How to play a classical guitar?

I recently bought a classical guitar, wanting to learn the guitar but learning it seems difficult, especially the finger picking.. How do I master finger picking? Any useful tips? Can I strum a classical guitar using a pick to play acoustic songs?? Will the nylon strings break? Thx in advance for the replies..

You say that learning seems difficult – but what are you actually doing to learn? I ask because some people seem to buy a guitar and then expect to be able to play without bothering to learn, either that or they seem to expect to be able to learn by asking a couple of questions here!

A classical guitar can be used to play any kind of music and, yes, you can strum it with a pick. Some people might say you can’t – if they do, get a pick and try it and then ask yourself the question, "What’s stopping me?". Using a pick is not "legitimate" classical guitar technique but lots of people do it – sometimes people mucddle up "classical guitar" the instrument with "classical guitar" the style of playing.

what are the best practice routines for a guitar player?

im a guitar player that wants to push and excel my playing to new grounds.. what are the key things one should work on? and what kind of exercises are the best to evolve?

Well, whatever kind of guitar you are playing (and how many years you’ve been at it), it is hoped you are enjoying what you are doing with the instrument at hand.

What indicated by another who asked about the guitars being used, realize you have the ability to express ANY kind or style of music interpretations with ANY guitar. This then you will discover your true ability to adapt to any guitar and for any expression of what you can play.

That can be a fun thing to do when you can play jazz pieces on a classical, or classical scores on a very expressive, and powerful, electric guitar. Try it if you haven’t already.

Scales for one, chord progression for another and adding some exercises to combine a run with both through the same key scales. Become the melody lead, AND the rhythmic guitar player at all times. Bass too, to be a complete player.

This way you not only find out if you can tailor a piece with confidence and good flow, but recognize the importance of timing and accent, as you begin to realize their usefulness. And, finding your own particular, or signature style.

Great for casual practice, and maybe discovering real performance outcomes.

Get into audio recording/playback for real in-house assistance and learning aids to better train your ear towards what you are doing so far. And this can provide method of having a ‘duet’ or multichannel, for personal jam sessions and progress evidence of your work.

Great as well, to have others who are players to then bounce off one another to better all concerned, no matter what levels of experience one may have.

Above all, make it fun and take a break when you know you’ve had enough.

Don’t wear out something (anything) you intend to get some personal pleasure, as well as any accomplishments from.

How do you string a guitar?

My guitar strings are getting old and there my first so can someone help me here, something step by step. Thx so much!

Strings are installed depending on the make and model of the guitar. Many electrics have variables in stringing while many of the flat top steel stringed guitars are similar. Classical, nylon-strung guitars require a certain method. You didn’t describe your guitar so I cannot advise the method you should use.

Your best option is to take your guitar to your local music store, purchase a set of strings there, and ask a clerk to install them for you. Usually, there is no charge to install the strings. Watch how it’s done if you can because you will want to string your guitar by yourself eventually.

Note to Sage: The word is taut, not taught when referring to tightening the strings to a certain level. Otherwise, good advice given.

I want to teach myself to play acoustic guitar.What do I need ? And what kind of guitar would be recommended?

I’ve looked at some beginner guitars, but they seemed pretty small ( as Im an adult).
And I wanted to know if there’s any particular method of learning that seems to work and is not too difficult. Books? or cd? IDK


I started on classical guitar (nylon string acoustic) and think that’s the best way. Nylon strings are easy on the fingers and the strings are further apart making it easier to fret without touching (deadening) adjacent strings. As far as method goes, I can only say you’ll need to either find your own way or take lessons. I started by playing along with songs I knew and liked so that I would have a reference and a more pleasant experience. I also recorded myself and found that to be invaluable (a little discouraging first time you hear yourself but puts you straight right away!). Here’s a couple of links for free online lessons –
Here’s a guitar I ran across the other day and think it might be right for you if you’re not wanting to go classical. This one is a remarkable deal – $625 list for $399. It has a pickup so you can plug it in if you want (amp or computer) and has a cutaway making it easier to fret higher notes.
Feel free to e-mail me if there’s anything else I might be able to hep you with. Good luck!

What size and type of acoustic guitar would be perfect?

I’m 17 years old, i have a skinny and shorter build to me…and my hands are smaller too (if that helps with the sizing). I am looking into playing a more indie and folk style kinds of music. Songs from The Decemberists, Matt Costa, jack johnson…rogue wave…that kind of mellow sound.

i think a guitar that is around $300 and under would be fine. But nothing TOO cheap.

thank you!

Acoustic guitars come in two basic styles:
1) Steel strings: most preferred by players
that concentrate on "back-up" and "chord"
playing.Good for all types of music.
Most often played with a pick but finger-style
playing can also be done (very hard on
fingers do to the metal strings).

2) Nylon strings: also known as
"classical" is preferred by players
of guitar"classical"music and group
players where the "melody" not chords
is the main interest of the player.
Finger style – no pick -is the favorite
method used.
Strings are much easier on the fingers
than steel strings and pick -players
also do well with these strings.
Like "steel" strings acoustics all types
of music can be played with them.

Main sound difference:
Steel strings produce a brighter metallic
sound preferred by "rock" type music players.
Nylon string produce a mellower deeper
sound and tend to favor players that sing along.

Main structural difference – Using full sizes:

Steel strings acoustic are slightly larger
overall starting around 40" in lenght.
Nylon strings guitar are rarely over 39"

Neck Consideration:
Steel string necks are narrower than the
standard 2.1" neck for the nylon strings
full size guitars.Chord-mostly players tend
to like the narrower necks more and
melody players favor the wider necks

"Scale lenght" considerations:
As A reference: a full size acoustic guitar
will have a "scale length" of approx. 25.6"
"scale lenght" is the distance of the strings
between the nut (neck) and the top of the
saddle-the white piece inserted into the bridge.

The longer the "scale length", the larger the
distance between the frets at the fretboard.
This is an important factor to consider for
players with short finger span =Under 9"

Scale length is very important issue for
classical guitar players where the music
often requires fingers to spreads over
four frets apart.

Most merchants and manufacturers list
guitars as 7/8 or 3/4 or 1/2 sizes but very
few list the actual scale length.
One 3/4 size guitar may have a 24"
scale length and another maker 3/4 size
may only be 22.6" Any buyer considering
a smaller guitar should try more than just
one maker’s instrument within theirprice
range to find the best fit for playability.

For the around $300. price range there are
a few makers and little-known label guitars
that can fill your needs. At that price level
insist on getting a solid-top instrument.
Laminated tops are "sturdier" but the sound
will never improve unlike the solid top that
tend to get better with age.

Good Luck and Enjoy whatever guitar you choose.

Is it harder to teach yourself to play the violin?

Than to teach yourself to play the guitar.
I learned to play guitar by using a kind of trial and error method over a number of years. I was wondering if playing the guitar would help a good deal with learning to play the violin? And is it really an instrument that demands formal study before anything decent can come out of it?

i taught myself to play the guitar but I did not even contemplate teaching myself the violin. I went out and got a violin teacher right from the start.
There is just so much more to learn about the violin and it is very important that you get everything correct from the beginning.
Just holding the bow and holding the violin are quite difficult for beginners and it is so important that you get these things correct.

Here is a site to be used in conjunction with a good teacher. It will give you some idea of the challenges ahead :

Click on the masterclass lessons and watch the videos.

PS. I did not find that playing the guitar helped all that much with the violin. Bowing a stringed instrument is so unlike anything else. If you want to play classical music then some sort of fomal study is required. You will not get anywhere by trial and error.

Good luck……enjoy the violin..

Any good books on music theory applied to the guitar?

I have been learning music theory in school for a while now and I have realized it does not always apply to the guitar. When switching chords on the guitar a lot of the rules are broken. The rules most broken are the P5 and P8 moving in similar motion. Also some doubling rules are broken like the common C chord on the guitar has a doubled third. I need a book that teaches harmony applied on guitar. If possible one that teaches in multiple styles not just classical. Thanks.

It DOES always apply to the guitar! You’re just learning theory for music that’s 300 years old. There are no "rules" to music, just conventions, which are all relative to the time period. If you look at guitar music from the period your classes are teaching you about, you’ll see that it follows all those "rules". Back then, parallel 5ths, direct octaves, doubled thirds, etc were all considered very unpleasant to the ear, so people avoided them. Over time, people began to like those sounds, and started using them to create new styles of music.

You don’t need a special guitar book, you need a contemporary theory book. The Berklee music theory books are great for this. If you want a good theory book written for guitarists, check out Fretboard Logic and Bill Leavitt’s Modern Method for Guitar.

I want to learn the piano or maybe the guitar?

I want to learn how to play the piano by ear and to also read music. But I dont know where to start on my keyboard, I cant afford lessons and I’m so afraid I’m going to fail. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to learn how to play the piano. All the notes…keys…sharps, flats, it all seems so very hard. Please, help me. Also would it be easier to learn the guitar?
Was anyone self taught?How did you start?

Yes, I was self-taught on guitar and piano. Piano is a little easier, at least in the beginning. But both instruments are difficult. Don’t believe the people that tell you it’s too hard to play by ear, or that you won’t be as good as if you took formal classical lessons. That’s nonsense. It’s outdated thinking and the people who say that are simply regurgitating what they were once told. If you play nothing but piano concertos, that logic is fine. But if you play modern music those methods simply don’t apply.

Youtube is an invaluable resource for learning to play an instrument. That is the first place I’d go. Pick a song you like…say "Apologize" by One Republic, and search "how to play apologize" on Youtube. Guess what? You’ve got 10 volunteers willing to each you how to play the song. People love to share what they know. Also some of those teachers on Youtube have their own subscription-based websites with many more songs, techniques, and details. They will provide links of course.

Good luck! Don’t say "I’m so afraid I’m going to fail" anymore. You’re not going to fail. As Yoda said, "Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’" Play for your own enjoyment. This isn’t a contest.

Flamenco guitar is my passion, and I love soleas… how difficult is it to learn Flamenco guitar?

Is important to add that I have never played the guitar before, and that I want to give it my all because I am in love with this music. How hard can it be? how should I start?

In fact Solea is a very good ‘Palo’ to start with.

Flamenco is indeed hard to learn and takes a lot of time and practice and patience.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with access to a flamenco teacher then I strongly recommend that you take lessons as no other method is as effective as taking lessons from a professional, especially for a beginner.

Even a good classical teacher can be a great help for a beginner , even though for learning flamenco the best way is to start with Flamenco (unlike the popular belief that you need to learn guitar basics first before getting into Flamenco)

There are lots of good books available to teach Flamenco as well. The books of Oscar Herrero and Juan Martin are very good ones for beginners.

Finally don’t forget one of the best ways to learn Flamenco is to listen to Flamenco and watch Flamenco! It can be very inspiring!

With love and passion nothing is too difficult 😉

Good Luck!

How long does it take to be good with an acoustic guitar?

How long does it take to pretty much master the guitar? Im 14 and i need to be good with it before 19

It depends on many factors… dedication divided in these main points=
1- if you study music theory along with guitar technics (scales, arpeggios, etc)
2-the quality of the teacher or music school, and the method(s) used.
3- how many hours a day -every day-you dedicate to it, divided in a minimum of: one hour for exercises, one for music theory, one for playing along with good examples of different genres
4- time you dedicate to listen and listen to classical and jazz masters (and play along).

If you do all this for five years, say five days a week, you could turn into a very advanced guitarist, depending also in your capacity to learn and natural talent for guitar and music generally.
This is also true to any instrument, and my answer applies to your desire to MASTER the guitar, not to play in a teen band for fun, got it?

How do you perform artificial harmonics on a classical guitar?

The mixed exercise I have been given for my exam is "artificial harmonics in thirds".
First of all, how do you play artificial harmonics but with a chord underneath to create the third?

Thanks in advance :)

Artificial harmonics are simply harmonics played on a fretted note, and there are a lot of methods for playing them.

It sounds like you are supposed to be playing the 5th harmonic, which produces a tone an octave and a third above the fundamental.

I suggest you watch these videos I made about harmonics for the guitar. They will not only give you a better understanding of what harmonics are and how they work, but several different ways to play them.

EDIT: I can’t believe I didn’t include this in the video, but one other technique is to reach you little finger out above the 4th fret from whatever note you’re fretting. You can use the first method I show in the video to find exactly where to place your finger.

Any suggestions for good beginning piano books?

I’m in my thirties and I play guitar. I just got a 61 key electronic keyboard for the holidays. I need suggestions for good beginning piano books appropriate for my age. The book stores and Amazon have nothing. I guess that I need to go to a community college bookstore or something.

What kind of music do you like? There are two routes you can take: Classical or Contemporary.

Classical although more complex and sophisticated is in my opinion easier to learn ( at first) becase it is more detailed and self explanatory. Once you learn how to read, sheet music. You can pick up a work by chopin and little by little start playing (poor technique though, but audible).

Contemporary styles are very very difficult to teach yourself (I speak from experience). You have to decipher chord symbols, study rhythms, harmonize melodies, memorize chord progressions, hand inversions, all instantaneously if you want it too sound good.

Honestly, a teacher is your best bet. Believe me you’ll knock yrs off your quest.

But if your like me, who wants to be self taught: Let me recommend:

Piano for dummies (good introductory stuff)
Contemporary music theory (lv 1,2)
" " " " ear training
Pop piano book

all by mark harrison (awesome books!)

Jamie aebersold books (there are alot, but its play along, his methods have been proven, and you can start IMPROVISING the standards and classic jazz tunes.

For classical music:
I don’t know any good books honestly, ther are so many methods out there. Personally once I learned how to read music (youd be surprise how quickly you can pick it up) all you have to do is get the sheet music for whatever it is you want to play (bach, beethoven, mozart, chopin, whatever)
let them be your teachers, everything is in the sheet music.

Anyway good luck!

BTW, you got a good headstart, since you already play the guitar. You have a good grasp of chords and progressions. This will aid you in piano. That 61 keyboard you got is good for the beginning but you should consider after awhile, if your still into it to at least getting a 76 keyboard one. That way you’ll avoid frustrations when you see that there aren’t enough keys to play a piece that you started (like moonlight sonata).

How often do I change my guitar strings?

I just started to learn the acoustic guitar on October 14th. In the method book I’ve been using, I’ve just been working on playing individual notes – no hard strumming or a bunch of chords, yet. I play anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How often should I be changing these?

Oh, and I use D’Addario Medium strings

If you actually play every day, from 45 minutes to 2 hours, then the corrosion on your strings will make them sound dead pretty quickly. Personally, I play a ridiculous amount, and I change my strings about once a month, I use elixirs (coated strings) and they last longer. If you’re playing a fair amount, then once a month to once every two months should be fine (assuming you’re using a steel string guitar, if it’s a nylon string classical they last longer). Remember though that it’s up to you to decide when your strings sound dead. It will be pretty obvious though because they will not feel as slick to play on and your notes won’t ring out very well.

What would be a nice instrument to learn classical music with? cello or the upright bass?

I play bass guitar but im looking forward to learn classical music in a university, which instrument should I learn?

If you’re into jazz, you should pick double bass.

If you’re into classical, you should pick cello.

Do I absolutely HAVE to have long nails for classical guitar?

I am a very serious guitar player, I play classical and flamenco. The thing is I also am very passionate about parkour and I can’t keep my long nails while scaling walls and vaulting fences, they will get ruined. Besides, I’m a tomboy. Long nails gross me out. Is there any other way around this problem?

I think as much as you can, you should keep your nails filed smoothly so they don’t catch on the strings. However, I don’t think you need to keep them dragonlady long.

I keep the nails on my left hand fairly short because it helps with the fingering, but the nails on the right hand a bit longer. I unfortunately work at a job where my nails break off–so I can’t really grow them that long anyway. I try to keep them polished to so they don’t split, but if you aren’t a girly girl–you can use clear polish or a nail strengthener.

Of course, I’m hardly a serious guitarist (I do play classical and not that well), and I think flamenco guitarists use their nails a bit more because of the stylistic concerns (playing style not fashion style)

On the other hand,, Christopher Parkening–world reknown classical guitarist–files HIS nails to a mere 1/16" to 1/8" edge beyond the flesh of the fingertips. In his books, "The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)–he details some very precise instructions on how to keep your nails files in the correct shape and condition for playing, but the optimum nail length he prefers is not beyond that one-eighth of an inch.

You can keep an emery board or nail file handy just before you play the guitar to get rid of any ragged edges.

He also mentioned fake fingernails called "players’ nails" made just for guitarists (especially if your nails have broken off beyond the quick). I never heard of them before–but there you are. I googled them and found this website.

There are actually several websites that offer advice about nail length for guitarists. I think you might have to experiment until you find the best solution for your playing without having to give up
your parkour. (I know what a tomboy is, but I had to look up "parkour")

I’ll list a few below.

Plus a video:
(There should be some on Youtube too)

Most guitarists don’t seem to have talons–I’m sure there are exceptions.

I have a problem with tuning my acoustic guitar, how do I know the strings are in tune?

Hi! I’ve recently gotten a new acoustic guitar with steel strings, I have only used the classical guitar with nylon strings. And when I tried to tune my new acoustic guitar. The strings GBE sounds weird. How do I know if its the correct tune and is it okay to use nylon strings on a acoustic guitar?

You can’t use nylon on a steel-string guitar nor vice-versa. As far as tuning, the classical guitar is fussier because the strings keep on stretching versus a steel string which isn’t as flexible. Use the 5th fret (old method) to tune the guitar and then, check with your tuner.

Just remember that when you tune any guitar, it is always easier with a fresh new set of string specially for the guitar. The tuning is done like a piano and is called tempered-tuning. You have to compensate your tuning so that it sounds good for open chords as well as when you play in the 5th and 10th position.

is it wrong or improper to play the classical guitar with the acoustic playing method?

so yea, ive been playing the classical guitar for about a year and half, and i think im playing it the acoustic way, i dont hold it up wards, hold it just like an acoustic guitar, and i use the four fingers method.. i mean, i play the bass strings with my thumb and each of the other three fingers play one of the treble strings(assigning each finger to some strings method).. and im totally cool with it, i can play stuff like moonlight sonata for Beethoven and other classical pieces, is it wrong to do that? i find it tough to start over again with a different hold, and different right hand technique, but if it has more advantages maybe it worth it, so i may give it a try, so what do you guys think? thanx in advance… and btw, im doing pretty good, i mean im improving and practicing daily, so, any advice is appreciated.. and yea im learning on my own..
yea, sorry i think my english is not that good, couldnt describe it better, but anyway,by "playing method" i meant technique, i mean u know, classical guitar right hand technique is different than the "acoustic" guitar right hand technique and so is the posture and other stuff, but what im askin for is can i apply the "acoustic" guitar techniques on the classical? are there people who play like that? or im the only one on planet earth?.. thanx.. lol

Doesn’t matter if you play it the acoustic way or classical way. i use classical technique combined with a guitar pick when i play the electric. it offers more versatility for chording and soloing.

In your case, you can use a classical technique to play a fold-style acoustic playing. no set rules and if you are comfortable playing that way, by all means, develop your own style.

Why was Fernando Sor the Best ? How is the best way to master his compositions?

Sor achieved a greater guitar method than any other guitar composer before of after him. He as also claimed to have been inspired by Hayden and Mozart. Sor has also composed for piano, strings, and voice as well as guitar.

sor mastered the classical elements,,,of chromatics,arpeggios,rasgueados(got this from flamenco vihuela music first done by spanish 14 th century’ hillbillies’,and sor brought technical discipline to classical guitar,,,,,,,grande fantasie recorded by john williams & julian bream is nice,,,altho the nature of this piece is more akin to chopin,,,,,would have loved to hear ida presti and alexandre lagoya do this piece of music,,,,,,,,wish ida p had lived to perform chopin polonaises

What are the major differences between classical guitar and acoustic guitar?

I’m wanting to learn how to play guitar, just a regular guitar, but know next to nothing about it…. I’m trying to figure out whether to take a beginning classical guitar class or an intro to acoustic guitar class.
What, if there are any, are the differences between the two?
And would taking both classes be a good suggestion, or would learning both only confuse me more?

classical would be more … classical music and intro acoustic would be learning how to play your acoustic guitar.. acoustic is just the type. i’d recommend the intro to acoustic so you can get more of a feel for the instrument, first.

Is it worth it for me to teach myself guitar?

So I play drums, violin and piano and I really want to learn guitar. But I’m only allowed to take private lessons for one instruments and I’m already taking drum lessons and I don’t want to quit that… So I have enough for a SUPER cheap 38" acoustic guitar. Do you think it would be worth it? Do you think it would be difficult to teach myself? I can already read music… Do you think I should do it?

Hello there,

Since you have already learned how to play 3 instruments, you already know how much work and effect is needed to learn any instrument. Guitar is no different. It is not any easier to learn, nor really any harder, than other instruments. I figure it takes about 1 to 2 hours a day practice to maintain your skills. Learning a new instrument takes a little more time than just maintaining your skill level. Frankly, I think you will be spreading yourself rather thin, Most likely the time you spend learning guitar will be at the sacrifice of one or more of the other instruments. You only have so much free time to allocate among the instruments.

I presume you are still in school. So lets look at what adding the guitar would do to your daily schedule. You get home from school and maybe have a snack and relax for a few minutes. That would make it around 4:00. One hour practice for the drums, piano and violin would take until 7:00. Take an hour for dinner would make it 8:00. Now 2 hours for learning the guitar would make it 10:00. Now you have home work to do and studies to do for school. That takes until when? The instruments will eat up your entire free time. When will you spend time with friends? Do you play any sports? If so, how do you work those into that schedule? You only have so many hours to allocate among your interests.

Of course it is difficult to teach yourself. You do not yet understand how to play the instrument and cannot correct your mistakes. Teaching yourself, you fall into bad habits and improper techniques that can take a long time to un-learn. Sure, you can learn on your own, but it is much harder to do. It would require more time and effort than learning through lessons.

Knowing how to read music helps if you are going to play classical guitar. If you are going to play folk or rock guitar, that does not help nearly as much. Nearly all rock music for guitar is written in tabulature. That is a shorthand method of writing guitar music. You will have to learn it and it is not really related to sheet music notation. Fortunately, tabs is quick and easy to learn. But if you are going to play pop or rock on the guitar, you will have to learn to read tabs.

A super cheap acoustic guitar is closer to a toy than a fine instrument. It will make sound, but not good sound. It will likely be difficult to play if you were an experienced guitar player. For a beginner, that guitar may be quite difficult and frustrating to try to play.

Should you do it? That is something only you can answer. It is about priorities. How much you want to play the guitar as opposed to your willingness to sacrifice time spent on other instruments.