Switch to nylon?

I am a lefty beginner player (65) and am really enjoying the acoustic guitar over my electric. Considering adding a nylon string acoustic. I have chunky and clumsy fingers and thought the wider nut would help (EG Cordoba C5.) Also I am more into country,folk, easy ballad style music with some fingerpicking. Unfortunately I am nowhere near a guitar outlet so will be buying blind. youtube is my friend.
Any opinions welcome.


A nylon string classical guitar like the Cordoba C5 will excel for fingerpicking. If you like the sound of nylon string guitars (and who doesn’t?), and you have an interest in fingerstyle playing then I’d say go for it. Fingerstyle is pretty much of what they’re designed for.

FWIW, my main guitar is a Martin OM-35 (steel string), but I also have a Cordoba C9 Parlor (nylon string). The Cordoba is fantastic for fingerstyle. I probably wouldn’t choose it for a strumming song, though (although there are no rules, of course – and look at Willie Nelson and Trigger). You can hear my Cordoba C9 on this track:

As a final comment, I wouldn’t necessarily “switch” to a nylon string guitar, but having one in your arsenal (and maybe even making it your main guitar) is good.


@J.W.C sounded really good. Yes I agree I wouldn`t switch totally. The other alternative would be a steel string halfway like an Alvarez AG60 ( 13/4 nut) Some thought required. So many options :smile:

Don’t forget the crossover nylon guitars. They are in between, often (but not always) with 14 fret necks (classical guitars traditionally have a neck that joins at the 12th fret), nuts that are 48mm instead of 52mm (plus or minus) and may have a radiused instead of flat fretboard profile.

There is even a set of strings, John Pearse folk finger style, that are low tension for classical guitars but can sound a bit more like steel strings.

Another option is to consider a more finger style friendly steel string. I am playing standard classical guitar, but also have fallen in love with my steel string which is an 00 size (very similar to a traditional classical size) guitar with a 12 fret neck join and a 46mm nut width, slightly radiused fretboard and wider string spacing at the saddle. Short scale as well.

Steel string guitars with features like these are great for fingerstyle and super comfortable for not so big humans like me.

My point being is that you gots options if you wants them.

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@Jamolay “Another option is to consider a more finger style friendly steel string.”
Can i ask what steel string guitar you have ?

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I have a Pono 00VS-40. Pono is very nice and are made in Hawaii by a ukulele maker.

Company — Pono .

My particular one is not common, with Macassar ebony back and sides, spruce top. It is very articulate and has immense sustain, but can get too bright or jangling without attention to the type of strings. I like the clean sound, but sometimes wish it was warmer.

Another model that gets rave reviews for value vs cost is Eastman. It does depend on what you want to spend, of course. There was, and may still be a gorgeous Eastman 00 for sale used on the Acoustic Guitar Forum. It is really a very good deal if it hasn’t sold yet. I think they are asking $950. A lot for many beginners, but a huge value for the dollars.

May be a lot more to ship to Scotland, though. Almost better off looking at Thomann or similar for guitars with specs you are interested in.

I think there are a few well regarded Scottish luthiers that make this style of guitar. But the cost is many leagues away from where I would be comfortable.


Thanks—-I`ll give it all some further thought

At 62, I’m in the same boat. I’m on a Cordoba C7, and I’m still working to get my fingers in there. I gave a steel dreadnought to my brother, and sold an Epi ES339 electric, mainly to concentrate on the wide-nut nylon until I get well up to speed. At that point, probably medium nut archtop like an Ibanez, but I expect I’ll upgrade this classical just after that. It’s a long journey, time to try different things.


I would prefer my neck to be little wider also. I asked in the guitar shop few days ago. Was told that around 4,3 centimetre at nut/first fret is standard on acoustic and it is difficult to find something with wider neck. - He did however say, that they had rebuild a 12 string to a 6 string for a customer. - Since you are nowhere near a guitar shop, could it be an option to phone one and have a talk? Maybe a kind person who can help so much, that you don’t have to buy blind over the net.

The local shop here is around 20km away and can get there by train, somewhat easy for me. They sometimes get used guitars in and have asked them to contact me in such case. - Other option for me could be, buy a new 12 string and have it rebuild to a 6 string.

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True, most acoustic will have nut width around 43 mm. Fingerstyle dedicated acoustics will be around 46 mm and classicals at 50 mm.

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I guess I would worry about how it would sound.

The guitar top is driven by the string tension and a well designed guitar will have a top thickness and bracing intended for the guitar design.

Nylon stings won’t sound good on a standard 6 string steel guitar because they don’t drive it hard enough. In reverse, steel strings on a nylon will do too much and may distort the top or eventually pull the bridge off.

So I would imagine that a guitar designed to sound nice driven by 12 steel strings might sound dull and muted with only 6 strings.

I would research and listen to guitars online and then buy one you like on Reverb or the Acoustic Guitar Forum or Thomann rather than convert. The parlor and 00 sizes often have 46mm nuts. They are out there at decent prices.

Thanks everyone for yor input–at this point ive decided to stick with steel string and not worry about fingerpicking too much until I have more experience. (im still only on module 10) . Still playing along with song app to speed up chord changes etc. I will look out for a guitar with 46mm nut which is wider than the one I have. So far I like the look/sound of an Alvarez AG60 ( 13/4 nut) . We`ll see.


I never suggested to put nylon on a steel string guitar, nor the other way around. Sorry, if it made you read it that way. It was about steel string all the way in my post.

Thanks a lot for bringing this subject up. I will have a talk with the guitar shop about this and the guitar you mention, next time I go there. Just those few mm will certainly make a difference.

@kimlodrodawa No problem I understood ok.

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I think @Jamolay 's point (and it seems well-taken to me) is that guitar bodies are designed for a specific string tension (or range of tensions, of course). If you put only 6 strings on a 12-string guitar, the tension will be greatly reduced, and this will be a problem since the guitar is not designed for that. He then draws an analogy with putting a nylon strings on a steel guitar. The tension is greatly reduced, as in the 6-string/12-string case. It was just an analogy to illustrate his point, he was not saying that is what you were suggesting.

@jjw1 I have read several posts from people converting a 12 string to a 6 string. All steel.
Some go 1 gauge up in order to give it that extra tension.
The Guitar shop I went to had one rebuild. - Live in an area with few people and mostly farmers and fishermen with fat fingers.

So it is actually not that uncommon as may seem and is totally fine to do.

Here is one of the many posts I have read about converting a 12 string to a 6 string:

" I’ve done it before a number of times, generally because I like a really wide neck which are hard to find on six-strings."

Interesting topic. Out of curiosity, I did a little googling (“wide neck acoustic guitars”) and find that a lot of people prefer a guitar with a wide neck. I found many articles listing wide-neck guitars, with reviews, etc.

I’ve been focusing more on fingerstyle blues lately, maybe I should get one for myself!


I came across these 2 videos, that gives additional information and thinking into this topic. They are both very short. 6 min and 11 min:

Large hands fingers guitar recommendation Zager Guitars

This person also mention 12 string guitar at around 1:50 into the video.
Are You Struggling With Fat Fingers? (As I can’t press 2 strings at once, I might not have that fat fingers :wink: )

I don’t think wide nuts are particularly for fat fingers. Sure they may help, but my impression is that wide fingerboards and flat radii are good for single note fast articulation like finger style and classical techniques, but less good for strumming and full cords like rhythm guitar, which likes narrower necks and higher radii.

Not that you can’t do anything with either, but they lend themselves differently.

There are plenty of fat fingered guitarist who play narrow necks just fine.

I have never played or seen a Zager, but they are not well regarded on the Acoustic guitar forum. It would be worth a little research over there before getting one.