Planning to buy a guitar? Before doing so, it’s better to identify yourself if you prefer a classical or acoustic guitar as both share many similarities. These similarities are easy to see at a glance. Both types of the guitar might even look identical to the uninformed, just by referring to shape to woods.
In terms of design, it’s worth noting that classical-style guitars are much older. Many of the attributes of classical instruments were abandoned in favor of improved technology as guitars evolved to become the modern instruments we see today. This doesn’t necessarily mean classical guitars are ancient or outdated, just more traditional.
Some of the differences are:
Modern acoustic guitar: most guitars utilize steel strings
Classical guitar: have nylon strings. Nylon strings on classical guitar provide more mellow sound, and they are easier on the fingers.
Classical guitars have smaller bodies in comparison to the most popular sizes of steel-stringed acoustic. The parlor models of acoustic guitars have the same size and dimension to their classical ancestors.
The classical instruments, in general, have wider, flatter fingerboards with a bit wider string spacing. People with smaller hands may struggle at first but this makes them super comfortable to play.
The classical instruments still use slotted headstocks but the machine tuning pegs are an innovation we take for granted. Although some parlor, steel-string guitars have slotted headstocks, the nylon strings make this a viable option.
Not only to keeping the guitar durable with the tension of the strings, but also for better projection and resonance, the steel-string acoustics integrate solid bracing. It features a much lighter bracing for the classical instrument.
Running the length of the guitar neck on steel-string instruments is the truss rod made of steel. Their purpose is to counteract the tension of the steel strings, and as needed, they can be adjusted. The classical instruments usually do not have adjustable truss rods because nylon strings put much less stress on the neck, although some do.
You’ll account that the neck and body join at the 14th fret if you look at most modern steel-string guitars. A more traditional design is A joint at the 12th fret which is older. Some acoustic guitars are built this way, special mention on parlor guitars as it is a hallmark of the classical design.