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  1. #1

    Newbie! Beginner Guitarist- what type?

    Hey! I've been playing jazz for some time now and I am looking into learning guitar. I've never played non-orchestral strings before, so its brand new to me. For jazz, which type of guitar is the best (hopefully under 250)? If it is a bit more, it might work out. I've read that some people prefer hollow body ones while some prefer solid or semi-hollow. What is the difference between all of these and which one is best for playing classical and jazz? Sort of like an all rounder, focusing a bit more on jazz?

    **I know jazz/classical is a style of playing and not the instrument, I am looking for an instrument that is good for playing that type**

    Thanks! Any replies are greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    There are jazz players who use nylon string guitars. (Earl Klugh is the only one who comes to mind off the top of my head). You might look into that, if you want to be able to play classical on it, too. If you want steel strings, you've got quite a selection. At your price point, I'd be looking at Ibanez Artstar series and Epiphone.
    "You [bikers] always talk about 'non-conformity,' but you all dress alike and ride the same bikes. You wanna impress me with your non-conformity? Ride a pink Vespa to Sturgis." --Some guy on bikerornot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    San Francisco
    Yamaha makes some nice nylon string hybrids, but I still like my Martin nylon string hybrid. It is really a great first guitar IMHO. You should be able to find something from Yamaha in your price range.

    You can go the electric guitar is your first guitar route, but I like the idea of starting on a classical or a classical/hybrid. I think that you might feel the instrument more.
    Last edited by lammie200; 11-10-2017 at 11:22 PM.

  4. #4
    $250 sure isn't much for a style of guitar playing that has a legacy of a very smooth and full sound.

    I would think that a Telecaster with a humbucker would be about as low as one should go, price wise. And it should hold its value an is easy to resell. I hope you can stretch a little.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Woodshed, CA
    Greg Poree is one of the busy studio guitarist and also plays Jazz on a nylon string guitar.

    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  6. #6
    OK I reread.

    If you want to play classical and jazz on the same instrument a nylon string guitar is probably best. You are already making a compromise with your price range (no offense) but you will make more if you require a guitar that is suitable for both.

    For example, playing a little fingerstyle is not the same as playing classical. A lot of "fingerstyle" guitars have a slightly narrower nut width and string spacing than a classical. You will notice that if you play classical guitar music with ANY gusto at all. Your left hand may be happy but your right hand fingers will feel like they're in a straight jacket.

    And if you want to lean more toward jazz, well, most play jazz with a steel string guitar and a pick. Sting spacing comes into play again for line running and chord voicings used in jazz ("grips").

    It's good that Doc showed a sample player. I would look for more like that, including some Latin players, and then decide on target style that you are aiming for. Then identify what type of instrument those players use.

    All this is just my opinion of course, but I've bought and sold too may guitars before figuring out what I wanted/needed. It's best to have a plan, then execute that plan. You'll be a lot happier.
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 11-11-2017 at 01:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Yeah Nylon string? I played my Rodriguez model C for years. I still do gigs on it sometimes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Some great jazz nylon stringers:

  9. #9
    I don't play classical. As far as I know, it's always done on nylon. I can't think of any major classical player who uses steel. Maybe there is one, but I don't know.

    Apparently, getting heavily into classical requires a wide neck, which most steel strings don't have. Strings need to be spaced to allow your right hand to get in between the strings. Also to be able to fret a note and have an adjacent string ring open -- without your fretting finger accidentally touching it.

    So, if you're serious about that, you're talking about nylon. If you also want to play jazz on it, which is perfectly possible, then it needs to have a pickup -- and your budget sounds too small.

    But, if you're just thinking of reading through some classical pieces without really getting serious about classical technique, then maybe steel strings might work.

    I think $250 is enough to get a pretty good steel string electric (including the guitar I gig on). I'd suggest looking at the Yamaha Pacifica line, but there are others.

  10. #10
    I think, tradition aside, we live an an era where you can play whatever guitar feels most comfortable to play, and make it down sound anyway you want with the right pedals, amp, effects and so on. If you want to play classical as well as jazz, buy the best classical guitar you can (get one that you can plug in, Yamaha do a good one) and enjoy the classical sound. Then for jazz, plug it into an amp, add some pedals and make unsound different.

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