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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Categories: Guitar News

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

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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