Self taught - seeking feedback

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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JNWills
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Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:59 pm

I'm mostly self taught when it comes to CG. I'd love to get some honest critiques. Here is a performance of a short piece by Tarrega called Andante Sostenuto. To be more specific, I primarily play electric guitar with a pick. I do not have nails, which seems to be one issue with tone production among other issues like general weakness in playing with fingers in articulating. I would like a balanced smooth tone like I hear in so many performances, and I wonder is it possible without nails if the technique is proper? Among other things, any of the forum wisdom as to what to fix or if I'm on the right track I'd greatly appreciate. Thanks


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dtoh
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by dtoh » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:45 pm

Self taught here as well so take what I say with a grain of salt. Others who actually teach can probably provide better advice. A few thoughts.

1. Nicely played.
2. You really need nails if you want good tone and tone control. (Look at getting soft gel treatments...it makes nail management super easy.)
3. Seems like you might want to articulate the RH a little more from the big joints.
4. The LH looks a little electric guitar-ish sometimes. (Fingers at a angle rather than perpendicular to the fretboard and thumb creeping over the top.)

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georgemarousi
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by georgemarousi » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:43 pm

hi !
Nice try! I agree with the previous comments.

As an advanced student, i mainly notice:

- need to bring the guitar upper, for the left hand fingers to be able to approach vertically the fretboard, while the left thumb will always be behind it.
- need to grow nails, just around 2mm is enough for me, and then find the correct angle of hit for a lowd and full sound
- left hand must be a lot more steady most of the time, and play must come from the joints of each finger
- need to play scales slow and clear, with the "correct technique", mostly using the Apoyando technique
- strongly advice you to find a local teacher since you alredy invest your time on CG, you will see great improvement in your quality of play :)

thanks for sharing your performance with us ! :)
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JNWills
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:43 pm

dtoh wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:45 pm
Self taught here as well so take what I say with a grain of salt. Others who actually teach can probably provide better advice. A few thoughts.

1. Nicely played.
2. You really need nails if you want good tone and tone control. (Look at getting soft gel treatments...it makes nail management super easy.)
3. Seems like you might want to articulate the RH a little more from the big joints.
4. The LH looks a little electric guitar-ish sometimes. (Fingers at a angle rather than perpendicular to the fretboard and thumb creeping over the top.)
I really appreciate you taking the time to listen and reply. Nails seem very important. Otherwise I feel I have to force the sound out and it of course won't sound as natural or smooth at volume. Thank you for the LH/RH comments, this gives me something to focus on in practice. I've just discovered this forum and find this type of feedback very helpful. Trying to step off my "island" so to speak. All the best to you!

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JNWills
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:47 pm

georgemarousi wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:43 pm
hi !
Nice try! I agree with the previous comments.

As an advanced student, i mainly notice:

- need to bring the guitar upper, for the left hand fingers to be able to approach vertically the fretboard, while the left thumb will always be behind it.
- need to grow nails, just around 2mm is enough for me, and then find the correct angle of hit for a lowd and full sound
- left hand must be a lot more steady most of the time, and play must come from the joints of each finger
- need to play scales slow and clear, with the "correct technique", mostly using the Apoyando technique
- strongly advice you to find a local teacher since you alredy invest your time on CG, you will see great improvement in your quality of play :)

thanks for sharing your performance with us ! :)
George thank you for the excellent advice. I will practice correct technique as described. Yes, I am coming to a point where I don't see a way around finding a good teacher. I've played CG only casually but I've come to love it enough to invest more time in developing my repertoire and of course above all proper technique. I will grow the nails, no way around that either. Sound without is too dull or forced to compensate for lower output. This is quite overwhelming, and I've started by trying to become more acquainted with the many composers and performers over such a long time period for guitar music. This forum and your response is giving me clear direction, thank you!

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bear
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by bear » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:18 pm

I listened to Yepes, recording before listening to yours (not fair). You were a little faster. I agree with the comment regarding the position of the guitar. Your grip is more like a steel string player. I did the same when switching to nylon. I played steel with a "thumb over" onto the 6th. Proper positioning may help to reduce the squeaks.
Overall, enjoyable. Thanks for posting.
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tormodg
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by tormodg » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:47 pm

Well done!

I think your stool may be a bit high. Try to sit on a "regular" kitchen chair and use a standard foot stool or guitar rest.

Others here said to angle your guitar more - the top of the headstock should be about your line of sight (a bit higher or lower as comfort allows). Then your right arm would come across the guitar a little further up (try to imagine a line extending the bridge all the way to the side of the guitar).

You seem to have quite long fingers, but again as others said, try to keep your thumb more behind the fretboard, around or slightly above the midpoint. There is no "exactly correct" point, more of a "rule of thumb" (pun intended). :oops:

And yes - get a teacher! :)
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RichardUno
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by RichardUno » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:36 pm

In the "Classical Guitar Classes" forum there's a thread about left hand stability which has some good advice. I noticed that you keep your left elbow close to your body which forces your hand position to change as you move up and down the fingerboard. If you relax your left arm and concentrate on keeping a consistent relationship between your left hand ande the fingerboard, your left hand technique will be much better. You should also try to figure out how to eliminate or minimize the left hand squeaks.
This piece, also known as Prelude no. 5, should probably be played much slower with as much feeling as you would like to add. Listen to Segovia, Kevin Gallagher, Ricardo Gallen,and others for some ideas, then create your own interpretation.

Kurt Penner
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by Kurt Penner » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:26 pm

I agree with the technical points made above. I want to congratulate you on expanding your repertoire to include classical guitar and your honest attempt to seek advice. You appear very comfortable playing the piece and I think you would learn very quickly to play as classical guitarists do.

Why not commit to 10-20 lessons over a year and focus on 3-4 well chosen pieces? That would give you the foundation of nails, tone production, posture and hand positioning. I'd wager you make great progress.

Also, the instructional book "Pumping Nylon" has many good chapters on foundation skills. Find it if you can.

Kp

dtoh
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by dtoh » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:28 am

JNWills wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:43 pm
dtoh wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:45 pm
Self taught here as well so take what I say with a grain of salt. Others who actually teach can probably provide better advice. A few thoughts.

1. Nicely played.
2. You really need nails if you want good tone and tone control. (Look at getting soft gel treatments...it makes nail management super easy.)
3. Seems like you might want to articulate the RH a little more from the big joints.
4. The LH looks a little electric guitar-ish sometimes. (Fingers at a angle rather than perpendicular to the fretboard and thumb creeping over the top.)
I really appreciate you taking the time to listen and reply. Nails seem very important. Otherwise I feel I have to force the sound out and it of course won't sound as natural or smooth at volume. Thank you for the LH/RH comments, this gives me something to focus on in practice. I've just discovered this forum and find this type of feedback very helpful. Trying to step off my "island" so to speak. All the best to you!
Just a couple of other thoughts.
1. Others have mentioned your sitting position. I think maybe your left leg is spayed a little outward which may be twisting your upper body and slightly restricting the motion of your LH (or arm.) If you look at videos of other players, I think maybe the standard sitting position has the left leg coming out a little straighter from the body with the right leg more spread out.

2. I forgot to mention but the flexibility, strength and coordination in your LH fingers looks good (probably from the EG). That's usually a big hurdle so you've got a great headstart on CG.

3.If you're going to grow your nails, do consider getting soft gel treatments. It looks and feels very natural, yet is very durable. It made a world of difference to me. I never think about my nails at all. Only thing you probably can't do is rock climbing.

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JNWills
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:46 pm

RichardUno wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:36 pm
In the "Classical Guitar Classes" forum there's a thread about left hand stability which has some good advice. I noticed that you keep your left elbow close to your body which forces your hand position to change as you move up and down the fingerboard. If you relax your left arm and concentrate on keeping a consistent relationship between your left hand ande the fingerboard, your left hand technique will be much better. You should also try to figure out how to eliminate or minimize the left hand squeaks.
This piece, also known as Prelude no. 5, should probably be played much slower with as much feeling as you would like to add. Listen to Segovia, Kevin Gallagher, Ricardo Gallen,and others for some ideas, then create your own interpretation.
:merci: Forgive my ignorance, I did not realize this piece was also called Prelude no. 5. I was having trouble finding performances under "Andante Sostenuto." Prelude no. 5 did the trick! Excellent advice, and I will focus on relaxing my left arm elbow too.

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JNWills
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:49 pm

tormodg wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:47 pm
Well done!

I think your stool may be a bit high. Try to sit on a "regular" kitchen chair and use a standard foot stool or guitar rest.

Others here said to angle your guitar more - the top of the headstock should be about your line of sight (a bit higher or lower as comfort allows). Then your right arm would come across the guitar a little further up (try to imagine a line extending the bridge all the way to the side of the guitar).

You seem to have quite long fingers, but again as others said, try to keep your thumb more behind the fretboard, around or slightly above the midpoint. There is no "exactly correct" point, more of a "rule of thumb" (pun intended). :oops:

And yes - get a teacher! :)
Puns welcome, haha. I will fully admit I fret a lot of chords on electric w/ thumb on 6th string. Not a habit that carries over well to nylon obviously. Good advice on headstock as well. Thanks!

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JNWills
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:53 pm

Kurt Penner wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:26 pm
I agree with the technical points made above. I want to congratulate you on expanding your repertoire to include classical guitar and your honest attempt to seek advice. You appear very comfortable playing the piece and I think you would learn very quickly to play as classical guitarists do.

Why not commit to 10-20 lessons over a year and focus on 3-4 well chosen pieces? That would give you the foundation of nails, tone production, posture and hand positioning. I'd wager you make great progress.

Also, the instructional book "Pumping Nylon" has many good chapters on foundation skills. Find it if you can.

Kp
Thanks Kurt, Yes that's very reasonable and great advice. I will seek out a teacher and post a performance down the road. This forum is a gem! I don't know if there is anywhere else I'd be willing to ask for advice of this nature.

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JNWills
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by JNWills » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:57 pm

bear wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:18 pm
I listened to Yepes, recording before listening to yours (not fair). You were a little faster. I agree with the comment regarding the position of the guitar. Your grip is more like a steel string player. I did the same when switching to nylon. I played steel with a "thumb over" onto the 6th. Proper positioning may help to reduce the squeaks.
Overall, enjoyable. Thanks for posting.
Thanks, much appreciated! Certainly will slow it down and play with more feeling, especially after checking out some other performances. Yes I play steel string acoustic and often grab bass notes w/ thumb! Consensus is also clearly needing to work on LH/RH positioning and also guitar and body posture.

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Big bird
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Re: Self taught - seeking feedback

Post by Big bird » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:32 pm

If you are interested in playing without nails as some of us do. Check out Rob MacKillop's site. He is also an active member here so you could PM him with questions. His site will give you information on technique, history of playing sans nails and a number of his video performances. I think you will see that he does not struggle with tone or volume when needed.

Rob's site....
https://rmclassicalguitar.com/

BTW, I enjoyed your video.....
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