Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

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GEO
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Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by GEO » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:52 am

There are so many threads at Delcamp concerning guitar methods and Frederick Noad's "Solo Guitar Playing" is one of the most (if not the most) popular methods used by Delcampers, that I thought we should have a thread devoted specifically to evaluating this popular work for self-teaching (in particular) or with a teacher.

Personally, I have used just a portion of it--not enough to make a fair assessment, so I welcome those of you who have more experience to write your evaluation of it. In particular, I think it would be helpful to include:
1. What are the strong points?
2. What are the weak points?
3. Are supplementary materials needed and, if so, what are some recommendations?
4. What rate of progress would you anticipate someone making if they practices daily for 1 hr; for 2 hrs?

Cheers,

geo

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joestone

Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by joestone » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:45 am

GEO wrote:There are so many threads at Delcamp concerning guitar methods and Frederick Noad's "Solo Guitar Playing" is one of the most (if not the most) popular methods used by Delcampers, that I thought we should have a thread devoted specifically to evaluating this popular work for self-teaching (in particular) or with a teacher.

Personally, I have used just a portion of it--not enough to make a fair assessment, so I welcome those of you who have more experience to write your evaluation of it. In particular, I think it would be helpful to include:
1. What are the strong points?
2. What are the weak points?
3. Are supplementary materials needed and, if so, what are some recommendations?
4. What rate of progress would you anticipate someone making if they practices daily for 1 hr; for 2 hrs?

Cheers,

geo
Good idea for a sticky thread. I've only just started the book after hearing lots of recommendations from fellow CGers, and I like the duet nature of many of the exercises and layout of the book. However, my pet peeve so far is that the CD does not contain ANY of the exercises (yes, I know you can order them separately from Noad's website, but it's troublesome and expensive) and I think this is a massive oversight considering this book is meant for beginners.

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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:59 am

My biggest complaint is that it uses the left-hand 3rd finger approach instead of the 4th finger approach as established by Sor. There is a refreshing trend away from the third finger approach, at least here in the US, because it encourages left-hand pronation (a counter-clockwise turn away from the neck). This is why I discontinued using it about 15 years ago.

Vol. 2 is one of the best sequels, however. It makes the very short list with Parkenings book.

Larry McDonald
P.S. I hope I didn't double-post. It seems my earlier one never made it to the forum.

fep

Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by fep » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:53 am

Lare wrote:My biggest complaint is that it uses the left-hand 3rd finger approach instead of the 4th finger approach as established by Sor.
Those are the books I'm learning from but I don't know what the left-hand 3rd finger approach instead of the 4th finger approach are. Could you explain that please? Also I can't figure out the resulting counter clockwise turn that you mention, might help if I new what these approaches are though.

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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Hans W » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:56 am

Good idea for a thread Geo

Since I advocate the method and its what I used to learn CG, a response is in order.

My first observation would be that despite the fact its intended as a teacher/student method (ie all the exercise pieces at the end of each lesson are duets) its used by so many to self teach, myself included. So my first comment would be that Noad's explanations are clear and understandable. I can't remember how many "learning to play CG" books I acquired before Noad, but I do know that once that book was in my possession I stopped looking and started playing. It was the understandable explanations and logical progression that did it.

The only short coming of the book is something that no book can overcome- having somebody beside you that knows what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong. But if you're going the self teach route, you don't have that warm body beside you to help so in that sense, I found nothing that could be considered a short coming.

I didn't feel the need for any supplementary materials although I did build up a collection of scores but not because the books (I also went through book 2) don't have a fabulous collection of music in and of themselves. There just always other pieces out there. I learned Alhambra from the book because its there but Leyenda I had to buy. This was before the Net.

"What rate of progress would you anticipate someone making if they practices daily for 1 hr; for 2 hrs?" That's a tough one because so much depends on how fast you can pick things up. I was playing the pieces in Lesson 12 after 1 1/2 months but I have the feeling that's faster than average. I would think you should be able to get to the 5th lesson in a month as the first 4 lessons are basically learning the notes in the 1st position.

I will concede I am autodidactic and the CG is not my only self taught undertaking, so in that sense, I'd say I am somewhat of an expert on self help material. From that perspective I can honestly say the Noad books represent the best teach-your-self material, in any field, I've come across.

Hans
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joestone

Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by joestone » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:25 am

Hans W wrote: I can honestly say the Noad books represent the best teach-your-self material, in any field, I've come across.

Hans
I would agree with that, if only they'd put ALL the exercises on the enclosed CD. Surely that would have been more helpful for newbie autodidacts?

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 am

joestone wrote:
Hans W wrote: I can honestly say the Noad books represent the best teach-your-self material, in any field, I've come across.

Hans
I would agree with that, if only they'd put ALL the exercises on the enclosed CD. Surely that would have been more helpful for newbie autodidacts?
Agreed, Hans, with every word of your post, agreed, Joe about the possibilities a more interactive CD would create (But I can't speak for that, because I bought the book before CDs were invented!) , and agreed that this is a good idea from Geo!

The text in Noad's book is excellent and friendly, surpassed only (IMHO) by Scott Tennant. But, I don't consider Pumping Nylon to be a suitable book for beginners at all!

Lare: I know what 4th finger approach, wrist pronation and counter-clockwise turn mean, and teach them myself. But, I didn't realize that the Noad book posed a different approach. I've never heard of a third finger approach....Where does he talk about that? (I haven't used the book since CDs were invented! LOL!)

Alan

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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by arby » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:26 am

Just want to say not everyone is a Noad fan.
Duncan, Parkening, Waldron, and Sagreras are more my cup of tea.
Also, I think there is a big void as far as "teach yourself" methods go, as none of them are really good or intended for that.

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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by GEO » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:09 am

fep wrote:
Lare wrote:My biggest complaint is that it uses the left-hand 3rd finger approach instead of the 4th finger approach as established by Sor.
...I don't know what the left-hand 3rd finger approach instead of the 4th finger approach are. Could you explain that please? Also I can't figure out the resulting counter clockwise turn that you mention, might help if I new what these approaches are though.
fep:

I think what Lare is referring to is using the fourth finger to fret notes even though the third finger could reach. For example, in first position, using the fourth finger to fret a D on the 2nd string or a G on the first string even though these can be easily reached with the third finger. You'll notice that when you do this, your left hand will rotate slightly so that the palm is more perpendicular to the neck and the edge of the hand by the fourth finger draws closer to the fingerboard as well. This has the advantage of increasing the span of frets you can handle. If you have small hands like I do, it could spell the difference between a cleanly articulated note and a buzz.

Cheers,

geo
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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:51 pm

Hi,
Sorry for the long post.
GEO wrote:fep:

I think what Lare is referring to is using the fourth finger to fret notes even though the third finger could reach. For example, in first position, using the fourth finger to fret a D on the 2nd string or a G on the first string even though these can be easily reached with the third finger. You'll notice that when you do this, your left hand will rotate slightly so that the palm is more perpendicular to the neck and the edge of the hand by the fourth finger draws closer to the fingerboard as well. This has the advantage of increasing the span of frets you can handle. If you have small hands like I do, it could spell the difference between a cleanly articulated note and a buzz.

Cheers,

Yes, this is correct. Here is a little essay I wrote a few years ago.

***************************************************************************
The 4th Finger Approach to Guitar Technique:
How Do Those Great Guitarists Make the Left-Hand Look So Easy?


Early in my teaching career, I noticed many of my students had permanently pronated left wrists (the 3rd and 4th fingers are rotated away from the neck.) I quickly discovered that beginning students were able to keep the knuckles of the left hand parallel to the neck while playing an “F” on the first string (1st finger) but often struggled with the 3rd finger on “G”. The left-hand would pronate (and the left wrist would arch, ouch!) while the 4th finger would be off the guitar neck, making the 4th finger “G#” a clumsy challenge.

Some years ago I read in Anthony Glise’s seminal book, Classic Guitar Pedagogy, about Sor’s 4th finger approach (this was adopted by Aguado in the following decade). After I examined Sor’s method (early 1830’s, I believe), I found that Sor clearly showed that the “D” on the 2nd string and the “G” on the first string should be played with the 4th finger, not the third. Since Sor’s guitar was most likely a smaller 630mm scale Lacote, and as he was one of the greatest guitarists who has ever lived, I doubt that he had difficulty reaching the 3rd fret with the 3rd finger. It seems to me that the only reasonable explanation for the 4th finger on the 3rd fret is to reduce the amount of pronation of the left-hand.

I tried this with a few students, young and old, and the problems with pronation were significantly reduced. Their hands stayed closer to the guitar neck and “G”, “D”, and “Bb” on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings, respectively, became simple. Finger exchange difficulties were more easily dealt with. I continued to use the 3rd finger on the third frets of the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings. After this success, I now use Sor’s 4th finger approach for all my students (and myself) with the rare exception for that student with very large hands with long fingers that do not pronate with the 3rd finger on the 3rd fret.

Adopting a method book for my students has been difficult. All of the methods I have encountered in the last 30 years use the “3rd finger approach”. Mel Bay and Hal Leonard not only promote the “3rd finger approach”, but actually have pictures showing severely bent wrists, a recipe for RSI’s. Shearer’s method(s) seem to address this problem by beginning on the 3rd string for the left hand, as does Segreras’. Pujol gets it. See exercise 71 on page 78. The “G’s” and “D’s” are clearly marked in Sor’s 4th finger approach. Sor’s method is much too fast and diatribe-ish for my taste. David Braid’s beautifully produced book with CD begins with the “3rd finger approach” but inexplicably changes to Sor’s 4th finger approach on page 46. Unfortunately, all of his exercises need right-hand editing. I finally gave up and created my own program. :chaud:

L.Mc. -2006
*********************************************************************************************

If you examine some of the modern anthologies such as the entire RCM series or anything from Stanley Yates, you will discover that the 4th finger is indicated on the 3rd fret for the top two strings in most scale passages. :shock: I'm not sure where the third finger approach began but I would bet it was from an untutored publisher; "Hmmm, 3rd finger, third fret, makes sense to me". :cry: Most students fingers curl toward the center of the palm as they flex, and this is the span of three frets for most of the human race. I would also suggest that that the left-thumb can now be placed behind or to the left of the 1st finger, its natural position, and in an elegant image of the right-hand.

If you are still reading and...

If you still want to use the "old" third finger approach, do what Ramsnake says and keep a gap between the 1st and second fingers. You might need to keep the thumb behind the second finger as well, which is contrary to current pedagogical thought (see Joseph Urshalmi, "A Concious Approach to Guitar Technique", Mel Bay, 2006.)

Good Luck,
Larry McDonald
P.S. Notice how relaxed my non-playing fingers are instead of being angularly spread about.
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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Hans W » Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:22 pm

Larry, I notice in the picture your thumb is parallel with the neck. Any comments on thumb placement vis a vis orientation to the neck and hand.
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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:53 pm

I think the earlier picture doesn't show the thumb direction real well. This one may be better. You can see the thumb crosses the center line of the "Madrid" neck. BTW, this is a big Ramirez 664, so you can see I have big hands and I still use the 4th finger approach.

I don't think the thumb position is that big of a deal, as long as it doesn't restrict the motion of the fingers. But try this...

Hold your left hand in front of you, palm up, and move the unflexed thumb into the middle of the palm, you will likely feel a stiffening of the the fingers. As a further experiment, do the same and wiggle the fingers. Motion is restricted, especially in advanced players who have dense thumb-muscles. Now, as a comparison, try flexing the fingers when the thumb is in its natural position, which is left of the first finger. There should be no added resistance.

I hope this helps in some small way,
Larry McDonald
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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:24 pm

1. What are the strong points?
--There is an abundance of supplementary material throughout the book. Noad gives lots of examples dealing with most of the subject matter in the book. One of the great things is the fact its an 'anthology' one book is equal to at least 3 method books of different writers. But perhaps the huge spin is at times annoying when trying to use the book (as it keeps closing). I like how he sequences the arpeggio patterns, working from simplest to complex, and only single direction arpeggios.

2. What are the weak points?
--I find the book, for my method of teaching, out of sequence. The book is almost an all in one book, but at the same time so much material is introduced way too quickly. He talks about strokes with the fingers both rest and free, and with the thumb all in one section, rather then sequentially introducing these techniques as the hand becomes more stabilized. I also find there's a bit of lack of explanations of techniques, obviously the teacher is there to explain these things, but from the point of view of a 'self-taught' student, there's too many unanswered and poorly explained examples. The pictures in the beginning are so bad (with Noad shot at an angle so you can't clearly see how his sitting position, and the woman in the next picture certainly has a hunched right shoulder, and appears to be leaning to the left...again both are unclear due to the angles of the pictures. NOT good for a book that is also meant to be for the self taught student). The development of upper position isn't the best. Instead of set examples that only deal with the position in question, he goes right to shifting positions, this is where supplemental material would be needed if I used it. Techniques like scale development (in both rest and free stroke technique) and arpeggio technique aren't the best explanations. One thing I don't like is some of the edits he makes to pieces. While the edits aren't bad, there is no explanation of what and why he edited certain things, like the idea of strummed chords in all the Baroque guitar pieces.

3. Are supplementary materials needed and, if so, what are some recommendations?
--As I said, Noad's got great pieces in there. The later pieces, the 'solo' pieces are great, and I often substitute from THIS book rather then vise versa. However, studies like Sor or Giuliani studies or the Brouwer studies are great supplementary material for students as well. I also supplement material for developing technique from Richard Provost's technique series. So I guess I use this book as a supplementary book rather then as my main source of instruction.

4. What rate of progress would you anticipate someone making if they practices daily for 1 hr; for 2 hrs?
--I really can't say. It depends on how the person is able to interpret the material. If they are working with a teacher or not, there is certainly a great amount of material in that book, and would be a great book if it weren't for the major faults I find in the sequence and lack of explanations. But then again, I have a feeling my teaching style is quite different from what Noad's was, thus why I don't use the book.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by ramsnake » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:59 pm

Lare wrote:
If you still want to use the "old" third finger approach, do what Ramsnake says and keep a gap between the 1st and second fingers. You might need to keep the thumb behind the second finger as well, which is contrary to current pedagogical thought (see Joseph Urshalmi, "A Concious Approach to Guitar Technique", Mel Bay, 2006.)
The slightly pronated wrist (3rd and 4th finger side of the hand further away from the guitar than the 1st) is, from where I come from, the most natural way that the hand fits the guitar so we will have to agree to disagree on that.
Actually my thumb is in a similar position (opposite the 1st) to yours using the "old way" although not outside the 1st finger as yours is.
Very similar to this image of Jason Waldron's LH hand, a far better player than I, but also a guitarist from the same school of pegagogy.
LH.jpg
One of the benefits of using 1st and 2nd finger apart as a key to develop the LH is to organise the correct thumb position.
This occurs because, once the required forearm through wrist to hand relationship, the tyranny of the opposing muscles within the hand between the large thumb muscle and the little finger side of the hand, that are the curse of every beginning guitarist, is broken and the palm can open up due to the support provided for the fingers in the back of the hand.

Interestingly, Joseph Urshalmi recommended that most guitarists would be better off with their LH thumb amputated!
Fortunately for me I came across a school of guitar pedagogy that allowed me to achieve the result Joseph would like to see without having to resort to so drastic a solution!
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Re: Evaluations: Noad's " -Solo Guitar Playing" - Vol 1

Post by musicstand » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:22 pm

Today Guitarshreda wrote "" But perhaps the huge spin is at times annoying when trying to use the book (as it keeps closing). ""
As a beginner I feel unqualified to evaluate the Noad book # 1 but I agree with Guitarshreda regarding the book closing in the middle of an exercise. I am comfortable around a table saw so what I did was run the spine along the tablesaw fence and cut 1/8 inch from the spine, and at our local Business Depot (Staples) store they put a multi finger black plastic clasp around all 238 pages as well as the front and back covers.
This has made me very happy now as the book stays open wherever one wishes.
Regards.
Jim.
PS: Thank you Geo for starting this thread.

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