Guitar strumming

Many people wonder; "What actually is the difference between a classical and an acoustic guitar, if you are one of those people, don't worry, we are going to guide you, and help develop your understanding so that you can find an instrument that suits your style of music!

Acoustic guitar

 Dreadnought acoustic guitar

Classical guitar

Classical Spanish guitar


At first glance, they both look the same apart from looking a slightly different color, but it just so happens that there are many subtle differences, let's take a closer look.

Notice how the tuning pegs on the acoustic guitar sticks out, as opposed to the tucked in tuning pegs on the classical. A classical guitar usually has nylon strings whereas the acoustic uses metal strings, the difference in sound means that you will get a brighter sound from an acoustic guitar, the sound will resonate for longer. The majority of music today is made with an acoustic guitar and some songs just may not sound right with a classical, however, if you want to play Flamenco or Spanish music then the classical may be suited to you!

It is also important to know that you cannot use nylon strings on an acoustic because they will snap due to the high tension and that you cannot use steel strings on a classical guitar as it will damage the guitar. I have seen this many times when I have visited friends or family. I have seen their guitar with a snapped neck, this is an obvious sign that they have used the wrong strings and the tension has put far too much pressure on the guitar.

Acoustic guitars especially the dreadnought shape are wider, the strings setup on both are slightly different, the acoustic guitar has bridge pins that will hold the metal strings in place, whereas the classical guitar does not have bridge pins, instead it has a hole where the bottom of the string is tied into a simple knot as shown below.

acoustic guitar with bridge pins

classical Spanish guitar with tied strings

The bottom line

Both guitar styles are beautiful, and are capable of playing amazing music. One is not better than the other, but one may be suited more to a particular style. Only you can make the right decision for you, so before you go ahead and buy one I really recommend that you do a little more research and listen to the differences.

You could listen online as there is a ton of content on the internet, although I would suggest that you go to a guitar shop, not necessarily to buy as most items are cheaper online but it would be a fantastic way for you to get a feel for both instruments and to figure out what one is best suited to your needs. 

If you are a beginner, we would highly recommend an acoustic guitar. We don’t think that an expensive one is important but would highly advise against going for a super cheap one. The cheaper the guitar, likely the cheaper the wood that it is made from and this means that the wood may not be able to withstand the tension of the strings for very long.

One of the problems is that over time the wood will likely snap naturally and you will need to buy a new guitar but the main problem is that the guitar will be difficult to tune, and it may constantly move out of tune as the wood moves.

The best way to ensure that the guitar you buy is worthy of learning is to go for a reputable seller, we believe that Yamaha makes great budget and professional guitars. You will get a nice warm bright sound, and in comparison to a super expensive guitar, you won’t hear much difference, especially if you are not a professional musician. This guitar will grow with you as you learn, and you will grow into it.

Up next: The Complete Beginner Ukulele Course


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