Any classical players here?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by AaeCee, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Been bitten by the bug to jump in and buy a high-end BRW/Cedar Classical, but haven't taken the plunge yet. So far, I'm trudging through the 'easy classics' on a steel string. I'm assuming that the rules on hand positions, using nails, placement on lap, etc., for proper classical playing are indeed essential for the right sound.....but could I cheat just a bit for simplicity's sake? I've read that Segovia was quite unorthodox in his form.
  2. Kappy

    Kappy Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    West Village, NYC
    I think the only people who really notice are other guitarists. And really, caring about what they think is a losing battle. ;)
    That being said, there's a lot about optimal fluidity and relaxed (injury-free) playing of very difficult passages in the technique, so it's not a terrible thing to learn. I never fully learned it, just elements of it. I think one day in 5-10 years I may take it up more seriously.

    Good luck!
  3. KRosser

    KRosser Member

    Oct 15, 2004
    Pasadena, CA
    Segovia? No, he more or less nailed down the orthodoxy, which was cobbled together from a variety of approaches before him.

    IMHO, get a less expensive instrument to get some basics going. Nylon strings, the proper body size & scale, etc. on a classical guitar are kind of essential for the nail technique to work the way it's intended to.

    Concert instruments can be quite expensive (starting at $5K or so, give or take) so getting your bearings on a cheaper student model would be the way to go if you're new at this. It will also give you time to figure out what you like in an instrument.
  4. e-z

    e-z Member

    Feb 14, 2005
    Definitely take lessons. He or she will be able to show you the nuances of the technique that are difficult to get from a book.
  5. Baggins

    Baggins Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    Central New York
    I'll suggest one good resource and one good guitar that'll both get you started and keep you interested.

    resource-Pumping Nylon w/ DVD by Scott Tenant (sp?) It covers your nails, how not to get carpal tunnel synd., and includes great exercises for technique's sake.

    guitar-Loriente Clarita Great tone and response, and sounds like a guitar twice its price (which happens to be around $1500). Indian Rosewood and cedar or spruce tops.

  6. paaes335

    paaes335 Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Try lsitening to John Renbourn's "Sir John A Lot Of" and "Lady and the Unicorn" as well as Bert Jansch "Rosemary Lane" to get an idea of how good classical stuff can sound on steel string.
    Those guys did their homework and applied some classical guitar technique as in right hand position to steel string.
    Nice stuff!

    That being said, nothing will help improve your chops more (left & right hand) than studying classical technique. Pick up Aaron Shearer's book 1 for starters, invest in a good quality student guitar (the Loriente is excellent and serves as a decent concert instrument as well.)
    Segovia was more of a product of his era but the principles he refined certainly worked for him and many others. His left hand fingerings are tough to beat as you will find by tackling his published Diatonic Major/Melodic Minor Scale studies.
    Play those suckers a few times a day and you'll improve your chops for jazz, rock, anything.
    Good luck!
  7. 57tele

    57tele Member

    May 12, 2006
    I studied pretty seriously for about 10 years with some very good teachers back in the 80s. My experience was that the most important part of tone generation was nail shape and stroke angle. If you don't strike the string obliquely the tone will be thin and 'clicky' (like Charlie Byrd, great player, not great classical tone). That big fat tone you hear guys like Bream and Williams get is from striking the string with the nail at a pretty steep angle--at least 45-50 degrees. Some players play off the inside edge of their nails (the side toward their thumb), with the palm of the hand facing toward the bridge, while others (like Oscar Ghilia) play with the outer edge of the nail (the edge toward the pinky) and the hand sort of turned up toward the neck (hard to picture, I know). If you imagine a pick turned somewhat perpendicular to the string like the metal guys do, you get a sense of how the nail should strike the string.
  8. hubberjub

    hubberjub Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2008
    Gilbertsville, NY
    Segovia, while remarkable, had a horrible right hand position. It was bent almost 45 degrees from his forearm. I developed the same right hand posture after seeing pictures of him playing assuming that that was correct. My college guitar professor, Jose Lescano, studied with Segovia and did not agree with this. That posture can lead to some serious problems such as carpal tunnel. It is important to maintain a very relaxed hand position while playing. I feel that nails are more subjetive and if you are just starting to get into playing classical a lot of decent guitars start out in the 500-1000 dollar range.

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