What is the different between spanish guitar vs acoustic guitar? The Spanish guitar and acoustic guitar both have their own charms. Although they may seem similar at first glance, these guitars differ when it comes to string type, neck and fretboard size, bridge and tuning pegs structure, and sound quality.
American luthier, singer-song-writer, and folk-country star Guy Clark once said, “All gut strings. That’s just the first kind of guitar I played, it was a nylon string guitar. And to me, it’s the purest form of guitar making, and I just enjoy doing it.”
The Spanish guitar brings up the imagery of those balmy summer nights when people gather together in the garden, sipping wine and basking in the relaxing music of the strings as the cool wind blows.
And of course, you are probably well-aware of what acoustic guitars are. The memories of those camping trips or beach outings almost always include a jamming session with an acoustic guitar as the main source of music.
Still, it is unarguable that a lot of people (even mildly experienced guitarists) still confuse the two – and maybe you’re one of them.
Do not worry, because you just got yourself a crash course on the stark contrast of Spanish and acoustic guitars.
Spanish Guitar Profile
A Spanish guitar is much like a “cousin” of the acoustic guitar that has nylon strings instead of steel. A classical guitar is another name for it. Classical guitars are descended from the fifteenth and sixteenth-century Spanish vihuela and lute. Gut strings were used to string both of these instruments (interesting fact?).
It has a similar standard tuning, six strings, numerous frets, and a soundhole, just like other guitars. The timbre of the Spanish guitar is mellow and pleasant. It’s a very emotive instrument, and the musician has a lot of control over the tone he or she produces.
The strings of a classical guitar are a sure-win method to distinguish it from other guitar kinds. As previously stated, classical guitars require nylon strings, as opposed to acoustic and electric guitars, which employ metal strings. A Spanish guitar is usually played with the fingers rather than a pick. To produce a bolder and more precise tone, most Spanish guitarists grow their right-hand fingernails and use them to strum.
Compared to other guitar types, a classical guitar’s neck tends to be shorter but its fretboard is wider to make it easier to play complicated chords. Because of their shorter and wider necks, neck tension is much greater.
Acoustic Guitar Profile
You’re probably most well-versed with acoustic guitars, but let’s hover over them for good measures.
An acoustic guitar is frequently regarded as a beginner’s mainstay since it is priced on the less costly spectrum and is available in a wide variety of sizes, rendering it suitable for almost all guitarists. Steel strings are used on modern acoustic guitars, as previously stated. To make clean and crisp sounds, you’ll need to apply a bit more pressure to this string type.
The actual edge of acoustic guitars lies in their convenience. They are easy to carry around and won’t require any power. Their vibrations carry through the air so no particular pickup or amp is needed to work. All it needs is you, your determination, and a little bit of time.
Stringed instruments have been manufactured and performed by humans for thousands of years. Versions on the guitar, in fact, date back over four millennia. The guitar that we are accustomed to now is based on a design created by Antonio Torres Jurado, a nineteenth-century Spanish player of the lute.
The blues introduced the guitar to the world of mainstream music. Pioneer blues guitarists like Son House and Robert Johnson were part of the first to tape Mississippi Delta blues and bring it to a wider audience.
Spanish and Acoustic Guitars: A Showdown
Many guitarists are perplexed when they hear the terms “Spanish guitar” and “acoustic guitar” when making comparisons. We mean they do sort of resemble one another. Nonetheless, they are unique in specific ways.
Strings. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Under observation, the strings on the Spanish guitar would appear to be more translucent, which is owing to the nylon material employed. Carbon-based polymers are sometimes used instead of nylon. The strings of an acoustic guitar, on the other hand, are made of steel (and at times, are even coated with a tougher mineral).
When opposed to steel, nylon delivers less tensile stress and is gentler on the fingers – in other words, it is softer to the touch. Beginners who begin with acoustic guitars are more likely to experience finger discomfort. As a result, many acoustic guitarists prefer to use picks.
The Neck and Fretboard. Because of their narrower necks, acoustic guitars feature slimmer fretboards. Looming through chords becomes considerably simpler as a result of this, especially for novices (or people who just generally have smaller hands).
With such a benefit comes the risk of accidentally muting your strings on a regular basis. Wider fretboards, such as those found on Spanish guitars, nonetheless offer an advantage since they make it less easy to mistakenly mute your strings.
The Bridge and Tuning Pegs. The bridges on classical and acoustic guitars differ significantly. A traditional wrap-around bridge is seen on a regular Spanish guitar. To keep the strings in place, they are knotted in a knot around the bridge. The bridge on a standard acoustic guitar features pegs that keep the strings in place. Furthermore, the tuning peg on a Spanish guitar is constructed of metal and plastic, whereas the entire tuning peg on a normal acoustic guitar is made of steel.
The Sound. Compared with Spanish guitar, an acoustic guitar’s sound is softer but brighter and more sustained, with a metallic tone. The Spanish guitar’s sound is relatively louder and fuller, yet mellow and with more depth. Perhaps we can say that a Spanish guitar is emotive, while an acoustic guitar is expressive in terms of sound quality.
Here’s a good comparison between the two guitars:
Spanish and Acoustic Guitar FAQs
We’ve been through a road trip of information. But probably, you still have a handful of questions in mind. Well, we’re a few steps ahead. We’ve compiled below some of the most frequently asked questions on Spanish and acoustic guitars:
Which of the two is more expensive?
It depends! Acoustic guitars and Spanish guitars are available in a variety of sizes and primary materials.
Which one is more beginner-friendly?
Spanish guitars have softer strings that offer way less tension, and a wider fretboard that prevents frequent muting. If you’re starting out, this may be a good choice!
Do they sound different?
Spanish guitars tend to sound more expressive, sweet, and mellow. Comparing this to the other type, acoustic guitars would sound more warm, bold, and crisp.
Are classical and Spanish guitars the same?
Yes! The two are both nylon-stringed, wooden guitars!
Which guitar is better for which genre?
Acoustic guitars are well-suited to contemporary tunes or ensembles. Spanish guitars are widely used in Latin or folk music.
Which one should I get?
Again, it depends! Consider your experience, playing style, genre, and resources.
Discussing the basics of two seemingly similar guitars can be challenging – but alas, we’ve made it to the end.
In this article, we breezed through the profiles and histories of both Spanish and acoustic guitars (revealing that if anything, they’re far from identical). We’ve also made objective, point-by-point comparisons to break down their edges and dents. Lastly, we’ve looked into some possible questions that you had in mind.
As we always say, there is never a correct answer in choosing a guitar that suits you the most – there are just good choices and better ones. It largely depends on more factors outside the guitar itself that you should consider.
Joyce Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at New Era University. She especially enjoyed her journalism class and was nominated for Photojournalist of the Year. Joyce Anne loves music; she is a self-taught piano player. When she's not writing (or baking or watching documentaries), she's probably playing songs on the piano, mostly by ear.