Can You Play Pop Songs on a Classical Guitar?

While classical guitars look like acoustic guitars, they are quite different as they come with nylon strings, different fretboard sizes, and different tuning mechanisms. Nylon strings give guitars a softer and warmer sound, which is great for some music styles. Classical guitars are mainly used for classical and flamenco songs, but you can use them for any music style.

You can play pop songs on a classical guitar, but the sound will not be ideal for this genre. The nylon strings on a classical guitar create a soft sound that lacks the boldness and brightness that most pop or rock songs require. Classical guitars are ideal for classical, folk, or flamenco.

However, you can turn this into an advantage by using the classical guitar as a part of a larger instrumentation group. You can use the soft and warm sound of the guitar as an accompaniment for a pop song. For instance, pop songs with flamenco influence use classical guitars in their orchestration. 

If you want to know more, stick around! I will explain more about classical guitars and the most suitable music styles to play on them. Moreover, I will show you what guitar is best for pop songs and explain some differences between acoustic and classical guitars.

What Kind of Songs Can You Play on a Classical Guitar?

Classical guitars are believed to have been developed in the early 1800s in Spain. They have a wooden body and typically six strings made of nylon. The nylon strings make a significant difference in the sounds these instruments produce; they are thick and create a mellow and warm sound that cannot be produced using strings of other materials.

Nylon strings are not only useful for a particular sound, but they can also be easier to play. These strings are softer and thicker than steel strings. They are much easier on the fingertips, so even if you play them for longer periods, your fingers won’t hurt.

If you have a classical guitar and are learning to play it, you may wonder if you can play any song you want on this instrument. After all, the classical guitar has taken a back seat to acoustic and electric guitars in the past couple of centuries, as you don’t often see it being used in professional arrangements.

However, you can play any song you want on your classical guitar. While Spanish-style flamenco songs and folk or classical music are ideal for this instrument, you can play any genre on your classical guitar, including pop, rock, or country. You can find specific classical guitar arrangements of famous pop or rock songs.

A classical guitar is technically an acoustic guitar but with a particular sound. Your favorite pop songs may sound slightly different on this instrument, but you can enjoy experimenting with these unique sounds. Remember that classical guitars don’t have the bright and crisp sounds of steel-stringed guitars and lack the twang that is sometimes necessary for some songs.

What Kind of Guitar Is Better Suited for Pop Songs?

Pop music is a very diverse genre that includes a variety of instruments. When it comes to guitars, you can use acoustic, electro-acoustic, or electric guitars to play plenty of different songs. As mentioned above, the classical guitar is also an option.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but acoustic guitars are more suitable for most pop songs. Their crisp and bold sound is versatile and can be used for all pop subgenres. Acoustic guitars are also easy to learn and play, so as soon as you learn a few chords, you can try playing some of your favorite pop tunes.

If you want to play most pop songs, an acoustic guitar would be the most suitable choice. While the classical guitar can be useful, the acoustic one will produce more sounds that resemble the original versions.

Differences Between Acoustic and Classical Guitars

As I have already explained, the main difference between acoustic and classical guitars is the strings and the neck. The thicker nylon strings create a unique sound entirely different from the one steel strings create.

However, there are a few other differences that you should keep in mind when deciding between an acoustic and a classical guitar. For instance, acoustic guitars are typically larger than classical guitars

Furthermore, acoustic guitars have narrow fretboards with fret markers along them. Classical guitars, on the other hand, have wider fretboards, and most of them don’t feature any fret markers.

Also, how strings are attached to the bridge differs in acoustic and classical guitars. Classical guitars require a knot to tie the strings to the bridge, while most acoustic guitars have pins to stock the strings inside.

What To Keep in Mind When Playing a Classical Guitar

If you’re considering buying a classical guitar, remember a few tips that can help you play it correctly and safely. As I mentioned above, classical guitars are technically acoustic guitars, so you should treat them more or less the same way, but keep in mind some differences:

  • You should not use a pick when playing a classical guitar. Nylon strings are too soft and can break or deform easily if you treat them the same way you would steel strings. However, some softer picks can work with nylon strings as well.
  • You cannot bend, push, or pull the strings of a classical guitar. Once again, the nylon strings of classical guitars are different. If you try these techniques they won’t be effective. Other specific techniques can work on classical guitars.
  • Classical guitars have a flatter and wider fretboard, which can be a disadvantage for beginners learning to play barre chords. If you’re having difficulty learning the hand placement of barre chords, try playing an acoustic or electric guitar.
  • You can’t replace nylon strings with steel ones on a classical guitar. As a beginner, you may feel more comfortable with a classical guitar, but soon, you may realize you are looking for another sound. However, you should consider buying a new guitar rather than replacing the nylon strings with steel ones because a classical guitar cannot withstand the tension of steel strings.

Final Thoughts

Classical guitars are great instruments for playing specific music genres or learning how to play the guitar. They are generally smaller and have nylon strings, which produce a soft and mellow sound. This sound is great for classical or Spanish flamenco but may be better for pop music.

You can still play any genre with a classical guitar, including pop, rock, or jazz. However, the sound will be much different and may not have the desired effect. If you want a more accurate sound for pop music, go for an acoustic guitar.

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I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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