37, metalhead, wants to tackle classical seriously...please help me

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by OmegaSlayer, May 23, 2015.

  1. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    So, I want to learn to seriously play classical guitar.
    I have almost 25 years of experience on electric, know enough of theory and reading musical sheets. (Read the enough as an average knowledge for musicians)
    Now, I always messed with classical guitar, fingerstyles, etc... but never seriously.
    My right hand pima are pretty fast but some kind of uncontrolled and my fretting hand has lost lots of strength to play chords on a classical.
    But what gives me the most trouble is playing a bass chord with thumb and another string with index, medium, or ring finger at the same time, it sends me out of mind and it reflects on my left hand too that makes mistakes.

    I am self thaught and it worked on electric, but here, I don't even know where to start from.
    I obviously started to learn very badly and randomly, I started to correct stuff with exercises that helped me to develope speed on pimami but I hadn't actually learn to play.
    I feel some kind of progress but it's totally random.

    So, being the kind of guy that needs to learn with actual music and not exercises, I need to know where to start from.

    I'm not into classical guitar music, so I don't even know what to look for, what to try to learn.

    Is there someone who would help saying "you should try this for the first week", then if you nail it, we'll discuss the next week plan"

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    Start by shopping a foldable footrest, and learn to sit correct with a fairly straight back with your guitar at a fair upwards angle on your left leg (assuming you're so-called right handed).

    Next, learn to rest you strumming arm for a natural angle and strumming position, and work on strumming very slowly, one finger at a time.
    Work on keeping your fingers parallel - many tends to sortof cramp up the strumming hand in an attempt to control the unfamiliar situation.
    Relaxation is key..

    There are many different ways of strumming. Some prefer longer nails, especially when playing more staccato styles like flamenco, some have fairly short nails, using a technique where the skin dampens the string, then it starts gliding in-under the nail, and is released from under the nails edge, producing a full tone with no artifacts.
    Buy yourself a Diamond Deb file - I've had mine since my teens (now 57).

    As for rehearsing material, shop some etudes by Fernando Sor. Those are quite uncomplicated from a technical point of view; however, you can keep spending a good amount of time on making them sound good with precision and expression. Just to get the balance right between the five thumbs that you'll feel like having early on ;)

    I'd suggest looking up some older vids with André Segovia (if available).
    Notice how short he kept his nails, and that he did not at all have thin music fingers, yet he was so smooth in his playing :agreed:

    Here's a good one showing his so relaxed strumming (and fretting too):




    In this one, notice how different the students sounds, not just because if different instruments, but very much due to different strumming techniques, and notice how much they change the complexity from his comments - which are quite enjoyable ;)

     
  3. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Unfortunately long nails are a no, as I play 8 finger tapping on electric, even if I'm not a monster...
    I realized sometimes my thumb is like "annoying" the index and getting in the middle of the action.
    Is there like a collection of beginner's pieces to learn?
     
  4. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    Sortof the same for me plus playing 7-string bass.
    For these reasons, I keep my nails fairly short, like you see Segovia's.

    If you mean 'physically annoying' as in getting entangled, I assume you're playing with your hand angled in towards the strings, and strumming the thumb in-towards your index.

    Look at the videos, and notice how most of them have the four fingers lightly curled-up and the thumb sticking out- actually kindof like an OK sign rotated 90 deg.
    Using this technique, your thumb won't make a thumb of your index ;)

    Sorry I have too little knowledge of study material other than the referred Sor (notes handed out back then went a-walk).
     
  5. wespaul

    wespaul Octaves of Manhattan

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    I study classical guitar at my university, and my teacher starts everybody off with with the Royal Conservatory guitar series. Being a beginner, you'll probably want to start off with the prep book that you can find here -- GTB00U - Bridges Guitar Repertoire and Etudes Preparatory Level: The Royal Conservatory: 9781554404292: Amazon.com: Books -- This is a cut and dry book that gives no explanation, and is meant to be taken in conjunction with a teacher to offer critiques and guidance. It's simply a collection of music.

    Noad has a book that is absolutely fantastic that starts a student off with the bare basics, and goes into great detail about technique, styles, and ties it all in with reading music in the various positions and uses real pieces taken from the various eras of music. That book can be found here -- Amazon.com: Solo Guitar Playing - Book 1, 4th Edition (9780825636790): Frederick Noad: Books -- This book would be a great one to pair up with the prep conservatory book. There's a wealth of information packed in at around 250 pages. There's a lot of Sor etudes and I believe Giuliani's right hand exercises are included in this as well.

    If you're a visual learner, William Kanengiser has two classical guitar dvds that are great for beginners and advancing guitarists in general, and those can be found here -- Amazon.com: William Kanengiser: Effortless Classical Guitar: William Kanengiser, Hot Licks: Movies & TV -- and here -- Amazon.com: William Kanengiser - Classical Guitar Mastery: William Kanengiser, Arlen Roth: Movies & TV -- He takes about posture, attacking the strings, gripping the fretboard, all sorts of really great stuff every student should learn.

    btw, it's possible to play classical guitar without long nails. I've studied and performed the last 3 years at my university without using my nails. I've experimented a bit with fake nails, and found rico nails to be the best, although a bit pricey.
     
  6. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    So...I checked some stuff, and realized my rest strokes with the i,m,a weren't that good as I didn't push the strings towards the body of the guitar, so at the moment I'm correcting this.

    As a self thought I'm a bit puzzled by some stuff.
    Somewhere I've read that if you play more notes on the same string you should go either i,m,i,m or m,i,m,i...somewhere else I read that you should go i,m,a,m,i,etc...

    Same stuff for the arpeggios and the use of i,m,a which some books point only for the use of the first 3 strings, some others refers to use of the i,m,a even for the other strings.

    So I don't understand a single crap.
     
  7. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    Yo Omega, there was a longer thread in here a few month ago specifically about strumming/picking; check it out (sorry about not linking; a bit busy atm).
    Learning two-finger alternation is easier than learning to to the threesome in perfect synchronized even-spaced rhythm. Which of the two is the better I can't say, though I feel it simply depends on the material being played.

    I prefer rehearsing the r,m,i direction, maybe because it's highly useful for strumming the other direction with flamenco styles, that is, fingers outwards away from strings, and here of course in a foursome including the pinky.
     
  8. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    I'll try to search for it, thanks :)
     
  9. JustMac

    JustMac ss not-so-regular

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    Is it absolutely unacceptable to not be able to read sheet music if contemplating taking classical music seriously? I have books on the topic however I never bothered as I literally have never needed it (I know, the real musicians reading this will be disgusted!

    I have played in jazz bands etc soley by knowing the roman numeral method and chord/harmony knowledge, and rock/metal bands by just jamming/writing (and using GP tabs/ear for covers). Now I feel like learning classical method, with the end goal of implementing it into my own style rather than dedicating myself to actually performing accurate renditions of classical pieces to an audience. I figured to do this I should learn properly though. So yeah, any input on my initial question? Thanks!

    All the best Omega, def stick up some uploads when you get some pieces down!
     
  10. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    Shift the perspective...nothing is unacceptable, but lack of sheet-reading knowledge will make attempting to study classical guitar a lot harder.

    From my experience I would say that it's less effort to learn both to read music sheet and classical guitar than learn classical guitar without learning to read music sheet.

    :scratch:It should make some kind of sense
     
  11. FRETPICK

    FRETPICK Banned

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    Agustín Barrios has definitely influenced me.
     
  12. wespaul

    wespaul Octaves of Manhattan

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    You should be practicing as many combinations of i, m, and a as possible. Take something simple like a two octave scale, and practice it with as many permutations of i, m, and a that you can, ie: i, m, or m, i, or i, a, or a, i, or m, i, a, or a, i, m, etc.

    Regarding reading music: just do it already. Classical guitar is the perfect way to develop your music-reading skills. Reading music is a skill you won't realize that you needed until you have it and are using it. It's not impossible, or even hard. It just takes some amount of effort and dedication on your part.
     
  13. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer SS.org Regular

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    With the sheet reading I'm quite ok, not able to read and perform at the same times yet, but I'm fully able to read a sheet.
    I still have problems to recognize chords on the fly, but that will come with practice.
     
  14. FRETPICK

    FRETPICK Banned

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    John Williams, a master.
     
  15. octatoan

    octatoan Acoustic tech-death!

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    Mmm Chaconne. What was that Oscar guy playing?
    Edit: And the tremolo piece at the end.
     
  16. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Contributor

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    Oscar Ghiglia
    Sonatas E Major and E minor - Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)
     
  17. extendedsolo

    extendedsolo SS.org Regular

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    I didn't see anyone suggest it, but I would try to find a good teacher who specializes in classical if you are really serious. You can cut through a lot of the crap by finding someone who has dedicated their life to it, and get real time feedback. They can also point you in the right direction of who to listen to and how to listen to classical and teach you certain nuances and kind of "how it works." This way you don't learn any bad habits you have to unlearn later.
     
  18. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG SS.org Regular

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    This. There are so many nuances to classical technique that trying to learn without a qualified teacher is pretty much just setting yourself up for the acquisition of habits that are going to hinder your long term development and spoil your playing.

    Luckily, these are the days of the interwebs and skype, so you have access to teachers from all over the world.

    The best way to improve your reading is to devote time to it like you would any other skill. Sight read something new everyday.

    Edit.

    Nails. As was previously pointed out, vampire nails are not required to place classical. Just enough nail to add a little volume to the stroke. Most of the pull comes from the finger-tip, the nail is there just to give it a boost. Nails the length of Maestro Segovia's would not interfere with tapping. You may have to adapt your technique, angle your finger back a touch, but it is more than doable. There are modern "classical" compositions that call for tapping and people with nails much longer than Segovia's manage it.

    The best all time nail care advice is given in the book Pumping Nylon. All nylon string fingerstyle--classical, folk, jazz, ethnic--players should own this book.

    To the gent who asked about reading. You can do it brother!! I believe in you. The following is the key.

    YOUR EGO IS NOT YOUR FRIEND!!

    Seriously, ego is the number one thing that keeps adult players from learning to read. I learned to read years after I learned to play. Learning to read made me feel stupid. Here I would play some pretty sweet lead and I am stumbling through songs I sang in grade school. But if you persist, as I did, you will find yourself a master of this fundamental skill and will wonder why it was ever such a big deal. You can do it.
     
  19. powderedtoastman

    powderedtoastman SS.org Regular

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    I just picked this up:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Bay-Complete-Giuliani-Studies/dp/0786614331/

    There is all sorts of good material in here. Some sections are pure exercises, some are relatively short pieces which are quite musical and educational.
    I'm convinced at the moment that Giuliani was probably the premier classical guitar composer. He did everything from simple pieces meant for absolute beginners up to great masterpieces (give Grand Sonata Eroica in A Major a listen!)
     

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