Classical guitar technique can be a daunting mountain to climb if you are accustomed to playing with a pick. What you might not know is that there is a large overlap of classical repertoire that can be played with a pick too!
In his course, Classical Flatpicking Explorations, Tony Smotherman walks you through 10 studies inspired by notable classical guitar players and composers. So, you can worry less about getting fingerstyle technique under your fingers, and start picking away instead!
Here are 6 classical flatpicking guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Tony Smotherman’s Classical Flatpicking Explorations on TrueFire!
Mozart’s music transcribes so well to the guitar. In this minuet, you’ll notice lots of string skipping and position changes within the scale runs. Mozart was well known for his harmonies and masterful ability to make his pieces sound elaborate, while often built on very basic musical concepts. This minuet is a great example of how Mozart crafted incredible harmonically rich lines in an almost playful manner.
This Mozart minuet employs skips and jumps all over the place. A fun challenge. Be sure to keep your thumb mid-neck in order to pull off those wider stretches. Part two moves through a beautiful minor section full of alternate picked arpeggios. Fingerings are key to move positions gracefully.
Accuracy is key here. Some positions have ascending notes, while others have descending notes, which creates a really interesting and unique feel. Lots of single string runs are going to require position and fingering changes.
Opus 60: Overview
Carcassi was an incredible guitar composer. His pieces always remain accessible but very clever harmonically. “Study No. 7 in A Minor” is a well-known Carcassi piece in the classical guitar community. Most people know it as Carcassi #7. The first time I heard this piece, I loved it and immediately learned it. The cool thing about this is that it sounds like two guitars simultaneously. Carcassi wrote lots of music for the guitar and this one translates so well to using a pick.
Opus 60: Performance
Tempo is key, as always. Make sure the notes are even and that all notes are played at the same dynamic. You’ll begin to hear the alternating bass notes throughout the piece almost immediately.
Opus 60: Breakdown
In #7, you’ll notice that a majority of the tune is comprised of arpeggios, which is where the picking challenge comes from. You’ll need to cross over strings and maneuver chord changes to keep the piece flowing. The moving bass and melody notes give this piece it’s unique sound and that in return really works out the picking hand.
Enjoying these free classical flatpicking guitar lessons from Tony Smotherman? Check out Classical Flatpicking Explorations.