What are the Differences Between Classical and Steel-String Guitars?

Classical guitars have three plain nylon strings and three made from nylon filaments with metal windings. Steel string guitars have two strings made of plain steel and four with a steel core wound with metal.

The tension of steel strings is considerably greater than of nylon, and thus, they can be hard to play for new beginners. At best, steel-string guitars usually delay the point where these students can play the instrument comfortably and fluently. In this respect, our view is to eliminate as many barriers as possible to achieving musical satisfaction in the early stages of lessons. Otherwise, many students quit before their guitar talent is evident. Therefore, we strongly suggest a classical guitar for a new beginner.

In addition, young beginners using a classical are able to produce a much sweeter and more beautiful tone with minimal effort. In contrast, as noted above on the previous page (“What Guitar Should I Buy?”), steel string guitars in child sizes usually have a thin, wiry sound that’s hard on the ears.

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