These really do help. These are challenging, but also help quite a bit. I began my study of guitar 10 years ago when I was I am so glad I did. I have played in public many time. Mostly easier pieces, but some harder ones that took longer to learn. I know there are some I will never be able to play, but I enjoy working on the Cello suites by Bach. I have a background in music, so that helps. I play violin and viola and I sing also.
But guitar is still my favorite. Can anyone lend a hand in the proper selection of an on line course in Classical Guitar? Thanks in addvance. Thanks for the article. I had an older student who suffered with arthritis in his hands. Seems the exercise he was giving the fingers while learning guitar really helped stifle some of the pain. I wonder if you have any thoughts on this. Thanks Max Steinhoff. I have some minor arthritis in both hands, but my left hand was bothering me quite a bit. I hardly have any pain anymore and my fingers are nowhere near as tight feeling as they were in the beginning.
This is an excellent article — thanks for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate what you said about repertoire. That is such a challenge with adults and teens — they do want to play challenging pieces before they understand the basics. I teach children mostly, but do teach several adults and teens. The music is very enjoyable and graded well. The book also comes with a CD, so students can listen to all the music and get to know it well. I suggested to Dr. Hi I am a retired 78 year old. I would like to know a serious method for learning the notes on the fretboard.
I am just learning to play for my own personal pleasure and enjoyment. Any help and suggestion for learning the notes would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your note. Check it out here:. I think what helped me was to make my own diagram on paper and write down the notes by hand. I learned the notes going across in the open position, at the fifth fret and the seventh fret—and later more positions across. This seemed to give a structure from which I could locate and recall the other notes.
I also played each note, on each string, from the first position to the twelfth position saying the notes out loud. Recognizing that the notes were the same at the twelfth position helped too. Sometimes old short fat men should not play classical guitar, and I wrote that more than twenty years ago. Here I am still playing and loving the sound every time I strum a string. I fell asleep one night after playing and dropped the guitar resulting in some damage but I just felt more secure holding it in my arms. Great blog! This is a brilliant summing up of the challenges of classical and the dangers of trying to race before you can walk at a decent pace.
Having written loads of songs and been fairly proficient in a number of styles including fingerstyle on steel string, I started teaching myself classical and learning to read music to get myself out of a rut. It is a huge challenge and I have had to work on dispensing with old habits of left-hand placement which may be fine for steel string with its narrower neck I have a lovely Martin D which I bought new and is now 35 years old and still marvellous and versatile but not suitable for the classical instrument.
Also while only we ourselves can do the work the guidance of excellent teachers is indispensable.
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Only an experienced teacher can help you with the challenges you have to meet. Oh, and more good news is that learning classical is really improving my steel string technique too! Thank you so much for addressing the issues of the older guitar player. I have simply avoided getting started because I am very nervous of my abilities and rate of progress but your comments have given me the courage and confidence to take up the guitar again, Jim, 71 years young, London Canada. One of the nice things about returning to the guitar after many years of not playing—I am almost 71—is that you now have the patience to learn things the right way.
It always makes me try harder! I think that would be good advice no matter what your age. I do practice but how to practice and what exactly to practice are simply a guess for me. Listening to accomplished guitarists seems impossible to me and yet I continue to practice the fundamentals with numerous questions. A big thumbs up to you for this recent article. Any advice would have been very helpful then, but sadly nothing like that was available in my part of the world. For me, its always been a personal quest to try an achieve something with this instrument.
My horizons then being expanded accordingly. Fortunately for many, there exists plenty of instructional material on the internet now that can provide assistance for those that lack a teacher or an associate. Whereas trying to emulate any of these YouTube productions at correct tempo just leads to mounting disappointment. I agree with the notion that one of the largest mistakes beginning players do make is trying to play pieces at tempos that are well beyond there personal capabilities, with disappointment lurking just around the corner.
The recent comment by Jeff Blackwell August 1, being a nice example. Hi Simon. Many thanks for this article. In an earlier life I got to quite a good standard but sadly at a much older age, I am struggling particularly with focus and application. Thanks again. I believe it has been fairly well established that learning a musical instrument as one gets older, is highly advantageous, in that it helps to keep the mind active and alert. Simon, your comment about mental focus in older people, is certainly at odds with my experience and the experience of many of my associates.
Indeed, it is the young who apparently have challenges around focus and concentration span. In fact, many young people I know, have the concentration span of a newt. I have found that learning the classical guitar has been a wonderful journey and as I have no teacher, it is also something of an adventure. Trying out ways of doing things that are perhaps not conventional, is quite liberating.
The downside is that one occasionally ventures down fruitless paths….. Many thanks for tips on learning in older age. I agree nothing comes quick, although I have always in the past been a quick learner, it took me over a year to clear Book 1 of my series but what I have learned is strong. I submitted my provisional for Grade 1 in June but I am unlikely to be proficient by Oct to submit final of grade 1, despite daily practicing. My only wish is that we could be given 1 or 2 more simple, well known pieces to enjoy, between the listed repetoire.
Greensleeves … or some Chtistmas carols in time for the season. Good stuff everyone! I decided to teach myself in February of Very first song was Cavatina — one single note at a time. It was like building a brick house — making a trip to the hardware store for each individual brick to be set in place. And lastly a nice little jazz classic called Take 5. If you decide to do it… you can. Patient, Persistent, Plucking brings Pleasure!!! Get started and enjoy the adventure and always remember its all about the journey, not the destination.
I started at age 65 I had learned chords but forgotten all about guitar after age This article is spot-on. Some advantages of age—more patience, better listening skills. The graded books are a big help. Yes I get pain now and then. But the best advice I have is to be in the moment and enjoy it. Even if you are playing level 1 etudes, they still are the most beautiful music if you love classical guitar.
I retired in July and on returning to Australia, started serious Classical Guitar lessons with a tutor. I wish I had read this article at that time as it would have saved me quite some frustration. After reading and digesting the article I find myself in a much better place. And yes I have been guilty of sneaking ahead with a difficult piece when I should have been building my foundation. And yes, my guitar will be going in the car for our trip to the West. Thanks to Simon and at the team for the timely advice.
I am now wanting to start seriously learning my Classical guitar. I started guitar at 14 years old and have kept a number of them. Now I am 66 and during hip replacement surgery following a fall, the hospital somehow broke my left ring finger without realizing and it has healed almost straight, which now will not bend more or be absolutely straight and I have some arthritis in my hands. Guitar is good exercise for my hands and I am still doing well with the limited movement in the ring finger if I use the correct positioning.
I think from photographs it looks like Segovia had arthritic hands too. So we must continuer. I think there are some very successful handicapped guitarists , so we just have to not be deterred by our problems and keep playing. You are absolutely right that there are many examples of guitarists with hands that provided challenges and this was perhaps part of their success. They had to find creative solutions and in doing so they found their own musical voice. I find continuously varying nail length or lack thereof to be detrimental not only to tone, but consistent technique development.
And I dislike the muted tones of flesh only… I know there are artificial nail options, but they always seemed like too much trouble. Dear Simon and you all. Thank you for very enlightening comments and from a wonderful webpage Simon. This topic goes to the heart of my playing, as I am now 66 years of age, but started playing around the age of I ahem been playing for many years now, a bit on and off, but the latest 10 years or so fro about minutes per day, and have improved a little bit compared to my younger days.
I also regularly attend the Koblenz guitarfestival which is a really exciting experience- to see the level of playing these days and all the young students from all over the world- and to meet the great stars of course. To the point Simon: I see your advice not to play pieces that are too difficult. But it is a struggle not to do so, because some of these a-bit-too -difficult -pieces are so beautiful and it gives me so much pleasure to try to cope with them, even if I get frustrated. I can mention Serenata Espagnole by Malats. Sevillas by Albeniz, E-minor suite Bach and of course Recuerdos, as I always struggle with getting a good tremolo..
I want something to struggle with, even though I will never play these pieces perfectly. One question at the end: In my age closing up to 70 in some years, are there limits set by age, such as a certain reduced mobility in fingers, stiffness etc, even though I have no known diseases or disabilities that mug impede my technique? All the best to all and to you Simon Per from Oslo, Norway. Thanks for letting me see this, I found it, and the comments, most encouraging and insightful. What I find particularly frustrating is not so much learning where to place my fingers, but getting the sound and accuracy that I want.
I expect this is something that affects all ages. I have found that recording my playing over the last eight years and saving it on my PC is great for measuring progress and for boosting self esteem! Should one play to friends and relatives? And does what you play have to be perfect?
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They also help motivate me to move ahead. While using a classical guitar is my thing, classical music is not. I truly do miss the music from those olden days. Quite a decade. Love your comments. After 45 years of off and on, most off playing, I have gone back to my fits love, classical. I use your practice routines and also from thisisclassicalguitar. With these resources and youtube lessons it is easier than ever to remotely learn and individually improve.
As ever it is being brilliant at the basics which make the most improvements. I am now creating my own repertoire list of material i like and can play relatively well.
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I find it really motivating to have be able to play music, of whatever level, which sounds awesome. There is a real market for repertoire books that reflect different levels and that keep a person interested while playing great sounding music at all levels. For that reason alone I am considering buying the Suzuki method books. Many thanks for you Simon, I really enjoy all your discussions especially this one which is about the old ages classical guitar students. And many thanks for all of you dear commenters. One year ago, my daughter asked me to buy her a guitar, I picked up an acoustic one for her to practice however after a while I found myself using it more than her in a fingerpicking style.
So I bought myself a classical one and started my way from scratch. I started with a couple of simple method books, then after a lot of researches I found that I have to go through what exactly Simon said, so and also after a lot of researches i picked up one of technique books begginer to advanced level beside a series of Repertoire and Etudes also from beginner to advanced. Sorry dear Simon, all what I said above was before I discover you, otherwise you and your books will be my teacher. I found this article very relevant and I have no intention of learning classical guitar, but at 68 after playing blues from a young age I decided to learn Flamenco and there is much on CCG that helps in this as well, My tutor is very professional and I none the less I sometimes feel he must be frustrated with my progress.
Nerves are the one that Simon did not mention and I suffer badly from tuition anxiety in a past life playing blues I never had performance anxiety but I was well within a comfort zone. So in the end my single comment is trust your tutor to guide you along a route that is in the end a journey of enjoyment. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Learning guitar at an older age. Related Posts. May 28th, 9 Comments.
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April 28th, 10 Comments. March 4th, 11 Comments. Chris Peppler May 13, at am - Reply. Thank you for taking the time to address this subject — much appreciated. Karl May 27, at am - Reply. Karl, 75 years old, Sydney Australia,. PDL May 13, at pm - Reply. Jane Terry August 1, at am - Reply. Russ Walsh Phoenix, AZ. Kevin May 27, at am - Reply. I would like to echo many of the above comments. Anyway, its just a journey without a destination…. Enjoying CGC. Thanks for being there. Mary-Helen Smith May 27, at am - Reply.
Nancy July 13, at am - Reply. M Paul November 28, at pm - Reply. Laurie May 27, at pm - Reply. John Earls May 27, at pm - Reply. Ira Hirschman May 27, at pm - Reply. Rae May 27, at pm - Reply.
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Simon June 1, at pm - Reply. Steven L June 3, at am - Reply. Sandy Deane June 6, at am - Reply. Gerard Ruppert September 6, at am - Reply. David Jones November 4, at am - Reply. John Del Gaudio November 22, at am - Reply. Your advice about goals and focus are right on. Surprisingly so, for such a young guy.
Ben Robertson December 10, at pm - Reply.
Diana Roesling January 13, at pm - Reply. Jesus Escobedo January 14, at am - Reply. Sandy January 14, at am - Reply. Jesus Escobedo January 31, at am - Reply. Noel Hughes January 14, at pm - Reply. Molly January 14, at pm - Reply. Dennis Lang January 15, at pm - Reply. I enjoyed this article. Manual Ponce, Villa Lobos, Roland Dyens,… All of this has lead to arranging and recording original meditative instrumentals based on our travels. Lyhn January 15, at pm - Reply. Take care, Vince. Pauline January 16, at am - Reply. RON January 26, at pm - Reply.
Rod Gomez September 25, at pm - Reply. Donna Zitzelberger February 5, at pm - Reply. Dave Belcher March 19, at pm - Reply. Hi Charles, Thanks for your note. Drew Burgess March 19, at pm - Reply. Hi Charles, Good for you! Someone may have a better way than this but here is what I recall…… I think what helped me was to make my own diagram on paper and write down the notes by hand. All the best to you, Drew. Robert Wallace May 2, at pm - Reply.
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Myles November 20, at pm - Reply. Jim March 8, at am - Reply. Simon March 11, at am - Reply. Hi Jim, Great to hear! You are definitely in good company here at CGC :. Douglas R Thompson August 1, at am - Reply. Jeff Blackwell August 1, at pm - Reply. William A Gifford August 1, at pm - Reply. Hi Simon et al, A big thumbs up to you for this recent article. Cheers Bill Gifford. Geoffrey Farrell August 1, at pm - Reply. Jerry Bettington August 2, at am - Reply. John Pooley August 2, at am - Reply. Many thanks for your thoughtful article, Simon.
John, Wollongong Australia. Alan Simpson August 2, at am - Reply. Bubble Burns August 2, at am - Reply. Milo August 2, at am - Reply. Joanna Daneman August 8, at am - Reply. Dave Belcher August 8, at pm - Reply. Thanks for the helpful response, Joanna! Mike Harrison August 11, at am - Reply. Alan Walker September 27, at am - Reply. Simon November 11, at pm - Reply. Hi Alan, You are absolutely right that there are many examples of guitarists with hands that provided challenges and this was perhaps part of their success. Brian K Miller November 11, at pm - Reply.
Thanks for a great article! Per Nortvedt November 12, at am - Reply. This is the way chords are written in tabs. One of the disadvantages of using tabs instead of standard notation is that most tabs do not tell you the rhythm. The only way to get over this is to listen to the song over and over again and to learn the rhythm by ear.
Some advanced tabs do use symbols to show the rhythm of the song, but the way rhythm is notated varies from website to website. These symbols are usually just there to let you know to play a note with a certain technique. For example:. In this example, you will simply be picking the 9th and then 11th fret of the third string. Start by picking the note on the 9th fret, then slide up to the 11th fret while maintaining the pressure on the string. B bbp This bend is played twice. The second half of the phrase begins with the note on the 7th fret of the 3rd string, and instead of sliding up to the 9th fret, you will do a hammer onto the note this time.
Follow up by playing the 8th fret on the 2nd string twice, then performing a pull off from the note on the 11th fret to the 10th fret. End the phrase by playing the note on the 8th fret of the second string twice, then pick the muted 3rd string three times. For beginners, I suggest learning songs with as few of these special symbols as possible. Here are some good songs to start out with:. Reading guitar tabs is very similar to learning how to read in a new language. One really important point to make is that you always want to pick songs that are within your level.
If you decide to learn a song that is way too difficult, you will become frustrated very easily, and that may lead to you giving up on the guitar altogether. Always pick a song that is within your skill range in order to keep yourself motivated and constantly improving. Even the pros had to learn to crawl before walking. As always, remember to keep it fun! Start learning with our day free trial! Try our guitar courses! We teach a variety of instruments and styles, including classical and jazz guitar, piano, drums, and music theory. We offer high-quality music lessons designed by accredited teachers from around the world.
Our growing database of over lessons come with many features—self-assessments, live chats, quizzes etc. Learn music with LPM, anytime, anywhere! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. At a glance Strings and tunings Before we look at tabs, we first need to properly identify the number and tuning of each string. What do the numbers mean? Try playing the entire example above, and see whether you recognize the song!
A note on rhythm One of the disadvantages of using tabs instead of standard notation is that most tabs do not tell you the rhythm. Patience, grasshopper. Ready to learn the guitar? Click here to start your FREE trial.