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Thread: Returning to guitar - steel or nylon?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Gloucester, UK
    Posts
    548

    Default Returning to guitar - steel or nylon?

    Hi guitar playing UUers,

    I'm currently making a return to guitar after a long hiatus, it just suddenly began calling to me again. I've picked up a beaten up old steel string for cheap to get going again and am having fun (it doesn't look great, but the neck is true and the action nice).

    I'm finding that I miss the nylon-style sound which I've become so used to over the last however many years of uking. I feel like a lot of my techniques aren't translating all that well at the moment - I don't want to return to flatpicking, love to fingerpick. I've been considering making my first proper guitar purchase of my phase 2 guitar playing a nylon stringer rather than steel as I'm so much more comfortable with that now. So, in my shoes, would you do that or persevere with steel as I'll get used to it again? I used to only play steel before but I've learnt a lot more since then, for example I never used to fingerpick.

    Factors in play:

    - I'm a lefty and my local guitar shop only has lefty steel strung guitars so I can't try a nylon strung instrument
    - I do not have room for multiple guitars knocking around - I need to pick one or the other
    - The only lefty crossover guitar I've found is the Taylor Academy 12N which looks pretty good to be honest, it's on my shortlist

    Any advice or experience to share would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Springfield, IL
    Posts
    1,015

    Default

    Jim, I feel your pain (as the expression goes) !! I too love the nylon feel and sound (think Duck Baker, Jose Feliciano, or Earl Klugh); and then suddenly I'll hear a nice steel-string instrumental (Ed Gerhard, for instance), and I'll get the steel-string itch. It's so hard to decide, because they're both beautiful in their own way (I sound like Ray Stevens here!); I totally understand that you want to choose one and stay with it exclusively. I understand that feeling, as it seems we're more likely to advance our skills if we focus on one instrument, rather than hopping around among several. I'm sure there are folks who see it differently, but that's kind of how I've always been. If I had to choose right now, I'd probably go with nylon; something about it that just draws me in!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Gloucester, UK
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    Thanks Bill, I'm glad it's not just me!

    I currently can't stop listening to Rodrigo y Gabriela - unreal shredding of nylons!

    https://open.spotify.com/album/3oupm...TkuvRzqHjtzy4A

    And then I listen to Isato Nakagawa who makes a steel string just shimmer and sing.

    https://open.spotify.com/album/4zcGb...StmXoccgSDoa7g

    Both of these discovered via Spotify - took me a long while to get going with Spotify as I just didn't get it, but I'm finally discovering new things through it and enjoying it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    429

    Default

    If you plug in to play and have an amp etc then the Godin Multiacs may be of interest:

    https://godinguitars.com/product-cat...itars/multiac/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    380

    Default

    Oddly, the reason I was attracted to ukulele and guitalele is they felt like little classical guitars! Cordoba has a few lefty models classicals but as long as an instrument doesn't have a cutaway you can usually convert a right hand model by cutting a new nut and saddle. Takamine also sells a lefty version of the TC132SC if you want a pickup and cutaway.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2016
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    It should be duly noted, by the way, that P. K. Frary is right up there in the ranks of quality nylon players!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Gloucester, UK
    Posts
    548

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    Thanks for the input, all, nylon strung it is! Peter, I didn't know about the Takamine, gives me something to save up for. Will post an NGD when I get there!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    146

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    The Takamine would be a good choice. Several of my friends have hybrid nylon cutaway Takamines (Santa Fe?) that are similar. They sound good with or without an amp.

    I hadn't played a steel string guitar for years, but last week I tried my friend's old Martin D-28. Was surprised that most of the sound came from the sound hole. With my 37 year old classical, the whole top seems to produce the sound. Took a while but it definitely sounds better than when I bought it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Kyoto Japan
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    114

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    Hi, Jim!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pirate Jim View Post
    And then I listen to Isato Nakagawa who makes a steel string just shimmer and sing.

    https://open.spotify.com/album/4zcGb...StmXoccgSDoa7g
    Isato-san (Isato Nakagawa) has many students. Especially I like Masaaki Kishibe (left) and Kotaro Oshio (right).


    upload

    Now a days, any company have acoustic electric with pickup models. But there used be not many company made them and Takamine was the top maker of acoustic electric. Tommy Emmanuel used to use Takemine but now Maton offers very good acoustic electric for him. Takamine is still top guitar bland in Japan. It is worth to check.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by yahalele View Post
    Hi, Jim!



    Isato-san (Isato Nakagawa) has many students. Especially I like Masaaki Kishibe (left) and Kotaro Oshio (right).


    upload

    Now a days, any company have acoustic electric with pickup models. But there used be not many company made them and Takamine was the top maker of acoustic electric. Tommy Emmanuel used to use Takemine but now Maton offers very good acoustic electric for him. Takamine is still top guitar bland in Japan. It is worth to check.
    Thanks yahalele - two more artists to check out as well as some guitars!

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