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The Nylon String Guitar

Overview

The shape, construction, and materials used in nylon string guitars vary, but typically they have a modern classical guitar shape based on the designs of 19th-century Spanish guitar maker, Antonio Torres Jurado.

Generally smaller than a steel string acoustic guitar, the nylon string guitar is more often favoured by beginners as it is easier to hold and the strings are more comfortable to play. More experienced players who play classical, Spanish or flamenco music will choose a nylon string guitar because of the specific sound qualities it produces.

Classical guitar strings were once made of gut and nowadays are made of polymers such as nylon, with a fine silver wire wrap around the bass strings.

It is an acoustic, wooden guitar with six nylon guitar strings that relies on its hollow body and sound hole to produce and project the vibrations of its strings when plucked or strummed.

The nylon string or classical guitar (sometimes known as the Spanish Guitar) is a member of the acoustic guitar family.

Guitar Sizing

Smaller-scale guitars are produced to assist children in learning the instrument as the narrower neck and shorter scale length makes it easier for smaller hands. Valencia guitars are available in ¼, ½, ¾ and 4/4 or full size.

The guitar size you choose for your child is an essential determining factor affecting the child’s ability to play the guitar. A guitar that is too large may be very difficult to play, whilst a child playing a guitar that is too small may develop poor technique.

There are no hard and fast rules but in general:

  • 4 to 6 year old children, ranging in height from 3’3″ to 3’9″ (99 cm to 114 cm), should choose a ¼ size guitar.
  • 5 to 8 year old children, ranging in height from 3’10” to 4’5″ (117 cm to 135 cm), a ½ size.
  • Children between 8 and 11 years old, ranging in height from 4’6″ to 4’11” (137 cm to 150 cm) a ¾ size guitar.
  • Children ages 11 and up who are at least 5′ (152 cm) tall can have a standard, 4/4 or full-size guitar.
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