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  #1  
Old 07-30-2011, 09:28 PM
Play2PraiseHim Play2PraiseHim is offline
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Default Why arent nylon string guitars more popular?

I know to some this might seem like a silly question but I am honestly surprises that nylon string guitars are not more popular. It is my absolute favorite guitar. I enjoy it so much that I've totally switched to nylon . Nothing else compares to this uniqjue rich tone. My experience has been that nylon is easy to amplify and record. They are also usually built in a very comfortable body size. These are all advantages in my book.

I often wonder if people still place limits on the nylon string and have a mindset that it is for classical and spanish music only. I for one am glad to see more offerings in the crossover catagory and more non traditional musicians using nylon aa their main guitar. Hopefully this trend will continue.
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:36 PM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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Two reasons for this could be:

- the most basic form of playing the guitar - strumming with a pick - doesn't work too well with a nylon string. Therefore, nylon strings are mainly going to appeal to fingerstylists.

- this is a North American forum and the nylon string guitar is not really part of the country's culture. Country and Western, Bluegrass and flatpicking, common North American styles, are strictly for steel string instruments.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:21 PM
stamper stamper is offline
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... and on a related note, none of the pop culture "guitar heroes" of the past 60 years played nylon string guitars. So you don't have baby boomers trying to recapture their youth or younger guys trying to emulate the Legends via nylon strings.

Plus, you can't really bend nylon strings. And what's the point of playing guitar if you can't play mindless blues solos?
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stamper View Post
Plus, you can't really bend nylon strings. And what's the point of playing guitar if you can't play mindless blues solos?
Somebody better tell Willie
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:04 AM
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World-wide, nylon string guitars are much more popular than they are in the US.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:21 AM
Pedro Navaja Pedro Navaja is offline
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Outside of the Anglophone world nylon string guitars rule.

In the US many think that nylon string guitars are for beginners due to the belief that the strings are easier on the fretting hand.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:44 AM
Kabalan Kabalan is offline
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Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
World-wide, nylon string guitars are much more popular than they are in the US.
All over Latinamerican countries; we play nylon string guitars; the other side;
steel string guitars are not popular.
Eblen
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:56 AM
grampa grampa is offline
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I was 16 in 1962 when I started playing and after my first "beginner" guitar, a cheap Silvertone instrument of torture, I had to make a choice which included cost. The steel string guitars in my price range weren't as good as the nylon stringers. And I thought nylon strings would be more versatile. I got a Gibson C-0 and played everything on it from classical to folk to rock. I sold it in 1982 to buy my Gibson F-25 which is a steel stringer with the exact dimensions as the classical Gibson which was the main reason I got it. I play it pretty much the same as I played the classical. I currently own two nylon stringers and will probably always have one.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:04 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is online now
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I think all of the comments made so far are valid and accurate. In addition, for me, I simply liked the sound of ringing steel strings. I learned to play on a nylon string guitar. And I learned to play, first, with Peter, Paul and Mary, Paul playing a nylon string, Peter playing a steel string. After a while, I realized that I wanted that ringing sound you can only get with steel strings. So that's where I migrated to.

In recent years I have purchased some nylon string guitars, but I have found that after developing techniques that work best with steel strings over 47 years, I am not very good at getting a nylon string guitar to sound its best. I am working on that and getting better, but it's a challenge.

I would add that I have loved the sound of a good nylon string guitar being played by someone who is really good at it -- Andres Segovia, Laurindo Almeida, Charley Byrd, Kenny Rankin, Jose Feliciano... But I have also loved the sound of a good steel string.

I think Ewalling really nails the reasons for why the nylon string guitar is not more popular here on the AGF.

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Old 07-31-2011, 12:09 PM
AfterViewer AfterViewer is offline
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Played steel string drone/fingerstyle for decades and now use same style on nylon classical, won't return to steel in this lifetime. "I've got blisters on my fingers" /not !

Last edited by AfterViewer; 07-31-2011 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabalan View Post
All over Latinamerican countries; we play nylon string guitars; the other side;
steel string guitars are not popular.
Eblen
I spent several years in South America and never saw a single steel-string acoustic guitar.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:36 PM
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I always liked it when Chet Atkins or Jerry Reed played on nylon. Then Willie Nelson. Now Zac Brown is making waves with a nylon string. But I really don't worry about how popular my instrument is.
I have a nice collection of classical guitar albums but am not a true classical player. We have a great classical guitar society in St. Louis and I have attended some great concerts. I play Gospel, hymns, country, finger style, folk, and some Celtic music and fiddle tunes. I flat pick about 10% of the time (a skill left over from my mandolin days). I was in a working bluegrass band for 6 years when I was in my 30s. Nylon strings guitars are not very welcome at bluegrass festivals and jam sessions. What a shame. Oh well. When playing with friends it doesn't matter. My nylon string guitars have been very welcome in church. Great for backing vocal music. I think the new hybrids and the great sounding acoustic amps that can give you a nice natural sound will eventually make nylon strings more welcome. Old mindsets about what you are "supposed" to play will die hard though.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:06 AM
Play2PraiseHim Play2PraiseHim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWG View Post
I always liked it when Chet Atkins or Jerry Reed played on nylon. Then Willie Nelson. Now Zac Brown is making waves with a nylon string. But I really don't worry about how popular my instrument is.
I have a nice collection of classical guitar albums but am not a true classical player. We have a great classical guitar society in St. Louis and I have attended some great concerts. I play Gospel, hymns, country, finger style, folk, and some Celtic music and fiddle tunes. I flat pick about 10% of the time (a skill left over from my mandolin days). I was in a working bluegrass band for 6 years when I was in my 30s. Nylon strings guitars are not very welcome at bluegrass festivals and jam sessions. What a shame. Oh well. When playing with friends it doesn't matter. My nylon string guitars have been very welcome in church. Great for backing vocal music. I think the new hybrids and the great sounding acoustic amps that can give you a nice natural sound will eventually make nylon strings more welcome. Old mindsets about what you are "supposed" to play will die hard though.

Well said. I think your last statement hit the nail on the head.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:09 PM
ChiliBeans ChiliBeans is offline
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I for one am glad that nylon stringed guitars are not so popular in America. It keeps the prices on used ones pretty low. I recently picked up a Guild Mark II for less than 4 bills, and it's an amazingly loud, sweet sounding instrument. I find myself playing it more than any other guitar.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:59 PM
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I will admit. Im just a typical average guitarist that just loves to play. I always played steel string guitars. Also never liked the wide nut width.

But just like the OP was saying... I was one that never gave them a chance.

Im not very good or anything so having a Larrivee l-03 is all I have ever wanted and needed.

I recently just took a trip to cozumel, mexico.

Looked up if there was any guitar stores on youtube before I left.

Came across this guys shop.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjtsMhQu3PQ
When i went to town, it took me a while to find the shop. but after asking a couple locals I found it.

It was a whole new experience for me. I ended up trying tons of guitars while also listening to him play for me.

Was hard to play at first but was getting a little more use to it. Was kind of like goin from a 1 11/16 inch to a 1 3/4 when I was more of a begginer.

He had several factory mexican made ones for 80 bucks with a case. However, at 300 bucks he had built to order solid wood construction nylon classical guitars that were special made fore his shop. It was a whole different level. But just couldnt justify that much money without doing reasearch and seeing if I was even going to like it as much as my larrivee.

I bought the 80 dollar one. Was happy to give him my business. Was worth it almost to meet him and his wife and hear him play. Was very inspirational.

pretty decent guitar for the money. Stays in tune ok. I play fingerstyle sometimes soo theres a handfull of songs I was playing while on vaction. Im a bigger guy and have big hands soo after a while it wasnt so hard. Was thinking when I got home I would be glad to play my nice larrivee.

Had a different result when I got home. The neck on the larrivee felt soo skinny. Seems soo cramped I could barely play. Plus the sound is soo different .
Been playing the classical for a while now and am in love. so much more intimate. The tone of nylon and the way it plays is something I never thought was for me. guess im just a typical american guitarist that the steel string was all iknew ..

Will probably one day want to buy a more quality nylon. With a solid top at least.
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