This is Classical Guitar
Kremona KNA NG-1, AP-1 and Schaller Piezo Pickups for Classical Guitar
Behind the saddle and contact transducer piezo pickup solutions
Youtube Video Link (4k)
Buy or Learn More via Amazon
- Kremona KNA NG-1 – Behind the saddle, tie-block mounted piezo
- Kremona KNA AP-1 – Surface / contact mount piezo transducer pickup
- Schaller ‘Oyster’ – Surface / contact mount piezo transducer pickup
A review of the Kremona KNA NG-1, AP-1, and Schaller ‘Oyster’ Piezo Pickup for Nylon String Guitar. Need to amplify your classical guitar? These are pickups for classical guitars that are detachable and easy to use. The video includes an unboxing, installation, and demo tests. Some of the most convenient external pickup solutions for classical guitar.
Conclusion: The NG-1 sounds the most natural to me but the Schaller is the best build quality and so easy to use. I’ve had my Schaller for almost 20 years and it sounds as good if not better than the AP-1. Schaller is made in Germany. Just make sure to use some non-adhesive static cling protection for your guitar because the contact mics use a sticky putty to mount.
One thing I forgot to mention is that on 6 hole bridges there could be some loss of energy due to a slightly different angle of the string on the saddle. I think this is pretty minimal though, especially if tie the string low enough. On 12 hole bridges this is not an issue.
I was very pleased to listen to Sam Cave’s new album featuring contemporary music for guitar. It’s an exciting new release “exploring the resonance of the guitar and spectrum of harmonic overtones including music by Hoartiu Radulescu, Christopher Fox, Tristan Murail and two sonatas written by George Holloway.” You can read the full album notes in the digital booklet (PDF) which also includes detailed descriptions of the work by Cave and some of the composers.
The album opens with the beautiful and haunting Tellur (1977) by Tristan Murail which sets the sound stage for sonic exploration. In Murail’s own words “Tellur starts off as a kind of wager: how can one produce the long sound continua necessary for my work on procedures, transitions and evolutions, on an instrument that produces brief, plucked sounds?” The album then switches to new music composed for Cave including the two Sonatas by George Holloway. These are works of heavy contrast, both in compositional material but also in texture. The mix of beautifully spacious soundscapes filled with microtuning, harmonics, and fluttering impulses meet sharp accents and direct motives in a highly virtuosic performance. I really enjoyed the extra space in the Second Sonata and silent, yet intense, rhythmic pacing. Chile (1991) by Christopher Fox changes up the texture to explore South American rhythms in a hypnotic kaleidoscope of strumming. Fox has written a large number of chamber music works that include guitar that are well worth exploring. Subconscious Wave by Horaţiu Rădulescu is a real meditation on sound. In the performer’s words, “In this piece, Rădulescu’s only for guitar, the strings are microtonally retuned to match certain overtones from the harmonic spectrum of the note C. The performer then plucks, with varying degrees of resonance, a hugely complex array of natural harmonics against a backdrop of ever shifting digital sound. ” The album ends with Cave’s own composition which an intimate and contemplative piece that nicely ties the album together.
Refracted Resonance by Sam Cave is a daring and beautiful exploration of new soundscapes on the modern guitar. From intimate and spacious mediations to virtuosic contrasts, Cave creates new worlds of sound in focused and thoughtful performances of new music and pinnacle modern works.
From the performer
Sam Cave writes in the album notes: “For every note the guitar can play there are an infinite number of tone colors waiting to be coaxed from its body.” This is demonstrated very well in this collection of very new works, which extend the tone palette of the guitar in many ways, from the still, almost mantra-like Refracted Meditation III by the performer, to complex and thickly-textured works by Fox and Murail, two distinctive sonatas by George Holloway and the almost alien soundworld conjured up by Horaţiu Rădulescu in the only work which introduces electronics (taped sounds) alongside the pure acoustics of the guitar. The contrast between Cave’s sparse, single line interspersed with gentle chords, and Murail’s transfer of spectral cluster technique, is exceptional. – via Divine Art
- Tellur by Tristan Murail (b.1947)
- Guitar Sonata by George Holloway (b. 1983)
- Chile by Christopher Fox (b.1955)
- Second Guitar Sonata by George Holloway (b.1983)
- Subconscious Wave, Op. 58 by Horaţiu Rădulescu
- Refracted Meditations III by Sam Cave (b. 1987)
Canadian guitarist Brent Crawford plays Cavatina by Polish composer Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986). The movements: i) Preludio ii) Sarabande (3:27) iii) Scherzino (6:20) iv) Barcarole (9:10). This comes via his great YouTube channel with video work by the amazing Drew Henderson. Great playing by Crawford with a particularly nice Scherzino and some excellent phasing in the Barcarole. Crawford is a recent graduate of the Doctor of Musical Arts program (2018) from the University of Toronto.
Alex Park playing A Fancy by Elizabethan composer and lutenist John Dowland (1563-1626) via the excellent Guitar Salon International and their fantastic YouTube channel on a 2019 Dominik Wurth guitar. Dowland is one of my favourite composers and we are very lucky to be able to play his music which works well on the modern guitar. Great performance here by Park. He sets up the rhythmic feel and really keeps to it with ultra clean playing, nice phrasing, and clear voice separation. I’m used to a slightly more sweet and relaxed delivery but he really pulls it off with some high virtuosity at the end!
Canadian guitarist Adam Cicchillitti plays Toccata (1933) by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901–1999). This comes via his great YouTube channel with video work by the amazing Drew Henderson and guitar by Canadian luthier Jean Rompré. Exciting performance from Cicchillitti who continues to impress us. Nice clean and clear playing with some sweet phrasing in the slower section. As he mentions, “Rodrigo’s Toccata was discovered in the archives of guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza over 80 years after it was written. The piece is more popularly known as the first movement of the Concierto de Estio for solo violin.”
Ana Vidovic live in concert with over one hour of performance. This comes via Siccas Guitars and their great YouTube channel in celebration of thier 200,000+ subscribers (wow!). Great time stamps too, they link automatically if you watch on Youtube.
- 00:00 Cello Suite No 1 BWV 1007 by Johann Sebastian Bach
- 0:11 Prelude
- 2:57 Allemande
- 7:04 Courante
- 09:35 Sarabande
- 12:26 Menuet I / II
- 15:04 Gigue
- 16:47 Grande Ouverture Op. 61 by Mauro Giuliani
- 25:16 Sonata in A major K 322 by Domenico Scarlatti
- 28:22 Sonata in E major K 380 by Domenico Scarlatti
- 33:49 Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega
- 38:00 Coughing by an anonymous fan in the public
- 38:11 La Catedral by Agustín Barrios Mangoré
- 45:39 Una Limosna Por el Amor de Dios by Agustin Barrios Mangoré
- 49:35 Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart Op 9 by Fernando Sor
- 58:09 Asturias by Isaac Albéniz
Duo Karuna with Jessica Kaiser (Guitar) & Johanna Rupper (violin) perform Fratres by Arvo Pärt (b.1935). This comes via Open Strings Berlin and their absolutely fantastic Youtube Channel. Great playing here and such a beautiful expansive sense of space and pacing.
The piece has gone through so many permutations and this arrangement only contributes to that tradition. via wiki: “Fratres (Brothers) is a composition by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt exemplifying his tintinnabuli style of composition. It is three-part music, written in 1977, without fixed instrumentation and has been described as a “mesmerizing set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt’s observation that ‘the instant and eternity are struggling within us’.”
Also see JIJI playing Fratres (arr. and electronics by JIJI) for another example.
Major Scales for Classical Guitar (PDF) – Beginner to Intermediate Classical Guitar. PDF includes notation, TAB, fingering, some diagrams, tips, and more. 32 pages. 2019 Edition.
Includes: Common open and closed scale patterns up to four sharps or flats, two octaves (some three octaves), and examples of open string shifts. Also includes the five closed major scale patterns over the entire fretboard. Video lessons for the book and all scales via YouTube.
What is this book? This book is for the development of fretboard knowledge and technique for beginner to intermediate classical guitar. It is a manageable amount of information intended for students looking for a foundation in major scales. If a student can gain a foundation in major scales they will be much more prepared for the extensive world of minor scales and modes. I highly recommend you study Aaron Shearer’s Scale Supplement following the completion of this book to continue your progress and reading skills.
How comprehensive is it? I wanted this book to be straight-forward and manageable. Therefore, I’ve only included common scale patterns up to two octaves, except where three octaves are feasible. I have also limited the book to key signatures containing no more than four sharps and flats. That said, the final section of this book covers the entire fretboard and represents a significant study of major scales on the guitar. I hope these pages will introduce students to a number of concepts before studying other books and music theory.Buy from My Sheet Music Store (PDF)
All coming this week (uploading videos now)
- Tips and ways to practice major scales
- C Major Scales for Guitar
- G Major Scales for Guitar
- D Major Scales for Guitar
- A Major Scales for Guitar
- E Major Scales for Guitar
- F Major Scales for Guitar
- Bb Major Scales for Guitar
- Eb Major Scales for Guitar
- Ab Major Scales for Guitar
- The Five Closed Major Scale Patterns Over the Entire Fretboard
How should I study this book? Students with more experience may wish to start their study with the final section of this book on the Five Closed Major Scale Patterns Over the Entire Fretboard. This is an intense amount of information but will be relatable to all the scales in this book. Beginners can start by simply playing only one octave open position scales in each key.
Recommended Followup Books by Other Publishers
Scale Pattern Studies For Guitar, Supplement 3 by Aaron Shearer – I highly recommend using this method during or after you feel confident with the patterns in my book. Shearer’s book is excellent and reinforces solid melodic sight reading and usage of scales in both major and minor keys.
RCM Theory Books – I recommend using theory books with a teacher to gain a real understanding of music theory. For just an overview or self study you could try the Berklee Theory Book or the Hal Leonard Music Theory for Guitar which includes guitar diagrams etc but it’s very difficult to retain the info in overview books or without a teacher.
Jazz Books – Another excellent way to gain scale and fretboard knowledge is through jazz books. Jazz and improvisation in general is a great way to engage with scales in a meaningful way.
Joshua Shi plays the Final from Suite pour Guitare Op.41 by Canadian composer Jacques Hétu (1938–2010). This comes via Guitar Salon International and their YouTube channel. Played on a on a 1988/2016 Jeff Elliott that was built in 1988 as an 8-string, then converted into a 6-string in 2016 (why would someone do this?). I’m currently working on this suite so can’t pass up any opportunity to post Hetu. Maybe a bit on the wiry side (more lush Romantic sustain could be good) but everything is there from great accents, dynamics, tons of excitement, and good presentation of the multi-layered texture. Plus, super impressive for this young player to pull off. Congrats to him.
Sheet Music: Suite pour Guitare Op.41
Tariq Harb plays the third movement, Allegro vivo from Sonata, Op.61 for solo guitar by Joaquin Turina (1882–1949) originally dedicated to Segovia. This comes via Harb’s fantastic YouTube Channel. Love his energetic and beautiful playing and nice to see all the up close rasgueado. Extra points for that Douglass Scott guitar (my neck of the woods, Vancouver Island Canada, I also play one).
The Sailor’s Fate by Nikita Koshkin (b.1956) from his Da Capo – 24 Easy Pieces. Russian title is Судьба Моряка. Tempo Moderato flotato. These “easy” pieces range from Beginner to Intermediate and all have great character. I’ll be posting more student repertoire every week.
Sheet Music Plus Link: Da Capo by Koshkin
I was very pleased to be sent this exquisite recording of new music for voice and guitar with new compositions by American composers. The musical language and writing for guitar and voice is excellent throughout. With great ensemble performances, intricate and musical guitar work, and soaring vocals, this is a very exciting release.
“Since their formation in 2009, The Bowers Fader Duo (Jessica Bowers, mezzo-soprano, and Oren Fader, guitar) has commissioned over 20 new works from American composers representing a wide range of compositional aesthetics. Between Us All, their debut recording, features performances of works by Paul Salerni, Scott Wheeler, Tim Mukherjee, and David Claman, that highlight the duo’s precise realization of the musical score and expressive communication of the texts.” – via New Focus Recordings
Paul Salerni: Something Permanent
- 1. Land
- 2. Mission
- 3. Minstrels
- 4. Boys
- 5. Apartment
- 6. Bed
- 7. Rocker
Scott Wheeler: Canzoni Italiane
- 8. Non mi mandar messaggi
- 9. L’amor mio partì soldato
- 10. Vieni, corri da me
- 11. She Left for Good But Came Back
- 12. Ganga-Yamuna
- 13. The Maldive Shark
- 14. The Enviable Isles
Tim Mukherjee: Folk Song Settings
- 15. Prelude
- 16. Adieu, Dundee
- 17. O Come, Emmanuel
- 18. Interlude
- 19. Idumea
Sanel Redžić plays Fantasie by Silvius Leopold Weiss (1687 – 1750). This comes via Redžić’s amazing YouTube channel. Guitar by Otto Vowinkel 2004 and recorded in Schottenkirche, Erfurt, Germany. Great playing as usual from Redžić. I love his balanced approach and direct musicality. Weiss is some of my favourite music of any era or instrument. There is something wonderful about this late Baroque galant style that is simultaneously simple and easy to listen to but also elegant and intellectual. It’s perfect!
March Funebre by Catharina Josepha Pratten (1824-1895), also know as Madame Sidney Pratten. Video lesson and performance. Sheet Music for Classical Guitar with Notation Only or Notation & TAB plus fingering. PDF Download. The level is Mid-Intermediate (Approximately Grade 6) due to some tricky chords and fingering.
Free PDF Notation Edition
Buy the TAB Edition
- Buy March Funebre by Pratten (TAB) from Werner Guitar Editions – My dedicated sheet music store.
March Funebre by Catharina Josepha Pratten (1824-1895), also know as Madame Sidney Pratten. This piece for classical guitar comes from Madame R. Sidney Pratten’s Guitar School (1859). Born Catharina Josepha Pelzer in Mülheim. She was a German guitarist, composer and teacher. Her father, Ferdinand Pelzer, was German guitarist and music teacher. Later married to the flautist Robert Sidney Pratten, hence the name used in the method book and elsewhere. The piece is marked Largo and is a funeral march. That said, it’s quite good a bit faster so I took a middle ground tempo. Youtube Video Lesson Link (4k)
Xuanxuan Sun Plays Variations on an Anatolian Folksong by Carlo Domeniconi (b.1947). This comes via PARTITA Guitar Salon in Seoul, Korea on their YouTube. I love this early work by Domeniconi and especially when played by one of my favourite players. Xuanxuan Sun has been featured on the site a number of times and always amazes me with her pristine musicality and technique.
Sheet Music Plus: Anatolian Variations by Domeniconi
Journey Instruments – FC522 Classical Guitar
First Class-ical FC522 travel guitar, solid cedar / solid pao ferro
YouTube Video Review Link
I’m at it again, having fun with the First Class-ical FC522 by Journey Instruments. It’s a collapsible travel guitar with solid cedar top and solid pao ferro back with full gloss finish on body, and satin finish for the neck. Influenced by a traditional Torres shape and bracing for a fairly traditional sound. Usually travel guitars are small and not ideal for practicing but this one is pretty much full size which is fantastic (see my note below on scale length). It collapses into a great roller carry-on case with retractable aluminum handle – which has room for all your gear, perfect for flights. Overall great value for the price of $999 USD via their site. The mellow warm tone will be appreciated by most.
What I liked
- The arm rest/bevel feels great and looks even better
- Assembly is super fast and easy, takes about 30 seconds (not counting tuning)
- The design effort is awesome, it looks cool and works super well
- Piezo amplification will be useful for people playing amped gigs
- Nice mellow sound and balance, good for the price and a travel guitar
- Solid wood top and back is nice to have for sustain and tone
- Guitar action and setup was great right out of the box, I didn’t need to do a single adjustment. That in itself is super impressive.
- Small feel of the instrument and body is perfect for me (I’m short)
- Finishing and workmanship is generally high quality, especially for this price range
- Price is great at $999 USD
Things to consider
- Advertised as full size scale length of 650mm but I measured it at 625mm. It’s 650mm to the tie block but guitars are measured from nut to saddle, which is always what is expected for scale length. That said, I like small scale lengths and it feels great so I consider this a plus and they should advertise it as a plus. For the average person it will still feel pretty much like a full size.
- Only goes up to a high A (the normal is a B, sometimes a C nowadays). This is fine though, it’s a travel guitar so no big deal. Intermediate plays won’t notice/care most likely.
- I liked the sound overall but not much ‘pop’ response on upper strings. Still, well balanced though. It’s a great travel guitar but don’t expect too much in a hall.
Journey Instruments Promo Paragraph
The First Class-ical FC522 is an amazing collapsible performance-ready travel guitar with solid cedar top and solid pao ferro back with full gloss finish on body, and satin finish for the neck. It’s super ergonomic with a robust Manzer© wedge and traditional Torres sized body. With a standard 52mm nut and 650mm scale, the traditional Torres shape and bracing make this guitar sound a rich and full as a performance grade classical guitar at more than twice this price.! Barre chords are easy, and the body shape makes for hours of playing without shoulder fatigue. It collapses to carry-on dims of 22*14.8*9 inches in our roller carry-on case with retractable aluminum handle – which has more than enough room for all your gear. Premium appointments make this guitar a gem for classical guitarists who need a ultra-portable quality sounding classical guitar that is stage ready and plays like a dream!
Full Specs and Info
Adam Levin playing La Primavera from Platero y Yo by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968) on a 2012 Jeffrey Elliott classical guitar. This comes via Guitar Salon International and their YouTube channel. One can never get enough of Tedesco’s excellent motivic writing and Levin’s energetic performance here.
Russian guitarist Valeria Galimova plays Quatre Pièces Brèves by Frank Martin (1890–1974). This comes via Guitar Magazine on Youtube via Moscow. The four movements are: I. Prelude; II. Air (2:25); III. Plainte (3:55); IV. Comme une Gigue (6:04).
If you’re interested about the history of this piece check out Hans Jonkers article summing up the Segovia interaction and eventual publication of the work and its variants. I’ve always loved the Martin pieces for their musical language and how he focuses on melody and motivic unity. Frank Martin was a Swiss composer, who lived a large part of his life in the Netherlands. He wrote Quatre pièces brèves in 1933 but also has some chamber music with guitar including this piece I’ve love to perform someday: Poèmes de la mort for for tenor, baritone, bass and 3 electric guitars (one is a bass guitar I believe).
Sheet Music via Amazon: Quatre pièces brèves
This beginner lesson for classical guitar covers 10 important lessons when learning classical guitar. This is a general overview lesson for beginner classical guitar but is also useful to intermediate students, see below for more specific topics. Find more lessons at the Lesson Archive Page. For free lessons, sheet music, and videos join the Email Newsletter. My free method book. Like these lessons? Consider supporting the site.10 Classical Guitar Lessons for Beginners
1. Reexamine your posture and hand positions – Small adjustments in a number of places in your set up can make a big difference. Beginners need to constantly reevaluate.
2. Consider ergonomics on classical guitar – Beginners and intermediate students should closely watch for strange contortions and anything that is not ergonomic. Using a mirror can help.
3. Practice very slowly – I’ve rarely encountered a student who practices as slowly as I think they should. Practicing ultra slowly will ensure you are playing with your best hand positions, sound, confidence, relaxation, accuracy, and more. Once you can play something well at a slow tempo, you can speed it up while keeping an eye on the quality level.
4. Play the melody on its own (keep it simple) – If you can’t play the melody nicely on its own, how can you play all the note? Learn to play the melody nice and legato first and introduce the rest of the notes after.
5. Dive deeper into musicality – Students can get super caught up in their own technique and progress but remember to strive for better phrasing, dynamic shaping, and overall musicality.
6. Quality practice and happiness – Making your practice sessions enjoyable will be key to long-term musical success and development. When experiencing difficulties, break up the piece or exercise into small manageable goals at a speed you can accomplish successfully. Even if you only play a few notes at a time, playing successfully will improve your skills and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
7. Treat and reward yourself – Make your practice session an enjoyable and special time of your day. Have a treat or nice coffee, buy that nice music stand and metronome.
8. Playing well, don’t compare yourself to others (too much) – Focus instead on having a solid rhythm, legato lines, confident and full tone. Forget about reaching fast tempos, develop a solid and beautiful foundation first.
9. Listen to more music (not just guitar) – You must increase your awareness of the larger musical world. Guitar is great but it’s only a small niche and won’t inform you of all the musical eras diversity. Listen to piano, strings, symphonies, Bach cantatas, voice, lieder, and more.
10. Practice everyday, there are no bad days – I don’t believe in good or bad practice days. All days are good opportunities to practice something. On days when you are having trouble focusing or executing material cleanly, slow down your speed and use a metronome until you are playing well. You may have to play at half the speed you intended but you can still get in some quality practice.More Video Lessons for Beginner Classical GuitarMore Lessons for Beginner Classical Guitar
- Step 1: Lessons for Your Guitar and Hand Positions
- Basic Technique Overview Video – Slideshow of Photos, Tips, & Diagrams
- Sitting Position for Classical Guitar – Video, Photos, Tips, Diagrams
- Right Hand Position for Classical Guitar – Video, Photos, Tips, Diagrams
- Left Hand Position for Classical Guitar – Video, Photos, Tips, Diagrams
- Tips and Advice for Beginner Classical Guitarists – Video, connects the above lessons
- Step 2: Learn to Play with Method Books with Video Lessons
- Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 1 by Werner – Free 100 page PDF method with 20+ video lessons for beginners. Focus is on reading music and playing melodies and arpeggios.
- Classical Guitar Method Book Vol. 2 by Werner – Solos, duets, chords songs, 15+ video lessons. The main focus is on reading in different keys but also introducing slurs, half barres, rhythm, and some upper positions.
- Step 3: Practice Repertoire & Technique Books with Video Lessons
- Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 1 – Eight pieces at the grade one level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
- Classical Guitar Technique by Werner – Essential exercises, scales, and arpeggios. Study this as you continue with all the below material.
- Ten Classical Etudes – Ten progressive etudes from the classical era with video lessons. Grade 4-7.
Bradford Werner plays Impressions soleil couchant (à Francis Poulenc) by Roland Dyens (1955-2016) and via my YouTube. I’ll be trying to post weekly student and intermediate pieces so you can discover new repertoire to play. I love this simple hommage to Poulenc that I’ll pair with Poulenc’s Sarabande. This comes from Dyen’s Vol. 1 of Les 100 de Roland Dyens which contains 100 intermediate pieces. The pieces are almost small motivic improvisations and etudes forming an unpretentious collection of musical flavours.