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Old 11-10-2017, 08:29 PM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Default Some "New to Nylon" Questions

I am thinking about buying a nylon string guitar. I have always loved classical music, was raised on it. Along the way I got into everything else, but I have always wanted to learn classical. I have been very frustrated by what's available in stores. They carry dozens of $2,000 to $4,000 steel string guitars, but mostly $400 and under nylon string. I take it there's very little interest. Some are okay, but none are great. So here are some questions;

1. What do dead nylon strings sound like. dull thud?? I'm thinking that some of these just might have dead strings, thus the dull and uninspiring tone.

2. Intonation... what's the deal here??? The saddle is so thin and the intonation on many is deplorable! Can't even play past the 7th fret on some. I watch videos of traditional classical players using the whole fretboard. Many have good to very good intonation. Is it just due to cheap guitars?

3. Sustain. Some online players have decent sustain. Not like steel of course, I know that. But many of the guitars I tried had hardly any sustain. Cheap guitar, dead strings??

4. My local choices are La Patrie, Almansa, Yamaha & Cordoba. I will not order from anyone else as I am sick of the expensive CDN shipping rates when the guitar doesn't work out for me! I would consider it in the future, but this is my nylon starter guitar. However I have a very sensitive ear for intonation, so I don't want just a student guitar. Which is my best bang for the buck? I need to be under $900 CDN so $700 USD.

Thanks!

Last edited by Carbonius; 11-10-2017 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 11-11-2017, 01:45 AM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is online now
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It is a constant fight to keep usable nylon strings on a classical guitar, so I can envision a scenario where you can’t evaluate the instrument correctly due to old strings. Add that to what you already know, and that is not to buy a guitar you have not yet played and I can see that you have a challenge.

I got extremely lucky 48 years ago when I walked into a guitar store in Pforzheim, Germany and bought my first guitar from a man who didn’t even speak my language. He was insistent that the guitar he was selling me, an Oscar Teller, was a great instrument and that has proven correct ever since.

Oscar’s Grandson Wolfgang still makes Classical Guitars in the same shop in Germany and has a website. You can post a message and consult him. He speaks very good English. He might can point you toward a US retailer where you can play some, or otherwise help you. He is a wonderful man with a passion for what he does.

https://www.teller-gitarren.de

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by MBDiagMan; 11-11-2017 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 11-11-2017, 03:31 AM
dosland dosland is offline
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I don't think you're going to be able to get more than a "student guitar" in that price range. I don't know prices, but some of this depends what you want for sound. I think Córdoba or Almansa would be the best bet for pure old fashioned classical sound, but the Yamaha options will be the most consistent in terms of fit and finish and maybe intonation. La Patrie has a good reputation too, I think old strings may be the real cause of your predicament, I'd expect to find several really nice guitars form the makers you've listed in your price range - still essentially student grade instruments, in my view, but great sounding and enjoyable to play. Hope you find a decent solution without too much hassle!
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:18 AM
47gene 47gene is offline
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Default Canadian Company

http://www.decasciaguitars.com/

Take a look here... and give them a call.

I have a De Cascia Gabrielle that is outstanding. Cedar/rosewood

It's all solid wood and has wonderful sustain and intonation.

Good luck with your search.

gene
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:46 AM
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M19 M19 is offline
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I have a Cordoba Fusion (Maple lam/Euro Spruce) that I like, and one would fit your needs, I think. Have you seen one in your shopping?

https://www.cordobaguitars.com/guitars/12-maple/

I paid $700 US, so likely closer to $1k in Ca?
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Old 11-11-2017, 09:28 AM
Dave T Dave T is offline
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As someone earlier posted, you're not going to find anything but "student" grade guitars in the $700-900 rand you are considering. Some student guitars are better than others and you might find one that would serve your needs as an introduction to the world of nylon strings and classical style instruments.

My personal experience was with a Alhambra 7P. It was a huge step above the cheep introductory guitars you are seeing but still what would be considered a "student" grade instrument. (price was $1795 new)

The $400 guitars you are finding are not at all what you are looking for and not representative of the world of classical guitars. There are a lot of junk nylon stringed instruments, there are some decent intermediate level instruments, and then there is the world of concert classicals. The latter are not found in big box musical stores. When you finally come across one it will blow you away...and the price will probably finish you! (smile)

Good luck in your search,
Dave
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:09 AM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Thanks guys. Based on these replies I think a wise start for me would be to rent a decent one at the high end of my budget and try some new strings. A couple I tried could be rented and bought. I'm used to 13 gauge strings on my steel string, so these nylon strings feel like cooked spagetti. Thus I may opt for a high tension set. One La Patrie had average intonation (0-4 cents) but was off here and there in tone & volume from string to string. The strings were visibly worn, so they are audible junk I suspect. This will also give me time to see how nylon works for me.

One I tried was off by 15 cents! That's a bridge in the wrong spot, no way to compensate a saddle that much.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:26 AM
MJScott MJScott is offline
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Not sure which model of La Patrie you are considering renting. I owned two, a Motif and a Presentation. I eventually found the necks uncomfortable an so moved on. I also played some Etudes and Collection. For The $$$ I think the Etude is not bad. I always used high tension strings on mine. My Presentation had excellent tone. Hope this helps. Good luck.
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Last edited by MJScott; 11-11-2017 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Stupid auto correct
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:39 PM
gmr gmr is offline
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You may get consider that since most classical guitars in your price target will not have been intonated by shaping the saddle, you may be able to fix minor intonation issues by a little diy saddle shaping. I am only passable as a steel string player and even less so as a classical player, but it is clear to me that that it takes a good bit of technical finesse to get the most out of any classical guitar. Having said all that, I would take a look at Alhambra guitars if you can find a source. It really sounds like it would be worth giving consideration to those De Cascia guitars mentioned in the earlier post that are available to you in Canada.

Last edited by gmr; 11-16-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:08 PM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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All of the brands you mention make quality, playable instruments. An experienced classical player could make even an entry-level instrument from any of those makers sound great. Almost any model you get will be playable and suitable for home and practice.

But the fact is, you're going to have to learn a little bit about this beast before you can really judge what's best for you in a guitar.

So my advice is, get the best-quality instrument you can for a few hundred $$$, judge it by tangibles like intonation and projection, and then live with it for a while. Don't spend a fortune now. Spend a fortune when you're ready to trade up, and know what you want.
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:09 AM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47gene View Post
http://www.decasciaguitars.com/

Take a look here... and give them a call.

I have a De Cascia Gabrielle that is outstanding. Cedar/rosewood

It's all solid wood and has wonderful sustain and intonation.

Good luck with your search.

gene
The Talia in Cedar or Spruce look the part.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:35 AM
Carbonius Carbonius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47gene View Post
http://www.decasciaguitars.com/

Take a look here... and give them a call.

I have a De Cascia Gabrielle that is outstanding. Cedar/rosewood

It's all solid wood and has wonderful sustain and intonation.

Good luck with your search.

gene
I've been looking into these more, seem like very good guitars. Reviews are favorable. I would certainly not order one in this cold with the laquer and french polish though, check, check, check. They even have some double top models.

I found the "raised fingerboard" on some interesting. It's NOT a raised fingerboard, but a top that curves away making the fingerboard appear raised. It's really a "lowered top"... but that won't sell guitars! Funny how this is deemed acceptable while a cutaway is not. However, the curved top would not effect inner volume (as in capacity) near as much as a cut away. I watched a video review from a teacher who owns some high priced instruments and he said it really helps. He stated that some brands don't raise it enough, rendering it ineffective. On my steel string I use the whole fingerboard with a cutaway, so I have been pondering how this would translate. Here is that review;



I would expect resale to be bad though, as this is an "in house" brand by http://www.grandsalondeguitare.com/. I guess you buy with the intent to keep. You could possibly trade it back to the store towards another guitar. They have quite a selection. I didn't know there was ANY store in Canada that specialized in classical guitars. Good for them.

Of note is a fellow named Drew Henderson who does some demo's on http://www.decasciaguitars.com/ site. I first saw him in a video playing an 8 string classical. He has very nice sustain and intonation. I had heard some great players have some bad intonation. Sure it's out of tune here and there, but every guitar is. Here is the video for those that are interested.

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Old 11-14-2017, 10:40 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Musical instrument "renting" is a huge money wasting racket.

A beginner to Classical would be fine with a LaPatrie or lower model Cordoba.

High Tension is fine on these guitars. And they'll still feel like cooked spaghetti to you!

Get "pumping nylon" or Noad's book and start working on your right hand. The tone is in there. You'll also learn quickly how much intonation is a product of how you play as well as the guitar itself.

Nylon string is a wonderful thing. Enjoy!!!
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2017, 12:23 PM
rob2966 rob2966 is offline
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I play both steel string guitars and nylon (classical and flamenco).

Based on some of your initial questions I think the main issue here is that your experience is all steel-string and you haven't had time to adjust to the nylon string instrument. They really are very different in many ways.

Sustain is a big one, you are not going to get the sustain you are used to out of a nylon. I play a lot of flamenco as well so my guitars sustain even less than good classical instruments.

Intonation. I have found a similar thing with less expensive (sub $1000) instruments. The intonation higher up the neck can a bit off.

Dull strings. Unlike steel strings which often dull in a few weeks and all strings are affected, nylon strings definitely are different. The trebles (G, B, e) usually have longer life and don't need replacing as often. The basses (E, A, D) need replacing more often. That is why they sell nylon strings as trebles and bass sets to facilitate this. Also, on many classical guitars, the nylon G can be notorious for being more dull (tubby) than the B and e nylon strings. In general the only real solution I have found for this is a high quality instrument. You can get wound G strings to solve this but they seem to introduce new issues (break easy, etc...).

Also, just a heads up, new strings can take WEEKS to settle in, especially the trebles. They just keep stretching and stretching.

I love playing both types of guitars but approach and expectations have to be different for each. If you know someone who is an experienced classical player having them try instruments with you is a good way to go. Of the brands you mentioned my preference is Cordoba. I would also say try a flamenco guitar too, while usually less sustain, they are brighter with more attack. I play lots of classical music on my flamenco instruments and they sound great. Only the "cork-sniffing" purists would fault you for that .

Later
Rob
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