Does anyone play classical?

What's Hot
Hello all, 

I am about to buy myself a new classical. I have been looking at a more modern styling, 48mm nut, body join at the 14th etc.
So far I have been looking at the Yamaha NTX range and an Ortega Opal NY AGB

Does anyone have any recommendations or anything else to mention that might be worth checking out?
I have no specific requirements, I just want a good classical. I am happy with traditional and variations, cutaways etc. 
The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Comments

  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2413
    Have you played the Yamaha NTX nylon strings? What did you think? 

    I don't know much about classical guitars per se, but the NTX didn't feel or sound like a typical classical when I played a few of them recently. Plugged in, the top of the range NTX sounds lovely, but the cheaper ones were not so good. Acoustically, though, they don't have much tone imho.

    Is it an electro-classical that you definitely want? These are supposed to be very good, but I've not played one:


    Might be worth giving Richard at RGuitars a call as he seems to have quite a range of nylon string guitars available.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

  • This is not a classical guitar - it is a guitar designed for those who have little hands or stiff fingers ie rock guitarists 


    The Yamaha NCX range is a good starter - ditto for classical Admira or Allhambra do good basic classical models   as well the standard Yammy CG range 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I played a NTX 700 and really liked the feel of it but I do agree about the acoustic sound. It seemed a little weak (like most APX guitars). Its good to know that the 1200 might not suffer this issue. 

    @tonyrath, I am looking up to £1k, would you be able to suggest anything particular?
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • MegiiMegii Frets: 1521
    I would say if you really want to get into real classical guitar, and playing the "repertoire", get a proper, traditionally proportioned classical guitar. They are made that way for good reasons. Also, it has been my experience that it can be well worth while seeking out one of the classical guitar specialist places to go and buy, even if only spending a modest amount - the people who run them generally know their stuff, and make good, informed decisions of what to stock  - so you will get more guitar for your money. I have heard good things about Admira and Alhambra, just to echo what @tonyrath says.

    But try searching on Google to find specialist classical guitar shops, or at least places that have classical guitars as a specialisation, is my advice. :)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I recommend buying used, the depreciation on top-notch classicals is huge, you can often get a £2000 model for £600-700

    e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Burguet-Noguera-Cedar-Double-Top-Classical-Guitar-/271625481409?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Guitars_CV&hash=item3f3e23ecc1

    in particular, look at "collection only" ones on auction, often no one else bids

    Even the bottom end solid wood ones can be gotten cheap, I got a mint £280 one for £50 once


    However, if you want a "non-classical" model, e.g. 14 fret join, cutaway, electronics, you may find bargains much harder to find. Basically if you stick to traditional designs, you get all the castoffs from well-heeled students (I assume that's what drives this)


    Take a look at the stock of this place: http://www.classicalguitar.co.uk/, to get an idea of brands and models


     

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • thanks @ToneControl

    I think I need to do some more studying as I have no idea in terms of good brands for classical guitars. 
    Yamaha has always been my instinctive go to brand. 
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • thanks @ToneControl

    I think I need to do some more studying as I have no idea in terms of good brands for classical guitars. 
    Yamaha has always been my instinctive go to brand. 

    I thought Yamaha, my main one for years was one, but the Spanish ones are worth trying. I have not tried many Japanese ones, but I think most Japanese acoustics I have tried are more heavily built or heavily braced, perhaps because of their more extreme climate?

    this is the best London place : http://www.londonguitarstudio.com/guitars-classical-guitars.irc?gclid=CJ7iv7XGmMECFQ3LtAodyVEA4w


    Easily-found top brands are:

    Ramirez (like Gibson, they invented modern designs, hard to find cheap used or new)

    Manuel Rodriguez

    Raimundo 

    Almansa


    Ramirez do a classical cutaway, but I bought one and they sound nothing like a real shape one




    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • MegiiMegii Frets: 1521

    I recommend buying used, the depreciation on top-notch classicals is huge, you can often get a £2000 model for £600-700

    e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Burguet-Noguera-Cedar-Double-Top-Classical-Guitar-/271625481409?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Guitars_CV&hash=item3f3e23ecc1

    in particular, look at "collection only" ones on auction, often no one else bids

    Even the bottom end solid wood ones can be gotten cheap, I got a mint £280 one for £50 once


    However, if you want a "non-classical" model, e.g. 14 fret join, cutaway, electronics, you may find bargains much harder to find. Basically if you stick to traditional designs, you get all the castoffs from well-heeled students (I assume that's what drives this)


    Take a look at the stock of this place: http://www.classicalguitar.co.uk/, to get an idea of brands and models


     

    Damn it - I have a Burguet 3M cedar (which I also got from Forsyths in Manchester, like the seller) and it's great, but I bet that double top Noguera is amazing. Would be a terrific buy for what the guy is asking, if I had the readies spare I'd be highly tempted. Burguet are another great make to look at btw - made by a small team of luthiers in Valencia, Spain, and they really know what they are doing - a lot of guitar for the money.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • IMO a Spanish or Classical guitar is not strictly necessary to play classical music. I don't really get on with nylon strings, it's like playing on wet rubber bands. I have 2 instruments with a slightly wider neck than you usual electric or acoustic: one is a Yamaha SA2200, and the other is a CSL Maccaferri style acoustic bought in 1976. Both are IMO adequate for me to play classical music on, and when I do play classical music I rather enjoy it. I'm quite happy for other people to use real Classical guitars, I don't mind the sound of nylon strings at all when other people play well on them, it's just that I don't like playing on them.

    Only making this comment in case a beginner or at least someone new to "classical guitar" sees this and thinks that investing in another instrument is a non-negotiable requirement. I am well aware though that there are classical tutors who will insist that only a Classical guitar gives the "right" tone quality for "Classical Guitar Music". YMMV, &c ...
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • IMO a Spanish or Classical guitar is not strictly necessary to play classical music. I don't really get on with nylon strings, it's like playing on wet rubber bands. I have 2 instruments with a slightly wider neck than you usual electric or acoustic: one is a Yamaha SA2200, and the other is a CSL Maccaferri style acoustic bought in 1976. Both are IMO adequate for me to play classical music on, and when I do play classical music I rather enjoy it. I'm quite happy for other people to use real Classical guitars, I don't mind the sound of nylon strings at all when other people play well on them, it's just that I don't like playing on them.

    Only making this comment in case a beginner or at least someone new to "classical guitar" sees this and thinks that investing in another instrument is a non-negotiable requirement. I am well aware though that there are classical tutors who will insist that only a Classical guitar gives the "right" tone quality for "Classical Guitar Music". YMMV, &c ...
    I agree with most of your post. I do like playing nylon strings though. Something about a classical played well is beautiful. 

    Kind of like yourself I play 95% of my classical stuff on a Jazzmaster with full on pima and I dont struggle generally unless a piece is properly fast then my fingers turn into wild horse and gallop on anything. 

    Its ok I am not a tone hound so I wont take offence :-) 
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I play classical-style on my nice acoustics too, depends on my mood. Tony McManus has done an excellent CD recently this way
    Real classicals do have a sound of their own though, all down to personal taste which you like to play
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1452

    IMO a Spanish or Classical guitar is not strictly necessary to play classical music. I don't really get on with nylon strings, it's like playing on wet rubber bands. I have 2 instruments with a slightly wider neck than you usual electric or acoustic: one is a Yamaha SA2200, and the other is a CSL Maccaferri style acoustic bought in 1976. Both are IMO adequate for me to play classical music on, and when I do play classical music I rather enjoy it. I'm quite happy for other people to use real Classical guitars, I don't mind the sound of nylon strings at all when other people play well on them, it's just that I don't like playing on them.

    Only making this comment in case a beginner or at least someone new to "classical guitar" sees this and thinks that investing in another instrument is a non-negotiable requirement. I am well aware though that there are classical tutors who will insist that only a Classical guitar gives the "right" tone quality for "Classical Guitar Music". YMMV, &c ...
    Classical music can be played on acoustic guitar, or electric if someone really wants to. And vice versa. However, nylon strings are the ideal material to achieve the appropriate tone.  This is also achieved by correct hand position, particular nail shape (also a mix of flesh and nail) and filed in a certain way where the nail glides off the string, which I imagine would be difficult on acoustic or electric. It's just a completely different approach to playing guitar.

    @metalbuzzbox - how long have you been playing? What grade are you? Are you aiming to perform with new guitar? What do you already have?
    "It's not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it" – Seneca
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • hello @Beed84,

    I got to grade 7 about 10 years ago at uni but haven't maintained it since. My sight reading has gone to pot and I really need to brush up. I have been playing guitar for 15 years or so with a 2 - 3 year break. I might look at performing but my main passion is writing music and performing in my band

    I am going to have to disagree with the appropriate tone thing, its all a bit fart sniffy and close minded. I feel this way about all guitars so dont take offence. Any guitar, be it a classical, a flying v, 8 string or a tele does not define a style. Its the player that plays a style of music on an instrument. If you play Jazz on a flying V it is still Jazz etc. 

    I also dont play with nails, I really dislike the feel. 

    If you need me I will be in the heathens corner....


    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2413
    My limited experience of playing nylon strings is that you get much better tone shaping possibilities than on a steel string acoustic.

    I've always played fingerstyle on the acoustic, but constantly having my nails sliced off by the strings was becoming tedious. Also, I've started developing joint pain in both hands and I find my nylon string guitar much easier on the joints in this regard.

    Some classical techniques seem really hard to transfer to the steel string. E.g. playing a tremolo melody on the top string with counterpoint arpeggios played with the thumb (does this have a name?) can't really be done smoothly without nylon treble strings, well, for me anyway!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I'm not sure I'd have trouble with counterpoint arps played with p, but I think I know what you mean about "tremelo melody" on the top string, if by it you mean fast repeated picking with im to get that tremelo effect, but tbh I think I'd have trouble getting my im to do that on any string regardless of construction
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2413
    edited October 2014
    I use ami (in that order) to do the fast repeated picking on the top string, don't know if this is right or wrong but it seems to work for me. The fingertips roll off the string a bit more smoothly as it's thicker and smoother, on a thin steel string my fingers just catch.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1452
    hello @Beed84,

    I got to grade 7 about 10 years ago at uni but haven't maintained it since. My sight reading has gone to pot and I really need to brush up. I have been playing guitar for 15 years or so with a 2 - 3 year break. I might look at performing but my main passion is writing music and performing in my band

    I am going to have to disagree with the appropriate tone thing, its all a bit fart sniffy and close minded. I feel this way about all guitars so dont take offence. Any guitar, be it a classical, a flying v, 8 string or a tele does not define a style. Its the player that plays a style of music on an instrument. If you play Jazz on a flying V it is still Jazz etc. 

    I also dont play with nails, I really dislike the feel. 

    If you need me I will be in the heathens corner....


    No offence taken, I just find it interesting and quite surprising. I understand what you mean with regards to guitars not defining a style, and I'd agree.  However, certain guitars facilitate a style of music much more appropriately than others. Yes, jazz can be played on an electric but it would be more convincing if it was played on Joe Pass Emperor for example. I'd say it's to do with norms.

    I'm in no way questioning your standard of playing, it's just hard to believe you don't play with nails.   Fair enough if it's not comfortable, but for the time I've been playing I can't imagine playing without them as they account for quite a lot.  I'd also agree with @mellowsun about nylon strings and how they lean towards more tone shaping possibilities.  Again, I know the same can be done on any guitar but with nylon it feels achieving the dynamics of a piece it's much more doable.

    Where choice of guitar is concerned, I'm a traditionalist so perhaps what I'd go for wouldn't be to your liking.  All that's running through my mind right now is "man up and grow a set of nails!" Either way, good luck what you choose.
    ;)
    "It's not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it" – Seneca
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I've just found a way to play by my finger tips. It doesn't slow me down and it transfers to any guitar. 
    It might be due to me learning to play classical on a steel strung acoustic 

    I wont rule out any recommendations. I have dismissed guitars in the past without playing them and I now know thats a foolish thing to do. I do want to try proper "pucker" classical to see how good they are 

    LOL, man up and grow a set of nails... I cant do it!
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1452
    I've just found a way to play by my finger tips. It doesn't slow me down and it transfers to any guitar. 
    It might be due to me learning to play classical on a steel strung acoustic 

    I wont rule out any recommendations. I have dismissed guitars in the past without playing them and I now know thats a foolish thing to do. I do want to try proper "pucker" classical to see how good they are 

    LOL, man up and grow a set of nails... I cant do it!
    Well if it works for you and it doesn't slow you down, I have to say it's quite impressive.

    Personally, considering your generous budget and level of playing, I'd really go to a shop that specialises in classical guitar, or at the very least has a classical guitar range.  That way you can try the more expensive ones against the lesser models and decide whether there's much in it.  Also, I think classicals have more permanency for the player and don't really come and go like an electric.  So finding one that sits right, sounds right, and feels right are important factors to consider before handing over your well earned cash.  That's what I'd do anyway.  I think classical guitars are too much of a personal thing unlike the electric counterpart.  They are what the are and can't be modified - gotta get one you're happy with.

    Nails... maybe one day you'll try them.  They don't have to be that big and the rewards are huge! 

    "It's not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it" – Seneca
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

  • I would recommend a shop like the London Guitar Studio which is a specialist in classical guitar For your price range Esteve - Camps - Picado - Aparicio -  Paco Castillo etc. There are lots of good Spanish luthiers that produce a really good sound for a reasonable price.  They are based at Duke St or Mairants although they are snooty bastards and difficult to deal with 

    Kent Classical Guitars have a good range I would buy pre owned 

    You can play classical music on a range of guitars true and a good steel string suits early music because of the sound There is a guy who play 12 string very well creating modern music 

    The point about the nylon string (at the right tension) and the nail - skin combination is the tone colours it can produce acoustically. Listen to Paco DI Lucia playing slow and lyrical ditto Julian Bream or John Williams. in any piece they play Quality of sound is fantastic - all done with the nails 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • +1 for Kent classical guitars. I bought a Paco Castillo from them they are great as is the guitar.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I meant to go to a very local shop to me called gap guitars 

    he has a few 204 and 205 Paco Castillo guitars
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • They are great guitars for the money. I really like mine.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I used to prefer playing nylon, now I prefer playing steel strung guitars. There are pros and cons for both Here's a lovely piece played on a steel-strung
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • I used to prefer playing nylon, now I prefer playing steel strung guitars. There are pros and cons for both Here's a lovely piece played on a steel-strung

    That Mysterious Bounderies CD looks very interesting, I read somewhere that he worked out most of the pieces by ear.

    'Tis really nice hearing classical on steel strings by such a talented player.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1452
    It's interesting to hear the classical piece on steel string but it just doesn't do it for me.  Not that it isn't nice (it is) or that it can't be done (evidence above), but after comparing the same piece with a classical guitar version on youtube, the latter to me has a wider range of dynamics and the strings don't sound brittle or harsh and sounds nicer to listen to. Each to there own and all that.  
    "It's not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it" – Seneca
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Ok I broke all the rules and got a Yamaha NTX700

    I am super impressed for the price and I am glad I didn't listen to some of the online reviews. Highly recommend this for the non purists 
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.