Guitar News

Andrea González Caballero Performs Cataluña by Albéniz

This is Classical Guitar - Fri, 10/11/2019 - 12:43

Spanish guitarist Andrea González Caballero performs Cataluña from Suite Española, Op. 47 by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909), originally for piano (Arr. M. Barrueco). This comes via her excellent YouTube channel. Live recorded at Kulturzentrum Immanuelskirche, Wuppertal (Germany). I don’t usually post Albéniz but I was very impressed by her juxtaposition of strong articulated rhythms against sudden sweet phrasing moments. A fantastic performance and refined control of the aesthetic.


Categories: Guitar News

Adam Kossler Performs Sonata K3, L378 by Scarlatti

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 12:20

Adam Kossler performs Sonata K3, L378 by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), arr. Kossler (originally for keyboard, usually harpsichord). This comes via  Strings by Mail and their YouTube channel with audio and video by Drew Henderson. Great playing by Kossler who does a nice job bringing out the repeated motifs in this work. Scarlatti always reminds me that the Baroque era was incredibly musically diverse. Just thinking about the range of music, from the older style of Bach, to the smoother galant style, to Scarlatti’s influences in the Spanish plucked instrument realm.

Out of interest, here is the score and Scott Ross performing it on harpsichord.

Shockingly I couldn’t find any high quality performances on harpsichord (in terms of video production that is). But this one by Kazutaka Tsutsui on a facsimile instrument is ok, at least it’s up close.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Hinge Barres, Pivots, and Partial Barres

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 10/06/2019 - 10:59

Lesson: Hinge Barres, Pivots, and Partial Barres for Classical Guitar 
YouTube Lesson Link

A dedicated barre (bar) lesson on Hinge Barres, Pivots, and Partial Barres. How to play these various barres and when to use them. I mention these in my pieces quite often so it was time to put out a lesson explaining their uses and specifics. Also see my lesson on basic barres as well if you need advice on the basics.

Barre Abbreviations in scores:

  • BV3 = Barre at the 5th fret, over three strings (E, B, G Strings)
  • BV5 = Barre at the 5th fret, over five strings (E, B, G, D, A, Strings)
  • BIII2 = Barre at the 3rd fret, over two strings (E, B Strings)
  • hBV = Hinge Barre, a barre only over some of the strings while allowing open strings to sustain (commonly open bass strings). Usually followed either by a full barre or a new bass note with the 1st finger.
  • Piv. (or piv.BII2) = Pivot Barre, a technique where the player either pivots into a barre or releases a barre while allowing certain notes to sustain or avoiding a finger jump to a new string.

I don’t indicate Partial barres because if I notate an open string while barring it’s self-explanatory. The RCM uses a fraction to indicate the number of strings but it’s not completely intuitive.

Categories: Guitar News

Steve Cowan Plays The Equilibrium Crumbles by Leisner

This is Classical Guitar - Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:27

Canadian guitarist Steve Cowan plays III. the equilibrium crumbles by David Leisner. This comes via Cowan’s great YouTube channel. Cowan is creating some great videos with top notch playing so make sure to subscribe to him. Excellent articulations and control over the texture by Cowan. Video and sound by Drew Henderson.

Here’s his info on the piece via his YouTube: Dedicated to Steve Cowan, …empty mind, open heart… is a four-movement suite that centers around the intervals of a fifth and a tritone. It was written in 2018 and premiered by Steve in concert for the New York City Classical Guitar Society in February, 2019. This third movement is a study in rhythm, sometimes dizzying. Quotes from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, as translated by Stephen Mitchell, provided inspiration for each of the movements.

III. When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy.
the earth becomes depleted.
the equilibrium crumbles.
creatures become extinct.

Categories: Guitar News

Christina Sandsengen Plays In Moments of Solitude by Bull

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 10/03/2019 - 13:07

Norwegian guitarist Christina Sandsengen plays In Moments of Solitude by Ole Bull. Nice balanced playing and beautifully shaped phrases by Sandsengen. Ole Bull was a Norwegian violinist and composer. “According to Robert Schumann, he was on a level with Niccolò Paganini for the speed and clarity of his playing.” – via Wiki. Video in collaboration with  Guitar Salon International and Elite Guitarist where she also has a tutorial on this one.

Categories: Guitar News

Dmitriy Murin Plays Pensée fugitive by Mertz

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:49

Dmitriy Murin (Russia) plays the fantasia Pensée fugitive by Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806–1856). Wow, what a spectacular display of extroverted virtuosity. At first I thought he would not be able to sustain this level of punchy fast playing but he nails it and blazes through the fast passages. Later on he shows his sweeter side with some very gentle nice phasing. This guy is amazing. Here’s a small bio of Murin.

This comes via Guitar Magazine on Youtube via Moscow. Performed live on November 11th, 2018 on ‘Two evenings in November’ Festival. Gnessins’ Academy of Music, Moscow, Russia. As they say on their YouTube: “The great fantasias La rimembranza, Pensée fugitive and Harmonie du soir, considered a trilogy, are probably Mertz’s most important contribution to the guitar repertoire, his most technically demanding pieces, clearly inspired by Liszt’s piano music.”


Categories: Guitar News

Polonaise Concertante, Op.137, No.2 by Giuliani (Duet)

This is Classical Guitar - Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:48

Polonaise Concertante, Op.137, No.2 for Two Guitars by Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829). Sheet music for classical guitar duo, includes score and parts, left hand fingering, notation only. This is a PDF Download. Level: Late-Intermediate.

Buy the PDF Sheet Music (Score & Parts)

This is a charming duet by Mauro Giuliani that brings out the Viennese classical flavour of the era. I kept all of Giuliani’s original indications, slurs, and articulations but the fingering is editorial. I’ll also be publishing No.1 and No.3 at some point. There is an excellent recording of this work by Kolk-McFadden via Amazon but Naxos has also made it available on YouTube (hear below). Below that is another recording on period guitars by Claudio Maccari nad Paolo Pugliese.


Categories: Guitar News

Lesson on correct ways to use the metronome by Graham Fitch

This is Classical Guitar - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:53

Graham Fitch talks through the correct ways to use the metronome. I know, I know, this is on piano and I’m running a guitar site, but I love Fitch’s lessons via Pianist Magazine on YouTube. I watch his lessons all the time because thinking in terms of music and not guitar can be very beneficial. It gets you away from all the guitar related complications and focuses you on the music. I used to (and still do) attend masterclasses for other instruments and have learned more about music from cross-disciplinary observation than from guitar lessons. In fact, I used to take lessons from violin and piano teachers to critique my actual musical playing.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Left Hand Stretches on Guitar (Beginner to Intermediate)

This is Classical Guitar - Sat, 09/28/2019 - 18:12

Dealing with left hand stretches on the classical guitar for beginner to intermediate level students. Vertical and horizontal stretches and the connection to guitar position and technique practice. The books I mention are my full technique book: Classical Guitar Technique, or if you need tab you can check out my shorter TAB book: 20 Favorite Exercises.

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YouTube Lesson Link

Categories: Guitar News

Guardame las vacas by Narváez (Lesson & Free PDF)

This is Classical Guitar - Wed, 09/25/2019 - 15:27

Diferencias sobre Guárdame las vacas by Luys de Narváez (fl. 1526-1549) from Los seys libros del delphín – Sheet Music for Classical Guitar with Notation Only or Notation + TAB. Left hand fingering. PDF Download. The level is Intermediate (Approximately Grade 6-7). Originally for vihuela. Please note: This edition uses F# tuning on the 3rd string (see video explanation).

Free Notation Only Edition

TAB Edition (PDF)

Also know as Luis Narváez, a Spanish composer and vihuelist. I’ve wanted to put out an edition of this work for some time. My edition follows the original tuning and tablature very closely and aims to explain the multi-voiced complexity of the work. You’ll notice a number of differences for well-known editions but I follow the original vihuela tablature (you can compare it as it is available on IMSLP).  Youtube Video Lesson Link (4k)

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Review: Soundbrenner Pulse – Smart Vibrating Metronome

This is Classical Guitar - Tue, 09/24/2019 - 10:30

Soundbrenner PULSE – Smart Vibrating Metronome
by Soundbrenner

Buy it via Soundbrenner, Amazon, or Local Stores.

I was very pleased to receive the Soundbrenner Pulse, a wearable smart metronome. The company has done an impressive job and built a styling product filled with innovation. I’ve listed some great ways people might use this product and I think the possibilities are pretty endless. Also, their new Core model looks even more packed with options and upgrades so make sure to check it out (it’s only available in pre-sale via Indiegogo). Full video review Youtube link.

Quick Summery

Super cool, innovative, and interesting product. Very useful for some people and situations but not everyone will want one. An additional accessory rather than an essential tool. Product works well, the awesome app makes it a useable metronome, but no sound from the device itself is a bit of a miss. The vibrating aspect is another interesting way to engage with rhythm which is worth exploring. I’m looking forward to the upgraded Core model.


  • Cool design, innovative ideas, fun to use.
  • The app setup/tutorial is fantastic, guides you through the options and can tell if you’re successful.
  • The app also works great in terms of usability as a metronome (accent the beat, change the tempo, time signature, beat value, etc). You can also change tons of settings from the lights to creating playlists with different preset tempos and settings for your various songs.
  • The app will sync up to 5 Pulse devices (useful for bands/ensembles)
  • The vibration is adjustable from weak to powerful (thank goodness)
  • The tap controls are awesome. They work well and are easy to just start using and get to work.
  • Love the twist dial for tempo changes and the tap-the-tempo option.
  • The charger station is magnetic and minimal.
  • Decent price at $99 USD (although, see below under ” the competition”). It’s a dedicated tool designed for musicians (unlike your phone or Apple watch). This is an important point regardless if you buy one or not. Pros want dedicated tools that work for their specific needs.
  • Comes with multiple straps to wear it anywhere or not at all (some won’t want it on the wrist)
  • Works with all major DAW’s for recording, editing, producing and live performances.
  • I’m dazzled by pretty glowing lights, kind of hits the spot.

Cons and considerations

  • The device itself doesn’t make sound. You need to have your phone (with app) to make a ticking sound. Why would it not also function as a normal sounding metronome? I suppose it would need speakers. That said, who doesn’t have their phone around all the time and who doesn’t already own a normal metronome? Plus, if you place the vibrating device on any surface or the music stand it definitely makes a rattle that works acceptably well.
  • Do I want a vibrating metronome? I’m not sure but then again, why not? It’s yet another way to engage with rhythm and any engagement with the beat is always a good thing. I imagine the vibrations are something you get used to after awhile. I found it very intuitive and normal right off the bat. Sometimes during lessons I tap my students gently on the shoulder for a tactile response which is similar. Also, you can turn the vibration off and just keep the lights going.  The settings for the strength of the vibration are a great option. I did not like it on my wrist at all, it was too close to my hand and far too distracting. On the right arm it felt good though.
  • Without the app you have no idea what the BPM is. I like to keep specific track during practice. The Core model might solve this.
  • It’s a bit big for a watch but I’m a super small guy so don’t take this very seriously. The Core looks like it will be smaller.
  • Do I want tech gear when playing an acoustic instrument? Well, at least it’s fun, useable, and the tap function is about as simple and low profile as it gets.

What’s the competition?

  • There are apps for your phone that sound, vibrate, and/or flash. Some of them even sync with other phones and are free. This is pretty thick competition. But a phone is pretty bulky to wear and the vibration is not specifically designed for musicians. As I said before, musicians want dedicated tools for their trade and your phone is full of crazy insane distractions not related to music. $99 is not much to pay for a dedicated tool.
  • Apple Watches have metronomes that sound, vibrate, and/or flash. Plus they do a lot more. That said, Apple Watches cost from $500-1000 and I’m growing sick of giving Apple my money.
  • My Seiko metronome is beautifully simple and enough for me but has no options so it’s not really comparable. I think every musician should have a basic metronome, the Pulse is an extra accessory that will be useful for certain people and certain situations.

Some very useful situations for the Pulse

  • Amplified bands, although, drummers are usually pretty loud time keepers. I could see applications for this in band and recording settings where a sounding ‘tick’ is not an option. Also late night practice on electrics with headphones where a silent metronome is preferred.
  • Abstract situations – There was a crazy new music piece my trio played a few years back where no one really played on the same beat so we either needed a conductor or crazy gestures indicating the beat for 10 mins. Human error was rampant. The pulse might have worked well for this situation. Also, I’ve been to some new music concerts where people are scattered around the hall and you can’t hear each other so the Pulse might do the trick.
  • It occurred to me that the hearing impaired might find the vibrating metronome useful. Not sure. Anyone have experience with this?

The Core model

I think Soundbrenner’s next model the Core will really cover a wider range of usability. The features look much more enticing to me:

  • Vibrating Metronome
  • Magnetic Tuner
  • Decibel Meter
  • It’s an actual watch (as in a clock)

I hope it has speakers for a normal metronome function too.


Categories: Guitar News

Steve Cowan Plays Weiss

This is Classical Guitar - Sat, 09/21/2019 - 09:41

Canadian guitarist Steve Cowan plays Prelude & Allemande from Sonata V in G Major by Silvius Leopold Weiss (1687 – 1750). This comes via Cowan’s great YouTube channel. Beautiful performance by Cowan with special attention to phrasing and a gentle delivery. I love Weiss and the galant style of the late Baroque. It has all my favourite qualities of the Baroque but with more flowing and easy to follow primary lines and almost classical style elegance. Video and sound by Drew Henderson.

I’ll be releasing an edition and videos for the entire Suite IX by Weiss this month, so stay tuned.


Categories: Guitar News

2021 GFA Convention Location Announced!

Guitar Foundation News - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:30

2021 Guitar Foundation of America 

International Convention & Competition

June 21-26, 2021

Hosted by Dr. Martha Masters and Andrew York

California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

The Guitar Foundation of America will hold the 2021 GFA International Convention and Competition from June 21-26, 2021 at California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA. This annual event brings together approximately 600 classical guitar masters and enthusiasts from all over the world, including some of the most elite performers of classical guitar. The 2021 GFA Convention and Competition will be hosted by California State University, Fullerton?s guitar faculty Dr. Martha Masters and Andrew York.

The six-day convention includes three concerts per day, a wide array of lectures, hands-on workshops, masterclasses and private lessons, a comprehensive vendor exposition and luthier showcase, Hall of Fame awards ceremony, and two guitar orchestras, open to all attendees. The GFA Convention is also home to three divisions of prestigious classical guitar competitions. The winner of the GFA International Concert Artist Competition is awarded an extensive international tour, along with a cash prize, recording contract, and publishing contract. The International Youth Competition (IYC) has both senior and junior divisions that offer young players the opportunity to perform for an elite panel of judges as well as the large GFA audience. Winners of the IYC receive cash awards and generous prizes from our sponsors.

GFA is pleased to continue holding our newer convention events, the International Ensemble Competition (IEC) and the Guitar Summit. The IEC presents distinguished guitar ensembles from around the world to the GFA audience. Guitar Summit is an annual youth camp for serious guitar students ages 11-18. GFA is proud to offer this six-day, five-night sleep-away guitar camp for aspiring young musicians. The camp will consist of special guest workshops, concerts, and repertoire classes with feedback and instruction from world-class staff and convention artists. 

The Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) is the world?s leading classical guitar organization, promoting excellence in performance, literature, research, and education of the classical guitar. The organization publishes a quarterly magazine, Soundboard, along with its peer-reviewed counterpart, Soundboard Scholar, and Prodigies, a children?s magazine. The GFA also organizes Regional Symposia in cities across the country, promotes education and research in the field, and hosts an annual Convention and Competition each summer.

For complete details on the event visit the GFA website at

Contact us at:

Categories: Guitar News

Tariq Harb plays Prelude to a Song by Williams

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 09/19/2019 - 11:33

Tariq Harb plays Prelude to a Song by John C. Williams (the guitarist). This comes via Harb’s fantastic YouTube Channel. Great playing by Harb as usual. Hypnotic and really nice balance between the continuous arpeggios and the melody. As Harb says, “The great guitarist John C. Williams has composed several beautiful pieces for solo guitar and guitar ensemble which he published a few years ago on his website.” You can find William’s hand-written scores here. I didn’t think much of these pieces when I first saw them posted years ago but hearing Harb play them has really changed my mind, they are great little pieces.

Categories: Guitar News

Jennifer Kim plays Sonata K27 by Scarlatti

This is Classical Guitar - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:25

Jennifer Kim plays Sonata K27, L449 by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) on a classical guitar made by Yulong Guo at the Guitar Salon International showroom in Santa Monica, CA. This comes via their great YouTube Channel. A number of things I really like about Kim’s playing: Her terraced dynamics are amazingly controlled. Her tempo is very fast and yet she is able to bring out some of the melodic motifs very clearly and musically. I’ve posted her playing on the site many times and she continues to grow in virtuosity and musicality.

Categories: Guitar News

Grade 2 Lesson: Moderato by Mertz

This is Classical Guitar - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 10:11

This lesson comes from my new book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 2 – Seven pieces at the grade two level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.

Moderato by Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) from his Schule für die Guitarre, 1848 – The final piece will focus on musical excitement and a mix of different technical requirements. Practice very slowly with a metronome at first and then gradually work up the tempo one day at a time.

YouTube Lesson Link (4k)

Categories: Guitar News

Grade 2 Lesson: Romanze by Mertz

This is Classical Guitar - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:58

This lesson comes from my new book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 2 – Seven pieces at the grade two level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.

Romanze by Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) from his Schule für die Guitarre, 1848 – Mertz had a strong sense of melody influenced by some of the great composers he admired and he often made arrangements of works such as Schubert lieder (songs). This work includes his strong sense of melody.

YouTube Lesson Link (4k)

Categories: Guitar News

Grade 2 Lesson: Lantururu by Sanz

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 10:56

This lesson comes from my new book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 2 – Seven pieces at the grade two level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece. Check it out at Werner Guitar Editions.

Lantururu by Gaspar Sanz (ca 1650-1710), from Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra española, 1674. Upper position playing will not become common until grade 3 but it’s good to get some experience to prepare for the future. Unlike previous upper position reading in my methods, this piece will meander up the first string.

YouTube Lesson Link (4k)

Categories: Guitar News

Grade 2 Lesson: Espanoleta (Theme) by Sanz

This is Classical Guitar - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 09:46

This lesson comes from my new book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 2 – Seven pieces at the grade two level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece. Check it out at Werner Guitar Editions.

Espanoleta (Theme) by Gaspar Sanz (ca 1650-1710), from Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra española, 1674. This piece will serve as an introduction to ornaments (trills). Ornaments decorate the music but should not disrupt the primary notes. Always practice without ornaments when starting a new piece.

Written Ornamentation – This piece uses trills (a rapid alternation between two notes). Ornaments decorate a primary (written) note in a piece, sometimes causing harmonic tension in the music or a fluttering decretive character. Some of the trills in this piece start from the written note and others start from the note above (upper auxiliary). Trills don’t usually include the letter names of the notes above but I’ve included them in this book as a helpful introduction.

How did I choose what notes to use in the trills? There is no specific rule for how to play trills, it is usually something the performer chooses based on their preference, historical awareness, and music theory knowledge. Sanz included trill symbols but did not indicate whether to start on the written note or the note above. In many Baroque era pieces trills will start on the upper auxiliary but depending on the musical circumstance and musical era it could be either. I follow a general procedure for Sanz: if the preceding note is an upper auxiliary I start on the note above. This ‘suspends’ the previous note into the new harmony (this is called a suspension). You don’t need to know the theory at this point, just start playing.

YouTube Lesson Link (4k)

Categories: Guitar News

Scintilla: After Arvo Pärt by Pasieczny

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 13:55

Scintilla: After Arvo Pärt composed by Marek Pasieczny and played by Krzysztof Pełech , Michal Stanikowski,  and Marek Pasieczny. This comes via Marek Pasieczny’s YouTube. Pretty piece with some darker moments, interesting harmonies and some great ensemble playing.

Some info on the piece: “SCINTILLA (from Latin: ‘spark’) means “a sparkling glittering particle”, “a tiny or scarcely detectable amount”. This miniature is my ‘tribute’ to one of the most significant living composers of our time – Arvo Pärt, and also my personal fulfillment of composing something mystical, profound and saturated with my catholic faith. The piece is divided into three slow movements separated by ‘attacca’. The middle movement titled “Psalm” forms the ‘heart’ of the piece, inspired by and based on the first four entrances (men’s voice lines) of “De Profundis” (for male choir, organ and percussion). Arvo Pärt composed this piece in 1980 (coincidently the year of my birth). The entire work is based mainly on the affiliation between two chords: A flat major and G major.” Read more about the piece in his YouTube description. CD / Stream / Score.

Categories: Guitar News