Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all of my friend

It’s a while I have not updated my blog. Super busy for this year. I wish I can spend more time in guitar next year.


Here I wish all of my friends and follower a merry Christmas.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Score of Movie Music

Recently I came came across of the score book and like to share in my blog.

  • Anastasia
  • Deep Purple
  • Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
  • Invitation
  • Mimi
  • Over the Rainbow
  • Softly, As I leave you
  • Spring is here
  • Star eyes
  • The bad and the beautiful
  • The boy next door
  • The green leaves of summer
  • The shadow of your smile


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recording Yourself

Recording yourself is one of the best ways to improve your abilities. We often have quite a different idea in our head of what our playing sounds like compared to the scathing honesty of a recording. If you record yourself and hear things that you want to improve then you have already learnt something and gained invaluable objectivity.

Many guitar students rely on teachers to give them advice on what to work on in their playing but armed with a recording device and your own common sense you will be amazed at how many things you can pick up and improve on your own.

Here is an approach that I recommend to my students:

  1. Record your piece and listen back to it several times with the score in-front of you. Mark on the score (you may want to make some extra copies for yourself as they might get crowded!) all of the things that you would like to improve. For example, you might notice that some dotted rhythms are a little sloppy and that you didn't play the dynamics/articulation that is marked in. You might even notice that you are playing some wrong notes!

  2. Then, quite simply, go over those sections that need improving. If it sounds simple, its because it is simple. But then think about what your teacher points out in your lesson... "Your rhythm here is a little sloppy and you aren't playing staccato here... actually come to think of it... isn't that meant to be a G#?"

  3. Be sure to keep all of the recordings you make and every few weeks go over the recordings to track your progress. Consistent errors or aspects of your playing that need fixing become very apparent through this process and the realization and acknowledgement of these problems is one of the biggest steps in fixing them

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nail Care


If you have cracked a nail, my sympathies. It is a huge frustration and can severely hamper your playing. If the nail is still attached you can usually salvage it with the following technique.

  1. Get some nail glue and a tissue. Usually a tissue will have several layers so separate them until you have a single sheet of tissue paper.

  2. Place a small amount of glue over the crack and let it dry

  3. Place the tissue over the crack and wet the area with nail glue letting it dry. Don't go overboard with the glue as nail glue and super glue deteriorate the nail over time so use it sparingly.

  4. Repeat #3 so that there are three layers of glued tissue paper over the crack. Let the glue dry completely each time.
Take care! Nail glue and super glue will bond with skin very, very quickly. If this happens soak the skin in warm soapy water or better yet, use nail polish remover to dissolve the glue. Do not try to pull the skin apart, you will get hurt!

This process forms a very durable shell around the cracked nail and if you are careful with the nail it can last until the crack grows out. If need to take off the glue and tissue paper use nail polish remover. Put the nail polish remover on a cotton pad and place it over the glued area. The remover will dissolve the glue and with a little patience and gentle rubbing the area will be clean enough to start over.


A very simple but effective trick to stop nails wearing down from practicing is to put tape on them. You may have to experiment with different tape varieties as some work better than others depending on their glue and elasticity. I personally use brown packing tape.

Cut a small rectangle of tape and place the sticky side up underneath your nail. Then, fold it over the top of the nail and press it down. The tape may crease on the top of the nail but as long as it has a smooth surface along the playing edge of the nail you will be fine. You should still be able to get a good tone from your nails and they will last a lot longer!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Curse of the Golden Flower

Classical Guitar Performance of Original Soundtrack of Curse of the Golden Flower by Li Yan Jun, a Classical Guitar student in SanXi, China

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dictionary of Terms for Classical Guitar Sheet Music

Tempo Terms: These are the common terms that indicate the speed of a piece or of a section of a piece of classical guitar music.

  • Largo Adagio - Very Slow

  • Andante - Very Slow

  • Andantino - Medium Slow

  • Moderato - Moderate speed

  • Allegretto - Medium Fast

  • Allegro - Fast

  • Vivace = lively

  • Presto - Very fast

  • Meno Mosso - Slower

  • Piu Mosso - Faster

There are Terms that indicate a speed modification within only 1 measure or just a few measures.

  • Ritardando (rit.) Gradually slowing down

  • Rallentando (rall.) Also indicates a gradual slowing down

  • Accelerando (accel.) - Gradually speeding up

  • A tempo - Return to previous speed. You would normally see this after a Ritardando or Accelerando. What it means is that you are playing at the speed indicated by the piece then you are either given a Ritardando or Accelerando for a period of time then when the A tempo comes up you know to return to the pieces normal speed.

  • The Fermata or Hold symbol is either above or below a note and it indicates you should hold the note longer than is written. How long you hold it is up to your personal discretion.

Terms that Indicate volume or change in volume

= piano, means soft


= Forte, means loud


= Pianissimo, means very soft


= Mezzoforte, means moderately loud


= fortissimo, means very loud


= Forte-piano, means loud then immediately soft again


or cresc. = Crescendo, means to gradually increase the sound

or dim. = Diminuendo, means to gradually decrease the sound

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Glossary of Musical Terms



A cappella -

One or more vocalists performing without an accompaniment.

Accelerando -

A symbol used in musical notation indicating to gradually quicken tempo.

Accessible -

Music that is easy to listen to and understand.

Adagio -

A tempo having slow movement; restful at ease.

Allegro -

A direction to play lively and fast.

Atonal -

Music that is written and performed without regard to any specific key.

Baroque -

Time in music history ranging from the middle of the 16th to the middle of the 17th centuries. Characterized by emotional, flowery music; written in strict form.

Beat -

The unit of musical rhythm.

Cadence -

A sequence of chords that brings an end to a phrase, either in the middle or the end of a composition.

Cadenza -

Initially an improvised cadence by a soloist; later becoming an elaborate and written out passage in an aria or concerto, featuring the skills of an instrumentalist or vocalist.

Cadenza -

Originally an improvised cadence by a soloist. Later it became a written out passage to display performance skills of an instrumentalist or performer.

Canon -

A musical form where the melody or tune is imitated by individual parts at regular intervals. The individual parts may enter at different measures and pitches. The tune may also be played at different speeds, backwards, or inverted.

Cantabile -

A style of singing which is characterized by the easy and flowing tone of the composition.

Cantata -

Music written for chorus and orchestra. Most often religious in nature.

Capriccio -

A quick, improvisational, spirited piece of music.

Carol -

A song or hymn celebrating Christmas.

Castrato -

Male singers who were castrated to preserve their alto and soprano vocal range.

Cavatina -

A short and simple melody performed by a soloist that is part of a larger piece.

Chamber music -

Written for 2 to 10 solo parts featuring one instrument to a part. Each part bears the same importance.

Chant -

Singing in unison, texts in a free rhythm. Similar to the rhythm of speech.

Choir -

Group of singers in a chorus.

Chorale -

A hymn sung by the choir and congregation often in unison.

Chord -

3 or 4 notes played simultaneously in harmony.

Chord progression -

A string of chords played in succession.

Chorus -

A group singing in unison.

Chromatic scale -

Includes all twelve notes of an octave.

Classical -

The period of music history which dates from the mid 1700’s to mid 1800’s. The music was spare and emotionally reserved, especially when compared to Romantic and Boroque music.

Classicism -

The period of music history which dates from the mid 1800’s and lasted about sixty years. There was a strong regard for order and balance.

Clavier -

The keyboard of a stringed instrument.

Clef -

In sheet music, a symbol at the beginning of the staff defining the pitch of the notes found in that particular staff.

Coda -

Closing section of a movement.

Concert master -

The first violin in an orchestra.

Concerto -

A composition written for a solo instrument. The soloist plays the melody while the orchestra plays the accompaniment.

Conductor -

One who directs a group of performers. The conductor indicates the tempo, phrasing, dynamics, and style by gestures and facial expressions.

Consonance -

Groups of tones that are harmonious when sounded together as in a chord.

Contralto -

Lowest female singing voice.

Counterpoint -

Two or three melodic lines played at the same time.

Courante -

A piece of music written in triple time. Also an old French dance.

Da Capo -

In sheet music, an instruction to repeat the beginning of the piece before stopping on the final chord.

Deceptive cadence -

A chord progression that seems to lead to resolving itself on the final chord; but does not.

Development -

Where the musical themes and melodies are developed, written in sonata form.

Dissonance -

Harsh, discordant, and lack of harmony. Also a chord that sounds incomplete until it resolves itself on a harmonious chord.

Drone -

Dull, monotonous tone such as a humming or buzzing sound. Also a bass note held under a melody.

Duet -

A piece of music written for two vocalists or instrumentalists.

Dynamics -

Pertaining to the loudness or softness of a musical composition. Also the symbols in sheet music indicating volume.

Elegy -

An instrumental lament with praise for the dead.

Encore -

A piece of music played at the end of a recital responding to the audiences enthusiastic reaction to the performance, shown by continuous applause.

Energico -

A symbol in sheet music a direction to play energetically.

Enharmonic Interval -

Two notes that differ in name only. The notes occupy the same position. For example: C sharp and D flat.

Ensemble -

The performance of either all instruments of an orchestra or voices in a chorus.

Espressivo -

A direction to play expressively.

Etude -

A musical composition written solely to improve technique. Often performed for artistic interest.

Exposition -

The first section of a movement written in sonata form, introducing the melodies and themes.

Expressionism -

Atonal and violent style used as a means of evoking heightened emotions and states of mind.

Falsetto -

A style of male singing where by partial use of the vocal chords, the voice is able to reach the pitch of a female.

Fermata -

To hold a tone or rest held beyond the written value at the discretion of the performer.

Fifth -

The interval between two notes. Three whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.

Finale -

Movement or passage that concludes the musical composition.

Flat -

A symbol indicating that the note is to be diminished by one semitone.

Form -

The structure of a piece of music.

Forte -

A symbol indicating to play loud.

Fourth -

The interval between two notes. Two whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.

Fugue -

A composition written for three to six voices. Beginning with the exposition, each voice enters at different times, creating counterpoint with one another.

Galliard -

Music written for a lively French dance for two performers written in triple time.

Gavotte -

A 17th century dance written in Quadruple time, always beginning on the third beat of the measure.

Glee -

Vocal composition written for three or more solo parts, usually without instrumental accompaniment.

Glissando -

Sliding between two notes.

Grandioso -

Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played grandly.

Grave -

Word to indicate the movement or entire composition is to be played very slow and serious.

Grazioso -

Word to indicate the movement or entire composition is to be played gracefully.

Gregorian Chant -

Singing or chanting in unison without strict rhythm. Collected during the Reign of Pope Gregory VIII for psalms and other other parts of the church service.

Harmony -

Pleasing combination of two or three tones played together in the background while a melody is being played. Harmony also refers to the study of chord progressions.

Homophony -

Music written to be sung or played in unison.

Hymn -

A song of praise and glorification. Most often to honor God.

Impromptu -

A short piano piece, often improvisational and intimate in character.

Instrumentation -

Arrangement of music for a combined number of instruments.

Interlude -

Piece of instrumental music played between scenes in a play or opera.

Intermezzo -

Short movement or interlude connecting the main parts of the composition.

Interpretation -

The expression the performer brings when playing his instrument.

Interval -

The distance in pitch between two notes.

Intonation -

The manner in which tones are produced with regard to pitch.

Introduction -

The opening section of a piece of music or movement.

Key -

System of notes or tones based on and named after the key note.

Key signature -

The flats and sharps at the beginning of each staff line indicating the key of music the piece is to be played.

Klangfarbenmelodie -

The technique of altering the tone color of a single note or musical line by changing from one instrument to another in the middle of a note or line.

Leading note -

The seventh note of the scale where there is a strong desire to resolve on the tonic.

Legato -

Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played smoothly.

Leitmotif -

A musical theme given to a particular idea or main character of an opera.

Libretto -

A book of text containing the words of an opera.

Ligature -

Curved line connecting notes to be sung or played as a phrase.

Madrigal -

A contrapuntal song written for at least three voices, usually without accompaniment.

Maestro -

Refers to any great composer, conductor, or teacher of music.

Major -

One of the two modes of the tonal system. Music written in major keys have a positive affirming character.

March -

A form of music written for marching in two-step time. Originally the march was used for military processions.

Measure -

The unit of measure where the beats on the lines of the staff are divided up into two, three, four beats to a measure.

Medley -

Often used in overtures, a composition that uses passages from other movements of the composition in its entirety.

Mezzo -

The voice between soprano and alto. Also, in sheet music, a direction for the tempo to be played at medium speed.

Minor -

One of the two modes of the tonal system. The minor mode can be identified by the dark, melancholic mood.

Minuet -

Slow and stately dance music written in triple time.

Modes -

Either of the two octave arrangements in modern music. The modes are either major or minor.

Modulation -

To shift to another key.

Monotone -

Repetition of a single tone.

Motif -

Primary theme or subject that is developed.

Movement -

A separate section of a larger composition.

Musette -

A Boroque dance with a drone-bass.

Musicology -

The study of forms, history, science, and methods of music.

Natural -

A symbol in sheet music that returns a note to its original pitch after it has been augmented or diminished.

Neoclassical -

Movement in music where the characteristics are crisp and direct.

Nocturne -

A musical composition that has a romantic or dreamy character with nocturnal associations.

Nonet -

A composition written for nine instruments.

Notation -

First developed in the 8th century, methods of writing music.

Obbligato -

An extended solo, often accompanying the vocal part of an aria.

Octave -

Eight full tones above the key note where the scale begins and ends.

Octet -

A composition written for eight instruments.

Opera -

A drama where the words are sung instead of spoken.

Operetta -

A short light musical drama.

Opus -

Convenient method of numbering a composer’s works where a number follows the word “opus”. For example, Opus 28, No. 4.

Oratorio -

An extended cantata on a sacred subject.

Orchestra -

A large group of instrumentalists playing together.

Orchestration -

Arranging a piece of music for an orchestra. Also, the study of music.

Ornaments -

Tones used to embellish the principal melodic tone.

Ostinato -

A repeated phrase.

Overture -

Introduction to an opera or other large musical work.

Parody -

A composition based on previous work. A common technique used in Medieval and Renaissance music.

Part -

A line in a contrapuntal work performed by an individual voice or instrument.

Partial -

A harmonic given off by a note when it is played.

Partita -

Suite of Baroque dances.

Pastoral -

A composition whose style is simple and idyllic; suggestive of rural scenes.

Pentatonic Scale -

A musical scale having five notes. For example: the five black keys of a keyboard make up a pentatonic scale.

Phrase -

A single line of music played or sung. A musical sentence.

Piano -

An instruction in sheet music to play softly. Abbreviated by a “p”.

Pitch -

The frequency of a note determining how high or low it sounds.

Pizzicato -

String instruments that are picked instead of bowed.

Polyphony -

Combining a number of individual but harmonizing melodies. Also known as counterpoint.

Polytonality -

Combination of two or more keys being played at the same time.

Portamento -

A mild glissando between two notes for an expressive effect.

Prelude -

A short piece originally preceded by a more substantial work, also an orchestral introduction to opera, however not lengthy enough to be considered an overture.

Presto -

A direction in sheet music indicating the tempo is to be very fast.

Progression -

The movement of chords in succession.

Quadrille -

A 19th century square dance written for 4 couples.

Quartet -

A set of four musicians who perform a composition written for four parts.

Quintet -

A set of five musicians who perform a composition written for five parts.

Recapitulation -

A reprise.

Recital -

A solo concert with or without accompaniment.

Recitative -

A form of writing for vocals that is close to the manner of speech and is rhythmically free.

Reed -

The piece of cane in wind instruments. The players cause vibrations by blowing through it in order to produce sound.

Refrain -

A repeating phrase that is played at the end of each verse in the song.

Register -

A portion of the range of the instrument or voice.

Relative major and minor -

The major and minor keys that share the same notes in that key. For example: A minor shares the same note as C major.

Relative pitch -

Ability to determine the pitch of a note as it relates to the notes that precede and follow it.

Renaissance -

A period in history dating from the 14th to 16th centuries. This period signified the rebirth of music, art, and literature.

Reprise -

To repeat a previous part of a composition generally after other music has been played.

Requiem -

A dirge, hymn, or musical service for the repose of the dead.

Resonance -

When several strings are tuned to harmonically related pitches, all strings vibrate when only one of the strings is struck.

Rhythm -

The element of music pertaining to time, played as a grouping of notes into accented and unaccented beats.

Ricercar -

Elaborate polyphonic composition of the Boroque and Renaissance periods.

Rigaudon -

A quick 20th century dance written in double time.

Rococo -

A musical style characterized as excessive, ornamental, and trivial.

Romantic -

A period in history during the 18th and early 19th centuries where the focus shifted from the neoclassical style to an emotional, expressive, and imaginative style.

Rondo -

A musical form where the principal theme is repeated several times. The rondo was often used for the final movements of classical sonata form works.

Root -

The principal note of a triad.

Round -

A canon where the melody is sung in two or more voices. After the first voice begins, the next voice starts singing after a couple of measures are played in the preceding voice. All parts repeat continuously.

Rubato -

An important characteristic of the Romantic period. It is a style where the strict tempo is temporarily abandoned for a more emotional tone.

Scale -

Successive notes of a key or mode either ascending or descending.

Scherzo -

Pertaining to the sonata form, a fast movement in triple time.

Scordatura -

The retuning of a stringed instrument in order to play notes below the ordinary range of the instrument or to produce an usual tone color.

Septet -

A set of seven musicians who perform a composition written for seven parts.

Sequence -

A successive transposition and repetition of a phrase at different pitches.

Serenade -

A lighthearted piece, written in several movements, usually as background music for a social function.

Sextet -

A set of six musicians who perform a composition written for six parts.

Sharp -

A symbol indicating the note is to be raised by one semitone.

Slide -

A glissando or portamento. Also refers to the moving part of a trombone.

Slur -

A curve over notes to indicate that a phrase is to be played legato.

Sonata -

Music of a particular form consisting of four movements. Each of the movements differ in tempo, rhythm, and melody; but are held together by subject and style.

Sonata form -

A complex piece of music. Usually the first movement of the piece serving as the exposition, a development, or recapitulation.

Sonatina -

A short or brief sonata.

Song cycle -

A sequence of songs, perhaps on a single theme, or with texts by one poet, or having continuos narrative.

Soprano -

The highest female voice.

Staccato -

Short detached notes, as opposed to legato.

Staff -

Made up of five horizontal parallel lines and the spaces between them on which musical notation is written.

Stretto -

Pertaining to the fugue, the overlapping of the same theme or motif by two or more voices a few beats apart.

String Quartet -

A group of 4 instruments, two violins, a viola, and cello.

Suite -

A loose collection of instrumental compositions.

Symphony -

Three to four movement orchestral piece, generally in sonata form.

System -

A combination of two or more staves on which all the notes are vertically aligned and performed simultaneously in differing registers and instruments.

Tablature -

A system of notation for stringed instruments. The notes are indicated by the finger positions.

Temperament -

Refers to the tuning of an instrument.

Tempo -

Indicating speed.

Tessitura -

The range of an instrumental or a vocal part.

Theme -

A melodic or, sometimes a harmonic idea presented in a musical form.

Timbre -

Tone color, quality of sound that distinguishes one verse or instrument to another. It is determined by the harmonies of sound.

Time Signature -

A numeric symbol in sheet music determining the number of beats to a measure.

Tonal -

Pertains to tone or tones.

Tonality -

The tonal characteristics determined by the relationship of the notes to the tone.

Tone -

The intonation, pitch, and modulation of a composition expressing the meaning, feeling, or attitude of the music.

Tone less -

Unmusical, without tone.

Tonic -

The first tone of a scale also known as a keynote.

Treble -

The playing or singing the upper half of the vocal range. Also the highest voice in choral singing.

Tremolo -

Quick repetition of the same note or the rapid alternation between two notes.

Triad -

Three note chords consisting of a root, third, and fifth.

Trill -

Rapid alternation between notes that are a half tone or whole tone apart.

Trio -

A composition written for three voices and instruments performed by three

Triple time -

Time signature with three beats to the measure.

Triplet -

Three notes played in the same amount of time as one or two beats.

Tritone -

A chord comprised of three whole tones resulting in an augmented fourth or diminished fifth.

Tune -

A rhythmic succession of musical tones, a melody for instruments and voices.

Tuning -

The raising and lowering a pitch of an instrument to produce the correct tone of a note.

Tutti -

Passage for the entire ensemble or orchestra without a soloist.

Twelve-tone music -

Music composed such that each note is used the same number of times.

Unison -

Two or more voices or instruments playing the same note simultaneously.

Verismo -

A form of Italian opera beginning at the end of the 19th century. The setting is contemporary to the composer’s own time, and the characters are modeled after every day life.

Vibrato -

Creating variation pitch in a note by quickly alternating between notes.

Virtuoso -

A person with notable technical skill in the performance of music.

Vivace -

Direction to performer to play a composition in a brisk, lively, and spirited manner.

Voice -

One of two or more parts in polyphonic music. Voice refers to instrumental parts as well as the singing voice.

Waltz -

A dance written in triple time, where the accent falls on the first beat of each measure.

Whole note -

A whole note is equal to 2 half notes, 4 quarter notes, 8 eighth notes, etc.

Whole-tone scale -

A scale consisting of only whole-tone notes. Such a scale consists of only 6 notes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Left-Hand Trouble Shooting

Do Your Fingers Seem too Short?

Problems reaching notes, especially notes on the fourth fret of the 5th and 6th strings, are usually due to poor hand position. Shortness of reach is caused when the palm is held diagonal or perpendicular to the neck, when the thumb is hooked over the top of the neck, or when a finger, often the little finger, is held too far from the fingerboard. Review the diagrams below for the proper hand position:

String Buzzes

Buzzing or muffled tones may be due to improperly set action, worn or defective strings or frets, incorrect neck relief, plucking too hard or poor finger placement. However, most beginners will find that poor finger placement is the most common cause of buzzing or muffled tones. When fretting, place your finger next to the fret, touching it but not directly on top of it. Whenever possible, avoid placing the finger midway between the frets--this position buzzes easily and requires additional pressure to make a clear tone.

If you think something is wrong with your guitar, get the opinion of your teacher or a guitar technician. If your guitar is new, your dealer should be willing to adjust it for you (adjustments are often needed for new guitars, especially cheap ones).

Sore Fingers?

Sore fingers are sometimes due to an improperly adjusted guitar, but more often than not stem from excessive finger pressure. Here's how to find the minimum finger pressure: Place your finger against the string (next to the fret), but don't press it down to the fret. Pluck the string. You should hear a muffled sound. Continue plucking and slowly increase the pressure until the string begins to buzz. Hold the pressure there--let it buzz. The pressure needed to maintain the "buzz threshold" is very small. Now, press just hard enough to stop the buzz and break into a clear tone. This small amount of pressure--a few grams--is all the pressure you need when playing!

Source Materials

Frary, Peter Kun. Beginning to Play Classical Guitar. Book 1. Honolulu: FRM Publication, 1988.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Classical Guitar Tablature – by Thomas Niemann

This is a good starting point for who doesn’t familiar with standard notation and wish to play Classical pieces.

The first music I studied for guitar included folk songs such as Freight Train. Later I tried my hand at classical music. This was a painful experience. Despite much persistence I was unable to read music. At the same time I was easily learning folk music from tablature. As an experiment I translated Étude in D to tablature. Within a month I was playing the piece fluently.

Étude in D is still one of my favorites. Another song I especially enjoy is the Gymnopedie, by Satie. I’m afraid I played this piece obsessively while I was learning it. The other pieces are fairly easy, as I never progressed past the advanced beginner stage. If you study any songs, and want to bring a smile to my face, send me some email. If you can read music, or would like to learn, I recommend Frederick Noad’s book



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Barre Chord Basics | How to Play Barre Chords

Barre chords are the scourge of the beginning guitarist. Like a bum knee, a prison record, the inability of matter to exceed the speed of light; barre chords hold us back. The next time an F minor chord messes with you, mess back with this:

  • Check your thumb placement. Your thumb should be pressing against the back of the neck, on the fattest part, behind the area where the 2nd finger’s hanging out.

  • Check your first finger placement. It should be parallel with the fret wire, so close it’s just barely touching the side. Roll your finger a bit toward the nut, so that the bony side of the finger is digging into the strings instead of the strings digging into what my student Casey calls the “chub.”

  • Stop pressing so hard. That first finger’s only responsible for fretting some of the strings, so don’t try to press down on each string with equal force. For example, when playing a standard barred F chord, press hard with the tip of your finger on the 6th string, and dig your knuckle into the 1st and 2nd strings, but let the finger rest lightly over the other strings.

  • Take heart. Often you can transpose a song to avoid barre chords. Also, some great guitarists never play barre chords–BB King, for example, played his way to greatness pretty much one note at a time. As he said in the U2 documentary “Rattle and Hum,” “I don’t do chords.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Produce Tones of the Masters

Guitarists, you're wondering how to make your instrument to produce the types tones that evoke emotions of listeners? If so, you'll want to look at the technique of classical guitar that the world's best classical guitarists use to make their audiences thrill of music.

A stellar operatic tenor makes his living producing sounds that send chills fans into ecstasy. If his voice was hoarse and rough, he never would inspire his listeners. Good sound is what differentiates the average of virtuoso singer. Likewise, a skilled musician to play classical guitar works to produce the best sound quality possible with the right hand. He attempts to refine your pitch to the point where no rudeness or impurity remains. Thus, the player puts out a beautiful tone in his own mind, then try to duplicate the elusive quality tone on the classical guitar.

In the classical guitar, the musician uses his nails to produce the tone, since using nails shine and creates a multitude of tone colors. The tone of the nail that guitarists produce the best show of course, round, sweet and ethereal in character. It has no roughness, scratchiness beats or clicks. This tone can completely delight both player and listener. Each and every guitarist should point to a sound so magnificent flawless. Do not be satisfied until the sounds coming from your guitar has this elusive quality that you hear from best artists in the genre. Experiment with your tone, to get the sound you want. Remember, even superior dynamic range, the tone should remain fresh and airy.

To produce such a tone, first get a clear concept of an ideal tone in his mind. The best way to get this concept is to hear one of the beautiful tones produced by a virtuoso classical guitarist, whether live, recorded, or classical guitar lessons. Listen again, each time trying to listen more subtle qualities of tone. When you have a clear concept of sound, try to produce the same quality in his own classical guitar. You'll find it easier because you have already heard that the tone should sound, a master of the art. From a technical perspective, performing the hits from the right hand correctly will also improve the quality of its production tone. Use both methods to hone their skills in this most important aspect of the technique of classical guitar.

Since sound quality is so crucial for its development as an artist of classical guitar, makes this exercise so important to your daily routine like practicing scales. You can also have their musicianship to the next level of attention to tone production. Online classical guitar lessons can help, too, can take classes as a studio.

When choosing a studio or a classic line guitar lessons program, make sure that instructors to produce sounds that move the hearts of his listeners. Look for reviews of their shows and listen to their recorded works. In addition, they must have teaching experience enough to have a registration for the quality of students they produce. Finally, make sure that teachers have a friendly way that allows them to explain the material to their students in a clear, using the student's preferred style of learning. Choose wisely and you will be producing the types of tones that moves the hearts of listeners too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The forgotten finger: Your left thumb

In many routine activities (such as turning a doorknob or picking up a spoon) your fingers and thumb grasp together. This tendency often continues when placing your hand around the neck of a guitar, which leads to tension in the hand and other fingers. Your left thumb should normally rest gently against the back of the neck without squeezing. There are times (such as barring) when the thumb must apply a little pressure, but normally the fingers should do their own work, assisted by the lower arm as needed. Imagine a large rubber band from the back of your elbow to a wall behind you, gently pulling your arm back and helping to keep the fingers firmly against the fingerboard. It's also important to keep the left wrist loose as there is sometimes a tendency to bend the wrist inward towards the fingerboard to help increase finger pressure.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Practice Scales

Classical Guitar Scales

Scales are probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think of practice and technical development. The idea that practicing scales makes you a better musician seems to be universally accepted yet in the case of the classical guitar the 'mythology' of scale practice seems a little over-rated. Scales occur frequently in music written for violins, flutes and piano however, they come up rarely in the guitar repertoire. A full octave scale is actually quite hard to come by in much of the literature and when there is a long scale passage in a work it stands out partly because it is so rare. Violin and piano repertoire on the other hand is absolutely littered with virtuosic scale runs that span genres from the Baroque to the present day. It stands to reason, then, that we do not practice scales to be prepared for the occasional scale run in a piece.

The process of running up and down a scale, which is a very common way of practicing scales, is pointless.

So why do we practice scales ?

Scales are tools. They are simple frameworks that we can use to hone in on specific technical elements. Once those elements have been worked on in isolation they can be incorporated into music making, which is the ultimate goal of any technical work.

The process of running up and down a scale, which is a very common way of practicing scales, is pointless. Without a specific focus to practicing a scale then the time is wasted without any goals being reached. The scale itself may become familiar and fluid but seeing as there are few actual applications of a scale in a piece the process really is, pointless.

Scales are incredibly useful, however, if assigned a goal and function. One function might be to practice crescendo and diminuendo another could be to practice staccato articulations yet another is a variety of rhythms. As you may start to realize, the ways to use a scale to work on technical aspects is almost as diverse as your imagination. A more complete list of scale suggestions is written below and I encourage you to come up with your own uses for scale practice.

It could be argued that scales are useful for becoming acquainted with the fingerboard and learning key centers. This could be absolutely true although the common tendency to memorize scale 'patterns' on the guitar prevents any real development of these skills. If you doubt this, ask the next scale wiz that you come across to sight read some Bach ;)


Here are some suggestions on how to apply your scales:

  • Crescendo
  • Diminuendo
  • Terraced Dynamics
  • pp,p,mp,mf,f,ff

  • Dotted Rhythms
  • Triplets with duplets
  • Groupings of 5,6,7
  • Accellerando
  • Rallentando
  • Lento, Andante, Allegretto, Allegro, Presto etc.
  • Ponticello
  • Tasto
  • Pizzicato
  • Harmonics
  • Slurs
  • Stacatto
  • Legato
  • Tenuto
  • Sforzando
  • Accents (place accents on different notes)
  • im, mi, ia, ai, ma, am, ami, mia, ima, pima, amip, pi, ip etc.

  • Shifts
  • Fixed fingers


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