- Max Kuehn
If you want to learn how to play classical guitar, there are a few things you need to know. First, you need to have a good quality guitar suited for classical playing. Second, you need to be able to read music. Third, you need to find good classical guitar sheet music. Read on for details!
Classical Music and the Guitar
A nylon-stringed guitar, often known as a Spanish guitar, is a member of the guitar family commonly employed in classical music. Nylon or catgut are used to make the strings formed from the inner walls of animal intestines. It’s a little revolting. Despite the name, these types of strings are not made from the intestines of cats.
Origins in Brief
The word “guitar” comes from the Persian language, where “tar” means “stringed instrument.” Tar is an Iranian instrument from which the guitar could have descended. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the tar evolved into a series of Spanish guitars known as vihuela and gittern.
It evolved into the Baroque guitar in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and subsequently into the Classical guitar.
Classical guitar is a highly disciplined practice that uses many of the same methods as fingerstyle guitar. The emphasis in classical music is on beauty, grace, and balance.
It’s critical to understand the composers’ ideologies and how the music was written for its time when playing classical guitar. Your body is an extension of the instrument you’re playing, and you play a part in making it sing, much like a beautifully tuned guitar.
Playing Classical guitar or Classical music is difficult since it requires flawless grace and accuracy.
A brief story
I majored in vocal performance, guitar, and piano in college. Because the guitar was my strongest instrument, I focused more on the piano as a personal challenge! I took paid lessons and learned three pieces of music: a baroque piece, a romantic era piece, and a classical piece.
The classical piece was by far the most difficult of the three works I was scheduled to perform for my musical jury — when you are judged in front of a panel of specialists and graded, much like a final exam —
I have to be exact with my playing while keeping my shoulders loose and my hands light. Fighting myself, letting go and not being frightened by the sheet music was difficult.
I got it down with enough practice! I was able to play with perfect timing and without even thinking about it. It wasn’t perfect, but I did reasonably well. I received an A-.
Takeaways: It’s critical to practice. For beginners, sight-reading and paying attention to key signs might be difficult. Finally, timing is difficult if you are impatient and even more complicated when learning.
But don’t be discouraged after reading this. It will be difficult if you have no prior experience with sheet music or classical music in general — but it is not impossible; I accomplished it with very little prior knowledge, and you can, too! Patience and a passion for music are the essential qualities to have when learning to play classical guitar.
Why Should You Study Classical Guitar?
Many musicians study Classical music and the brilliant brains who composed these famous compositions for a good reason. Music can improve your intelligence. It helps you build cognitive skills and can raise your IQ by 7 points in both youngsters and adults.
Another benefit of learning classical guitar is that it can aid in developing the discipline. You must perform a Classical piece of music exactly as it was written. When reading sheet music, there are a variety of musical phrases and symbols to memorize, all of which can help you grow as a musician!
Furthermore, many musicians begin by studying Classical music to improve their technique and build solid playing habits. The classical guitar may teach you skills that apply to any instrument. Reading sheet music, chord inversions, fingerpicking, dynamics, and other musical jargon are only a few examples.
While mastering Classical music might help you improve your playing and knowledge of music, it is not required to be a professional musician.
Take, for example, The Beatles. Even though none of them had any prior musical experience, they could create some truly memorable songs that would have a lasting impact on the music business.
Tools Required for Classical Guitar
You’ll probably need a few tools to get started playing Classical Guitar. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have any! You may continue to play in whatever capacity you can and then adjust to the tools once you have them! It’s critical to get started.
“If you are terrified of composing a song, you will never compose a single note,” a wise man once observed about songwriting—no excuses for learning to play guitar and improving your technique.
Why should you use a footstool? What a great question! When playing Classical Guitar truly serves a few different objectives. The primary aim is to help the guitarist properly posture himself while playing.
What exactly does that imply? Playing along the neck permits your hand and wrist to get into an excellent position. The instrument is oriented differently because the footstool isn’t on your lap but on one elevated thigh (of the foot that’s resting on the footstool).
Second, it helps to straighten your posture. Whether you play guitar or not, this is a great habit. Musically, though, it will leave you with less tension in your body and allow you to play your guitar with greater freedom and flexibility.
The tone and overall tonal qualities of Classical Guitar music rely heavily on nylon strings. They’re not entirely necessary if you’re just getting started and merely have a steel-string acoustic guitar.
On the other hand, Nylon strings are gentler on the fingers, making them ideal for novices learning to play the guitar. They also provide a rich, warm, and mellow sound. On the other hand, the steel string guitar has more rigid strings and a brighter, more forceful tone.
Whether classical or fingerstyle, thumb picks are optional when playing guitar. They do have some advantages, the most obvious of which is volume.
If you use a pick to pluck or strum guitar strings, you’ll get greater volume out of your guitar. It can be challenging to switch from using your thumb to using a Thumb Pick. It’s almost like having longer nails and playing guitar.
While using a Thumb Pick can be difficult at first, some people enjoy it! Aside from volume, a Thumb Pick changes the tone properties of the strings when plucked, similar to a Flamenco Guitarist who doesn’t cut their nails on their guitar picking hand. For musicians, it’s an acquired taste.
Capos are generically applicable to all guitar playing styles. A capo transposes open strings to the desired fret, similar to generating a barre chord without using your fingers – it does it, chevalier.
People frequently utilize a capo when they want to play particular notes in harmony that would be impossible to do otherwise. It’s a blessing in disguise for many musicians.
Capos have also been created expressly for Classical Guitar. If you want to use the Classical Guitar functions of this program, you’ll need that explicitly. “Why?” you might wonder. The answer is yes because classical guitars, or Spanish guitars, have wider necks than steel string guitars, whether electric or acoustic. A capo that fits this neck is required.
This isn’t a standard feature of the instrument. However! It’s an essential part of learning to play. We’ll go through it as well.
Holding a Classical Guitar Correctly
It’s crucial to realize that holding the Classical Guitar is not the same as holding the guitar in a typical manner. (In the classic style, this means sitting on your lap with your body curvature wrapping around your thigh.) We’ll go over the steps you need to take to properly hold the instrument so you can play Classical Guitar to your greatest ability.
Fingering On The Guitar
The fingering process remains the same in all forms of playing guitar with your fingers, whether it’s Classical Guitar, Flamenco Guitar, Slap Guitar, or Fingerstyle Guitar. If you learn it once, you can apply the skills to any of these styles in the future if you choose to!
Furthermore, learning to play in this manner will aid in the synchronization of both hands and the development of muscle memory and finger dexterity. It’s a massive help in terms of improving your playing skills!
We recognize each of the fingers on the hand we pick with as a distinct letter when playing Classical Guitar. These are the letters P, I, M, and A.
- Pulgar Thumb (P)
- I stands for Indice Index.
- M = Middle Finger Medio
- Annular Ring Finger (A)
These various fingers are attached to multiple strings. Each of the bass-most strings, for example, is assigned to the thumb or P finger—the E, A, and D strings in the low register. The G string is played with the Ring or A finger. The B string is played with the Middle Finger, commonly known as the M finger. Finally, the high E string is homed to the index finger, often known as the I finger. Easy as pie!
Following the exercises in the illustration below will help you develop a feel for playing the strings with your fingers.
Try the next practice once you’ve mastered the first and understand the Classical Guitar plucking method. This should be a little more challenging.
Now that you’ve finished the last exercise try the following one! This one won’t be easy, but give it you’re all. You’ve mastered it when you can play it without thinking about it.
When a pattern is too complex for me to understand, I split it into halves or groups of four. Then practice playing individual portions of the pattern until you have it down. Then move on to the next component of the pattern and repeat the process.
Please return to the first piece of the pattern once you’ve mastered it. Play it again, and then work on the second section. Repetition of the two portions is required. Then, after you have those, work on the third section. You’ll be playing the game like a pro before you know it!
If you want to get the most out of this drill, try playing it 50 times in a row without making any mistakes.
Pay close attention to your fingers; if you make a mistake — playing the wrong note or notes, messed up timing, etc. — start over from the beginning. Using a metronome at a slow tempo might make this practice more accessible and more precise for you. Later, we’ll go through this in further depth.
If you’re bored with these workouts, try the following to make them more interesting for yourself:
While you’re picking away at the patterns, start integrating chords. The reason for this is that a lot of Classical and Fingerstyle Guitar playing is on building chords ahead of time so that you can play the notes in a smooth flow. C, A, D, and G are some possible chords; you might even turn this into a chord sequence to practice.
Finally, this will enable you to synchronize both hands to play in time, with your right hand playing the notes and pressing the gas while your left-hand forms the chords and steers the wheel. Make sure the flow is smooth and uninterrupted. If you make a mistake, start over.
Increasing the tempo should only be done if you’re playing the notes correctly and without errors. Picking up the speed will merely reinforce your negative habits if you can’t fix your sloppy guitar playing.
Playing rapidly does not make you sound cool; on the other hand, playing the notes on time does! Even if the timing is currently extremely slow. Everybody starts somewhere!
Playing backward is an excellent method to stimulate your mind. The tablature for these exercises that are performed back will not be provided so that you can work it out with your brain! It’s also an excellent approach to get you to think outside the box when playing rests, triplets, or any other timely notes in future exercises.
Furthermore, playing backwards allows you to become accustomed to patterns you have never encountered before, allowing you to adjust. This is also why guitarists benefit so much from spider exercises.
How To Learn Classical Guitar
Step 1: Purchase the necessities first.
Let’s briefly go over the essential components you’ll need. You’ll need a classical guitar (the Yamaha C40 is our ‘best purchase’ recommendation) and a bag or case to keep it safe from harm.
A guitar tuner is also required. ( There are plenty of good tuners available. One of our favorites is the Korg GA-1. A capo is also needed.
Purchase a strap if you intend to play the guitar while standing. If not, avoid it. (Straps obstruct your view of your guitar and act as a barrier between you and it.) If you don’t need one, don’t get one.)
Finally, you’ll require 5-10 guitar picks (a pick thickness of 0.65-0.73 is best for classical guitar beginners).
Step 2: Learn your guitar strings’ notes (and numbers).
Of course, this is critical. You must be able to read chord boxes and tabs if you want to learn classical guitar (and you need to know the notes and strings to communicate with other guitarists). From thickest to thinnest, the guitar strings are E A D G B E.
Values to Remember
“If you’re good at arithmetic, you’ll undoubtedly be good at reading music!” as the saying goes. They’re mostly correct, but I’ve never been good at math. The concept is that note values resemble a certain number of beats.
Regardless of key or time signature, they remain the same unless you’re utilizing dotted or double dotted notes, which we’ll discuss shortly.
Step 3: Learn the fundamentals of guitar chords.
You won’t be able to play chords like B or F as a beginner guitarist.
So you have two choices:
In frustration, chew off your fingers…
Discover a simpler version of the chord!
Option 2 is the best choice! This allows you to have fun while making progress. You’ll be developing your control, accuracy, and finger dexterity the entire time. You’ll be able to progress to the standard and harder versions of the chord after that.
Step 4: Learn to strum the guitar.
Using a Spanish Guitar method for strumming. The backs of your fingernails are used in rasgueado to give the impression of a faster strum.
Classical guitarists may also use the side of the thumb closest to the palm to create a softer, lower sound.
When plucked, the numb nail can also be employed to produce a brighter tone quality in the string.
When it comes to constructing a range of Classical Guitar skills, this is just the top of the iceberg, as they say. Vibrato, harmonics, and slurs are among the honorable mentions.
Step 5: Listen to music you enjoy.
As a guitar student, keep the following three facts in mind:
If you practice frequently, you will improve your chances of learning the guitar.
If you enjoy practicing, you will do so more.
If you appreciate the songs you practice, you are far more likely to enjoy practicing!
It’s hardly a ‘bonus’ for guitar students to play the music they enjoy. It’s a requirement. So forget about ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and ‘happy birthday.’
Step 6: Find an excellent teacher.
Forget about YouTube. On YouTube, there are many good guitarists but few good guitar teachers. And there’s a significant difference between the two. I know because I own two guitar schools! Finding a guitar teacher who is a good fit for you usually takes 4-5 tries. That is usual, so be prepared.
That’s all there is to it! The advantages of classical guitar are significantly more significant than you might think. Not only does classical guitar help your brain, but it also allows you to do a lot of experimenting, which is every professional musician’s desire. Fidlar hope you found this article beneficial, and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.