#1
Would learning classical guitar help with my technical playing on the electric? I always wanted to be able to fingerpick really well, and if I learned more theory, would this benefit electric guitar as well? It may be an obvious question (I think) but I need to know. What sorts of things does one learn on the classical guitar? (song examples, etc)
#2
Yes, definitely. Actually, Jeff Beck played with his fingers, and he was probably better than most of the good guitarists of his time: Clapton, Hendrix, Page, etc.

Your understanding of theory would be incredibly improved. You would definitely get to know the fretboard better. Your finger precision would improve as well.

Who knows, you may even gain a broader appreciation for music.
#4
Playing classical music on a classical guitar is quite different from using a pick and playing an electric guitar, but I suppose there's no harm in learning.
#5
sure. There's a few famous electric players that play fingerstyle. Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, Ronnie Krieger of the Doors, a fair number of blues players, even Clapton plays fingerstyle sometimes nowadays.

Plus, yeah, classical training would give you tons of help with the theory aspect.
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#6
Quote by CowboyUp
Playing classical music on a classical guitar is quite different from using a pick and playing an electric guitar, but I suppose there's no harm in learning.


+ 1


The techniques are different. Also 1 negative aspect: Classical guitarists grow their nails. This is actually a hassle when it comes time to use a pick again. I actually stopped playing classical so that I could play with a pick... and play keys. That being said, Im really glad that I did study classical guitar. I learned alot and was able to apply that knowledge on electric.
If you really are into learning classical .... go for it. If you are learning it to make you better at electric guitar..... just play electric guitar.
shred is gaudy music
#7
+2

I'm an electric guitarist (I started out learning in the local guitar shop using a pick on a classical guitar!) but I am studying classical guitar as a second study at university.
It's a different beast completely, but anything you learn musically can and will feed back into your electric guitar playing - whether you notice it or not.

If you learn piano, or saxophone, or drums - it will all help make you a better musician, and better musician = better guitarist.
#8
Classical guitarists grow their nails. This is actually a hassle when it comes time to use a pick again. I actually stopped playing classical so that I could play with a pick... and play keys.


A, fake nails, fingerpicks, and plenty of alternatives if you don't want to grow your nails(or bite them like me)
B. hybrid picking would probably relate to electric guitar playing more then fingerstyle. Much harder to master, though, and wouldn't work for all songs.
#9
The physical layout of a classical guitar is quite different, and different techniques are involved. Still, if you're interested in learning classical music, go for it.
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#10
fake nails and fingerpicks dont work as well believe me, i played flamenco and classical for a loong time 4 years, personally i didnt enjoy it as much as i enjoy electric but it WILL help exponentially when i started playing electric i was already better than most people who started on electric, learning classical will help you with chord fingering as well as most technique.
#11
I play the classical guitar much more than my electric but! I still play my electric and to be honest, I haven't had any problems using a pick. My nails don't get in the way at all. They do when finger picking on the electric and give me a horrible tone but when playing with a pick they are fine.

As for the cheap classical guitar, well, what's your budget? Yamaha c-40 (I believe that's the right model) would probably fit into your range. You should also check out the Alhambra 5p and a few of the Admira Student models. They're all great for starting out. I'd point you towards the 5p but you'd have to try them out yourself first.

As for the physical aspect of improving your electric guitar playing... well I haven't noticed any change. The technique is completely different, both hand positions, the actual skills required and what skills you learn.

Also, unless you're learning with a teacher(which I recommend!) you won't learn any more theory than you do now. Playing the classical guitar requires little knowledge of theory. Music reading skills and little more. From there with the right approach to technique you could learn classical guitar. Learning music theory to understand classical guitar is a completely different aspect. If you want to improve your theory, get a teacher or learn more off the internet. If you want to play classical guitar, learn to read music well(this is assuming you can''t which I don't know) and get a teacher. If you just want to fiddle around with the instrument, well go try some out, buy one and start.


#12
Quote by confusius

Also, unless you're learning with a teacher(which I recommend!) you won't learn any more theory than you do now. Playing the classical guitar requires little knowledge of theory. Music reading skills and little more


Yeah, that's what I was going to say. You have to be able to read music, but thats
not theory. You really don't need 1 iota of theory to play classical.
#13
I'd argue that you do -

To play a classical instrument at a high level, you have to have a deep understanding of how the music you are playing is structured to be able to interpret it effectively.

That comes much later, though, once physical technique is no longer a barrier.
#14
Quote by Archeo Avis
The physical layout of a classical guitar is quite different, and different techniques are involved. Still, if you're interested in learning classical music, go for it.


Would you mind explaining how the physical layout is different? I'm interested in classical guitar as well and was just curious.
#15
As well it would help you learn how to play effectiently over the fretboard. It would also help with left hand speed.
#16
Quote by Paquijón
Would you mind explaining how the physical layout is different? I'm interested in classical guitar as well and was just curious.


i was going to ask the same thing, i do know that the fretboard is generally a little wider and the strings sit differently i believe (a little higher i THINK than normal acoustic/electric) also i know the strings are farther apart on a classical. i think the neck is a little thicker as well. also i don't know that classicals have cutaways past the 12th fret area (if they do i've honestly never seen one cutaway) so if/when playing past that fret you have to readjust your hands. but again, i'm not sure HOW drastically different classicals are from normal acoustics/electrics. i'm interested to see his response now!
#17
Quote by edg
Yeah, that's what I was going to say. You have to be able to read music, but thats
not theory. You really don't need 1 iota of theory to play classical.

Totally. Once you learn to read the music (which you can do in like a day), you're pretty much set, with nothing in your way but general fingering/right hand technique and sight reading to work on.

People put reading music on a pedestal, but to be honest, it was probably the easiest music related thing I ever learned. I knew nothing about scales, chords, resolutions, intervals, etc before like a year ago, and I've been reading music since I was 6.
#18
^ lol, my mom played piano intensely as a child, had a teacher for several years and has played her entire life, can play at tempo as she sight reads a new piece of music..... yet she couldn't tell me what notes make up a major chord (i really wanted to laugh cuz its like she stared at this stuff for thousands of hours and not ONCE did it ever occur to her that the distance between this grouping of notes made it a minor/major chord)
#19
Quote by z4twenny
^ lol, my mom played piano intensely as a child, had a teacher for several years and has played her entire life, can play at tempo as she sight reads a new piece of music..... yet she couldn't tell me what notes make up a major chord (i really wanted to laugh cuz its like she stared at this stuff for thousands of hours and not ONCE did it ever occur to her that the distance between this grouping of notes made it a minor/major chord)


Reading music is however helpful for studying theory, if not essential. its the language in which theory is taught. being literate in it is a good thing.

Your point that you can read, and not know theory is very true though.
shred is gaudy music
#20
look i have no idea what people are talking about when they say "but you have to grow out your nails in it's a hassle" well the truth is it's not, the nails don't even get in the way (i play classical guitar). studying classical guitar is beneficial in many ways: it makes you a better musician by studying different music, and it GREATLY increases finger dexterity. the theory behind it is also beneficial. i say go for it.
#21
Quote by linfield44
look i have no idea what people are talking about when they say "but you have to grow out your nails in it's a hassle" well the truth is it's not, the nails don't even get in the way (i play classical guitar). studying classical guitar is beneficial in many ways: it makes you a better musician by studying different music, and it GREATLY increases finger dexterity. the theory behind it is also beneficial. i say go for it.

What "theory behind it"? Music theory isn't different from instrument to instrument, also, you don't need to know anything other than how to read music to play someone elses compositions.
#22
Quote by linfield44
look i have no idea what people are talking about when they say "but you have to grow out your nails in it's a hassle" well the truth is it's not, the nails don't even get in the way (i play classical guitar). studying classical guitar is beneficial in many ways: it makes you a better musician by studying different music, and it GREATLY increases finger dexterity. the theory behind it is also beneficial. i say go for it.


For me the nails were a hassle. They made holding the pick awkward for me. Also when playing the piano they got in the way as well.

Playing classical guitar was fun though, and I agree there is alot you can learn from it that you wont get in other styles.
shred is gaudy music
#23
what linfield44, the nails arent a problem, even for tapping it isnt a huge problem

its helped my left wrist out A FRIGGIN LOT, plus its finally given me the control so my pinky isnt flying all over without me knowing
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#24
Quote by CowboyUp
What "theory behind it"? Music theory isn't different from instrument to instrument, also, you don't need to know anything other than how to read music to play someone elses compositions.


what i mean by that is that it opens up a new world of music and the musical ideas themselves can be used in with playing other styles of music, i didn't mean that the theory behind it is any different, it's just a different style. i guess i said that wrong, sorry. but i mean it when i say that it's extremely beneficial.
#25
im still waiting to hear what the physical differences between acoustics and classicals are.... or if i nailed'em all....
#26
Quote by z4twenny
im still waiting to hear what the physical differences between acoustics and classicals are.... or if i nailed'em all....


well, classical guitars are somewhat shorter in length, and the fretboard is much wider, making it harder (at first) to make bar chords, though this is rare in most classical music anyway. the strings are farther apart, but they are a lot easier to depress.

also, when you position the guitar, it's at about a 45 degree angle with the floor, and your left foot is propped up on a footstool.

classical guitars are also not as resonant as acoustics, meaning that the sound does not last for as long, giving it a unique tone.

well, i guess i just repeated everything you said
#27
Quote by confusius
You should also check out the Alhambra 5p and a few of the Admira Student models.



I have an Alhambra 4p and I love it.
#28
Let me start this by saying I've never played classicaly. Everything I'm about to post just comes from observations.

In regards to the pick or nails discussion, keep in mind that different people hold picks different ways. A lot of people may hold them the same, but it can differ from person to person.

Playing classical guitar would help you with your technique, I'm sure. I've never listened to a lot of Classical music, but I've heard some pieces where the left and/or right hand is moving. Chord voicings may be a bit weird, but I'm sure it'd be fun to learn new voicings for old chords.

I don't know if you've heard of him or not, but Alex Lifeson plays both classically and electric, and he's a God. The song "La Villa Strangiato" is a great example, though there are lots of songs where he has a classical style to the music.

Theory would in fact come into classical music if you were interested in the theory behind the song structure. Why each note worked, etc. It would be required for just reading sheet, but if you wanted to know about what notes fit in where and how they related with eachother, then theory would be a nice thing to have.
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#30
Quote by linfield44
...bar chords, though this is rare in most classical music anyway. ...
classical guitars are also not as resonant as acoustics, meaning that the sound does not last for as long, giving it a unique tone.


Some good responses in this thread so far. Here are my two cents (from the perspective of someone with a degree in classical guitar)....

First - I take exception to the above two quoted points. If you can't do a proper barre, you're dead meat for playing classical. You're not going to be playing standard barre chords like you would in a pop tune, but you will be barring on a regular basis.

Second, a good classical guitar should be *very* resonant. Different tonal quality than an acoustic, but very resonant nonetheless.

Nails - if your nails are too long, they'll get in the way of keyboard. Mine are a little more than half a centimeter beyond the tops of my fingers. They don't need to be freakishly long. When playing electric, I hold my pick really close to the tip because I do pick squeals almost as much as Randy Rhodes ( a bad habit, but I love it!). As a result, the electric strings are really hard on my nails. It is hard to maintain a balance to do both.

Physical differences of the fretboards - classical guitars have a shorter neck - both physically and in terms of number of frets. There is no cutaway to access frets beyond the 12th fret. The fretboard is wider, and the frets themselves are wider between each fret. The action is generally a little higher than on a regular acoustic. The pliability of the nylon strings, though, makes them easier to press down than the steel ones.

Theory - Okay, reading is not theory, but generally people who play classical guitar actually know how to read music. Like tab makes access to rock repertoire easier and more convenient, most classical repertoire does NOT exist in tab, and therefore access to classical repertoire requires that one be able to read. Nick had a really good point about theory - knowing how the parts fit together allows one to interpret how you will approach the piece, which is a significant aspect of playing. Sure, you'll never be asked to describe the difference between a Neopolitan Sixth chord and a half-diminished seventh chord in the middle of a piece, but identifying harmonic and melodic structures, phrasing, pedal tones (you know... ones that BOSS has nothing to do with... hahahahaha), musical symbols and terminologies, key signatures, etc. are important to learn to deliver a piece properly. Also things like interpreting trills appropriately based on whether they were Baroque/Renaissance or Classical/Romantic period trills has an impact on how they are played.

Along with the reading, too, comes knowledge of the fretboard. You have to know how to find every possible place to play every possible note in order to pick the best fingering and best place on the neck to play a given piece/passage. If you could never find an Eb on the G string before, you sure will after a bit of classical study.

Whether it helps with electric - Right hand - not at all really. Two enormously different beasts. Unless of course, you do the Mark Knopfler thing and play your electric fingerstyle. For the left hand, if your left hand can play advanced classical repertoire, I'd say it can pretty much play anything. Your left hand is forced to open right up and do crazy reaches, awkward chord shapes, barring, etc. using all four fingers. If you were a three finger 'blues in a box' player in the beginning, you sure won't be after a bit of classical study.

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#31
^
Great post.
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#32
Quote by axemanchris

Theory - Okay, reading is not theory, but generally people who play classical guitar actually know how to read music. Like tab makes access to rock repertoire easier and more convenient, most classical repertoire does NOT exist in tab, and therefore access to classical repertoire requires that one be able to read. Nick had a really good point about theory - knowing how the parts fit together allows one to interpret how you will approach the piece, which is a significant aspect of playing.


Well, I might have been a bit hasty in my "not one iota" remark. It's just a
different sort of usage and I think goes more into being able to sight-read a
new piece and/or be able to "read" the music on the page and hear it. But
even so, without any theory, as long as you can read music, I think you can still
attain some accomplished playing in classical. At least you can go further with
no theory than you could in jazz.