Okay so you want to learn how to play the classical guitar but you have no idea where to begin. It really isn’t that hard to learn how to play as long as you have the necessary time to put into the craft and the patience to make it through the tough learning curve.
In this classical guitar lesson, I will be going over something for you to get started such as your posture and the way you hold the guitar. If you didn’t know the classical guitar is the model every other acoustic guitar is based on. The main way you can tell the two guitars apart is that the classical normally has a wider fretboard and utilizes nylon instead of the steel strings you’ll see on acoustics.
This type of guitar is designed to let the top of the musical instrument vibrate but keep the neck, back, or sides from vibrating. Try to avoid picking a classical guitar that has a laminated top since they won’t give you the quality sound you want. If you don’t mind spending a little extra money trying to get a classic guitar made out of rosewood or spruce. However, the guitars that have the plywood tops with a thin layer of cedar will do just fine.
Keep in mind though that going for a guitar with better wood will help preserve your guitar for longer since they age better. The guitars made of cheaper wood will be good when you first get them and then the quality of the guitar and sound produced will decline over time. Meanwhile, the guitars made with better woods will actually keep getting better as time goes on.
Your posture is very important when it comes to playing this hollow bodied instrument. Take a look at any professional classical guitar player and you’ll notice that they have an upright posture with their foot on a stool. With the right sitting position, you’ll be able to minimize the amount of effort you have to use and you’ll be more stable and comfortable.
The proper sitting position involves keeping your back straight and resting the guitar on the thigh that is on the neck side. You will need the help of a footstool or a support placed on the thigh to raise the head of the guitar level.
You will rest the elbow on the edge of the body of the guitar and place the hand that plays the strings over the sound hole. You will need to bring the hand up to the height of the shoulder and to do this you’ll need to bend the arm on the neck side.
Position your thumb behind the neck, below the 2nd fret, and behind the 3rd string. The key to playing the guitar properly is to relax your entire upper body from the shoulders to your hands. Now get a chair so you can support your guitar and make it more stable. Try to use a chair that will make your thigh horizontal. If your thigh is not angled correctly your guitar will keep slipping and interrupt your playing.
Once you get the grasp of holding the guitar in the proper position it’s time to start practicing pieces. You must make sure you avoid difficult pieces like Asturias or you might end up giving up on the guitar forever. Start with pieces like Fernando Carulli.
You can head to your local music store and get a book to study him. Pieces like “Waltz in E Minor” and “Country Dance” should get you started and help you build technique and confidence. If you are using tabs I would suggest that you try using sheet music. Just do a simple search for it online for some sight reading books.
One good book I know of is authored by Robert Benedict called “Sight Reading for the Classical Guitar levels 1 to 3″. Start off with the simple pieces and as your technique gets better you’ll begin to learn more complex pieces.
Not only should you learn how to play music on your classical guitar but you should also get familiar with how to string it and tune it. Many classical guitar players attempt to grow their nails to pluck the strings, while others use the flesh of their fingertips. This decision is all yours and depends on what you’re comfortable with.
Also, when you take classical guitar lessons for beginners it’ll be in your best interest to learn how to read conventional music notation. Try to learn more about half notes, whole notes, time signatures, scales, and accidental notes. Once you learn the proper sitting position and learn a few easy pieces you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pretty good classical guitar player.