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merciful-evans

Nylon Strung Guitars

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Anyone else here use them? Because I've seen no mention so far.

I have a couple and may look at another soon. Perhaps to trade or buy outright. 

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Guilty!!

 

Because I've seen no mention so far.

most likely because gibson no longer makes nylon string acoustics!  They get a lot of mentions in places like the AGF.

But yes, I must always have  at least one,  I use it often.   Does things that a steel cannot, and vice versa.   They do tend to be a bit more finicky than a steel string.  Intonation has been a common problem with the several that I've had.  (Takamine, Manual Rodriquez, Yamaha, etc.)  String changes are a process, and the time for a new set of strings to settle down seems to take forever.  on the plus side, the strings last much longer than a set of steels do.   But the trouble all well worth it.

in 2017, I sold my Manuel Rodriquez, which sounded great but, intonation was a bit of a problem up past the 7th fret.   Replaced it a Taylor 512NY,  which has a compensated saddle and the intonation is much better.  The Taylor also does not have that traditional wide thick neck that my other nylons had.  While they were totally playable, I find the Taylor is much easier  to navigate up past the 6/7 frets.  The improved intonation is very noticeable in the upper registers as well.

My only disappointment with the the Taylor is their stock NS pickup.  It's a bit aggressive in the highs and mids and has to be EQ's diligently to smooth the sound out.  I did eventually pickup a Tonedexter  which improved the plugged immensely.

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I sometimes play a nylon string guitar to practice guitar licks on.  Or, take a break from my steel strings ones that I primarily play.  I have a Angelica nylon string that is a modern classical, meaning it has a thinner neck like a steel string guitar as well as a cutaway to access above the 12th fret and a built in pickup.   I also have a Goya classical guitar that is along the lines of a traditional classical guitar with a wider neck and body joining the neck at the 12th fret with no cutaway and no pickup (although I have on occasion put a Cling On pickup on it when I occasionally have done a classical music influenced jazz-like segment during a gig just for the hey of it.)

In a fairness, being a steel string guitarist, I still don’t fully comprehend nylon string guitars, what makes a good or bad one, etc. etc.  But, they are a bit fascinating to me at times.  The same instrument, but yet a different one. And, in my book, Segovia was the Jimi Hendrix on them.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

 

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As arthritis continues to weaken my hands and make for painful playing on steel strings I find myself turning more and more to nylon stringed guitars.  Fortunately I have 

two very good ones, a Martin 00-18G and it's rosewood brother a 00-28G. The wider fingerboards and  lower tension of the nylon strings allow me more playing time

with less effort, less pain. So long flatpicking. It's been fun.

 

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Gibson aren't particularly known for making great classical guitars (their forte lies everywhere else, though), hence there's little to no conversation about them here.

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4 hours ago, kidblast said:

Guilty!!

 

Because I've seen no mention so far.

most likely because gibson no longer makes nylon string acoustics!  They get a lot of mentions in places like the AGF.

But yes, I must always have  at least one,  I use it often.   Does things that a steel cannot, and vice versa.   They do tend to be a bit more finicky than a steel string.  Intonation has been a common problem with the several that I've had.  (Takamine, Manual Rodriquez, Yamaha, etc.)  String changes are a process, and the time for a new set of strings to settle down seems to take forever.  on the plus side, the strings last much longer than a set of steels do.   But the trouble all well worth it.

in 2017, I sold my Manuel Rodriquez, which sounded great but, intonation was a bit of a problem up past the 7th fret.   Replaced it a Taylor 512NY,  which has a compensated saddle and the intonation is much better.  The Taylor also does not have that traditional wide thick neck that my other nylons had.  While they were totally playable, I find the Taylor is much easier  to navigate up past the 6/7 frets.  The improved intonation is very noticeable in the upper registers as well.

My only disappointment with the the Taylor is their stock NS pickup.  It's a bit aggressive in the highs and mids and has to be EQ's diligently to smooth the sound out.  I did eventually pickup a Tonedexter  which improved the plugged immensely.

KB - out of curiosity, what are examples of things you'd play on a nylon string vs steel and vv?

Edited by billroy

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33 minutes ago, billroy said:

KB - out of curiosity, what are examples of things you'd play on a nylon string vs steel and vv?

Here's one example, You can play this on any guitar, but it sounds "right" on a nylon

 

 and here be another..

 

Edited by kidblast

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I've had an LAG Classical guitar for several years now and it's a decent instrument for something around $200.   They're made in France and I don't know if the company is still around.  Anyway, the difference in tone from a steel string is obvious to me.  Much more of a gentle tone.  I like the guitar.  Nice "change of pace" from my Gibsons, but I prefer steel strings.  You can play whatever you like on a nylon string guitar, but for me songs from Peter, Paul & Mary and other folksy folks really sound nice on a nylon string guitar.  Depends on the person playing.

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3 hours ago, kidblast said:

Here's one example, You can play this on any guitar, but it sounds "right" on a nylon

 

 and here be another..

 

nice, impressive, very sensitive of you.

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Here’s a good example of how a nylon string guitar can work on any song.   Here’s a recording of  me playing a nylon string guitar instrumental of “Dust in the Wind” that I put on YouTube in 2012.  (Presently at my gigs I now play it exactly the same only now on my J-45.)

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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I got my first classical guitar when I was in my late teens and have loved them ever since. I wouldn't call myself a classical player but, I do love playing classical music! I also play jazz and anything else on the nylon strings because it's such a lovely sound. I also use it when I'm learning songs for gigs; with no fret markers, you have to know where you are, which is helpful. I find that the extra neck width is good for keeping my fingers stretched out and allows for more room for my fat fingers.

     Some of my favorite classical players are: Christopher Parkening, Ana Vidovic, and Narciso Yepes. For flamenco it's Paco de Lucia and Manitos de Plata. Maybe you'll give a listen to some of these folks and grow to love them as have I.

    Lastly, I have only seen/ played one Gibson classical in my life. It was OK but, not spectacular. As with most all guitars, what make one more special than the next is personal preference. Each guitar has it's own personality and charm.

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Wow! Great response fellers. Unexpected too. 

Yes I've been fixated on electric guitars for so long now, and yet my forte is essentially acoustic. The sound of nylon guitars is just timeless and beautiful. 

I use a Camps (Spanish) model and a Yamaha Silent (peizo). The Camps has the action of a trampoline but incredible volume & richness of tone.

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13 hours ago, QuestionMark said:

Here’s a good example of how a nylon string guitar can work on any song.   Here’s a recording of  me playing a nylon string guitar instrumental of “Dust in the Wind” that I put on YouTube in 2012.  (Presently at my gigs I now play it exactly the same only now on my J-45.)

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

you nylon string guys are in a different league...  good job, fun video, fantastic playing!

Edited by billroy

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5 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

Wow! Great response fellers. Unexpected too. 

Yes I've been fixated on electric guitars for so long now, and yet my forte is essentially acoustic. The sound of nylon guitars is just timeless and beautiful. 

I use a Camps (Spanish) model and a Yamaha Silent (peizo). The Camps has the action of a trampoline but incredible volume & richness of tone.

Those Silent guitars are quite the marvels...  Isn't the pickup system in these a bit advanced compared to traditional models with a UST?

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1 hour ago, kidblast said:

Those Silent guitars are quite the marvels...  Isn't the pickup system in these a bit advanced compared to traditional models with a UST?

 

You seem to know more about it than me KB. I plead ignorance.

Mine is an earlier model that I got after seeing one used on stage (oddly enough by a comedian) a few years back. I was so impressed by the sound I decided to hunt one down. 

It has proved very useful for recording, where micing up the Camps was fraught with problems, not least my breathing being caught as well. 

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it's the SRT system that I was referring to,   not sure if yours has similar, or an older version.

they have some sort of mic modeling technology, and the ability to blend that with the raw UST pickup.  The demos I've heard are (As with most Yamaha products) damn impressive.

 

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7 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

Willie plays a cat gut git,  

 

 

 

Glad you pointed that out.  Willie is a great guitarist and one to keep in mind when thinking classical/nylon string guitars are only limited to a specific type of music.  Don’t get me wrong, I am primarily a steel string guitarist, but sometimes switching to a classical/nylon string guitar can be a good change of pace to trigger (no pun intended towards Willie’s guitar) musically thinking out of the box.  Plus, it can be a welcome relief on one’s fingers as someone else pointed out.   

I personally got over the resistance of sometimes using a classical/nylon string guitar when I realized I can play it my own way, meaning exactly the same way I play my steel string guitar....with a thumb pick and three metal fingerpicks even though conformity says no picks allowed on a classical/nylon string guitar.  Of which I thought, I can play it with picks on my hand if it makes me play better as I am used to them being on my right hand dim my years of playing a steel string guitar that way.   Doing it one’s own way  is what used to be called being a musical outlaw back when Waylon called himself an outlaw...before outlaw country became a different musical genre on Sirius XM) with its own conformity.  It also helped to read that Andre Segovia in his day never followed any required conformity, but rather the classical guitar world required conformity with whatever he did, so he was a bit of a music outlaw, too.

 

What’s funny along those lines is, sometimes when I gig with my steel string guitar or occasionally do a set with my nylon string guitar, is at times people ask me who I classically studied under.  And, I have to tell them I am self taught, do not follow any classical music requirements, and use finger picks and a thumb pick to boot....probably the reason I call it jazz rather than classical music, which satisfies some to give me license to do it my own way to some.  Music labels  suck anyway in my book.  ( It’s the music that matters not the label of what kind of music it is.)

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

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What’s funny along those lines is, sometimes when I gig with my steel string guitar or occasionally do a set with my nylon string guitar, is at times people ask me who I classically studied under.

Next time tell em Segovia and see if they get it??  LOL!

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Have any of you listened to Marcus Nalgaber's latest post? It's in The Performance Hall and is called "Serenade for Nylon Strings Guitars". It's some very nice playing (in my opinion).

    That Gipsy Kings is great! That's how "Volare" should be played! Pop! Into the favorites it goes!

    I once saw Willie kick the crap out of one of those young blues fetuses on Letterman and Mr. Nelson only played about ten notes! The poor young guy looked like he couldn't believe what had just happened! How can ten notes be better than one hundred? Experience and taste, that's how! An old cat will beat you down before you know it!

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An old cat will beat you down before you know it!

Truth..

had to have been about 20 years now, went to see Julian Bream just before he retired from touring. 

It took me about 4 days to recover from that experience.  

I think there are  parts of the top of my head still somewhere in that building.

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