Why Is Classical Guitar Less Popular to Play? 

Classical guitar is a beautiful style – but many people prefer other styles of play. What keeps more people from exploring this wonderful and rich approach to guitar?

Classical guitar is less popular to play because it requires more technical skills and disciplines, is more expensive, demands proper posture and nail care, has less exposure in popular culture, and has fewer resources for beginner classical guitarists.

In this article, I’ll dive into the unique characteristics and demands that set classical guitar apart from its contemporaries. From the technical mastery required to the lack of exposure and appeal in popular culture, to the smaller and more niche community, I’ll explain why classical guitar is less commonly pursued. 

Classical Guitar Requires More Technical Skills and Discipline

When it comes to learning the classical guitar, you’ll find that the process demands more precision, accuracy, and coordination than other types of guitar. 

In fact, the classical guitar is renowned as a solo polyphonic instrument, meaning that it can create multiple independent melody lines, which adds layers of complexity to the music.

For instance, some of the techniques and skills you’ll need to master include fingerstyle and arpeggios

Fingerstyle refers to plucking the strings directly with your fingertips, offering unparalleled control over the tone and dynamics of your playing. Arpeggios involve playing the notes of a chord in a specific, non-simultaneous order, which requires excellent left-hand dexterity and coordination. 

Proper Posture And Fingernail Maintenance

As a beginner, you’ll likely face several common difficulties and frustrations when learning classical guitar. 

One of the first issues you may encounter is adjusting your posture. Proper posture is crucial to avoid unnecessary tension and strain on your body, and finding the ideal position for your unique anatomy can take some time. 

Another challenge is maintaining your fingernails: long nails on your plucking hand are essential for achieving the desired tone and control, but their upkeep can be demanding.

Time and Patience

Developing a consistent and pleasing tone production also takes time and patience. The classical guitar is well known for its wide array of tonal possibilities, and learning how to manipulate the strings to produce various timbres requires a high level of technical skill and discipline.

Less Exposure and Appeal in Popular Culture

Classical guitar often finds itself overshadowed by other types of guitar in mainstream media and music genres. This is primarily because genres like rock, metal, pop, and their associated artists have a wider reach and impact than classical guitar.

For instance, you’re more likely to hear the guitar riffs from rock bands like Led Zeppelin or Metallica on the radio, rather than a classical guitar piece from Andrés Segovia

Know that I have nothing against these genres – their deserved popularity is due to their focus on catchy melodies, relatable lyrics, and energetic performances that appeal to a broader audience. Who doesn’t love rocking out?

Less Flexibility 

Classical guitar may also seem less appealing to many musicians due to its lack of innovation, diversity, and accessibility. 

Unlike pop or rock, which constantly evolve and embrace experimentation, classical guitar’s repertoire tends to be more traditional and less flexible. This can make it difficult for aspiring guitarists to connect with the classical genre on a personal level.

Moreover, many classical guitar pieces demand a higher level of skill and technical proficiency than popular guitar genres. This can make it intimidating for beginners to pick up a classical guitar. 

In contrast, beginner-friendly chords and strumming patterns are more accessible in popular guitar genres, which can lead to faster progress and more immediate satisfaction for new players.

Fewer Learning Resources

The learning resources for classical guitar may be less abundant compared to those available for other guitar genres. There are numerous websites, YouTube channels, and apps dedicated to helping people learn popular guitar styles, while classical guitar resources are more limited.

Classical Guitars Are More Expensive

Classical guitars differ significantly from their steel-string or electric counterparts. 

While decent-quality acoustic and electric guitars are relatively easy to find at various price points, sourcing a quality classical guitar on a budget can prove more difficult. They tend to be made of higher quality materials and are made with more precise craftsmanship. 

Upkeep is also more expensive, as they require more maintenance and care than other types of guitars. 

To add to all of this, they’re simply harder to find. You often have to go to a specialized retailer or luthier to get a good classical guitar. 

Smaller and More Niche Community

As a classical guitarist, you might have discovered that the classical guitar community is smaller and more niche compared to other guitar genres. This can make it challenging to find opportunities and resources for learning, practicing, and performing.

Not Many Teachers

One of the primary challenges for classical guitarists is the limited availability of teachers. Unlike more popular guitar styles such as rock, blues, or jazz, classical guitar teachers can be harder to come across, and you may need to search more extensively or even travel farther from home to find a qualified instructor.

Harder To Find Learning Materials

Finding appropriate learning materials may pose a challenge. Although there are an abundance of books and online resources for popular guitar genres, classical guitar materials can be more obscure. This may require a dedicated search and a willingness to explore multiple sources for instruction and sheet music.

Less Performance Opportunities

Performance opportunities can also be limited for classical guitarists. Venues that cater to popular music genres are abundant, but finding spaces that cater to classical guitar performances might be a challenge. The niche nature of classical guitar often results in fewer competitions, festivals, and performance opportunities compared to other genres.

Despite these challenges, there are ways for classical guitarists to connect and collaborate with like-minded enthusiasts. Online forums – such as the Classical Guitar Subreddit – offer a platform for guitarists to share experiences, resources, and advice. 

Similarly, you can keep an eye out for classical guitar festivals, workshops, masterclasses, and competitions, as these events offer opportunities for networking, learning, and nurturing a love for the instrument.


Classical guitar, with its nuanced techniques and unique demands, stands as a beautiful but less traversed path in the world of guitar playing. 

Its complexity requires a mastery of difficult skill sets, along with the patience to develop tone and proper posture. The lack of exposure in mainstream culture, limited flexibility in style, fewer learning resources, and a smaller community also contribute to its niche status. 

If you found this article useful, you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board.


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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