Us­ing yoUr nails

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY: CLASSICAL -

The pick­ing hand fin­ger­nails for the clas­si­cal gui­tarist are su­per im­por­tant in or­der to cre­ate a good tone that will be con­sis­tent and will pro­ject. A good shape that works for you must be es­tab­lished and main­tained. The length should ex­tend just be­yond the fin­ger­tips and should be a curve fol­low­ing the shape of the fin­ger­tip. A slight slant on the left side (back of the hand fac­ing you) will act as a ramp for the string leav­ing the fin­ger­tip when you pluck. You will need an ar­ray of nail files and fine sand pa­per to file and pol­ish for a smooth fin­ish and clean tone. and BwV999 is no ex­cep­tion. The pat­tern re­quires free­stroke fin­ger­ing across the higher strings while the thumb plays the bass melody. The pat­tern is al­most en­tirely p i a m i m i p i p i (with p i m a rep­re­sent­ing thumb, first, sec­ond and third fin­gers re­spec­tively), so can be con­sid­ered a re­ally use­ful ar­peg­gio study. how­ever, the pat­tern is not en­tirely con­sis­tent and in­volves some fret­ting hand slurs (bars 31-34) so you can’t be com­pla­cent. some per­form­ers like to play this piece rather fast, and oth­ers choose to pull the rhythms around quite lib­er­ally, but i’ve opted for a rel­a­tively mod­er­ate tempo and un­fussy rhyth­mic in­ter­pre­ta­tion so you can hear the gor­geous har­mony un­fold­ing as you play.

Bach’s pieces can test the lim­its of clas­si­cal guitar tech­nique but this is a lovely and rel­a­tively ac­ces­si­ble in­tro­duc­tion for the solo gui­tarist to his amaz­ing mu­sic. i highly rec­om­mend adding this to your per­for­mance reper­toire.

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