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Old 01-21-2021, 03:37 AM
Always Learning Always Learning is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 39
Default some comments and tips for your journey into playing classical guitar

Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
Hi all

"So I am about a month in to this journey and have been surprised by some of the experiences, so I thought I would share.."

Wrightly.. a MONTH...! gheeesh you have just stepped over the threshold and out of door. This journey you are on with learning classical guitar has just begun.

"1. I have not picked up another guitar in this time, and it doesn't look like I will for a little while yet - classical has captivated me and challenged me at the same time. I have loved the tone, the music and the commitment this instrument demands. You don't dabble in classical..."

Boy are you ever so right about dabbling in classical... I started back in the late 60's / early 70's and am still learning.

2. It's much harder than I anticipated to make good sounds - everything I was aware of and tried to do when possible on steel string is a must do on classical. For example, string squeak avoidance and quality of my nails are both massive factors when I play classical.

check out Allen Mathews tips and suggestion on squeaky strings...

also may I suggest if you have dry hands, try applying moisturizer to them before playing. Not a lot, just enough to soften the finger tips.

3. The focus and intensity of the playing are very demanding - the precision and economy of movement are just so much more important.

Why should focus, intensity, precision and economy of movement be more so playing classical and not as important or less important if you are playing "Stairway to Heaven".

4. Right hand - my right hand has always been fairly good when playing finger style. I don't have to think about it much and instead focus on learning the fingering. Playing classical my right hand is probably a bigger focus than my left - rest strokes, alternate finger use are just two things that I am having to really work to achieve.

My suggestion for right hand technique is like in all things, go slowly and deliberately. Call out each finger as you stroke the strings. Say out loud P for thumb, I for index, M for medius (middle or "bird" finger) and A for analur

5. Strings - I thought that the world of steel strings was fairly complex, but oh how wrong I was! Classical strings are not only available in multiple tensions and materials but it is common to play one set of bass strings and another of trebles. I am having to re-learn from scratch what I thought I knew as all the materials are different (Silver wraps, fluorocarbon trebles etc) They are also more expensive - the set I have liked the most so far are £17/set..

My one main suggestion on strings is talk to the luthier who made the guitar and ask them which they would recommend and why. The wrong string tension can cause a lot of issues.

Oh, and then there is changing them and settling them - I have changed hundreds and hundreds of steel sets but learning how to string nylon is a complete change. Then - they take much much longer to settle in to tune - several days!

Have you looked into purchasing a set of string beads... example below.

you can also find them on amazon. I use them and love them, really helps when tying the treble strings and saves damaging the saddle.

Overall, I have to admit to being totally immersed and loving every moment - the variety of new pieces open to me, both classical and modern, is huge. I love the tone and I love the feel of it all.

I do also feel that my steel string playing will benefit in a big way (when/if I get back to it!)

Thanks all for the help and support so far.

By the way, both Allen Mathews and Bradford Werner have excellent youtube channels.


Best of luck on your journey Peter
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