Nylon and Steel Guitars: What’s Best?
If you are thinking about starting to play the guitar and searching for a good instrument, you first need to determine which type of strings suit your style, mood, and level. There are several important things that you should be aware of and we are going to discuss them all.
Are you an expert or a novice?
This is a very important thing. If you have played electro guitar before and know all basics, you will more than likely enjoy a steel guitar more since it has the same width of the neck meaning that you won’t have to readjust. Players who have never played this instrument before will find that nylon strings are slightly softer and do not have the same tension as steel strings. They will not cut your fingertips that much and due to a wider neck, some chords will be much easier (D for example). This is better for learning and building calluses.
Your preferred style
Lots of people think that having a steel guitar is a better choice for those who prefer to play rhythms and enjoy bright loud sounds. However, one of main differences in terms of style is that lots of good fingerstyle players prefer nylon due to its softer sounding and the fact that nylon strings don’t have that much tension making it easier to perform slides and make glissandos.
Lots of guitar players think that nylon also sounds a bit more “classic” compared to steel guitars that have that metallic (obviously) tone to them.
Do you like slower or faster songs?
Steel guitars have stronger tension and higher frequency meaning that the sustain time is slightly slower compared to looser nylon strings that sing for longer. This means that you can play slower songs much more effectively. Plus, many guitar players believe that nylon just fits lots of slow paced songs.
The brighter mode defined sound of metal strings also help to maintain rhythm better allowing faster songs to sound stronger and more rhythmic. Slaps and picking also sound a little bit more defined making it a perfect choice for songs that rely on patterning.
What about the price?
Nylon strings are cheaper and guitars may also cost a little bit less compared to acoustics with steel strings that are often priced handsomely. If you have a limited budget, purchasing a small nylon acoustic guitar is a good idea. This is the best option for starters anyways. If budget is not a problem, choose whatever you feel fits you best. A good guitar will sing like an angel if you put your soul in every note regardless of the string material.