Topic: Classical Guitars And Others

How many of you primarily play a classical guitar? How may of you have steel string guitars and still have a classical guitar for certain songs? Are there any other who play true classical music?

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

I had a classical guitar that was given to me by the pastor of the church I attended back in the mid-90's. I played it for a few months but couldn't get used to the feel of the nylon strings so I put it in the closet and didn't give it anymore thought. A few years later my sister asked me if I had a guitar should could borrow that would be easy to learn on. I gave her the classical thinking it might be easier on her fingers. She still has it nearly 20 years later but never really learned to play.

I've never tried playing classical pieces. That style involves knowing the scales and a lot of finger picking which I have never been able to wrap my fingers around.

__________________________________
[b]Today Is Only Yesterdays Tomorrow[/b]

3 (edited by Tenement Funster 2016-09-05 13:40:19)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Hello, CG ...

Although my classical guitar isn't my primary, there are some songs which just sound better on it. For example, I find that songs which were originally written for piano are better to play on the classical and not a steel string. "Superman's Song" (Crash Test Dummies) and "Down to You" (Joni Mitchell) come to mind readily. Other songs I like to play on the nylon strings are "High Hopes" (Pink Floyd), "Blood on the Rooftops" and "Ripples" (Genesis), "Mad World" (Tears for Fears), etc. I guess it all boils down to the song itself, and sometimes the mood I'm in.

I can't read music and don't know more than rudimentary stuff about scales, so haven't ventured into classical music ... which I love to listen to. I probably have a few years left on my calendar, so who knows?

4 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-09-05 14:32:41)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Tenement Funster wrote:

Hello, CG ...
I can't read music and don't know more than rudimentary stuff about scales, so haven't ventured into classical music ... which I love to listen to. I probably have a few years left on my calendar, so who knows?

The first thing I have to do with new students is teach them  how to read music and timing. When I evaluate someone who say they want to learn is it can take three months before they hold a guitar. I worked a long time for a corporation as a VP and solving corporate problems,  and because of that I was able to "retire" early so I could spend my time playing and teaching. I have played classical guitar for 40 years and now practice more  hours than ever before.

I admit I am envious of those who can finger pick a steel string guitar and can change back and forth. Also I have never held or played a steel string guitar.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

I have played classical guitar. I studied it for 4 years in college. Lately, I primarily play steel string (both electric and acoustic). However, I am in the market for a used beginner axe (the wife wants to learn classical guitar) and also a higher end acoustic-electric instrument, as I plan to transition to that when I start playing out, once my solo acoustic sets are ready.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

I have both, and use fingers primarily.  Read music notation (albeit slowly & needs lots of work), and started classical but got distracted.  Some things just sound better on Nylon strings re:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFCUKYdUpiM

Haven't used a plectrum in years even on electric guitar, as it just feels awkward not to have all the fingers in "play".

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

I own a classical guitar and also think some songs sound better than on steel strings, one that springs to mind is John Lennons Imagine.  I like to watch certain classical guitarist on YouTube.  For several months I've tried to learn Pachelbel's Canon but even the easiest versions are beyond my very limited capabilities.

Thick as two short planks

8 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-09-05 21:07:17)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Doug_Smith wrote:

I have both, and use fingers primarily.  Read music notation (albeit slowly & needs lots of work), and started classical but got distracted.  Some things just sound better on Nylon strings re:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFCUKYdUpiM

Haven't used a plectrum in years even on electric guitar, as it just feels awkward not to have all the fingers in "play".

Sounds like you have some very good skills. Do you play with calluses or nails? I play with calluses and keep my nails shorter than the end of my fingers.

The hole in Willie Nelsons guitar is from using a pick. He had a shoulder problem and switch to playing  a classical guitar and still used a pick. He liked the sound of it and never changed back. From what I have read he has several more classical guitars at home but only plays his old one when he tours.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Sounds like you have some very good skills. Do you play with calluses or nails? I play with calluses and keep my nails shorter than the end of my fingers.

Actually it varies.... I keep my nails about 1/8-3/16" longer than the tips of my fingers so I can get the "claws out" for a more aggressive sound but relax the fingers for using the "fleshy parts" and a more muted tone.  I still palm mute and do the other little things to modulate as if I had a pick in use, but getting good volume can at times be an issue without some kind of amplification.  I have installed K&K Mini pickups in a couple of steel strung guitars with good results, and should consider sticking a set in a nylon strung instrument just to see if that is a good option (although I can't see why it wouldn't be as they are not magnetic).

As for the "skills"?  That's a work in progress, and I really do envy you for having the experience and training to master your chosen instrument and genre.  Like many of us I was seduced by the "dark side" and drawn off course by the "evils of Rock & Roll" spawned by Elvis, the Beatles and the rest of what has become called the British Invasion along with sand, surf, and that whole Southern California music scene I grew up in.  (not that there's anything wrong with that...)  wink

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Classical Guitar wrote:
Doug_Smith wrote:

I have both, and use fingers primarily.  Read music notation (albeit slowly & needs lots of work), and started classical but got distracted.  Some things just sound better on Nylon strings re:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFCUKYdUpiM

Haven't used a plectrum in years even on electric guitar, as it just feels awkward not to have all the fingers in "play".

Sounds like you have some very good skills. Do you play with calluses or nails? I play with calluses and keep my nails shorter than the end of my fingers.

The hole in Willie Nelsons guitar is from using a pick. He had a shoulder problem and switch to playing  a classical guitar and still used a pick. He liked the sound of it and never changed back. From what I have read he has several more classical guitars at home but only plays his old one when he tours.

The hole in Willie Nelson's guitar is not from using a pick.  It is from a fire.  It has probably been expanded by using a pick.  He must have really liked that guitar going back into a burning building for it.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

11 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-09-07 00:13:32)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Zurf wrote:
Classical Guitar wrote:
Doug_Smith wrote:

I have both, and use fingers primarily.  Read music notation (albeit slowly & needs lots of work), and started classical but got distracted.  Some things just sound better on Nylon strings re:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFCUKYdUpiM

Haven't used a plectrum in years even on electric guitar, as it just feels awkward not to have all the fingers in "play".

Sounds like you have some very good skills. Do you play with calluses or nails? I play with calluses and keep my nails shorter than the end of my fingers.

The hole in Willie Nelsons guitar is from using a pick. He had a shoulder problem and switch to playing  a classical guitar and still used a pick. He liked the sound of it and never changed back. From what I have read he has several more classical guitars at home but only plays his old one when he tours.

The hole in Willie Nelson's guitar is not from using a pick.  It is from a fire.  It has probably been expanded by using a pick.  He must have really liked that guitar going back into a burning building for it.

The fire was at his house and he went back inside for the guitar and a pound of weed. And yes the hole was caused by his pick. Here is the story and listen to the video by Willie Nelson: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/video … r-20150211

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

I have both, if by classical guitar, you mean, nylon string guitar.  I play anything on my nylon string, crossover.  I use my finger nails and they are a little long.  My wife hates them and is constantly telling me to cut them down.
I switch from my nylon string guitar to my banjo, to my tenor ukulele with very little adjustment.  I also have a 12 string guitar with steel strings which is tuned down to baritone levels.  I play all four instruments with my fingernails.  All four are as loud I need them to be.
The lower tension on my 12 string (B,E,A,D,F#,B) doesn't wear my nails down and feels very close to my nylon equipped instruments.  My banjo is also strung with nylon strings which I make up from harp strings.  It is a long neck and regular sets of nylon banjo strings are too short.
I gig these instruments about 4 times a month using a mic rather than onboard pick-ups.
I have owned many true classical guitars over the years but the slightly narrow neck (1 7/8 nut)and 18" fret board radius on my Martin 000c make the switch to my 12 string easier than using a true classical with it's flat fret board and 2" nut width.

Martin 0-18t  tenor guitar/MyaMoe baritone ukulele
Kamaka HF-4 baritone/Outdoor tenor ukulele
Kay El Bee baritone ukulele
Vega Little wonder tenor banjo

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

John thank you your post. You really brought up some very interesting points. A banjo with nylon strings made from harp strings is a great idea. I too use mics on large venues.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

14 (edited by Tenement Funster 2016-09-12 12:49:01)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Lots of terrific info in your post, John ... thank you.

This ongoing info exchange is a big part of what makes Chordie such a valuable resource. We're all on a journey of continuous improvement, and every bit of knowledge shared helps us all get better.

I've been intrigued by the whole concept of alternate tunings, especially the popular DADGAD which caters well to Celtic music. You mention baritone tuning (B E A D F# B) on a 6-string. Do you use an extended scale guitar for this? (27" scale length, or more). I tuned a guitar to DADGAD as an experiment, and the bottom E string almost sounded a bit "floppy" due to the lessened tension. I'd be very interested in your experiences with these tunings, and the types of guitars you use.

Thanks again!

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

My 12 string has a 25.5" scale.  I use D'Addario EJ 39 medium weight strings. (.012-.052).  The guitar calls for xlight  string gauge so at B tuning, I feel safe.
They are not too floppy and to my right hand, feel close to the tension on my nylon string.  Intonation is right on, all the way up.
I tried this tuning on a Martin D12 -20 with it's 24.5" scale without success.
I have a pick guard on my nylon string guitar because the 12 string tends to sharpen my fingernails.   Only downside I have found.

Martin 0-18t  tenor guitar/MyaMoe baritone ukulele
Kamaka HF-4 baritone/Outdoor tenor ukulele
Kay El Bee baritone ukulele
Vega Little wonder tenor banjo

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

As I've said elsewhere - I learned to play with the intent on strumming next to a campfire.  That said, I have played around with fingerpicking and when I do have my classical in hand, I tend to play out the notes a little more like a "piano" like TF has said (those notes that come automatically that is and seem to fit).  I can read sheet music, but I haven't forced myself to learn the notes on a guitar yet.  I realize it will be very easy if I just try.  I'm waiting for more inspiration and a push/shove to just do it.  It's coming soon... LOL!

I've gotten my classical back recently.  It's just a cheap beginner Ibanez, but I sure did miss it!  I restrung it Saturday.  Very messy with my ties as I hadn't done it in over a year (possibly two)!  I had forgotten how nice it is to play and how different the sound and fretting is to my very picky Martin Steel string.  wink  While my Martin loves to be picked, the classical was MADE to be picked!  big_smile  That's obvious of course, but far more so when I pick it up and do it.

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

17 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-09-12 13:59:51)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

mekidsmom wrote:

I've gotten my classical back recently.  It's just a cheap beginner Ibanez, but I sure did miss it!  I restrung it Saturday.  Very messy with my ties as I hadn't done it in over a year (possibly two)!  I had forgotten how nice it is to play and how different the sound and fretting is to my very picky Martin Steel string.  wink  While my Martin loves to be picked, the classical was MADE to be picked!  big_smile  That's obvious of course, but far more so when I pick it up and do it.

Glad you got your classical back. Here is a hint that will make string  changing easier, and you will not  have to tie your strings. First you cut off the springy part of the string before you install it. The bass strings wrap under one time and they will hold, just be sure they are behind the bridge. Then on the treble stings after you put enough thru the bridge tie a very tight knot. Then put it tough one time and again keep it tight and behind the bridge. It cuts installing string time in half.

Here is a photo showing what it looks like. Bring up the CG102 and then enlarge it and look at the strings at the bridge. This method works and many have changed to it because it can not slip. http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical- … uct_lineup

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

One more thing you can do when changing strings I should have mentioned is buy some large index cards and place two of them, one on top of the other behind the bridge. They will keep you from any chance of strings scratching the surface of your classical guitar with a string. I usually do not have to trim any strings when I change mine but if you do have to trim behind the bridge, leave the index cards in place and use the cap from a bic stick pen and use it to pick up the end that needs to be cut. Sometimes the using simple things works great and are easy to find.

Sorry I left that out from the previous post.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

CG ...

I just had a look at the Yamaha pic you referred us to, and I don't think I've ever seen it that way before ... very interesting! I've always done it this way (pic below) and haven't had any issues with it. Thanks for the post ... always something new to learn or try.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/mGO30uYiIaY/hqdefault.jpg

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Tenement Funster wrote:

CG ...

I just had a look at the Yamaha pic you referred us to, and I don't think I've ever seen it that way before ... very interesting! I've always done it this way (pic below) and haven't had any issues with it. Thanks for the post ... always something new to learn or try.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/mGO30uYiIaY/hqdefault.jpg

The way you are doing is absolutely the traditional way and it looks great.

The way it showed on the Yamaha site show well because you can enlarge the photo enough to really see the knots.I think the ones Yamaha shows are too large. One tie very tight is enough. There is also a fairly large group who are using a lighter or match to burn the end of the treble strings. I honestly do not like that method. Years ago long before I knew that it also showed on the Yamaha site , I wanted a way for the strings to settle in quicker. That is when I came up with the knots on the treble stings and thought I would just try it one time. What I found out with less tying is the strings would hold tuning within 3 days. I also thought it cause far less damage to the bridge long term so I kept using what Yamaha now shows since.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Good info, CG ... thanks!

I've often wondered if nylon strings could be replace with another material. There's a clear line called PVDF  (i.e., flourocarbon) which is used alternatively to nylon as a leader material for sport fishing. PVDF has less stretch and higher tensile strength, so it should tune up and settle in better.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Classical Guitar wrote:

Glad you got your classical back. Here is a hint that will make string  changing easier, and you will not  have to tie your strings. First you cut off the springy part of the string before you install it. The bass strings wrap under one time and they will hold, just be sure they are behind the bridge. Then on the treble stings after you put enough thru the bridge tie a very tight knot. Then put it tough one time and again keep it tight and behind the bridge. It cuts installing string time in half.

Here is a photo showing what it looks like. Bring up the CG102 and then enlarge it and look at the strings at the bridge. This method works and many have changed to it because it can not slip. http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical- … uct_lineup

To be sure I understand this, are you saying to just loop the bass strings through once with no knot and no winding around itself, just a simple loop through the bridge?

23 (edited by Classical Guitar 2016-09-13 16:44:56)

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Baldguitardude first thank you for reading the post and hopefully you looked at the photo and enlarged it to see the bridge. To answer your question yes, however first you have to cut off the springy end. Then because of the metal covering there is enough friction so only one wrap will hold it in place. In all  the years I have done it this way I have never had a string to fail, and I have not had any damage to the bridge. I have seen damage on bridges with traditional tying.  I am not saying the traditional way of installing strings is wrong at all.

I have friend who is a college professor and teaches classical guitar. He had surgery and called me to substitute for him while he was on the mind. He had changed strings on his guitar and when he called he asked me to look at it and tell him why it all of sudden it had a buzz. In tying his stings he left too much length on his bass strings and that was the cause. He is a excellent professor and classical player, he just did not take enough time. After one of the final class for the day, I changed his strings and installed them the way I now do it. I also turned his guitar twice a day for 4 days. He returned the following week and called me and asked questions about how they were installed and he now uses the same method.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

This is something like what you are seeing on the Yamaha from a different angle courtesy of the Taylor Guitar Folks.
https://www.taylorguitars.com/sites/def … k=ynki-UBr
I personally use a variation of this but more like the high E string with one "twist" before diving behind the bridge... particularly notice how each string is also "clinched" by it's neighbor.  No slipping that way for sure!

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Classical Guitars And Others

Interesting stuff. I haven't noodled with a nylon string instrument in years. This is great insight for once I have my new classical instrument. smile