How To Choose A Classical Guitar
Hoorah! You are about to buy your first Classical Guitar...
Discovering which Classical Guitar to buy can be exhilarating, if not a little overwhelming. As part of our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Classical Guitar’ series, this section will help you start your journey as you mean to go on.
First things first...
Finding what kind of classical guitar based on how it was made is very basic in choosing your first classical guitar. There are 3 different ways of how classical guitars are built:
Classical guitars come in a number of tiers when it comes to construction. Professionals play a luthier made instrument, built by one person who has spent up to three months on that instrument alone. If it’s your first instrument then chances are this is out of the price range and also as they are specifically built for seasoned players they may not be as easily playable for a newcomer.
Next, come the workshop instruments, these are built-in small teams and often under the watchful eye of a master luthier whose name will be on the instruments. They are more affordable but still on the upper end of what somebody would financially stretch to for their first instrument.
Factory-made guitars are the go-to for first instruments. If you don’t like the experience of playing, then you won’t have lost much if you decide that it’s not for you. If you find you love playing and simply cannot get enough, then you can easily upgrade to one of the above options.
Where are the best guitars made?
Incredible classical guitars are being built all over the world, but when choosing your first quality guitar, go with the stereotype and look for factory guitars built in Spain. Their entry-level instruments are not a lot more than guitars made in East Asia, and the build quality is usually far superior. Having said that, Asian guitar builders offering a more expensive factory-built guitar are often burdened by having to prove a point and also build instruments which can pack just as much of a punch!
How is it built?
How well a classical guitar is built directly informs the sound far more than an electric or acoustic guitar. Look for a guitar made with a solid top and solid wood backs and sides. The cheapest guitars can be made of things that look like plywood and fibreboard. Unlike electric guitars, classical guitars can also literally split, and warp beyond use just because of changes in temperature and humidity. You want a stable instrument, particularly if you live somewhere where you experience extremes of any of these factors.
Spruce VS Cedar
Traditionally, classical guitars have been built with light coloured spruce tops for nearly 200 years. These are not hard rules, but in general, spruce will yield more brightness and clarity in the sound. Spruce can be more temperamental but may offer more magic if you work on your own sound production
In the 1960s luthiers started experimenting and found that cedar also gave excellent results. Cedar is more forgiving and offers more warmth and balance compared to spruce.
The standard scale (string) length of a classical guitar is 650mm. Children’s guitars can be far less, but full-size guitars range between 630 and 660mm. Most people play a 650mm guitar but many women and shorter male players find 640mm most comfortable for their hands as the frets are slightly closer together, meaning stretches become slightly easier.
Age is but a number...
If you’re buying a guitar for your son or daughter it’s worth bearing in mind the following rules for the size of the guitar versus the age of the child:
- ¼ size – ages 4-7
- ½ size – ages 6-9
- ¾ size – ages 8-12
- 7/8 size – ages 9-adult
- full size – ages 11-adult
How To Choose A Classical Guitar - Summary
Classical guitar is a good instrument to start. By knowing which material and which size that will fit you, it can make the learning experience more heightened as it will make you comfortable in no time. With all the choices that you can do, we at Ted’s List always help out a friend in need on our community at Facebook.
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