Learn To Play Guide For Spanish Guitar

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

The Spanish Guitar

The Spanish guitar, also called the classical guitar, is an acoustic guitar with six nylon or gut strings that resembles the Flamenco guitar, and is the most widely used kind of guitar. The nylon-based strings are commonly used, making it easier to use for both plucking and strumming, and giving it a softer, warmer sound. In addition, carbon fiber or composite treble strings have also gained popularity. The body is usually constructed out of hard wood, such as rosewood, while spruce or cedar is typically used for the top. The Spanish guitar is mostly used in classical music, Latin music, Flamenco, Folk music, and in other contemporary styles such as country, rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, and pop.

There are numerous manufacturers of the Spanish guitar all over the world. Spain remains the hub, and Ramirez is one of the most well-known manufacturers. However, major electric guitar companies such as Epiphone, Ibanez, Fender, and Gibson; and acoustic and electric guitar manufacturers such as Taylor, Yamaha, and Ovation also produce different types of Spanish guitars.

Brief History of the Spanish Guitar

The history of the Spanish guitar and its ancestor, the baroque guitar, spans over four centuries and dates back to the late 18th century, and through to the Renaissance period and most probably from the Greek kithara lyre. Notable arrangers, composers, and Spanish guitar players in history include Andrés Segovia (1893-1987), Fernando Sor (1778-1839), Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909), Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710), John Williams (1941), and Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829). Today, contemporary artists such as Sting, Willie Nelson, Peter White, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen continue to influence the music world with the use of Spanish guitar.

What you should know when learning to Play Spanish Guitar

? The Spanish guitar is traditionally played using Finger Style Guitar, and combination of the finger tips and the nails.

? The Spanish guitar, while playing, is placed on the left leg which is raised with a footstool, while the right arm holds the guitar in place. This is for greater mobility and access to the strings and fingerboard.

? A plectrum or bow is typically not used to pluck the strings because using the fingers enables the player to produce polyphonic music. So Spanish/classical guitar music usually sustains 2 to 4 musical lines and voices.

? The Spanish guitar may however be played with a plectrum or bow in pop oriented music.

? The fingerboard is a little wider than other guitars to provide more space between the strings while plucking.

? Nylon strings are used to give a unique, speckled and rich color palette sound to the Spanish guitar.

? The Spanish guitar is intended to be played acoustically but electronic pickup systems have also been incorporated in many products for live performances.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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