Classical Guitar vs Acoustic Guitar – Making The Right Choice?

At some point in our lives, many of us would have wanted to learn guitar not because of our passion for music, but because of how cool it will make us look among our peers. Well, whatever, maybe the reason, you need to know the different types of guitars before you get started on your musical journey.

This article portrays the key differences between the entry-level guitars: classical and acoustic guitar.

What is Classical Guitar?

As the name implies, this is used to play only classical music. It comes with 6 strings made of nylon. In some cases, the strings are made of gut or carbon. These materials are not harsh on the hands and produce a rich, warm sound.

It has a hollow body allowing it to produce a rich, resonant sound that eliminates the need for an amplifier. It produces a natural acoustic sound. Still, some guitarists prefer to amplify the sound using a microphone. One of the most distinctive features of a classical guitar is the ‘rosette’, a round decorative design around the soundhole.

The classical guitars have a wider fretboard and shorter neck. The wider fretboard design allows beginners to play complicated finger techniques. Furthermore, the guitar is supported by a strap or footstool that make it easier to hold it.

As the strings are made using nylon and are very soft, you don’t need a guitar pick to pluck the strings. However, some guitarists still prefer to use a pick. Some also play using their fingernails.

What is an Acoustic Guitar?

An acoustic guitar has 6 strings that can be played by using either fingers or a pick. Some variations of the guitar come with 12 strings. While some of the acoustic guitars use nylon strings, the majority of them come with steel strings.

The acoustic guitar had a hollow body with a large soundhole. The body of the guitar is generally made from spruce wood, however, it might vary from one model to another. It emits a bright sound with strong resonance. While an amplifier is not needed, some guitarists prefer to amplify the sound depending on the genre.

It has a narrow and short neck which means the strings are placed close to each other. The neck of the guitar is commonly made of rosewood. The fretboard is glued to the neck and is made of a separate piece of wood, the most common ones being rosewood and ebony.

The acoustic guitar can be converted into an acoustic-electric guitar using multiple techniques such as using pedals, power chords, installing microphones, and pickups.

Classical Guitar vs Acoustic Guitar

For an untrained eye, the classical guitars and acoustic guitars remain the same. They carry a lot of similarities in terms of the number of strings, the presence of soundhole, frets, and tuning pegs.

However, when you look closer, they have very distinct features that separate them from each other.

Differences Between a Classical Guitar and Acoustic Guitar

FeatureClassical guitarAcoustic guitar
String materialNylon, gut, or carbonSteel, nylon, or gut
Spacing of stringsLarger spacingSmall spacing
Neck sizeWide neckNarrow and smaller neck
Tuning peg materialPlastic and metalFully metal
Strumming techniqueFingerpicking and flamencoHighly versatile
SoundSoft and warm toneBrighter tone
Popular genresClassical
Bossa Nova
Pop music
Best forBeginnersBeginners
Intermediate guitarists

Which is the Right Guitar for me?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach in selecting guitars. Even if you have made up your mind in choosing the guitar type, they come in different sizes, designs, and colors.

Each guitar is unique in its own way. First, understand the genre that you want to play and then try each guitar to find the perfect one for you in terms of comfort and aesthetic appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I convert an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar?

Yes, you can convert an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar through multiple ways including the use of pedals, power chords, microphones, and electromagnetic pickups.

2. Do I need an amplifier for classical guitar?

No, you do not need an amplifier for a classical guitar. It has a hollow body that resonates sound, eliminating the need for an amplifier.

3. Do you need an amp for acoustic-electric guitar?

No, you don’t. You can unplug the acoustic-electric guitar and play it like a normal acoustic guitar. The hollow design of the acoustic guitar will help the sound to resonate.

4. Can I play other genres using classical guitar?

A classical guitar produces a soft, melodious, and resonating sound. While it can be used to play different genres, the most popular genres played using classical guitars are classical, flamenco, and bossa nova music.

5. Are classical guitars harder to play?

Classical guitars have nylon strings that are soft making them easier to play compared to other guitars. They are ideal for beginners and produce a soft resonating sound.


The classical and acoustic guitars are used for very different genres. The classical guitar produces a melodious sound and is ideal for classical and flamenco genres. On other hand, the acoustic guitar produces a brighter tone making it the most preferred for pop and country music.
If you are still confused about which guitar to buy, share your queries with us using the comment section below and we will help you out.