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How to play trills?

by Reny
(Bangalore, India)

Could you please explain various thrills by showing its respective musical notation and an explaining video.


Hi Reny,

I do have a page on trills on my main site here...

How To - Trill On Guitar...

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Andalucia

by Shawn

Hey Trevor, I love the song Andalucia. I've been working on it for a few days now, and, like most classical guitarists, you make it look a lot easier than it is. I was wondering what the origins of that song are; I googled it and cannot find any info about it.

Thanks,
Shawn

Hi Shawn,

I'm not sure of the exact provenance but I have had my (personal) arrangement of it for over 20 years now. I'm pretty sure, however, that you'll find it has its roots in Flamenco (or at least Flamenco inspired) and probably originated in southern Spain.

If there's anyone who knows more, feel free to add to this discussion :)

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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noche de estio music and tab

Hi! I love the Noche de Estio, and would like the music and tab. Where can I access this?

Thanks,
George

Hi George,

You can get it via Classical Guitar Study Course...

I hope this is of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.


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Can you play a classical guitar with other guitars?

by Marisa
(Georgia)

I'm playing in an acoustic worship band and my regular acoustic has been broken. I was wondering if the classical would sound right with the other acoustic guitars?

Hi Marisa,

Yes it would sound good though with this caveat: Acoustic guitars, with their steel strings and construction are quite a bit louder than classical guitars. Add to this the use of plectrums and that makes it harder, though not impossible, to hear a classical guitar among them.

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Circle of Fifths1

by Joe
(Alexandria, VA.)

I am trying to wrap my head around the circle of fifths. Is it something that is necessary to know, if it is can anyone explain it?

Hi Joe,

It is handy to know. The Circle of Fifths basically shows the relationship of the twelve tones of the chromatic scale and the key signatures of each one. This allows you to see relationships more clearly, especially when writing music, and how the major and minor scales and chords relate to one another.


You can see a quite detailed discussion of it here...

I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What can I play on a classical guitar?

by Rawan
(Lebanon)

Ok, so I wanted to buy a guitar, but I didn't want the classical one because I can't play pop songs, So I was wondering can I play any pop songs on a classical guitar? And how much will it take time to learn the classical guitar?

Hi Rawan,

You can play pop songs on a classical if you're strumming chords. It won't sound as loud as an electric or steel string acoustic of course but it will do the job.

If you want to learn classical style give yourself at least 2 to 3 years of solid practice to establish a sound technique.

I hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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carcassi's complete method for the guitar

the book

the book

I have such a book someone gave me many years ago. It's the engraved plate edition from the John Church co. of Chicago. It's quite old but I cannot find any date on it. Do you know of anyone that would be interested in such a book?

It does look interesting! Have you thought of auctioning on Ebay? I'm sure you'll find a buyer there.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Live Performances

I have been playing out live lately, and I use my classical guitar for mostly everything I play. My guitar has a pick-up, but I don't like that "scratchy" sound it makes specially when you hit the high strings. Also, feedback is my number one enemy. What's the best way to perform live with a classical guitar, if the performer is singing as well?

Hi there,

I must say I haven't played many performances with a pick-up or amplifier so i'm not really qualified to help there but perhaps my site visitors can jump right in with this one if they've had any experience...

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Something by the Beatles

Hello Trevor,

I subscribe to your e-mails and love them! Very helpful and a generous thing you do for us. You once posted a bonus peice of free music in standard notation for Yesterday by the Beatles.

Do you have one for Something in the same format? I have learned Yesterday and would love to have your version of Something if available. So, thanks in advance for your consideration in this matter.

Regards,

John P. Smisek
jpsmisek17@optonline.net

Hi John,

Unfortunately I haven't got access to that music.
Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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which is neccessary

by roshan
(chennai , tamilnadu, india)

Is it nesessary to learn the basic acoustic guitar with plectrum to master in classical guitar or can we directly start with classical guitar?

Hi Roshan,

You can start with classical. The two disciplines are different so you don't need to play plectrum guitar to play classical guitar.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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mystery book

by eric madrid
(lovington new Mexico )

I took guitar class n high school last year and I bought a guitar to continue my learning but I cannot find the book we used n class.

It was a book with a white paper cover bound together with black spiral plastic. At the beginning of the book it gave a history of the guitar and after that it broke the music down onto simple notes and by string.

If anyone knows of which book I am speaking of please respond and email me at...

maderi_12@hotmail.com

and put the subject as I found it dude.

Thank You :)

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starting out

What are the parts and notes on the acoustic guitar?

Hi,

A look at this page might help you to learn and know the notes.

And for the parts of an acoustic guitar look here...

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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soloing

by Jesse
(joppa,Al)


Hey!

I've been playing guitar for a little over a year now but a have A LOT of knowledge of music theory along with the guitar (at least considering how long I've been playing).

I know my blues scale, my major and minor and my major and minor pentatonic scales but whenever my friends and I start playing around on the guitar, and he plays some chord progressions, even if I know what key it's in it's hard for me to make a nice little lead part.

Can you help me out?

Hi Jesse,

I must admit, being mainly a classical player, I don't solo too well myself. I do have a friend who told me about a site that has lessons for soloing and other things on guitar. The guy that owns the site is Will Landrum.

Although I haven't taken any of his lessons as yet (I hope to get some time in the future) I do trust my friend's judgement. You can have a look and see if it's for you. You can view the site here...

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Drunken sailor

I saw your video on youtube and I subscribed here but I can't find the tabs for this song. Can you help me with them?

Hi,

That piece is now part of the "Beginner Series" which you can sign up for here...

Beginner Lessons Page


It's a free course by the way.

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Tansman´s Cavatina

Hi.
I have to make a new edition of the Cavatina for my school and I would like to know about the background of this composition.

Historical social and personal context of Tansman reason for composing that piece... etc.
I have searched a lot but I could not find anything.

Thanks.

Ignacio

Hi,

There's a Wikipedia page on Tansman that might be of help that also includes a bibliography of resources. You can see that here...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Tansman

I hope this of some help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Guitars and matches

by Helen
(France)

On a recent documentary on the guitar, I saw a guitar manufacturer hold a lighted match in front of the sound hole, tap on the body of the instrument and the match went out.

Now, it was an American folk guitar, not classical, unstrung and he did not tap hard. My question is - what did that prove and how does it work? The man seemed to think that was the mark of a good guitar. Thank you.

Hi Helen,

I must admit I'm not sure what this means and have never heard of it before. As this intrigued me I Googled some of your words and came up with this...

In the video series "Handmade Music", shown on Do It Yourself Network, luthier Lynn Dudenbostel described a test for determining whether a guitar body will sound good in the finished instrument. The test is simple: place a lighted match in front of the soundhole, and tap the body firmly a little below where the bridge is supposed to go. If the air coming out of the sound hole blows out the match, the body's a good one. So I tried the test with my wife's cigarette lighter, and the body blew out the lighter."


You can see that page here...

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Modern songs transcribed for classical guitar

by RickRod
(Modesto, CA)

Hi I'm looking for a book or some source that will give me transcriptions of moderns songs written for the classical guitar, preferable Eddie Vedder songs but if that's asking too much then a compilation of modern songs to choose from.

Hi Rick,

I could only find Ukelele songs for Eddie Vedder but no classical. I did, however, find these items...

Popular-Songs-for-the-Classical-Guitar

Greatest-Guitar-Songbook

I hope this is useful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Playing classical guitar using an acoustic

Hi,
I was wondering if it's good idea to learn to play the classical way on an acoustic guitar if you haven't got a classical guitar; or would it be much better to buy a classical guitar, for speed and technique. Also I'm guessing the transition from classical to acoustic is easier than the other way around, in terms of the technique.
thanks
M

Hi M,

I believe it's better to get a classical guitar to play that type of music. It’s much harder to play classical on a steel string acoustic if only that your fingers will hurt more! :))

Seriously, you wouldn't use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail and vice-versa. Although it can be done I think it's wise to use the guitar for what is was designed for.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Reading Classical Music

I'm OK with normal notes and most Italian instructions but on some music I see 1,2,3,4 circled - Does that mean "Repeat" or what? - Larry

Hi Larry,

In classical guitar the numbers inside a circle mean what particular string you play the note on e.g

1 = the 1st string (E string),

2 = the 2nd string (B string) etc.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Which is better?

by Ris

Hi,

My mum recently gave me a classical guitar and actually, I want an acoustic guitar. I haven't learned the guitar yet and the reason why I want to cause' I like the sound of the guitar made when being played in those pop songs. So I was just wondering if an acoustic is better for those pop songs and is the classical guitar okay to be strummed to play those pop songs? Does it make a lot of difference?

Thanks.

Hi Ris,

The main difference is the nylon strings of a classical guitar versus the metallic strings of an acoustic guitar.


The nylon strings give a different sound, timbre and feel altogether and are more suitable for plucking rather than just strumming but both do sound good on a classical. The nylon strings are a lot "easier" on the tips of your fingers when just beginning too.

The acoustic guitar can also be plucked but is probably better as a strumming and accompanying instrument whereas the classical is often a solo instrument. The metal strings of the acoustic are very "bright" and can "cut through" other instruments and be heard.

The style of the acoustic and classical are often quite different with some similarities. They're more like cousins rather than brother or sister, if you know what I mean :))

I hope this short description was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What does it mean?

by Arp
(toronto, on )

What does Dm Am Gm Cm Bm and etc mean on the guitar?? I always see it when I'm trying to play a song but I dont know what it means. I am just learning how to play the guitar so I have no idea really how anything works.

Hi Arp,

Those symbols are for the chords of a song. For example Dm = D minor, Am = A minor etc. If you just see D or A it's the major form of the chord.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Short Video Lessons

by Andy
(Florida)

How about posting some short videos on technique. (LH, RH, Slurs, Tremolo, Trills,)

Hi Andy,

I already have provided some of the drills you mentioned here...

Regards,
Trevor M.

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Downloading videos

by David
(France)

Hi Trevor,

I'm a sales rep and consequently have to travel around a lot. I take my old guitar with me on my trips to stop me being bored in the hotel room in the evening. The trouble is, I don't always have internet access. I have already copied the PDF files of the music scores onto my laptop, but my problem is that I need the videos to be able to understand how a piece sounds (I'm not very good at reading music). Is there anyway I can download your video files onto my computer so that I don't need to be connected to the internet to continue practising guitar?

All the best,
David

Hi David,

Yes there is actually. You can get a free youtube downloader from here...


I hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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classical guitar/acoustic guitar

if you start to learn classical guitar on a classical guitar, but then buy an acoustic guitar, can you still continue to learn classical but on your acoustic guitar?

You could but it's not ideal because it's so much harder to play classical on an acoustic guitar. The strings for one are so much harder to play classical on.

I think it's a case of "horses for courses" i.e. the right guitar for the right job. If I were you I'd use different guitars and switch between the two when you were changing styles.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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I need help on my homework

by sami
(iowa )

Please help me !!!!

Here is a "fill in the blank" guestion that needs to be answered...

* The blank means to make the sound louder?

Answer: Cresendo

* A blank is two or more notes sounded at the same time?

Answer: Chord

* blank means to play quickly through several strings one after another?

Answer: Strum or Roll

* The letter name of string two is blank???

Answer: The "B" string

I hope that helped Sami.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Acoustic or Classical Acoustic Guitar?

by Joe
(Utah)

I have a guitar that once belonged to my mother and I have recently been practicing on it but I'm not sure if it's a classical acoustic or regular acoustic.

The book I'm learning from, Guitar For Dummies, has noted that there is a difference between the two in many regards. ie: stringing, positioning, shape, styles of music that can be played on it.

I have tried other sites to help me tell the difference but so far all I have discovered is classical guitars usually don't have pick guards. Mine does not have a pick guard.

Is there any other way I can tell the difference or should I just bring it into a music shop and have them tell me? I don't want to go in there and ask a potentially stupid question.

Hi Joe,

I'm thinking the easiest way would be to go to Google images. Here's one for classical guitar...

And here's one for Acoustic guitar...

I hope this is of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Tone

The sound of my guitar is just not right. How do I know what the sound should be like? (I am a beginner).

Hi,

I'm not sure what you mean when you say your tone is not right. Do you mean you have a cheap guitar or is it your technique?

If it's your technique and you want to know what great tone is I'd suggest you listen to as many great classical guitar players as possible to get a feel for good tone production.

A great place to start is right here...

If it's your guitar you may want to invest in a better, more expensive instrument.

I hope this helps :)

Regards,
Trevor M.

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Strumming

by Ann-Marie
(London)

Is it possible to strum without a pick and still sound professional?

Hi Ann-Marie,

The answer is a definite yes. There are many times a classical guitar player is called on to strum using the fingernails in a rasgueado fashion.

Also, much more than a classical player, a flamenco player is strumming with the fingernails probably 50% of the time.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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study no.8 Fernando sor

by mohammad ali masjedi
(shiraz,iran)

I am going to play study no.8 by fernando sor.
I dont Know which items are more important in this study...

tnx for your help.

mohammad from iran.

Hi Mohammad,

Fernando Sor has quite a few Studies but if you're meaning Opus 60, No.8 this is what I wrote about it in the Classical Guitar Study Course...

"This Sor study has lots of notes that have to be held for
their entire length. This includes both whole notes
(semi-breves) and half-notes (minims). This is not
particularly hard as the tempo of the piece is fairly fast
but it's very important in terms of its sound.



What I'm saying is don't lift your fingers of notes too
early as it will affect the overall intended sound of
the piece. I believe Sor was a master composer who never
put a note in the wrong place. He especially knew how to
write a study for a beginner/intermediate for both didactic
and pleasure purposes."

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Best "second" classical guitar

by M Tyson
(Monterey, CA)

OK, you wanted a question. Here you go:

I have been taking lessons for almost a year and I love classical guitar. Especially 4-3 pull-downs and any 4-finger hammer down!

My question is: what is the best 'second' guitar? I have been playing on a Yamaha 101 and soon I'll want to move to the next step up. I want to spend around $500. What do you suggest for my next guitar?


Hi!

As it happens, I just bought a guitar recently. The Paulino Bernabe 20 model. Although that sounds out of the range you want to spend I did contemplate another guitar at the time that was much less expensive.

It was the Ramirez R Series. It felt really good and it did cross my mind to buy it. At around $1950 it's a little more than you stated but if you could save your money for a while longer I think you'd be happy with a guitar of this quality.

Hope this helps.

Trevor M.

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acoustic to classical guitar conversion?

by Brandon Lewis
(Atlanta, GA)

So I have an acoustic guitar that I really like that was a gift. However, I'm really into classical and flamenco guitar.

I know that eventually I will have to buy an actual classical guitar. In the meantime, however, would it be possible/advisable for me to just put nylon strings on my acoustic? What are some of the possible disadvantages that would come from such a conversion?

Hi Brandon,

Luckily, I've seen acoustic guitars with nylon strings that have been fine. The trouble is usually the other way round when you try to put steel strings on a nylon guitar. You'll end up ripping the neck away from the body.

Still, having said that, I wouldn't do it myself (put nylons on my acoustic) just to be on the safe side.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Leo Brouwer Prelude with Expression

Can I have a tab or sheet music of this beautiful prelude by Leo Brouwer? It starts like this from the sixth string down the third and up again: D A D E F# E D A D ......

I'm sorry but Leo Brouwer's music is in copyright as he was born in 1939. Therefore I couldn't supply you with any. If you found out the name of the piece it would be quite easy to purchase it from somewhere like Sheet Music Plus

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Being A Good Musician and music grades

by Hadi
(SIngapore)

Hi!

I ask this question to myself because I am trying to find the right answer to what it takes to be a good musician.

This is because I believe that there is more to it than just playing the music notes and all the technical stuff.

Also, I am curious to know how many music grades are there.

Kind Regards
Hadi

Hi Hadi,

You're right. There's a lot more to music than just the notes and technical issues. You must have a "musical soul", for the want of a better expression.

I suppose along with the mental part of music there's also the emotional element where you bring emotion and feeling to the music.

I don't think you can have one without the other. You must develop all the components simultaneously and intelligently as you proceed in your studies.

In terms of grades, I know here in Australia there is the Australian Musical Examinations Board (AMEB) where the guitar has grades 1 through 8 and then an Associate level and after that, Licentate level.

That's approximately ten years of study so it's a long time and a lot of information and practice.

I hope that answers your question.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What is the Sakari Method?

by Richard
(Denver, CO)

I saw a few on-line references to the Sakari Method of learning Classical Guitar. In reading the info it's hard to tell what exactly it is other than taking non-Sakari lessons seem to be held in a very negative manner. Can you shed some light?

Thanks,
Richard

Hi Richard,

I've not had any experience with the Sakari Method but I have seen online advertising for it.

I did turn up this information in a Google search so you may want to read it and make up your own mind on the subject.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Slurs

by RON
(VICTORIA .AUSTRALIA)

All the books that I have none give a good idea of how to, or show how to, play slurs.
Thank you,
RON

Hi Ron,

'Slurs' take a good deal of accuracy and thus a lot of practice. You need to practice slowly in the proper manner.

Take a look at my page on trilling and slur technique

Also this page which helps you to practice slur technique is a good one.
There's free sheet music (also in tab)on the page so you can practice the slur piece.

Hope this helps.
Trevor M.

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When can we use i, a or m, a fingers

by Faisal Al-Boutiahi
(Bristol - UK)

I've have been learning the guitar for a few months. I need to know when can I use i,a and m,a apart from the usual i,m fingers.

Is there an example to follow in a piece of music apart from the exercise for scales and chords?

Regards,
Faisal

Hi Faisal,

You usually use those fingers (i,a + m,a) as you progress in music that is more difficult and requires the use of more fingers at once.

The music should indicate which finger combination to use. But remember, this is NOT "fixed in stone" and should be regarded as a good guide.

Also, if you use these different finger combinations mentioned above when practicing scales you should be well prepared when you are required to do it in the music piece.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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There are levels of piano you can complete is there the same for guitar?

by Brad
(Canada)

There are levels of piano you can complete is there the same for guitar?

Thanks,
Brad

Hi Brad,

Yes, there are levels. In the U.K. you can sit for the "Trinity" series of exams and in Australia there is the "Australian Musical Examinations Board" exams. I think in the USA they have the "Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music" but I'm not sure if they cater for classical guitar.

Does anyone know the answer to this one? You could also reply from other countries and let us know what your particular country has in the way of classical guitar exams.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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musical symbols or sign

What do 1/2CII, CII, IV, CIV, 1/2CII, CV, 1/2CVII, 1/2CV, etc mean in classical guitar sheet music ???

Hi there,

Those Roman numerals indicate the fret where you play a Barre chord (where the finger covers all or part of the 6 strings).

For example "C1V" would mean to play a full barre chord on the 4th fret. Where you see a "1/2" means to play a half-barre chord which covers either 3 or 4 strings (from the bottom E" string upwards of course).

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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strumming technique

What is the proper strumming technique for classical guitar when playing full chords instead of arppeggiated chords?

Hi!

It depends on what is required. Sometimes you might use a quite fast thumb strum, or you might use a more flamenco-like strum e.g rasqueado.

Hope this helps.
Trevor M.

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spanish guitar pieces

by Neal
(Bakersfield, ca)

I ask every guitar player I meet, as I do not listen to volumes of guitar pieces. I am interested in spanish style pieces, and ask your awareness of what particular pieces I might obtain. I am an intermediate player.

Hi Neal,

As you are probably aware, the Spanish guitar is basically classical guitar. There are many famous classical guitar composers (though not always Spanish in origin) e.g. Giuliani, Sor, Carcassi, Carulli amongst others.

Indeed, there are numerous composers and books to look at.

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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music style

by zoe kervin
(ocean shores nsw)

G'Day mate!
I was wondering what styles of music the classical guitar played?

Obviously classical music, but are there any other styles it can play?

Thanks
xx Zoe

Hey Zoe!

Classical guitar could be used in any music as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure most people would agree with me that it's a great rythym instrument i.e. chords etc but it can "blend" into any musical setting that your imagination could create.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Spanish Style Playing

by Brian
(Cleveland, Ohio)

Hi,

I just started playing classical guitar, I really enjoy it and I'm getting pretty good. I would like to know if there are any books or other teaching aids you would recommend for learning and playing the Spanish style guitar.

I would rather much stay away from the actual classical music and learn more Spanish music.

Thanks,
Brian

Hi Brian,

By Spanish guitar do you mean Flamenco guitar? If so you might consider as a good start this one...

The second book in the series by Gerhard Graf-Martinez is also good quality.

Hope this helps you.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What does 2p0 mean?

by Rocky
(LA)

||-0---2p0---------|-0---2p0---------|-7---7---4-------|-5---5---0-------|
||----------2------|----------2------|-----------------|-----------------|
||-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
||-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
||-0--------0------|-0--------0------|-----------------|-0-------0-------|
||-----------------|-----------------|-0-------0-------|-----------------|


The above is a copy and paste of tabs of a song that I would like to learn to play, but when I see the 2p0 in the first measure I'm not sure what I should do.

I think it might have something to do with a quick slur from the second fret to open, but I'm not sure. What does this mean? Are there other symbols like this? If so what do they look like and what do they mean? Thanks for your time.

Rocky

Hi Rocky,

You're basically right. The 2po symbol is the tablature symbol for playing a "pull-off" on the second fret. A pull-off is another name for a slur in classical.

All styles of guitar use both hammer-ons, which are the reverse of the pull-off, and a trill. You can see more on this page...

What Makes A Good Trill?

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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my guitar. who made it?

by ace
(del city,oklahoma usa)

I have a guitar that I just bought and I cant find any information about it. It's a classical guitar and it has a label inside that says MARIO handcrafted Model M 75. This is my first guitar. I thinkI got a pretty good deal on it. I would like to know who made it and where its from. Can anyone help?

Hi Ace,

I had quite a look on Google but couldn't find anything. Perhaps some of my site visitors can help you out.

Sorry, I couldn't be of more help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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How do I convert Pop folk song melodies into classical music?

by Ron Arndt
(Ohio)

I am aware that you play and offer classical music of the renaissance era. But I want to know how to play modern day songs of our pop folk culture on the classical guitar such as Scarborough Fair, Freight Train, The Cruel War is Raging, Yesterday, Wayfaring Stranger, Bowling Green, Blowin in the Wind and many more? I can read and write standard music notation.

I tried to write just the melody line of notes for a particular song and then in intervals substitute a chord instead of a single note. But doing so, seems to break the even flow of the melody? Has anyone ever taken modern day pop folk songs and tried to convert them to easy classical pieces before? If so who?

Hi Ron,

As you can see it's a real skill to be able to do this. I don't think I do this well myself so I would suggest you go to the real experts first and have a look at how they do it.

One guy who has a good reputation in this field is Frederic Hand. He has a DVD called Folk Song Arrangements for Classical Guitar that has been reviewed favorably.

Once you have learned a little about it and had some experience you could have another go yourself but don't forget - you aren't going to improve unless you get in there and make some mistakes first! :))

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Electric Classic or not?

by David Wiles
(Hardy, Arkansas, U.S.A.)

Hi,

I am thinking about buying a classical guitar. I notice in many videos many professional guitarists do not use an electric classical style.

Is there a reason for this?

Is it better to not have the electric pickup? It makes a difference on what I buy, if I ever get the money. I am stuck right now with a lent acoustic, but it is not as good.

Asturias does not sound the same on it. But do I get an electric clasical or just a regular?

David

Hi David,

I think it comes down to your personal choice as to what you get. I think most professionals don't use them because it's tradition to use a full acoustic.

Don't be put off by what others do. If you like the acoustic/electric then buy it for your enjoyment.

I hope this helps a little.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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When a note has an underscore or overscore, what does that mean?

by Richard Pugsley
(Oxford, UK)

When a note has an underscore or overscore, what does that mean?

Hi Richard,

Sometimes you'll see what looks like an underscore or sometimes what looks like an arrowhead without the base (carat symbol above the #6 on a keyboard).

The symbols mean the notes are played in a "marked" fashion. In other words they are played with slightly heavier emphasis.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Numbering

by Anabelle

In the beginner pdf #1 there are numbers on the sheet music. What do the numbers refer to?

Hi Anabelle,

The numbers refer to the use of the left-hand fingers & open strings. If you see a "0" it means open string (left hand not pressing down a note). Similarly, if you see a "1", "2", "3" or "4" means use the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers of the left hand.

Additionally, the letters you see below the notes are for the right hand i.e. P = thumb; i = index; m = middle and a = ring finger.

For those who reading this but are still puzzledaren't here's a link to the Beginners page...

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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This might be a stupid question

by Prasanjith
(Srilanka)

Dear Sir,

How long must a person practice minimum per day to have an effect on improving his skills

Yours Faithfully,
PRASANJITH

Hi Prasanjith,

I believe at the very least a half hour will yield some results. This is even if you can split the practice time into two fifteen minutes segments per day.

The best way to practice though is regularly! By this I mean, practice EVERYDAY rather than 2 hours one day, then miss three days, then another 2 hour practice session on another day.

Playing and practicing regularly seems to develop your skills more successfully than a haphazard approach.

I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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first guitar ever documented

When was the first guitar in the world ever documented, or recorded?

The answer to that question is rather "clouded" but perhaps these pages will help...

Guitar Time Line

and

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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triplets

by Helen
(France)

This is not so much a question as (I hope) an answer. I had difficulty getting the three notes of a triplet to sound the same.

I live in France and have to take my lessons in French. My teacher said - it is easy.

Just use the French word for triplet triolet. That did not help. Instead, I tried to find an English word where the three syllables are stressed equally.

Not easy. Take banana. We all stress the second. However, I think I have found one and want to share it. It is teacosy. So all the time I am playing triplets, I am thinking teacosy, teacosy teacosy.

Hoping this helps.

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Sitting posture.

by German Ominetti
(Chino, CA United States)

Why is it that when I use a foot stool my lower back starts to hurt but when I play using regular sitting posture or rock style posture my back doesn't hurt?

Does it have to do with how high the foot stool is set or the height of the chair?

I can't figure it out. Hope you know the answer.

Thanks!

Hi German,

If you don't use the classical style all that often then your back muscles won't be used to that type of position and could hurt after a while.

Perhaps your muscles are conditioned to the sitting position of the other styles.

It's a similar situation with the height of the footstool. If your muscles aren't used to it they may hurt for a while until they adjust.

I would probably advise that you only play in this position for a short time then get up to stretch and loosen your muscles the minute they start to feel a little sore.

It shouldn't be long until your muscles start to adjust to this new position.

Also, check to see if you're too tense when playing in this position. Tension causes a lot of stress which ultimately leads to pain.

Hope this helps,

Trevor M.

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Agility Building

by moni ata
(egypt)

How can I build up stamina and agility of both hands?

What are the best exercises to achieve that?
thanks

Hi,

In my opinion, I think there are three things you can do...

1. Play scales, particularly the Segovia scales...

2. Play arpeggios e.g. Giuliani 120 for the right hand...

3. Perhaps the most important one is to play the studies of the classical guitar masters i.e. Sor, Aguado, Carcassi, Carulli and the like. They are time tested to develop your fine motor skills and your stamina and agility.

Note: It does take some time and effort. Don't be discouraged, just keep moving ahead day by day and you'll be amazed at your own progress after a while.

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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My left hand arch. Ouch!

Hi, my question is how do I fix my terrible arch in my left hand. This causes discomfort and is clearly not what you should do. Theres so much tension in my hand.

I've tried raising/lowering the footstool, raising the headstock, holding the guitar closer, adjusting the thumb, slanting the guitar towards me/away from me...nothing seems to naturally get this dang arch out of my hand.

Now I know that some chords you have to arch your wrist somewhat, but for me even the most basic of chords require me to not have my wrist parallel to my forearm. Also a quick follow up question in the same vein. Is it normal to arch your wrist when playing the 6th and 5th string say in a scale? Thanks!

Hi,

It sounds a little unnatural I must say. I would suggest going to a doctor to see if there's some physiological reason this is occurring. It may be muscular or something to do with the tendons etc. As I'm not a medical professional I would advise consulting one as a first strategy.

The answer to your other question is yes, there is more of an arch in your wrist when you play the lower strings.

I hope this was of some help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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problem

by Ahmed
(jeddah , KSA)

Hi Trevor,

I practice every day 2 or 3 hours but I don't feel that I'm Getting better. What can I do?

I started learning classical guitar one year ago. Here is my channel please visit channel and watch my videos

http://www.youtube.com/user/AhmedKibsi?feature=mhum

Hi Ahmed,

Just watched the video on your channel and I must say you play pretty good for one year so congratulations!

Sometimes it seems that we’re not getting anywhere when we really are. I remember years ago when I started learning and my mother would say how I was improving but I wouldn't really believe her. It was only when other people regularly started saying it too that I realized I must be getting better even though it seemed I wasn't.

It's like that saying "a watched pot never boils". In other words, don't be too self-conscious about your playing. Also keep moving ahead with your new music and regularly practice your established repertoire and you should be fine.

You have a record of your playing with your videos too so use them as a check for improvement. For example, video yourself playing a piece and give it your best performance. Do the same 6 to 12 months later and see if you can detect any improvement.

Ask your friends to give you an honest opinion (but not too brutal an opinion :)) and the feedback should help you improve.

I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Concierto de aranjuez - for solo guitar?

by Philip Wesley
(Llanelli, Wales)

On holiday in Spain, I heard a busker playing the second movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez in an arrangment for solo guitar. It was very much more than the simplified reductions usually available, and seemed very well worth playing.

Does anyone know if sheet music is available? I have tried the usual sources online (musicroom etc) with no success. The guitar part is available and several versions for guitar and "other".

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Classical to electrical

by Shinnok
(Birmingham)

Would a classical acoustic be good enough to use to learn the fundamentals such as the chords used with steel string guitar since I would like to learn classical as well as electrical.

Hi Shinnok,

Yes, it would definitely be good enough in my opinion. Many people use a classical guitar for other playing styles such as chord playing and are happy with the sound.

Remember, there are no "hard & fast rules" (except by the anal-retentive types). Yes there is a definite and required technique used for classical playing, but you can learn other styles on the instrument concurrently if that's your desire.

Good luck with your playing!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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"8 Octave"

When there is an "8" under the "G" cleff (Op.60, NO.1)in this guitar music,do you still play at the first fret?
Max.

Hi Max,

Sometimes they use a treble clef to read one octave below the normal written pitch because some people find it difficult reading the bass clef. The "8" at the bottom of the treble clef therefore means that the notes should sound one octave lower than they are written.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra in D major

Hi! I have been searching for sheet music for Vivaldi's Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra in D major Largo. There appear to be different arrangements and I would like the one that is played by John Williams/Sharon Isbin/Bjorn Boris Baggers. If anyone knows where I can get a copy please help. Thanks!

Hi!

Perhaps it is this piece you're talking about...


Vivaldi-Boris-Bjorn-Bagger


I hope this is of help.
Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Mr Potato Accoustic Guitars

I've found a 1988 Mr. Potato 12-String for sale on-line. Any idea about the quality of construction, solid or laminated back & sides? Do know if these have adjustable truss rods? Thanks!

Hi,

I've had a few inquiries before about Mr Potato guitars. Apparently, they're of reasonable quality and you can see Mr Potato himself playing on youtube. You can see the prior entry here... I hope this was of help.

Kinde regards,
Trevor M.


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Glissando

by Miloslav Mrlik
(Czech Republic)


Hello friends,

Please how would you write down a glissando slide where the destination tone is plucked as well? (After having finished sliding). So it is not a legato glissando slide where the destination tone is not plucked anymore.

I am enclosing a picture of what I mean.

Thank you very much for your help.

Best regards Miloslav Mrlik

Hi Miroslav,

If you're writing the music yourself can you play another note of the same pitch after the finish of the glissando slide?

Trevor M.

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Character Pieces

by Jeramy
(Illinois, USA)

Hi,

I have an Audition for a college music program. I have studied guitar for 7 years, but I have primarily played electric and must play classical guitar for my audition.

On my list of music to be performed it says I must perform a "character piece" by artists such as Tarrega, Sor, Carcassi, or Aguado. My question is what is a character piece exactly, and could you make some recommendations for me?

Thanks,
Jeramy

Hi Jeramy,

I'd imagine what they mean by "character piece" is one in the style of or having the "character" of the composer's style.

My suggestion would be not to try anything too advanced if you haven't played much classical. There are many pieces by these composers that have their characteristic style but aren't too difficult to play.

Have a look at this Carcassi piece (free music on page)...

Or for something a little more impressive try this piece (also free music on page)...

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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foot stool

by qays
(brunei)

How important is the foot stool besides maintaining the postion of the guitar?

Hi Qays,

That is really the only function of the foot stool. There are contraptions that do the same job but I prefer the foot stool.

The "contraption" connects to the guitar itself and a "Saddle" sits on your leg. It still does the same job by raising the guitar at the correct angle and height.

Hope this helps.

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Technical Problem

by Robert

The notes of some middle frets of my acoustic guitar, metal string type, seem to be missing! The notes get higher at the top frets, then sound the same many frets down before emitting the higher notes again. Is there any tweaking that could be done by a layperson?

I have subscribed to RSS. Is it different from subscribing via email?

Anticipated thanks.

Robert


Hi Robert,

Sounds as though you need help from a specialist repairer to me.

RSS is different from the monthly newsletter which you can subscribe to here...

http://www.learnclassicalguitar.com/ezine.html

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Drunken sailor

by Bojan
(Croatia)

First of all I would like to thank you for the lessons. My question is: Isn't "Drunken sailor" a litle too hard for a beginner because of so much 16th notes, I am a beginner and I have difficulties with that song.

Hi Bojan,

Thanks for the nice comments. In regards to the Drunken Sailor, I put that in specifically so beginners could practice their 16th notes, albeit slowly.

Remember they're only single notes as well, not chords, which will also aid in practicing their alternation of i.& m. fingers free stroke.

Practice very slowly until you can manage it without mistakes then increase your speed a little more.

Hope this helps,
Trevor M.

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writing a score

by Dylan

I heard that you only use bass clef with a guitar score. So how do I go about a score when I sustain the lower strings while plucking the higher ones?

Hi Dylan,

That is actually incorrect. A guitar uses the treble clef, not the bass cleff when scoring music.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Hi! Please can you help me?

I am looking for a classical guitar transcription of Mendelssohn's "Song without words".

I know that Julian Bream plays it on his romantic guitar cd but I simply cannot get the sheet music.

I doubt that it will be copyright as the original is 100ds of years old.

But to get the classical guitar transcription - phew ... not easy.

Possibly you know how to help me as you seem a fan of Julian Bream which I am myself.

Kind regards

Mark Corrigan
South Africa

Hi Mark,

The only one I could locate is this one at Sheet Music Plus. I haven't bought it myself so I can't say how good the edition is but you might like it.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Bad Habit

by Adnan
(Dhaka,Bangladesh)

Hi
I'm Adnan.

I'm having serious problems with my arpeggio technique. In pima,pami,pimami arpeggios when my "a" finger starts to play my "m" finger curls up in tension, and in pim arpeggio my "i" finger overshoots after "p" plays.any advice or exercises to remove these?

I've been practicing the mentioned arpeggios on open strings slowly for a long time but it improved too little.

can you help?

Hi Adnan,

Have you tried practicing the fingers individually? You can do this to gain greater fine motor control as the brain only has to concentrate on one finger until sufficient control has been built up.

Additionally, you should be very aware of any tension in your fingers while you are practicing and learn to "let the tension go" whilst you're aware of it.

You could also try playing with a slight staccato to gain greater control.

I hope these ideas help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What does pont and lv mean in clasical guitar

by Mary Mc Kendry
(Ciunty Antrim)

What does pont mean? What does lv mean?

Hi Mary,

"Pont" is short for the Italian term "sul ponticello" which means to play the strings closer to the bridge and is opposite to "sul tasto" which means to play the strings closer to the fret board. Both these techniques create a different tone/feel/sound and add to the "color"of guitar.

"V1" means to play a barre chord, in this instance, the 1st fret. If it's V111, it's the 3rd fret and so on.

I hope this has been helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Tempo

by Janice
(Scotland)

If the piece says lively and energetically and it shows a minimum equals c. 108. What should I set my speed at?

Hi Janice,

You'd set it at anything above the 108 as long as you're able to play if effectively. That's within reason because there'll be a point at where it sounds ridiculous of course.

I would work the piece up slowly and then go in small increments AFTER I was able to play the piece at the minimum 108 on my metronome.

I hope this was of help.


Kind regards,

Trevor M.

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First Guitar

by Philip
(China)

I am 56 years old and have NEVER been very musical. I would love to play classical guitar. Can you suggest what sort of guitar I should buy to get me started, please?

Many thanks.

Hi Philip,

There are many guitars that may be suitable for you. However, I do suggest you read this information first about buying a guitar...

I hope this helps.
Kind regards,
Trevor M.

P.S. If you're looking for a reasonably priced good quality brand try here...

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Question about how to play Siciliano

Hi, I am starting to study classical guitar and I had a question about how to play the free music for May 2008, Siciliano.

I am currently studying Aaron Shearer's Volume One and I am just starting to learn to play 2 notes at once using the rest stroke with i,m & a while using the free stroke with P. In this piece Siciliano, should 'i,m,a' be 'free' stroke or rest stroke?

Thanks for any help you can provide and thank you for this website.

Roger

Hi Roger,

Firstly, thanks and you're welcome re; your thanks about the site.

You could play either free or rest stroke in Siciliano but if you're just learning play rest stroke then it's a perfect piece to do just that - practice your rest stroke.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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A Piece of music

by Roy Bettesworth
(Cape Town South Africa)

I have played this piece for quite a bit but I only know the beginning of it and would be keen to play the rest of the song











Hope you recognize it.


Many Thanks
Roy Bettesworth

Hi Roy,

I'm sorry, I don't really recognise it. Perhaps someone reading this page could email me if they recognise it.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Sheet Music for April, 2008 Video Lesson?

I am thrilled to be among your subscribers. As a begining student you have provided many wonderful insights and great pieces for me to learn on.

However, I cannot find the printable sheet music (with tablature) for the monthly April 2008 video of "Moderato" by Mauro Giuliani.

Am I just overlooking the link? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, so much for all of your effort!

Regards, Roger Baim

Hey Roger,

I think the music you're looking for is here.

Hope this is the right one.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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aim of classical music

by shaikh
(bangladesh)

At last I've got a website which may help me a lot I think. But my question is that, why we learn or practice classical music?

I have some friends who don't know what classical music is but they learned guitar and impress people by playing rhythm of some songs.

But I observed most of the people love to enjoy their music. Is classical is too slow a process?

Hi Shaikh,

I think classical music is a beautiful thing in its own right but it takes a lot of time and discipline to develop. I think it's worth it but you have to make that decision whether it's worth the time and effort for you.

The other strumming style should not be denigrated when compared to classical though. It may be easier to play but it is beautiful in its own right as well and there will always be people who prefer to listen to that style rather than classical.

As I said, it's up to YOU to decide what YOU like and just enjoy the ride, so to speak.

I hope this has been of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.


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Thumb and finger picks

by Steve
(new rochelle, NY, Usa)

Is it acceptable and practical in the classical world to use thumb picks and finger picks?

I love classical guitar and its sound, but I absolutely HATE growing my nails. Ive had them long for months and months but its just so irritating.

What classical guitarists used or use them?

Any recommendations on what brand to go with?

Hi Steve,

It's up to you, of course, if you decide to use picks. I personally wouldn't think it was practical or even desirable if it was a question of playing professionally but if you're playing for your own pleasure then why not?

I'm not sure of any brands as I've never used any but I have on occasions used the glue on nails you can get from the chemist (drug stores) that last several days and are quite strong.

I've only really used these in emergencies when a fingernail breaks for instance.

Hope this helps.

Trevor M.

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Trouble finding link to the Classical Guitar Study Course


(Kevin)

Hi,

Re- Classical Guitar Study Course: I am having trouble ordering this as I cant find the link might be just my computer.

Thanks.
Regards,
Kevin

Hi Kevin,

No it's not your computer. There seems to be a few people having the same problem.

You need to let the video load on the study course information page and after about two and a half minutes the actual link to the course will appear right under the video.

Just click on it then and it'll take you there.

The link is...

http://www.learnclassicalguitar.com/study-course.html


I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Turkish March by Mozart

by Peter
(Boston Ma.)

Can somebody please tell me where I can locate the sheet music or tablature for this piece of music on guitar. I would like the sheet music/tablature for the version of this piece exactly as being played on youtube.com by William Kanengiser or the same piece as played in the movie crossroads emulated by Ralph Macchio. I have to learn to play this!! -Thank you much for your assistance! -P

Hi Peter,

I had a good look on the web but this was the only one I could find.

Hope this helps.

Trevor M.

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Mr Potato Guitar

by Trinity
(Colorado Springs)

I have a mr potato classical six string guitar I bought from him in 2002, I was just wondering how much it's worth? Its rarely been out of the case.

I'm not sure as I haven't had much experience with them but I found this page at Google...

http://www.learnclassicalguitar.com/mr-potato-google-page




Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Differences between a classical guitar and a regular acoustic

by Laney
(Tennessee, Chattanooga, United States)

How can you tell the differences between a classical guitar and a regular acoustic?

Hi Laney,

I've answered this question before so perhaps it would be best to go here...

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Music, Music, Music

by Bob Anderson
(Knoxville, Tn USAQ)

I've been thinking of purchasing the book, "Pumping Nylon".

I find however that there are several choices.
There is one with a CD and there is one in TAB.
Then there is just the simple book. Then there are subsequent books by the same author.

Which would you choose? Thanks for your wonderful site.
Bob A.

Hi Bob,
I'd go for the one with the DVD (It's the one I actually bought) as I like learning visually. I don't mind learning aurally, as in the CD, but the DVD gives you a better perspective I feel.

You can see that DVD edition here...

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Singing Cowboy Guitar 1940's

by Regina
(Buzzards Bay, MA)


I have a singing Cowboy Guitar from the 1940's. What is the value? if any?


Hi Regina,

I'm not sure of the monetary value but I'm sure there must be a lot of sentimental value. It looks really great!

Perhaps you could email someone at cowboyguitars.net and they could advise you more reliably on the guitar's worth.

I can actually see on their page your particular guitar illustration under the heading "Singing Cowboys". Good luck and let us know if and when you get an appraisal. it would be interesting to know what they think it's worth.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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arpezh speed

by mehdi
(iran,shiraz)


what's the best way to improve the speed of arpezh? or i,m apiando?

Hi Mehdi,

I've found the best way to practice apoyando is to perform short sharp drills using scales. I would start off slow and increase the speed and then the reverse.

I would also use a metronome and work on different notes for the same beat i.e. say the metronome was set at 90 m.m. I would play the scale using crotchet or quarter notes. Next play the same scale using the same m.m. but using eighth notes, then 16th notes etc until you reached your limit.

You can always slow the base speed until you can play the scale easily then move up a notch or two.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Fingers stretching

by Phang
(Singapore)

I have difficulty to stretch and hold a note further down a fret without straining the fingers. I have been playing guitar for more than 10 yrs. (but not regular).

How and what can I do to improve this disability?

Appreciate if it could be overcome.
Thanks

Hi Phang,

One of the keys to stretching you've already touched on...being regular. You should practice stretching exercises on the guitar regularly but don't overdo it. If you feel pain rather than being slightly uncomfortable then it's time to stop.

Also, be consistent. Do a little bit every day rather than a lot in one go and then missing a week for example. This is always unwise. You need to have balance and consistency in all that you do.

Additionally, if your hands are too small, have you ever thought of getting a smaller but still good quality guitar? There's nothing wrong with playing a 5/8 or 3/4 size guitar especially these days when good quality guitars are easy to obtain.

Hope this has been of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Recuerdos

by Tony
(England)

Hi Trevor,

I would just like to say thank you for imparting of your knowledge and your site is very good!

I practice Cavatina and a couple of others which I learned off your video but I don't seem to be getting the tremelo on Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

I just read your tip about pumping nylon but is it in tab form as I dont read.

Thank you for your help and bw.
Tony

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the nice sentiments & you're welcome. There is a tab version of the book Pumping Nylon here...

Hope this helps,
Trevor M.

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Piece for an exam

by Mathilde
(le Havre)

I'm learning classical guitar for 3 years, in a "conservatoire"( France), like an old beginner(60...).

I must now choose a piece for my exam of June, in order to continue or stop my studies.

What do you think I could choose? Brilliant but easy to remember, I'm old! Besides, I like and play also bossa nova and Celtic music.

Hi Mathilde,

If you want something "Brilliant but easy to remember" try my latest posting for the month i.e. Malaguena. You can see the video and get the Malaguena music here...


I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Music from John Williams Barrios album

by Ron Sivils
(Venice CA)

On side one of John Williams Barrios album he has two Barrios peices Estudio and Preludio on track 3. I was wondering if anyone might know where I can find the sheet music for those.
Thanks much.
Ron Sivils

Hi Ron,

You should be able to find the Barrios sheet music your looking for from this list...

I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Syllabus for guitar students

by George
(Richboro, PA, USA)

It would be useful to have a kind of graded syllabus or road map for learning guitar and music.

There are so many aspects of technique, theory, ear training etc. that it is hard to have solid, step-by-step goals that build skill in a rational way (and some teachers do not really provide that).

Such a plan could, for instance, categorize player ability by many levels or steps. Each step could have a goal of skills mastered or improved, theory understood and applied and a body of referenced music that players of that level can perform to demonstrate their achievement at that level.

Reference books (or sections of specific books) and music could be identified as applicable to a certain level. Could there be such a resource?

Hi George,

There are many grade books available that are quite good.Here in Australia we have the Australian Musical Examination Books (AMEB) and in the U.K. the Trinity Books for guitar are available.

I'm not sure of the equivalent books in the U.S. Maybe one of my site visitors will know.

Have you tried looking on the Sheet Music Plus site? There's some great books available.

Also, you'll find some good results if you do a google search using the term "graded classical guitar books" (without the quotation marks.

Keep an eye out on my site this year because I've been working on a product that goes close to what you've just asked. I've got a bit more work on it though to get it right.

Trevor M.


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Good Classical Guitar?

by Kaloce

I have recently been given a 1973 Alhambra guitar. I was wondering if this was a good make and a good choice to play? Any information I would appreciate.

Regards,

Kaloce

Hi Kaloce,

The Alhambra classical guitar is pretty well regarded in the classical guitar world. In fact, when I taught guitar to students here in Australia a large guitar school the Alhambra model was very popular. Indeed, I myself owned one of those guitars many years ago and really liked it.

They did tend to focus on guitars for students but they are very well made in my opinion with generally a very good sound. As the company has grown they also make "high-end" performance models.

Here's a link to an Alhambra guitar reviewed on AmazonAlhambra guitar...

I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Learning classical guitar as a music major

by Lucas
(Santa cruz, CA)

Hi, I have been playing guitar for about 7 years, though I am not classically trained. I have become interested in pursuing a degree in music, using guitar as my major instrument. Right now I am at community college, with a goal of transferring to university next fall. I was wondering if you think it is realistic that I could pick up classical guitar now (with lessons) and be able to pass an audition next year. Thank you.

Hi Lucas,

I'd imagine it depends on the level of requirement from the audition. Perhaps you could go and see someone in the community college itself that is connected with that course and have a "pre-audition audition", as it were, to find out where you stand.

At least doing it this way you know you're either ready now or you have to go away and develop a little more.

I hope this has been of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Lessons

Would love to learn classical guitar. I'm an adult intermediate level, however, would be a beginner at classical.

Can you recommend a quality either on-line course or local teacher who has the patience for adults?

I live in the Chicago suburbs, far west... thanks

Hi,

I don't actually know that area at all. If there's someone reading this who does know a good teacher in that area please join the conversation. :))

As for on-line classical lessons, I will have a course re-opening late this year (2016) called the Classical Guitar Study Course.

If you join my email list you'll receive early notification of when the course is becoming available again.

You can sign up here...

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What is it with you Aussies?

I've been surfing around various "learn guitar" websites (this one is the best by the way). Here's something I've noticed, can you spot the connection?

justinguitar.com : run by an Aussie

learnclassicalguitar.com : run by an Aussie

nylonguitarist.com : run by an Aussie

http://jaw.iinet.net.au/stuff/tab.html : run by an Aussie

are you guys from "downunder" taught guitar from birth or what? In any case, you make damn good sites.

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Looking for the name of a piece of music

I'm sure most of ya'll are familiar with that iconic film "Crossroads" starring Ralph Machio? In the begining of the film he's playing the piece in the classroom. The same piece was played to defeat the devil. Anyone know the name?
glen_tiffany@hotmail.com

Hi Glen,

I found some good information on the film at wikipedia...

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Best Classical Guitar Book

by Von Katindoy
(Manila, Philippines)

Hi Sir Trevor,

I've visited Amazon in search of the best classical guitar book which is not teacher-dependent to no avail. Most if not all of the ones which provide a free look inside highly recommend buying their book and finding a good teacher.

Is there one you can recommend with an accompanying DVD to serve as my teacher?

Thank you very much and more power to you, Sir!

Von Katindoy
Manila, Philippines

Hi Von,

The best ones I've found are actually on my Books & DVD's page...

Having said that it's not all play and no work and you've got to put in the time & effort as I suppose you already understand.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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octave x-headed notes

by Paul
(Durham, NC)

In Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, passage where bass is E, F, E, the score shows unison octave with x as the upper note head. What does that mean? It's playable really only with the bass note, but the F gives a fingering of 4, which wouldn't work for either low or mid.

Hi Paul,

The symbol "X" usually means a rhythm without pitch. You can see this type of notation with percussion instruments. I have heard the piece you mentioned but I'm not too familiar with it.

Perhaps someone can offer some more information on the subject.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Carcassi Guitar Method

by Don W
(Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA)

I'm am a beginner and studying the Carcassi Guitar Method. The book by Mel Bay will indicate some of the right hand fingering for a piece but not for the entire piece. How do I determine the best right hand fingering for those sections where it is not indicated?

Thank you.

Hi Don,

Unfortunately it seems the "norm' to publish books with very little fingering. That's why I try to put all the fingering on my monthly music (as a best guide) so that people have a little direction.

My former teacher made a habit of getting me to arrange the fingering when I learnt a new piece and although it was very difficult to begin with, it payed off in the end as it's now quite easy to do.

The best advice I could give you is to go through your pieces slowly and apply fingering that makes sense to you and is logical.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Stem Up/Stem Down

by Nick
(Rochester, New York)

I have been puzzled as to why some of the stemmed notes in music notation are sometimes pointed up or down. Is is strictly for aesthetic purposes, or does it have another meaning? I couldn't find any answers on line.

Thanks,

Nick

Hi Nick,

Stems up or down have no influence on the music whatsoever. You're right; it's just for "aesthetic purposes" or neatness sake.

For instance, if you went up high on the ledger lines and had the stems all pointing upwards it would look awkward and might be hard to fit on the page.

Apart from that there is probably no other reason that I know of.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Artificial Harmonics

by Gouranga Debnath
(India)

Hi Trevor,

I have been quite keen on learning how to play artificial harmonics. I have observed John Williams' style of playing them but my guitar teacher has demonstrated a technique which is a bit different.

This has led to a bit of confusion for me. Now could you tell me what should be the exact position of my right hand and what is the perfect way to play artificial harmonics with my right hand?

Hi Gouranga,

I put up a page some time ago (including great pictures) about playing harmonics and this explains the proper technique.

You can see that page here...

I hope it helps you.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Mastering time signatures of musical pieces

by Von Katindoy
(Manila, Philippines)

Hi again, Sir Trevor!

I know what 4/4 is vs. 3/4 and vs 2/4 but once there are several notes per scale, say a whole note with several quarter notes, eight notes, dotted half notes, etc. I'm unable to figure out how to "evenly" play the notes the way the composer intended.

What's the best book you can recommend to help me? I'm quite good with "oido" by the way. Meaning, I can figure out how to play the notes if I've heard the song or piece before. But this gift is completely useless if I'm studying a piece I haven't heard before.

Hope you can help me.

Thank you, Sir.

Von Katindoy

Hi Von,

Have a look at these free theory worksheets...

There are some pages that explain the different time signatures plus there are lots of practice exercises too!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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How do you know whether the note is a flat or a sharp?

by Joe Gomez
(El Paso, Texas, United States)

I was wondering, how do I know whether a note on the fret board is a flat or a sharp, I especially wonder this when I'm going through scales, Could you help me some how to figure the notes out.

Thank You!

Hi Joe,

The key signature of the scale or piece should tell you that. For example, in C Major or A minor, there are no sharps or flats in the key signature. But if you're playing E Major the key signature would tell you the notes of F, C, G, & D are all sharpened so when you come to them in the music you would know to play the sharp. Similarly for the flat keys as well.

The other way notes are sharp or flat is via "accidentals", which are sharp or flat notes contained in a particular bar (or the 7th note of the Harmonic minor scale) and are NOT part of the key signature.

You can see some (free) theory sheets here that talk about scales including the order of sharps and flats...

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Schubert's Ave Maria

by Gerry
(Missouri)

I have seen a video of Schubert's Ave Maria played by Michael Lucarelli. Do you know if there is sheet music or tablature available for this arrangement?
Thank You,

Gerry


Hi Gerry,

I found Michael Lucarelli's online shop and it doesn't seem like he has that particular arrangement for sale.

The one I could find fairly easily was the Ave Maria by Schubert inside larger a book...

Sorry, I couldn't be of more help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

P.S. For anyone curious about the video Gerry was talking about you can see it here...


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Weird body?

by qays
(brunei)

I was playing my classical guitar recently which I have not picked up for a long time, and then, I realised something..

I noticed the back of the body of the guitar seemed to be shaped a bit peculiar, when I set it flat on its side, I noticed the back was shaped a bit curvy. So when I lied it on it's back, I realised that there was a sort of pointy hump at the back, which made the guitar now able to oscillate.
Iis this normal? If not, how and why did it happen?

Hi Qays,

You've got nothing to worry about, it is normal. It is shaped this way to increase the volume and tone quality I believe. Many guitars use this technique nowadays.


I hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Request for feedback on La Patrie Etude

by Laurie
(NY)

Hello!

I am considering the La Patrie Etude as my first classical guitar (without the pickup).

I've looked at some reviews on the Internet, but does anyone from this site have experience with this particular model that they could share with me?

Thank you,
Laurie

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Music Theory

by John
(China)

Hello!

I've some difficulty in reading music.I can just read simple stave. How can I improve it?

Hi John,

Sounds to me like you really need to do some serious reading on theory. You can buy something like Alfred's Music Theory books which are inexpensive yet contain a lot of information.

Additionally, you should buy yourself a good Dictionary of Music to round out your knowledge and have something trustworthy to refer to.

I hope this is of help.

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Classical Guitar Exercises

Hi, thank you very much.

If you do not mind can you tell me some exercises to improve my classical guitar ability. I am playing finger-style guitar.

Hope to hear back soon.

Thanks
Kelum

Hi Kelum,

Playing scales are very good for the fingers of both hands. You can play these free ones on this site here...


Guitar Scales Page

Also, you will get some great exercises in books such as these...

Classical Guitar Books

Hope this information helps you.

Trevor M.

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Spanish song sites

by Antonio
(United States)

I first got into Spanish guitar and shortly after, classical. While I'm enjoying your site, I'm also wondering if you know of any (preferably free) sites that are dedicated to Spanish style songs only?

Hi Antonio,

I found this page on Google which may be of help...

Spanish song websites

I hope this is of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Brasila Classical Guitar

by Cliff Cooper
(Tampa, Florida)

I would like to know the origin on a guitar that one of my family members has. It was bought in 1989 in Tampa, FL.

It has a label inside the guitar that says "Brasilia, Made in Brazil" Made by T.G. S/A - C.G.C. 61196119/0001-76.

I am interested in the quality, the manufacturer, and value. I have looked on the internet for info and cannot locate anything. Any information would be appreciated.
Thank you.

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Guitar and Harmony.

I am trying to do some classical composition in Classic guitar but I am having a hard time to decide how the rules of harmonization works for guitar. Please help me.

Hi,

You might want to look at this book...

The Guitarist's harmony by Robert Lilienfeld

It's a great book although it is old so it might be out of print.

Another very good book about general harmony is Harmony in Practice by Arthur Butterworth.


I hope this information is of use.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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How to know if it's Classical

by gary
(ny)

I was given a guitar and I am new to the whole thing, how do I know if it's classical or just a regular acoustic?

Hi Gary,

Claasical and plain acoustic are quite different. For instance a classical guitar has nylon strings whereas an acoustic would usually have steel strings.

The bodies are quite different too. Take a look at these pictures to see the difference...

Classical Guitar

Acoustic Guitar

Hope this helps.

Trevor M.

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what kind of music on classical guitars

by Wayne

Hi, I've just started learning classical guitar and I really want to know what music(genres)can we play on the classical guitar except the classic pieces?

I don't want to be playing classical music all the time. I'm just wondering whether I can play any other music on the guitar.
Thanks alot =D and pardon my poor english

By Wayne

Hi Wayne,

Whatever you like really. There's no hard and fast rule on what type of music a classical guitar can play. It is obviously best for classical but I've heard it used for rock and jazz and they sound great.

If you're playing in a band with a lot of loud instruments the classical guitar won't "cut through" like a steel string acoustic but it is possible.

Hope this was helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Notes

In Hush Little Baby there are no notes given, let alone chord tablatures. How can we play this without this info?

The tab is there for the notes (no chords needed). If you're having trouble reading the notes try this page for some basic info.

And don't forget to watch the video and follow the rhythm.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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What's wrong with my classical guitar?

by Mauricio
(Miramar, Fl)

Hi, about 2 months ago I bought a very cheap set of strings, but everything was going swell til about 3 weeks ago.

The first fret of every string was muted, and as time went on the 2nd and 3rd fret became muted too. I went to Costa Rica for a week (left my guitar here) and when I came back the muting went on to the 5th fret, so I bought new strings, top quality, cause I thought that all that muting was the real price to pay for those cheap ass strings,

I started to change them, and the muting is still there! Everything sounds the same from open string to the fourth fret! What the hell? Did the price on those god damned strings just went far higher? Did I really mess up my guitar by buying those strings? I've had this guitar for about 8 or 9 years and it has never ever given me any problem at all, its a hand made costarican guitar.

Thanks

Hope you can help me out

Hi Mauricio,

It sounds like, from a distance, you have a problem with your guitar itself but it's hard to know without physically looking at it. Check the "heel", the part where the guitar joins the fret to the body of the guitar, and make sure it hasn't started to come away from the body. Similarly, check the "bridge" and see if that hasn't also started coming loose.

If these steps don't reveal any problems I'd take the guitar to a repair shop for closer inspection.

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Paganini Caprice No. 24

by Roberto Moncada
(Miami, Florida, U.S.)


I'm having trouble with the first three measures of Var.1 . I know its arranged for the violin but i was wondering if you can help me out with the position used because I've seen this girl on youtube jumping everywhere at this part and it looks a little unnecessary but then again I don't know if that's the correct way. Any help would be appreciated.

Hi Roberto,

I must be honest and say I've never got round to playing this piece (I hope to before I retire!) so I can't really advise you on finger positionings for this one.

Is there anyone reading this in the guitar community that could help Roberto?

Thanks,
Trevor M.

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plectrum

by john odonell
(mumbai)

Can we use plectrum to play a classical guitar?

No, not usually if you're playing classical but if you're just using the guitar to strum for folk or plain acoustic, why not?

Kind regards,

Trevor M.

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What guitar do you use?

by Jeff
(Wisconsin)

I was just wondering what type of guitar you use in the videos? Is it an expensive one?

Hi Jeff,

I use a Yamaha "Grand Concert" classical guitar. It's worth around $4000 and it has a great tone although I don't like how it sounds on video all that much. It has a lot more character, if you like, in a live situation.

Trevor M.

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Flamenco Guitar

by Debera
(Casa Grande, AZ)

I would like to learn to play flamenco quitar, but do not know how to play even basic quitar. Is this too much to learn as a complete beginner?

Hi Debera,

I would say no it's not but it depends on:

1. Your motivation - This is the #1 factor and everything else hinges on this point;

2. Time available to practice;

2. Access to quality teaching and/or books.

If you have these things covered then I hardly need to wish you well because you will succeed!

Kind regards,

Trevor M.

P.S. I myself didn't take up playing classical guitar until I was 24 years old and although I had many "nay-sayers" (sadly including friends and even family members) I never once thought of giving up. :))

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Screeching sound during chord changing

How do you minimize screeching sound during chord changing?

Hi,

The best way to stop the screeching sound is to dis-engage from the strings. That is, you should lift your fingers up from the strings (only as much as need be) and move to the new position.

Additionally, some string makers are producing strings with a coating on them that helps somewhat to reduce string noise.

Hope this helps,
Trevor M.

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Rest Stroke

Is it essential to master rest stroke in order to become a good guitarist?

I would say a definite yes! It is a stroke that you definitely want to master to give your playing class, pizzazz, and even oomph! :)

Seriously, it's part of the classical tradition and plays such an important part in phrasing, melody and overall expression of so much music. It's actually indispensable in my opinion.
Trevor M.

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Free and Rest Strokes

by Am
(Iran-Tehran)


I know how to play the rest and free strokes but I don't know where and when. please guide me.

Hi Am,

Free strokes are often played in faster scale-run passages and the like. Rest stroke is often used to highlight or "bring out" the melody in a piece for example.

Indeed, Fred Noad writing in Solo Guitar Playing says about the Rest Stroke...

"The rest stroke is the most fundamental and useful in playing successions of single notes on the guitar. It is also the means of developing a strong clear tone with the right hand, and probably the greatest difference between the professional and amateur player lies in the use and handling of the rest stroke."

I hope that clears thing up a bit for you.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Rest Stroke

by Yulia
(Australia)

I`m studying N.Coste`s Barcarolle at the moment and I was wondering if rest stroke can be used to play it.

I study the guitar on my own and I just don`t know when to use rest stroke. Could you please let me know in which pieces of music of third grade level rest stroke is preferable?

Or you can just use it ad lib? I`m confused.

Hi Yulia,

You can indeed play rest stroke in the Barcarolle, at least in places. It definitely helps in bringing out the melody of the piece.

Have a look at my page where I have some notes on the piece and a little video of Barcarolle...

You'll notice the video is an "extended" version of the printed music I provide because I wanted to show a close-up of the right hand too. On certain melody notes, I play rest stoke. It just helps to emphasise the melody line.

I imagine one of those boat people, the Gondolier, singing this melody as he rows. The piece is in fact based on this very idea of the Gondolier (It is sometimes known as "The Boatman's Song") and that thought makes it easier to interpret and phrase the music.

As for "can just use it ad lib?", I would say with practice you get a feel when to use it. It is mainly to express a strong clear tone, especially in a melody line. It is obviously inappropriate when playing a fast arpeggio for example.

I hope this has been of help!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Right Hand Pressure

by Keith

Hi, I've been learning some flamenco, and so playing a bit harder on my rest strokes to really bring out the sound.

Unfortunately I find I tend to unconsciously put extra pressure on my right hand when I play harder with my left. I am trying to catch myself doing it and lessen it, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for me.

Thanks very much.

Keith

Hi Keith,

One method I can think of is practicing scales by slowly "turning" the pressure up and down. By that I mean I would imagine I could turn the pressure and/or volume up and down like a volume/pressure knob.

Doing this slowly would establish a playing "range" that I would eventually be able to control subconsciously. It would be like any other exercise though in that it would take some time to master. But anything good, including guitar technique, is worth it dont you think?

Hope this helps,
Trevor M.

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Welcome!

A Bit About Me...

Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

Classical Guitar
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Sons de Carrillhoes, performed by Samantha C. Wells...

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* J.S. BACH, Sarabande BWV 995, Viktor VAN NIEKERK, 10-String Guitar, classical guitar...

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