#1
I'm relatively new to the world of guitars and I picked up the classical guitar due to the softer and mellow sound it produces. It works wonders when I try songs that are more on the relaxed side, but how would it fare if I tried to play songs with a more upbeat melody?
Take for example: Pay No Mind by Madeon (I've been transcribing the synths for the guitar)
I was wondering if there are any ways I can brighten up the sound a bit and make it sound more "lively"? Lack of a better word. :P
I know better than to install steel strings on a classical guitar because the tension will just crush it over a period of time.
Any help is much appreciated.
#2
Hello & Welcome

Nylon guitar strings come in different tensions - the usual ones being: soft (or normal), medium, hard (or high). The hard tension strings produce a brighter sound than soft ot medium (although the sound is not as bright as steel strings.

If you want a sound that is closer to steel you could try Thomastik-Infeld "John Pearce Folk" strings. These are quite innovative. The basses are normal silverplated copper wound on nylon but the trebles are a thin steel rope flatwound with nylon tape. They are ball end and approx the same tension as nylon strings so you could use them on your classical guitar. More info here:

http://www.thomastik-infeld.com/family-detail/John%20Pearse%20folk
#3
In addition to what Garthman suggested, many classicals are rather warm and dull until you get into the higher price ranges. However, it you shop around with a critical ear you can find examples with a bright powerful sound. The inexpensive Katohs I tried recently were like that, and the couple I tried of my mate's importer brand, "Outback", were the same
Last edited by Tony Done at Jan 5, 2017,
#4
While a nylon-string won't sound as 'brittle' in comparison to a steel-string, one can certainly make it sound bright. Speaking as a guitarist that spends most his days with nylon, I find that there is an incredible range of frequencies achievable with nylon that tends to go ignored or unnoticed if the player is not used to the techniques necessary to attain such tones.

It is indeed true that what gear you use can certainly affect your tone, but with acoustic instruments there is so much of the result hidden in the touch and experience of the player that the instrument itself almost doesn't come into the equation. I recall a test we used to do, back in my days at the conservatory, where we'd let one person play the instruments of the group while they faced the other way, to see if they could identify their own instrument. None ever could, they only heard when the player used his own instrument. On all the others, he just sounded like himself but a bit 'off', despite there occasionally being thousands of dollars in difference of value between the instruments. That is how powerful technique is.

A start would be for you to use nails, if you did not already. For nylon strings, while I won't dive into the discussion as to which is better, if you wish a bright, clear tone, for beginners such may be easier to achieve with nails and simply playing closer to the bridge. I haven't had any students that were able of producing such a clear tone with flesh. The difference in sound may well be a lot larger than you expected. I may think of more to add, but that shall have to wait for the morning.

Good luck
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
UG's Flamenco Club
#5
Quote by FretboardToAsh
While a nylon-string won't sound as 'brittle' in comparison to a steel-string, one can certainly make it sound bright. Speaking as a guitarist that spends most his days with nylon, I find that there is an incredible range of frequencies achievable with nylon that tends to go ignored or unnoticed if the player is not used to the techniques necessary to attain such tones.

It is indeed true that what gear you use can certainly affect your tone, but with acoustic instruments there is so much of the result hidden in the touch and experience of the player that the instrument itself almost doesn't come into the equation. I recall a test we used to do, back in my days at the conservatory, where we'd let one person play the instruments of the group while they faced the other way, to see if they could identify their own instrument. None ever could, they only heard when the player used his own instrument. On all the others, he just sounded like himself but a bit 'off', despite there occasionally being thousands of dollars in difference of value between the instruments. That is how powerful technique is.

A start would be for you to use nails, if you did not already. For nylon strings, while I won't dive into the discussion as to which is better, if you wish a bright, clear tone, for beginners such may be easier to achieve with nails and simply playing closer to the bridge. I haven't had any students that were able of producing such a clear tone with flesh. The difference in sound may well be a lot larger than you expected. I may think of more to add, but that shall have to wait for the morning.

Good luck


Thanks! As for the nail parts..... my school doesn't really allow us to grow it out xD
But I think with a bit more practice I'll get the hang of it
#6
veyhanowen I confess to not reading the whole thread, so I might be repeating something.

First, a spruce top classical would be brighter than the more common (?) cedar.

Second, if you're gauging how bright a classical guitar should be, or you would like one to be, from recordings, keep in mind the mic in use, the room, and the EQ have a very profound effect on the final sound.
#7
Captaincranky

I think that the adoption of cedar in classical guitars is interesting. IIRC, it was an American idea (Lucas?) that got adopted quite quickly in Spain and elsewhere. At less stratosheric levels, I think that there could be a trade-off between the brightness of spruce and the loudness, "bounce" and fast attack of cedar. Swings and roundabouts, just speculating.

FWIW, I have got no confidence in my ability to judge a guitar from a recording.