Guitar types and how to choose the right guitar
It is essential to know the types of guitars in order to make the right choice.
Starting out in any discipline requires having a minimum level of knowledge in order to make the best possible start. In the case of the guitar, the first decision is the choice of the instrument, as there are several types of guitars.
The guitar is the most played instrument in the world, so it is common to have one at home or at a relative's house and start playing it. But if you like it, it is the time to buy your first instrument.
Which Spanish guitar to buy?
The definition of the term Spanish guitar is broader than it seems. Classical, flamenco and semi-acoustic guitars all fall under the term "Spanish guitar". At Alhambra Guitars, even acoustic guitars with steel strings are built using traditional Spanish guitar methods, specifically the Spanish heel system.
What music style do you play?
The music style you play is very important when choosing a guitar. In each music style, different techniques are used which condition the right choice of guitar.
The most common guitar is the classical Spanish guitar, a very versatile instrument that has always been used to play almost any type of music. From popular music to modern music, but above all classical music.
When it comes to the flamenco guitar, one of its characteristics is the low action of the strings, which means, the distance from the fret to the strings.
The low action on the guitar provides the possibility of playing pieces in which many fixed positions are used. This occurs in flamenco accompaniment music, in the performance of styles such as sevillana or rumba, but also in the performance of other types of music such as pop or singer-songwriter style, among others.
Taking into account this circumstance, it can be concluded that a flamenco guitar can be very suitable for the performance of modern accompaniment music, as well as the performance of popular music or any music that uses fixed chords.
In the case of the semi-acoustic Alhambra guitars, we find instruments with lower action than classical guitars, but somewhat higher than flamenco guitars. With regard to this type of guitar, it is important to highlight the size of its nut (the nut width is 50 mm), which makes it easier to change position quickly, as well as helping to play with a pick as the strings are closer. They also have the benefit of being able to reach the highest notes better thanks to the cutaway.
On the other hand, within the range of guitar types, we have acoustic guitars, a clearly differentiated instrument, above all due to the use of steel strings. Very different from the Spanish guitar, whose strings are made of nylon.
The importance of the player’s body when playing the guitar
The size of the player's body and hands are very important issues to take into account in order to achieve the best choice of guitar type.
The scale of the guitar, i.e., the distance between the two bones (nut and saddle), is 650 mm in most cases. This is the standard size. There are larger sizes, but they are becoming less and less common.
It could be said that if the distance between the index finger and the little finger, with the hand stretched out, is equal to or greater than about 14 centimetres, a standard size guitar can be chosen.
If the hand is smaller, you should look for the option of choosing a special size guitar. In the Alhambra guitar catalogue you can find special sizes of 1/2 , 3/4 and 7/8.
How many hours do you spend studying the guitar?
This question is essential in order to choose the type of guitar. The answer can be: in the long run, between 1 and 5 hours per week or even up to 7 hours per day.
The time of study or practice, is decisive to make the right choice and to be satisfied with the results that are obtained.
At Alhambra Guitars we classify the guitars in groups. In particular, we use the following categories: student, conservatory, concert and professional.
A way of defining levels depending on the objective of each guitarist.
Despite being issues that also have an impact on the sound, although they are not decisive, the aesthetics of the guitar is an element that most guitarists take into account when choosing the right instrument.
For example, the difference between a guitar with gloss finish and one with open pore finish is aesthetically very different, but in terms of sound there are also important changes.
The available budget
Just because it is a more expensive guitar it does not make it more suitable for our needs as guitarists. But in order to be able to choose a guitar, it is necessary to start from a minimum quality standard.
For all guitar types, a solid wood top and a construction that guarantees comfort and resistance are essential. From this point on, in addition to the choice of the right type of guitar, there are many different types of wood and finishes.
But as always, the most important thing is to try and compare.