07/06/2019 at 8:37 am #12487Jim CunninghamParticipant
I joined your site recently after taking classes with you at the Slack Key Workshop. I only watched a few videos so far, so, I apologize if you have covered this topic.
I mostly have played steel string guitars, but I did buy a nylon string guitar last year. It’s fine for finger picking, but it’s not always a pleasant sound when I strum it.
I like your approach to strumming with the index finger. My questions:
1) Any recommendations for strumming techniques on a nylon string guitar?
2) How about slack key on nylon strings?
Jimc07/07/2019 at 7:56 am #12490JeffKeymaster
I love the sound of slack key on nylon string guitars. Keola Beamer, Moses Kahumoku, Kawika Kahiapo, Ozzie Kotani, Makana, and many others all have recorded beautiful music using nylon string guitars. I play both nylon and steel string often and find the same techniques apply to each. Nylon strings don’t beat up my nails so I practice with them most often. The classical guitar neck is typically wider than steel string guitar necks so it takes a slight adjustment with the left hand. The strings are spaced further apart as well which I find beneficial for right hand finger picking.
For videos on strumming, the accompaniment videos in the beginning course would be helpful for techniques as well as learning chord progressions to traditional songs. I have transcribed some music by Dennis Kamakahi using a hybrid bass/strum technique that I will add soon. Many song lessons incorporate strumming as well. An advanced song that I just added is Hotel Street. It mixes strumming with finger style at certain times. I will add some more lessons to add to this with rolls, resqueado technique, swing, triplets vrs sixteenth note patterns, back beats, and accent patterns. This techniques all appear in songs that I have taught but I will create individual lessons to focus on the techniques.
Mahalo for the suggestions!07/23/2019 at 7:11 am #12592ALAN GRAINGERParticipant
Have you tried any of the crossover nylon string guitars, and if so, what are your observations.
Alan07/23/2019 at 2:06 pm #12609CurtisParticipant
I was raised on steel strings, but do quite a bit of slack key playing now on a classical guitar. I find the dynamics and different sounds that I can get out of the nylon strings really fun to explore.
Curtis07/26/2019 at 11:12 am #12637Alan FasickParticipant
My local music shop has a Taylor NS-34CE on consignment and I just spend a while running through some slack key songs on it — It’s one of Taylor’s cross-over nylon string guitars and is quite nice and very tempting to want to pick it up. The sound projects well, but is warmer, mellower than steel that is a nice contrast. In contrast to the classical guitars I’ve tried with a full 2″ nut, the 1 7/8″ nut didn’t take any time to adjust to and it was easier to play cleanly with the extra spacing vs. my 1 3/4″ nut on my Taylor 324CE.
There are some songs like The Beauty of Mauna Kea that just sound more natural on nylon vs. steel strings.
Now how do I convince the wife? =D
A hui hou,
Alan08/18/2019 at 12:18 am #12849JPHappoParticipant
I bought this summer a Furch crossover and it’s really different to others: it has 45 mm nut and feels very much like steel string, so no need to change technique, one can use left hand thumb too. It’s a solid wood guitar with great sound, not a compromise guitar. I think they are available in US too, the brand is Czech origin.08/18/2019 at 7:16 am #12852Jim CunninghamParticipant
Since I started this thread, I will mention the nylon string guitar I purchased last year.
It is not my main guitar, but I use it occasionally:
Taylor Academy 12e-N for $699 list with a gig bag:
1 7/8 in nut width
25 1/2 in scale
14 frets to body
comes with a pickup and pre-amp
and beveled arm rest for comfort08/18/2019 at 8:57 am #12853Alan FasickParticipant
I’ve become addicted to the sound of slack key on a nylon string guitar — ended up going back and picking up that Taylor NS-34CE my local shop had on consignment. I had been looking for a classical guitar for a while, shying away form Taylor’s crossovers, but ended up liking the features that it comes with them — the 1 7/8″ nut and radiused fretboard are a nice compromise between an acoustic guitar and a classical guitar. I also like being able to reach the 17th fret no problem thanks to the cutaway. I really love that the 3rd string is unwound — makes sliding those harmonies on the top 3 strings so much smoother. The main drawback I’ve found so far is when changing tunings the strings take longer to settle in than steel strings.
Got a chance to try it plugged in yesterday and I’m pretty happy with how the tone is — I tried to EQ on my 2 guitars so I could switch between them without having to mess with the PA settings. Here’s a video of me playing an original song, “It’s a Brand New Day” on the NS-34CE (starts at 8:00):
And another original song “Ula Li’i Li’i Moku (Little Red Boat)” on my steel-stringed Taylor 324 Koa for comparison (starts at 17:15):
A hui hou,
Alan08/19/2019 at 7:30 am #12868ashaw953Participant
Very nice original tunes, Alan. I am impressed! Mahalo for sharing.
Andy09/12/2019 at 7:08 am #13029Calder MackayParticipant
Would ask anyone for favorite classical strings. I’ve been using Savarez Alliance high tension/carbon and though I love the basses which are full and loud, I feel the trebles lack warmth. Keola recommends the Hananbach 200s and I’m getting giving them a shot but I have to say the 3rd string G is way thick and I’m still not sure I’m getting the sweetness I want. It could be (lack of) technique to be sure, but I’d be interested in hearing what others are playing.02/02/2020 at 7:51 am #14480mikegulinoParticipant
Hi, I’m a little late in posting this though I wanted to mention some nylon strings that I really like and would highly recommend. I use Savarez New Cristal Corum – High Tension 500CJ. They are very bright and responsive. I’ve tried many others though always come back to these. They handle the different slack key tunings very well. They also seem to last a long time as far as brightness and responsiveness. Hope this helps. Aloha
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