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Free Course: How To Play Bach

Free Course: How To Play Bach

Gain new insights on how to play J.S. Bach’s music on guitar with authenticity and sensitivity, taught by acclaimed lutenist Nigel North.

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For Classical Music Month (ie. September) this year, we thought it would be fun to learn a little more about our fellow classical guitarists.

We surveyed hundreds of members in our wonderful tonebase community, asking about their practice habits, favorite composers, guitars and more.

How do the answers compare to your own personal favorites?

On Practice

We all know that practice makes perfect. But have you ever wondered when and how your peers practice?

Clearly classical guitarists are not night owls!

Classical guitarists are not night owls! Most (38%) say they practice most productively in the morning, followed by in the evenings (26%) and afternoons (23%). Only 13% say they’re most productive when practicing at night.

When they do practice, only 11% of classical guitarists begin by playing a piece. Most begin with a warmup, either from finger stretches (36%) or scales (29%).

Over 24% will religiously tune their guitars at the start of every practice session before they play.

Speaking of practice, if you've ever wondered how the best of the best practice here are award-winning French guitarist Thomas Viloteau’s tips for using your time as efficiently as possible.


On Guitars and Guitar Accessories

Ensuring that you're comfortable while playing is critical to your performance.

Soreness can shorten a playing session - or even your long-term ability to play the guitar.

With all the different gadgets available today, we were surprised to find almost half of our respondents (48%) use a footrest. Only 23% use an ErgoPlay, 15% use Guitarlift, 8% a Gitano, and 6% a Barnett.

GuitarLift: The Ergonomic Guitar Support of the Minute | Gear Guide

Guitar supports can save the day (and maybe your lower back).

They help you maintain a good playing position and posture, lowering stress on your body. Some also increase your guitar's stability and prevent slippage. Read our review of the latest guitar support gadget to take the world by storm – the Guitarlift.

Most classical guitarists consider their guitars extensions of themselves.

And unlike the violin or the piano, the fundamental construction of the classical guitar is still being developed and experimented with by luthiers around the world.

With such a diverse array of instruments that have very unique and distinct qualities, it begs the question: if you had to pick one guitar to play for the rest of your life, who would it be built by?

The Hermann Hauser I (32%) is the aspired luthier of choice of most classical guitarists, followed by Antonio De Torres (28%), Jose Ramirez (26%), and Ignacio Fleta (14%). Others choose instruments by modern luthiers including Greg Smallman and Daniel Friedrich.

While not all of us are ready to purchase a Hermann Hauser just yet, here’s a helpful guide for finding and buying your next guitar!

On Legendary Guitarists

Everyone will have their own opinion as to who the greatest classical guitarist is.

But what if you could have lunch with any one guitarist from generations past? Who would it be?

Most (30% of our respondents) classical guitarists would love to meet Francisco Tárrega. And with good reason; the Spanish composer is often called "the father of classical guitar".

A massively prolific composer, he wrote music for all levels of guitar, from easy didactic etudes to some of the most virtuosic pieces written for the instrument.

Did you know that he’s also the composer of Gran Vals, an excerpt of which was used in the iconic Nokia ringtone?

Though Tárrega is no longer with us, his music still is.

Though Tárrega is no longer with us, his music still is. Explore the “Spirit of Tárrega” in this series of lessons with Austrian guitarist and composer Wulfin Lieske, where he discusses Tárrega's revolutionary approach to guitar technique and compositional style.

Discover the musical genius that made Francisco Tárrega the legendary figure that he is known as today.

Agustín Barrios was the number one lunch companion choice for 29% of classical guitarists. The Paraguayan virtuoso is best known for his enigmatic life as both a player and his vivid, technicolor compositions for the guitar.

His work fuses South American traditional themes and stories into a traditional classical framework, and the repertoire he created is incredibly palatable for both seasoned and fresh audiences.

24% of classical guitarists responded with Andrés Segovia, the Spanish musician who is credited with granting respectability to the guitar as a serious concert instrument capable of evocativeness and depth of interpretation.

One of his legendary quotes: “I've had three wives and three guitars. I still play the guitars.”

Fernando Sor (17%) rounds out the top four choices.

The Spanish classical guitarist was known for being among the first to play the guitar as a classical concert instrument and for writing one of the earliest books of guitar-playing methodology.

His works span from many volumes of didactic material, to Fantasias, variations and large concert pieces.

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Guitarist

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