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Are classical guitar chords/scales different from normal ones?

by Neil Dias
(Mumbai, India)

Hello,

I'm familiar with all the major and minor scales and chords, and am now in transition of being a classical guitarist from a regular guitarist.

I just want to know how different are the typical classical guitar chords/scales from the usual chords played?

Thanks

Neil

Hi Neil,

The answer is they're mostly the same but you're often playing them in broken or arpeggio fashion i.e. one note following another rather than strummed all at the same time.

Also classical music mostly follows the time established harmonic rules of progression. Further, a page on classical music at wikpedia.com states...

"Classical music is a broad term that usually refers to mainstream music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 9th century to present times.1 The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century.2 Western staff notation is used by composers to prescribe to the performer the pitch, speed, meter, individual rhythms and exact execution of a piece of music. This leaves less room for practices, such as improvisation and ad libitum ornamentation, that are frequently heard in non-European art music (compare Indian classical music and Japanese traditional music) and popular music."

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

I hope this makes matters more clear.
Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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chords

by miranda
(soho london)

can you tell me how to do these chords

C9

Gsus4

Dm7

Hi Miranda,

These are fairly easy chords if you want to play them in the first position (close to the nut of the guitar)...

*** To play a C9 chord place your left hand fingers thus:

2nd finger on the C note on the 5th string, 3rd fret;

1st finger on the E note on the 4th string, 2nd fret;

3rd finger on the D note 2nd string, 3rd fret;

4th finger on the G note 1st string, 3rd fret.

*** To play a Gsus4 chord place your left hand fingers thus:

3rd finger on the G note 6th string, 3rd fret;

4th finger on the G note 1st string, 3rd fret;

1st finger on the C note 2nd string, 1st fret.

*** To play a Dm7 chord place your left hand fingers thus:

1/2 Barre the first 3 strings on the first fret;

2nd finger onthe A note 3rd string, 2nd fret.


Hope this has been of help.

Trevor M.

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chords and musical notation

How can you translate chords from sheet music is there a pattern??

Hi,

I'm not sure how to do it from sheet music from a pattern but know you'd have to do it manually.

The way I can do it is with my music notation software if I need to.

Is there someone reading this that knows how to do it using a pattern directly from the sheet music?

Just reply to this post and let us all know. It would be much aprreciated.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Bar chords

by L Rentell
(Australia)

Can you direct me to some readily accessible exercises for strengthening bar chords? I want to practice them now rather than wait until I can buy a suitable book.

Hi,

First of all you could look at this page on my site about playing Barre chords...

Additionally, I Googled this page which may help you find some items to go on with now.

I hope this is of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Am I supposed to learn chords to play classical guitar?

by Haya
(Egypt)

Hi! I'm a classical guitar player but I own both classical and acoustic guitars. I was wondering about what should I learn to play classical guitar? I already learnt how to read a simple music sheet as for Mi-Fa-Sol-Do-Re-Ci and the simple ones. But how about tabs? chords?


SO HERE ARE THE 3 QUESTIONS I'D LIKE YOU TO ANSWER:
------------------------------------------------------
How could I play finger style classical guitar?
Any recommendations of simple songs I could practice?
Should I learn the chords and tabs?

Thanks!!!

Hi Haya,

Classical/Fingerstyle is different from acoustic in that you're playing more arpeggios (broken chords) and melody over harmonic progressions whereas acoustic is more strumming of chords (for the most part).

I suggest you start with my beginners course. It's free and you can access it here...

Beginner Lessons


I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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minimize screeching when changing chords

how do you minimize the screeching sound made by the fingers when changing chords?

Hi,

I've answered this one before. Basically, 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. Also, there's a product which helps your fingers to move more easily, produce less string noise and protect the strings. I actually use it myself and find it works well. It's called Tone Finger Ease

I hope this has been of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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chord changing

by kelum
(Sri lanka)


It's difficult to change chords one from each other. Please advise me on the best way.

Hi Kelum,

Yes, it can be difficult to do chord changes especially if you need to do it fast. As always, my advice would be to practice your chord changes VERY SLOWLY.

You could do this back and forth, over and over. Only when you can do this accurately do you increase the speed. Soon you'll notice that it becomes easier and easier until you do it sub-consciously.

But you must give your brain time to absorb and master the fine motor skills you are asking it to perform.

Additionally, if you practice a mistake it will be harder to break that bad habit down the track.

So bottom line? Slow practice is the key.

Trevor M.

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Chord study

Been having serious problems with some chords on a classical guitar, I have a picture chord book with over 1000 chords, starting to think that a great many of them are for steel string players because they are extremely difficult or impossible to play.

Is it just me not trying hard enough or do classical guitarist use select chords suitable for the instrument?

Hi,

We all, at some stage, have a "crises of confidence" whether it's chords, stretches or any million things to do with technique.

The thing is, the guitar players who tend to "make it" (this can be on their own terms) are usually the ones who go through each crises and come out the other side more determined to move on.

Specifically, if you’re having trouble with chords within a piece, take that section "out" as a practice session and work on it slowly before "returning" it to the piece of music.

I actually re-tweeted an article on Twitter today that might help in your situation. There's a part here the author refers to the "relax, switch, touch" method of playing difficult chords as advised by Bill Kanengiser.

Here's a link to the article...

Left Hand Stretches by Mark Antony


I hope this has been of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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barre chord problem

by Ron
(Victoria, Australia)

Dear Trevor,

I can hold the full bar on fret No.5 but when I try to reach bar 8 the full bar goes to pot to say the least. Can you please help?
Ron

Hi Ron,

I presume you mean you can't reach the 8th fret with your little finger as your first finger is holding down the barre. There are several things you might need to do...

Firstly, you might need to apply a little more pressure between the first finger and your thumb to make the barre chord stable.

You might also need to practice stretching your 4th finger into the correct position slowly so that the notes are sounded correctly.

Another thing that might be causing you a problem is that the little ridges of your first finger could be muting the sound when the string gets caught inside them.

A way round this is to turn your finger slightly to its left side (away from the fingerboard) so that the smooth surface of skin holds down the string without any inconsistency.

You can see a little picture of the barre here...

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Chord Roll Help

by Jeff Stanley
(San Antonio, Texas)

Hi Mr. Maurice,

In working on "Greensleeves," I have been attempting to get the same sound out of the "G" roll chord in bar 14 that you are getting.

On the page for the piece you wrote that, "The difference between the strum roll in bar 10 and this one is that my thumb and fingers are sounded on the strings slightly one after another."

Eegads.

Would it be possible to request a video? Of you playing that roll twelve or fifteen times? With a few closeups?

I'll keep trying. Even though the sound I'm getting now is making the cat stand by the door and meow to get out...

:)

Hi Jeff,

It's actually not too hard to play after a little practice. The technique needs to be practiced slowly, cleanly and timed well with your hand quite relaxed and the thumbnail trailing the hand.

A close-up video could be a good idea - I just need the time now :))

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Ease of chording on Classical guitar vs. steel-stringed

by Lorraine
(BC, Canada)

Is it harder to learn regular guitar chords on a classical vs. a steel-stringed acoustic?

I really love classical guitar, and hope that in time I may have the time to devote to learning it. For the time being, I would like to just learn a few chords for singing simple songs in a small group setting (so I don't need the bigger sound of steel string). I have the opportunity to buy a nice guitar from a friend for a good price (about all I can afford), but I've been trying some chording, but it is really hard for my hand, and I wonder if the hand needs to be bigger since the neck is wider on a 'classical' instrument.

Your thoughts?

Hi Lorraine,

You're right in the fact that the neck is wider on a classical guitar. Indeed, it's also thicker than most other guitar necks. But the "saving grace" for learning on a classical is that the nylon strings are much easier on the fingers for a beginner than an acoustic steel string guitar.

Given the choice, I'd rather get used to the thicker and wider neck than the steel strings but I guess everyone's different.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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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...

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