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Learn folk/classical guitar

Joyce Lee
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Joined: Jul 11, 2003
Posts: 1392
I wonder what are the approaches on learning folk/classical guitar.

step1 : strumming
step2 : plucking
step3 : playing simple chords like C, Am, G7, F...etc
what's next?

Also, whenever after I play a few songs, my left-hand (holding the neck) will become painful. And I've to stop playing for a while. Is this normal?

Do you think folk guitar is more suitable for people with small hands? I'm using classical guitar.
Eric Pascarello
author
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Joined: Nov 08, 2001
Posts: 15376
    
    6
Your left hand is going to have to build up strenght and endurance. I am guessing you are right handed, so it is weaker then the right and is not used to being used as much.

If it is youw rist tha ishurting you, you might be holding the guitar wrong, try lowering it or raising it slightly to remove the stress from the wrist.

I do "play" guitar, but I am very bad at it. I know many intros to songs, but I can not play a single one all the way through to the end!

Eric
Joyce Lee
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Joined: Jul 11, 2003
Posts: 1392
The back of my left hand hurts. I guess that's because I assert a lot of pressure when pressing the strings. But if I don't press hard, it sounds strange.

The first song I learnt to play was "You are my sunshine". Only three chords to learn: C, F (simplified version) and G7. Once I mastered this song, I moved on to "Five hundred miles" (C, F, G7, Am) and then other songs...
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15300
    
    6

Playing classical music on the guitar will rarely require you to strum complete chords like G, D, C, Am, etc. Plucking and occaisonal strumming of a few strings is usually what will happen.

Also, whenever after I play a few songs, my left-hand (holding the neck) will become painful. And I've to stop playing for a while. Is this normal?

Depends on how long you have been playing really. If you are just starting, it's probably fairly normal. Although the pain of the wrist is really numbed by the burning bleeding fingertips sliding all over the fret board.

I always found it really hard to play Bar chords, which is where most people start learning when learning the guitar. So I started out with traditional chords. I then went back later and trained myself on Bar chords and my wrist did hurt but soon it strengthend and didn't hurt anymore.

It is also possible that your holding the guitar wrong, as Eric stated. Well, not necessarily wrong, but wrong for you. Try different playing styles and techniqes and also try holding the guitar differently until you find something most comfortable to you and your playing style.

One of the things I find interesting is the different styles that guitars are played. And that includes how the guitar is held. For example, Dave Matthews hold his guitar up really close to his chest, almost to his neck. But other players will hold there guitar down around their knees.


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Joyce Lee
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Joined: Jul 11, 2003
Posts: 1392
Depends on how long you have been playing really. If you are just starting, it's probably fairly normal. Although the pain of the wrist is really numbed by the burning bleeding fingertips sliding all over the fret board.

Just more than one and half years. Not much progress.

I always found it really hard to play Bar chords, which is where most people start learning when learning the guitar. So I started out with traditional chords. I then went back later and trained myself on Bar chords and my wrist did hurt but soon it strengthend and didn't hurt anymor

What are traditional chords?

Last week, I tried to play a new song that required chords B and C#m. I couldn't stretch my fingers that far and use my index finger to press five strings at the same time. Thinking of getting a folk guitar since it's a narrower neck.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15300
    
    6

What are traditional chords?

Probably the wrong term. I mean chords that are generally played without baring.

a G chord

----3----
----3----
----0----
----0----
----2----
----3----

vs G bar'd

----3----
----3----
----4----
----5----
----5----
----3----
Varun Khanna
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Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 1400
Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
I mean chords that are generally played without baring.


or the "Open Chords", as the community calls.
[ July 19, 2004: Message edited by: K Varun ]

- Varun
Varun Khanna
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Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 1400
Originally posted by Joyce Lee:
step1 : strumming
step2 : plucking
step3 : playing simple chords like C, Am, G7, F...etc
what's next?

Play around a bit with above three mentioned steps ... try to achieve perfection

pick any four chords in a scale , say :
C, Am, F, G (C Scale)

Pick up any rhythm(strumming) and follow the mentioned sequence. Try it with more interesting and tougher strummings.

While playing any chord, try to press all the strings simultaneously. Generally in bar chords we place the index finger first ... avoid that.
[ July 19, 2004: Message edited by: K Varun ]
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

step1 : strumming
step2 : plucking
step3 : playing simple chords like C, Am, G7, F...etc
what's next?


Getting better at it.

Also, whenever after I play a few songs, my left-hand (holding the neck) will become painful. And I've to stop playing for a while. Is this normal?

You're probably trying too hard. It takes a while to build calluses on your fingertips so that pressing the strings requires less effort. When you've got them, the sound will get cleaner, less buzzy and/or muffled. You'll also find that you'll have to play regularly or you'll end up starting over building new calluses.

Drop your left shoulder and move your elbow out a little. Don't squeeze the neck; just press with the fingers. Make sure the thumb stays in the middle of the neck.

This is harder to do, but if you want to learn classical styles you need a hand position that allows as much spread in the fingers as you can manage.

Do you think folk guitar is more suitable for people with small hands? I'm using classical guitar.

If you can touch all the strings your hands are big enough to play. When you play long enough and get comfortable, you'll drop some of the tension that's in your hands as you try; the greater flexibility will improve your reach.

Trust that you'll improve. You'll be fine.
[ July 19, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

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Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
I tried to learn playing guitar but couldn't reach my fingers around the neck far enough to form chords.
My fingers being short and thick I doubt there's much future in me as a guitarist...

Might be a good thing, I do have this feeling the quality of music in the world is slightly higher without my contribution (and that's even when taking Idols and Spice Girls into account ).


42
Joyce Lee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2003
Posts: 1392
Thanks everyone for the encouragement and advice.

I'll do some hand exercise to strengthen it.

I tried to learn playing guitar but couldn't reach my fingers around the neck far enough to form chords.
My fingers being short and thick I doubt there's much future in me as a guitarist...

My fingers are short too.
Varun Khanna
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 1400
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
I tried to learn playing guitar but couldn't reach my fingers around the neck far enough to form chords.

I have seen people playing bar chords by pressing bottom four strings with the index finger and the top two using thumb (coming from behind the fret).

My fingers being short and thick I doubt there's much future in me as a guitarist...

Still you can be a Lead guitarist, that won't be a problem.
[ July 20, 2004: Message edited by: K Varun ]
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15300
    
    6

Originally posted by K Varun:


or the "Open Chords", as the community calls.

[ July 19, 2004: Message edited by: K Varun ]




Yeah. That's what I meeant.
 
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subject: Learn folk/classical guitar