Why Do Classical Guitarists Hold Guitar Differently?

If you’re a new guitar player or just love watching guitarists do their thing, you’ll notice the classical guitarists hold their instruments differently. But why do classical guitarists hold their guitar differently from other players?

When you hold a classical guitar correctly, you reduce the risk of suffering from a wrist injury, you’ll play consistently, and you’re generally more comfortable as you play. 

In this article, you’ll understand the structural make-up of classical guitars and how to hold a classical guitar properly.

Why Don’t Other Guitarists Hold Their Guitars Like Classical Guitarists?

With classical guitars, you need to learn fingerstyle playing. But, first, you must know which fret-string combination corresponds to which note. You’ll also need to practice your scales so you learn to play at a fast pace.

With classical guitars, you need to dedicate considerable time to learning. Posture is essential when playing classical guitars. Any mistake or sound distortion made with classical guitars is easily noticeable.

Also, it’s important to note that you must learn how to read sheet music. Most classical pieces of music are written in music notations. So learning how to read music sheets is highly beneficial.

Unlike classical guitarists, other guitarists don’t need to undergo rigorous training. For example, you can learn how to play modern acoustic or electric guitars on YouTube. Also, other guitarists can get away with some mistakes.

This doesn’t mean that learning how to play other guitars is easy. However, learning how to play classical guitars requires dedication. With other guitars, you don’t need to learn music theories but you must learn music theory when it comes to classical guitars.

What Is the Proper Way of Holding a Classical Guitar?

Classical guitarists don’t hold their guitars the same way as other guitarists. The posture they assume ensures that they’re comfortable and reduces the chances of an injury.

Besides comfort, correctly holding the classical guitar ensures proper sound projection. Here is how to hold a classical guitar properly:

1.   Get into a comfortable sitting position

  • Sit down without your instrument.
  • Ensure the seat is comfortable for you; it must not be too high or too low.
  • Make sure your knees are at 90 degrees, and you’re seated upright.

2.   Pick up the guitar

  • Pick up the guitar and assume a playing position. Make sure both your hands can touch the strings.
  • If you’re using a stool, put your left foot on it to help elevate the guitar as you play. Place the center of the guitar on your left thigh and use your right tight to support the bottom of the guitar. Also, you’ll need to put your right foot slightly forward to be comfortable as you play.
  • If you go with a strap, ensure the instrument is not loose. For example, if the guitar strap is loose, you won’t be comfortable as you play. So, before you start playing, adjust the strap.
  • As a general rule of thumb, ensure your guitar neck is on your left side. In addition, your guitar neck must not be higher than your eye level. Finally, your guitar must be placed centrally across you as you play; it shouldn’t be too high or low.
  • Most importantly, ensure you’re comfortable, and your guitar can stay intact without you holding it. In addition, you should be able to stretch your arms.
  • Now, place your arm around your guitar. The instrument’s tip must touch your lower arm with your guitar balanced on your body. Both wrists should be in a relaxed position.
  • Place your thumb behind the neck of your guitar, and your fingers should be on the fretboard. Lastly, make sure your shoulders are relaxed.

What Type of Music Do You Play on A Classical Guitar?

You use the classical guitar when playing soft and classic music. Some soft and classical music include:

  • Country music
  • Classical music
  • Folk music
  • Spanish music
  • Bossa nova
  • Flamenco music

What is the Difference Between Classical Guitars and Other Guitars?

The primary difference between classical guitars and other guitars is their strings. Classical guitars have nylon strings as opposed to steel strings. Nylon strings are soft and give off a smooth and pleasant sound. In addition, these strings have a high vibrational amplitude; this is why classical guitars have a wider neck.

The classical guitar’s wide neck ensures adequate spacing between the strings. Plucked strings will hit adjacent ones and distort the sound if the space between each string isn’t wide enough. Also, the wide neck ensures players can conveniently hold down a string without disturbing neighboring strings during a rendition.

Besides the sound, nylon strings don’t hurt the fingers like steel strings. The subtle impact of nylon strings on the fingers is why most classical guitar players use their fingers to play.

Classical guitars are generally smaller and lighter in size. However, the guitar’s lightweight and subtle nature of its strings make it suitable for beginners and kids interested in learning the guitar. The low tension of nylon strings is why the sound is subtle, unlike the loud acoustic guitars. It is also easy to spot a classical guitar from its flat fingerboard.


When it comes to classical music, posture is everything. The posture a classical guitarist assumes while playing can make or break the rhythm.

Besides distorting the sound, the guitar gives off, poor posture can lead to wrists and back injuries. So, when playing make sure you take a comfortable sitting position with your knees inclined at 90 degrees. Ensure that neck of your guitar is on your left side.

Your guitar should be within eye level; not above or beneath it. If you’re using a guitar strap, it shouldn’t be loose. Your guitar must also be properly balanced on your body. Most importantly, you should be comfortable.

Unlike other guitars, the classical guitar requires dedication to learn. Mistakes made while playing this guitar are quickly noticed. Also, you need to learn how to read music sheets. However, the primary difference between the classical guitar and other guitars is its strings. It’s made from nylon strings which allows it to project subtle sounds.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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