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Beginner acoustic guitar with nylon strings


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Initial post: Jun 7, 2009 6:20:40 PM PDT
Traveler99 says:
Hello, I want to take guitar lessons and am interested in buying a first acoustic guitar with nylon strings. I want to buy an inexpensive guitar to start with and see how much my interet grows. I have small hands and small fingers. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 2:33:14 AM PDT
Don't worry about your hand size. I can't think of any professional friends that would consider they had big hands, and mine are medium to small and I have no problems. So, you need a standard guitar. If you want just a cheap starter, then the Chinese built guitars are the ones to look at. You should be able to find these for around $40- $60. Now when you get one you might want to get it adjusted. Make sure the guitar shop sets it up so it's real easy to play - low action so you don't have to press the strings down too far before they are fretted on the neck. Go and get at least a couple of lessons just to start you out right - there's a lot to learn about where and how to play before you ingrain some bad habits.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2009 6:57:19 AM PDT
Traveler99 says:
Thank you for the reply. I am planning to take a few lesson once I get the guitar. But how many I need to get started I am not sure.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 8:09:53 AM PDT
B. Johnson says:
If you have small hands I would recommend a steel string with 10 gauge strings. The fingerboard in much narrower and would be more comfortable for you. A Samick D1 is a great starter guitar for under $200. There are a few guitars that are cheaper and are pretty good but what I always tell first time guitar buyers is- do not just get something because it is cheap. You will want to make sure you get something with a good action and that is playable. If you get a cheapo peace of junk you will have a harder time learning and you will already have enough problems. Take the time and find a good guitar not just a cheap one. If you spend a little more you will probably make your life a lot easier and learning how to play more enjoyable.

PS -Action refers to the distance of the strings off of the fingerboard. If you have a high action it is harder to press down the strings and the guitar is likely not to play in tune. Do not let someone tell you that they can raise or lower the action if it is way out of whack. The action can be fine-tuned but if it is not set up right when the guitar is built it could take major surgery to repair it. Get one with a decent action to start with.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 8:15:03 AM PDT
If you do decide to take the steel route, the 10 gauge strings from D'Addario are the EJ15 set. And have a look at the Yamaha F310 - it's a classic for string on the guitar and shouldn't cost more than about $100-120. Any guitar teacher will be happy to give you one lesson or many - we tend to see ourselves as taxi drivers - just book us up, comealong and learn, go home and p[ractice. Just tell us that you want just a lesson or two up front - then we can organise the diary to accomodate you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2009 11:38:01 AM PDT
Traveler99 says:
Thank you for the response. I have read that for a first time guitar one should get nylon strings because strings will ruin your fingers. Do you have any opinion on that?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2009 12:22:53 PM PDT
B. Johnson says:
In my opinion a steel string guitar with 10 gauge strings on it is just fine for a beginner. Any guitar is going to hurt your hands at first but you have to let your hands toughen up. It is a part of learning to play.

Nylon strings have less tension and are a little more "floppy" or "soft" but they are normally on guitars that have wider fingerboards and are not really made for the kind of music most people like to play. They are great for classical and flamenco but any other genre of music is normally played on the steel string. If you want to play country for example a steel string will sound better and closer to what you are trying to copy. You also normally do not use a pick on nylon strings and would use a different technique to play it.

You will be able to find a larger selection of steel strings (colors, Sizes, Brands) than a nylon string and you will have plenty of options to find the best fit for you. If you are petite, you may like a grand concert guitar that has a smaller body. If you are comfortable with a little larger guitar you can look at dreadnoughts that is the most popular style. Strings on a steal string guitar are also easier to change and easier to break in.
Just find one you like that sounds good, has a good action, and fits your budget. DO NOT let anyone push something on you. A good guitar shop (I prefer small mom and pop stores) will go over the options and change out the strings to 10 gauge for you if not for free at least at a discount before you buy. Another important thing is that I would never buy a guitar over the Internet. Even guitars made by good companies vary wildly in quality and should be seen before bought. If you are in NC you can come and see my friend's shop. Legacy Music in Dunn NC.

Good Luck and good shopping, sbjguitars@hotmail.com

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2009 12:35:56 PM PDT
Traveler99 says:
Good advice on the nylon strings. I was under the impression I should start with nylon. I have looked at many guitars on the web and many have steel strings. I will check out the music shops near me and see what they have. Thanks for your reply.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 3:53:07 PM PDT
I've played for 50 years. And I agree with everything B Johnson says. So....sorted?

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 8:25:46 PM PDT
C. Neitz says:
I have been looking at classical guitar as well, I like the sound of them and the strings are easier on your fingers. You should go into a shop and see some. They have changed a bit from the past. I have seen some that are really nice to play. I wish I could remember the make of the one that was a smaller guitar with a good sound and electronics as well as comfortable to play. I remember wanting that one... only it wasn't a cut away and I have my heart set on an acoustic electic with cutaway. No they are not a rocker guitar, but are prety good for a large variety of lighter music not just classical and are very good to learn with. As with all purchases, you will need to look at them and see for yourself. If you can't play yet have someone else play.. even a sales person and decide if you like the sound. I did this when I got my first guitar.
They are not as loud as a steel string, but they have a cleaner sound and decent volume. I have been looking at an acoustic electric.
The other thing is that your fingers will get tough if you play regularly, but if you play occasionally, I think you will appreciate the softer strings.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2009 3:07:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2009 3:08:29 AM PDT
If you go for an 'electric' classical have a look at the Yamaha models that have pickups in the bridge. They do a nice budget range that won't break the bank. But you will have to compromise on the basic sound when it's not plugged in - after all something has to give if you add some electronics and keep the price the same as an acoustic version. I've got a Hofner HZ27 that I bought for playing a bit of classical. Not too expensive - about $350 - but nice enough sound to make you want to play a bit. (You'll soon want something better if you opt for a cheap $50 guitar.) If you like the sound of a classical but want the playability of a narrower neck and action - take a look at the Yamaha hybrid range of 'Nashville' type nylon string guitars with cutaways. Search their site for 'electric - acoustic - nylon'.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2009 6:55:47 AM PDT
Traveler99 says:
Thank you for the reply. I am planning to visit some local guitar shops this weekend and look and listen to guitars.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2009 6:59:28 AM PDT
Traveler99 says:
You present an interesting option. I was only thinking of an accoustic guitar and am not too interested in electric but may look at both and see how they sound and feel.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2009 7:03:16 AM PDT
Traveler99 says:
From the feedback I am getting, I agree with you. I need to visit a guitar store and really get the feel of the guitars and hear how they sound. I was planning to try to order one on the internet but I am backing off from that idea.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 3:01:36 PM PDT
Waryn Light says:
I think on the nylon/steel/electric/accoustic issue the place to start is with what you want to sound like. If you listen to a classical player or a flamenco player or Willie Nelson or Jose Feliciano and you say, "that's it!", then go nylon. Similar approach for accoustic steel or electric. You can make some enjoyable sounds on any decent instrument, and to be really good is going to take hours and hours and years and years no matter what you get. So go with what's going to make you happy to spend the years and years!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2009 9:58:49 PM PDT
Hmm, if your just starting, try the first act guitars with the nylon strings, they're cheap but you won't know the difference until you get good.
When you get better though, I recommend getting an acoustic electric over a regular electric as your next guitar because they are more versitile. Fender, Ibanez, Gibson or Les Paul.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 5:53:54 PM PDT
B. Johnson says:
I am sorry but if you are going to buy a cheap first act you might as well be throwing your money away if you are serious about playing. My advice to a beginner is to buy the best you can afford without going overboard. You will be much happier in the long run and go much further with your playing without wanting to trade up on your guitar. As a beginner you are not going to know if the mistakes you are making are because of you or your guitar. Go ahead and buy a reliable guitar and you will know that it will perform the way it should and help you play better. Brands that are not worth buying- First Act, Starcaster, Lyon, Estaban (JUNK!!!). Basically if you can buy the guitar in the same place you buy a set of tires or a big screen TV then it is defiantly not worth buying. If you want something for a kid to tear up ok, that's one thing, but if you are serious about learning to play get a serous instrument.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 1:20:28 PM PDT
your budget will be?
Check Walden, Yamaha and Takamine for nylon strings on an intermediate level

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2009 9:29:56 PM PDT
BJ, I'll second your opinion on steel strings being easier to break in. How do you know when it's time to change nylon strings? When they stay in tune.

I'll also second the opinion about going to an actual brick-and-mortar guitar shop to buy a guitar. I've bought a couple over the internet, and I've had pretty good luck so far, but for your first guitar go get the advice of a professional. You may pay a little more, but the advice you get is worth it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2009 9:37:43 PM PDT
Waryn, you're right on this one.

Playing well takes lots and lots (and lots) of practice. Just don't forget to "enjoy the noise". Google for Mike Herberts. He has a LOT of good stuff for beginners.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2009 9:44:57 PM PDT
You can also look for a pre-1975 Harmony if you can find one in good condition. You can get a good one for less than $100, and a pristine one for less than $200. The H175 in particular has been called "a $200 guitar that will hold its own with some $2000 guitars." If this interests you then drop me a note and I'll give you some model numbers to look for.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2009 9:48:44 PM PDT
Find a guitar instructor who is also a nylon/classical player/teacher. Your local college/U may have an instructor who teaches non registered students. I go to UPS in Tacoma via their "Community Music" program. It's aimed at the general public i.e., all ages: grade school to retirees, like me. Practice and enjoy!

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 4:36:51 PM PDT
get a strat

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 4:36:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 7, 2009 4:37:06 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 4:05:26 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 9, 2009 4:11:01 AM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Guitar forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  30
Initial post:  Jun 7, 2009
Latest post:  Aug 28, 2009

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