How To Play
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When you consider learning how
to play classical guitar it is good to have a little understanding of where the classical guitar differs from its
contemporaries within the overall guitar culture.
The modern classical guitar
has evolved over a period of more than four hundred years from the family of instruments known as chordophones such
as the vihuela, Renaissance and Baroque guitars.
The characteristic shape of the
modern classical guitar was introduced in the nineteenth century as the work of the Spaniard, Antonio Torres
Jurado. It is because of its Spanish ancestry that today it is so often referred to as the Spanish Guitar. However
the classical guitar has now developed into a truly international experience.
strings of the classical guitar are primarily nylon and are played by plucking with the fingers or fingernails as
opposed to the more usual guitar playing strumming techniques. The use of a plectrum as you learn how to
play classical guitar would be most
As you learn how to
play classical guitar you
HERE appreciate that it is at its best as a medium for solo
performance. The natural sound of the classical guitar, which is heard unamplified, has a very intimate and
personal voice to it that is quite at odds with the noisy and complex world that we live in
It would be good to learn to
read traditional music script if you are serious about learning how to play classical guitar. Classical music is
not presented in guitar tablature but rather a specifically annoted traditional script. In classical guitar
notation the specific fingers of the right hand used to play each note are indicated with one of four letters
marked above the note. The four fingers are represented by the letters p, i, m and a. The thumb is represented by
the letter p, which is in fact the first letter of the Spanish word pulgar meaning thumb. The index finger is
represented by the letter i, for indice. The middle finger by m, for media and the ring finger by a, for
anular. The little finger is not
normally used when playing classical guitar.
HERE TO LEARN & MASTER YOUR GUITAR
It is important as you begin
learning how to play classical guitar that you adopt a habit of sitting in the right position to play. The
classical guitar is not best played in a casual style as you might play perhaps an electric
It is best when first learning
how to play classical guitar to sit towards the front of an upright chair with the left foot raised slightly, about
six inches or so off the ground. This is most easily achieved with the aid of a footstool placed such
that your lower leg is held perpendicular to the floor. The purpose of this set up is that you can then sit upright
in a good posture to support the guitar on your left leg whilst your arms and hands are relaxed and free to play
the instrument. The guitar should be positioned such that its head is held level with your shoulder and with the
weight of your right arm resting on the top of the body of the guitar holding it securely in position to
Strange though it might seem,
when learning how to play classical guitar you have first to grow and manicure the finger nails on your right hand!
Because you pluck each string as you play classical guitar, the length of the nail will have a significant impact
on the tone of the note. If the finger nail is too short, it is the fleshy part of the finger which strikes the
string, resulting in a soft and mellow tone. If the nail is, on the other hand too long, then it is the nail which
strikes the string producing a relatively sharp or metallic note. To produce a well rounded and pleasing sound the
nail should be trimmed to be of the same height as the top of the finger and to be rounded to follow its profile.
Played thus, it is both the flesh and the nail of the finger striking the string at the same time that produces the
correct and recognisable tone of the classical guitar.
right hand now correctly manicured it has to be held in the right position if it is to achieve the true classical guitar
sound. As you are learning how to play classical guitar you will need to play the strings in the classical style.
The string must be plucked not strummed and to achieve this consistently the fingers must be held at right angles
to the string they are playing. So you will hold your fingers very much above the strings and relatively straight
compared to how you might have them were you strumming an electric
There are essentially two plucking strokes to learn as
you master how to play classical guitar. They are known as Free Strokes and Rest Strokes. Whilst both strokes
produce a note they are notes of two very different styles.
With the Free Stroke the string is struck in a slightly
upward angle such that the finger finishes up in the air just above the neighbouring string. This style produces
the less emphasised notes in a piece. For more emphasis or volume the Rest Stroke is played where the string is
struck parallel to the face of the guitar, the finger coming to rest against the next string. From this stroke
comes the maximum volume of sound thereby accentuating the particular note in a piece.
When a note needs to be accentuated using a Rest Stroke the
standard guitar notation shows an accent, shown thus, > , above the note to be played, telling you to play
While all this is going on of
course, your left hand has to be correctly held as it plays the frets as well. Here too it is important that the
fingers come into contact with the strings and fingerboard at right angles to the board. The thumb should be kept
behind the neck of the guitar to counter the pressure of your playing fingers. The position thus attained should
remain constant and as the fingers find the frets up and down the neck the thumb should stay in its relative
position behind the fretboard.
HERE TO LEARN & MASTER YOUR GUITAR
To enjoy the undoubted
pleasure of mastering the skills necessary to learn how to play classical guitar will require a great deal of
dedication and practice. But you will also need some structure to your learning process. To have that structure
will necessarily need you to take some lessons from a skilled and competent teacher. How will you do
You can of course take lessons
either privately or in a group at perhaps a local school or college. The best learning experience will come on a
one to one basis, but such lessons are very expensive. There is though an alternative. You can learn how to play
classical guitar at home, at your own pace and at a time to suite yourself with the aid of a high quality and
comprehensive multimedia course of instruction.
Such courses offer a wealth of information, instruction and practice material for you to pick up and use as the mood takes you. You can progress
toward your goal of learning how to play classical guitar starting at whatever level you feel comfortable with. You
do it at your own pace and you can do each module as many times as you feel you need to eventually arrive at your
own desired skill level. You are in complete control.
Just such a course and a course that many, many people have found success
with is from Legacy Learning Systems. Their Learn & Master Guitar Course
is a complete course. It encompasses everything you could
need to have success in learning how to play classical guitar. Take a look through the link below and judge for
yourself. You have absolutely nothing to lose but you have an opportunity here to make your dream of learning to
play guitar a reality and a reality today.
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"Learn & Master Guitar is a phenomenal program. It's clear and concise and watching the DVDs is
like having your very own guitar instructor in the room with you. The course is extremely thorough and
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wish a program like this existed when I was learning to play—it would have saved me a lot of time and
|— Michael Elsner, Professional Guitar Player