Restring in a classical way

July 1st, 2006

After the air on my g string (and Gabriela style strumming) resulted in a snap. I decided to put some new strings on my guitar. I put some nice new Augustine strings; “The Superior Concert String” on my Admira 1000E. Segovia played them too so I suppose they must be superior, but I am not superior enough to know if they really are.

The whole process is quite straightforward, and if you like me are more used to stringing steel stringers, this tutorial is a good place to start.

Guitarists and the Mac (Slight Return)

June 13th, 2006

James Bouchard

James Bouchard is one of my favourite guitarists. He uses a Mac to record his music and I had the pleasure of listening to this beautiful piece of music today – I suggest you do the same. You can discuss the song too.

James plays with Boston Band Union Label and is also one half of The Fritters with Kelli King.

If you play guitar and use or are thinking about using a Mac. Checkout the MacIDOL guitarists forum

Guitarists and the Mac

June 8th, 2006

Dominic Miller at Guitarists and the Mac

If you make music on a Mac and play guitar, sign up for Guitarists and the Mac in the UK. This time with Boyan Chowdhury, guitarist from The Zutons. Get some Zuton fever in your playing – I’ll see you in London.

Sign Up
Guitarists and the Mac Gallery

Rodrigo y Gabriela, La Scala, London

June 5th, 2006

I managed to get one ticket for Rodrigo y Gabriela at La Scala. I tried to buy two, but it would seem I got the last ticket! Seems that I have been blessed, I managed to get right at the front of the gig too, which was great so I could check out their chops. I was really impressed by their performance. I was standing right in front of the bass bins, and the dynamics that these two Mexican guitarists produce, reminded me a little of the Young brothers. Angus and Malcolm even with electrics would be hard pressed to out gun these two nylon axe monsters.

Rodrigo was more than keen to point out that what they do is not flamenco. They have a very unique sound, mixing up metal, classical, jazz, pop and dare I say it flamenco, but this was no Paco de Lucia gig. They did a great version of the Floyd’s Wish you were here – and Rodrigo used a beer bottle as a slide. Gabriela’s rythmn playing is awesome, very passionate and extremely fast, I will keep practicing and maybe one day I might get near to what she does, but alas I reckon I might be wasting my time. If you ever get a chance to see these two play – do it. They really are something else!

Rodrigo y Gabriela Pics

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Guitar Player TV

May 23rd, 2006

Guitar Player TV looks like becoming a nice site for us axe slingers. Good use of video for free online lessons, if you can handle the bandwidth.

Rodrigo y Gabriela Tutorial on my iPod

May 23rd, 2006

This is the tutorial that comes with the limited edition DVD which is included with Rodrigo y Gabriela’s self-titled album. I have downloaded the iPod version for my erm, iPod.

Life is Good – hey, why don’t you download it onto your iPod and play along at home?

Rodrigo y Gabriela

May 21st, 2006

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela

I have just discovered Rodrigo y Gabriela, if you already know their music, you are probably nodding in silent acknowledgement and with a knowing grin. These Mexican born artists now reside in Ireland and blend classical, flamenco, jazz and heavy metal all using nylon strung acoustic guitars.

Acoustic = Freedom

Gabriela, the flamenco/percussion half of the duo says “Acoustic equals freedom”. I was coming to the same conclusions myself. I have seen my guitar setup shrink from Marshall stacks to just a classical guitar. Which makes it nice and easy to carry round, doesn’t need any AC or DC to make it work and will not get me evicted from my flat.

Rodrigo y Gabriela – The Album

If you like guitars – buy the Rodrigo y Gabriela album, and if you play guitars – buy this album immediately! It comes with a Limited Edition DVD which includes interviews, live footage and more importantly for guitar players – a tutorial Gabriela and Rodrigo show us how to play Tamacun. I am trying to master the flamenco/percussion side of things and Gabriela’s tricks and technique are brilliant and truly inspiring. Highly recommended.

Rodrigo and Gabriela are guitar heroes for the twenty first century. Fans of Page and Metallica, they have made it cool to play Stairway to Heaven again – guitar shops beware!

RodGab.com

Andante in C

April 28th, 2006

This is a wonderful piece of classical music for guitar by Mauro Giuliani.

Downloads: Andante in C pdf, Andante in C Midi File

Andante means “A relaxed, walking tempo”.

Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

March 27th, 2006

Classical Guitar Anatomy

The classical guitar aka Spanish guitar is usually a six stringed acoustic, musical instrument with 19 frets.

Nylon Strings

Classical guitars use nylon strings, as opposed to steel strung electric or acoustic guitars. The lower three ‘bass’ strings are typically wound with silver or nickel. Traditionally classical guitars used catgut strings, which despite the name were made from sheep or goat intestines. Nowadays nylon is the preferred medium, and the strings have a lot lower tension than a steel strung guitar. These are easier on the fingers and produce a rich, full tone.

Neck, Fingerboard and Sound box

The fingerboard on a classical guitar is a lot wider than a typical acoustic or electric guitar too. The lower string tension allows for necks to be made entirely from wood. An electric or steel-strung acoustic would have a metal truss rod to help keep the neck true.

This lower string tension allows for a less rigid sound board, again helping to produce a rich tone. The vibration of the string is amplified and projected from the guitar’s body (sound box) through the sound hole.

Tuning

The machine heads are used to tune the guitar; by varying the tension of the strings, in order to acheive the desired pitch. The guitar is usually tuned E, A, D, G, B , E (from low to high / thick to thin).

Spanish Lessons

March 15th, 2006

Spanish Guitar
I have been playing the guitar for over 20 years. Find out what happens when I enroll on a classical guitar course. Laugh at my sight reading attempts, snigger as I tune my guitar and have pity for my teacher, Ian Topping as I test his patience and fortitude as we explore the world of the nylon strung guitar.