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Rock's Secret Weapon: Why Classical Guitars Rock!

Published: Wed April 08, 2009  News Feed

For most players, the realm of classical guitars is one that they’d just as soon avoid. The scale length is different, the neck is wider, and they’re harder to play, so why bother? But many bands, including The Beatles, have used this instrument. Find out why you should try a Classical Guitar, too!

George Harrison and his Jose Ramirez classical guitar

George Harrison and his Jose Ramirez classical guitar

Why don't you experiment playing a classical guitar? The Jose Ferrer range provides a great - and cheap - introduction to this type of  instrument, which can improve your technique and give a special flavour to your recordings!

The world of the classical guitar is definitely one worth exploring and one that will reap incredible rewards the more you explore it.  Playing classical guitar, even if you use it traditionally (playing simple fingerpicker parts, strumming and single-note lines) can help your playing take a giant leap forward.

Classical guitars are very, very similar in their construction to traditional acoustic guitars. The body is smaller, but the bracing methods and wood types are similar. The necks are wider to accommodate your fingers, the nylon strings give the classical guitar its distinctive tone, but most players with average-size hands find that this transition isn’t as difficult as they first may have pictured it.

When we say "playing classical guitar" it doesn't mean the actual music style, just the type of instrument. Just as an acoustic guitar can be used on a blues or pop song, or an electric guitar can be used for jazz or rock, the same goes for the classical ("spanish") guitar - you don't need to play or be interested in classical music!

The classical guitar's wide, flat neck allows the musician to play scales, arpeggios and certain chord forms more easily and with less adjacent string interference than on other styles of guitar.

Playing a classical guitar gives you the chance to explore different ways of playing the instrument, which may improve your technique. And, besides, the nylon strings will give you a different, softer type of song that can work wonderfully and truly make a song special. Classic songs such as The Beatles' "And I Love Her" or Fleetwood Mac's seminal "Oh Well - Part II" greatly benefited from the tone that only a classical guitar can provide - they wouldn't sound as good played on a traditional acoustic guitar with steel strings!

The Beatles: And I Love Her George Harrison's guitar part was played on a Jose Ramirez classical guitar. Note the soft tone only the nylon strings can provide, giving the song a nice contrast to John Lennon's steel-strung acoustic guitar.

New generations of rock stars still embrace the sound of the classical guitar, and you don't need to look further than two of the biggest names right now:  Pete Doherty and Franz Ferdinand (check FF's acoustic performance of Katherine Kiss Me for the BBC Culture Show - click here)

Pete Doherty: Beg, Steal or Borrow Here's another way a classical guitar can be effectively used, providing a good, warm and soft sound when the guitarist strums chords.

Buying a classical guitar

Jose Ferrer classical guitar

The best thing about classical guitars? You can find some pretty good models that cost REALLY cheap - such as the Jose Ferrer range of classical guitars, here at Dolphin Music! The low price tag of those instruments make them ideal choices as beginners' guitars, a fact further enhanced by their availability in different sizes (1/2, 3/4 and full-size).

But, because of the affordable price, we can safely recommend them not just to beginners or students of classical guitar music, but to anyone interested in experimenting with new sounds and new guitar techniques. this is a cheap investiment that could prove greatly rewarding in the future.

Well, this is your chance to dip into the world of classical acoustic guitars...give it a try and you’ll find out a whole new world!

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