A step by step transition from electric guitar to standard classical guitar

Tony Linfjard at Sanden guitar workshop

Six years ago, I decided to do some gigs alone with background tracks. I wanted to play duo with myself live and put together a rig for this situation.

On one of these gigs as a combined entertainer and intermissionist I didn’t have enough background tracks for a whole night so I improvised solo – e.g. without any tracks. I felt immediately that the music as a real soloist filled the room much better than when I used the tracks. It felt like I was dancing with a tailor’s dummy when I was playing with my background tracks  – and that’s not a very good feeling. So, after that gig I decided to go solo.

Once I had decided to go solo, I felt that an electric guitar wasn’t really the right thing for me soundwise. I wanted to have a nylon string guitar, but with the same neck as an electric guitar since I was used to that. I bought a Godin Multiac Slim nylon string guitar with a 43 mm wide neck at the saddle, and where the body meets the neck at the 14th fret instead of the 12th fret, as it is on a standard classical guitar. Now I could play my solo-arrangements with my fingers and my single string solos with my pick on the very same nylon string guitar. Very good, I said to myself. After a while my solo repertoire got more complicated and my way of playing more similar to classical guitar technique. Suddenly I felt that a 43 mm wide neck was too narrow for my arrangements. I didn’t like the sound of a solidbody nylon string guitar either. So I swopped my Godin Multiac Slim to a Godin Multiac Duet Ambience (a semi-acoustic nylon string guitar with a neck width of 48 mm) and it was a major step forward.

When I had recorded the album “Evergreen” with my new Godin Multiac Duet Ambience, I felt that it would be great in the future to have a high quality custom made acoustic guitar with the same neck width and structure as my Duet.

At a guitar exhibition in my former hometown Gothenburg I found the right acoustic guitar for my purpose. It was a custom made Sanden acoustic nylon string guitar (photo on the top) with 48 mm neck width and where the body meets the neck at the 14th fret. The neck also has a 12″ radius, which is exactly the same as it is on an electric guitar. Besides that, it didn’t hurt that the sound was great, well-balanced and 100% acoustic! I really like the sound of this guitar and have used it on my latest recording – “Evergreen Volume 2” – that’ll be released in a few days.

However, life is changeable and so am I. As my solo repertoire continued to grow and my arrangements needed even more of a standard classical technique, I felt that even the neck width of 48 mm was too narrow for me. The typical electric guitar neck of 12” radius also disturbed my way of playing. Now I wanted to have an acoustic guitar with a standard 50-52 mm classical guitar neck but with cutaway. A couple of weeks ago, in a music store in the Swedish town Malmoe, I found a second hand Alhambra in the upper-segment with a classical guitar neck and cutaway. That guitar was perfect for my style of playing and it didn’t disturb me at all that the body met the neck at the 12th fret (instead of the 14th) since it had quite a deep cutaway. I could play all my arrangements and that’s what matter.

After a week of thinking, I decided to buy that Alhambra even if it’s not of the same high quality as my Sanden guitar – soundwise. Having said this, I need to make clear that my new Alhambra 7P A cw-E2 is a good quality guitar that sounds pretty nice, although it isn’t a custom made high-end guitar. I’m going to use this guitar until I get the money and find a luthier who can build me a high quality custom made classical guitar – WITH CUTAWAY (!).

/Tony