Topic: Classical Guitars

Why do classical guitars have wider, flatter necks than a typical folk/acoustic guitar? And second, why did acoustic guitar makers move away from the classical design towards a skinner, lightly rounded neck?

Re: Classical Guitars

A couple of reasons.  Wider, because classical guitars are generally played fingerstyle, and the additional space helps with that.  Flatter fret boards tend to be "faster" and it is more difficult to bend on them as well. Both of those attributes lend well to classical playing.

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Re: Classical Guitars

Thanks Jerome . . . I'm still puzzling a bit though, cuz I thought a flat fret board would make it harder to barre, and of the videos I've seen of say, Spanish classical guitar, they're doing a lot of barring. Also, electic guitar (I don't know nothing 'bout electric guitar) . . . seems to me I see experienced electric guitar players doing all kinds of fast and furious fretting, and don't electric guitars have narrow and more rounded necks than classical?

Re: Classical Guitars

Electric guitars seem to have even thinner necks than the average acoustic.  I thought there was a lot less barring going on with classical guitars, however you may want to keep in mind that classicals usually have nylon strings which, even with a wider neck, will be easier to barre than an acoustic steel string.  Of course, that is my opinion based on the fact that I can actually barre that Bm on my classical and not on my dread.

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What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

Re: Classical Guitars

Flatter fretboards don't fret out like more radiused boards. In other words it allows for more pronounced bends... They're generally wider to allow more room for fingerwork and also they need a beefier neck due to the fact that classicals don't have truss rods for additional support...  You are correct that (generally speaking) flatter fretboards are harder to barre on... But as MK says you have much less string tension to work with so that helps with the barreing.

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Re: Classical Guitars

Thanks everyone--I've learned a lot!

Re: Classical Guitars

Actually not all classical guitars have wide necks. My Samick is a full sized guitar but has a neck very much like a 3/4 classical and is no wider than my acoustic and electric guitars. Although it is flat of course and, unusually, it does have a truss rod.

I find it much easier to play than conventional classical guitars when I want that nylon string sound.


Re: Classical Guitars

Thanks M.B. for posting such an article about the classic guitar.
The question of “what is classical guitar† comes up in my daily activities of teaching, blogging, and also when I think of marketing myself  or others as a ‘classical guitarist’. This is not something other instruments always have to deal with. The fact that the word “classical† is often used in the name of the instrument implies a certain allegiance to the composed music of Europe during the eighteenth and nineteen century.

However, as we all know (or possibly not) when referring to the classical guitar a person could be expressing a wide variety of stylistic diversity. Here’s a few typical types of guitar imagery that the ‘common people’ think of (at least in my experience):

    Spanish music
    Latin American music
    Elevator music
    Spanish Romance!
    Liona Boyd
    A rare few might actually think of the lute, or early guitar variants (a small %)
    The sweet calm sounds of albums with titles like “Romance of the guitarâ€
    Antonio Banderas (no guitar, just guns)
    They would rather think of electric guitar

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