After teaching classical guitar for over forty years I have discovered that there is no substitute for learning the fundamentals well with a good teacher. This means beginning with mastering knowledge of the open strings and in the early stages slowly and carefully (with attention to fingering the notes correctly) using the fingers on notes within the first three frets. It is important to also maintain an absolutely correct position for the thumb, fingers, hands and arms either on the neck of the guitar or the plucking part of the strings over the soundhole. Some guitarists will fret the strings with the left hand (most) but others will use the right hand. It is also necessary to sit and hold the guitar correctly. A footstool, used to elevate the leg to the correct position so the guitar fits snugly into the body with all the correct angles for playing most effectively, must be of the correct height. This is especially important for later when the player will be reaching for the higher frets. The more correctly all these positions are learned the easier it will be for the instrument to be played with a light and easy touch. It is also vital that sight reading be practiced to perfection. So many guitarists fail in this important area and discover that they rely too much on a good ear to learn new pieces. The best guitarists will not only hear and distinguish notes and chords well but will also have superb reading of notation. Finally it is wise to learn pieces that are graded to allow consistent mastering of new techniques and expressive ability. Learn the fundamentals well - you can thus having regrets later.
Learning Classical Guitar correctly
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6 June 2006
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