Love Nylon Strings?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by digthosetubes, May 25, 2008.

  1. digthosetubes

    digthosetubes Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,661
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    I own nine guitars. Many more than I need. Two of the guitars have nylon strings -- one classical, one flamenco. Of the others, five are electric and two acoustic.

    For all the things that steel strings give you, I find that you just can't get from steel strings that "something" that nylon strings give you. And in a way, what nylon strings give you is a whole lot less than steel but at the same time, it is actually more. More what? The answer that comes to mind is satisfaction.

    My point and question: To those who play both nylon and steel/electric guitar, what do you like about playing your nylon string guitars? And do you find they are more satisfying?

    I put a lot of time in playing the electrics. And it's fun. But I continually find myself thinking that the one guitar I would keep, if necessary, is the classical guitar.
     
  2. Blue Bee

    Blue Bee Member

    Messages:
    2,556
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Guitarland
    man the tone is just so beautiful on a nice classical. i love my 1966 taurus, but haven't played it in 2 years because i moved to hawaii and everything but that has been shipped. i miss it a lot and love the tones in a big empty room.

    i bought it from my old instructor, heres a cool vid of him, he gets turned up a bit more @ 4:35 for solo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msl9AGaIDhU
     
  3. gpro34

    gpro34 Member

    Messages:
    5,376
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
  4. KRosser

    KRosser Member

    Messages:
    14,153
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Ultimately for me it comes down to a Tele and a classical guitar, since the late 70's...thanks to all those Steve Howe, Chet Atkins, Bream, Towner, Gismonte, Breau records I picked up as a teenager
     
  5. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,490
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Philly, Pa
    A good nylon strings (ANY nylon string, really) is the only thing missing from my "working" collection of axes. I love the sound, and have gotten on very well with the few I've spent time with.......just haven't made the commitment to buying one, yet.

    Any suggestions for a good gigging, but satisfying to play, classic? Ability to amplify is a must.
     
  6. mkolesa@mac.com

    mkolesa@mac.com Member

    Messages:
    104
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    several people are making what they call hybrid or crossover guitars which are basically a steel string style guitar/body that's been adapted for nylon strings... and i remember as a kid getting a set of nylon strings with ball ends that i could fit on my starter steel string guitar that i got through the mail.
     
  7. james russell

    james russell Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,232
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    I've been playing for forty one years and bought my first nylon string at about sixteen years old. I have consistently played nylon string for probably eighty percent of my playing time since getting my first nylon axe. Favorite early nylon influences are Ralph Towner, Steve Howe, Steve Hackett, John Mclaughlin.

    It's been a mystery to me why I have so consistently chosen nylon first when I want to play. I love my steel strings and electrics very much, and love to play them for what they do, but the sound of nylon strings sounds intimate and personal to me. The notes of close-voiced chords can all be heard clearly, unlike steel strings that often have so much ringing resonance that the inner voices of tight of chords can get mushy. I love how easy nylon strings are on your hands. I love to set my action up on the high side and then I can get a large dynamic range from whisper soft to really snapping and popping without mushing out. Even with high action they are easier to play than steel strings, and I love the wider string spacing. For myself, I feel that I get the most expressive range out of a nylon string.

    As a builder I've always been amazed at how few people at guitar shows are even remotely interested in nylon string guitars. At the last Healdsburg guitar festival I had two really nice nylon hybrid guitars with fourteen fret neck joints and cutaways http://russellguitars.com/nouveau.htm , and they were barely looked at. The steel srings get all the attention at the shows.

    I play all styles of music on nylon strings (except hard rock), and I play about thirty solo guitar gigs per year, always on amplified nylon string.

    So, yeah, you could say I love nylon string guitar. The sound just gets inside me in a way that is so beautiful and sweet. No other style of guitar can do what a nylon string does.

    James
     
  8. whitenoise

    whitenoise Member

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    I have a chepo epiphone always hanging around in the main living area of our house. The electrics are downstars in my man room. It probally gets the most playing time. its right by the patio door and goes out with me everytime i grill. the kids pluck a string once or twice when daddy is playing it. It was my beach campfire guitar when i lived in hawaii. It sounds great for a $99.00, or even a $500.00 guitar.

    i play everything on it. i enjoy learning new solos on the classical before plugging in. i work on original material with it. I even attempt some Andrés Segovia!!!
     
  9. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,506
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    What I like about nylon string guitars is the range of tone colors, and therefore range of musical expression, that one can get from right hand (picking hand) technique. Truly remarkable.
     
  10. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,506
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    James, sometimes I think we are twins separated at birth!!
     
  11. james russell

    james russell Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,232
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Twin sons of different mothers? You must be a man of exceptional style and taste. :bow :rotflmao


    James
     
  12. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,506
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    That is one of my favorite Fogelberg albums. You too? :)
     
  13. royd

    royd Member

    Messages:
    2,000
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    gorgeous guitar!

    I have a love/hate with nylon string guitars... probably because I haven't found te right one yet. I miss the sustain of a steel string and I don't care for the flat fingerboard and wide nut... but there is something about the sound that when played well is just mesmerizing. One of these days, I have to get a good hybrid.
     
  14. Nuclearfishin

    Nuclearfishin Supporting Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    I think there's just something more satisfying about sitting down with a classical guitar and playing a melody with a bass and rythym part all at the same time. No need for a band, bass player, keyboard player, etc., it's all coming out of one guitar. I can sit down and learn any riff on an electric guitar but it always gets old quick. On a classical, I can play and re-invent songs I've been playing for 20 years and they still give me huge satisfaction and enjoyment to play. Even some of the most basic and easy classical pieces are fun to play after many years. For some real fun, sit down and play classical in a duet, trio, etc. Man, that can be REALLY fun!!
     
  15. james russell

    james russell Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,232
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Thanks for checking out my guitar. On the hybrids I make I definitaly make the nut width a little narrower than a standard classical (two inches or a little less), and I arch the fingerboard to sixteen or twenty inches, which does help for fingering. I also carve the neck to have softer shoulders than a typical classical, so it's easier to hold.

    Once you get a nylon string that has some punch and power they are really addicting. You can always caress them softer to get warm and subtle. I would say keep looking because you already know how mesmerizing they can be.

    James
     
  16. james russell

    james russell Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,232
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Hey Peter,
    Yes, I had and dug that album. My younger brother and I used to play some flute/guitar duo gigs in those days. We did some fun tunes like Spain, by Chick, and Afro Blue, etc..

    Over the years I've always had a nylon string guitar as a close friend. In the late seventies I sold all my cool vintage electric stuff (doh!!) and played mostly Oregon style acoustic music. The nylon string is the guitar I grab around the house for quickie sessions. It's just so instantly satisfying.

    James
     
  17. The bear

    The bear Member

    Messages:
    8,470
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    I too love the nylonstring.
    When I started playing guitar at the age of nine, my first guitar was a nylon. Somehow I think the sound has really stuck with me, even after playing electric a lot.
    For ten years I didn't even have a steelstring, and bought a nice taylor last year-still it's sitting in the case a lot.
    Sometimes my nails break when I play a steelstring..
    The nylon has a really romantic sound and it's a very expressive instrument(also very unforgiving).
     
  18. pedalcr8z

    pedalcr8z Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,391
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    I hear 'ya digthosetubes.........my classical is far more involving as I am very passionate about fiery classical or flamenco style guitar. The technical ability and prowness on the fretboard and disciplined right hand of classical players or flamenco players simply decimate our electric bretheren. I have been working on this piece for the last 20 years.........this is the finest rendition I've ever heard by the finest guitarist I have ever heard. It makes me want to shoot my hand......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEfFbuT3I6A

    here are some shots of my new Ramirez Anos~125 limited edition 125th anniversary model.If I had to own just 1 guitar it would be nylon. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  19. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,506
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly

Share This Page