Many a student of the classical guitar has noted with surprise along the way how the position you hold your guitar and can make all the difference to the kind of effects you can pull off. In general, as with all kinds of classical music, learning to relax your hands to the point of floppiness can be of the utmost importance to the classical guitar technique. While it may remind you of the regular folk guitar to look at a classical guitar, there is one crucial difference. With the classical guitar, if you’ve seen pictures of the greats at their instruments, the playing position is an upright one. This is actually a far more comfortable and sensible way in which to play guitar. The left hand is far more able to relax in this naturally comfortable position. Classical players will often position their left foot on a little footstool to make this as convenient as possible.

Relaxation techniques happen to be an important part of any course in learning classical guitar. The teacher will put you through elaborate courses of advice to do with how you can relax your wrists and your entire body as much as possible. As your teacher will tell you, if you let any tension into your muscles at any point in your body, pretty soon, it’ll begin to tell on the way the notes sound.

But it isn’t all about your left-hand at the frets alone. There’s a great deal of influence the right hand has on the sound of your classical guitar playing as well. Usually, you’ll use all the fingers of your right hand in your playing; you won’t use your little finger. Classical guitar artists use two different kinds of right hand playing technique Â- one that they call the free stroke and another that they call the rest stroke. The free stroke is simple Â- the player just plays the strings one after the other. With the rest stroke, the hand is supposed to dampen the string above the main played string afterwards. It produces an edgy effect. Do you use a pick to play classical guitar?

Not likely; your nails are your picks; and your teacher will usually tell you all about an elaborate technique to do with how you grow your nails and shape them with a file and sandpaper.

On the left hand, there are all manner of techniques, of course Â- the pull off, the hammer on, the vibrato. Many classical guitars students quit at an early stage because the going can be very slow. The slowness is an important part of learning method. The teacher wants to make sure that you learn good playing habits. And that takes time.

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