The classical guitar, sometimes referred to as the Spanish guitar is an instrument of the guitar family commonly used in classical music. It is of similar size and stature as the acoustic guitar with six classical strings as opposed to the metal stings used on electric guitars.
The phrase “classical guitar” also refers to the way in which it is played. The strings are individually plucked with the fingertips or fingernails. This is an acoustic instrument, which means as the strings are plucked, the sound is amplified by the cavity in the body of the guitar. The guitar strings were originally made from catgut but are now made from various polymers such as nylon with a fine metal coil on the bass strings. Right-handed players pluck the strings with their right hand with the thumb plucking from the top [up stroke], and the other fingers plucking from the bottom, [down stroke]. A variation of tuning methods are used depending on the composition however the most common is “standard tuning” [E, B, G, D, A and E].
The shape, construction and material of the classical guitar may vary but have a typical guitar shape usually resembling early romantic guitars from France, Spain and Italy. This particular instrument was used heavily through many of the musical periods dating back to the 16th century. The top of the guitar, or soundboard, is a finely crafted piece of the body, which will determine the overall sound of the instrument.
Many variations of wood have been used and are all engineered to about 2 or 3mm thick and strengthened with various types of bracing inside the guitars body. Both material and design are considered to be an integral factor in the sound quality of the guitar.