Regardless of the style of
In his course, the Classical
Here are nine free video
Guitar Lesson – Classical Guitar Primer: 4: Secrets of the Classical Sound
The slight arch in the wrist is an essential part of getting the classical sound. Too flat a wrist will create a plucky, bluegrassy sound. On the other hand, be careful, as too arched a wrist can over-bend the tendons and lead to injury.
The other essential element of the classical
All fine guitars have a top made of pine – cedar or spruce or redwood. Spruce is the pine of choice for most fine instruments and historically the greatest classical and flamenco guitars were made out of spruce with either cypress back for cheaper guitars, rosewood and maple for more expensive, prettier guitars. All are concert worthy. In general, old flamencos and classical were the same, just cheaper versions using local cypress wood back and sides for local flamenco journeymen, fancier versions with fancy backwood for classical players. Since the mid 60’s, many
Stay away from guitars that have too much finish. Stick to shellac, oil or urea based varnishes used by Ramirez, Contreras and many other Madrid
Don’t shy away from 60’s and 70’s workshop guitars, guitars built on the workshop of famous Spanish builders. They tend to be well made, and supervised by the head of the shop, rather than farmed out to a chop shop overseas.
Other good affordable options are 60’s and 70’s handmade Japanese guitars, WAY WAY undervalued, and many many builders from Paracho, Mexico. They’ve been building for 500 years using the same time honored traditions from Spain, but without all the tariff and import duties tend also to be way way cheaper.
Last, but not least, classical guitars, especially spruce top guitars, often can take 1-2 years to truly open up. A fine instrument is built to last, and can take time to fully mature. So don’t be afraid of used instruments, even those with some cracks on the back. They have gone thru their changes and you can feel like you are getting a known quantity. A new
Guitar Lesson -Prelude Opus 28 No. 4: Overview – Fareed Haque
This is a beautiful melody, originally for piano. In this section, we take a simple piano piece and arrange it for
When doing a transcription, ask a few basic questions:
What are the musical ideas here, and how can we best play them on the
What can the
A great example of this comes from the piano’s natural limitations. The piano is an amazing instrument, but unlike the
This is just one example. Good transcription is an art, the art bringing a piece to life on another instrument. Make sure the piece gains more than it loses in the process. A great example is the many Spanish pieces originally written for the piano, but meant to evoke the sound of the
Other good instruments to transcribe are the harpsichord, virginal, organ, lute, mandolin, violin, cello; even string quartets and trios can sound great on one
Guitar Lesson -Prelude Opus 28 No. 4: Performance
So the back story here is useful: Brad Wendkos, our fearless leader over here at TrueFire, mentioned how much he loved this piece, and asked if there was a way to include this one for the course. “It’s so easy too!” Well, not really. Generally speaking, things that sound easy on the piano using ten fingers are hard to play on the
Notice that I take my time. A few moments, it’s more time than I wish, but hey, you gotta stay humble. ONLY play what you can, and you’ll build confidence and good character. There is no “GO for IT” in classical
For those interested, check out the original piano score, and compare it to my leetle version.
Generally speaking, there are a few golden principles applied here:
-BIG chords on the piano sound bad on
– Use open strings and harmonics (and other
– Try to use timbre to change vibe rather than jumping up or down octaves, where the
– Be creative, but know the style. If you have questions about the style, listen to the masters, and choose what you like. Oh! And if you are so inclined, read books on the music. It’s a really cool technique this “reading books” thing. Lots of amazing info out there that even Mr. Google doesn’t know.
Guitar Lesson – Melody Over Block Chords: Technique: Demo
This is tricky, and there is no simple formula. Generally playing a rest stroke on the melody using the “a” finger is typical, but it can become hard to play the chords at the same time without rolling or arpeggiating them too much. Some folks opt to not use rest strokes on the melody and this creates a more pianistic, even sound, but the melody stands out less. Your choice. Both are valid approaches. Either way, it’s important to be able to do a rest stroke on melody with chords underneath, so practice it until you can do it, then decide which approach you like.
For the chords, try and make sure your fingers are going in towards the
Some guitarists use the right side of the nail to make the “a” finger rest stroke work, and this also is a very good sound. Check out Ida Presti for the classic example of this sound. Glossy and crystal sounding. Careful! Too much right side of the nail can cause bending of the wrist and lead to tendonitis, so while I love, love, love this sound, I’d say use it sparingly, only when needed.
Guitar Lesson -Guide Fingers Galore: Application Tip
Notice that when I work on a tricky move I will usually go thru and say OUT LOUD, “Prepare, Play, Release” to make sure I am isolating each move correctly and completely. 99% of guitarists fail in PATIENT practice. Calm the heck down. It’s gonna be ok. Your goal is NOT to play better than the
Guitar Lesson – Drume Negrita: Overview
This is a famous Cuban lullaby, “Drume Negrita”, composed by Ernesto Grenet Sánchez. Basically, ‘Sleep, Little One”, set here by the great Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.
Guitar Lesson – Drume Negrita: Performance
Play this one gently and slowly, It’s a lullaby, after all. What’s nice about this one, and most of the pieces included here, is you can feel free to repeat and repeat…and repeat. Add a few simple variations and you’ll be good to go for awhile.
Guitar Lesson – Pizzicato: Technique: Demo
Try to keep in mind the sound of a plucked low string section…cellos and basses. The note has to have the right amount of “bloom”, and the right amount of muting to really create the feeling of a low string section playing pizzicato. So not too much pressure, not too little and right up against the bone saddle, but not over it. Like Goldilocks’ porridge, It has to be just right!
Guitar Lesson – Fingering for Phrasing: Application Tip
In general, try to set up your fingerings to shift between phrases, not in the middle of phrases. Most young players make this mistake and end up making the music stiff, breaking up the melody, and adding awkward, and unmusical shifts that make the piece MUCH more difficult. Think of it like spoken phrases. If you shift in between phrases, just like the end of a sentence, you can take time and use that time to shift cleanly, or even to add expression to your performance. As we all know, the difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma!” is just where we pause, where we punctuate. So if you don’t want to snack on Grammy’s knobbly toes…know the melody!
Digging these free classical