Classical, electric, steel string

Hi all,

I’m having a bit of a crisis/ hit the wall type of feeling. I have been going through the course and lessons fairly steadily, and suddenly just felt down about the whole thing.

I am looking at getting a new guitar (the one im plying with is pretty basic model) and am happy to get a good one and spend some. However I am considering what is right for me. …

I started lerning classical and was going through grades and learning music, but was getting fed up of the classical style and it was all a bit too pressured with the grades and such. I then had a break and thought I would like to play the music I like (folk and 60’s) I have a steel string and decided to take on the challenge and start from scratch with this, through Justin’s programme.

I went through the first parts quite quick as it was learnt previously but am now finding the guitar increasingly harder to play. I have quite fatty fingertips and mute alot when chording some.
Also i’m not really enjoying the strumming and strumming and strumming…(playing songs on your own isnt the same feeling and dosent create the same sound). I have always liked the fingerstyle but thought I need to be able to go from the start of the course…to ensure i lern it properly.

…sorry im starting to ramble here…

Anyway in a fit of frustration i got out my classical and my goodness was ot so much easier to play. So much room for my fingers!

I’m wondering should i try nd go through the course with my classical, or stick it out with the steel ? I know there are lots of fat fingered players who are great and the classical just doesn’t have the sound i love of steel strings. Also if i give up on steel stringed i will never play electric as they are even thinner. Am i just being a wimp.


I find it easier to play the classical. I’ve even seen a Chet Atkins guitar- electric with a wide fretboard that i am interested in looking at. Can you get wide fretboard steel stringed guitars?
Or i could ccept pryial defeat…I can play fingerstyle on the classical and just accept that i’ll never play rock and roll- except on a chet atkins electric.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Im jut having a crisis and had to vent.

Theres a lot of aspects to playing guitar. Nobody is forcing you to do any of it!

You dont ever have to use a pick or strum a chord. Its choice, but limiting yourself is not a great option when learning, so learn, practice then choose what you want to play.

I’ve been working on blues fingerpicking for the last year or more along side working through Justins lessons, its slowed me down as there are a lot of techniques to learn but its what I wanted to play.

So you have a classic guitar that works for some stuff

And an acoustic that sounds like its not ideal for you.

Why dont you go to a store and play a bunch of acoustics.

But rbh learning to play a narrower fret with fat fingers is a skill you should learn. Its not impossible and its not the guitars fault.

Go watch Rabea play some stuff, this guy has the chonkiest meat sausages I know yet dances on that fret board.

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My advice is to follow your muse and what you enjoy the most. You like folk, you like fingerstyle, you like the way a nylon string feels and plays. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Why not aim for playing fingerstyle folk songs on a nylon string?

Yes, you can, although they’re not as common. Look for steel string guitars with a wider nut width. I don’t have any specific examples to offer, but I’m pretty sure some are out there. I’m not positive they’ll be quite as wide as a typical classical guitar, though. You’ll need to hunt around and see (or maybe someone else will know off the top of their head).

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I guess you are right.
If i restrict myself now it could hamper me in the future. It’s a case of slogging throught the tough stuff instead of doing the easy option…i think…

Maybe i will alternated days or weeks between strumming and steel string and fingerstyle on classical?

Ill just have a classical, a steel string and an electric

(Though im hoping not to pay that price)

My advice is to follow your muse and what you enjoy the most. You like folk, you like fingerstyle, you like the way a nylon string feels and plays. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Why not aim for playing fingerstyle folk songs on a nylon string?

Thats kinda what i was thinking. :blush:

Check out

  • Seagull S6
  • Ibanez AC340OPN
  • Jasmine S34C
  • Alvarez AD30CE
  • Yamaha NTX5
  • Seagull Peppino Signature
  • Ibanez AW417CE

Those should all have wide nuts so might work for you

Thank you🙏

No need to say anything , as you already nailed it. I think if guys like Iz can play a Ukelele, anyone can have a go at playing a guitar.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, it takes years to perfect a skill.

Time and patience. :slight_smile:


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When I started playing steel string acoustic it was on a mini maton with a 1 11/16 nut. At that stage I only played fingerstyle. A friend who’s legendary on the guitar pointed me to an Epiphone EF-500 and commented that with the wider nut at 1 3/4 and 5mm wider at the saddle, it’s more ideal for fingerstyle players. 12 years later I still have my Epi and it’s an awesome guitar. As a beginner it changed fingering chords from nearly impossible just challenging.

I now play a new guitar that has the nut width halfway between the 1 3/4 and 1 11/16. I met a guy at our music club who did a guitar building course and built his steel string much closer to the width of a classical. If you go to a luthier who builds guitars, they are often flexible as to the neck width. Some of luthier built guitars can be quite expensive so shop around.

Having said all that, do look at the players with particularly fat fingers. I’ve got a friend like that and with chords like Em he just uses one finger fretting the A and D strings and one finger on the G string.

I started fingering the A chord like justin teaches because it gave me an anchor finger when changing from A to D to E which was my first song and that really helped, Now I finger the
A chord with just my index finger held across all three strings,

Or just stick with your classical guitar. A friend who plays steel and nylon string guitars stayed over for a weekend recently. He only had his nylon string guitar and wow that guitar sounded great.


If nut width was the only consideration - not nylon vs steel (and the different construction and sound they have) then all could be good.

However, it is not so simple and black and white. Classical guitars not only tend to have wider necks, their fretboard radius tends to be much larger, making for a flatter fretboard surface. This can make some chords more difficult, especially for beginners. Plus they will tend have a differently carved neck shape which may or may not be comfortable in the hand in use.

Another aspect.

In my view, the guitar, as a musical instrument, has the ability to perform at several musical levels.

The most fundamental of these is rhythmic. The guitar can and does function as a rhythm instrument. Place your fingers lightly across all strings to mute the sound, strum Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up. You have just played a percussive bar of 8ths. You’re in the rhythm section.

The next is harmonic. Play a chord. Any chord. Strum Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up. You have just played a harmonic bar of 8ths - with a rhythmic underpinning.

The next is melodic. Choose a scale, any scale. Play the scale ascending and descending to a metronome using alternate picking. Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up … You have just played a melodic passage of notes with a rhythmic underpinning.

Rhythm is involved at every level and without it harmonic and melodic playing would lose its quality.

My point?

Strummy strummy strum strum might not be your favourite aspect of playing guitar. But as a vital component of learning to play with good rhythm, in time, there is nothing as powerful. If you miss out strumming entirely and go directly to fingerstyle, you need to be extremely disciplined with your practice sessions and make full and extensive use of the metronome in order to play with good rhythm.


Strummy strummy strum strum…lol

Lots of good advice.
What im considering is continuing with the course (it is such a valuable quality course i’d be stupid not to) but doing so with both steel nd classical guitars maybe alternating day to day or even in a session. Ill do strummy strum and fingerstyle and exercises on both.

Im hoping this will ease my frustration (or make it worse) and help me better compare the instruments and what i like best. Ill keep an eye out for a wider fretboard steel string and the elusive wider fretbord electric-maybe visit a luthier…

I know my classical has restrictions - its not built for heavy strumming and i cant easily wrap my thumb to the 6th string for easier barring. Saying that it is easier to bar with the softer strings and higher action. I lso need to improve my finger position relative to the fretboard (i have a tendency to tilt the guitar to help me see the strings which dosent help).

So im not giving up on either , but i’m learning and developing my own style as i decide. Maybe if i played with others id think diferently but as i play on my own fingerstyle with ryhthm, melody and beat together is more enjoyable at the moment.

Watch this space…
Also any other advice or comments im happy to recieve.

I’m not a great player, you are probably already better than I; however, I found that when I bought a decent acoustic guitar and had it set up properly it was a totally different playing experience. All cords especially bar cords were much, much easier to play and I play strumming and finger style on it very happily. I’d suggest that you work out what you’d be willing to pay for a guitar and go and find a few really good guitar shops and try several out. If you are in UK and I’m allowed to write this, I’ve used Richard’s Guitars (near Stratford but with an outstanding online service and super advice over the telephone) and found them to be excellent. However, as the BBC would say there are other guitar specialists out there. Good luck.

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Richard, excellent advice and analysis! Thank you

Hello Andy and welcome to our community. :slight_smile:

Some great advice there.

Why don’t you pop on over to here and introduce yourself.


I was watching on tv the Guns’n’Roses show at Glastonbury and I seem to recall noticing that Slash’s fingers looked kinda chunky too.

Yeah slash is pretty solid but Rabea man wow

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