Best guitar method for self learning

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
GabrielSilva
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:55 am
Location: Brazil

Best guitar method for self learning

Post by GabrielSilva » Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:39 am

Hi! Which is the best method for self learning the classical guitar technique? And which daily workload and study routine would you recommend for having a good evolution through self teaching? (sorry for the bad English)

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:17 am

GabrielSilva wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:39 am
Hi! Which is the best method for self learning the classical guitar technique? And which daily workload and study routine would you recommend for having a good evolution through self teaching? (sorry for the bad English)
Gabriel,
This is a very difficult question to answer. What is your level now? What are your goals? My own experience is that you need three different types of information to get started: technique, basic music theory, and interpretation. The bad news is that there is not much written on interpretation, especially not for beginners. The good news is that any well-trained musician, and especially a conductor, can help you with interpretation. As for technqiue and basic music theory, it depends on what you already know.
  1. For absolute beginners, I have not yet found anything better or more effective than Aaron Shearer's Classical Guitar Technique, volume 1 and 2. Get the original 1937 edition, which is now in the public domain, and you should be able to find for free on the internet. These two books will give you a basic background in how to read music and how to play the guitar. Shearer's technique is outdated, and when you finish book 2, you should switch to modern technique.
  2. When you finish Aaron Shearer's two books, you need beginner's repertoire to play, and knowledge about modern technique.
  3. Books about modern technique (if you are serious, you will need all of them; this will cost you about $200 altogether):
    • Stanley Yates, Classical Guitar Technique from Foundations to Virtuosity, Volume 1 and 2
    • Hubert Käppel, The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique. If you read German, get it in German, because the English translation is poor.
    • Scott Tenannt, Pumping Nylon
    • Marco Tamayo, Essential Principles for the interpretation of the classical guitar. Very expensive for a tiny little book, English translation is poor. If you can read Spanish, get it in Spanish. Important information about technique for the intermediate guitarist aspiring to advance.
  4. Beginner's repertoire:
  5. Finally, if you read Spanish, Mario Amayo's Metodología de estudio para la ejección e interpretación de la guitarra clásica, which you can find on the internet, contains important basics about interpretation that you will not find elsewhere.
Of course, the best thing is to have a great teacher. I am in the United States every year for two weeks, and during my stay there I arrange guitar workshops for myself with a top teacher. For the rest of the year I am on my own, and these books are my guides (plus feedback from this forum).
I hope some of this helps.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

vgregory
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:23 pm
Location: Brasília/Brazil

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by vgregory » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:53 pm

Since we're in this subject and Yisrael gave an interesting answer, I'd like to ask about "The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method", in comparison with this Aaron Shearer's Classical Guitar Technique, is it good?

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:44 pm

vgregory wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:53 pm
Since we're in this subject and Yisrael gave an interesting answer, I'd like to ask about "The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method", in comparison with this Aaron Shearer's Classical Guitar Technique, is it good?
If you are asking me, I cannot answer. I have never seen it.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

GabrielSilva
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:55 am
Location: Brazil

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by GabrielSilva » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:38 pm

I don't know my level exactly since I'm self-taught, but I can play with some ease the music from the level D03 scores (from the Delcamp Collection). My goal is to play as well as an amateur player can be, regardless of the time it will take. I have a basic knowledge of music theory (also self-taught, but I don't have much confidence with my knowledge on harmony) and I can read music if the rhythm is not very irregular. Recently, I had 3 years of violin classes, so I had some insights about interpretation. So, my main needs, I think, are related to technique.

I didn't know that techniques could be outdated. Is there any of the public domain methods available here (http://www.guitareclassiquedelcamp.com/ ... itare.html) too outdated to use?

I understand a teacher would be the best way to learn, but unfortunately, there is no classical guitar teacher (only popular guitar, for singing accompaniment) in my town and I cannot afford traveling for taking classes right now.

Thank you for all your hints, I'll take them into account and I'm sure they will be very helpful!

SleepyheadRooster
Posts: 233
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:47 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by SleepyheadRooster » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:52 am

I’m using the Stanley Yates Classical Guitar Technique from Foundation to Virtuosity books along with his repertoire books. The technique books are very informative. I’m certainly iin the foundation end of the pool, but I like these books quite a lot.

Good luck!
Best,
Chuck

Terpfan
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:33 am

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by Terpfan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:23 am

Don't be shy about posting a video. You can get good help from others here.

User avatar
Mollbarre
Posts: 302
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:10 am
Location: Canada

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by Mollbarre » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:49 am

I can't recommend anything, because I'm self-teaching too (with a teacher on call!). These are the main books I'm using:

1. Charles Duncan, Complete Classical Guitar series (Hal Leonard)
2. Will Schmid, Complete Guitar series (Hal Leonard)
3. RCM Technique and Level 1
4. Miscell easy pop, folk and blues books
2016 Fender CN320AS
2018 Cordoba C10 crossover
2018 Ibanez GA5TCE
...and miscellaneous bits and pieces.

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:48 am

GabrielSilva wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:38 pm
I don't know my level exactly since I'm self-taught, but I can play with some ease the music from the level D03 scores (from the Delcamp Collection). My goal is to play as well as an amateur player can be, regardless of the time it will take. I have a basic knowledge of music theory (also self-taught, but I don't have much confidence with my knowledge on harmony) and I can read music if the rhythm is not very irregular. Recently, I had 3 years of violin classes, so I had some insights about interpretation. So, my main needs, I think, are related to technique.
Very clear where you are. I was approximately in the same place a year ago. As for public domain technique, the only thing that I can recommend (others may know more) is the free articles of Douglas Niedt https://douglasniedt.com/vaultofclassic ... etips.html. There are a few good videos on YouTube, but not very many. Most approaches to technique are based on performing exercises. I am against performing exercises unless you know exactly what you are going to get out of the exercise, when you have achieved it (when you can stop playing the exercise), and what practical benefit it gives you in playing repertoire. If you can afford the 200 euros, I suggest you invest in the four technique books that I recommended in a previous email. They are all mainstream, eclectic, modern techniques with detailed description of what to do and why. After you have gone through all four books, you use them as references to solve problems in your repertoire. You do not need to do all of the exercises in any of them. But you do need to read all the text and make sure you know how to play correctly without injuring yourself. You will find that the books all contradict each other. That is fine. I do not think that anything written there will hurt you or damage you. For instance, Stanley Yates shows how to use the p finger to support playing rest strokes (apoyando). Marco Tamayo shows how to use the a finger for that. Both techniques are useful.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

dtoh
Posts: 324
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by dtoh » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:45 pm

Self taught for the first 3 years with a teacher now. My two cents....

1. There is a ton of stuff on the internet from some of the best players and teachers in the world so IMHO if you are diligent, a teacher is not so critical early on especially since as a beginner you have no way of know if a teacher is any good.

2. It's a lot more fun working with a teacher.

3. A teacher is really helpful for working on expression and musicality.

4. The hardest part of learning CG is building up strength and independence in left hand muscles. This has little to do with technique and a lot to do with years (yes years) put in practicing.

5. If you don't enjoy practice you won't be able to keep it up. It's much more important to find something you like practicing than it is to find the right technique book.

robert e
Posts: 589
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by robert e » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:56 pm

A lot of great advice here already, so I have little to add.

I'm not a beginner but a re-beginner, returning to classical from flat picks and steel strings (mostly electric), and in re-beginning I have found this wonderful community and through it I have recently discovered the wonderful method books of Julio Salvador Sagreras.

I can't comment on foundational mechanics, but however you pick up the basics, I am tempted to strongly recommend the Sagreras books to any beginner simply for his delightfully musical studies and examples. I wish I had such musical exercises when I was beginning, and I wish I had learned with the focus on musicality that I see in these books. As has been said, maintaining motivation can be a challenge when learning, and encountering beauty even in early studies can make a big difference to some. (Of course, I say this in perfect hindsight. When I was young, these books may not have made any difference, sad to say.)

Who knows? Sagreras might be great for foundational mechanics, too. I just can't say.

You will find a link to a free downloadable version in this forum's header, above, so you can decide for yourself.

In fact, I would recommend that self-teaching adults who have the time and funds look at more than one approach, to get some idea of commonalities and differences, and teaching styles, and make up their own minds.

Today's conservatory musicians benefit from approaches to healthy movement (including sitting) such as Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais, and pedagogy that is increasingly informed by research in ergonomics and psychology, and I believe familiarity with at least the concepts behind such pedagogy is helpful to students at all levels, especially older beginners. Some of the more recent method books mentioned above are similarly informed, but I think it's beneficial to be acquainted with the general principles.

User avatar
pimapima
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:07 pm

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by pimapima » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:18 pm

dtoh wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:45 pm
5. If you don't enjoy practice you won't be able to keep it up. It's much more important to find something you like practicing than it is to find the right technique book.
I actually disagree with this. There was an interesting discussion on /r/classicalguitar recently about how you get past a plateau or get out of a rut. At some point most people will reach a point where they are not enjoying their practice (most of the time temporary). This is where discipline plays a key role in self learning. If you have good discipline you are more likely to make it past that phase. For me I have to keep it in my head that even though I may not be enjoying a particular piece of practicing, I am going to get better for it and will be able to play even more beautiful pieces in the future.

Obviously discipline isn't something you can just have... it is more of a mindset/personality trait. Either way, find what motivates you, prepare for the rough times, and make it out even better/stronger than before.

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1527
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:40 pm

dtoh wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:45 pm

1. ... a teacher is not so critical early on especially since as a beginner you have no way of know if a teacher is any good.
I respectfully disagree with this statement. First, I think you have it backwards. A good teacher is critical in the first two years to make sure your foundations of technique are correct and you learn the proper way to critique and teach yourself. Second, get advice on finding a good teacher and the second point is not an issue.

If the OP is playing D03 pieces then hopefully he or she has had the fundamentals already. If not then studious work with some of the texts recommended or better yet a periodic checkup with a good teacher will help you stay with or recover proper technique. In particular, pay attention to producing the right tone with the right hand and good positioning with the left hand, and posture. These are the things the many self taught get wrong.

Not to add to your information overwhelm, but I would add the Frederick Noad method books to the list, 1 and 2. Don’t get all the books recommended here. Pick one method and stick with it. You’ll just get over whelmed trying to sample all these recommendations.

Lastly, the lessons here on Delcamp for your level are marvelous. I’d suggest starting at D01 and read through everything till you get stumped then start there. The encouragement from your peers, critique on your work, monthly video performance practice, and international camaraderie can’t be duplicated. Not to mention the priceless repertoire, and all free. You can supplement this by working through the aforementioned books. Hope to see you there!
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

D.Cass
Posts: 212
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:16 pm
Location: Tri-Cities WA

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by D.Cass » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:57 pm

I am a Shearer fan. The most comprehensive beginner book in my opinion is Shearer’s “Learning the Classics” Vol. 1-3. However, it only covers the open positions, but it does focus more on right hand mechanics. Fredrick Noad book “Solo Guitar” is good and will take throughout the fretboard with ok technique with decent repertoire. Julio Sageras is great for reading music and developing a little technique, but having some reading skills is required, particularly rhythms. Carcassi Method is the most complete all in one book as far reading and knowledge of the fretboard, but very little mechanics. I have yet to find the best book.

GabrielSilva
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:55 am
Location: Brazil

Re: Best guitar method for self learning

Post by GabrielSilva » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:43 pm

Thank you all, guys! I'll try to take into account all your hints. I appreciate your dedication in answering me. As I said before, there are no classical guitar teachers here in my small town, all the guitar teachers here just teach how to play chords for singing accompaniment, so being self taught is the only option for me right now...
As soon as I get confidence playing some pieces, I will post some videos for critique and advices.

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”