The technical definition of an acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces sound through the vibration of the strings, without relying on electronic amplifications. Their bodies are made hollow so that sound can be produced without amplification. However, the term ‘acoustic guitar’ are often used by people when they want to refer to steel stringed guitars (or some call it the folk guitar), thus, the confusion surrounding the acoustic and classical guitar.
Acoustic and classical guitars differ in some ways, which I will try my best to explain.
Let’s start with the difference in the shapes of the guitars. Classical guitars generally have a smaller body shape as compared to the acoustic guitar. For acoustic guitars, their body shapes are bigger and they come in different types of shapes (Dreadnaught, Grand Auditorium shapes etc). But to put it simply, acoustic guitars with a larger body are able to produce a louder, more resonant sound as compared to classical guitar.
The acoustic guitar uses steel strings whereas the classical guitar uses nylon strings. Thus, when it comes to tone, the classical guitar gives off a mellow tone while the acoustic guitar produces a brighter tone.
Guitar Fret Board
Next, the fret board of the acoustic and classical guitar differs too. The fret board of the classical guitar is much wider compared to the acoustic guitar. The fret board is wider as the strings have to be wider apart for the single notes to be played and heard more efficiently.
The size of their fret board plays an important role to which what kind of music can be played on which instruments. Classical music, chords/arpeggios (where single notes are emphasized) are usually played on classical guitars while music like folk, country, jazz, pop and blues are played on acoustic guitars, where their necks are narrower.