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Classical Guitar for Dummies®

Table of Contents

Introduction
About This Book
Conventions Used in This Book
What You’re Not to Read
Foolish Assumptions
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Getting to Know the Classical Guitar
Part II: Starting to Play: The Basics
Part III: Improving Your Technique
Part IV: Mastering Classical Guitar Repertoire
Part V: The Part of Tens
Part VI: Appendixes
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: Getting to Know the Classical Guitar
Chapter 1: An Acoustic Guitar in a League of Its Own
Classical Guitar: One Term, Two Meanings, and a Bit of History
What a Classical Guitar Looks Like
How a Classical Guitar Is Physically Different from Its Peers
Beyond Physique: Other Unique Attributes of Classical Guitar
Player’s form and technique
Musical knowledge and skills
Chapter 2: Getting Ready to Play
Situating Yourself
Taking your seat
Supporting the guitar: Leg position
Embracing the guitar: Arm support
Placing your hands correctly
Approaching the Strings with Your Hands
Fretting the strings: Left-hand form
Preparing to pluck: Right-hand form
Stroking the strings: Basic right-hand technique
Tuning Up
Adjusting the string tension to raise or lower pitch
Tuning visually with an electronic tuner
Tuning by ear
Chapter 3: Deciphering Music Notation and Tablature
Knowing the Ropes of Standard Music Notation
The composer’s canvas: The staff, clef, measures, and bar lines
Pitch: The highs and lows of music
Duration: How long to hold a note, what determines rhythm, and so on
Expression, articulation, and other symbols
Relating the Notes on the Staff to the Fretboard
Relishing the Usefulness of Guitar-Specific Notation
Fingering indications for the right and left hands
Stepping up to the barre
Taking on tablature, a nice complement to standard notation
Part II: Starting to Play: The Basics
Chapter-4: One Note at a Time: Playing Simple Melodies
Practicing Notes on One String
Exercising your fingers: Strings 1, 2, and 3
Workin’ (mostly) the thumb: Strings 6, 5, and-4
Playing across Three Strings
Finger fun on the first three strings
All thumbs again on the three lower strings
Cruising through All Six Strings
No thumbs allowed!
Fingers and thumb, unite!
Flowing through Melodic Pieces Using All Six Strings
Chapter 5: Rolling the Notes of a Chord: Arpeggio Technique
Playing the Notes of an Arpeggio: The Basics
Working Your Way across the Strings: The Thumb and Fingers in Order
Assigning each finger to one string
Moving the thumb around
Varying Your Right-Hand Strokes
Changing the finger order
Alternating the thumb and fingers
Adding Harmony to Select Notes
Feeling the pinch with your thumb and fingers
Doubling up two fingers at once
Playing Pieces with Arpeggios
Chapter 6: Practicing Scales in First and Second Position
Introducing Scales, the Necessary Evils
Why scales are important
How you name them: Applying key signatures
Where they start and end: A primer on positions
Playing Major Scales in 1st Position
The one-octave C major scale
The two-octave G major scale
The two-octave F major scale
The two-octave E major scale
The two-octave A% major scale
Playing Minor Scales in 1st Position
The one-octave A minor scale
The two-octave E minor scale
The two-octave F minor scale
Playing Scales in 2nd Position
The D major scale in 2nd position using open strings
The D major scale in 2nd position using all fretted notes
The G major scale in 2nd position using all fretted notes
The B minor scale in 2nd position using all fretted notes
Applying Scales in Simple Pieces
Chapter 7: Exploring Musical Textures
Coordinating Contrapuntal Music: Layered Melodies
Playing two melodies in sync rhythmically
Opposing forces: Separating the thumb and fingers rhythmically
Thickening the upper part by adding double-stops
Melody and Accompaniment: Using All Your Fingers
Matching rhythm between accompaniment and melody
Getting creative with the flow: Two parts, two rhythms
Playing Easy Pieces in Different Textural Styles
Part III: Improving Your Technique
Chapter 8: Flat-Fingered Fretting with Barres
Discovering How to Play Barres
Half barre
Full barre
Practicing Barres in a Musical Context
Half barre
Full barre
Playing Pieces with Barres
Chapter 9: Getting a Smooth Sound with Slurs and Trills
Connecting Your Notes with Slurs
Hammering and pulling: Exploring slurs
Slurring in the context of a larger musical phrase
Fluttering a Note with a Trill
Playing trills on their own
Practicing trills in context
Playing Pieces Using Slurs and Trills
Chapter 10: Coloring Your Sound with Tone-Production Techniques
Creating Tones That Ring like Bells: Harmonics
Playing harmonics
Practicing harmonics in context
Varying the Tone with Vibrato
Playing vibrato
Practicing vibrato in context
Brightening or Darkening Your Sound by Changing Timbre
Implementing tonal changes
Practicing changing tone in context
Tremolo: The Classical Guitar Machine Gun of Sorts
Playing tremolo
Practicing tremolo in context
Playing Pieces Using Tone-Production Techniques
Chapter 11: Scaling the Musical Ladder beyond Second Position
An Introduction to the Scales and Skills in This Chapter
Getting to know the higher positions
Strengthening your technical skill with practice variations
Scales That Stay in 5th Position
The F major scale
The B% major scale
The D minor scale
Scales That Stay in 9th Position
The A major scale
The D major scale
The F# minor scale
Scales That Require Shifting Positions
The E major scale — one position shift
The A% major scale — two position shifts
The C# minor scale — one position shift
The G# minor scale — two position shifts
Playing Some Pieces Using Scales up the Neck
Chapter 12: Combining Arpeggios and Melody
Grasping the Combination in Context
Going Downtown: Melody in the Bass
Playing a bass melody within arpeggios
Practicing making a bass melody stand out
Moving Uptown: Melody in the Treble
Playing a treble melody within arpeggios
Practicing making a treble melody stand out
Mixing Up Your Melodic Moves: The Thumb and Fingers Take Turns
Playing a shifting treble-and-bass melody within arpeggios
Practicing making a shifting melody stand out
Playing Pieces That Combine Arpeggios and Melodies
Chapter 13: Combining Left-Hand Techniques While Playing up the Neck
Layering Melodies and Using Barres up the Neck: Counterpoint
Combining Melody and Accompaniment with Barres and Slurs up the Neck
Playing Pieces up the Neck with Left-Hand Techniques
Part IV: Mastering Classical Guitar Repertoire
Chapter 14: Playing Pieces by the Guitar Greats
Getting Acquainted with the Master Guitar Composers
Music by the Spanish Composers
Saying hello to Sor
Tackling Tárrega
Music by the Italian Composers
Gelling with Giuliani
Cozying Up to Carcassi
Playing Pieces by All the Master Guitar Composers
Chapter 15: Early Guitar Music from the Renaissance and Baroque Eras
An Overview of the Styles
The Renaissance
The Baroque era
Renaissance Composers
Traditional 16th-century melodies by anonymous composers
John Dowland and other great lutenists
Baroque Composers
Back to Bach
Getting a handle on Handel
Playing Pieces from the Renaissance and Baroque Eras
Chapter 16: The Guitar Comes of Age: The Classical, Romantic, and Modern Eras
The Classical Era: Mozart’s Muse
Getting in Touch with Beethoven, the Classical Hopeless Romantic
Letting the Inside Out with the Romantics: Brahms
Dreaming with Debussy: Music Becomes Modern
Playing Pieces from the Classical, Romantic, and Modern Eras
Part V: The Part of Tens
Chapter 17: Ten (Or So) Classical Guitarists You Should Know
Andrés Segovia (1893–1987)
Julian Bream (b. 1933)
Oscar Ghiglia (b. 1938)
John Williams (b. 1941)
Pepe Romero and Angel Romero
(b. 1944, 1946)
Christopher Parkening (b. 1947)
David Starobin (b. 1951)
Manuel Barrueco (b. 1952)
Eliot Fisk (b. 1954)
Benjamin Verdery (b. 1955)
Sharon Isbin (b. 1956)
Chapter 18: Ten Things to Do When Shopping for a Classical Guitar
Go Retail if You Aren’t 100 Percent Sure What You Want
Bring a Friend Along
Decide on a Price Range Before You Go
Know Your Materials
Evaluate the Construction and Workmanship
Get a Feel for the Guitar
Check the Intonation
Listen to the Sound
Judge the Aesthetics
Determine a Guitar’s Growth Potential
Part VI: Appendixes
Appendix A: Basic Guitar Care and Maintenance
Temperature
Humidity
Protection, both at home and on the road
Step one: Remove the old string
Step two: Tie off the string at the bridge
Step three: Secure the string to the roller
Appendix B: How to Use the CD
Using the CD with Microsoft Windows
Using the CD with Mac OS

Classical Guitar For Dummies®

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About the Authors

Mark Phillips is a guitarist, arranger, author, and editor with more than 35 years in the music publishing field. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music theory from Case Western Reserve University, where he received the Carolyn Neff Award for scholastic excellence. He earned his master’s degree in music theory from Northwestern University, where he was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda, the most prestigious U.S. honor society for college and university music students. While working toward a doctorate in music theory at Northwestern, Phillips taught classes in theory, ear training, sight singing, counterpoint, and guitar.

During the 1970s and early ’80s, Phillips was Director of Music at Warner Bros. Publications, where he arranged the classical guitar folios Bach for Guitar, Handel for Guitar, Mozart for Guitar, and Beethoven for Guitar. Since the mid-’80s he has served as Director of Music and Director of Publications at Cherry Lane Music, where he has arranged numerous classical guitar book/CD packages, including 50 Baroque Solos for Classical Guitar, 50 Renaissance Solos for Classical Guitar, J. S. Bach: 50 Solos for Classical Guitar, and 30 Easy Spanish Guitar Solos.

Phillips is the author or coauthor of several books on musical subjects, including Guitar For Dummies, Guitar Exercises For Dummies, Sight-Sing Any Melody Instantly, and Sight-Read Any Rhythm Instantly. In his nonmusical life, Phillips is the author/publisher of a series of fun high school textbooks, including The Wizard of Oz Vocabulary Builder, Tarzan and Jane’s Guide to Grammar, and Conversations in Early American History: 1492–1837. For the reference value of his numerous publications, Phillips is profiled in Who’s Who in America.

Jon Chappell is an award-winning guitarist, author, and writer. He attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied classical guitar with Carlos Barbosa-Lima, and then he earned his master’s degree in composition from DePaul University, studying classical guitar with Leon Borkowski (a student of Christopher Parkening). While living in Chicago, Chappell served as musicologist for Guitarra magazine and played and recorded with such acoustic artists as Tom Paxton, Jethro Burns, and John Prine. He performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra twice, including for the premiere of a piece by American composer Gunther Schuller.

When he moved to New York, Chappell served as editor-in-chief of Guitar magazine and was founder and the first editor-in-chief of Home Recording magazine. He has played and recorded with Pat Benatar, Judy Collins, Graham Nash, and Richie Havens, among others, and has contributed numerous musical pieces to radio, film, and TV, including Northern Exposure; Walker, Texas Ranger; Guiding Light; and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Chappell is the author or coauthor of four other books in the For Dummies series — Guitar For Dummies, Blues Guitar For Dummies, Rock Guitar For Dummies, and Guitar Exercises For Dummies — and has also written several books on guitars and recording, including The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard); Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill); and Digital Home Recording (Backbeat Books). He has published pieces on music instruction and music technology in Guitar Player, Rolling Stone, Keyboard, Men’s Health, Entertainment Weekly, PC Magazine, Macworld, and many other publications.

Dedication

Mark Phillips: For my wife, Debbie, and my children, Tara, Jake, and Rachel.

Jon Chappell: For my wife, Mary, and my children, Jen, Kate, Lauren, and Ryan.

Authors’ Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the folks at Wiley Publishing, Inc.: Tracy Boggier, Erin Calligan Mooney, Kristin DeMint, and Todd Lothery.

All of the pieces on the CD were performed and recorded by Jon Chappell using a Liikanen A-model classical guitar, AKG C414B-ULS and Neumann KM184 microphones, TL Audio tube preamp, M-Audio interface, and Digidesign Pro Tools recording software. Jon would like to thank Eero Kilpi, Kauko and Keijo Liikanen, Emile Menasché, and John Krogh for their help in the recording of the CD.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at http://dummies.custhelp.com. For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Kristin DeMint

Acquisitions Editor: Tracy Boggier

Copy Editor: Todd Lothery

Assistant Editor: Erin Calligan Mooney

Editorial Program Coordinator: Joe Niesen

Technical Editor: Jonathan Crissman

Media Development Assistant Project Manager: Jenny Swisher

Media Development Producer: Josh Frank

Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker

Editorial Assistant: Jennette ElNaggar

Art Coordinator: Alicia B. South

Cover Photo: © iStock

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (www.the5thwave.com)

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Katherine Crocker

Layout and Graphics: Claudia Bell, Reuben W. Davis, Christin Swinford

Special Art: WR Music Service, Jon Chappell

Proofreaders: Jessica Kramer, Shannon Ramsey

Indexer: Steve Rath

Special Help: Alissa Schwipps

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Kristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services

Introduction

If you’re captivated by the sound of the classical guitar, you’re in good company. No less than Ludwig van Beethoven approvingly called the guitar a “miniature orchestra in itself”! We don’t think we can improve on that (not that we’d try to compete with Beethoven!), but we do understand his enthusiasm. The classical guitar has the amazing ability to produce expressive melodies, complex chords, flowing arpeggios, and multiple, independent parts simultaneously — all with just six strings. It offers an incredible range of tonal possibilities as well, and it’s able to create a broad range of colors and textures, from driving percussive rhythms to sweetly lyrical melodies — and everything in between.

As modern players, we can appreciate that we’re playing classical music on the most popular and the coolest musical instrument in the world — the guitar. What could be a better way to have the best of both worlds than to take up the classical guitar? We have access to the music of history’s greatest composers — the minuets of Mozart, the bourrées of Bach, and the sonatas of Beethoven. With a classical guitar, we can delight listeners with the subtle intricacies of the Baroque era or inspire their passion with stirring pieces from the Romantic period. And we also get to do this while playing the guitar. How cool is that?

Make no mistake, though, there’s a lot more to classical guitar than just being cool. Like any other serious art form, classical guitar requires work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while developing the discipline and mastering the skills necessary to play classical guitar. Unlike the world of popular music, the best players in classical music — technically and musically — rise to the top. Our aim is to get you started on the right path so that every minute you devote to practicing and playing takes you closer to your goal of being the best classical guitarist you can be.

About This Book

In Classical Guitar For Dummies, we give you everything you need to play melodies, arpeggios, scales, and full-length pieces in the classical style. We present the material in a way that respects the classical tradition yet makes it fun and easy to learn. Here are just some of the methods we use to get our points across:

check.png Step-by-step instructions: We guide you through the techniques, exercises, and pieces using plain and helpful language, so that you know exactly what to do to successfully play every exercise and piece that appears in the book.

check.png Music notation: We present all the written musical figures in the traditional five-line staff with a treble clef, with notes indicating the pitches and rhythms. In addition, we also supply a tab staff (appearing directly below the music staff) that shows the strings and fret numbers. You can use either system, or even use them in combination, because they convey essentially the same information — just presented in a different way. In some figures we show a neck diagram, which is yet another way to see the guitar represented graphically and which serves to illustrate fingering positions. And have no fear — we show you how to interpret standard music notation in Chapter 3.

check.png Audio CD: The CD that comes with this book contains over 140 recorded performances of the exercises and pieces from the book. A written figure that has an accompanying recording on the CD is labeled with the appropriate track number. You can listen to the CD on your computer or CD player, or download the tracks to your portable audio or mp3 player, so that you always have the recorded music to inspire you wherever you go.

Even if you already play the guitar, you’ll find this book valuable. You find here a focused approach on learning classical guitar the right way — the way it’s played in music schools, universities, and on recordings and concert stages the world over. This book covers how to hold the guitar in the proper position, how to strike and fret the strings according to the rules of classical guitar technique, and how to perform the rich body of repertoire that awaits classical guitarists of all levels and experience.

Conventions Used in This Book

We take care to introduce concepts and define terms so that you don’t have to wonder what we’re talking about if we, for example, use the word staccato (which tells you to play notes short and detached, by the way). But we observe certain conventions that we may not explain every time, so following is a list of concepts and terms that we use often throughout the book.

check.png Up and down, high and low: When we speak of up and down on the guitar — whether we’re referring to the strings, neck positions, or pitch in general — up means higher in pitch and down means lower in pitch. So the higher strings are the skinny, high-pitched ones — even though they’re closer to the floor as you hold the guitar in the playing position. Going up the neck means heading for the higher-numbered frets (toward the bridge), even though they’re slightly closer to the floor than the lower-numbered frets, which are closer to the headstock. Don’t be confused by this seeming contradiction of musical direction and physical positioning; knowing which way is up becomes second nature when you begin playing.

check.png Right hand and left hand: We say right hand to mean the hand that plucks the strings and left hand to mean the hand that frets the notes on the neck. Left-handed players sometimes flip the guitar so that the right hand becomes the fretting hand, and some method books avoid any ambiguity by using the terms picking hand and fretting hand. But we find that a little clunky, so we observe the more traditional use of right hand and left hand. If you’re a southpaw who flips, take note!

check.png Letters and numbers: In addition to the standard music symbols that appear on the five-line staff, we often use letters and numbers to show you specific ways to use your fingers to play the notes. The letters p, i, m, and a indicate the right-hand thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers. (The letters stand for the Spanish words for these fingers.) For left-hand fingers, we use small numbers placed just to the left of the note heads: 1 = index, 2 = middle, 3 = ring, and 4 = little. In many cases we provide fingerings because it’s the only way to play the passage, so try our way first before searching for an alternative.

What You’re Not to Read

If you’re the type who wants to start playing immediately, this section is for you, because we tell you what you can avoid reading — or at least what you don’t have to read right away. For example, feel free to skip over any paragraph flagged with a Technical Stuff icon. Although this text offers in-depth information about the topic at hand, it isn’t required reading and won’t affect your ability to understand the concept fully or to play the music correctly. Similarly, sidebars — those gray boxes filled with text — are entertaining (we think) and offer something extra, but they don’t contain vital information you’re likely to miss.

If you’re really itching to play some music and want to just play through the written examples in the book, you can do that, too, and we won’t be offended. If you decide to follow that course, we recommend that you at least read the paragraph immediately preceding the example — the one that references the figure number within the text. By reading the paragraph that introduces the figure, you won’t miss any instructions that directly pertain to the written exercise or piece.

Foolish Assumptions

We don’t assume that you already know how to read music, nor do we assume that you even play the guitar at all. To make the notation a little easier to grasp, we include a tablature staff under every standard music notation staff in the exercises and pieces that appear in this book. Traditional classical music doesn’t include tablature, so you’re actually getting something extra here in Classical Guitar For Dummies. You can use the tab to check the fret and string location of any note or as another way to help figure out the music in case your music reading isn’t very strong. We also don’t assume that you’re a virtuoso, and so we’ve taken steps to make sure that all the exercises and pieces are easily playable by guitarists that range from beginning to intermediate level.

How This Book Is Organized

We divide this book into logical sections, called parts, and within each of these larger sections are chapters that help organize your approach to learning different aspects and techniques of the classical guitar. Learning a musical instrument is a fairly progressive endeavor, so the earlier chapters are easier than the later ones. Also, music, like math (don’t worry, no math is involved!), tends to be cumulative, which means that techniques you learn in one chapter are often assumed in later chapters. So we normally recommend that you start at the beginning, read toward the middle, and then finish at the end. We know, we know — it’s a radical concept!

Having said that — and this being a For Dummies book — you’re welcome to flip the book open to any page and jump in. That is, just start playing the exercises and pieces and see how you do. But if you do that, or otherwise tackle the book out of sequence (without starting at page 1 and reading straight through, the way you would a novel), we suggest you at least start at the beginning of a chapter. That way you know what to expect, because we always state in the chapter’s introduction what we’re going to cover.

Part I: Getting to Know the Classical Guitar

This is the section where you get acquainted with the classical guitar. We take you through the proper way to sit and hold the guitar, how to tune it, and what to do with your right and left hands. We also introduce the notation systems that we use throughout the book, presenting and explaining the symbols of music notation — including the five-line staff and treble clef and how to read pitch and rhythm. But we include something extra that most classical methods don’t: tablature. Tab (as it’s known) is used extensively in popular music for guitar, and we think it’s helpful to have here too, as an additional way to help you get your fingers playing the notes on the page.

Part II: Starting to Play: The Basics

This is where you actually get to make some music with the guitar! We start by having you play melodies on individual strings. Then we move to arpeggios, where you roll your right-hand fingers through the strings. Scales are an important tool to get your fingers in shape, and we introduce them here. Finally, you get to use your newly acquired skills to play through some easy pieces.

Part III: Improving Your Technique

This is the part where you get to dig down and absorb the special techniques that make your playing more expressive. First up are left-hand fingering techniques, including barres, slurs, and trills. Then you turn to tone production techniques, including harmonics and an essential technique for playing much Spanish-based music: right-hand tremolo. Part III is also where you venture to the higher frets, playing scales both across the neck and up and down the neck. With your technique tool kit now complete, you can perform pieces that contain barres, slurs, and passages in the higher positions.

Part IV: Mastering Classical Guitar Repertoire

After you master right- and left-hand techniques and get some scales and exercises under your belt (or fingers, as the case may be), it’s time to experience the rich history of classical music through the great compositions of the masters. The chapters in Part IV deal with the major guitar composers and the five major periods, or eras, in classical music: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern. This is where you get to play a complete piece by Bach and to sample the great melodies of composers such as Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Debussy, all arranged artfully (if we do say so ourselves) for the classical guitar.

Part V: The Part of Tens

The Part of Tens is a veritable Dummies institution — top-ten-style lists that organize information in a fun and memorable way. We put together two lists that we think help round out your classical guitar education. The first is our choice of ten essential great guitarists (though there are so many more than ten) you should know and listen to, with our recommendation of one of their recorded works. Our second Part of Tens lists the ten most important things you can do to make shopping for a classical guitar stress-free, rewarding, and fun!

Part VI: Appendixes

You don’t need to read the appendixes to play the guitar or understand the material, but they do provide some useful information. Appendix A gives some tips on caring for and maintaining your guitar and also provides a tutorial on changing strings, complete with step-by-step photos to help you along and to make sure you don’t get tied up in knots (though some simple knot-tying is required!). Appendix B contains instructions on how to use the CD and includes the CD track list, which lists all the recorded audio examples on the CD and their corresponding music figures in the text. The track list is essential for browsing the CD, which we encourage you to do!

Icons Used in This Book

playitnow3.eps We use this icon to signal an opportunity to skip ahead and play a complete piece in the style of the exercise or excerpt we just presented.

Remember.eps This one indicates important information that you want to keep in the front of your mind, as that info has a way of coming up again and again.

TechnicalStuff.eps This icon tags information that’s not absolutely necessary to perform the task at hand but that digs down below the surface to offer greater understanding on a particular subject or point.

Tip.eps A helpful hint, factoid, or other useful nugget that makes some concept easier to grasp or a task easier to perform.

warning_bomb_.eps We use this icon to caution you about issues that could damage your guitar or cause you discomfort. So watch for this one if you — or your guitar — like to avoid pain!

Where to Go from Here

If this is your first brush with music and the guitar — or if it has been longer than you’d care to remember since you practiced — then start right at the beginning, with Chapter 1. However, if you already play the guitar, it’s okay to skip Chapter 1 and go right to Chapter 2, which illustrates the special right-hand strokes and left-hand fretting position you use in classical guitar. If you already play the guitar and know proper right- and left-hand techniques, you can skip to Chapter 3, which walks you through some of the notation explanations we use in the book. Finally, if you just want to dive right in and start playing, turn to Chapter 4.

It’s a good idea, though, to come back and read what you initially skip over, just to make sure that you’re not missing something or perpetuating a bad habit. We’d like to think that you’ll read every word here eventually, whether or not you read the text in order from front to back. Even if you think you know the material, a gentle reminder can sometimes be helpful.

Part I

Getting to Know the Classical Guitar

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In this part . . .

Whether you’re new to classical guitar or the guitar itself, the material in this part covers everything you need to get you playing in the classical guitar style. In Chapter 1 we show you how to hold the guitar correctly, where to place your hands, and how to tune up. Chapter 2 is where we illustrate the correct right- and left-hand techniques used in classical guitar, and Chapter 3 explains the notation systems we use throughout the book.