I have recently purchased a steel string guitar and have been practicing rock on it for a while. But lately I have become interested in classical. I know that I should be getting a nylon string classical guitar instead, but I don't have enough money to do that. Is it ok and typical to play classical (e.g. Spanish) on steel string? What kind of issues should I be aware of? My fingers hurt from all the fingerpicking, but maybe it is just because I am a nob :P Thanks!
Your picking hand fingertips are going to hurt like hell dude. I play classical songs on my acoustic Taylor sometimes and after about 5 songs my fingertips hurt. Im sure if I play classical on the steel string the entire time they would toughen up, but I like the classical much better for my classical music. Plus on the steel string the frets are closer than a classical guitar,and the neck is smaller than a classical. So that means the strings are closer so less room for fingerpicking. Plus it sounds way different imo.
When I first started classical lessons I used my old Crafter steel-string and the switch to a classical guitar later on wasn't as bad as I expected. It does wreck your fingertips (I play with my nails, though) and the neck is easier to play, and of course the tone on a classical is much nicer (though for certain songs, a steel string can sound just as good, if not better).

Guitarfreak777 pretty much got everything.
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its also much easier to play finger pick with nylon strings because they "slip more" as oppose to steel.
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ive been playing classical "style" now for about 4 years (Mostly electric player) and ALthough i have a nylon string, i play alot of fingerstyle songs on my steel string for two reasons.

If you are ever asked to play, and dont have a pick, then you are going to be thrown off- a classical guitar has a wider fretboard.


I just prefer the tone of a steel string on finger tips (i dont use my nails)
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People may think that a steel string's difference lies only in the physical and tone differences. I can assure you that at an intermediate level and above, the steel string will never have the dynamic range and tonal colour range to tackle a classical guitar piece.
Thanks alot for all the replies. I will stay with the steel string for now and change to the classical once I can afford it. A follow up question which I know have been discussed multiple times already. If I buy a <300 dollar classical guitar, which one would be good? Rodriguez seems to be 300+ at least, and there aren't any local stores in boston that I can try it out first. I read alot of reviews bashing Yamaha, and Ibanez GA5 with all its plastic parts doesn't seem too appealing. Is there a general consensus as to whats a good classical guitar? Thanks!
Then Yamaha will be the way to go. Ibanez, Fender won't make good classicals. Manuel Rodriguez isn't great as well. Get either a solid top Yamaha or if you can afford, Alhambra/Esteve. A cheaper alternative to the 2 Spanish brands would be Admira, nowhere near the quality but still decent.
The big issue will be tone - my friend only had an acoustic and when i play classical on it the tone just sucks and makes it sound crappy.
I finally got my Yamaha CG151S yesterday. Thanks alot for everyone's help!
ive been playing classical on my steel string for a good 3 or 4 months and my fingers dont rly hurt... however when i was learning some flamenco techniques like rasquaedos the skin behind my nails were peeling and THAT hurt like a bitch, the only thing that may be of a problem is that when you get a classical guitar, classical guitars strings are spaced farther apart, so if u are used to the steel string it may take a bit to get into it
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Dont believe the nonsense. You can fingerpick just fine on a steel string. Of course at first its gonna hurt, but your fingertips will toughen up.

And if any tells you that you cant get good dynamic tone from fingerpicking a steel string, just tell them to listen to Tommy Emmanuel (sp?). Best acoustic tone EVER.
I play a lot in fingerstyle with acoustic guitar, so my fingers hurt a little bit, but eventualy pain goes away. In my opinion it's nothing wrong to play classical songs on steel-string guitar, but I think, that it's best to play classical music on classical guitar. The sound is really so much different. I don't have classical guitar, but from listening to songs played by classical guitar, it really sounds so much different.