#2
Anytime that you're taking the time to learn something on the guitar that you don't already know, it helps you as a guitarist. Even if you're someone who prefers to play rock, you can take some of the techniques and phrases you learn from playing classical guitar and transfer them to your rock music.

I recommend learning all the styles you possibly can to be honest. Blues, Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, etc. All of them will give you something that will make you a better guitarist.
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#3
Well, as far as helping with overall ability, learning new things always helps with that. You learn other techniques, progressions, styles, and stuff. Sure, you might not be able to apply everything you learn to something else exactly, but it still allows you to take something from it and apply. You should always look to playing all sorts of different styles, even if its just to see how it is to learn one song by it. You might like it a lot. The more repertoire you have, the better off you are.
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#4
Yes, learning new styles definitely helps you play better. Classical guitar is a great foundation for working on your finger picking skills, as well as learning music theory.
#5
However.... Classical guitar is such a very specific discipline... Standard methods of holding the instrument (the embrochure ) the specific strokes and fingerings to use, the standard repertoire....
All very formalized and specific. In other words, it's a world unto itself. If you really love the sound of the classical guitar and the standard works for same, fine.
However, it's unlikely to make you a better blues or rock player.
Last edited by Bikewer at Jun 19, 2010,
#6
I disagree with the way the question is framed and the immediately previous reply above.
The question and reply both imply that classical guitar is some sort of sub-species (a "specific disipline"") of another, more general, form of guitar playing.
I would argue that the classical "discipline" (agreed it does include many technical dicsiplines) is the widest and most musically inclusive genre of performance on the guitar and it is other styles and constructions of guitar that are far more stylistically specific.
Classical guitar allows for execution of an extraordinary wide range of musical styles, that is what historically drove its development.
Viewed in that context, study of classical guitar techniques certainly improve "overall ability" on the instrument.
#7
I took classical guitar for four years during high school, at which time I was playing in punk and metal bands. That was quite a few years ago, and these days I am playing mostly acoustic guitar, trying to learn and write fingerstyle songs. The classical playing I did in highschool is unbelievably helpful to my playing now. I can't solo or shred very well at all but I can play an acoustic guitar without a pick for hours...classical guitar really develops your fingerpicking which I feel is a great skill to have and to always be continuously improving. It also helps with your left hand, because quite often in classical playing you have odd chord structures and big stretches to make. These are things you will encounter in all types of playing, so more practice will always help. Finally I think classical is helpful because you have to make sure your playing is clean. You don't have the benefit of distortion to mask any mistakes, nor do you have other instruments to play with, it is just you and your guitar. If you can play a song cleanly with no mistakes on a classical guitar, it will do wonders for your electric playing.
#8
Just to echo the last 2 posts, studying classical with a good teacher can do wonders for your playing and on your ability to play different styles because you learn to play the neck not a position. You also learn to plan ahead on how you're going to go from one fingering to the next so that you flow up and down the neck rather than jumping around. As one of the posters said there's on place to hide in playing classical so every squeak, or dull note or missed fingering is there for all the world to hear. Power chords are fine in their place but there's not a lot of technique in barring the neck and flailing away.
#9
Certainly mastery of the fingerboard and general musical training is not going to hurt anyone, and if you have a lot of time on your hands to work on many different styles... Anything is grist for the mill.
Many of us are working stiffs who can't afford to spend many hours per week woodshedding, so we tend to be pragmatic.

Years ago, I watched a filmed segment of a Segovia master class. The young lad playing was tooling along nicely when the master reached over and grabbed the neck of his guitar.
"Why!" he shouted, "Did you change my fingerings?"
The poor lad was completely flustered and embarrassed... As you might expect, and could hardly reply.
I don't imagine that Townes Van Zandt or Dave Van Ronk or Pete Seeger or Mansk Lipscome or many other of hundreds of successful artists ever worried about their "fingerings".
All depends what you want out of the instrument.
#10
That's a strange comment. In guitar playing the choice of fingering plays a huge part in the musical result.
Segovia liked things his way. If he hadn't such a single minded and strong sense of self worth he may not have achieved the things he did. He has come in for a lot of flack for it in recent years but the fact was, if you didn't like Segovia's way of playing whyeven go to his masterclass. Worse still, why, as a wet behind the ears student, discard the fingerings he arrived at over decades of experience and expect him to be anything other than a little pissed off?
#11
I dunno, I'm a "roots" kind of guy and over many years have come to the opinion that whatever works for the individual is "right" even though it may not conform to standard practices.
Tal Farlow, the great jazz guitarist, actually learned to play (and was able to figure out complex chord voicings) by listening to big-band records.
When he started playing with other trained musicians, they were mightily confused by his odd (but still good-sounding!) voicings....
If there's one thing I learned from subscribing to Guitar Player for about 10 years and reading many dozens of interviews with top players, it's that everyone has their own ideas and practices and techniques.
It's the same with any art form, really. I paint and sculpt a bit, and I once read a book called "100 Ways With Watercolor". The author interviewed 100 different prominent and successful artists in that medium and got their techniques, choice of materials, and so forth.
They were all wildly differrent!. Some preferred nothing but the finest brushes, paper, and pigments. Others made do with whatever was at hand. Some refused to use certain colors or pigments. Others didn't care at all...
All these people were equally successful and well-known.
#12
Quote by R.Christie
I would argue that the classical "discipline" (agreed it does include many technical dicsiplines) is the widest and most musically inclusive genre of performance on the guitar and it is other styles and constructions of guitar that are far more stylistically specific.

I'm not sure what you mean there. Could you give a few examples?

Classical guitar, as an instrument, is much more standardized than steel-string (acoustic, archtop, electric, etc.). I'd say it's almost on par with violins. There are some interesting innovations -- Greg Smallman's instruments come to mind -- but the basic design hasn't changed much since Torres. There's a much wider variety with steel-string instruments, and while some are more closely identified with certain styles than others, the relationship between a Martin D-28 and bluegrass isn't nearly as tight as classical guitars with, well, classical music. (Besides classicals, how many other guitars are specifically designed for a single style, or general range of styles? And how many are so concerned about playing the instrument as, and only as, it was originally intended?)

I'm not a classical player so I don't know much about technique, but my impression is that it's a lot more standardized than, say, rock, or blues, or jazz. By the way, I think most of us take for granted that "styles...are...stylistically specific," whatever that means.

Quote by R.Christie
Classical guitar allows for execution of an extraordinary wide range of musical styles, that is what historically drove its development.

You could argue the same for any guitar type or discipline. It's all relative. An "extraordinary wide range" to you might be imperceptible to me, and vice versa.

Look at the many different subgenres of metal. I frankly can't tell the difference -- to me it's all heavy distortion, power chords and tapping -- but to those who listen to and play that sort of music, there's a world of difference between, say, BTBAM (they're always relevant!) and Metallica.

Quote by R.Christie
That's a strange comment. In guitar playing the choice of fingering plays a huge part in the musical result.
Segovia liked things his way. If he hadn't such a single minded and strong sense of self worth he may not have achieved the things he did. He has come in for a lot of flack for it in recent years but the fact was, if you didn't like Segovia's way of playing whyeven go to his masterclass. Worse still, why, as a wet behind the ears student, discard the fingerings he arrived at over decades of experience and expect him to be anything other than a little pissed off?

I understand that classical music is a lot more formalized than most other styles, but I think Segovia took that to its logical extremes. As I understand it, a large part of classical playing is the subtle individual expression possible through phrasing, voicing, etc. My impression of Segovia, again as an outsider (but a fairly well-read one), is that he didn't like that, and wanted everything to sound exactly the same way -- his way. In other words, the man who saved classical guitar as a serious discipline could well have also destroyed it.

While I appreciate formality in art, I much prefer chance. The music has a life all its own, just follow it wherever it may go...
#13
Classical guitar will help finger-pickers out quite a bit. It will also help your left hand develop finger independence. You'll learn theory by playing from transcriptions in standard notation. For these reasons, learning classical guitar is a good thing.

However, learning classical guitar won't develop your vibrato, string bending, or improvising the way learning blues or jazz would. Learning classical guitar also won't help you play pick style.

In short, you can pick up different things from different styles. My advice to you would be to learn your favorite style first, then branch out depending on your tastes.
#14
Quote by obeythepenguin
I'm not sure what you mean there. Could you give a few examples?
.


As you probably know Classical technique has evolved to allow redition of musical style sourced from over 5 centuries. Do you really need examples? Start at late medieval and take it through to serialism and beyond, literally hundreds of compositional and performance styles, including a fair amount of "modern popular" idioms such as latin and jazz forms. I restate that no other technical performance approach nor construction of guitar comes close to successfully challenging the classical guitars dominance in this regard.

Quote by obeythepenguin
Classical guitar, as an instrument, is much more standardized than steel-string (acoustic, archtop, electric, etc.). I'd say it's almost on par with violins. There are some interesting innovations -- Greg Smallman's instruments come to mind -- but the basic design hasn't changed much since Torres. There's a much wider variety with steel-string instruments, and while some are more closely identified with certain styles than others, the relationship between a Martin D-28 and bluegrass isn't nearly as tight as classical guitars with, well, classical music. (Besides classicals, how many other guitars are specifically designed for a single style, or general range of styles? And how many are so concerned about playing the instrument as, and only as, it was originally intended?).


Ok, but I wasn't talking about guitar construction but of their performance techniques as this is subject of thread. And archtop construction is as distinct from steel string acoustic as classical is from the same, there is no justification in isolating classical against a whole bunch of others. Could just as well pick on any guitar construction in isolation. In response to your last question I would say most others. For example archtops are found overwhelmingly in Jazz, solid bodies in rock,pop and related styles, steel string acoustic developed mainly as an instrument for accompaniment (although a minority use it as a solo instrument).

Quote by obeythepenguin
I'm not a classical player so I don't know much about technique, but my impression is that it's a lot more standardized than, say, rock, or blues, or jazz. By the way, I think most of us take for granted that "styles...are...stylistically specific," whatever that means..



Yes I could have been clearer, here "styles" as in technical performance issues (posture, use of fingers etc; for example "claw hammer") and the specificity claim is that a lot of these technical issues have, to greater or lesser extent, driven or influenced the musical style where the technical style is used. For example, use of plectrum limits voicing possibilties in comparison to fingerstyle, hence improvisation in jazz on the plectrum guitar has overwhelmingly favoured single lines or block chords. Low wrist and/or thumbpicks encourage certain actions of thumb over others this has driven guitar patterns many country and in folk fingerpicking styles - such technical issues have influenced the musical style produced by those using them. In contrast, classical technique has a fundimentally different rationale at its very core. It is that modern classical technique has evolved to deliberately allow the most efficient execution of the widest possible range of musical style. Of course, it can't do every musical style that is commonly produced on guitars, but it is the technical approach that does do the most on an acoustic instrument.


Quote by obeythepenguin
You could argue the same for any guitar type or discipline. It's all relative. An "extraordinary wide range" to you might be imperceptible to me, and vice versa.

Look at the many different subgenres of metal. I frankly can't tell the difference -- to me it's all heavy distortion, power chords and tapping -- but to those who listen to and play that sort of music, there's a world of difference between, say, BTBAM (they're always relevant!) and Metallica..


Agreed subtle differences are hard for outsiders to spot, this is like arguing over the differences between the style of two individual 16th Century Vihuela composers. I'm talking about the big stylistical differences, there is a world of difference between Frank Martin or Henze and J Dowland, between Argentinian Milonga and Viennese salon music I don't think that when it comes down to it, any case can be made that the solid body guitar for example, or even the steelstring acoustic, is as successful in allowing for the convincing performance of as wide a range of musical style as the classical instrument.

Quote by obeythepenguin
I understand that classical music is a lot more formalized than most other styles, but I think Segovia took that to its logical extremes. As I understand it, a large part of classical playing is the subtle individual expression possible through phrasing, voicing, etc. My impression of Segovia, again as an outsider (but a fairly well-read one), is that he didn't like that, and wanted everything to sound exactly the same way -- his way. In other words, the man who saved classical guitar as a serious discipline could well have also destroyed it..


Segovia needs to be viewed in historical and social context as well as his personal approach. We don't teach math the same as we did in the 1920s either. As to the Chapdelaine masterclass (recently widely cited as example of his humiliating his pupils: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiAbqfaYGwk )

Chapdelaine was foolish, he basically turned up and said "maestro your fingerings are not worth playing" - that's just asking for trouble.

Quote by obeythepenguin
While I appreciate formality in art, I much prefer chance. The music has a life all its own, just follow it wherever it may go...


hmm, that is a whole other discussion :-)
#15
I do believe so. My teacher told me to bring my acoustic to practice on my second day of practice. I set it down and she put it to the side. She made me try the exact same song we were learning the week before (When the Saints Go Marchin', I believe it was), but on a Classical Guitar. It was way harder. After practicing it for a day or two, I could play it better on my acoustic than before. I believe classical guitars are a bit more difficult to play, but do have their benefits in the end. Being classically taught on guitar is the way to go!
Neo-Classical is ftw.