Learning the guitar on your own can be difficult. There is a lot of stuff you cannot figure out on your own when playing a guitar. There are many techniques, knowledge, and well-planned practices that you need to learn. You may come across a situation. Where taking classes from a guitar teacher or joining any music school is not possible. Now the only option you have is to learn and develop your guitar skills on your own. So I came up with the ultimate guide, which will help you give a brief idea on how to learn classical guitar on your own.
OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME
While you are on your journey to learn classical guitar on your own. You are bound to come across some obstacles in your way. One of the most common problems self-taught guitarists will face is the lack of knowledge. We are talking about the lack of knowledge on how to start the journey. It is common for someone with no experience with the guitar. Genuinely they are not going to be aware of the music theory and its grammar. The lack of this crucial knowledge leads them to find themselves in an awkward position. Because they cannot communicate properly with someone with decent music knowledge. So keeping all these problems into account. We are going to learn the basics of classical guitar and things you need to know to be self-taught.
There are mainly three types of six-string guitar. The guitars are the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and the classical guitar. The acoustic guitar and the electric guitars are commonly played. People always get confused between the acoustic guitar and the classical guitar. Mostly because of their almost similar appearance. But there are fundamental differences between a classical guitar and an acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitar VS Classical guitar: Difference
The strings used in the classical guitars are nylon or gut strings. The acoustic guitar uses a steel string. There is a noticeable difference between the type of tuning pegs used in both of the guitar. Tuning pegs in an acoustic guitar are of steels, and the classical ones are mostly of plastic. When you hold a classical guitar, you will notice it is somewhat harder to get a hold on the chords. It is because the classical guitar neck is considerably wide. You will also note a classical guitar does not have any fret markers. The body shape between the classical guitar and the acoustic guitar is different. The shape of an acoustic guitar comes with some cutaways that give you access to more frets. The sound both of the guitar produces is significantly different. The acoustic guitar gives you a rockier sound than the classical guitar. But the classical guitar has a sweeter sound to it.
Why get a classical guitar?
Classical guitar is the sweetest sounding guitar hands down. It is very well known and well-loved in the guitar world. Mostly because of the peaceful and beautiful sound it can create. The nylon strings allow a classical guitar to create a mellow and euphonious sound. The Spanish composition sound much fascinating than an acoustic guitar. If you are looking for the mentioned features, then classical guitar is the go-to guitar for you.
BASICS OF CLASSICAL GUITAR
So now you got yourself a classical guitar, and you have no idea what to do with it. Maybe it is your first time playing a guitar. Or you played an acoustic guitar before, but now you are in a total confusion. You do not know the differences between playing an acoustic and a classical guitar. So I am here to help you with learning some basic stuff about classical guitar. The basics will allow you to learn by yourself in the future. So let us begin with the lesson.
HOW TO HOLD A CLASSICAL GUITAR.
Using the proper posture for holding a guitar is necessary. Improper guitar posture can cause many injuries. Injuries like tendonitis, shoulder pain, and wrist pain are common. Especially, for people who have been playing the guitar for an extended period. So you must know the proper way to hold a classical guitar.
First, get yourself a chair and a footstool. The footstool is optional, but using a stool is advised since it helps you support your instrument. Keep your body straight and sit on the edge of the chair. If you are a right-handed guitarist, keep your left leg on the footstool. And Vice-versa for left-handed guitarist. Now try to relax. Find yourself the most suitable height for your chair and your footstool. Now take your guitar and put it in the middle of your leg. The guitar neck should reach the same height as your head. Do not align your guitar neck with any axis. Try to stay just in the middle between the x-axis and the y-axis.
Make sure your hands are at ease. Your left should be able to reach any part of the fretboard with ease.
ANDREY OSTAPENKO PERFORMING A RECITAL.
Video on how to hold a guitar :
Unlike an acoustic guitar, a classical guitar is usually played with nails. Classical guitarist tends to keep somewhat longer nails. A classical guitar produces the sound by plucking the strings. Instead of using a pick, fingernails allow you to pluck multiple strings at once. It also creates a very mellow sound, which is not possible by a plastic pick.
Plucking and strumming in classical guitar is different from your regular steel-string guitar. Your thumb plays the thicker strings like E and A String. Thumb plays the thickest strings because of being closest to those strings. Ring finger, middle finger and the index finger are reserved for B, G, and high E.
There are names for both left and right-hand fingers. Names of the right-hand fingers are p, i, m, and a. P stands for pulgar. I stand for indice. M stands for medio and a stands for anular. The thumb is the pulgar. Indice for index. The middle finger is called a medio. Ring finger is the anular.
We use numbers to call the left-hand fingers and one alphabet for the thumb. T for thumb. 1,2,3 and 4 are respectively index, middle, ring, and pinky finger. Number 0 (zero) means an open string or no finger.
Photo taken from Frederick Noad’s Solo Guitar Playing – Book 1
LEFT-HAND GUITAR TECHNIQUES
The left-hand has two distinct jobs. One is to press the strings against the fretboard. The other is to perform vibrato and hammer on and pull off. With a classical guitar, as mentioned before, the fretboard is wider. So when you are holding the chord, instead of putting your thumb on the top of the neck, you put it behind the neck. A hammer-on is when the right-hand first finger pressed down to a fret. The second finger pressed down to the fret next to it. Without the help of the right hand, you will be able to create a sound only with the left one. The vibrato is the technique where you pull up or down the string horizontally to the fretboard. By performing a vibrato you can change the pitch one-half step higher than the fret you are playing on.
Video on left hand position:
RIGHT-HAND GUITAR TECHNIQUES
You must learn to position your hand before you can start your lesson. This segment is important because without proper hand placement you can get in the long run. The first step is to take your right thumb and pinky finger place on the thickest and thinnest string. The slowly put your elbow on the guitar. The elbow should be resting on the guitar a few inches forward. Make sure your wrist is straight. A curved wrist can put you to risk of getting injuries. Extend your wrist a few inches from the string, so your palm does not come between the strings. Your hand should be clawed, and your thumb should come out of the hand. The guitar holding position can create problems if not held right.
Video on Left hand Technique:
LEARN THE MUSIC THEORY
There is no alternative to learning the music theory. Music theory will give you a general music knowledge. It will give you a deep understanding of how music is created. Aside from that, if you want to communicate with another musician, music theory is the way. It is the language of music. So before you can learn classical guitar by yourself, you have to know the music theory. Music theory is not hard to find. You can easily find much music-related theory on many websites and youtube videos. The music theory for guitar consist of notes, chords, and scales.
Videos on music theory:
LEARN FROM OTHER SOURCES
Now that you learned the basics of classical guitar and the music theory. We are going to move on how to you can learn classical guitar on your own. There are many sources where you can learn guitar on your own. We are going to focus on some of those sources.
The internet is an ocean of knowledge. You can find anything and everything on the internet. So it no surprise to us that you will come across many guitar players on the cyberspace.
- Online website:
An online website is the best free source of content. There are millions of articles you will be able to find on the internet. One of the most popular webpages for learning guitar online is the Ultimate Guitar. You can surf the internet and find any desired lesson you want to take. Professional classic guitarists also write much content on the website. So you are guaranteed to get some of the best guitar lessons over there.
Before the age of the internet, people found their desired knowledge by reading books. There are thousands and thousands of guitar guide. Classical guitar became popular before steel-stringed guitar. You are most likely to find some well-written guide on the classical guitar. Books can come very handy since you will be able to carry it everywhere. If physical books are not your thing, then you can get a digital book anytime. As books are written in great detail, you will be able to grasp a good understanding of the classical guitar.
List of some of the best classical guitar guide
- PUMPING NYLON: THE CLASSICAL GUITARIST’S TECHNIQUE HANDBOOK BY SCOTT TENNANT
- CLASSIC GUITAR TECHNIQUE BOOK BY AARON SHEARER
- CLASSICAL GUITAR TECHNIQUE: ESSENTIAL EXERCISES, SCALES, AND ARPEGGIOSBOOK BY BRADFORD WERNER
- SOLO GUITAR PLAYING BOOK BY FREDERICK NOAD
It is possible to find some of the best teaching on DVDs. DVD works are the perfect visual representation of the lessons you will find on books. Two of the best DVD are –
- WILLIAM KANENGISER – CLASSICAL GUITAR MASTERY
- THE HAL LEONARD CLASSICAL GUITAR METHOD: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE WITH STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTION AND OVER 25 PIECES TO STUDY AND PLAY BY HAL LEONARD GUITAR METHOD
Youtube is the biggest platform for uploading videos. You will find each and every lesson on this platform. There are many pro guitarists making videos and uploading them on youtube every day. Even some of the full-time musicians upload videos from time to time. You have the source, now grab the opportunity.
Summary: How to learn classical guitar on my own
NEVER GIVE UP!
Learning a guitar on your own can be difficult. It is mostly because you are going to be practicing on your own for most of the time. So the best piece of advice is never to give up. Following the guide can make your practices a bit more fun. Guitar is really all about passion. So if you keep working hard, you will find success and happiness in your journey.