Vital Elements of the Classical Guitar Technique

a closeup, foreshortened shot of a classical guitar rendered in sepia tones

If you want to master the classical guitar, you should learn a few rules of thumb. In this blog, we talk about 4 fundamentals that will help you ground your practice and enable you to produce beautiful tones. 

Arpeggios

Although arpeggios don’t get a lot of attention, guitarists spend years to play with different textures of arpeggios. Arpeggio refers to a broken cord, which means that different cords are played one after the other instead of being played at the same time. Some of the monumental tunes of the guitar repertoire include continuous and extended arpeggio patterns. 

An effective way to practice arpeggio is through Giuliani right-hand studies and different similar exercises. Once you master the classical arpeggio, you can move towards cross-string trills and tremolo which are advanced renditions of the arpeggio. 

Slurs

A slur is an amalgam of different techniques like hammer-ons, slides, and bends. When playing a slur, one should attack the first cord and let the other notes play without striking. Think of it as a domino effect. When you play the first note, it manipulates the others. It creates a range of different notes. A slur is often referred to as melisma.

Scales

Although the repertoire of guitar doesn’t include a lot of passages for scales, a player should practice them, nonetheless. While playing, it’s good practice to play scale passages instead of abstracted minor and major scales. Usually, scale practice includes short, long, and burst practice. Make sure that you add some five-note bursts and octave scales into your routine. 

To perfect scales, you should memorize them. Yes, memorize! For instance, using the E shape as a reference, the pattern should be 24 124 134 134 24 12. Continue to write this pattern repeatedly, and you’ll know it by heart.

Left-Hand Shifts

Left-hand shifts refer to shifting your left hand across your guitar’s neck. The fingerboard on your guitar may not seem long if you think about it. However, when you’re going for significant shifts, frets may feel far apart.

It is one of the hardest parts in guitar practice. We suggest you stick to left-hand shifts as they appear in your repertoire practice. Practicing them separately is extremely difficult and may feel out of context. 

A person practicing left-hand shifts on the guitar’s neck

To begin, put your finger on F of the first string. Play a note. Before moving your left hand again, focus on the 13th fret on the F. Now, shift your finger up till the 13th fret in a shallow, smooth arc. That’s how you do it!

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