Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Classical Guitar Anatomy

The classical guitar aka Spanish guitar is usually a six stringed acoustic, musical instrument with 19 frets.

Nylon Strings

Classical guitars use nylon strings, as opposed to steel strung electric or acoustic guitars. The lower three ‘bass’ strings are typically wound with silver or nickel. Traditionally classical guitars used catgut strings, which despite the name were made from sheep or goat intestines. Nowadays nylon is the preferred medium, and the strings have a lot lower tension than a steel strung guitar. These are easier on the fingers and produce a rich, full tone.

Neck, Fingerboard and Sound box

The fingerboard on a classical guitar is a lot wider than a typical acoustic or electric guitar too. The lower string tension allows for necks to be made entirely from wood. An electric or steel-strung acoustic would have a metal truss rod to help keep the neck true.

This lower string tension allows for a less rigid sound board, again helping to produce a rich tone. The vibration of the string is amplified and projected from the guitar’s body (sound box) through the sound hole.


The machine heads are used to tune the guitar; by varying the tension of the strings, in order to acheive the desired pitch. The guitar is usually tuned E, A, D, G, B , E (from low to high / thick to thin).

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