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Brid­get Mer­mikides in­tro­duces the sec­ond part of a four-part video master­class from the bril­liant Car­los Bonell on clas­si­cal gui­tar tech­nique.

Guitar Techniques - - Learning Zone -

Car­los Bonell con­tin­ues his ex­clu­sive master­class on clas­si­cal gui­tar tech­nique.

rest stroke and free stroke be­cause it will en­able you to pro­duce a dif­fer­ence of touch and ac­cen­tu­a­tion. The rest stroke, be­ing a heav­ier stroke, is per­fect for play­ing sin­gle-line melodies and also for pro­duc­ing the ac­cent and the rhyth­mic shape. So, for ex­am­ple, play­ing a sim­ple re­peated open-E first string in 3/4 time, the first beat of each bar can be em­pha­sised or ac­cented by us­ing a rest stroke (see Ex­am­ple 1).

Next, Car­los plays a Bach Min­uet in or­der to demon­strate how rest and free stroke are com­bined when play­ing a sim­ple sin­gle-note melody. Rest stroke is used to slightly em­pha­sise the first beats of the bars, while the re­main­der is played free stroke (see Ex­am­ple 2). Switch­ing from free stroke to rest stroke on a sin­glenote melody is a common way of build­ing tone and cre­at­ing a crescendo through a phrase.

Then Car­los talks about free-stroke chord play­ing. When pick­ing a four-note chord with the thumb and three fin­gers, it is im­por­tant to work on pro­duc­ing a bal­anced and even sound be­tween all the notes. This can be done us­ing a C ma­jor chord, and by aim­ing to cre­ate an equal pres­sure with the fin­ger­tips on each note (Ex­am­ple 3).

Ex­am­ple 4 and 5 demon­strate the an­gling of the pluck­ing fin­ger­nails against the strings to cre­ate subtlely dif­fer­ent tones and in­flec­tions. See Tech­nique Fo­cus for a more de­tailed de­scrip­tion of how this works.

To de­velop more in­di­vid­ual fin­ger con­trol

The rest stroke, be­ing a heav­ier stroke, is per­fect for play­ing sin­gle-line melodies and also for pro­duc­ing the ac­cent and the rhyth­mic shape.

when play­ing free stroke, Car­los re­turns to our C ma­jor ar­peg­gio and rec­om­mends you re­peat it un­til you have each note equal in tone and vol­ume. Make sure you don’t gloss over this as, with all clas­si­cal gui­tar tech­niques, the devil is in the de­tail. Then, once you have each note per­fectly even in tone and vol­ume, you can be­gin to em­pha­sise or ac­cent each digit in­di­vid­u­ally, as shown in Ex­am­ple 6. This is a great ex­er­cise in dy­namic con­trol and ex­pres­sion, us­ing sub­tle shifts in pick­ing vol­ume and tone. Again, de­vote ad­e­quate time to this ex­am­ple.

Fi­nally, Car­los ex­plains and demon­strates that in or­der to achieve the best pos­si­ble tone from play­ing free stroke, it’s best to think of the pluck as ‘push­ing’ rather than at­tack­ing the string. Have fun!

Car­los Bonell: this month it’s all about pluck­ing dy­nam­ics

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