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Introduction

to the

HECTOR QUINE

INTRODUCTION to the GUITAR

by Hector Quine
Professor of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music,

Guildhall.School of Music, and Trinity College of Music, London.

PREFACE

'Introduction to the Guitar' does not claim to show you an


easy way to learning the guitar. There is no such way. It is an
attempt to set down in print what is often considered to be
unteachable except through personal lessons: i.e. technique.
Whilst the chief objective has been to provide a technical
guide for the aspiring guitarist who wishes, or who is compelled,
to teach himself, the book may also be useful as a textbook for
the teacher who likes to work to a definite plan.
No attempt is made to teach the rudiments of music,
although of course these must be learned as soon as possible.
Numerous textbooks on this subject are readily obtainable, and
the beginner is advised to study one of these simultaneously
with his practising of the guitar.

'Introduction to the Guitar' is intended to cover approxi


mately the first year of study, although some beginners will
inevitably make more rapid progress than others. No particular

'Method' has been followed, a logical analysis of modern prac


tice in guitar-playing being the only guiding principle.
No apology is offered for the quantity of detailed discussion
on what may seem to the beginner to be trivial matters. Every
experienced guitarist knows that it is only by careful attention
to this kind of detail that a true mastery of the guitar, which

should be every aspiring guitarist's aim, is to be attained.

Oxford University Press


Music Department'44 Conduit Street London W1R ODE

Oxford University Press 1971

The illustrations were drawn by Thomas B. Pitfield.

Printed in Great Brrta-

CONTENTS

1.

Tuning the guitar

2.

Explanation of signs and symbols

3.

Nails and fingertips

4.

Left-hand nails

5.

Practising methods

6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

Sitting position and grip of the guitar


Right-hand position
Right-hand finger movements
Single notes on one open string
Crossing the strings
Single notes with the thumb
Thumb in conjunction with fingers

13.
14.
15.
16.

Arpeggio playing
Left-hand position
Left-hand finger positioning
Crossing the fingerboard

17.

Arpeggio exercises (first set)

18.

Finger-independence exercise

19.

Playing from memory

20.

Arpeggio exercises (second set)

21.

Scale of C major

22.

Exercises for m and a fingers

23.

Arpeggio exercises (last set)

24.

Position-changing

25.

Two-octave scale

26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.

Transposition using the same fingering


Study for thumb and index finger
Right-hand free strokes

33.

The barre

Application of apoyando and free strokes


Memorizing studies and pieces
Left-hand positioning for chords
Position-changing technique in chord playing

34.

The half-barre'

35.
36.

Study No. 2, Op. 60, by Carcassi


Economy of movement in the left hand

37.

Harmonic minor scale

38.
39.

Study No. 3, Op. 60, by Carcassi


Arpeggio exercises with accents

40.
41.

Slurs (descending)
Study No. 4, Op. 60, by Carcassi

42.

G major scale

43.

Tremolo

44.
45.

Study No. 7, Op. 60, by Carcassi


Slurs (ascending)

46.

Melodic minor scale

47.

Chord playing - right-hand technique

48.

F major scale

49.

Slurs (combined)

50.

Study No. 10, Op. 60, by Carcassi

51.

Five- and six-note chords

52.

Recommendations for further study

1. TUNING THE GUITAR

Few problems cause the beginner more difficulty than the


accurate tuning of the guitar. Some time and trouble should be

spent over this, as it will also help to lay the foundations of a

an acute aural sense, but all can acquire it by perseverance and


concentration. It is an absolute necessity for any musician, and
particularly for the player of a stringed instrument.

The 'open' strings of the guitar are tuned as follows:

training in attentive listening. Not many people are born with

Ex. 1
-3~

XE
-O-

but, as guitar music is always written an octave higher than it sounds, the treble staff only is used,
and the open string notes therefore appear thus:

zo:

Ex.2

-^-

--

"cr

The guitar must always be tuned to the correct 'pitch', as


the tension of the strings depends on this. For example, should
the pitch of the instrument be too high, the strings will be very
taut and difficult to press and strike. Furthermore, considerable
damage may be done to the guitar itself. On the other hand, if
the pitch is too low, the strings will be too slack, and it will be
impossible to obtain clear notes. Playing on a guitar which has
been carefully tuned will help to accustom the player to the
sound of the correct pitch.
Only one of the strings needs to be tuned from some

one. Most players prefer to tune the top string:


Ex.3

Jtt

from a pitch-pipe, a tuning fork, or from a piano.


Tuning forks are usually made to sound either A or C:
Ex.4

r
A

^-

--

external source, and the other five can then be tuned from this

so that the top string of the guitar needs to be 'stopped' at


either the 5th or the 8th fret to obtain these notes.

The diagram below will show their positions on the fingerbos^^.

.TUNING.

FORKS
Ex.5

&

-9-

II

III

IV

Having tuned the top (E) string, now tune the 2nd (E) string

vi

vii

vru

ix

xi

xn

until it produces the same note (E) when stopped at the 5th
fret, as the top open string.

Continue, string by string, (now always stopping at the 5tn


fret) until all the strings are in tune. Finally, check to see that
the top and bottom strings sound exactly two octaves apart, as

Next, tune the 3rd (G) string similarly, but stopping it at


the 4th fret to produce the same note (B) as the open 2nd
string.

errors can easily accumulate.


These instructions should be easily understood if read in
conjunction with the above diagram.

2. EXPLANATION of SIGNS and SYMBOLS used in GUITAR

5. PRACTISING METHODS

MUSIC

Four sets of symbols are used in guitar music to indicate to


the player how the notes are to be played. They are as follows:
RIGHT HAND

LEFT HAND

p - Thumb (French: pouce)

Index finger

m Middle finger
5 Ring finger (French: annulaire)

2
3
4

Open string
Index finger
Middle finger
Ring finger
Little finger

STRINGS

(T) E(highest sounding string)

-B
(3)-G

POSITIONS

-D
-A

(see notes below)

I. II, III, IV, V, VI etc.

(If) E(lowest sounding string)


The Roman figures indicating the positions in fact show the
fret where the first finger of the left hand is to be placed. It
frequently happens that the first finger is not being used at all,
but the position number still shows where that finger would be
placed.

The letter 'C' (or sometimes 'B') in front of the Roman


figure indicates that the index finger stops all the strings at that
fret. (See para. 33: The Barre').

3. NAILS and FINGERTIPS

Nowadays, it is considered essential to cultivate a 'nail only'


technique for the right hand in order to develop power, speed,

clarity, and purity of tone. This is not to say that it is impos


sible to play with the flesh of the finger, but only that nail
tone is very much to be preferred. A player who, for one
reason or another, cannot, or does not wish to grow his nails
to the required length, can nevertheless acquire a good technique,
although his tone will inevitably be less good than that of the
nail player.
All the instructions in this book are intended for playing
with the nails, but the broad principles apply equally to the
flesh player.

Length and shape of nails: When viewed from the palm side
of the hand, the nails of the index, middle and ring fingers
should project about 1/16th of an inch beyond the fingertip
(n.b. the little finger is never used.) The shape of the nail
should follow the curve of the fingertip, with no corners or
projections. The thumb nail may be slightly shorter, but should
also follow the contour of the thumb in shape.

The finishing of the nail edge is important, as a rough edge


will invariably produce a scratchy tone. The use of fine sand

paper boards or a fine 'India' stone is recommended in


preference to a metal file.

4. LEFT-HAND NAILS

It is essential that the nails of the left hand be kept short,

but it must be remembered that the fingertips are to a certain


extent supported by the nails, so they must not be cut back so
short that the tip of the finger can bend back over them.

The art of practising correctly is one of the most misunder


stood aspects of learning to play an instrument. This remark
applies to most aspiring musicians, but particularly to guitarists.
The reason for this situation is not hard to see. The guitar
makes a relatively pleasant sound no matter how it is played,
and there is therefore a strong temptation for the beginner to
select pieces which he has heard (and which are often far
beyond his capabilities) and to pick his way laboriously through
them over and over again. He will inevitably stumble frequently
at a difficult place, hesitate, repeat the fault, and then go on. It
is hardly surprising that his technique and his performance of
any given piece show little improvement, even over a consider
able period of time, as his 'practice' consists largely of actually
perfecting his ability to make mistakes.
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the only logical
way to practise is to work to a pre-arranged plan, and to follow
this plan strictly and systematically.
Many readers of this book will be amateurs with limited
time available for practising, and for them a methodical
approach is vital, as every minute spent with the guitar must be
productive if the learning process is not to be drawn out inter
minably, and enthusiasm allowed to wane.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways of practising, and both


are necessary at different stages of learning an exercise, study
or piece.

The first method is the slow, rhythmic approach to specific


difficulties whereby, the nature of the problem having first
been analysed and understood, the difficult passage (it may be
only a single bar or less) is played repeatedly at about half
speed, and with meticulous attention to rhythm. If there is still
some hesitation or stumbling of the fingers, the speed should be
reduced still further until the passage can be played with absolute
continuity. When this has been achieved the speed may again be
increased by degrees over a period of several days.
The second stage in practising should not be attempted until
all the individual faults have been eliminated by the above pro
cess. This stage consists of putting all the fragments which have
been practised in detail back into their context. This is done
by playing the whole scale, study etc. up to speed and con
tinuously from the beginning to the end, with no stops or
hesitations, even when a mistake is made. This, too, must be
done many times, but always in perfect rhythm.
A surprising degree of technical facility can be acquired with
an average daily practice of only an hour or so. How this hour
should be spent will depend on the stage of development
reached, so the practising schedule will need to be modified
from time to time.

6. SITTING POSITION and GRIP of the GUITAR

A chair without arms and of normal height should be used,


and a footstool for the left foot. It is impossible to specify the

height of the footstool, as this must depend on the player's


physique and, of course, the height of the chair. As a guide, it
is useful to remember that the left thigh should slope slightly
upwards towards the knee, and the right thigh should be
parallel to the floor.
One should sit squarely, and as far forward on the chair as
possible. The back must be straight, but the whole trunk may
lean forward slightly from the waist. A comfortable posture is
of the utmost importance, and unnecessary tension in any part
of the body must be avoided. The calves of both legs should be
perpendicular to the floor from every viewpoint, and the feet
should rest firmly with both heel and toe on the floor (right
foot), and footstool (left foot).

This point will be found to be just in front of the elbow


joint, at a small indentation in the bone of the forearm. On no
account should the muscles of the forearm press on the edge ci
the guitar. A common fault is to allow the right shoulder to
'hunch', causing tension in the arm, and care should be taketo see that the upper arm is fully extended, so avoiding this
tension.

7. RIGHT-HAND POSITION

The underlying principle which governs the right hand's


position aims at using the most natural movements of the wrist
joint so that maximum comfort and relaxation of all the
muscles which are not directly involved in playing may be
achieved.

The beginner should make a habit of putting the right nana


in position in three simple stages every time he sits down to
practise and, on beginning each new exercise, this position
should be checked.

First stage:
Hand straight and in line with forearm, with the palm
facing the floor. (FIG. 3A)
3a

(FIG. 1)

The lower bout of the guitar is gripped by the thighs, with


pressure being mainly exerted by the left leg/which pushes the
guitar against the right leg. This slight pressure causes the guitar

-tfzl

Jp

to rise, and should be counterbalanced by the weight of the

right arm resting on the guitar's top edge. The exact position
of the right arm is important, and will be described later.
It is very important for the guitar to be held upright, and a
fourth point of support (the chest, resting lightly against the
upper edge of the guitar) will help to maintain this position.
The pressure on the guitar at the three main points of
support should be as light as possible; in fact the right arm
should not really press at all, but merely rest its weight on the
top of the instrument. If the guitar is correctly held according
to these principles, there should be no need to grip the neck
with the left hand in order to support it. The right hand should
likewise be completely relaxed, and simply 'hanging' from the
resting point.

Second stage:

Hand drops forward from the wrist so that the palm is now
facing towards the elbow. It is particularly important that
the wrist should not turn sideways. (FIG. 3B)

The exact position for the right elbow to rest on the guitar's
edge can be found by a simple experiment. If one imagines the
whole arm to be a dead weight (i.e. completely relaxed) then a
point can be found where the forearm and upper arm exactly
balance eath other.

(FIG.2)

Third stage:
Without in any way altering the wrist, the forearm is now
moved outwards away from the guitar to a distance of about
Vh to 2 inches from its position in second stage. (FIG. 3C)

1
Now check the position as follows:
1

It is of the utmost importance that, if the nails are to be


used, then the nail and only the nail should strike the string. A
combined flesh and nail technique gives the worst of both, and

The inside of the forearm and the thumb should be at

the best of neither.

almost a right angle to each other.


2 The distance from the inside of the wrist to the sound
board of the guitar should be approximately equal to the

The direction in which the finger moves in striking follows


the line of the hand and arm or, to put it another way, the
finger moves inwards towards the palm of the hand. No attempt
should be made to play at a right angle to the strings. This
would be very difficult physically, as well as producing a poor

width of the left hand at the knuckles.

3 The palm of the hand should be facing towards the elbow,


not towards the guitar.
4 The entire hand, wrist and forearm should be completely
relaxed, and should feel that they are entirely suspended
from the resting point on the edge of the guitar.

tone.

In regard to the length of the stroke, it must be clearly


understood that the strings of the guitar are struck and not
plucked, and the finger will therefore begin its stroke about 14
inch from the string, striking, following through, and then
coming to rest on the next string. This action of resting on the

8. RIGHT-HAND FINGER MOVEMENTS

next lowest string is known as 'apoyando' or 'supported stroke',


and it forms the basis of all modern right-hand technique. It is
also important for the finger to strike the string inwards (i.e.
towards the soundboard of the guitar) rather than merely de
flecting it in a line parallel to the strings. A finger must never
begin its stroke by resting on a string which is about to be
struck, as this would in fact cause a plucking action. Finally,
it must be constantly borne in mind that the fingers should
always strike very firmly in order to develop muscular strength.

Fingers should always move almost entirely from their main


joints, (i.e. with the tip and middle joints remaining slightly
bent but relaxed) and with a hummer-like motion.

It will be noticed that, with the hand held in the position


described above, the string will be struck with that part of the

finger which is nearest to the thumb, and not with the finger
zip. This is correct, and is vital to good tone production. (FIG. 4)

9. SINGLE NOTES ON ONE OPEN STRING

The following exercise should now be learned and practised,


using the index (/") and middle (m) fingers of the right hand on
the top (E) string, and playing apoyando strokes.
A balanced movement of the fingers is essential. This is best
illustrated by thinking of the action of the feet in walking, with
the lower (B) string representing the ground. When one finger
is descending the other is ascending, and they pass each other
at about the middle of their stroke. It is always better to leave
a finger on the lower string a little too long, rather than to let
it bounce off too quickly.

Ex.6

Count: 1

772

r nr r r

in

^^

Try to make the sound as legato as possible, and practise the exercise until tone and volume of
the two fingers is exactly matched. Also, be sure to count carefully, giving each note its full value.

F^g?

10.

CROSSING THE STRINGS

It will be apparent that to maintain the hand in the same


position for every string would be impossible, unless one bent
up the fingers and abandoned the apoyando stroke. Some al
teration of the position of the forearm is therefore necessary.
The movement is very simple; the arm, pivoting from its resting
point, travels in a curve across the strings, but without any
change occurring in the relative positions of the wrist, hand or
fingers. (FIG. 5)
This movement is usually a little more difficult to execute
when travelling from bass to treble than from treble to bass.
Practising in front of a mirror will be found to be an invaluable
aid to correct training.
The following exercise is designed to give practice in crossing
the strings and more playing with / and m fingers in
apoyando.
Ex.7

Count: 1

2
m

4 etc.

TT

m m

WW

Note the order in which the fingers play in the following variation. In common with all exer
cises, these should be practised many times, with careful attention to the sound produced, and to
rhythmic accuracy.
Ex.8

Count: 1
a

l
m

1
m

^^
l
m

12Z

f^

m\

m~-

1+2
m
i
m

^
1

2+3

|
1

2+3

12+3

7/2

1234

^w

34+

34+

4+

-XT

1+2

12 3
m
i

4
m

-:

-*''

-:

123450

6
i

123

56

li r f r f ^^^^^
i

^^
12

12

2+3

1PPP
ff^^pSg

#
4

\ WE.
*
m

123

45G123

i,

The fingers do not play on the 6th string at this stage, as apoyando strokes are impossible on this string.

12

3.

4
in

11.

SINGLE NOTES WITH THE THUMB

The thumb is always held straight, and moves (like the


fingers) from the main joint. It must be extended outwards
away from the hand, and strike on that side of the nail which

is farthest from the fingers. The thumb should never play an


apoyando stroke. *

Assuming that the thumb is to strike the bottom string (E),


it begins its stroke held almost at a right angle to the hand
(FIG. 6), then moves straight down (as though the fist were
being clenched) and without bending from the tip joint, and
comes to rest against the first joint of the index finger.
The commonest faults are to allow the thumb to move

outwards away from the strings, or to propel it by a downward


movement of the hand.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they occur only in
advanced pieces.

Ex.9

Count: 1

12.

123

123

123

123

iFf

using a 'balanced' movement, something like that described in


para 9. That is to say, when the thumb is striking and moving

THUMB IN CONJUNCTION WITH FINGERS

The actions of the thumb and fingers have been described

basic problem is to keep them out of each other's way, part

down towards the hand, the finger should be moving back


wards preparatory to striking, and vice versa. Practise now the
following exercise, watching carefully for this balanced

icularly when they are striking adjacent strings. This is done by

movement.

separately, and all that remains now is to combine them. The

Ex. 10

Count: 1

etc.

r
p

r
i

wwm*%m.
r
r

p i p Count: l

2 + 3

r f

etc.

wm

r :
f r m
f rr r f ri n
f ri
r

Count: l

etc.

P r pf r ' r n^r

13.

ARPEGGIO PLAYING

There are of course many different combinations of fingers,


moment it will be assumed that the thumb plays only the three
bass (wire-covered) strings, whilst the fingers play one each of
the three treble (plain nylon) strings, as follows:

Ex. 11

Count: 1

PfTi^
r?

'

Ring finger (a) strikes String Mj

thumb and strings in arpeggio playing on the guitar, but for the

14.

gfes

m^ m

LEFT-HAND POSITION

Two cardinal points must be constantly kept in mind with


regard to the position of the left hand:

1 The hand plays no part in supporting the guitar, or main


taining its position.
2 The thumb is the base from which the hand and fingers
work, and should be positioned in the ce7?fre of the hand,
and not opposite the index finger.
It is necessary to go into some detail concerning point (2),
as unless this point is clearly understood and put into practice,
many faults can easily develop.
If one imagines a line running lengthwise down the middle
of the neck of the guitar, the normal place for the thumb is
with its tip just meeting this line.
(FIG.7)
There are a few occasions when the thumb comes above

this line, but these may be disregarded for the present. The tip
joint of the thumb must not bend, but remain perfectly
straight, and only the ball should press against the guitar neck.
Seen from immediately behind, the thumb is placed at a right
angle to the edge of the neck. (FIG. 7)

Middle finger (777) strikes String (2)


Index finger (/') strikes String (3)
Practise now the following exercise, slowly and evenly,
using apoyando strokes with the fingers, and 'free' strokes with
the thumb. Do not forget the 'balanced' movement mentior.ec
in paras. 9 and 12, which applies equally whether one, two or
three fingers are being used.

In playing single notes (which is the only aspect of left-hand


technique being discussed at the moment) the back of the hand

should be kept parallel to the edge of the fingerboard.


(FIG. 8)
This position can be a formidable stumbling block for many
beginners, and much perseverance may be needed to train the

hand. Constant checking and correction will be necessary and


here again a mirror will be found to be a valuable aid.
The little finger is obviously much shorter than the other

fingers, and it is therefore only by adopting a correct position


that this difference in finger length can be accommodated.
All the left-hand fingers must be kept bent the whole time

at both joints so that the fingers will press only with their tips,
thus developing maximum strength with the minimum of effort
with a hammer-like action.

(FIG. 9)

There will be a strong tendency in the beginning to apply


pressure to the strings by pulling with the arm, instead of

'squeezing' the guitar neck between thumb and fingers. This


tendency can be overcome to a certain extent by (1) placing
the thumb in the centre of the hand (see rule 2 above), and
(2) by making sure that the thumb is in the lower half of the
neck. Pushing the wrist slightly forward, particularly when
stopping the lower strings, also helps to position the hand
correctly.

15.

LEFT-HAND FINGER POSITIONING

The only correct place for the left-hand finger is immed


iately behind the fret. If the finger is placed a little way back
from, or slightly overlapping a fret, buzzes and muffled notes
are frequently produced, as a simple experiment will show. It
is therefore imperative that the habit of accurate finger placing
be cultivated from the beginning. (FIG. 8)
There may be some initial difficulty in separating the two
middle fingers from each other, but by gently forcing them

apart (by their own effort, not with the other hand) this prob
lem is usually overcome fairly soon.
For the present purpose, it must be assumed that the four
fingers will always stop four consecutive frets, e.g.: 1st finger
at fret V, 2nd finger at fret VI, 3rd finger at fret VI I, and 4th
finger at fret VIII.

16.

CROSSING THE FINGERBOARD

As with the right hand (para. 10) so the left hand must em
ploy some means of crossing the fingerboard from the top
string to the bottom and back, which leaves the basic move
ment of the fingers unchanged. In the case of the left hand, the
thumb acts as the pivot, remaining on the back of the guitar
neck in the same place the whole time. The adjustment of the
hand position itself is effected by pushing the wrist forward
and withdrawing it. (FIGS. 10A & 10B)

Notice that the wrist is practically flat when the fingers are

playing on the top string, and at almost a right anglefor the


bottom string. The strings in between need positions of the
wrist which vary in degree between these extremes.
Trying to bear all these rules in mind, practise now the
following exercise at the Vth position, using the left hand only.
No sound will of course be produced.

Ex. 12

V i

(i)

TT

safe

772

TJE

r $m
j

?JI

T r

4_L,
-

'

It is most important that each finger should continue to


press the string down until after the next finger has pressed. In

fourth and sixth times.

other words, a somewhat 'heavy-footed' walking motion of the


fingers is needed in order to make the sound legato. Premature

can be extended to include all other combinations of left-hand

lifting of the fingers results in notes being cut off, and causes a
jerky, staccato progression.
When this exercise has been practised for several days with
the left hand alone, the right hand should be combined with it,

When the above has been thoroughly mastered, the exercise

fingers. The chief purpose of this exercise is to develop finger


independence and, from a purely technical point of view, it is
only necessary to know the finger-sequence as follows:
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)

using the formula shown in Ex. 7. This exercise (using both


hands) must be practised very slowly and with great care; con
stant attention being paid to the positions and movements of
hands and fingers. A good plan is to play the exercise, say six
times, concentrating the attention on the right hand for the
first, third and fifth times, and on the left hand for the second,

1st and 3rd fingers


1st and 4th fingers
2nd and 3rd fingers
2nd and 4th fingers
3rd and 4th fingers

using
using
using
using
using

but, for the sake of completeness, here is the notation.

Ex. 13

l-m- 3

<2>3SE

tT .fit

tfr i r f -

30

(3)

* ^^c

(!-)

jy r*f

as (.., i j i , i a j as r r ^r i*r s

feS

Y*N^

(5)

wm

eee!|

*r*

i\

5f

m^

j mm r r ife

4
33=3t

r f

=|=S^!_1

m 85 ft

^=

17.

ARPEGGIO EXERCISES (FIRST SET)


Paras. 12 and 13 should be re-read before these exercises are attempted.

Ex. 14

i m i V| "Lj

|a i

mi

0#(5

'

00

It should be remembered that the exercises given in this

book are intended to be treated as an accumulating series (see


para. 5), and therefore all the previous exercises as well as the
current one should be practised every day. This habit of build

3
0

r
Exercise 14 above forms the first two parts of a six-part
sequence of increasing difficulty, which are intended to be
practised as a continuous whole. The remaining parts will be
given later in the book.

ing up a 'repertoire' will become even more important when


studies and pieces are to be learned later. The writer has known

many guitarists whose 'repertoire' consisted of one piece the


current one! A further reason which applies specifically to the
exercises is that they are so designed as frequently to relate to

SUMMARY

The daily practising session should now comprise the


following exercises:
Nos. 9 to 14 inclusive.

one another, as in the case of Nos. 7 and 12.

18.

FINGER-INDEPENDENCE EXERCISE

Before practising the following exercise, read these instruc


tions very carefully, as the exercise is valueless unless practised
correctly.

2 Keep the hand still, allowing only the fingers to lift and
descend with the minimum of movement. Fingers must

1 All fingers must be left down behind the finger which is


stopping the note to be played: i.e. when 4th finger plays
the last note in bar 1, all four fingers must be pressing
the string. The same with the second note in bar 3. When

4th finger returns to the string for the second note in bar
4, the 3rd finger must return with it.

be kept well spread out, and up to the frets.

3 Play slowly, very evenly in time, and make the notes as


legato as possible.

The right-hand formula will again be that used in Ex. 6.

Ex. 15

-kr

E3

9-0^

jjijllgjiggie iiif

3^S

(D-

The above may be practised on all strings (except the bottom one), and later, when some facility
nas been gained, at all positions.

m >\\r ta

19.

PLAYING FROM MEMORY

It will be a great aqvantage if all the exercises are memorized


as quickly as possible, as there will then be no need to look at

guitar-music practice (seepara 2), the following three essentials:

the book whilst practising, and the attention can be concen


trated entirely on the general posture, hands and finger

fingerboard, e.g.:

(1) the finger, (2) the string, and (3) the position on the
V

ovements.

(3) 2

No attempt will be made in this book to teach sight reading.

itions in para 2), and the note produced

Tnere are sound technical reasons for this, and the subject is
best left until a certain mastery of basic technique is achieved.

would be:

For the time being, every effort should be made to learn fingerpatterns by any available short cut, so that correct technical
habits are learned before other complications are introduced.
To help the beginner to learn these patterns easily and quickly,
a system of left-hand fingering will be used in exercises and
scales which shows clearly, and in accordance with standard

20.

Ex. 16

ARPEGGIO EXERCISES (SECOND SET)

Ex. 17

pmim arLj.

Ill

\a m im a

i ,fe

m*

1^

&

f
21.

indicates that the 2nd finger must stop the

3rd string atthe 6th fret (see note on pos

SCALE OF C MAJOR

Scales are played using the same technique as in Ex. 15, but
with one important difference. Only those fingers which stop
the actual notes of the scale press the strings, whilst the other

fingers remain off the strings; i.e. the first two notes of the
scale are stopped by fingers 1 and 3. The 2nd finger must not
descend on to the string with the 3rd, but should remain poised
above it.

All the fingers which are not in use at any moment should

be kept poised about 1/2" above, and in line with the string
which is being stopped.
(FIG.11)

The question of how long a finger should remain after the


note has sounded (in the ascending scale), is easily answered if
the following rule is observed. All the fingers which have
stopped a string should stay on that string until the first note
on the next string has sounded; i.e. fingers 1 and 3 remain on

string (3) until finger 1 is needed to stop string (2) . Likewise,


fingers 1, 2 and 4 remain on string (2) until finger 1 is needed
tostop string (T) .
Descending scales of course need different treatment, as
each finger must be lifted before the next note can sound, and
it is mainly a matter of perfect coordination. Try to use the as
cending part of the scale as a standard by which to judge
whether the descending part is legato and well timed.

f
0 =

=I

-~-^

The scale of C major (one octave) is given here, first in


guitar-symbol form (see para. 19), and secondly in notation.

Use right-hand fingers / and m alternately.

1
1
1
4

3
2
3
2

Ex. 18

r t t T 3f ^ ^
e

22.

(D-

EXERCISES FOR 77? AND a FINGERS

All the single-note exercises (Nos. 8, 12, 13, 15 & 18) should
now be practised using 777 and a fingers of the right hand in an
alternating sequence. This must be done in addition to and not
instead of the / and 777 pattern which has been used up to now.
Make a point of varying the finger which begins the sequence;
i.e. do not always play the first note of (say) the /' and 777 pat
tern with / but sometimes with 777. This gives practice in cross
ing the strings in different ways. It will be seen that, in the

23.

i
-

example below, A is easier than B, owing to the natural posi


tioning of the hand, but, for complete fluency and flexibility
of the right hand, both must be practised (in scale-playing)
until they feel equally familiar.
A

'

ARPEGGIO EXERCISES (LAST SET)

Ex. 19

paid

a
1 =

a \m a

M^^
f

T
3=5

When the above exercise has been learned, it may be incorporated with Exs. 14 and 17, to com
plete the series, which should then be practised for continuity from one pattern to the next; i.e.

without a break in the rhythm when changing to the next pattern. They must also be practised, of
course, for evenness in rhythm, tone and volume of the individual arpeggios.

24.

POSITION-CHANGING

usual faults are for the thumb to drag on the back of the neck,
thereby getting left behind when moving up the fingerboard,

and the fingers will therefore neither remain in line with the
string, nor up to the frets.
In addition to the support which a correctly positioned
thumb gives to the hand in moving, it is also necessary for a
finger to act as a guide to the new fret. For the present, only
the first (index) finger will be used for this purpose. This finger
must stay in contact with the string throughout the whole of
the following exercise. Not too much pressure should be ap
plied whilst the hand is moving, or a glissando sound will re
sult although even this is technically preferable to removing
the finger from the string altogether.
The only other finger (3rd) which is needed in this exercise
simply lifts off and returns to the string without any sideways
movement in relation to the other fingers. Care must be taken

or attempting to 'lead' the hand when moving downwards. The

to avoid a 'crab-like' movement; i.e. the spacing of the fingers

most apparent effect of these faults will be that the hand will
change its angle to the fingerboard, (FIG. 12)

must remain constant throughout, except for a very slight


adjustment to accommodate the different fret-spacings.
Guide the hand to the new position by looking at the fret
to which the 1st finger is about to move. Look at this fret
before the hand moves away from its previous position, and do
not try to watch the hand itself in motion. A useful analogy is
aiming a missile at a target. The eye always focuses on the tar
get before the missile is fired. Watching the hand moving along
the fingerboard would be like trying to watch the missile in
flight.
The purpose of the exercise is to give practice in positionchanging in general, but more specifically, from II position to
V and back again. Any alternating right-hand finger-pattern

Moving the hand from one position on the fingerboard to


another without gaps in the sound, glissandi, or interruptions
to the rhythmic flow, is one of the most exacting aspects of
left-hand technique, but like all other technical problems, it
can be made very much easier by careful attention to one or
two basic principles.

The first of these concerns the position of the thumb in rel


ation to the fingers. It was stated in para. 14 that the thumb
should be placed in the centre of the four fingers. It is even
more important for this rule to be observed when the hand is
changing position, as there is a strong tendency for the thumb

and fingers to get 'out of step' whilst the hand is moving. The

may be used.

II

3. ...1

II

upward change

downward chanoe

Ex.20

ii

lj TT
25.

n|Wi m

ii

"~r iJ r T r ppj=p

TWO-OCTAVE SCALE

A further scale fingering, which forms the lower octave of a


two-octave scale, may now be practised, in the 11 position.
Note that this scale begins at the /// fret with the 2nd finger;
see para. 2 on the subject of positions.

ii

2
1
1
4
4

etc.

Ex.21

II

w
-

T-

When the above pattern is combined with Exs. 18 and 20, a continuous two-octave scale is form
ed. This should be practised many times until it has been thoroughly memorized, and until it can

be played without any detectable gap in either rhythm or sound, or any glissando in the positionchange. The following is the complete pattern:
II

0 24
12 4
V
1 3
1 3..
12 4
13 4 3 1
0 4 2 1
II
0 3 1
31
421
4 2
Ex.22

II

00

^^

(D-

I |

| 1 '
J

(3;

r T 1

"

II

3-r-

26.

t=^=

3*

TRANSPOSITION USING THE SAME FINGERING

It will be apparent that any pattern like the one above,


which does not use open strings, can be played in a number of
different places on the fingerboard. The result of shifting the
complete pattern up the fingerboard by one fret will be to
raise the pitch of the scale so that it becomes a scale of C sharp

major instead of C major. Likewise, a further shift of one fret


makes it into a scale of D. All the scales listed below can be
played using this same fingering:

29

B major
begins at position I, shifting
C major (illustrated)
II

C sharp major
,
III
D major
,
IV
E flat major
V
E major
,,

VI

to position IV

VI

VII
VIII

IX

All these scales should now be practised, and their positions

on the fingerboard carefully noted and memorized. This is


more easily done if the key-note of the scale is associated with
a particular fret (e.g. E flat V).

27.

STUDY FOR THUMB AND INDEX FINGER

The following study, which is a simple practical application of the principles discussed in paras.
11 and 12, should now be memorized and practised. As a preliminary, the above paras, may be re
read, Ex. 10 revised, and Fig. 6 studied. Note that the left-hand fingering always follows the rule
of one finger to a fret (see para. 15) and, as the whole study is in the I position, the left-hand
finger number will coincide with the fret number.
Ex. 23

Study
pipi

HECTOR QUINE

3
f

f T

feS

\j ' T

nf

fi T f V TTT r r TV T *
28.

37~

TJ.C.oi Fine

RIG HT-HAND FREE STROKES

A new type of stroke has now to be learned. This is the

'free' stroke, and is so called because the finger does not come
to rest on the lower string after playing, but by-passes it with a
minimum clearance. The essential point which must be under
stood concerning this stroke is that, in all other respects, the

finger movement is exactly the same as for apoyando; i.e. the


string is struck inwards towards the body of the guitar, and
must never be plucked upwards. Avoiding the lower string is
relatively easy, and involves only a slight lifting of the tip joint
of the finger after the note has been sounded.
All the arpeggio exercises (Nos. 11, 14, 17 & 19) may now
be practised using free stroke, but should still be played from
time to time with apoyando. The latter practice will help to
maintain a standard both for finger action and quality of tone
and attack. The sound of a free stroke should match as closely
as possible that of apoyando.
Some difficulty is often encountered with the third (a)
finger when free strokes are used. To help in overcoming this,
a light apoyando stroke may be played with this finger for the
time being, but care must be taken to see that the volume is
evenly balanced with the other fingers.

29.

Fine

problem of damping other strings to be considered.

At this point, the use of apoyando becomes entirely a


matter of musical judgment. The following can be taken as a
general guide to the occasions when apoyando may be used:
1 In scale-type passages which are unaccompanied.
2 Where a scale passage is accompanied only by a single
bass line which is not played on an adjacent string.

3 To bring out a melodic line on the top string where the


accompaniment is in arpeggio form.
4 When playing accented notes. (This needs to be dealt
with in the context of actual examples, which will be
given later.)

APPLICATION OF APOYANDO AND FREE

It will be deduced from the foregoing that a mixture of


apoyando and free, strokes is frequently needed. This is illus
trated in a simple way in the study which follows. All apoy
ando strokes will, for the moment, be indicated by the sign: >
placed above the note, but it must be emphasized that this is
by no means a general rule in guitar music, and the player is
usually left to judge for himself which notes to play with

STROKES

apoyando, and which with free stroke.

The mechanical effect of the apoyando stroke is to give


greater power in attack by making sure that the finger 'follows

through' after the string has been struck. This follow-through

This exercise will allow the right-hand problems of playing


'mixed' strokes to be studied before the left-hand tech-;c_e =
dealt with in detail.
Ex. 24
>

brings the finger to rest on the lower string, and in so doing


prevents that string from sounding. In playing a scale or any
other single-note passage this lower string damping does not
matter of course, but where two adjacent strings are to sound
simultaneously, (e.g. in chord-playing) the free stroke is
essential.

Ex. 23 above provides an example of inadvertent damping


caused by the use of apoyando. The stroke of the finger, whilst
not actually preventing the lower notes from sounding, cuts
them short in some instances, and interrupts the legato flow of
the bass melody. The apoyando stroke is invaluable for playing
melodic passages and accented notes, but there is always the

>

>

>

>

f
The five repeated notes at the top of the arpe
treated as a melodic line in this study, and are tht _
with apoyando, whilst the three notes which begin the arpeggio
are all free strokes.

30.

MEMORIZING STUDIES AND PIECES

Para. 19 referred briefly to the advantages of practising exer


cises from memory. It is even more important for studies and
pieces to be memorized, as the techniques involved are gen
erally more complex and need greater attention to detail. It
must be remembered that the purpose of these studies is purely
technical, and the means employed to learn the notes is there
fore of very secondary importance at this stage. Do not be too

of the hand, and the measure of their correctness or otherwise

is simply whether the fingertips are up to the frets.


From (FIG. 13), it will be seen that the whole arm is free to

move through an arc of about 60.pivoting on the ball of the

concerned, then, if you do not know where the notes are on the

thumb. Any position of the arm between these two extremes


can be used, but for a practical example compare FIG. 14A,
which shows the parallel position needed for the first chord of
the following study, (Ex. 26) with FIG. 14B, where the arm is

fingerboard, but follow closely the fingering, string and pos


ition signs and, having located a chord, memorize its'finger-

at an angle of approximately 45 for the second chord. The


arm should move freely through this arc in order to adjust from

pattern'.

one chord to another, with as little movement of the wrist as


possible.

31.

LEFT-HAND POSITIONING FOR CHORDS

In fingering chords the left hand does not always remain


parallel to the edge of the fingerboard as in single-note playing

(see para. 14.). In fact, there are numerous different positions

32.

POSITION-CHANGING TECHNIQUE IN CHORD


PLAYING

Finger and hand movements must be coordinated in a


systematic manner if sound technical habits are to be deve

loped, and hesitations at the position changes avoided. The


following rules, once learned, can be applied to every study or
piece which involves chord or arpeggio playing.

1 Remove all fingers from the previous chord, excepting


any which are to move along the same string to the next
chord: e.g. Fingers 1 and 2 in the first bar of the study.
2 Move the hand up or down the fingerboard to the next
chord position, keeping any remaining finger (or fingers)
in contact with the string as a guide to the new position.
(This is indicated on the music by a dotted line.) N.B.
The rules contained in para. 24 concerning the thumb in
position-changing must be observed.

3 Simultaneously with (2) above, adjust the angle of the


hand, as described in para. 31.
4 When the left hand reaches the new position, place the

fingers in the order in which the strings are to be sounded.


(i.e. from the bass note upwards in the case of this study.)

33.

THE BARRE

It frequently happens that several notes in a chord are to be


found at the same fret (on different strings of course), and to

stop them with separate fingers is often inconvenient, or even


impossible. It then becomes necessary to employ a technique

known as the 'barre'. This means that the index finger (very
rarely any other finger) is laid flat across the fingerboard, par
allel to the fret, so that all the strings are stopped by it. (The
sign for the barre is given in para. 2, but in some older editions

of guitar music a square bracket: [ preceded by a figure 1 is


used.)

Rather more pressure is obviously needed to stop six strings


with one finger than to stop only one, but clean, accurate
barre-playing is not entirely a matter of sheer strength; rather
it is a question of just the right amount of force being applied
in the most efficient way.
Three basic rules regarding the barre must be constantly
borne in mind:

1 The index finger must remain perfectly straight from the


main joint to the tip. The strings can only be depressed
completely if there is no arching of the finger. (FIG. 15)

2 The pressure must be applied by 'squeezing' the neck of


the guitar between index finger and thumb. The arm
must never be allowed to pull against the grip of the
guitar in order to obtain pressure.

3 The thumb position for the barre is directly opposite the

The following exercise may now be practised for a few


minutes at a time. The chord is placed at the V position and
should not, at this stage, be played in any lower position on
the fingerboard. The patterns for the right hand are those learn
ed in paras. 17, 20 and 23. All fingers should play apoyando, as

index finger instead of in its normal place, as described

this will 'test' the cleanness of stopping by the left hand.

in para. 14.

A slight pain in the base of the thumb may be felt in the


beginning, but this is simply due to unaccustomed work being

It will be seen from the illustration that the wrist is kept


well forward, and this point must always be watched as it will
keep the finger straight and make sure that the pressure is
correctly applied.

done by an underdeveloped muscle. As the muscle becomes


stronger with practice the pain will diminish. Short, but fre
quent practising sessions with longer intervals between them
will do much to hasten this process.

Ex.25

CV

pi

mi

vS

XI

pp
T

34.

THE HALF-BARRE

Tnere are many instances in guitar music of open bass strings


oeing needed in conjunction with a barre on the treble strings.
~_ese occasions call for the use of what is loosely known as the
-laif-barre.' As the term implies that exactly half the strings
E ".: be stopped with the index finger, one would imagine
at a half-barre only applied to the top three strings. In fact,
tienumber of strings can vary between two (exceptional) and

= =~d still be indicated on the music as a half-barre. The

- - :: ..r--. is as for the full barr, but is preceded by '%'.

etc.

The method of stopping the half-barre is the same as for the


full barre, except that the hand is withdrawn slightly from the
fingerboard to allow for the shorter length of finger needed to
stop only some of the strings. There is a danger of the middle
joint of the finger being bent due to this withdrawal, and the
top string will then be underneath the bend. The result of this

fault will be a 'dead' note from this string, but the difficulty is
easily overcome if the finger is made to bend slightly inwards
from the middle joint to the tip. This is done by pushing the
wrist slightly forward, and bringing the thumb a little lower cthe back of the guitar neck. (FIG. 16)

35.

STUDY NO. 2, OP. 60, BY CARCASSI

Only part of this study is printed, as this is all that is neces


sary to establish the technical principles which have been ex
plained in the foregoing paragraphs, but the complete study is

available if the reader should feel that further practice in this


technique is needed.

The printed section should now be learned. Play very slowly


and evenly at first, taking care to see that the right hand's
movements are not forgotten in the effort of mastering the lefthand pattern. Be particularly aware of the rhythmic pulse, and
keep the right hand playing steadily in time, even if the left
hand has not managed to stop the next chord completely. This
is much better training than allowing the rhythm to be broken
whilst the left hand gets into position. The study will need to
be practised many times, until it can be played very legato and
from memory.

Ex.26

Study No. 2 Op. 60


Moderate-

M. CARCASSI

m i m a

ma mi mm.jn^ >_>_>_> y:-:

>

r~3

3=^

^=

>

HJ75

!-#-ZL

>

f
>

>

>

>

>

35.

37.

ECONOMY OF MOVEMENT IN THE LEFT HAND

HARMONIC MINOR SCALE

The technique used in playing all scales follows the prin


ciples outlined in paras. 21 and 24.
The position changes should always be practised separately
at first, as they are the most difficult part of the scale to per
form smoothly. Remember always to keep the index finger in
contact with the string whilst moving the hand from one

Passing mention has been made in earlier sections of the


need for economy in both hand and finger movements. This
need is even more vital where chord playing is concerned. The
visual impression created by uneconomic movements is of fin
gers flying all over the fingerboard, whereas the lifting and re
placing of fingers should be barely perceptible to the observer.
It will be readily understood that a finger never needs to lift
off the fingerboard further than is necessary to allow the string
sufficient clearance to vibrate freely; i.e. about % inch, although
a little more lift than this is usually permissible. If the finger is
kept bent at both the tip and middle joints the whole time,
and only moves up and down from the main joint, it will be
found that the backlift is automatically restricted, thus giving
more economical movements. This has the further advantage

position to another.

This scale may be transposed in the same way as the scale of


C major.

Ill

that the 'aim' of the fingertip is more accurate and reliable.


Sideways movements of the fingers should be kept to the min
imum necessary for the various chord shapes, and the natural
tendency to allow all the fingers to retract after each chord
must be resisted.

The above aspects of technique should be carefully con


sidered, and every effort made to develop efficient, economical
movements.

13
13

4
4

23
12

1 2

VII

III

1__._

___2

421

3 2
431
431

Ex.27

VU
III

301=2

*0=Z

CD-

-fry

10

ZP

CD-

1 0'" *

f^M^

hi

m ^

2#- --1

Bb,B,C,C#,D.

Vr*

1,
zta:

(D

3TT

38.

STUDY NO. 3, OP. 60, BY CARCASSI

This study is essentially the same as No. 2 in the application


of right-hand principles; i.e. it employs both apoyando and free
strokes, but there is now a clearly discernible melody. The

notes which make up this melody are those which are played
by the a finger and are, of course, always apoyando strokes. It
is important to keep a good balance between the melody and

1
2

the accompanying arpeggio. The accompaniment should be


only about half as loud as the melody. It is also essential for

the melody notes to be 'connected' to each other; or, in other


words, played legato. This is chiefly a matter of keeping the
left-hand fingers pressing the string down for as long as possible,
and of making sure that a string, once sounded, is not acciden
tally damped by the right hand. Fragmentation of the melody
will make the study musically meaningless. The left-hand pat
terns are a little more complex than those of Study No. 2, and

For the first chord, fingers 1,2 and 3 are all on the 11 fret,

so the necessary position of the arm is at about 60 to the


fingerboard, with the elbow well away from the body (see
FIG. 17A).

Slide finger 2 on this string to fret III, and at the same


time bring the elbow right in to the side, thus bringing
the hand parallel to the fingerboard. (Do not forget to
keep the thumb opposite finger 2 whilst moving.) (FIG.
17B).

Place the fingers on the new chord in the following order:

finger 3on fret IV, string (&)

finger 4on fret IV, string 0


finger 1on fret II, string (T)

greater use is made of the barre and half-barre. The chord-

change from bar 1 to bar 2 provides a perfect model for em


ployment of the principles outlined in para. 32, and the follow
ing is a step-by-step description of this change:

After completing the first bar, remove finger 1, leaving

only finger 2 on string (2s) .

It is not necessary for the right hand to wait for completion


of all these movements before playing. It can begin its arpeggio
as soon as the bottom note (G sharp) is stopped by the left
hand.

The principles embodied in the above example should be


carefully followed in every chord-change throughout the study.

Ex.28

Study No. 3 Op. 60

Andantino

M. CARCASSI

j ^
a jP
S
T
f
u

~/r.
VfeCV

i
a sS

CII

wm
.
m >

>

>

ft^htrF
r

rf

. m &

>

=:

== ==-
>i

%^
r

s?
m 3=1

j=j

^
=^=^;

ftCVIlpim % S
11 rt
n J ^ mi J i
iiL_m

Pi

r* r
m*fL i "i

=^

^
!

J
=^
rT

BBL.
r^
^

II**1|.

rn gfe tu
f

'/2CV^ :

>

V2QVU

=^

>

m
f

3jB

T
j. 1

E=2

flJf"-^
i

, g
>i

i "i %

'/2CV_

MA:: 'rp.J jhrgk J


f

rn

- IV

pi HI. .2] t

^Sp

J ^

>t

TiJy _ P P P im

1 zm

-==

- ^ |

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3_J

-r^e*11- 0

s&
17

39.

ARPEGGIO EXERCISES WITH ACCENTS

The apoyando and free strokes in the above Carcassi study


are only applied in a rather specialized way, so that the apoy
ando stroke is always played by the a finger. For the further
development of right-hand finger independence, it is now
necessary to practise using apoyando strokes with all the righthand fingers (but not the thumb) in turn, whilst playing free
strokes with the remaining fingers.
The first pattern in Ex. 14 provides a useful basis for this
exercise, which may be practised in the following ways:

without any help from the right hand.


The finger action is best described as a lateral pulling of the
string across the fingerboard.
Slurs are indicated by a curved line joining two (or more)
notes together, thus:
Ex. 29

1 All the notes which are played by 777 finger are apoy
ando the remainder, free stroke.

2 All the notes which are played by /' finger are apoyando
the remainder, free stroke.
To execute this slur, first place both 1st and 2nd fingers on

The above system of practising accented notes may then be


applied to the arpeggios contained in Exs. 17 and 19.

40.

SLURS (DESCENDING)

An essential part of guitar left-hand technique is the 'slur',


(or 'snap', as it is sometimes called). This consists of a move
ment of the left-hand finger which sets the string in vibration

the top string MJ at frets V and VI, making sure that the tip
joints of the fingers are standing square and perpendicular to
the fingerboard. Then, after striking the string with a righthand finger, bend the middle and tip joints of the 2nd finger
sharply, bringing the finger tip in towards the palm of the hand,
thus making it snap off the string. This will sound the note (A)
which is being stopped by the 1st finger.
An important point concerning this movement is that the

Ex.31

Study No. 4 Op. 60


Allegretto

V PJjnajn
^
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M. CARCASSI

o-OT j
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ra

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in

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tJf
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VII

II B

pP

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i, V6CII
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42.

G MAJOR SCALE

Note that apoyando strokes are not possible for the bottom
two notes of this scale. Nevertheless, sufficient stability of the
right hand should have been acquired by now to ensure a con
fident attack with free stroke on the bottom string.
The layout of this scale fingering makes it particularly suit
able for training the hand in the movement described in para.

a stage further it is recommended that, in addition to the pre


vious sequences, all scales should be practised using three fin

16.

This scale fingering can, like the others, be transposed. The


keys to which it can be applied are shown under the notation.

gers in the following sequence:


i, m, a, 777, /, m, a, m, etc.

To take the development of right-hand finger independence

Ex.32

iHn
Si

43.

30

+0

'

20

*0

CD

CD-

TV
33

W-

<D-

FI,QAb,A,BI.B.

.i

k0

TREMOLO

The tremolo technique is a rarely-used, but nevertheless very


beautiful effect. It could perhaps be described as an 'aural illu
sion' because it gives the impression, when well executed, of
a rapid uninterrupted succession of notes, whereas in fact only

three notes out of every four are actually played. It is the near
est that the guitar can get to a true sostenuto. There are various

ways of writing tremolo, but the following is probably the


most common:

Ex.33

am

i p a m

ipamipami

etc.

The illusion is created by the fact that the ear tends to ima
gine that the first note of each group is sounded, but is
'drowned' by the bass note.
To produce this effect is not as is popularly supposed a matter of sheer speed, but rather one of perfect metronomic
regularity. Much slow, painstaking practice is needed therefore

from each finger as do, say, scales or arpeggios.

The correct approach to the problem is, as usual, to practise


with a slow, heavy apoyando stroke at first, meticulously count
ing the groups in four, and taking great care to avoid a gap in
time between the bass note and the first tremolo note of each

to perfect the technique.

group. As control of the finger pattern is built up, the top line
should be practised on an inner string. This imposes a restric
tion on the fingers, as more care must be taken over the 'back-

By far the most common mistake is to allow the fingers to

'flick' at the string in rapid succession, as they might in drum

mingon a table. This does not produce a true tremolo at all, as

lift' in order to avoid touching the top string. Tremolo fre

the technique demands as much of a positive, controlled stroke

quently occurs on inner strings, as will become apparent later.

Ex. 34

etc.

44.

STUDY NO. 7, OP. 60, BY CARCASSI

The principles involved in playing this study have been main


ly learned in earlier parts of this book, but one or two points
need particular attention:

The bass line should be slightly louder than the accom


paniment, but only free strokes must be used by the

The bass line must also be very legato, and it will help
greatly to achieve this if, as a preliminary exercise, this
line is played alone, omitting the accompaniment, i.e:

thumb.

Ex.35
etc.

^m

o*:

U* lfl

Careful attention to this will also encourage aural memo


rization of the melody before the complete study is

or (b) slide along the string to a note in the new chord.

attempted.

To train the right-hand fingers to play both tremolo and


arpeggio with complete regularity, and to achieve smooth
transitions from one technique to the other, it is advis
able to practise the study using apoyando strokes (thumb
excepted of course) for a few days to begin with.

All left-hand patterns should be thought of as chords,


and fingers should therefore remain on the strings as long
as possible. Note carefully the places where a finger can
either (a) remain on a note from one chord to the next,

Ex.36

Study No. 7 Op. 60


M. CARCASSI

Allegro
p a m

a m

i p

am

a=in

'771/0

am

piaipimipimi

za

29

I
f

ti

45.

SLURS (ASCENDING)

The basic technical principle of ascending slurs is extremely


simple, as the string is set in vibration merely by 'hammering'

string must be struck very squarely by the exact centre of the


fingertip. This latter point is of more importance than the use

it with the fingertip. However, great accuracy in 'aiming' the finger

of great force.

at the string is needed, or the resulting note will be very weak,


or even completely inaudible.

As with the descending type, ascending slurs are easy to


play rapidly, but a firm, clean attack can only be developed by

The action of the finger is from the main joint, the middle
and tip joints remaining well bent throughout the stroke. The

slow, rhythmic practice.

Ex.37

V ^1\ m

46.

t3s I

ff-M

m
in

ffi

is

J_

III

Jil4

777

3^ l

Tar

23

m_

St^t

MELODIC MINOR SCALE

The melodic minor scale differs from the scales which have

been learned previously, as its ascending and descending pat


terns are not alike. Particular attention must be paid to the

downward position-change on the top string, a detailed des


cription of which is given below:

position, locating fret VI with the 4th finger should cause


no problem (see para. 24).
This scale may be transposed in the same way as the others.
The keys to which the fingering may be applied are indicated
below the notation.

Ex.38

Both 1st and 2nd fingers, having been placed on the string
for the first two notes of Ex. 38 (B natural and C), they re
main on it during the position-change, and are then ready

to stop the last two notes (A flat and G). The 4th finger only
stops the string when the hand has reached III position. If
the hand is kept parallel to the fingerboard whilst changing

1**=

Ex.39

m 4^ ijfe f

Bb,B,C,C*,D.

47.

CHORD PLAYING -

RIGHT-HAND TECHNIQUE

One of the commonest faults in the beginning is to allow


the action of the thumb to be affected, in an unconscious at

So far, only single-note playing has been encountered, either


in scale or arpeggio form. It is now necessary to study the tech
nique of playing chords.
Strictly speaking, a chord is, by definition, three or more
notes sounded simultaneously, but this section will also include
double notes and spread (arpeggiated) chords.
A basic principle which must be constantly remembered is
that the action of the fingers in playing a chord is identical
with that of a free stroke in arpeggio playing. The only point
of difference is that several fingers perform this action at the

tempt to keep it away from the fingers. There must be 770


change in its basic movement, which is straight down towards
the index finger (see paras. 11 & 12).
The following exercise is designed to give practice in playing
with thumb and finger simultaneously. The two notes must
sound at exactly the same moment. If the thumb persistently
strikes before the finger it is generally because it is hitting too
hard. Lighten its stroke and apply a little more strength to the
finger.

same time.

Ex. 40

in

111

^^

777,

U\

m,

prrr f r r r fr r r r r r ~
"J
t
#
i i j 1 J i=Tr=*
r^r p r r r rr f r f r r r
m

It will be apparent that there is more than one way of play


ing a double note and if, for example, two adjacent fingers are
used instead of finger and thumb, the action is less complex

771

sound, and finger and thumb a more pronounced bass.


Begin the following exercise with the fingers held close to

and therefore easier to perform. It also produces a different

gether (but away from the strings) and strike as with a single
finger playing a free stroke, moving only from the main joints

effect musically, fingers generally giving a more 'integrated'

of the fingers.

Ex.41

U a .1 i i i l

J=J

m=k

Now, combining the elements of Exs. 40 and 41, practise the


following very slowly, taking care that all three notes (where
written) sound together.
Ex. 42

Lj "I 1 ,1 \i t i L\i j I #t^j


f ' r *, *, r * r p * r

i U I J i \i J i ^ ^ J i 1
r-r~rj rj~j
T r T' r f^ * r

It would seem a simple matter to add one more finger (a) to

soon as control of chord-playing is achieved.


Spreading, or arpeggiating a chord, involves a similar action
of the fingers, but then the thumb and fingers play in sequence
instead of simultaneously. The technique itself is, in some res
pects, easier, but great attention must be paid to evenness of
rhythmic spacing.
The effect of the spread chord as compared to one played
with all notes sounding together is somewhat similar to the
effect of apoyando as compared to free stroke, i.e. it creates
an accent. Musical judgment is therefore needed in deciding
when to use it, although its use is occasionally indicated on the

the above patterns, so making a four-part chord, but, as so

often happens, the third right-hand finger has peculiar prob


lems of its own. It is also, in a sense, the most important finger,
as it plays the top or melody note and ought therefore to pro
duce the best quality of sound of any finger. It will probably
be found, though, that the a finger has a tendency to begin its

stroke rather too far from the string, and then to 'dab' at the
string with a jerky, reflex movement. One way of preventing
this from happening is to keep the little finger bent up into the
palm of the hand. This in turn will bring the a finger further

music by the sign: (

in, and help to shorten its stroke. It should be pointed out that
this is merely a practising device, and should be abandoned as

Ex.43
a

i\

|l |jjn i
A

kmd

fii

j ij j j ij~3 j n

TTl

' r'
J iflj j m i

f r r r * r f r r r zJ^j u"7j |p

48.

F MAJOR SCALE

This scale can, like all the others, be transposed. The keys to which the fingering can be applied
are shown under the notation.

It is nowipossible, using one or other of the three major scale fingerings which have been given,
to play all the twelve major scales. It will be apparent that alternative fingerings are available in
some cases, and all forms should be practised.
Ex.44

C#,D,Eb,E,F.
49.

SLURS (COMBINED)

It will be readily appreciated that by the use of both types


of slur a succession of notes can be produced on one string
without the use of the right hand, apart from the initial note
of the sequence.

The following combined exercises should now be practised

with, as usual, great attention to rhythmic evenness. Actually


counting the triplets: 1, 2, 3, can be a great help in this respect,
especially in the early stages. Note that a right-hand finger
strikes the first note of each triplet.

Ex.45

50.

STUDY NO. 10, OP. 60, BY CARCASSI

To achieve the intended harmonic effect the study must be


played legato, and the tone sustained as much as possible; e.g.
in bar 2, the left-hand 1st finger (which is stopping the note

The purpose of the following study is to develop the tech


nique of combined slurs, and to give further practice in chordplaying for the right hand. It should be noted that the right
hand plays both double notes and three-note chords. The fin
ger combinations arep, /, m for the chords, and /', tt? for the

'A') must not be lifted until after the second chord in the bar
has sounded. This will involve a slight stretch between 1st and
2nd fingers.
Particular attention should also be paid to keeping down
any finger which is common to two consecutive chords in
changing position, and to adjustment of hand position for the
various chord shapes. Both these points are dealt with in o=ra.

double notes. The latter sometimes occur on strings CO and

\T) , and sometimes on strings () and (T) . To maintain


a uniform attack no matter which strings are being played, a
slight movement of the hand is needed, as described in para.
10. This movement applies equally to chords and arpeggios, as
it does to single notes.

24.
Ex.46

Study No. 10 Op. 60


Allegretto
M. CARCASSI

Lg^d^^Ey jjS

if

xjmn

r
vn

2J

safe

4P-

T
1/2cvn

jsnrn

I a

m
2<

vj
r

a
r

-^

'i ijSJS

r~- _ a

r
m k
4^-

51.

FIVE-AND SIX-NOTE CHORDS

Five- and six-note chords are frequently met in guitar music,


such chords always, of necessity, being arpeggiated. There are
two possible ways for the right hand to play them.
The first method is merely an extension of the technique
described in para. 47, but with the important difference that
the thumb must glide over two or three bass strings. This must
be done with as little hand movement as possible, to avoid dis
placing the fingers for their part of the chord.
Rhythmic evenness is vital, and a chord should never be
broken rhythmically between its lower and upper parts.
The alternative technique of playing a five- or six-note
chord is to use the thumb alone for all the strings. This is

usually indicated by the sign: j . The movement of the thumb

is mainly from the wrist, and takes the form of a gliding mo


tion diagonally across the strings towards the bridge from bass
to treble.

(FIGS. 19A& 19B)

Ex.47

a
in

I!

P*

A
f

52.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY

CARCASSI
GIULIANI
SOR
SOR
AGUADO

Study
Study
Study
Study
Study

No.
No.
No.
No.
No.

19 OP. 60

SOR (ed. Segovia)


SOR (ed. Segovia)

Study No. 1
Study No. 9

5 OP. 48

22 OP. 35
17 OP. 35
18 24 studies & 10 scale

exercises