June 28, 2007

Getting my fingers busy…

Posted in Life, Music at 8:38 pm by pmatos

guitar-symbol-small.png As you may already know from previous post I’ve started to learn to play the classical guitar in the beginning of the year. I’ve been playing with a guitar from a friend of mine… thanks John! But I decided to finally get one of my own!

So after a couple of searches online I decided my self by a concert guitar: Admira Solista. Obviously I would need some accessories to warm up:

Then, I just went to look for the price at DigitalVillage. In fact, there were many cheap things there compared to other places online, so I’ve decided to give DV a try and sent them an email asking if they had the 4 items in stock, so I could order them to the Southampton shop and get them myself (I was not too comfortable in getting a guitar posted by mail). Unfortunately at the time they didn’t have it. So, I kept searching for other stores online and I found the case cheaper and tuner cheaper on other places so I frowned and decided to send them an email:

Dear all at DV247,

I was searching for the following products which I want to buy:
Case : http://www.dv247.com/invt/34869/
Tuner : http://www.dv247.com/invt/35532/ Foot Rest:
Guitar: http://www.dv247.com/invt/24528/

However, the tuner is 12£ in:

and the case is 45£ in:

In case, you sell me at these prices, I’m willing to buy it all from DV247.

Since I’m from Southampton, and your Southampton store doesn’t sell guitars, I’ll probably have to buy only, I’ll be waiting for a reply before purchasing anything.


After a while I got an email from Richard Bottom from the Southampton store with the news:

Hello Paulo

We can match those prices for you.

And that was that! :-) The result? See for yourself:

In the end I bought it all with a few 240£, definitely excellent value for price. Definitely, regarding music… go for DV!

Since my first post on music I’ve found 3 nice things for classical guitarists and musicians in general which is worth noting:

And now… I’ll definitely keep my finger busy!


February 24, 2007

Ah… music!

Posted in Life, Music at 5:03 pm by pmatos

80px-Treble_clef.png A little bit after I arrived to Southampton after Christmas I decided this would be the year I would go and take some time every day and dedicate it to the study of music theory and playing an instrument. Since I had played the classical guitar for a few years when I was about 10 (which means I knew nothing about it!) it was a nice instrument to play (although the piano was also a possibility). Anyway, there’s a reason why in at the end of the day I sticked to the guitar.

When I was a kid, my mother (hope you’re there thinking about me mum, I’m surely thinking about you) used to take me and my brother to a beach in Sesimbra. One day, I remember perfectly (it’s surely one of my oldest memories), I say a full-grown man playing the guitar under a big sun umbrella to his wife and kids. Well, for some reason, I thought I would want to be able to exactly that one day: Play to my family, and that thought stays with me up until today (it’s funny how some simple events and people we never knew and probably never will know can change our lives for ever).

Well, this is the year. So, I talked with a PhD colleague of mine which plays the piano, and the classical guitar and has a huge knowledge regarding classical music, mainly because his father was a professional pianist, and he advised me on how to learn the classical guitar. I knew only one thing: I didn’t want to pay a guy huge amounts of money for him to teach me, what I could learn with a lot of patience and time by myself (and it happens that I have both!). So, my colleague, John, borrowed me his concert classical guitar and I bought a bunch of books which I’ve been reading daily with some time for practising in the guitar. Another of my aims was not just to be able to play some tunes but to know the theory behind the thing. I prefer playing a very simple tune and know the theory behind it than playing a very complex, shine and popular tune without knowing the basic concepts of tempo, rhythm, harmonics, etc. So I got four books:

Now, I’ve already done quite a bit of exercises and I’ve played some very simple things along with arpeggios from Noads book. One of the most things which surprised me enormously is was the importance of nail care and surely they do all the difference. Just by trimming them appropriately and having them at the correct size changed my plays completely. It was a huge improvement! :-)

Well, I’m really happy with my development in the last two months (almost) and hopefully I’ll be able to play something more complex later, who knows even post some recorded plays from me! heheh (that should be something!)

Now I’ll leave you with some references to Kent Murdicks videos at YouTube (which knows pretty well Shearer’s method). Enjoy:

  1. Positioning the Guitar
  2. P-Stroke
  3. Rest Stroke
  4. Free Stroke
  5. Tremolo
  6. Arpeggios
  7. Left Hand Part I
  8. Left Hand Part II
  9. Left Hand Part III

On more two music related references, I found MusiXTeX a very nice typesetting solution for music and on software Rosegarden is a dream come true. Obviously I don’t compose anything as of yet but it is useful as a metronome and as a checker, i.e., as a way to check that I’m playing the exercises correctly. I copy the exercises from the book to rosegarden and I follows rosegarden’s play. I can then obviously increase the number of beats per measure as I get proficient on a given exercise. It’s very, very good!