The MLP Classical Guitar Thread - Covering all finger style from 1500 - to now!

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by Cpt Matt Sparrow, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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    Paradice,

    If it sounds smooth and feels okay :thumb:

    Although me personally, I always alternate even on string changes and position changes (well usually...) it just seems easier.

    Matt
     
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  2. Lefty Adams

    Lefty Adams Senior Member

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    Great thread Capt Matt! just discovered it, after being on MLP a few years!

    Apart from playing rock, and acoustic pieces, I've always wanted to learn classical, so this great for me as a resource. Rodrigo's 'En Aranjuez con Tu Amor' is one piece i've always wanted to learn, (can't find the music/tab anywhere btw!) and I have my eye on a nice little classical git, so this I will achieve one day soon (hopefully!).

    Great thread, keep it up!
     
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  3. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    Hey all, apologies if this has been discussed, but didn't see anything...

    Just got a new Ibanez 7-string in "the mail". Why a 7? Wasn't actually looking for that so much, specifically. What I did want is a cutaway, but without electronics. Really don't care for the sound of most pickups, esp what you'll get in a guitar in the sub 4-figure price range. So paying extra for that is kind of a drag.

    And for the extra (B) string, it's going to take some getting used to for sure. My thumb has hit it more than once, when looking for the E, but it's only the first day.

    Anyway, on to my question. In addition to the extra string/giant neck, it has no side markers. Whereas my old (surprisingly decent) beater "Jasmine by Takamine" has them at 5, 7, 9, 12. Certainly this could also be a matter getting used to, but it's maybe a bit much to digest for now. So I went and found a hole punch, cut a few little partial circles (a 6mm side dot would be a bit much) out of a mailing label, and stuck them on at 5, 7, and 9 (12 seems obvious enough already).

    Has anyone else done anything like this? Or just not worry about it? Is it common for classicals not to have side dots?
     
  4. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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    My two main classicals don't have markings, but many classical guitars do.

    The hole punch idea seems a very good one. I carry tip ex in my pencil case so I can be at the ready to put a descrete white dot as a marker on pupil's guitars.

    Welcome to the thread!

    Matt
     
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  5. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    Thanks! Looked at this a little further (on some classical forums), and it seems that lower-end models will generally have them, while higher-end often may not. Some luthiers will put a dot just at 7 (which I could see being adequate and still hugely helpful), or whatever the customer requests (since it seems that anything beyond "student level" is probably not bought off the rack). So in my case (intermediate low-end), it seems a little funny to have nothing there.

    And it appears not to be too uncommon for people to add their own markings. You can buy stickers (called Kling-on), but seems a little silly. I like the idea of using correction fluid, as it allows making a properly small dot (a 2mm dot could perhaps be applied by waterslide decal, but certainly not a paper label).

    I'll stick with my little crescent moons for now (which made a huge difference), then perhaps switch to something more subtle and permanent after the trial period is up.

    Otherwise, liking the guitar pretty well. Was curious to try a spruce top, and I think it's true what they say about spruce needing to develop. Even after just a few hours there seems to be some difference. My concern is that how much it can open up will be considerably more limited by the silly heavy, high-gloss poly finish.
     
  6. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    Ok, here's a question about playing... I'm working on the Vivaldi Guitar Concerto. 1st mvmt, I'm assuming that the main firgure (the 32nds it starts off with) are meant to be done as pull-offs? Just doesn't seem to sound right if any but the first note (of the 3-note figure) are picked. But if doing pull-offs, it's tricky always to get the power needed to sound all 3 notes evenly.

    And for the very first 3 notes especially, I've tried playing the F#, E, D on the 2nd string only (as pull-offs), but it just doesn't sound as good as using the 1st string for F#, E, and then a hammer-on for the D on the 2nd string. But then, getting good power to hit that D note is tricky.

    I hope my question is clear. It's a pretty straightforward piece, but getting that 3-note phrase (which is kind of the whole foundation of the mvmt) correctly seems to add a bit to the difficulty. So I'd love some opinions on how y'all might approach it. (Especially in the context of how it might have been done on a baroque lute.)
     
  7. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    I can't find any sheets for it houston but this vid should help

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1yCCtZvFtQ

    if the reason you're trying to do hammer ons/pull offs with the 3 notes is because the music shows them connected with slurs then it's sometimes ok to pick the notes as long as they sound connected/slurred

    hopefully someone with some more in depth knowledge can elaborate on when picking slurred notes is ok - it's just something I've came across before

    btw
    maybe not so easy!
     
  8. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Thought I'd share this.....

    I like staying up until 3am practicing sometimes but apparently the noise isn't appreciated, so got this Yamaha Silent Guitar

    was actually looking to buy a better Classical Guitar but as I say, silent practicing was needed and this was the clear winner of all the silent guitars, much easier decision than when I was looking to buy a new CG

    although it looks a bit awkward to use it's very similair to a full size classical, the neck feels amazing!

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    Interesting, thanks. (BTW, to embed vids, just remove the "s" from https.)

    That version is quite a bit more difficult, and I'm guessing it's an arrangement made for solo. The one I'm working from is this:
    https://html2-f.scribdassets.com/8n4dp4xwcg3e1efc/images/1-c019245aa4.jpg
    In the video, it looks like the player picks the F#, pulls the open E, then picks the D. So maybe I'll give that a spin.

    The other thing is, how it sounds best solo may be one thing, but when playing in a large ensemble (small orchestra), just being heard above everyone (especially in a "tutti" section) is maybe a bigger deal than having perfect tone or technique.
     
  10. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Yeah it looks like a mini sweep, which is a form of legato, right?
     
  11. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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    Just so I'm understanding - do you mean picking the first note of the three? If so, then that is exactly how I would play it. If I was doing it all on string two - I would pick the first note, then slur the last two, if the first note was on string one and the other two notes on the second string, I'd pick, slur, pick.

    In Baroque music a big consideration because of the style of writing, is the different voices as much as possible staying consistent. So on the guitar, you would try (again as much as possible), to keep phrases consistent timbre wise, by not changing strings too much.

    But it is something that is very subjective and depends on how you are articulating a phrase. At music college (mid 90's) the classical guitar was still going through a phase like a lot of intruments, of being what people perceived as stylistic of the period when playing Baroque music (even though the guitar as we know it today, wasn't around then). I remember doing pieces by Weiss and my professor insisting everything had to be campanella (phrsases going across the open strings as the lute could play them).

    It really was a phase, much like the fashion for playing Baroque music on period authentic instruments. What definitely isn't a phase though in playing Baroque music and bringing out the different voices and making something musical and expressive by this. It is one of the things I love about playing early music, the relying on the volume/articulation of the different voices as a means of expression, rather than just a 'blanket' loud or soft in playing a phrase, like you would say playing a piece of Barrios etc.

    Matt
     
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  12. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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    SNAP!!!

    This guitar was a Godsend for me. My mum passed away in December. Every day I visited her in hospital she wore headphone and I played for a couple of hours.

    It is a great instrument live too! It has played many a wedding :)

    Mattster
     
  13. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    Absolutely, Baroque is all about the voices. And therein lies the difficulty. Playing the first phrase only on the 2nd string was actually my initial approach. But the tone is noticeably duller when that first F# is played on the 2nd string (7th fret) vs the 1st string (2nd fret). Is this somewhat a weakness of the instrument? Or perhaps the picking position is adjusted (closer to the bridge) to compensate?

    In any case, it seems that this simple 3-note "riff" is really the centerpiece to the whole 1st mvmt, so keeping it sounding bright, smooth, clean, and quick is really the name of the game here. Cakewalk on a piano, but seems deceptively more difficult on guitar.

    And when you say "slur", is that considered the technique in itself, or the desired result? I mentioned picking, pulling off, and hammering as what I thought are the (names of the) techniques that can be used to achieve the 3-note slurred phrase. Just to better understand the nomenclature (as my formal training in the guitar world is essentially nil). For ex, "tremolo" is a technique, with very different meanings (and yielding very different results) on classical guitar, electric guitar, violin, or piano. Whereas "staccato" is a result, with similar sounds coming from those different instruments, even if the techniques used to create it can vary considerably.
     
  14. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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    It is a bit more of a stretch to do it on one string and the slur/pull off (you are quite right, I sometimes flick between the two words pull off and slur...but essentially same thing) but if the left hand is angled with the wrist leaning over, all three notes should be the same clarity. Although I don't think it sounds as good all on string two.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head. The phrase is short and has a punch to it, so sounding bright makes sense, which is one reason I think it sounds better played on string one and two, rather than all on string two.

    It allows for the third note to stand out, firstly because it is a picked note and secondly because of the difference timbre of it being on a different string etc - and its standing out seems a very musical thing! because if you as an exercise, play four pair quavers of f sharp and d, the emphasis is on the f sharp followed secondly by the d. The e serves as an inbetween note of the grouping.
    Let us know how it goes! :)

    I have known some people who would have seisures about a microphone being used in this clip, but I am pretty sure it is just for recording, but unless you have a concert guitar, it is unlikley you can compete with things like the violin, cello etc.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbkbt8g2kSs[/ame]

    Matt
     
  15. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    I would have to take far more issue with John's choice in wardrobe...

    But it raises a good point, what's everyone using for amplification? Matt, you mentioned the "silent" Yammy, is that your main "lounge" setup?

    I'm playing with a slightly larger group (maybe 5-6 more strings?) than in that video. Wanted to avoid pickups, so been using a cardioid condenser, conveniently (and at least somewhat stealthily) attached to my music stand. This feeds a small mixer (could be any mic preamp), which feeds a small powered studio monitor. The monitor also doubles as my foot rest!

    It's far from ideal, unfortunately. We rehearse (and perform) in a church, on the carpeted floor level. If it were up on a wooden stage, the height as well as reflection off the floor should provide much better projection. As it is, I'm having to turn the speaker up more, and with the mic right there, feedback quickly becomes an issue. Plus I need to be able to quickly set up at center stage, play the piece, then move back off to the side for all the other pieces (which aren't so critical for amplification).

    As much as mics can sound much better, they're quite fussy about positioning, and trying to handle them quickly (when you're your own sound engineer) doesn't seem to be working well. So I've kind of caved, and decided to order the Kremona pickup. It's a good price, seems to sound better than some of the built-in units, and is easily installed (and fully reversible). Will let you know how it does.
     
  16. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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    Ha ha! Yes he has quite a dodgy wardrobe.

    The Yamaha I don't use much these days to be honest, but only because the only group I play regularly in is a gypsy jazz group, so I'm using a different guitar altogether (a gypsy jazz guitar with a pick up) and for the majority of my gigs through the year (solo recitals), I play an unplugged classical.

    I do though have a VOX AGA150 acoustic amp. If I was playing a wedding I would take my classical guitar (with built in puck up) and the trusty Yamaha!

    Matt
     
  17. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi V.I.P. Member

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    Some people put their own markers, either using sticky things like you did, or a dab of paint.
     
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  18. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    My stickies didn't seem to want to quite stay put, so I took them off. Might go for the dab method, although I seem to be getting used to it being bare. Sort of like how beginning violin students use a few strips of tape for position markers. They need to be repositioned/replaced on occasion, but then somewhere along the 2nd year, once they fall off, they tend to stay off and be forgotten about.

    BTW, so far the Kremona pickup seems to work well. Easy to install (but do it at least 3 days before you need tuning stability to return), and seems to sound reasonably natural. I'm giving it a bit of "v" eq, but tbh this is all a bit tricky as it's so hard to tell how you actually sound to the audience (so far, 4-5 people at rehearsal) and other group members.
     
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  19. houston

    houston Senior Member

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    Got tired of the correction fluid dots, decided to bring a little bling:

    [​IMG]

    2mm abalone dots, only $0.30 ea at DePaule's (luthiersupply.com). Some finish funkiness there at the 5th fret that will need to be addressed, otherwise happy with it. And no electrons harmed in the making (too lazy to fire up the drill).
     
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  20. Cpt Matt Sparrow

    Cpt Matt Sparrow Senior Member

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