Do I want a steel string guitar, or a nylon string guitar?

This question comes up at some point when students begin taking guitar lessons or shopping for their first instrument.

Steel strings are a little tougher on the finger tips, especially in the beginning phases. Nylon strings are a little easier on the finger tips, in general.

A steel string guitar typically has a radius on its fret board, a nylon string (or classical) guitar usually has a flat fret board. The string spacing on a steel string guitar is narrower than a classical guitar.

So, the radius machined on a fret board of a steel string guitar allows for easier barre chords compared to a flat fret board on a classical guitar. Closer spacing on a steel string guitar makes for a bit easier fingering of chords, especially for a new student. Older kids may actually like wider string spacing as they develop their skills. However, a few kids will like the even narrower string spacing of an electric guitar neck!

Steel strings tend to stay in tune better than nylon strings and steel strings are easier to restring as the need arises.

Truly, this is all subjective. Let the student “feel” the differences and allow for some input on which they might like better. Eventually they’ll have both – there are very few guitarists who have only one guitar!

Again, go to a local guitar shop and play a few different models, it’s all good for the cause. I’ll go guitar shopping at the drop of a hat!

Get back to me if questions come up!

Enjoy the experience – some of my favorite memories are of shopping for my instruments…