Where do I start?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music

For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
John Edward Ficken

Where do I start?

Post by John Edward Ficken » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:04 am

Assume a background of minimal formal training :(

A teacher is not an option... :cry:

I read music veeeerrrryyyy slowwlly...... :oops:

I have at least 40 more years to get it right, and I'm willing to do just that! :sage:

I have enough instructional material on hand to choke a horse.. :contrat:

Oh yeah--I came here from rock-n-roll :elec:


Post by nichkwichim » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:48 am

well... by the A-B-C
and... why not with a teacher just for the start?


Post by GuitarTim » Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:13 am

Maybe see if you can get a teacher who can give you one lesson per month, or something like that. Maybe only one lesson every 6 weeks. Just to point you in the right direction and help you correct your bad habits (yes, you have them... everyone does...). Come to think of it, maybe I should do the same!


Post by Freeman » Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:17 am

Reading music slowly shouldn't be a problem. Practice makes perfect. I learn a new piece by learning a few bars at at time, memorizing as I go.
It took me a month to memorized Bach's Doble from 997. Now I just have to get it up to speed over the next month.

John Edward Ficken

Post by John Edward Ficken » Wed Sep 28, 2005 2:57 pm

Oh yes, I'm sure I have dreadful habits :pirate: --other than some lessons taken sporadically in my pre-teen and teen-aged years, I am self-taught! I'm a barre chording, string bending slasher, who has, until now, covered his mistakes with distortion and other electronic effects! :roll:

I will seek someone who has the willingness to meet with me on a monthly basis, but regular lessons just are not possible at this time. Strangely enough, professional musicians like to be justly compensated for their time--who knew? :D

I am in approximately the same boat as Freeman in the area of reading music--I slowly plunk it out, one measure at a time, while memorizing what has gone before. Eventually, through repitition, I get it.

I do not sight read at this time. I am most comfortable with pieces transcribed in both TAB and standard notation, because I look to the TAB for finger placement, and the notation for rythmic values.

I know more about theory/technique than I let on, but there are definite holes in my knowlege. I already knew what "B-V" or "C-II" meant on a score, and I can tell what key I'm supposed to be in, and I know what makes Major or minor, but things like the differences between free stroke and rest stroke, or what indicates the position I should play a given piece in, still escape me. :!: :?:

I don't wish to NOT play, simply because I can't attach myself to a regular instructor at this time. I'd rather remain ignorant of my bad habits, and plow ahead, enjoying the music rather than being concerned with my immediate technique (or lack thereof). Someday, I'm sure I'll have the time, extra cash, etc., for formal lessons, whereupon I'll unlearn my bad habits.

I guess the purpose of this rambling thread is this: What exercises would you recommend to a person in my position? What scores should I begin with? Do any of you have suggestions you can pass on that assisted you in your learning process? :discussion:


Post by GuitarTim » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:21 pm


I sure hope my dry remark about bad habits didn't come across as a put-down, it wasn't intended that way. I merely wanted to point out that when beginning to learn CG, there are some things that might be picked up in less formal ways of playing that would tend to hinder your early progress. In my own case, I had learned to finger-pick while keeping my pinky finger on the guitar. It took me AGES to un-learn that one, and until I did, my progress was severely limited, and the going was very frustrating indeed. I hear you about regular lessons being not in the cards, I'm in the same boat, but I figure just about anyone can afford $35 (or whatever it is) for a one-hour session at least once or twice, to get on the right track from the beginning. Until I typed that answer, I hadn't even thought about it, but as soon as I did, I thought perhaps I should look into doing that myself - I might find out a few things about technique...

John Edward Ficken

Post by John Edward Ficken » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:16 am

See? It's working already---DO NOT plant the pinky! Gawd--that one will take me ages to unlearn too :shock: ! Thanks for the tip Tim! :D


Post by GuitarTim » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:59 am

Here's another... hurry up and build up your post count (to 40, just 34 to go!) so you can access the videos. There is one there by Mr. Delcamp himself, and soon there will be others, so you can watch how people play classical and maybe pick up a tip or two that way. To build up your post count quickly, just go welcome the next 30 people who post in the "Introduce Yourself" forum! Lots of ways to post here...


Post by GuitarTim » Thu Sep 29, 2005 3:00 am

Notice, for instance, that I have 170 posts, in less than a month! As a result, I can be a REAL nuisance, since I can post up to 150 Mb of audio and video files... :twisted:


Post by mark96 » Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:55 pm

another tip...keep the LH thumb below the top of the guitar's neck, and preferable about its middle. Playing Western Guitar first with chords, my thumb went wherever necessary to get the chord to sound best, which was often quite high on the neck, though I did not use the Jimi Hendrix technique of using the LH thumb for playing the 5th and 6th strings... :wink:

I had to undo that bad habit (had to?!?!? I'm still struggling with that one!). Correct LH thumb placement greatly aids in playing many CG pieces.

Just two cents,



Post by hav » Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:38 pm

Hey John - just post some videos and let folks critique your technique - that'll help everyone in similar situations. I think you need 40 posts to post vids on Delcamp itself - so, till then, just post the vids on the web somewhere and point to them in your posts here.

At the end of the day, what really matters is the music you produce - CG technique works for most people and really is how an aspiring CG-ist should start - but you may find you want to maintain your RR technique as well and eventualy end up "looking" nasty when playing classical - but sounding great!! -- know what I mean :)

You'll decide for yourself which habits to break and which to keep.


Post by tomc » Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:06 am

Well A good place to start would be hehttp://www.noad.com/re.
Frederick Noad put together a well known series of lessons starting with the very basic essentials of playing polyphonic music on nylon string guitar with proper form. Now while the video lessons are not free at just over $200US, I first saw this series of lessons for nothing on local PBS broadcasts. Also your library may have them for a nominal check out fee. Failing that you might consider biting the bullet and buying the series. You could always sell the series on e - b a y later and recover some of your costs. For that matter there may be a set available on e - b a y. Is it worth it? Well Noad, who is now deceased, had the great virtue of infinite patience and would slowly explain and demonstrate his examples painstakingly slowly. He also understood what it meant not to know something, an important quality for a teacher. Sight reading is best started in the lowest positions and with the most basic music such as single line to start. It does not matter that mentally such examples might be beneath you intellectually. It's a matter of establishing a habit where progress can happen. The guitar because of note replication at various positions on the neck is a most difficult instrument to sight read well with. I should add I have no affiliation with Fred Noad or his products. Most here though are familiar with his books. Good luck in your endeavors.


Post by anathem » Sat Oct 01, 2005 1:54 pm

GuitarTim wrote:Notice, for instance, that I have 170 posts, in less than a month! As a result, I can be a REAL nuisance, since I can post up to 150 Mb of audio and video files... :twisted:
haha nice method i should have done that when i was a newb here..but there were no mp3s or videos no masterpieces no ogg no concerts no luthiers etc u get my point :)

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