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Traditional vs modern classical guitars

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by nikku, May 26, 2005.

  1. nikku

    nikku Member

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    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I really want to get into playing classical guitar.

    I can't decide what type of guitar to go for. Do I go for the traditional type (but I'd still want a cutaway and electrics!) i.e. no truss rod, cedar top, high action, no strap button (hey! Its important!) damages very easily...or a more modern style i.e Taylor Nylon etc...

    I played a Almansa 435 thin body ce which was very nice but I would be worried about the neck warping (living in humid Japan) and the action was already pretty high compared to the Yamaha and Takamine next to it...

    Is it better to have a " traditional one" for classical or will a modern one do the job, or are they more for pop style/session stuff?

    Anything I should really be careful of?

    Any thoughts and opinions gratefully received!! I know what I am doing with electrics but know nothing about these!

    Thanks
     
  2. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    For me, the breakpoint is whether you want and plan on using amplification. Of the "modern" nylon strings I've played that included a pickup (and frequently other developments such as a narrower, radiused neck, different body geometry, etc), including Taylor, Breedlove and a few others, I can't say I've been enamored of the unamplified acoustic tone. For pure tone, it's still probably best to go traditional. But if you need amplification, well, you need amplification. Check out the Taylor and Breedlove hybrids, but also check out, if you can, the even less traditional, semi-solid nylon strings out there such as Gibson Chet Atkins, Kirk Sand, Sadowsky and others.

    If you don't already have an amp specifically for amplifying an acoustic, you will need one. Regular electric guitar amps won't cut it. You may also find, as I have, that most acoustic amps seem to be voiced for steel strings. It can be devilishly tough to get a good amplified sound with a nylon string. The piezo scratchiness on the high end can be hard to dial out while still retaining a good sound across the rest of the spectrum. Wish I could give some specific gear recommendations, but I don't have an amplified setup myself. Every time I've tried one, I think "Nah, I'll wait until they figure this out better."
     
  3. dave251

    dave251 Member

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  4. nikku

    nikku Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply, I don't really like the Chet Atkins (well, the old model!) the new one is nice but a bit on the expensive side in Japan.

    I would like a cutaway and electronics, I like the prefix one with the mic and piezo that you can blend, that sounded very nice to me! I'm basicall looking for a nylon guitar that I can use for modern songs (seem to be very popular these days!) but also serve for classical as well (that won't get laughed at by the classical guitar crowd!)

    I was pretty much told that a with a traditional intrument there is very little room for set-up or if the neck bows however with these modern ones you can do a lot more with them.

    I play a Taylor acoustic and love the piano like tone that comes out of it, if the nylon ones match the steel ones I might be tempted!

    I suppose I should check out the Japanese made ones as well like K.Yairi...
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I play the traditional type and prefer the ones with investment potential. :cool:

    I lightly amplify my CG with a mic and PA when I need more oomph. I play either solo or as a flute/guitar duo.

    I would only use a modern CG if I were playing in a band situation.
     
  6. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    >>I play a Taylor acoustic and love the piano like tone that comes out of it, if the nylon ones match the steel ones I might be tempted!

    It won't. In all honesty, the several nylon Taylors I've played have all been rather dead and lifeless acoustically. The Breedlove was better. But neither stood up to a traditional classical. The single best amplified nylon string I ever played was made by Abe Rivera, and it was a clone of one he built for John McLaughlin. $8500!
     
  7. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    My two bits. With a classical with a wide neck, neck comfort is the most important thing. Even a small change in neck profile with a 2" neck produces huge comfort changes. Yet, 1 7/8" necks don't always work because you need space for classical style playing. I find Yamaha necks to be the most comfortable and they make a wide variety of guitars for all prices.
     
  8. djem

    djem Member

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    A year ago I started taking lessons and purchased an Almansa 402; a very basic student guitar.

    My instructor is a professional player and has an impressive collection of Ramirez's, Rodriguez's, etc. As a matter of fact, Jose Ramirez IV had one built especially for him on the condition that he played a certain venue in Spain. At any rate, my instructor has had his fair chance to assess CG tone over the years.

    During one lesson, we were playing a duet and he kept looking at my guitar. I asked him why and he stated that he could not believe the tone I was getting out of my $300 Almansa. Currently, I have D'Addario strings; I can't wait to put a new set of Hard Tension strings and hear the difference in tone.

    I would suggest getting a standard CG with no pickups, strap buttons, cutaway, etc. Stick to the classic, basic design. It's that way for a reason and mostly based on Antonio Torres' design from the 1800's.

    Heres a link to a video to inspire you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H36vL3MzQDU

    I wish you the best of luck in your classical guitar journey.

    Doug
     
  9. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    I too suggest studying with a traditional classical guitar. they have their own appeal, on so many different levels. Unless you are already quite gifted, you will spend countless hours basically by yourself flogging this thing. Even if you do perform someday and need another guitar, you'll never stop playing the traditional one, assuming you get the right one to begin with.
     

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