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Classical Guitar: Lesson 1a

Sharing buttons:

the standard classical guitar sitting

position might look and feel a bit

strange at first but once you get used

to it you'll find that it gives you

several advantages over other methods

find a comfortable stool or chair with

no arms sit towards the front of the

chair so that no part of the guitar can

bang against it raise your left leg so

that your knee is slightly higher than

the rest of your leg you can use an

adjustable footstool readily and cheaply

available from music shops or via the

Internet this make sure that the guitar

doesn't slip away from your body while

you're playing place the guitar on the

raised left leg the narrowest part of

the guitar body the waist should fit

nicely over the leg angle the guitar so

that the headstock that's where the

tuning machines are is approximately

level with your shoulders or ear with

the guitar angled like this you can see

both hands at the same time and you

don't have to stretch your left hand out

too far to reach the end of the guitar

neck place your right arm on top of the

widest part of the guitar body at its

front edge everyone's arms are different

but as a rough guide your forearm should

be touching the guitars front edge

approximately two inches away from the

crease of your arm with the back of the

guitar against your body and as upright

as possible you should now be able to

trap the instrument between your body

your legs and your right arm the guitar

should be held well and secure enough

not to need the left hand to support the

neck and your right hand and forearm

should be able to move freely if you

still don't feel that the guitar is

quite secure enough you can start by

holding the guitar body with the left

hand while we concentrate on what the

right hand should be doing that will

also make sure that it keeps your left

hand away from the strings to avoid

touching them by mistake to avoid

confusion between the left hand and

right hand the fingers of the left hand

are given numbers finger 1 2 3 & 4 the

thumb is very rarely used of the left


whilst the right-hand thumb and fingers

are given letters holding your right

hand out in front of you palm facing

away the thumb is given the letter P for

Pulgar Spanish for thumb I indicates the

index or first finger M the middle or

second finger and a the third or annular

ring finger the little finger again is

seldom used except in fancy flamenco

strumming so we won't worry too much

about that at the moment let's take a

closer look at the right hand it will

help at this stage if we learn the names

of the strings guitarists are an odd

bunch and always seem to do things back

to front and upside down so string

number one is actually the string

nearest the floor the thinnest string

this plays the note of E

when sounded string two is the B string

string three the g string continuing up

we have string four D string 5a and

finally string six another E

you might find it useful to think of a

mnemonic to help you remember the string

names an example might be every bad

guitarist deserves and execution if you

prefer to learn them from the bass

string to the treble string you might

like to use Eddie ate dynamite good bye


or elephants and donkeys grow big ears

I'm going to begin by describing what I

call the starting right hand position

you won't always play with your hand

like this but it's a really good way to

start checking your posture and right

arm position place your right thumb

pee-yew remember for pulgar on the

thickest key string roughly where the

string passes over the edge of the sound

hole now imagine a line drawn between

this point and the corner of the bridge

the bridge is that part of the guitar

that secures the strings to the front of

the instrument the idea now is to place

the index finger eye on string three the

g string the middle finger M on string

to the B string and the annular finger a

on string one the thinnest each string

the fingers and thumb should be lined up

along our imaginary line if you have the

hand in the correct position you should

be able to check the following points

the thumb should be fairly straight and

pointing towards the soundhole

the fingers should be touching each

other slightly bent and pointing back

towards the bridge the wrist should be

relatively high the thumb used mainly to

play three metal round bass strings is

able to move between the three bass

strings without ever coming into contact

with the fingers the fingers can operate

independently again without ever

clashing with the thumb enough talking

let's play something


coming back in a small circular motion

to play the a string once more when you

get used to this repeat the process for

each of the bass strings in this order

going to give you a count of eight and

then I'll describe what to do a a dee

dee ay ay e e let's try that again

so count of eight to come in a a dee dee

a a e e repeat this sequence until

you're used to the way it feels you will

now see what the notes you've been

playing look like when they're written

down using music notation even if you

can't read a note of music try and get

used to associating the notes you are

playing with the notes you're seeing

we'll cover music notation in future

lessons so let's just concentrate on

playing for the moment we're going to

play the same base sequence again but

this time I'm going to test your powers

of concentration by playing another

melody over the top to make it sound

more interesting there'll be the usual

eight beats introduction then I want you

to play the base sequence you've learnt

over and over again