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Acousticado 05-24-2016 06:46 AM

Nylon string guitars in classic folk rock music
Reading and enjoying the threads about nylon guitars prompted me think about this.

Among the reasons I bought a Chimaera 6/12 was to finally have a 12 stringer and also have the 6 to be able to change necks within a given song because that's how the original was played. Think Stairway (yes, I enjoy playing that song) and Hotel California. Beyond that, there are many songs I play that were originally performed on a 12 string, and I enjoy going between the necks for the interesting dynamics it brings to a song. And it's a really fun guitar.

I've never had an interest in nylon string guitars because I've considered them as being for classical or other forms of music outside my taste in playing, plus, on the rare occasion I've had one in my hands, it was a traditional type with a wide neck that I don't like.

I just thought about it and perhaps it is likely that many songs within my classic folk rock interest of songs were originally played on a nylon. Of course, it's possible to do a rendition of any song on a nylon, but I'd only be interested to own one if knowing that enough of the songs I enjoy playing were originally played on one.

I have accumulated a list of songs I like to play that were originally recorded on a 12 string, in part by doing google searches. I just tried this for nylon guitars, and can't find anything. I'd appreciate it if anyone can list any songs that might be within my classic folk rock taste. If it turns out that there's enough of them, I might just look more seriously at a nylon.


hammerhead 05-24-2016 08:38 AM

off the top of my head, Zac Brown and Willie come to mind as those who play nylon strings...I'm sure there are more, especially in the folk music ranks.

here is a page I stumbled across...

EvanB 05-24-2016 11:05 AM

I believe that the Gypsy Kings utilize a thin-body nylon string electric guitar.

Bud and Travis may have been before your time, but they did a lot of folk songs with nylon string guitars.

Might want to look up Montoya for some way-back folk music on nylon strings.

Chet Atkins wasn't exactly folk, but he did help design an electric nylon string guitar and had a really nice touch.

I suspect that if you look up contemporary nylon string guitars makers you will find endorsements from a wide range of players--Godin, for example, makes a number of nylon string guitars and they must be being played by someone.

And there's always Willie--shouldn't take more than about 20 years to listen to all of his folk work.

Have fun!

Rodger Knox 05-24-2016 01:31 PM

Are you asking about songs originally played on a 12 string nylon?
I'm sure one exists somewhere, but I've never seen one.
The Byrds used 12 string pretty frequently, even for some lead work (8 miles high). Tom Petty also frequently has a 12 in the mix.

EvanB 05-24-2016 03:04 PM

Good question Rodger. It had not even occurred to me that someone might want to play a nylon 12 string. I played one many years ago and as I remember it I spent most of the time tuning. I'm not sure where you'd go to get one.

Acousticado 05-24-2016 04:14 PM


Originally Posted by Rodger Knox (Post 4947259)
Are you asking about songs originally played on a 12 string nylon?
I'm sure one exists somewhere, but I've never seen one.
The Byrds used 12 string pretty frequently, even for some lead work (8 miles high). Tom Petty also frequently has a 12 in the mix.

No, not on a 12 nylon, just a 6. My gawd, I never even considered a 12 nylon. Does such a beast even exist? Maybe that's what Emerald's upcoming news will be about! :guitar:

Captain Jim 05-24-2016 05:17 PM

There is a guy in our area who plays/sings in a couple restaurants - he is very talented, and plays a wide variety of music. He plays a nylon string guitar, and it seems to fit in with the understated sound while people are dining.

I have never owned one, but it seems to me you could use it on any song you enjoy.

EvanB 05-24-2016 06:18 PM


Exactly. I fancy myself as a song writer, and I sing. I do not have a powerful voice. With a steel string I can swallow my lyrics; with a nylon string I can keep the guitar right under the voice.

And there's this. when playing with others, I can disappear, ginger things out, and then into the mix.

And, of course, there's the sensual nature of playing nylon strings and the warmth in tonal qualities. I really like nylon strung guitars.

Acousticado 05-24-2016 06:45 PM

Thanks guys. I get that any song can be played on a nylon and that it will create a unique tone and presentation of a song. That is somewhat intriguing to me, but it would be much more intriguing if I knew songs I already love and enjoy playing were originally recorded/performed on a nylon guitar.

For example, in my 40 years of playing before obtaining my Chimaera, I've played many popular classic folk rock songs on my 6 stringers that were originally performed on a 12 by famous artists, and it sounded good to me. When I've played these same songs on the Chimaera 12, I realized how the tone came alive like the recording. Hugely inspiring after all the years.

I'm looking for the same realization out of a nylon experience.....songs I've played for years on a steel string suddenly sounding like the original if I played them on a nylon. Perhaps in my musical genre of interest, steel string acoustics and electrics absolutely ruled. If nylons were used as the lead instrument in songs I love to play but I didn't realize it, I'm sure interested to know.

Thanks again!

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