classical vs acoustic guitars

Classical Vs Acoustic Guitars – How They Are Same & Different

When understanding and comparing between classical vs acoustic guitars, you must look at the different types of sound, styles and materials. All guitars produce a variety of sounds, but classical guitars have a very specific sound as they are typically played with nylon strings. Acoustic guitars have steel strings which makes them more versatile for playing various styles of music and different types of guitar chords. Even if you are not an expert on music or musical instruments, this article will help to distinguish between the two types of guitars.

What Is A Classical Guitar?

A classical guitar is a stringed instrument with nylon strings that is typically played by fingerpicking. A classical guitar has a lower tension which makes it easier to play and allows the strings to vibrate for a longer period of time. The nylon strings give off a brighter and more defined sound. Classical guitars are primarily played in traditional Spanish, Brazilian, Irish, Scottish, Russian and Polish music styles.


Classical guitars are typically strung using nylon strings. Nylon classical guitar strings are easier on the fingers, and can be used for a wide range of musical styles. A nylon string is an alternative to the more common steel string acoustic guitar.

Related – Can I put nylon strings on a steel string guitar?

Neck Size

The neck size of a classical guitar is traditionally measured in inches and corresponds to the length from the nut (where the strings are held) to the 12th fret. The most popular size is 24 inches.


A classical guitar bridge is a piece that sits on the body of the guitar and supports the strings. It’s usually made from rosewood, ebony, or bone but sometimes plastic is used. The bridge holds the strings at the proper height from the fretboard.

The classical guitar’s bridge normally has something called a saddle in it. The saddle is positioned to hold one end of each string in place as it passes over the bridge and toward its tuning peg.


The body of a classical guitar is traditionally made from wood, such as spruce. The backs and tops of classical guitars are typically made from softer woods than those used for electric guitars, to compensate for the high level of tension (they must withstand the increased tension of extremely tight Classical guitar stringing) and to reduce weight. Though modern classical guitars are often made in response to customer preferences for a particular wood, this is not always the case; some makers have published guidance about which woods are preferred. The softer woods used can also contribute to the overall tonal character of a guitar.

Body sizes can vary considerably between brands and models.  Common brands include Yamaha, Epiphone, Gibson, Fender, etc.


The sound of a classical guitar is very beautiful. It can be soothing, mellow, and even uplifting when played skillfully. Classical guitars tend to have a low, warm sound with soft overtones. A classical guitar will not sound as loud or as harsh as an electric guitar will. Although a classical guitar can be louder than an acoustic guitar it has a singing quality that is less harsh on the ear.

Many players of classical guitars believe its tone has more life than an electric guitar because of the difference in the materials used for construction and string tension.

What Is An Acoustic Guitar

An acoustic guitar (also called an acoustic guitar) is a stringed instrument with us, the sound waves from the strings are not amplified by electronic devices in order to produce sound. They are plucked by fingers and typically have steel strings.

Read more – Grand Auditorium Vs Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar ShapesDreadnought vs Concert


The strings on an acoustic guitar are made of metal, they are lighter and the tension is less than that of a classical guitar, they also give the acoustic guitar more of a “twangy” sound.

Neck Size

The neck size of an acoustic guitar is generally bigger than that of a classical guitar, because of the bigger body, which in turn gives more room for the sound to resonate. The size of a guitar can have an effect on its tone and playability. Generally, the bigger the neck, the better it is for the instruments tuning and play ability.


The bridge of an acoustic guitar is glued to the top, and strings are held in place by small pegs called bridge pins.


An acoustic guitar body is typically made of a single piece of wood, usually maple, and has a hollowed out sound box or “resonant chamber” called the “sound hole”. While traditionally craftspeople have used the wood of fruit trees (such as the red mahogany of West Africa) for acoustic guitar construction, today’s guitars are usually made from high-grade hardwood maple. The sound box is usually constructed from three pieces of wood stapled together, giving an overall strength that can withstand the tension of a high-quality steel strings.


The sound an acoustic guitar can produce is characterized by a diversity of intensities. The acoustic guitars are capable of producing sounds that vary from light crescendo which gently ebbs and flows to the louder forte which gradually rises to a peak and then decays back down in volume and intensity over a longer period. The acoustic guitar’s sound is often described as “woody” because there is a percussive attack and the tones tend to be more distinct and clear than other stringed instruments.

The intensity levels in an acoustic guitar can be played individually or simultaneously. For instance, the crescendo and forte techniques use gradually increasing dynamics which are played separately. Crescendo applies to the loudness of the notes played, whereas forte refers to variations in volume over time.

What Are The Differences Of Each?

The first major difference between acoustic and classical guitars is the style of music each of these types of guitars are for. Classical guitars are used to create the more classical and Spanish sounding music styles and acoustic guitars are used to create more blues, jazz and rock music.

The next obvious difference is the type of strings used. Classical guitars use nylon strings which allow for a softer and warmer sound. Acoustic guitars use the traditional metal types of acoustic guitar strings that are used on most other types of guitars.

The body size of an acoustic guitar is larger than that of a classical guitar. This is because acoustics must have a larger body to create the needed resonance that will ultimately help amplify the sound. The only exception to this would be the smaller sized acoustic guitars for children.

The sound of an acoustic guitar is different than that of a classical guitar because of its construction. A steel-string acoustic guitar produces a slight twangy sound, whereas a nylon-stringed classical guitar produces a mellow tone when played.

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