Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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szurcio
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Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by szurcio » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:27 am

I'm 47 now. I recently started playing the classical guitar on a regular basis after about 25-27 years of not playing or playing only sporadically without any method or plan (change of interests and a job that didn't have much to do with music performance, emigration). I used to have a pretty good guitar technique in my early twenties, playing some advanced repertoire - Bach's fugues, Recuerdos de la Alhambra, etc. My tremolo was good, I was able to play it pretty effortlessly at high speeds. Now it feels like my fingers have to learn it from scratch and it's frustrating. That's the reason for some of my posts here. I wonder if I'll be ever able to re-learn how my fingers used to work and reach the level I was at then but I'm doing my best. Even some improvement would be good. I just enjoy it and I wish I had never stopped playing for such a long time. It's hard but I'll keep practicing.

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Frank Nordberg
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Frank Nordberg » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:42 am

szurcio wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:27 am
I wonder if I'll be ever able to re-learn how my fingers used to work and reach the level I was at then but I'm doing my best.
Unless there are some medical conditions limiting you fingers' agility, yes, sure.

The second time is always both easier and harder than the first time. Harder because you are less patient and have higher expectations, easier because you now know how to avoid some of the pitfalls and because although much of your skills are buried deep in your memory, it's still there.

iulian
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by iulian » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:19 am

You and me both brother :)
It's uncanny. With some minor differences (slightly older, tremolo was awful... my sheer incompetence at bwv 1001 was one of the reasons I stopped) that's exactly my story.
I share your frustration with the fingers. I find though that now I can hear myself better, also have a clearer idea of what I want to achieve, you know, at a micro level, this bar, that accented note, dynamics, etc. Not that I succeed, mind, but I suppose it will come.
Let's see where this goes...

cheers,
iulian

celestemcc
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by celestemcc » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:38 pm

I wonder if I'll be ever able to re-learn how my fingers used to work and reach the level I was at then but I'm doing my best. Even some improvement would be good. I just enjoy it and I wish I had never stopped playing for such a long time.
Definitely feeling your pain here, as I was in the same situation! It does and will get better, promise. I've been back playing ca 6 years and have recovered a lot of my original technique and better. It did take work, but it was only frustrating because of what I once *could* do. On the good side, even though your fingers don't want to move fast, chances are you've retained the muscle memory of good technique and that will help you tremendously -- it was the case for me and I considered that to be a boon. One less hurdle to cross.

Two things: try to get a good teacher who will respect what you do know, but will help you grow back into playing fluently. Second is something to consider: might you need a new guitar? When I finally realized I was committed to playing again, I got a new, smaller guitar that is immensely easier to play. Not an issue if you're comfortable with your current instrument.

And: you'll be able to revisit the old repertoire even better. I've just started back up on a Bach piece that I played ca 40 years ago. I'm using a different edition, and it's easier to play, but the musical understanding and appreciation is SO much better than before. Some of that's my teacher, some of that's just age-and-wisdom catching up.

Cheering you on, you can do it! And love the process.
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Rognvald
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Rognvald » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:06 pm

From a person who has experienced many "forced" absences from Music is the last 50 years, what you have lost in mechanics and technique, you will gain in your "understanding" of Music . . . that is if you have continued being a serious listener of Music during your hiatus. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Terpfan
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Terpfan » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:59 am

After not playing for almost twenty years, ( I picked it up once in a while) I 've been practicing since beginning of December. The longest streak yet. For me it has been enjoyable because when I was younger, I had no patience. I would get bored easily. Now I am more disciplined and seems to play better than before.

Naluguy
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Location: Hawaii

Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Naluguy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:10 am

Like yourself, I took an absence from playing for about 15-18 years. Recently got back into playing in 2013 and felt your frustrations. Like all those above stated, it gets better because of many factors. Agree with celestemcc that a new guitar has helped immensely. First started with a Takamine C136S which is quite good for the price. A year later, bought a luthier made guitar which I enjoy even more. A good guitar can be inspiring and exciting as we all know. Just to hear the sound :-D :chitarrista: Keep playing!

J.W.C.
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by J.W.C. » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:34 pm

I can sympathize, although my circumstances are a bit different. I've played electric and steel string acoustic for years, but mostly with picks. I recently started studying classical guitar, and I feel like I have an experienced, capable left hand paired with a beginner's right hand. (Which is pretty much the case, I suppose...)

Also, I just bought a new guitar: a Cordoba C9 Parlor. I've been playing it a lot and really enjoying it, but I've also found it so resonant that I get noticeable sympathetic vibration from open strings, and feel like I'm not damping properly or something. Still working that out.

Michael Gaunt
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Location: New Zealand

Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Michael Gaunt » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:02 am

I’m in the same situation but was never as food as you. I started with classical and then had lots of acoustic playing. Now have gone overboard with some great guitars but have re fallen back in love with classical.

After a fairly intense year, of which 3 months is classical, I feel like I’m as good as I’ve ever been. Still no-where near your old standard but pleasing for me.

Keep it up!

PeteJ
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by PeteJ » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:12 pm

It's interesting that so many here have come back the CG after a long break. Me too. If you're in your forties, a mere stripling, then you'll soon overtake your younger self.

Terpfan
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Terpfan » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:49 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:12 pm
It's interesting that so many here have come back the CG after a long break. Me too. If you're in your forties, a mere stripling, then you'll soon overtake your younger self.
I agree, also there are so much information available to players now. YouTube has so many concert performer videos, stealing fingering are easy. I am working on prelude from bwv1006a, and you can see the evolution of the fingering over time. I have a video of Barrueco's concert in 1990 and it was considered like treasure of information. Now their are so many options.

Carbon 6
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Carbon 6 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:44 pm

I can sympathize, although my circumstances are a bit different. I've played electric and steel string acoustic for years, but mostly with picks.

i'm in a similar position, but taking up classical guitar this year at 67, I wonder if it's even possible to achieve any competency with my right hand. I've been trying to practice the rest stroke on a steel strung acoustic until my classical guitar arrives, but i keep thinking 'how on earth do they do this'?

Carbon 6
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Carbon 6 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:44 pm

I can sympathize, although my circumstances are a bit different. I've played electric and steel string acoustic for years, but mostly with picks.
i'm in a similar position, but taking up classical guitar this year at 67, I wonder if it's even possible to achieve any competency with my right hand. I've been trying to practice the rest stroke on a steel strung acoustic until my classical guitar arrives, but i keep thinking 'how on earth do they do this'?

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David Gutowski
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by David Gutowski » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:18 am

I keep hearing the word "work." Take the WORD out of your vocabulary. Replace it with another word like: "fun," or "great satisfaction," "the journey back," "what I enjoy and love doing, I can't live without my instrument" etc. If it's a lot of work and you're not having fun with it or relaxing with it why return to playing; cg should be a joy to you- appreciate your current playing level. You'll always get better just by playing again but don't make it sound so burdensome. Just my opinion.

I'm happy to report, I've been making a lot of progress in getting my wife to say: "In my opinion dear..." when we get into an argument. I would highly recommend you try it with your significant other. And try to get him/her to say it while you're actually in the process of arguing. See what can happen to the complexity of the "discussion." :shock:


Stay loose,
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Nikos_Greek
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Re: Picking up the classical guitar after many years

Post by Nikos_Greek » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:28 am

A bit of introspection for those of us who for whatever reason abandoned cg at some stage in our lives. I think it is important to delve into the reasons why you dropped music and cg from your life, and what cg gives you now that you have picked it up again. At the age of 51 I feel balance, sheer joy, a noble goal to follow and a sense of achievement every time I notice progress. I observe a little child having good time with the instrument, and loads of sounds, aetherial, magical, enticing. If I ever give up cg again it will be a huge loss, I do not want this to happen to me again!

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