Some western artists like Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson (whose guitar, Trigger is the featured image) and Mark Kozelek have used Spanish, or nylon-string guitars as their primary instrument. Naturally countless Latin artists as diverse as Joao Gilberto, Jose Feliciano and Rodrigo y Gabriela have taken it on their own journeys. At other times it’s appeared in popular musical arrangements as the solo instrument. Even in Australian rock.
Early on in pop music, to play your break on a nylon string guitar may have communicated a mild exoticism and musical pedigree by virtue of its ethnic background and classical dimensions. It’s appeared in Australian music too, for these reasons and more, probably, but we can only guess. I’m not talking about classical/crossover maestros like Slava Grigoryan, who The Goodbye Notes played with once. This is about irregular appearances. I’ve played the odd nylon-string solo on recordings, mainly because it sounds nice, an icing on a layer-cake of stacked steel strings. The sound is softer and warmer than the steel-string. It can sound slick and schooled, surprising, serious, sweet or summery. These tunes are mainly from the eighties. Was it just an eighties thing? There must be more out there.
Australian Crawl – Reckless (solo: Simon Binks)
The Church – Almost With You (solo:Peter Koppes)
The Go-Betweens – Streets of your Town (solo: John Willsteed)
Stephen Cummings – If You Don’t Want My Love (solo: Andrew Pendlebury)
Part of the Way (solo: Gerard Mapstone)