In general, the guitar should be solid with no loosebits inside - giving the guitar a small shake will determine this.The guitar's neck should be straight. This can be checked by sightingalong its length. Good fret work can also be checked at thistime by running your fingers along the edge of each side of theneck. Each fret position will need checking to make sure that thereis no buzzing of strings on poor frets. Do this simply by playinga note at every single fret position on the board, ensuringyou place a your finger close behind each fret when you do so.The action of a guitar (the height of the strings above thefret board) is down to personal choice, but it is recommendedthat you pick a guitar with low action (strings near thefingerboard) as this will make fretting easier.Do not buy a steel string guitar and replace the stringswith nylon ones. There are two main reasons for this. Classicalguitars are less rigid than steel strung ones, allowing thestrings to vibrate the wood more, producing better soundquality. Secondly, steel string guitars tend to have necks whichvary in width. A classical guitar should be 2-1/8" across over itsentire length - you'll need the width to correctly finger boththe left and right hands.Japanese makes, such as Yamaha, Takamine andRodriguez are cheap and quite cheerful, usually being perfectlyadequate for beginners. It is only after some months/years practicethat you may want to spend the money on an instrument wherethe tone is something very important to you.One overall guideline is this: take someone whois experienced in guitars with you. For example, a tutor (ifyou have one) or a friend who has been playing classical guitarfor several years. Tutors may also be able to showyou the good shops, good bargains, or offer you guitarsfrom other students of theirs who are progressing ontoa finer instrument.Cost: cheap and cheerful: 50-180 pounds sterling.expensive: 350 - thousands pounds sterling.A1.3 How do I start to learn (teacher or book)?Undoubtedly it is better to have a teacher. A good teacherwill be able to guide you correctly through the technicalpoints of posture, hand position, etc. far better than photosor illustrations in texts. It is possible to learn through books,but it will take longer and you may develop poor habits that limityour abilities and are hard to break after months of playing.Of course, the down point about a teacher is that theycost about 17-20 pounds an hour ($15-$25 US)A very useful approach is to find a teacher that offersgroup classes with 4-6 students. The cost per lesson isusually much lower, and you'll learn both by direct instructionand observing your classmates approach problems. You can laterschedule additional group or private classes as you desire.In addition, your teacher will be invaluable in terms ofadvice on beginner instruments, sources for music, strings,and other beginners in your area with whom you might practice.My advice is to get a teacher if you can, but if you can't,work closely with good, reliable texts.
Page 3 of 22Guitar Notes: CLASSICAL GUITAR FAQ