Acoustic Guitar Lessons – What Kind Do I Need?

Author: classic-guitars  //  Category: Instruments - Guitars
Ricky Sharples posted:


So you have an acoustic guitar and you want to take lessons. The question of which style of acoustic guitar to learn can be a bit of a conundrum for the newbie guitar player. For a start you have two basic kinds of acoustic guitar – steel string and nylon string. Then there are several basic genres you could choose to learn.

Let us begin with making the most glaring distinction in acoustic guitar music: there is classical guitar music and there is the rest. Classical guitar has grown up in the past hundred years or so. It was originally a poor relation in the classical music family with few players and very small audiences. Over the years with the appearance of virtuoso classical guitar players and composers with a high level of sophistication and enthusiasm audiences have come to know something about what to expect from a classical guitarist.

If you are interested in classical guitar music then this will probably be your first choice. If you choose to learn classical guitar you are laying the foundation for a wide musical education. You will also be trained in how to play to produce expressive tone and color in your guitar playing, not to mention your technique will be on a higher level than guitarists in other genres.

There are some skills that most serious rock or jazz guitarists have that classical guitar players do not have, Classical guitarists are not trained in improvisation. No matter how much musical theory and advanced technique he has, in a situation where improvisation is needed a classical guitarist may as well be a sculptor. Neither will classical guitar lessons give you a good ear. All your music will be learnt from the printed page, and there will be no opportunity to develop an ear.

So if you pick classical as your acoustic guitar style, the musical training you receive will give you a great background in music and the kind of technique which will enable you to move easily between genres as long as you can rely on sheet music.

If you have a steel string acoustic guitar and want to take lessons then you will be taught to play using a plectrum. The music you are taught depends on the teacher but it can range from pop to folk to country so you will need to make sure your teacher’s tastes are the same as yours. This kind of musical education can possibly give you the chance to develop skills in improvisation and playing by ear but you will most likely taught to accompany songs by strumming chords. From there you can branch out to playing electric guitar, country flatpicking or learning to play using fingerpicking techniques such as Travis picking but you will at least have a basic knowledge of guitar playing.

If you own a nylon string acoustic guitar you could begin right off with fingerstyle guitar lessons. This entails learning fingerpicking techniques developed by folk guitarists and Travis pickers. This kind of playing is nowhere near as demanding as classical guitar but it does give you a little more technical versatility than playing using a plectrum.

This survey of the kinds of acoustic guitar lessons you could take is nowhere near exhaustive but I have given you some idea of the basic differences between the acoustic guitar styles.



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