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Differences between Spanish and Acoustic Guitar

It should be noted that the guitar is one of the most popular string instruments in the world, which has undergone variations that have to do mainly with the material with which they are made. This has resulted in changes in the sounds they emit, depending on the variation they have had of course. Among some of the most popular variations we can find the classical or Spanish guitar, the acoustic guitar, the flamenco guitar and the electric guitar.

Considering this, in this article we will present the differences that exist between Spanish guitar and acoustic guitar, in order to know in detail the main characteristics of each of them.

Spanish guitar

Briefly, the Spanish guitar is a stringed instrument consisting of a soundboard, a fretted neck, and six strings that sound when plucked with a plectrum or fingers. The main characteristic of the Spanish guitar is that its strings are made of nylon, which directly influences the sound. Therefore, its sound is much softer than the sounds emitted by metal strings.

On the other hand, the Spanish guitar has two variations: the classical Spanish guitar, which is the most common, and the flamenco guitar, whose dimensions are narrower and emits a more metallic sound than the classical Spanish guitar. Thus, this is used above all to interpret chords, with strumming being more common than plucking. In addition, it is widely used to interpret Latin music, flamenco and classical music.

Among other of its main characteristics we can find that:

  • The tension of the nylon strings is lower, so the sound it emits is softer, sweeter and rounder.
  • Being less tight, the strings are easier to press against the guitar’s fingerboard.
  • The width of the fretboard at the height of the nut is around 50 mm.
  • The body or soundboard is smaller, which makes it easier to hold.
  • The length of the neck is longer, which reinforces the response of the bass sounds and the sustain (the duration of the sound).

Acoustic guitar

Basically, the acoustic guitar is a stringed instrument consisting of a soundboard, a fretted neck, and six strings that sound when plucked with a plectrum or fingers. The main characteristic of the acoustic guitar is that its strings are made of metal, which directly influences the sound, being much brighter and harder than that emitted by nylon strings.

In particular, the acoustic guitar is mainly used to pluck single notes although depending on the player’s reference it can be used to play chords. Also, it is widely used to interpret pop, rock, blues and folk music. Among its other main features we can find:

  • The tension of the metal strings is higher, so the sound it emits is harder and brighter (metallic).
  • The greater tension and the fact of being made of metal makes the metal strings more aggressive for the performer’s fingers, so it is not highly recommended for apprentices.
  • The width of the fretboard at the height of the nut is around 40 mm.
  • The body or soundboard is larger, which makes it more difficult to hold.
  • The length of the neck is shorter, which can be a limitation for the placement of the fingers of the learners.

According to the above, the differences between Spanish guitar and acoustic guitar can be summarized as:

Spanish guitar Acoustic guitar
It has nylon strings, so its sound is softer, sweeter and rounder. It has metal strings, so its sound is harder and brighter (metallic).
It is mainly used to play chords. It is used for plucking single notes.
The string tension is less. The tension of the strings is greater and therefore, it is usually more aggressive for the fingers
The width of the fretboard at the height of the nut is around 50 mm. The width of the fretboard at the height of the nut is around 40 mm.
The body or soundboard is smaller, which makes it easier to hold. The body or soundboard is larger, which makes it more difficult to hold.

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