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  1. #1

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    Hi folks!

    Been considering it lately.. I wanna study some classical guitar! not to become a concert level player or anything like that, i just wanna dabble a bit in classical!

    Here's what I'm thinking.. now that my nylon string classical guitar is becoming more and more my go-to instrument for jazz practice (I haven't played any electric for a while now.. ) so I love my classical, feels good to play, all good.. except that from time to time I think I actually need to work on my tone and my overall technique.. I'm mostly a pick player, don't play much with my fingers which kinda makes me feel a bit inadequate as a nylon string player!

    Okay so I'm considering studying some classical guitar mainly for these..

    - So I can acquire a good right hand finger style technique and better left hand technique as well.
    - get better tone on nylon as a result, I suppose.
    - And maybe manage to play some of my favorite Bach pieces for my own enjoyment of course.

    So now that you know why, do you think it's a good idea to dabble in classical guitar?

    Though not an option now, I feel I should ask do you think I need a classical guitar teacher to achieve these results?
    Or a good book or site will probably do.. if so then any recommendation?

    Oh and I forgot to mention I don't read music well!!

    Would really appreciate your thoughts and advice.

    Thanks!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    A teacher is a good I idea. At least at some level. Kind of the point of classical is the technical part, which you can't really get from books etc. Do as much as you want, for the pure sake of your enjoyment, in the classical playing itself.

    .....As far as classical technique and its value with helping you play better JAZZ on a nylon string, .....I would think you're going to hit diminishing returns a lot more quickly than if you're doing it just for the enjoyment of playing classical music. That's just totally my non-expert opinion. Take it for what it's worth. Jazz is a different beast, but you can certainly play it on a nylon string.

  4. #3
    Thanks for the reply Matt!

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    .....As far as classical technique and its value with helping you play better JAZZ on a nylon string, .....I would think you're going to hit diminishing returns a lot more quickly than if you're doing it just for the enjoyment of playing classical music.
    May I ask you to explain how this could happen? Thanks.
    Last edited by I_88; 03-16-2016 at 01:18 AM.

  5. #4

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    yea, I've played classical like that for a long time. Some years more than others. These days I play the classical guitar at Church a lot. I play my own arrangements of hymns and liturgical music, though, I'm not really playing repertoire.

    I do think of it as a different instrument from playing steel strings with a pick.

    you talked about the right hand...I've worked with Giuliani's right hand studies since college. They are very practical. Mel Bay publishes Giuliani's Complete Guitar Studies. Its got the right hand studies and lots more.

    Mel Bay Complete Giuliani Studies: David Grimes: 9780786614332: Amazon.com: Books


    ...and also get yourself some Charlie Byrd records

    http://www.amazon.com/7-Classic-Albu...s=charlie+byrd

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by I_88 View Post
    Thanks for the reply Matt!



    May I ask you to explain how this could happen? Thanks.
    Yeah. Occasionally, you get the question about learning classical and it's more of a hypothetical , "should" thing . They are not as interested In the bach you're talking about, maybe not even interested in playing nylon string.

    In that extreme hypothetical, that person may be better off just working on some basic, fundamental technique , end focusing on music they actually want to play. I think the classical technique prepares you for playing jazz better than not having played at all,but it's pretty different, and by no means, a prerequisite to playing some jazz.

    Get what you can from it, and just enjoythe music.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by I_88 View Post
    Thanks for the reply Matt!



    May I ask you to explain how this could happen? Thanks.
    Yeah. Occasionally, you get the question about learning classical and it's more of a hypothetical , "should" thing . They are not as interested In the Bach you're talking about, maybe not even interested in playing nylon string.

    In that extreme hypothetical, that person may be better off just working on some basic, fundamental technique , and focusing on music they actually want to play. I think the classical technique prepares you for playing jazz better than not having played at all, but it's pretty different, and by no means, a prerequisite to playing jazz.

    Get what you can from it, and just enjoy the music. I got a lot out of playing classical , and enjoy it for its own sake.

  8. #7

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    It is quite true that many of the giants of jazz guitar were self-taught or like Joe Pass, may have taken some basic lessons in classical technique. But that was then. Today many jazz musicians on whatever instrument have a solid classical background. Contrary to the opinion of some on the forum, I believe that classical training is a fine foundation for developing in jazz. I began classical lessons at the age of twelve or so from the founder of the RI Classical Guitar Society for four years. I have never had reason to regret that training.

    If one is going to pursue classical guitar for the technical foundation, I thing taking lessons from a teacher is worth the time and expense. Necessary to play jazz guitar? No. But it does not hurt.

  9. #8

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    The rh study book above is a classic, that's step 1.

    step 2 Carcassi 25 progressive and melodious studies.

    Get to work!!!

    Enjoy

  10. #9

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    My advice is to have dabble in classical and see how you get on, it can only benefit your playing and may bring something to your sound which sets you apart from the many jazz guitar players out there who seek to emulate past masters.

    I played rock and blues, then moved on to jazz and now am immersed in the amazing world of classical guitar. And guess what, there are a number of classical style players out there with enormous talents like Ralph Towner and Dusan Bogdanivic who are incredible improvisers as well.

    I've been playing for 35 years now and still have a world to explore. Drink deeply my friend and enjoy, it's all great music, whatever label or category you choose to put it in.

    Carl

    p.s. I can recommend the Noad method book for solo guitar as a starting point, you could consider moving on to lessons if it appeals to you.

  11. #10

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    I'm going in the other direction. Twenty years of classical, then a year or so of blues and jazz. My hands are up to the challenge. And my Ibanez LGB-30 is so much easier to play than any other guitar I own.

    But my brain is playing catch up. I only knew the rudiments of theory, and all from the common practice period.

    I am am finding developing my own chord melodies is taking advantage of my technique and helping to internalize the theory. Actually improvising a solo line is beyond my comprehension.

    Certainly Earl Klugh makes great music on a nylon guitar.

    Have fun, that's the important thing.

  12. #11

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    One does not "dabble" in classical guitar. It's a rather serious pursuit, especially if you want to play jazz on it. Also, the Giuliani and Carcassi studies are somewhat out-dated but have been modernized by, for instance, Christopher Berg, whose "Giuliani Revisited" book (Mel Bay) is far superior to the original. In fact, his "Mastering Guitar Technique: Process and Essence" is magnificent.

    For kevets, try singing an improvisation, then playing what you sang. That could be a good start.

  13. #12
    Thanks for the help everyone, I really appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    One does not "dabble" in classical guitar. It's a rather serious pursuit, especially if you want to play jazz on it.
    I actually thought I'd need to give it, the classical studying, my all, otherwise it wouldn't be a good idea!
    But these post here are really encouraging, and I'd guess you too said that I should probably do it, dabble in classical, right? since you went on to give me other recommendation as well.. and they're now on my list of books to consider for sure, along with the rest of the books mentioned here.. especially now in the absence of a classical teacher.

    Now I wonder how far i can get without a teacher, to be honest.
    Last edited by I_88; 03-16-2016 at 11:59 PM.

  14. #13

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    Given that the foundation of classical study is acquiring the proper technique, if you are already a skilled guitarist, a few lessons cannot hurt. Ultimately, learning does become an individual pursuit. With all the study aids available today in the form of prolific videos and performances available for study, the Internet and sheet music, Transpose and other devices to slow down rapid tempos, inexpensive digital recorders....the game is a lot different than when I learned back in the Sixties. All the better.

    But learning should be fun most of all. Nonetheless some of the tasks include learning basic scales, chord construction, reading notation if you are not already fluent, and classical Sors and Carcassi etudes. Perhaps some newer Christopher Parkening method work. It is not drudgery and should not be. And it can definitely complement your jazz studies.

  15. #14

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    I started classical guitar a year and a half ago. At the time, I had no intention of playing classical guitar only repertoire but I wanted to learn good finger style technique, up to this point I was strictly a pick player and the musicians whose style I wanted to emulate all play with their fingers e.g. Martin Taylor, I also wanted to improve my reading skills and be able to play some of the music (Tarrega, Satie) I love to listen to. It has been a great experience.

    I started with a good classical teacher, for me I can dedicate the time but I also need a "whipcracker" if you will so at first I did weekly lessons. Left to my own devices, I tend to verge off to comfortable noodling if you will so the lesson format helped with my motivation.


    My teacher started me with the Parkening Method Book 1 and then onto book two. At the same time, we also worked through Howard Morgen's "Concepts" book. In addition we also used Scott Tenants excellent book "Pumping Nylon". If you buy Scott's book be sure to pick the latest version 2. It was released a couple of months ago. Big difference is that is spiral bound and larger text. The120 Giuliani exercises are in Scott's book but below my text is a link to a website where you can get these as a .pdf.

    I also found a book by Bridget Merkimedes a real pleasure to work through. She starts off with some Sor, Carcassi studies than moves into some great arrangements of classical tunes many not usually found in the typical repertoire books. Bridget does the Classical Guitar arrangements for the magazine "Guitar Techniques".

    A few weeks ago, I decided to add flamenco to my tool box. Now this is a bigger challenge as it requires a much different technique from classical but I love the music. For that style I would heartily recommend Gerhard Graf-Martinez "Flamenco Guitar Method Volume 1".

    Now as to jazz music in general, I still am in love with the music I began to learn when I took my first lesson with Robert Conti in 1977. Now I just have more music available at my finger tips and I am now longer restrained by my lack of finger style technique. Mind you I'm no Earl Klugh or Martin Taylor but it is no longer something that I just fumbled around on. I took up this study for the reasons mentioned above but I also went into this because 15 years earlier I severed my ring finger tendon and nerves on my fretting hand and the time recovering from that accident as well as a demanding career put my playing on ice if you will. My finger was never the same and where I used to have fast flat picking skills, I found I could never ever get my third finger in sync. When I retired a couple of years ago I decided that maybe contrapuntal music may be more interesting to play. Anyway, have fun, it won't be easy but you will have gained some new tools for your tool bag plus get to play some great music. rob


    120 Giuliani Studies
    http://www.stormthecastle.com/classi...right-hand.pdf

    http://hendricksswcd.sdf.org/media/1...ly_studies.pdf Link to 130 Valdimer Bobri exercises.

    http://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Pa...pher+parkening

    http://www.amazon.com/Pumping-Nylon-...e%3A1250227011

    Concepts: Arranging for Fingerstyle Guitar (The Howard Morgen Fingerstyle Jazz Series): Howard Morgen: 9780769230757: Amazon.com: Books

    Amazon.com: Flamenco Guitar Method Volume 1: Book/CD/DVD Pack (Schott) (9790001139205): Gerhard Graf-Martinez: Books

    http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Guit...mies+classical

    This is the Tab version a No Tab version will be available in June of this year
    Last edited by rob taft; 03-17-2016 at 01:53 PM. Reason: Spelling etc.

  16. #15

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    I would love to study classical again. I've had a lot of joint/neck issues though, so I've had to put it on hold. I particularly find it uncomfortable raising the left leg with the footstool. And those leg-up things don't work so great for me. I might however try and find an ergo classical. I play a semi-hollow ergo for electric, and it's made a huge difference in ability to practice/play in comfort.

    Having a little classical background has definitely influenced the way I approach playing other styles, as it is natural to incorporate right-hand fingers with the pick. Additionally there is some cool resources for hybrid-picking available out available, and if someone is already comfortable playing with right-hand fingers, it's a lot easier to incorporate these things. (Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that I have any of this stuff wired. It's just that it's a lot easier than it might have been with no classical background.)

    Resources I have found that I have dabbled with include:

    Tim Miller
    Gustavo Assis-Brasil
    Jimmy Wyble

    And classical literature is a great resource for new ideas.

    I also should point out that incorporating classical technique and hybrid-picking has made certain lines possible much easier to play. I am still however having to work on getting as good a sound with fingers as with a pick. Articulating fingerstyle is an ongoing project for me, and I try to put in a little time everyday. For example, an exercise I try to aim for everyday is playing 4ths up a scale with hybrid fingering, and getting an even tone between the fingers and the pick.

    Apologies if the hybrid-technique is somewhat off-topic, but I think some things naturally occur as a result of dabbling with classical, and it all becomes part of the same thing i.e. a person's personal approach

  17. #16

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    srlank, I hate those footstools, too. over in the thread about stretching the other day I was talking about those cushions for classical guitarists

    Dynarette Guitar Cushion (Large): assorted: 9780786615834: Amazon.com: Books

    the cushion sits on your left leg and raises the guitar to the proper height, but you keep both feet flat on the floor.

    propping up one leg was raising hell with my lower back, so some years back I started using those cushions like some of the guys I knew back in music school did. At first I made my own, but then somebody put me on to these dynarette cushions and that's what I've used for about 5 years now

    if you haven't tried one, they might help your back when you are ready to start playing classical again

  18. #17

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    Hi Nate,

    Those are what I mean by the "leg-ups." But maybe I should give it another try!

    Another thing that I tried that kind of works okay....I did an impulse buy when I got to go to NAMM last year. (It was the first time I got to go, so of course I had to but something!) I bought a nice classical guitar that had you can plug in, and took it to a luthier to put in strap hooks. The neck angles a little to sharply for me however, and it strains my neck if I look toward the fingerboard. My left arm also doesn't feel that comfortable with it. I should work with it some more and try and make it work.

    By the way, I just started working on a little bit of Bossa, and classical technique has been very helpful for that as well.

  19. #18

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    Another person that suffers back pain from a foot stool. The Kris Barnett support is what I use. Another plus is that you can purchase the magnets separately so one can install the magnets in another guitar and just swap the exterior. Very adjustable including the portion where it rests on the leg so easy to adjust for right or left leg playing. I love this thing and it fits in my case. A bit pricey at $65.00 but now I use a drum throne and this support and can play until my hands hurt or my mind wanders, before it was 20-30 minutes with the foot stool.

    I didn't like the cushion as one can't easily stow it and I play multiple nylon guitars and each one is a bit different and I hated the suction cup ones as they felt flimsy and were coming off at inopportune times.

    Kris Barnett Support
    The Umbra
    Last edited by rob taft; 03-17-2016 at 04:53 PM.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post
    Another person that suffers back pain from a foot stool. The Kris Barnett support is what I use. Another plus is that you can purchase the magnets separately so one can install the magnets in another guitar and just swap the exterior. Very adjustable including the portion where it rests on the leg so easy to adjust for right or left leg playing. I love this thing and it fits in my case. A bit pricey at $65.00 but now I use a drum throne and this support and can play until my hands hurt or my mind wanders, before it was 20-30 minutes with the foot stool.

    I didn't like the cushion has one can't easily stow it and I play multiple nylon guitars and each one is a bit different and I hated the suction cup ones as they felt flimsy and were coming off at inopportune times.


    The Umbra
    Hmmm. Haven't seen that one. Should give it a whirl.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by srlank View Post
    Hi Nate,

    Those are what I mean by the "leg-ups." But maybe I should give it another try!
    oh, I'm sorry, buddy! I thought "leg-ups" were....oh hell, I don't know what I thought those were

    well, if you've tried them then you know what they are already

    but good luck getting healed up and getting back, though. I've had injuries put me on the sidelines before, too, and it blows

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post

    I didn't like the cushion has one can't easily stow it and I play multiple nylon guitars and each one is a bit different and I hated the suction cup ones as they felt flimsy and were coming off at inopportune times.


    The Umbra
    this is one of the tings that I did like about the cushions I sewed up myself. The cotton batting had enough "give" to it that the cushion fit in my case.

    The dynarette cushion I use now has a little drawstring bag and a clasp so that I can attach the drawstring bag to the outside of my case, so I can carry it when I leave the house pretty easily

    but at home the cushion just sits out. I leave it on the coffee table next to my practice chair.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    oh, I'm sorry, buddy! I thought "leg-ups" were....oh hell, I don't know what I thought those were

    well, if you've tried them then you know what they are already

    but good luck getting healed up and getting back, though. I've had injuries put me on the sidelines before, too, and it blows
    No problem. Your post inspired me to try some adaptions again! The feel of a classical guitar has a special quality, and is always worth a try.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by I_88 View Post
    Thanks for the help everyone, I really appreciate it.



    I actually thought I'd need to give it, the classical studying, my all, otherwise it wouldn't be a good idea!
    But these post here are really encouraging, and I'd guess you too said that I should probably do it, dabble in classical, right? since you went on to give me other recommendation as well.. and they're now on my list of books to consider for sure, along with the rest of the books mentioned here.. especially now in the absence of a classical teacher.

    Now I wonder how far i can get without a teacher, to be honest.
    Well, without a teacher, one can benefit from video examples, and, right now, the best available method including well-shot videos is the latest edition of Aaron Shearer's method. Vol. 1 is called "Foundations", and is a good guide to avoiding the pitfalls of "dabbling". While you may not need to give it your all, you will want to pay careful attention to the introductory verbiage in either the Shearer or the Berg book, as they both are good at introducing the mechanics of playing in this style.

  25. #24

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    Get a teacher... It really helps

  26. #25
    Thanks for the GREAT help everyone! I'm even more motivated now, no lie!!

    targuit, your words really worked, I have to say, great post!

    Ron, your good advice is well-taken!

    Rob, thank you so much for the recommendation and for sharing your experience with classical guitar so far, helps a great deal!
    I see what you and srlank were talking about regarding finger style.. I'm sure that a whole new world will open once I get those fingers going.

    You said your teacher started you with Parkening, not sure if its the same Parkening Method that Jay mentioned earlier? He said Parkening "newer" material, not sure if it's the same as the book 1 and 2 you were talking about, got any idea?

    Well, a good number of resources seems to be around.. Noad, Parkening, Shearer and others, so gotta make a decision here.

    I'm sorry to hear about your struggles with injuries guys, it sucks.. and, excuse my ignorance, that footstool probelm, shouldn't it be solved simply by using a strap? I mean I see Earl Klugh uses one when he plays sitting down.. I've tried crossing my legs for a while, inspired by some video of flamenco player Paco De lucia on youtube, if I only found it more comfortable to play like that, darn it!

  27. #26

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    Interesting thread!

    Posture is important to the classical guitar world. I fantasize about creating chairs that would optimize support for the guitar and the guitarist. But my wood working skills are back at grade school level.

    But, just a thought. One of my classical guitar "heroes" is the indomitable and brilliant classical guitarist, Julian Bream. In his wonderful DVD regarding his life as a classical guitarist, he speaks of performing a Sors etude for an interview for the Royal Academy of Music or whatever the proper name of the great British school of music, if memory serves me. And it is the etude that made me first really believe in the classical guitar as a performance instrument.

    I will research the etude. Have to dig out my old Sors etudes. It is beautiful. In B minor.

    Last edited by targuit; 03-18-2016 at 06:15 AM.

  28. #27

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    There's some great stuff in the Sor studies. I got a couple of Naxos CDs which had some good ones I hadn't heard before. But then I got fed up with rummaging for them in my various books. I had a battered old copy of Segovia's selection which someone gave me, but I knew Segovia probably made some changes to them (and the book was falling to bits anyway). Then there were various other studies in different guitar collections I had, but there was a lot of duplication, or I didn't have some of the more interesting pieces.

    So eventually I bit the bullet and got the complete Sor studies (urtext version) published by Chanterelle. It's a great book, with all of Sor's studies, lessons, exercises etc. all organised according to the opus numbers in which he published them, and with really useful analysis and performance notes, etc. It was probably a bit expensive (can't remember now), but it's great having all the pieces in one volume.

  29. #28

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    True enough.

    I don't regularly play them much these days, yet the one I linked above may be my favorite. Always meant something special to me. And I suppose to Julian Bream. We have so much in common...we both play guitar... one of us is the greatest guitarist of the late twentieth century.

  30. #29

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    I would recommend signing up for one month at Jason vieaux's guitar school at artist works. The videos are great, but mostly you get tons of free sheet music including:

    Giuliani 120 right hand studies
    Giuliani Op 1, 48, 50, 51, 100, 139
    Sor Op 6, 31, 35, 44, 60, Mozart variations
    Carcassi Method, Op 60
    Segovia scales
    Tarrega exercises and pieces
    simple Carulli pieces
    Assorted Villa lobos, Barrios, Bach, Dowland, Ponce, Scarlatti
    Assorted renaissance pieces from Noad's anthology

    Unfortunately trying to participate in the video exchanges sucks because it has lately been taking him over 6 weeks to respond. That's not helpful, especially to a beginner. But the sheet music and videos for a month or two are worth the $35 to get you in the right direction. If you use the link in my other thread (it's only a few below this one) you can get an additional month for free.

  31. #30

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    If you are looking for a good source for Guiliani, Sor, and a number of guitar composers, I've ordered from Tecla Editions for 20 years now.

    Giuliani: works published separately by Tecla Editions

    you can find a lot of music there. I love playing Guiliani's music. I've ordered individual pieces, but they also publish collections. I have one of those that contains his Variations on a Theme From Handle and also the big rondo op 109 that I used to play in college.

    they are all bound well and meant to be put an a music stand

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    True enough.

    I don't regularly play them much these days, yet the one I linked above may be my favorite. Always meant something special to me. And I suppose to Julian Bream. We have so much in common...we both play guitar... one of us is the greatest guitarist of the late twentieth century.
    Yes that B minor study is a lovely piece, you can put a lot of expression into it. I do still play that one sometimes, it's sort of semi-memorised for some reason (probably because I learned it when my brain cells were still in the flush of youth!)