#1
Im an electric blues, jazz and rock guitarist mostly, but have recently been attempting some finger picking/classical stuff. I feel that I have generally good technique, but I know the classical school of thought states that proper (guitar over right knee, footstool etc) tecnique is essential to mastering the (classical) guitar. Do you agree?

I personally dont feel restricted when playing sat down in the non classical way, and find the classical way awkward (although Im sure with practice I'd get used to it). That said, Im still pretty much a beginner with classical and cant really tell how important posture will turn out to be when and if I turn the difficulty up to expert. I like to think that the difference between techniques is not really too important, and that I don't need to develop drastically different techniques for playing different styles. I never going to become a classical purist/traditionalist, but if I continue to enjoy and get better at the style I'd hope to perhaps become proficient enough to earn money from it at some point (same as with my blues and jazz aspirations. I wanna be a jack of all trades, master of some).

Opinions?

Cheers.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Feb 16, 2012,
#2
i used to use classical posture, complete with footstool, but not any longer. i, too, found classical awkward, and over the years it got worse. now i play in postures that are comfortable for me, and my playing improved because of that.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#3
I've been playing for a while and I can say its pretty important. I really hate playing anything without a footstool of some sort. I have seen some little " humps " you can put on your knee though and then you put your guitar on that it gets a similar effect. Even if you're not a " purist " I would still do it though, it just feels weird not doing it.
#4
Quote by BoringUsername
I've been playing for a while and I can say its pretty important. I really hate playing anything without a footstool of some sort. I have seen some little " humps " you can put on your knee though and then you put your guitar on that it gets a similar effect. Even if you're not a " purist " I would still do it though, it just feels weird not doing it.


But surely it only feels weird for you to not use a footstool because (presumably) you have been using classical posture since you started. I have been using non-classical posture for about seven years and it would be quite a change for me, and I'm not sure if it would be worth it. I personally dont intend to become an amazing virtuoso, and prodigies tend to have started playing when they are about five practising 27 hours per day throughout their teenage years - I just wonder how important the marginally better fretting hand stretch and picking hand angle (and any other benefits I cant think of) are from becoming a proficient enough fingerpicker. I doubt I'm doing myself any harm by doing it my way, but I imagine some classical guys may disagree.


Also, how important is using nails? I know Francisco Tarrega used the flesh of his fingers, and volume isnt as much of an issue these days with abundant amplification.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Feb 16, 2012,
#5
Quote by Hydra150
Edit: Also, how important is using nails? I know Francisco Tarrega used the flesh of his fingers, and volume isnt as much of an issue these days with abundant amplification?

Cheers.
Well, it's an issue of tonality and convenience. Using the nails creates more of a plectrum-esque sound. And using the flesh, a much softer, broader tone.

If you strike the sound board with your nails, it goes "clack", with your fingertips, "thump". exactly what sounds are you looking for?

Then there's the issue of nail care, and perhaps more frequent string changes.

"Plectrum-esque"! Yeah, I can be pompous sometimes, so what....?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 16, 2012,
#6
Quote by Captaincranky
exactly what sounds are you looking for?


Hah, not sure, but I dont fancy manicures so I'll just say I am a disciple of Tarrega and use my fingertips.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#7
Quote by Hydra150
But surely it only feels weird for you to not use a footstool because (presumably) you have been using classical posture since you started. I have been using non-classical posture for about seven years and it would be quite a change for me, and I'm not sure if it would be worth it. I just wonder how much of a difference the marginally better fretting hand stretch and picking hand angle (and any other benefits I cant think of) make.


Well yes, I had only gone one year before I went to classical position. The fretting I believe is better. When you have it without classical position over your leg or whatever, you have to actively hold the guitar so it doesn't fall and stretches to higher frets/ positions leave your fretting hand angled. With classical position the guitar sits neatly and you don't need to worry about it wobbling around. The fretting you can really just stretch anywhere you want. It's mainly beneficial with chords however. If you want a bar chord higher up, w/o the position it creates a lot of tension in your hand all you'll probably cramp up faster. I mean, you could test these kinds of things anytime really.

Quote by Hydra150
Also, how important is using nails? I know Francisco Tarrega used the flesh of his fingers, and volume isnt as much of an issue these days with abundant amplification.


Eh i don't know how I feel about amplification. I've never used it myself and there are older classical guitarists who could fill up entire auditoriums and such without an amp.

Nails I feel are essential though. A little something I pulled off wikipedia with tarrega and segovia.

Tárrega played with his nails until the last 9 years of his life. He had been playing with shorter nails, and at that point was using only flesh. Andrés Segovia, who established the use of both flesh and nail, when asked for his opinion on Tarrega's use of the right hand without nails, replied:
"It is absolutely stupid. You reduce the volume of the guitar, and the difference of timbre and colour.Tarrega has renounced the real nature of the guitar, which is the richness of its timbres, the different colours of the guitar."

As it says, the use of flesh and nail gives the best tone. Although I always hear about how you have to have your nails a certain length or shape, I personally think it comes down to preference. I've been able to get pretty good sound with slightly longer nails that are shaped my own. So just experiment in those regards.

And another thing you may have heard about, acrylics. Some guitarists using fake nails to play. I wouldn't reccomend that unless you break one of your own and need a quick fix. Natural always works best.
#8
I'm used to the classical position to the point it's awkward for me to try something else; can't even see my fretting hand properly if I use the casual position.

And my life changed when I got an actual footstool about a month or two ago. Before that I raised my foot on open drawers, piles of books, whatever...
#10
Quote by BoringUsername
The fretting I believe is better. When you have it without classical position over your leg or whatever, you have to actively hold the guitar so it doesn't fall and stretches to higher frets/ positions leave your fretting hand angled. With classical position the guitar sits neatly and you don't need to worry about it wobbling around. The fretting you can really just stretch anywhere you want. It's mainly beneficial with chords however. If you want a bar chord higher up, w/o the position it creates a lot of tension in your hand all you'll probably cramp up faster.


Interesting. I don't notice my guitar wobbling about or being unstable when I play, but I do recognise that there is a bit less tension when stretching when playing classical style. I don't actually have a classical guitar at the moment, I practice with my electrics and my steel string, and Im sure that the smaller body of the nylon string would make playing classical style less uncomfortable, but even when when I did have plenty access to nylon string guitars it always felt more natural to play the way I do.

My general impression from these replies is that people only feel comfortable playing with the posture they have always used (obviously), but that there is some inherent benefit to classical technique. Guess it's just upto me to weigh up the pros (easier fret hand stretches, slightly less tension) with the cons (it'll be a while till its at all comfortable, looks less badass).

Quote by BoringUsername

"It is absolutely stupid. You reduce the volume of the guitar, and the difference of timbre and colour. Tarrega has renounced the real nature of the guitar, which is the richness of its timbres, the different colours of the guitar."


I also read that quote (wrote an essay about the evolution of the guitar and techniques last year at college) and couldn't help thinking that Tarrega would disagree (and I think he was dead when Senor Segovia said that). If using the flesh was good enough for the most influential exponent of 20th century Classical guitar, perhaps it'll do for me - I guess Ill just experiment as I progress, and thanks for the replies.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#11
In keep semi-long nails just for the purpose of using them like this, but really,when I play I hear no difference between using nails and not, granted I have alot of grip- and finger strength so the same may not be said for everyone. and I've tried classical, I felt the relief in executing chords, but I found it far too cramped as I have some muscle tone to me and rather broad shoulders I've always preferred a casual style, It helps me reach the higher frets easier anyway.
#12
But yeah in the end, you could just try classical position on some stacked books or a box or something to get a feel for it and then buy a footstool if you get to like it.

I'd still reccomend nails though, when you start rest strokes and get to those higher notes and strings, it really sounds better if you have some nail. With classical guitars anyway, guess it really doesn't matter that much with steel string.

But yeah mess around with lengths and whatnot to find what sounds best. One of my teachers said it took him years before he found what was best for him.
#13
1) classical position
I find it a little bit easier to fret in this position. But I only use it when I'm struggling through a difficult passage when learning it. Once I've learned the passage and can play it well, I go back to a more comfortable position, with the waist of the guitar on my right leg.

2) Nails
For my first five years of playing, I never played with nails (I'm a jujutsu guy, and clawing one's training partners is a no-no, so I always trimmed them as much as possible). But then I bought a better guitar, and started exploring how to improve my technique for better tone.

First I tried buying metal fingerpicks manufactured by National. I played with them a little bit, but they made me feel like a robot. I was also worried that I might absent-mindedly scratch the body of my beautiful new Larrivee. They also take some work to tailor them to your fingers for a good fit. So I don't really use them, but it was a fun experiment.

Then I wondered: how much nail do you really need to improve tone? The answer, I discovered, is "not very much".

With good technique you do not need to have very long, manicured fingernails that (I believe) look so yucky and unmanly on a guy.

Just let them grow out a little bit, and file them smooth. When I say "a little bit", I mean that I'm only allowing approx. 1mm of the white part of my nail grow out. Even then, I only let them grow where I need them -- near the tip for fingers, and the outside edge of my thumb. Then you have the opportunity to vary your technique, allowing for:
1) flesh only
2) flesh + some nail (my preference)
3) nail only

You don't need long nails to dramatically improve tone!

Some professionals make very good use of long nails, but, as an amateur I have not found this to be desireable or necessary.
#14
In an old interview, around 1970, when asked about sitting position, and which one he considered to be the best one, Narciso Yepes, the great Spanish master, answered "The best sitting position is on a big and comfortable sofa". He completed the sentence saying that "...it is simply too big to take around the world on a plane and you do not want to be sitting more comfortably than your public..."

^A quote from this website http://www.mangore.com/first_guitar_lesson.html
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do