When we use the term “acoustic guitar” can be a little bit confusing when it comes to identify what does it mean.
An acoustic guitar refers to every guitar that can produce music with a natural sound without using any kind of technological artifact to amplify the sound.
In the group of the acoustic guitar is important to know the difference between two groups:
- Guitars with Nylon strings: these are the ones that we know as classical guitar or Spanish guitar. They’re use to play latin, classic music and flamenco
- Guitars with Iron strings: known as acoustic guitar, guitarflok or country guitar. We use them most of the time in pop, rock, blues and folk music.
Every guitar has its caracteristic sound according to their own peculiarity due to this, each one can make a sound totally different from the other.
Making the choice of which one you should buy is a personal decision because you choose the guitar according to what kind of sound are you trying to find. A big start is knowing the difference between them, in that way you will be able to make the best choice in the future.
Main differences between Guitars with Nylon Strings and with Iron Strings
A classical guitar has 6 nylon strings even although there are 3 that looks like metal, those one are actually made with nylon as well but they’re gimped and covering with metal wire around the nylon string, that’s why they look like metal strings.
The sound of the nylon strings is sweet, mild and full.
Now, the acoustic guitar has its 6 strings in metal. 2 are normal metal strings but the other 4 are gimped but in this case they’re metal strings coated with metal wire around them
Its sound is harder and brighter due to the metal strings and they’re more agressive with your fingers.
When it comes to nylon strings, the tension is less than the metal strings, because of this, it’s easier to press against the fingerboard of the guitar.
We have to keep in mind this characteristic and remember to never put metal strings in a classical guitar, they aren’t prepared to handle the amount of pressure that you have to put in metal strings and at the end of the day it can ruin your guitar. It can break the bridge, the soundboard and the neck.
As we already said, in an acoustic guitar, the tension and the fact that the strings are made of metal make them more agressive for your fingers so, you’ll need a lot of patience than with the nylon ones at least if you want to stop suffering the pain that every amateur has in its fingers.
Fingerboard or Fretboard
It is wider in the classical guitar than the one with metal strings. The width in the fretboard to the height of the nut, it’s around 50mm in the classical guitar and around 40mm in the acoustic, this is why the strings are more separate in the classic than in the acoustic. This fact can be an advantage because it makes it easier not to press more than one string with a finger but as a disadvantage, you will need to separate more your fingers when you press the chords.
The length of the string is the distance between its two support points, the tailpiece and the nut. The distance in a classical guitar is 6mm larger than in an acoustic one.
This reinforces the answer of the bass sounds and sustain, those are the duration of sound.
The frets in the classical guitar are a little wider than the acoustic. If you are an amateur, a wide fret is a good option, it will allow you to putt he fingers within the correct fret, as a beginner you’ll feel like there’s no place to putt he fingers but because of this having a classical guitar could be your best choice.
Most of the time, in a lot of models, the body of an acoustic guitar is bigger than the classical one, this makes the classical guitar being easier to hold.
If you want to buy an acoustic guitar, you need to make sure about how comfortable it is for you so, keep in mind it’s better if you go to a store and try it before you buy it instead of buying in a catalogue.
The body of the guitar joins the neck in the fret, 12 in the classical guitars while in most of the acoustic guitars is in the fret 14. This allow a better access to play above the fret 12 in the acoustic guitars.
There are some acoustic and classical guitar which have something like a “bite” in the body and it’s to ease the access to the upper frets. That “bite” its called cutaway, it reduces the answer and the volumen of the bass in 10% to 20%
When it comes to determinate a price, the classical guitars are cheaper than the acoustics due to the body and the material used in their manufacturing, for example, the metal strings.
The real difference between an Acoustic Guitar and a Classical Guitar.
Now that you’ve read the differences in the strings, tension, fingerboard, lenght and body of both guitars, we can get straight to the real difference that will allow you to make a decision of which one is better for you
The kind of music that you want to play! Did you think it was something else?
Besides all the differences that we’ve already aforementioned, both guitars have totally differents sounds so, if you aren’t sure about which one you want then starting with making a choice of what kind of music will you play or you want to, will be a crucial part in your journey, if you do this, you will know which music attracts you the most and what makes you want to learn to play a guitar, with this, you’ll know if you need an acoustic or a classical one.
You can play anything with both of them but the caracteristic sound of each one will make the difference. Most of the guitarists play both of them according to what sound they want to give to their song, for example, Eric Clapton, he uses electrical and acoustic guitar most of the time but he recorded “Tears in Heaven” with a classical one.
If the guitar ends being your main instrument and catch your heart, it’s almost sure that you will end having at least one of each type.