What is a classical guitar best for?

So, you’re wondering what a classical guitar is best for?

Well, let me tell you, it’s not just for playing classical music like Bach and Mozart (although you totally can if you want to). 

In fact, classical guitars are versatile little beasts that can handle a wide range of styles, from Latin to pop to even video game themes. 

And don’t let anyone tell you that classical guitarists are boring and rigid – we know how to have fun and get creative with our interpretations. 

Plus, if you’re addicted to shredding and speed, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that classical guitarists have some serious finger-picking skills that can rival any electric guitar solo. And the best part? 

You don’t have to be a loner to play classical guitar – you can jam with others and even play popular songs like Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” 

So, if you’re looking for a versatile, fun, and impressive instrument, look no further than the classical guitar.

Is classical guitar good for beginners?

Many guitarists say classical guitar is hard to learn and that’s true. But if you’re passionate about classical music then it’s a must. 

So yes, classical guitar can be a great choice for beginners. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Nylon strings: Classical guitars typically have nylon strings, which are easier on the fingers than steel strings. This can be especially helpful for beginners who are still building up their calluses.
  2. Technique: Classical guitar technique emphasizes proper posture, hand position, and finger placement, which can help beginners develop good habits early on.
  3. Repertoire: Classical guitar repertoire includes a wide variety of music, ranging from beginner-level pieces to virtuosic concert works. This means that beginners can find music that is both challenging and rewarding to play.
  4. Musicality: Classical guitar technique also emphasizes musicality, including dynamics, phrasing, and expression. This can help beginners develop a more nuanced and expressive playing style.
  5. Theory: Classical guitar study often includes music theory and sight-reading, which can help beginners develop a deeper understanding of music and improve their overall musicianship.

Every beginner is different, and some may find other styles of guitar or other instruments more engaging or accessible.

However, for those who are drawn to the classical guitar, it can be a wonderful and fulfilling instrument to learn.

How quickly can you learn classical guitar?

So you want to learn classical guitar, huh? Well, let me tell you, it’s not like learning to play the kazoo.

It takes time, dedication, and a whole lot of finger-plucking. But how quickly can you actually learn to play like a pro?

First things first, let’s get one thing straight – learning classical guitar is no walk in the park.

It takes years of practice, and I’m not talking about a few strums here and there. We’re talking 3-6 hours a day for 10 years kind of practice.

That’s a lot of plucking.

But don’t let that discourage you! If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can definitely learn to play classical guitar.

The key is to find a good teacher and practice consistently. And when I say consistently, I mean every single day. No excuses.

Now, if you’re looking to impress your friends and family with your newfound guitar skills in just a few months, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not going to happen.

It takes at least 3 years of diligent practice to reach a high level of playing. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day either, right?

But don’t worry, you don’t have to wait 3 years to start playing some tunes.

In fact, after just 6 months of learning the fundamental techniques and practicing diligently, you can start playing some simple songs and impressing your friends and family.

And who knows, maybe even a few strangers too.

So, how quickly can you learn classical guitar? It all depends on how much time and effort you’re willing to put in. 

But if you’re dedicated and willing to practice consistently, you can definitely learn to play like a pro. Just don’t forget to stretch those fingers before you start plucking away!

Can classical guitar be self-taught?

Honestly, it’s hard to teach yourself classical guitar, especially if you have no prior knowledge of how to play stringed instruments.

You also need to know how to read sheet music. 

But technically, it’s possible to teach yourself classical guitar. 

While taking lessons from a qualified teacher is generally the best way to learn classical guitar, it is possible to teach yourself the basics of the instrument. 

Here are some tips for self-teaching classical guitar:

  1. Get a good quality instrument: It’s important to have a decent classical guitar that is properly set up and in good condition. This will make learning easier and more enjoyable.
  2. Use a method book: A good method book can provide structure and guidance as you learn. Look for one that is explicitly geared toward the classical guitar.
  3. Watch online tutorials: There are many excellent online tutorials and instructional videos available for free on websites such as YouTube. These can be helpful supplements to your learning.
  4. Practice regularly: Consistent practice is essential for making progress on any instrument. Set aside time each day to practice and stick to a regular schedule.
  5. Attend concerts and workshops: Attending classical guitar concerts and workshops can be a great way to learn from experienced players and get inspired.

While self-teaching can be a viable option for some people, it’s important to keep in mind that a qualified teacher can provide personalized feedback and guidance that is difficult to replicate on your own. 

Additionally, a teacher can help you avoid developing bad habits or incorrect techniques that can be difficult to unlearn later on.


So there you have it – everything you need to know about classical guitars. 

They’re a unique instrument with a long and storied history that’s been shaped by many different cultures and musical styles. 

To sum up, a classical guitar is an acoustic guitar with nylon strings, a wide and flat neck, and a distinct body shape with a wide and shallow soundbox. 

It is typically played by fingerpicking with the right hand, while the left hand is used to press down on the strings to produce different notes and chords. 

Classical guitar playing involves a range of advanced techniques and is often used for playing classical music (think Bach), as well as other genres such as flamenco and folk music.

Read next: these are the best acoustic guitar amps | Top 9 reviewed + buying tips

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

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