#1
 
Hi all,

Where I was:
I used to learn classical/flamenco guitar. I was never great at it, but I could play e.g. Concierto de Aranjuez. I also learnt (from my teacher) some flamenco pieces, rasgueado technique (which my fingers remember till today), played Gypsy Kings songs etc. I could read notes, but in a very slow, painful manner. I have never played an acoustic guitar - I wouldn't even know what to do with the pick!

Last time I played was approximately 10 years ago.


Where I am (aka my goals):

Recently, I felt a bit bad during a meeting with friends, as I couldn't even grab a guitar to play any song for a singalong.

So, I thought about changing this. Aim: buy a guitar, learn some popular singalong songs (basic chords, not sophisticated renditions - ain't nobody with full-time job got time for dat!) and maybe one or two classical pieces (to show off ;p). I am not going to learn some complicated solos from famous performances.

My main question is: Should I buy a classical or acoustic guitar? 

Some say than an acoustic guitar is more versatile. Is it? 

In my (uninformed) view: I trade the ability to play some techniques (e.g. arpeggio and rasgueado, which I would probably die playing on steel strings) in exchange for higher volume... is that it? Now, I am unlikely to go back to playing lots of flamenco pieces (maybe some Spanish classics), so I don't care that much about it. But why should I choose an acoustic guitar and go through the pain of having steel strings and having to learn how to use a pick? What are the benefits? I might be missing the obvious... 

On the flipside - most people I know, when they grab a guitar at a barbecue, they grab an acoustic guitar... (whyyyyy?).

I am quite tempted to get Cordoba C5 or C7 with spruce top... something universal, nice...
 
Thank you all for your tips/encouragement/faith!
Last edited by Dante_A at May 18, 2017,
#2
First, acoustic guitars are simply more popular among the general public, so they are everywhere. Country and folk are super popular genres.

Second, an acoustic projects more volume, but  you can't play classical/flamenco pieces on them really, so they're limited.  The steel strings sound much more metallic and brittle to my ears and I much prefer the sound and feel of classical guitars, but that's a subjective preference.  If you're already somewhat proficient on Classical, get a classical - that's a no-brainer really. 

Third,  learning to play sing along strumming songs is a joke compared to even entry level flamenco or classical, it's  like 100 levels below in difficulty by default. That being said, you need to spend some time practicing them because there is still a learning curve.  I would suggest simply learning to play them on Classical - learn to strum with with your fingers in a way that works for those types of tunes.  

Fourth, you should be able to be somewhat functional on an acoustic guitar despite not owning one.  As long as you know the tunes you should be good. 
 
#3
Get an accoustic (or preferably an electro-accoustic - even more versatile) and learn some simple songs on Justin Sadercoe's website (it is free). He shows you how to play them simply and then shows how to add complexity as you get better at it.

You won't hurt your fingers on steel strings if you play properly - only press hard enough to make it work not to hold the string down to the neck - and the guitar is well set up.

You can should be able to learn to use a pick easily, but many people strum with their fingers or nails so no real need.

IMO accoustics should 100 times better than nylon strung classicals - they only reason nylon strung guitars exist is that they could not make steel string ones 200 years ago and used catgut strings - nylon sounds the same.
#4
Quote by PSimonR


IMO accoustics should 100 times better than nylon strung classicals - they only reason nylon strung guitars exist is that they could not make steel string ones 200 years ago and used catgut strings - nylon sounds the same.

Sorry but you're out of your element here - nylon string guitars are drastically different than acoustics and provide a different experience.  There's a reason Classical players, which are among the most proficient in the world, play nylon string exclusively - the notes blend better ( bass v. treble) and have more dynamics and the more difficult classical pieces are practically impossible to play on acoustic - the classical guitar is still around because it's best suited for certain types of hyper technical fingerstyle playing.  Same with Flamenco.  

You really need to play them a lot to understand the difference. 
#6
Buy one of each. You can buy a good guitar these days for relatively little cash. I play both types regularly in folk clubs - different songs suit different guitars. If I had to choose just one it would be a classical - nylon strings are so much more rewarding than steel.
#7
reverb66 

I have played, and continue to play both, and I agree entirely with this. It requires a different skill set and offers a different experience. 

I also agree with Garthman  that it is good to have both if you can.

I've got an interesting compromise, a nylon strung reso, that is loud, punchy and somewhat flamenco-like in character. It will hold its own just fine against any steel string flattop.

In your shoes I would likely get a fusion-type nylon string and work on the kind of techniques used in latin and flamenco, applying them to the kind of music you now want to play. The downside of nylon strings is that decent projection is harder to find than it is in steel strings, but a cedar top rather than spruce, can help,  and I wouldn't go thinline under any circumstances except amplified-only. I almost bought a Cordoba Fusion a few years back, I think it was an Orchestra CE with a cedar top. By contrast, I tried a comparable Yairi that was truly awful. A brand that has really impressed me here in Oz is Katoh, they seem to spend less on bling and more on function than some of the other nylon-string makers.
#8
You will want both eventually if you decide to keep it up which you probably will.
You can play anything on a classical that you can on an acoustic but not so much viceversa so get a classical first, gradually work into an acoustic.
You shouldn't have a problem fingering steel strings after playing classical especially if the action is good. 
#9
Quote by Tony Done


In your shoes I would likely get a fusion-type nylon string  . . . . 

Yes, that's a goo idea.
#11
Hi,
Thank you all for your tips and help! I think that ultimately I will remain faithful and grab a classical guitar, instead of going through the pain of an acoustic guitar with steel strings... 
#12
Dante_A 

There are many steel string acoustic players and styles which are easily transferrable for someone who is familiar with and well trained in classical guitar. To be quite honest, I consider anyone who can legitimately play Concierto de Aranjuez to be a good player. That is not an easy piece, by any means, especially when played with "feeling."
My God, it's full of stars!
#13
I'd recommend against getting a classical guitar. Learning to play on those wide fretboards will only hamper your development. 
#14
Quote by TobusRex
I'd recommend against getting a classical guitar. Learning to play on those wide fretboards will only hamper your development. 

No, no, no. Quite the opposite.
#16
Quote by Tony Done
TobusRex

It didn't hamper the development of Segovia, Paco de Lucia', Jerry Reed or Rodrigo y Gabriella.


Those guys were all terrible drummers. 
#17
Quote by Garthman
No, no, no. Quite the opposite.

Seems like it would be harder though. More space to cover to fret chords and such. 
#18
Quote by TobusRex
Seems like it would be harder though. More space to cover to fret chords and such. 

Sure. But once you can do it narrower fretboards are easy-peasy.