I get a lot of emails asking questions like :
- “I play classical guitar and I find it hard to play with a thumbpick.”
- “I studied classical guitar for years and I just can’t get the groove right.”
A great classical guitar technique is a thing of beauty – and I worked on it for a long time.
However, for “African” based music, you need an entirely different “touch”. The “groove” is built into the “touch”. You can’t separate the two.
This “African” based touch applies for
- Jazz (most)
- Pop (most)
- R & B
- Rock (some)
Classical technique is devoid from the ground of any African Rhythm in terms of groove and touch.
Classical Technique – The Problem, Illustrated:
Here is the problem when trying to use the classical technique for blues, funk or any other groove-based music.
Try this experiment yourself
- Pick a song like “Superstition”, “Billie Jean” or “Hit the Road Jack.”
- Sing to yourself – right now, the main “hook” of the tune, with the original lyrics. See what that feels like.
- Next, sing the melody with the syllables “Ta”. This will make it sound the way a classical musician would play it. Like this:
“Billie Jean is not my lover” = “”Ta Ta Ta Ta, Ta Ta Ta Ta”.
- Now sing it with the syllable “La”
- Now sing the original, with the lyrics and see how it feels different.
You’ll agree I am sure that the words of the song infuse the melody with MORE groove.
Now – this is precisely the difference between “African Influenced” and “Classical” technique.
The sounds of your fingers should vary, squeak and groove like the lyrics do.
The perfect classical technique will sound like the “Ta Ta” examples. Correct for “school”, but wrong for the musical concept.
If you are a classical-based player who wants to play fingerstyle – think “out of the box.”
You will feel at first like you are doing things wrong – as if you are telling the world “I just discovered that 2+2 = 5!”
Keep in mind, perfect clarity of your notes is NOT the goal for fingerstyle.
Perfect groove is (at least for me.)
RELATED: 10 Tips for Healthy Guitar Practicing
Ready to take the next step in your guitar journey?
Learn fingerstyle guitar from a world-class guitarist and teacher. Let Adam guide you and show you exactly how to improve your guitar skills. Grab the rarest opportunity to Study With Adam FREE for 14 days, right now!
Adam – you are right on the money with your comments about ‘groove’. This is the foundation of the music and the essence of its life. It is what captivates most listeners and captures their interest. Music moves people and a great groove makes it happen!
Claude Page says
I am now 66 years old and I play guitar since the age of 12. In my youth I played from Elvis Presley to Gentle Giant. And then I went into classical music and had a Ba mus. from McGill University and earned my living with classical guitar for over 30 years. The groove as you call it, is very important in all kinds of music. If you don’t groove in an Astor Piazzolla piece, you’ve done it all wrong. If you don’t jazz in an Eitor Villa Lobos piece, you went off the track. But groove is not the only thing in music. In classical music we call it interpretation wich means you have to play in a certain way that no other instrumentist will play it your way because that’s the way you feel it. I’ve seen musicians with lots of groove but with no technic so their pieces were pain in my ears. How ever and what ever you play on the guitar, you do it with two hands. You have to train those hands to do what you want them to do. I’ve also seen classical players who would play a piece with no buzz, a perfect technic but with no feelings. Tha was also pain in my ears. So I think that the groove has an important place in your playing but that’s not all there is to it. Mastering a language is very important but.. if you have nothing interesting to say… the same applies to music. That was my point of view, you may agree or disagree, I will still respect you.
There are so many ways to play. I agree with you 100%.
JOHN CHURILLA says
I been taking guitar lessons from a guy who has a good groove himself but he does not teach it , he focus is scales .. i came to him for lessons for him to help with exactly what your saying its about the groove ..yet he spend little very little time in that area . scales is good i gotten much better with them . does scales build a groove . what is best way to build a groove . i have been at guitar for 4 years now . i practice play every day since .
Paul Zeis says
You got that right. Try Blackbird fingerstyle on a classical guitar. I’m still looking for another guitar with nylon strings, maybe the Takamine TC135SC, that I can grove on. Thanks for your emails, they help.
JIm Greeninger says
I believe It is a condition of the mind not so much technique. However, Holding the guitar like a classical player, standing or sitting, provides less tension on your left hand for more sustained playing time, especially if you are older. Check out this pager I wrote: https://reallifeguitar.com/
Also, classical guitarist are always learning how to play a piece. Take a year off classical and learn some of Adam’s tunes, jazz chord progressions, ad-lib techniques and how to be a real musician..Now come back to the classical and you will think in a more musical fashion.
Jim I love your insightful replies. Taking a swim in the op / jazz / improv pool would surely help more classical players to think differently.
And, more musicianship would certainly help fingerstyle players! 🙂
For example, I am considering a fingerstyle version of “Capricho Arabe”. I heard Pepe Romero play it live, but I hear it like a jazz tune.
As a jazz guy, I was making mental notes….
-Big A7 harmonic thing in the intro
– D – turnaround with gorgeous melody revolving near the 5th of the key
– Bridge goes to D Major
– Noted that turnaround has some noce voiceleading, sounded like there’s an Eb major chord in there utilizing an open g string…
I’d approach this like a “tune” – Maestro Segovia would probably smack me, but this is how I think.
ADD – I know on a seel string it would lose a lot of the Spanish sound and flavor, but the shift in concept is part of what I’d be eager to play with.
Thank Jim for commenting!
Wow–I have been noodling with a Am7 to a Em9 rythym that may work.
Hit a Am7 two times in a measure, then an Em9 once plus a triplet in a measure (o.k. not precise but…) repeat. Followed by a fast bassline walkup E,F#,G,A,B,C,D,E and pause into the Am7 and Em9 again.
Follow that with a D strike, er, pluck (on the A string 5th fret), an A pluck (D string 7th fret), a C pluck (G string 5th fret) and hammer on an E7 chord (no 5) slide into F7(no 5) to an Am9 no 5 (sometimes an Am7 rings out) back to the F7 no 5 for a measure then the E7 no 5 for a measure and and Am9 no 5 for a measure into the above bassline walk up.
Or–to shift from a jazz feel into blues noodling (should I say “binary” with this audience or does shift into blues noodling work?)–don’t hit the walkup rather, go right into the D7 (no 5) E7 (no 5) A7 (no 5) and go for a wander–con brio!
Far cry from Maestro Segovia and your groove but, the flatted 3rds with no 5s and with what you wrote seemed appropriate to share. Enjoy. Bis spater.
Tricky to imagine through words. Can you post an mp3 or video of this idea?
Milton Messenger says
I agree with all of what you say except for, “Keep in mind, perfect clarity of your notes is NOT the goal for fingerstyle.” I come from a classical background of guitar training and find that I can play with the “clarity” of a classical player within a groove as well. I can also turn on and off the effect of a clear beautiful tone or use a rough or aggressive tone within a groove as needed. My classical training has helped me immensely with right hand technique. I thinks it’s a good practice to play songs or exercises with both a straight and groove or shuffle feel Even simple scale practice can benefit from alternating what you play from straight to groove styles. There are times when you want a funky and hard edgy sound and times when you need a sweet and smooth sound, whether in a straight or a groove feel. Thanks for your art and your desire to share it with others. If I lived in New York I would certainly look you up for some lessons. Just love your playing! Milton Messenger.
Milt I go for clarity too, and yes you have nailed it.
It is a matter of taste as to when to go hard/edgy or clearer.
Stevie Wonders singing comes to mind….he can tear up the Gospel feel or sing with perfect clear pitch on the strangest melodies.
My idea here came from the experience of having taught some classical players how I play grooves. Immediately their minds dialed up “better fingerings” because their values were in line with clarity and speed.
I had to show them that the feel was perhaps not right with their fingering.
For example – a bluesy “pop” and swim of pitch on an E (2nd string 5th fret) has a sound you can’t get on an open E string.
What I meant to say here was “tune yourself to the desired sound – and this may not be the most efficient way to play it, but it may sound the best.”
Talk soon Milt!
Charles Adkins says
Thanks for the post. I surely agree.
For what its worth, I recently saw Clive Carroll (front row, small Berkeley, CA venue) and watched him get funky with fingernails only. ( i mean ping pong balls only, LOL but that’s another story.) He played the Renaissance hits as well. Impeccable sound and a killer groove.
A great person to check out and maybe emulate if you want to try to experiment with no thumbpick. He’s got some youtube vids your readers might be interested in checking out.
I started learning classical style but found I could not play the music I liked with a rigidly correct technique. But I learned after a long long time, that many players play with fingers only and no thumbpick, and get a great sound.
Not disagreeing with you, cause you are correct about what matters most, the sound and the groove! Just saying, Fleetwood Mac, Lowell George, old favorites of mine that play hands only mostly. And they laid it down pretty well.
So many ways to make great music and so many great people doin it. Glad to have discovered you.
By the way. I have this dream where you and Clive are playin a few Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson and Johnny Cash tunes together. Boy that would be a fun night… Lemme know if you want to play in Berkeley. Maybe you and Clive and Kai Eckart playin in some informal setting.
All the best,
Keep on doin your beautiful funky thang…
My friends call me Bud..
Clive & I are friends and we have played a few gigs together!
He has the biggest set of ping pong balls out of any guitar player I have ever heard!
He is a genius, and I take serious notes when I am around him.
Bruce Fulton says
A lot of modern contemporary classical guitar music uses tapping, rhythmic percussion and percussion sounds, right hand fretting and complex harmonics. Think Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens, Ginastera, and many others. So what actually is classical vs. fingerpicking style? The best musicians transcend style, and just play the music!
Bruce one of the technique differences that I had in mind was for boom-chick thumb picking. You reallt have to collapse the right wrist to mute strings, which throws the fingers out of teh classical RH position.
All these great players find their own middle ground. My comments were with pure classical players in mind….
Thanks for commenting!
bruce fulton says
That’s a standard Pizz technique (pizzicato a la Bartok adapted for the guitar) used by classical and flamenco players, with the wrist collapsed on the strings near the bridge. Listen to Pujol’s Guajira, for example. Ida Presti’s version is especially striking. . Point is, while most amateur classical players may not be versed in all the techniques of the instrument, the top concert players, and those far enough along to be studying at universities and conservatories do, in fact, have a wide variety of techniques under their belt. It’s not classical technique vs. some other technique, it’s just technique, which good players transcend.
andrew timothy says
bingo! this totally applies to my playing. i studied classical guitar in college and have just now abandoned classical technique for finger style playing. i’m already noticing that things are feeling better. i still have a long way to go, but this confirms i’m on the right track.
Harald Stein says
I agree totally. Sometimes I use these syllables to explain my students the groove of a song. But it’s not the same compared to the original feel of the groove due to the words that create the boom tchak.
I am German and sometimes we have covers of English songs translated or absolutely different lyrics. It. sounds strange and wrong. No rhythm no groove and that’s only because these German words used in these songs got no rhythm. The music ist right the sound is right but it’s got no atmo no groove. You are listening to the song and think where the heck is the cool groove.
And this is the same between fingerstyle and classic. When you play classic you use different accents by the way of the fingerring of your right hand. So the best way to change it change your fingerring.
Grooves from good old Germany
Billie Jean ist nicht mein Liebhaber
Sie ist nur ein Mädchen, das behauptet, dass I Am The One
Aber das Kind ist nicht mein Sohn
Yeah, it sounds a little strange 🙂
Harald, I remember in my college days, we had a campus “disco” and danced every Wednesday night to pop & hip hop.
The classical Ballet dancers at the school were the worst dancers at the disco – but of course the best disco dancers could not do Ballet!!!
David Keary says
Adam, this is a very interesting thread for a host of reasons. First, I am a classically trained ballet dancer (and now teacher/director) and had my career in the NYC Ballet. I studied jazz/modern (dance) very little. The requirements of jazz/modern require the student to “break the rules” and work outside the established technique. There are some really great ballet dancers who went the musical theatre/jazz route, but not the reverse because the classical training demands so much more. I have to say Adam that the classical dancers of my generation and today are extraordinarily diverse and it is these dancers that move very freely from one genre to the next. I have a lot of students that come to me that want to be jazz dancers and I consistently tell them that the best jazz dancers are ballet dancers first. The language and technique comes out of the classical training, not the other way around. This doesn’t mean that every ballet dancer will be a great jazz dancer, but the gap is much less these days. Thanks for an interesting subject, there’s a lot to think and learn about here…funny, I’m studying classical guitar to play better finger style jazz….hahah! go figure…:))
Dave – wow, love this thread! Thank you for your comment.
I use classical knowledge – theory and counterpoint. Actually what you are saying is fascinating…
In order to really clarify what I am saying is that very often the “values”, “taste” and lineage of a classical instrumental technique puts extra emphasis on clarity and perfection – over rhythm.
When one has been trained for years in that direction, it can be (but not always is) very difficult for the classical musician to see the deep wisdom in let’s say – Wes Montgomery playing with his thumb, or a blues singer singing in a way that would make an opera singer cringe.
Technically what Wes is doing makes no “sense” but the essence, tone, and feel is so so deep – well, he’s my favorite among ALL guitarists – he’s my #1.
So it’s the “value” system of classical players that sometimes prevents them from acquiring the feel and tone they’d need for other music. Not always.
More and more as you are saying – there is crossover, cross pollination and talent that stretches both ways.
I wrote this post because I do so many workshops in Germany where there are incredible classical players – and the issue of feel & groove always comes up. They have better technique than I do quite often, yet I have to push hard to get them to think outside their box….
There is one more thing which to a lot of classically trained players doesn’t come easy. And this might be another reason for the difference in feel and groove.
I’ve noticed with several students that came to me, after having had classical guitar lessons for a couple of years, that they had a reasonable to good basic technique. Readopting the technique to other styles often is not so difficult.
What they had tremendous difficulty with though is playing a piece by heart (is that the correct expression? if so, very fitting indeed. I mean from memory instead of sheet music) Take the piece of paper with all those white dots away, and suddenly they can’t play the piece. Not even a very simple and short one. Once they manage to play a piece without sheet music they invariably notice the difference in how they feel playing it.
Now most pop and rock players are exactly the opposite though. Put sheet music in front of them, and they stop playing. Somewhere in the middle are very fertile grounds 🙂
David Keary says
Adam, after I posted I started thinking about Wes and Charlie Christian. I do agree with you that the cross over is tough. For example, when I was NY City Ballet, my classical technique was strong but my jazz/modern stunk. So Jerome Robbins would throw me in and out of his ballets until I finally went to him and said, “What do I have to do?” His response was to get away from the classical and go “loosen up”….:)) It was hard to do but he was right. I totally get where you’re coming from… Thanks for the insight, very helpful in many many ways!
Thanks for explaining something I noticed in the ’90s, but didn’t understand. I was living in Munchen and at a small festival a lot of local amateur German groups and individuals were doing Rock and Pop classics, mostly in English, but their performances were completely “flat”, i.e. expressionless. I had a feeling that it was because they simply didn’t know the context of the song, but now I realize they simply lacked the groove to express the music in the same way as Americans.
john popa says
Love it! I have picked up a Doc Watson grove. Thumb and index finger only.
I’d say – it’s a combination of both – each one of them at the right time – perfect tone coming along together with perfect groove – as there are so many shades of sound you can give to a tone – it’s cool, when it’s not just chance but perfection when a dead note sounds like it should do instead of being the result of lazyness.
as a hint for classical players who just aren’t able to groove, it’s ok – but not for players who want to sound just totaly awesome – classical style – to me – is the perfect basis for everything else there is in the world of music.
Groove and classical music don’t go together very well. I’ve often noticed having to adapt to the timing of classical musicians when working with them.
Thumbpick pretty much is a choice to make by each. You can get a pretty percussive thumb going with a long thumbnail. For pure Chet Atkins a thumbpick works best though.
There are two important difference in technique, which is caused by the posture not mentioned here. Classical posture does not really allow (and classical guitar neck likewise) for fretting or muting with the lefthand thumb. Another drawback for fingerstyle approaches. You just can’t change the opening chords for Those who wait, without making it sound less good.
The other difference is that classical posture does not allow for relaxed palmmuting. (I know Leo Brouwer used it, but not anywhere near as sophisticated as many pop players)
There is no “perfect” technique for the guitar, like there is for a piano. Not one that works for each style. The guitar simply is too versatile. Classic posture and approach is great for classical music. There is more though 🙂
finally a concise answer to this infamous question – mostly posed by those who aren’t even interested to actually play “Classical music” in the first place but think of it as a proper starting point for learning how to play the guitar (yes, I belong(ed) to that group).. BTW, it’s a good thing that the bites of wisdom you offer through your social media channels became more digestible – my mailbox had a lot to swallow these days… keep up the great work, all the best, T.
Charlie Byrd, ’nuff said!
Really interesting thread I am somewhat upset by. Playing guitar for +20 years I am NOT a musician, but my story goes like this: Chords, Rock band, parties-make-noise.singalong, and then I stumbled over fingerstyle. Wow, I wanna play that! Struggling with multiple tunes, I realized after fifteen Years of (self learned) playing, I had began in the wrong end. The total lack of control
over my fingers, L.H. as well as R.H. I could fool my friends and others with some cool licks, or power chords, but I couldn’t fool myself. I didn’t know nada how to play guitar, but I did want to learn.
Five years of everyday practice, classical guitar + flamence I am still a n00b, but
the classical style sure paved the way to more control, more accuracy and knowledge about tone.
So why upset? As a former athlete and dancer (hip-hop, break, show, jazz, ballet), I
would say I know what it means breaking down every move, every step in pieces, in order
to acheive best results. Puting it all together again is difficult, and will at first
feel awkward/unnatural. You’ll loose all that ‘natural’ feelin’, but at the end of the day
You will benefit hugely. If You want an fresh example go see Olympic Champion Charlotte Kalla
(and yes, I am from Sweden!). Already one of the most brilliant skiers we’ve had, she
had to ‘learn’ Classical style (skis) from the bottom up. Again. There are such a timing wich is
impossible to acheive with just more and more practice.
Coming back to music and guitar, I have to be humble. I love fingerstyle, we have
Martin Tallström in Sweden who is a genious I think. Love You Adam, for You lovely
arrangements and marvelous playing. Still I want to share an amateur’s view and the
impact classical guitar have had on me:
Last friday I wen’t to big local pub where You always
find theese ‘troubadours’ – one guy singing, playing guitar.
Five Years ago I’d probably think it was nice, a week ago I
was cloose to Hendrix’ his guitar. There was not a single
note that was clear, Itchy and scratchy all over me, and I praise
the lord I’m not a violent man!
Tatyany’s tone I can live with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zQtqqp-W0qg
Finally: The Ballet/disco disussion above is nonsence. A real dancer is a perfectionist
that control his/her body #Mikhail Baryshnikov Ballet gives You that control, disco does not.
A real dancer also dance with the heart, and I suppose that goes for a musician as well.
Fidenciara Orb says
I am not a musician. I play just by ear and a little note reading or you might call it ‘playing to enjoy’.
It seems there are lots of freedom with fingerstyle; explore, expound, create & recreate sort of- making it more exciting…it’s a concoction.
The sky is the limit with fingerstyle!
I think fingerstyle is really a general term for simply using fingers rather than a pick or SIM car when i cant find one 🙂 . After-all, Paco, Segovia, Tommy, Chet, Jerry our wonderful Adam all use their fingers in some way.
Certainly an area I have struggled with as a classical style guitarist who mainly strives to plays rags, jazz and blues.
While not ideal, and some way off from achieving Adam’s sublime ‘groove mastery’, I have developed a technique of dampening, queaking and buzzing with the LEFT hand to try and get the ‘words’ and groove into my playing.
Sadly I just can’t seem to let go of the more formal classical action of the right hand on the strings. Wish I could!
John Stroman says
Thank you for putting together this blog. I have a slightly long story but may be able to shed some light on this topic. I also have a question at the end and need your advice.
I played classical for several years although not well enough to play gigs for real money. I also played some jazz and pop arrangements for classical guitar, but basically the arrangements were made by classical players in notes with no tabs, and it was hard to get any groove. Like a philharmonic orchestra trying to play anything newer than Gershwin. Just does not swing.
Two years ago I was hit by an autoimmune disease that completely paralyzed my body. The disease was reversible, but now I’m learning to play all over again. I’ve found that after paralysis, strength returns before coordination. In other words, I have the strength to make the right fingerings, but do not hit the fingerings cleanly. I think that is probably the case with beginners as well. I’ve also found that I can hit jazz grabs much easier than fingering the individual notes required for classical style. My left hand has lost some of its stretch, so I’ve decided to switch almost entirely to fingerstyle jazz and pop, but I want to keep some classical pieces in my back pocket for mood music. Since I find it difficult to switch back and forth between my jazz guitar and the classical in the same session because of the difference in fingerboard size and vertical string distance, I’m hoping to find a way to make my jazz guitar sound close enough to a classical to imitate the tone of the nylon strings. That way I can play the classical pieces on the jazz guitar and still sound pretty decent.
Now the problem: Classical pieces often rely on open strings for sustain. This is not a problem with the bass and mid strings on my jazz guitar, but the open trebles on steel strings end up sounding too “tinny” and I was hoping I could adjust the amplified output to sweeten the tone. One example is the opening bar of Tarrega’s Lagrima. The open b is played on the off beat of the fretted melody. On a classical this sounds great, but with steel strings it tends to take over and muddy the melody, and even bleeds into the second bar. I’ve found a lot of similar issues on some jazz arrangements for fingerstyle guitar, mainly Christmas songs. For example, a Dmaj9 at first position (0220) has two open strings, and does not sound good at the end of a phrase, so I have taken to playing it as an inside chord on the 4th fret to keep it from bleeding over. I play an Epiphone ES-175 on a Fishman LoudBox mini, and I have a Fishman preamp I can add if necessary. So I have the traditional 4 knob, 3-position switch on the guitar, 3 tone knobs on the amp, and 3 sliding tone adjustments on the preamp. I basically sit in classical posture with a footstool and use the right hand in classical position without a pick. I would appreciate any suggestions you have on how I can soften open treble strings enough that they don’t overwhelm the fretted melody strings with a tinny sound.
Softening electric treble strinsg was the bane of my existence when I played jazz!
Thick picks, thick strings, back and forth.
Now I play steel string with NO fingernails in an attepmpt to soften the top. I don’t swicth guitars because of these fingering issues (open strings, etc) I stick with one.
hope this helps, and good luck! – AR
jack beard says
Interesting topic. Technique ,groove…a worthy and wordy theoretical discussion. …Talking and thinking about guitar.Its scientific and very logical,very mathematical. And this is a good thing. Now, indulge me here a moment , please Adam. I am a guitar teacher and an abstract thinker at times….It occurred to me as I was sitting in my chair looking at my guitar (not holding it ,it’s hanging or on a stand in front of me,what ever). And my brain is” guitar smart” …. and the complex concepts,as well as the the cool,groovy ideas are clear and I feel powerful, capable.. .NOW when I grab the guitar in my hands, and transition to a playing position……SOMETHING happens. My brain changes, I don’t feel as smart, it’s like I de evolve, my IQ drops…. THEN I PUT THE GUITAR DOWN,(hang it up ,what ever.) and i feel my brain power return. “Guitar over there” I am smart . “Guitar in my lap “, and I am not so smart. SO ,I CONDUCTED AN EXPERIMENT. An experiment to determine the precice moment my brain “shifts” . It’s in my hand-I am still smart…..Two hands…still smart….as it gets closer…I flip it into my lap….WAIT!!! ,I can feel it !Right there, I have become stupid…..SO I REVERSE THE ACTION (SEQUENCE),reaching to put the guitar down…and BAM! My brain power increases….bring the guitar back and and BAM! It decreases!I am not being sarcastic, I can feel it happen. I hope I don’t sound crazy.Any way,this is actually on topic because I now am applying it to classical players and ,how,and when, they have a have this brain shift. Sincerly ,JACK BEARD,New Jersey.
Adam Rafferty says
Jack, I am giggling because you are so right!
At age 16 I went to an Abel Carlevaro masterclass. Simply put, he said “the brain learns instantly and the body takes about a month.”
What you bring up here though is a beautiful spiritual point – that of “downward causation”….we start with the idea, and bring it into “creation.”
So you have to know what tricks the “trainer wants the dog” to do and patiently wait.
I spend hours simply getting the fingers to hopefully obey the mind. And when I learn new techniques, the hands forget, have to be re-trained, etc…
Yep, takes time. Eventually the muscle memory kicks in…
Patrick Spedding says
Wow Jack Beard you are so right!! Funny thing is, if I pick up a djembe (Adam, you told us once to warm up with something like a djembe or doumbek to get a groove happening!) I don’t feel any less smart. Only with the guitar… but I’m glad to hear Adam that you also have this ‘delay’ thing where you are training your fingers to obey. If I was struggling with something e.g. a switch between 2 chords in a chord melody, Jody Fisher would say practice it until you can do it 25 times in a row without a mistake… I still do that (though sometime for me it sometimes needs more than 25 times..)
To someone’s point about learning classical guitar.. I only discovered the beauty of classical guitar a few months ago when I bought a Ramirez classical on eBay – mainly to play bossa-nova style jazz. I’ve been playing it ever since, I’ve barely touched my other guitars. It sounds great with Adam’s finger style arrangements 🙂 but I find it kind of pulls you into wanting to play in a more ‘classical’ style, something about the nylon strings makes you kind of have to play it in a certain way to get the best sound? So I’m now wishing I had taken classical guitar lessons much younger, I think it would be great to have that technique ‘in your back pocket’ for when you need it. I like the discipline and precision, it appeals to my mathematical brain.. I even started learning a classical piece for a bit of ‘fun’… best of both worlds.
Check out this video of Paco de Lucia & Larry Coryell playing “Mediterranean Sundance” – very interesting to watch their 2 totally different techniques:
Adam, please give your definition of the word “Groove”
George Sandberg says
To me classical music is played on the beat with the notes having a more even sound and groove music is more elastic, played around the beat, sometimes a little ahead or a little behind with more exaggerated dynamic diversity.
Stephen McConnell says
I learned “fingerpicking” through classical guitar and the way I hold my right resembles the way I used to do classical guitar. However, as I learned more about different styles, I added “groove” into my Fingerstyle. I don’t feel the two are mutually exclusive but just extensions of each other. See you at Swannanoa this summer😃
Stephen – see you in a few days!
In fairness, a lot of classical music has its roots in folk music. Like when I hear Greensleeves, I hear a folk song that was played in taverns, rather than court music, same with packington’s pound. I think those songs are older than their written originals. A lot of what’s called “classical” music also has its origins in traditional dance forms, and I suspect that they come from traditional peasant dance forms that were assimilated into court fashion. Though is it not the same with Jazz? Did the greats not take simplistic grooves and work them into more complex forms? Is it not the same with all music? And should all music have a groove? Anyway, I lIke your videos and you always have interesting things to say on music.
Adam Rafferty says
Yes yes yes it does. There’s just a certain positionally in the classical world where “earthiness” is sacrificed for a technical perfection which often misses the mark on a musical gut level. Thank you!