Encyclopedia > Classical guitar

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Classical guitar

Musical instrument from the guitar family. Also called Spanish guitar.

The classical guitar is distinguished by a number of features.

  • It is an acoustic instrument. The sound is amplified by a sound box.
  • It has six strings.
  • The strings are made from cat gut, or much more commonly these days nylon, as opposed to the metal strings found in some other forms of guitar. These strings have a much lower tension than steel strings. The lower three strings ('bass strings') are wound with metal, commonly silver or bronze.
  • Because of the low tension of the strings the neck can be made entirely of wood, not requiring a steel truss road.
  • The neck tends to be broader than with steel string guitars, making more complex work easier, but requiring a left hand position which ultimately makes the guitar less stable to hold.
  • The strings are usually plucked with the fingers.

The heyday of the classical guitar repertoire lies in the 19th century. Some guitar composers are:

Because of the relative scarcity of pieces, guitarists often play transcriptions of music originally written for other instruments.

Classical guitar players:

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