The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Classical

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-17-2021, 06:20 AM
Tannin Tannin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Huon Valley, Tasmania
Posts: 843
Default Where to start? Should I start?

Lately I've been thinking about trying my hand at nylon sting guitars. I've never much liked nylon strings. I've played guitar for 50 years, and the last time I played a nylon-string for more than 20 seconds would be 49 years ago. But all things change. I've been watching a few people on You-tube make nice sounds on nylons. A couple of years ago I threw away my picks and switched to fingers (mixture of flesh and nails), which makes a difference. And now I'm thinking about adding a nylon strung guitar to my little collection.

So what do I do about playing nylon string guitars?
  • (a) Nothing. It's just another form of GAS. The urge will pass.
  • (b) Borrow one from a friend.
  • (c) Buy a cheap one. See how I go. Move on up to something nice if and when the desire is there.
  • (d) Buy a nice one. Try it out. If it doesn't work out, sell it. Lose some money.

(a) Makes sense.

(b) is a non-starter. I don't know anyone who owns a nylon-strung guitar!

(c) Two reasons not to buy a cheap one. First, all my other guitars are good ones. If the nylon one is not somewhere up near the standard of the steelies, I won't play it. Second, I'm not buying anything made in China. I'll stick to places with decent labour practices and verifiable, legal timber sourcing. (Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, USA, maybe a few other places.)

(d) is the only other sensible possibility besides the do-nothing one. I could buy something nice.

If I do buy one, it will probably be new. Yes, second-hand would make sense, but there are only two second-hand guitar shops this side of Melbourne, 800 kilometres to the north. One of the local second-hand guitar shops seldom has anything in nylon-string, the other has nice stuff but is quite expensive and ... how do I put this ... I don't really want to buy anything there that I can't make my own quality and value assessment of. I can make my own judgements about a Guild or a Gibson or a Maton or a Martin but I don't know enough about nylon-strung guitars to confidently buy second-hand from that place.

So I could end up buying a new one. Possibilities I have discovered so far are Esteve (Spain), the Godin Group (Canada) and probably some Japanese makers (excluding Yamaha because MIJ Yamahas are very expensive and I don't want a Chinese one). Doubtless there are others. I'll probably end up driving to Melbourne to buy as the local shops - good as they are for Maton, Cole Clark, Taylor, Martin, Guild, and Gibson - only have Chinese nylon guitars.

Should a steel-string player look at crossover nylons? Or is it better to go full-on classical? I'm fine with a wider nut (up to 50mm - my 12-string is 50mm after all) but not sure how I'd go with the traditional high classical guitar action.

Sorry for so many questions. I'm just thinking aloud really.
__________________
Tacoma Thunderhawk baritone, spruce & maple.
Maton SRS60C, cedar & Queensland Maple.
Maton Messiah 808, spruce & rosewood.
Cole Clark Angel 3, Huon Pine & silkwood.
Cole Clark Fat Lady 2 12-string, Bunya & Blackwood.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-17-2021, 06:37 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,544
Default

Ihave a Cordoba Orchestra Fusion crossover, which is just a sweet guitar, but you don't want to consider a Chinese-made instrument.

The Taylor Academy nylon would allow you to test the waters of playing a crossover, is very reasonably priced, and can be easily re-sold should you want to move up the food chain later. It is made in Mexico, but at least that's on the continent.

This aligns most with your "C" option. Taylor has a long and successful partnership with the Mexico plant that works to provide decent jobs for employees and hold costs down for the consumer. Nothing wrong with your reasoning, and you could go with something like a U.S. produced Kenny Hill if you decide that Nylon is a viable thing for you.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-17-2021, 06:45 AM
Tannin Tannin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Huon Valley, Tasmania
Posts: 843
Default

Wrong continent, I'm Australian.

But that's a sensible thought. Taylor are ethical and make lovely steel-strings. There is a good Taylor dealer in town. They are out of stock on nylons right now, but have a couple on order. Thankyou!
__________________
Tacoma Thunderhawk baritone, spruce & maple.
Maton SRS60C, cedar & Queensland Maple.
Maton Messiah 808, spruce & rosewood.
Cole Clark Angel 3, Huon Pine & silkwood.
Cole Clark Fat Lady 2 12-string, Bunya & Blackwood.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-17-2021, 07:54 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,544
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
Wrong continent, I'm Australian.

But that's a sensible thought. Taylor are ethical and make lovely steel-strings. There is a good Taylor dealer in town. They are out of stock on nylons right now, but have a couple on order. Thankyou!
You DID say USA was on your list of possibilities...

When your Taylor dealer gets re-stocked just be aware that the entry-level nylon is the Academy series, made in Mexico, but they have made the higher priced standard Taylor nylon for several years, and it is U.S. made.

There's a bit of crossover info on the internet archive of my old website:

http://web.archive.org/web/201604060...Crossover.html
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-17-2021, 08:54 AM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 6,424
Default

Yamaha's are always a good choice imho. Buying used is also a good choice. The question of should you start can only be answered by you.

If you do then check out the beginner lessons here:
https://www.classicalguitardelcamp.c...forum.php?f=41

And here:
https://www.thisisclassicalguitar.com/lessons/

It's VERY different from playing steel string guitar even if you are a finger stylist on the steel string.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-17-2021, 09:03 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 8,376
Default

The first question to ask yourself is what do you want from playing a nylon string guitar?

Do you want to play classical repertoire? Do you want to play the same repertoire you now play on steel strings but with a nylon string sound? Do you want to play the same way you play now - using the same technique - on steel strings, but now on nylon?

Answers to those questions will guide you on whether to get a nylon string guitar and whether or not to buy a steel string player's nylon string guitar or a traditional "classical" guitar. Regardless, I wouldn't recommend buying an expensive first nylon guitar because you won't be able to accurately assess its quality and your tastes will change as you learn to play nylon.

As for string height, the string height can be whatever you want, usually commensurate with the technique you use to play it. If you want to play it like a steel string guitar, you can have pretty low action. If you want to play it like it is going to fill an un-amplified concert hall, you'll need higher action so you can pluck the strings with greater force without buzzing.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-17-2021, 11:31 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 14,663
Default

Get a good (probably pricey) used classical guitar. I get no satisfaction from playing cheap classical guitars. Learn some classical repertoire - preferably pretty composition. Your best bet. A used guitar you can probably sell for less of a loss if you decide it is not for you.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Woods hands pick by eye and ear
Made to one with pride and love
To be that we hold so dear
A voice from heavens above
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-17-2021, 12:15 PM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 30,090
Default

Regardless of which guitar you buy (I bought a Cordoba C5) this is an excellent website for you to use and get notation/videos from: https://www.thisisclassicalguitar.com/start-here/
__________________
Barry

Marble Halls:


Music videos = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmcW...NGUleVBEl4FGf_


Alvarez AP66SB
Avalon Ard Ri L2-32C
Cordoba C5
Furch Yellow Gc-CR
Gibson J-45
Guild D-120C
Larrivee OM-05
Martin D-16GT
Seagull Folk
Washburn D-10S

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-17-2021, 12:15 PM
ssstewart ssstewart is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 100
Default

First of all. you will LOVE it...if you have played for 1/2 century it will inspire and motivate like you wouldn't believe, whether or not you need motivation. i started playing classical first at 10 ( segovia) after playing tuba for 2 years..went through the zepplelin/floyd/clapton/beck phases on electrics and of course lightfoot/joni/young/taylor on acoustics...reverted back to nylons 25 years ago and it remains my go to guitars for ALL types of music. Real Blues & Jazz is awesome on nylon strings (alt tunings make it very exploratory) classic rock...awesome on nylons, same for folk and easy listening..all those genres breathe new life when played on nylon the sound is viscous/thicker/richer and warms my old bones.

you know guitars so you definitely don't need assistance there. no matter what genre you play it will sound AMAZING on nylon...

I fingerpick as well, not a strummer or hand picks HOWEVER...many will frown at the idea of strumming on nylon string classical guitars..i CHALLENGE THAT FULLY with a soft thin pick dunlops .38-.50 it sounds wonderful..just needs a soft touch to make it truly something special.

I even have little cling on pick ups that work amazingly on my classicals run through an amp and you can get some really unique beautiful sounds ( ive even run through my 63 ampeg with hammond reverb and it sounds delicious with nylon strings)

try it and you wont regret it..imo

happy picking
__________________
Don

1929 SS Stewart Professional Archtop
Norman B50-12 bellied up
2021 Denver DD4412
1979 Canadian Classical Private Quebec luth
2003 Briarwood YCL-1
2020 Fender Telecaster
80's frankenstrat
Fender CD60 Acoustic
1982 Ovation acoustic electric
+beaters and bangers
1963 Ampeg Gemini II + wrfdale cabinet 300
Randall RX25RM
Peavey practice amp
pyramid studio pro 250
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-17-2021, 05:44 PM
darkwave darkwave is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 28
Default

I'm on a similar trajectory as you, so I can share my fumblings but it may not be sound advice...

I'm 51 years old, have a healthy mix of steel string acoustics and electrics and have not had an urge for a nylon string until a month ago. Full disclosure, I DO have one nylon string, but it is a fretless solidbody I rigged up in an attempt to imitate an electric oud.

I don't have much interest in traditional classical, but wanted the tonality - so I focused on crossovers. I ended up finding a used Kremona Verea really cheap online and jumped. I wanted 1 7/8 with with a radiused fretboard and rosewood for the back and sides. Turns out the fretboard is flat and the neck profile is pretty odd on the treble side, but I've really had a blast with it since I got it. It's scratching a different itch for me, and wasn't so precious that I feel guilty having it sit around.

Not sure if they are available around you, but in the USA they are fairly easy to find (they are from Bulgaria and sold against the Cordoba lineup. I've read online about some people's dissatisfaction with the sound of some of the more modern-design crossovers (Yamaha, Taylor, Breedlove) while those by Cordoba and Kremona at the low end seem to get more of a pass? If I were more serious, I'd likely be hunting down a Furch to try out, but I'm really happy with my Verea for now.

-Douglas C.

Last edited by darkwave; 06-17-2021 at 07:00 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-17-2021, 05:49 PM
JonWer JonWer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 73
Default

It is my understanding some Cordobas are made in Spain or California; some Yahamas in Japan and some Kenny Hill classical models in California (please correct this if inaccurate). It may be worthwhile to contact these companies and share your parameters. I own Cordoba, have played Kenny Hill and admire Yamaha (will be my next one). All are great sounding, playable and well regarded. You won’t regret owning a nylon guitar. Let us know where you land.
__________________
Cordoba GK Studio maple
Cordoba Esteso Cedar w/Pau Ferro
Taylor Academy 10e
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-17-2021, 09:00 PM
Tannin Tannin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Huon Valley, Tasmania
Posts: 843
Default

Great responses all! Thankyou so much. I'll chew these things over and reply at greater length a bit later.
__________________
Tacoma Thunderhawk baritone, spruce & maple.
Maton SRS60C, cedar & Queensland Maple.
Maton Messiah 808, spruce & rosewood.
Cole Clark Angel 3, Huon Pine & silkwood.
Cole Clark Fat Lady 2 12-string, Bunya & Blackwood.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-17-2021, 09:29 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Kirkland, WA USA
Posts: 1,584
Default

Having gone through this same journey two decades ago, I would highly recommend a crossover.

The classical guitar is suited for classical repertoire, but it IMO does not work well for jazz, latin and folk.
__________________
-Gordon

1978 Larrivee L-26 cutaway
1988 Larrivee L-28 cutaway
2006 Larrivee L03-R
2009 Larrivee LV03-R
2016 Irvin SJ cutaway
2020 Irvin SJ cutaway (build thread)
K+K, Dazzo, Schatten/ToneDexter


Notable Journey website
Facebook page

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. - Leonardo Da Vinci
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-18-2021, 09:10 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,544
Default

Alamo Music recently did a very nice overview of the Taylor nylons, emphasizing the sound qualities, particularly for players who want the nylon sound but don't play traditional classical repertoire.

Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-18-2021, 09:55 AM
rmp rmp is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 3,068
Default

I think you will like a nice nylon, they are different animals entirely than a steel string.

It's not a strummer kind of thing. Finger style playing is where they shine, so if that's not your thing, than, a nylon may not be for you. It just wont be a fit for the things you are drawn to play.

But I guess only you will know if it's a good thing for you. It could be an expensive experiment.

Borrowing one is ideal. Even if it's a midrange one. At least you will know if it's gonna "Take".. right?

I went thru a bunch of nylons, some mid rage, some more expensive. The necks were huge, and the intonation was any where from spotty to horrible up past the 6th/7th fret.

Even on ~ $1k Takamine and an even more pricey Manuel Rodriguez A Cut.
That was a nice guitar but the intonation and lack of a truss rod made it a tuff love. ugh!..

Then, I played a Taylor 514NY, and BOOM! I was HOME.

The neck was not as chunky and wide as the others, bigger than the traditional taylor, but not like a traditional nylon.

The intonation was superior to anything I'd ever owned before. The tone was just what it should be.

But the question comes back to, is it for you?

only you can answer that one.. I hope you figure it out they are a great "alternative" to a steel string.. when the mood strikes, nothing sounds or feels like one.
__________________
Ray
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Classical

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=