All right good morning I’m down here in
North Carolina at my parents house in
the mountains my name is Joe McMurray
and I’m Aaron Sefchick and today we have a
very special guest Mr. Nick Lee he was
one of my one of my classmates
at George Mason he’s a
classical guitarist and uh hey
guys thanks for having me on
yeah and uh you calling in from Northern
Virginia right yeah I’m at here every
year in Centerville okay that hanging
out not too far from here
yeah oh nice yeah so um so Nick you uh
you were working on your master’s degree
I can clash the undergrad undergrad okay
so you did you started at VCU right I
did go to VCU but I didn’t study music
there I was active and like the local
music scene okay I wasn’t wasn’t
studying media I think I was like
communications and then advertising I
had no idea what I wanted to do and then
you just realized that guitar was the
most important thing and oh yeah yeah
played in a lot of bands down there folk
punk and like bluegrass actually to add
a little bit of mandolin but yeah man
music was just you know it was just
number one so I’ve decided to move up
here and you know I get get ya a serious
about it I guess mm-hmm and how did you
decide that you wanted to do classical
guitar well so like I said I was I was
doing a lot of folk pop-folk stuff
fingerstyle so I feel like that was a
good transition I met an amazing teacher
and mentor his name is Larry Schnitz lay
and he sort of you know opened up the
world of classical guitar to me and I
fell in love and I’m still playing it
yeah having a lot of fun so yeah I
remember going
to see you play at one of the student
recitals on campus and I was like oh man
this guy is so good and it was such a
different you know I was always with the
jazz players and they didn’t interact a
whole lot with the classical guitarist
it was like totally different grooves oh
yeah I remember that exact
performance as it was a departmental
yeah yeah playing a piece called on
mabini my Johann couple of merits and I
remember talking to you afterwards and
you were like man I wish that song never
ended yeah it’s such a cool
different style of music from what I’ve
spent most of my time studying yeah I
mean I feel like you know out of a lot
of the classical instruments classical
guitar sort of delves into jazz a little
but it’s a lot I guess more Latin stuff
because you know there’s a lot of
repertoire that comes out of it comes
out of Brazil and a lot of other South
American countries and there’s a lot of
transcriptions for their solo guitar
like Jobim mm-hm and and and some older
so I don’t know if you’d considered like
jazz maybe traditional stuff but a
support other Portuguese stuff garoto
remember the guy I showed you way back
when it’s a Brazilian guitar is okay but
yeah you like oh yeah I feel like
there’s a that you know this connections
to be made there it’s pretty cool you
know because the repertoire is just you
know it’s a little bit different from
your standard classical you know
instruments and how much of that
repertoire is Spanish versus other
Western European and South American like
you were saying yeah I feel like a
decent amount you know that’s a big
chunk of
the you know standard rep is is going to
be Spanish stuff a lot of you know
Albeniz Granados and these are guys that
typically wrote for the for the piano
but it was just it was just so
guitar-centric that a lot of people
transcribed it for the guitar so yeah so
and not not to say that you know yeah
classical guitars don’t do you like Bach
and and Mozart and some of the other
composers that people typically think of
when they think of classical music but
uh but yeah but it’s really cool that we
have all this other repertoire that’s
you know kind of a niche thing but uh
but it’s heavily rooted in Spain and
South America and stuff so yeah well man
that’s awesome I uh I actually had
yesterday I got out my Christopher
parking guitar method to just you know
run through it and I got to play a
little classical guitar warm-up for the
lesson yeah yeah that’s uh that’s that’s
one of my go-to methods yeah it’s a
great book I you know I don’t feel like
I can play a classical guitar but I feel
like I I learned a lot from going
through that method at least once or
twice oh yeah oh yeah definitely that’s
so when I was in Spain I actually saw a
lot more flamenco guitar then I think
classical traditional classical guitar
how much overlap is there with that did
you can you play flamenco or is that
just a totally separate so there’s some
overlap some of the the like really
basic flamenco techniques like rasgueado
where you’re sort of flicking or
dragging your nails across the string
that’s that’s used a decent amount but
yeah but I feel like you know flamencos
is it’s really its own thing no it’s
just the style of it it’s like you know
I really enjoy a lot of that stuff but
yeah it is a more of a you know folksy
er very percussive you know style music
and and but I feel like yet not not too
much goes into playing classical guitar
I guess yeah so there was this big you
know thing in I wanna say when Andres
Segovia was alive know where he was
trying to you know get the guitar take
it more seriously as a classical
instrument because yeah when my teacher
was in college-age I he couldn’t take
guitar he couldn’t study it at college
because that just wasn’t a thing in the
sixties or yeah I want to see the late
sixties so where was it going with this
so yeah Andres Segovia was uh he was
trying to you know have it be taken more
seriously in the classical world so I
guess he kind of I guess ignored some of
the more like folk elements of the
guitar because I guess that was you know
sort of frowned on upon so so yeah so so
there’s a little bit of dissonance there
unfortunately but I mean that that was
his like life goal you know trying to
get it take it seriously and I mean I
can studied in order now so yeah yeah he
definitely succeeded but yeah so and and
yeah this there’s a decent amount of
like I guess they like I guess more folk
elements that get ignored
just because yeah it was this whole
thing of trying to get it taken
seriously so yeah it sounds so like when
you when you’re putting different types
of music
some are some are respectable and some
are in it it sounds so like snobby on
the musician’s parts yeah I mean
it’s yeah a little bit anything bad
about the modern classical guitarist but
it’s not all the disprin on the guitar
because it didn’t what yeah now that was
the whole thing as guitar was always
more of like a heavily you know folk
instrument and I mean for lack of a
better word is for you know lower-class
people and and and and yeah so it’s sort
of a struggle to have it be accepted and
I’ve definitely you know been sort of
like in different institutions but sort
of like Oh nobody talks about guitar at
all like and there’s a reason for that
you know it’s it’s it’s sort of
different and going back to like you
know like Latin music is is very it’s
it’s what makes for good Latin music is
sort of different from what makes for
good you know traditional European
classical music where Latin music is
just so you know rhythmically focused on
which is awesome I love it and and so
and so yeah so I feel like some of the
stuff gets ignored it when you’re just
talking about you know very generic this
is classical music yeah yeah so so it’s
nice to be playing some of this like
sort of niche stuff and spreading the
word yeah well how are you spreading the
word I mean I know you teach yeah do you
have the opportunity to play out play
classical music out and about and get
our Twitter yeah yeah uh definitely that
I recently I want to say a couple months
ago I did sort of a lecture recital
thing through this program called oli
which is it’s run through Mason a doctor
inna she’s a pianist she
runs this sort of program or she’s in
charge of it now that reaches out I
was it stand for I remember like flaw
something Lifelong Learning Institute
okay and I got to go and you know play a
couple of pieces and talk about you know
the lesser-known
sort of the guitar composers and stuff
and yeah it was a lot of fun
and you know I got to talk about the
music and spread the gospel a little bit
it was really cool because we got a lot
of positive feedback people are emailing
you know trying to build Spotify
playlists and stuff like what’s know
yeah yeah is really neat to play for
such an appreciative crowd this is this
is a decent amount of gigs in my
experience a lot of the stuff I do is a
accompaniment there’s there’s there’s a
decent amount of music written for
guitar and choir
so I’ve done a couple of those over at
the Strathmore
I don’t want Academy yeah it’s like with
the children’s choir there that’s in
Silver Spring yeah yeah okay the big one
yeah yeah yeah it was really cool the
the stage there is huge yeah yeah but uh
so yeah so second to do that is a lot of
fun a weddings yeah I love yeah alright
of course yeah yeah I look I love flying
weddings it’s so fun
my favorite part is well and I’m sure
you guys have played a ton of weddings
my favorite Mario I’ve got my first one
coming up so I really I wanted to do ask
you some questions yeah no well so my
favorite part about playing the wedding
is usually you’re playing that
procession while the wedding party walks out right and you have no idea how long
it’s gonna take them then walk down the
aisle so you have to be ready at
any time to end the song even you feel
like halfway through you know the B
section here’s something literally makes
no sense to end the song where you got
to come up with a cadence and that makes
sense within the framework of the song
and it right then and there and so so
there is you know you know some
improvisation yeah involved and that’s
my favorite part where I’m just like oh
like I gotta do this and make it sound
not bad and so yeah it’s it’s just great
I love it just two five two five one
your way out yes exactly one time I
accidentally and did one of them with
the deceptive cadence I don’t know if
that’s definitely like like bad luck on
that that wedding but it sounded good so
I did it I know you should explain to
the fret buzz listeners what a deceptive
cadence is it’s it’s so it’s it’s a it’s
a sneaky way to end a song where you
think it’s gonna end you say you’re in a
major key you think it’s gonna end happy
but then you sneak in a minor chord and
it’s like oh that’s that’s mysterious
yeah I was always have my students
whenever they do that I was like
when you play that minor chord and you
trick everyone you have to raise your
eyebrows yeah but yeah so there’s
definitely a lot of weddings yeah and
and those are a ton of fun trying to
think how do you how do you get those
weddings are you getting those gigs
through just people that you know your
own marketing or referrals George Ison
typically through people I know or
referrals so yeah and that’s the one
thing I love about playing music is you
know the community is just so tight and
everyone’s you know hitting up everyone
and just last night I met the this guy
who is up in New York he’s a bassist
playing with some
some really cool folks and you know we
exchange numbers and stuff so and I
wasn’t even going it was a friends like
birthday thing so you know it’s really
sweet to meet people active on the scene
like you know all around the country in
the world and stuff and and everyone’s
you know super nice and trying to help
each other out cuz they know they know
the struggle so yeah yeah so so a decent
amount of referrals as well and just you
know just networking in general it’s
luckily there I mean luckily for me
there isn’t like too many
classical guitarists I’m sure there’s a
decent amount but uh I guess you know
it’s it’s relatively easy to get your
name out there if you know if you’re
if you’re if you’re working a decent
amount no because it’s it’s sort of a
niche thing like I was saying earlier
and people always look in for that you
know that guitar sound yeah I mean if I
don’t know a whole lot of classical
so if I was to hear somebody say they
wanted that like I’m head I think at
some point somebody’s probably asked me
to play classical repertoire and I’ve
been like it’s not really my thing
you know I’m I’ll do more jazz for you
and now I would refer them to you I
guess I’m getting in if they you know
could get you to come down it depends on
where I’m living at the time or where
they are my question is is why do you
think that is I feel like you know
there’s there’s a lot of attraction to
you know electric guitar there’s a lot
of attraction to you know other
instruments and I feel like again it was
so you know well with electric guitar
that was like it got like heavily
popularized you know when it was
invented and stuff and and people were
just picking it up and it had a large
like sort of grassroots you know Nilda
which is which is awesome and then
our is just sort of felt I guess to the
wayside a little bit when that that cuz
again there’s this yes as it is a
classical instrument there’s always
gonna be this air of like oh yes like
classical music and so say yeah I just I
just I just feel like it got a little
less popular in classical music in
general when you know pop styles started
showing up yeah I feel like there’s so
there’s a heavy at least in this area in
the Northern Virginia area was a heavy
presence in you know middle school high
school which is really cool yeah I was
just gonna say I know that all of my
students they take a guitar class in
high school and they all have that
classical approach which is really cool
because then they come into me and
they’ve got this base foundation it’s
really nice so I can see it it’s it’s
happening within the school systems
which is huh yeah yeah definitely but at
the same time I think like across the
country that’s sort of like not a common
thing now for for public schools to have
I mean like yeah we’re really lucky to
be in an area where the school systems
are so great
yes that you know the arts you know for
the most part do you get funded but yeah
so I just I think you know it’s not that
big of an outreach to folks and and it’s
it’s pretty hard it’s pretty hard to
pick up it takes a certain amount of
discipline and I don’t know you know not
not to generalize or anything but like I
feel like you know people are looking
for like an easier fix you know so yeah
so I feel like that’s one thing that at
least with my students whenever I try
and turn certain students on to it was
like oh this is so hard I’m like yeah
that’s always fun yeah it was easy
nobody would do it
right and and with YouTube I’m seeing
like people like anima key and Rigo and
Gabriella yeah people coming in with
like how do they do that and they kind
of dig in a little bit more and that
kind of you know kind of get in a little
bit ya know definitely is it’s that
whole thing with like being able to
sound like your own band you know but
just doing it by yourself and that’s
part of the attraction for me to
classical guitar is that you know you’re
you’re your own basis you’re your own a
company is you’re playing the melody too
and yeah you don’t need all the
electronics then yeah well kind of get
such gospel Attar’s are real quiet oh
you need you need amplification yeah
yeah yeah
not as depending on the setting but but
yeah yeah yeah you don’t need power to
you know looping pedals yeah yeah I love
looping that I used to I listened to a
lot of Andrew bird and like he’s this
violinist soon it creates these insanely
intricate loops and so I used to mess
around with those all the time yeah cool
I definitely find that sometimes I when
I have my rig in about performing I’m
I’m so comfortable and it’s fun but then
as soon as I get like if I’m somewhere
where somebody’s got an acoustic guitar
and they’re like play something none of
my normal repertoire that I would play
out really works and that’s why in the
past year so I’ve really been trying to
build up I’ve been learning a lot of
Tommy manual stuff and nice and like I
really like acoustic guitar and Celtic
music and like a lot of fingerstyle
stuff that still not my strong point I
don’t want to like go out and gig like
that I’ll do a mini sets at retirement
homes like that but it’s like without
the electronics I feel like I’m not able
to do to really show like give people my
show yeah that’s frustrating I just wish
that I could do it all by myself
yeah I love that your little set um now
remember seeing pictures of like
everything packed so neatly on your
little trolley taking it yeah
as you’re playing some show outside on
the boardwalk or something yes like
let’s see yeah then that’s one thing you
know that’s one thing that that I feel
like you know as classical guitarist I
don’t get as much into it’s like the
gear and stuff and so yeah like I was I
would love to you know know more about
that just as a musician in general yeah
yeah cuz I do listen to a lot of like a
lot of you know electric guitar stuff as
well so do you even own an electric
guitar I do
actually I do I’m sure it’s a piece of
crap but I just really like the color so
I cut it it’s like this seafoam sort of
green the one yeah yeah cuz me and Jon
Longbottom we’re doing like an electric
sort of duet thinking called Hawaiian
brothers forever cuz we both figured out
that we’re like related like to Hawaii
oh yeah grandmother’s is a native it was
a native there and he was born there so
oh yeah we gotta play off of that and so
we were doing like surf stuff so you
slags eat innings I know
yeah you know well so the thing with
Hawaiian brothers forever was we were
never gonna rehearse ever and we were
just going to make things up on the spot
like all the time and we had to do that
because we went on tour so I’m in this
folk band at called Abby Rashid in the
Sun jean collective and we went on tour
over the summer and they’re kept on
being like little mishaps that all the
shows where we had to you know go run on
my egg grab mic stand out of the van or
like something like that
and so me and John would just like play
these you know 20-minute impromptu sets
and just make everything up yeah yeah is
a lot of fun but in here I think guitar
there is the second John was playing
guitar there yeah so John’s been playing
a lot of more guitar recently he was
one of our for the listeners out there
John Longbottom is
he’s an incredible saxophone player
that’s what he was in the jazz
saxophone program at Mason while we were
there but he’s also a pretty good
guitarist oh yeah yeah so you got you
got your electric guitar and you know
you can del you can there’s so many gear
shows and so many people talk about gear
on the internet and it’s it’s an
expensive addictive thing by there I
mean you’re you’ve got one beautiful
instrument right that you just like
you’ve got a the world matters so much
and everything around it oh yeah and
it’s more money on your one instrument
then we can spend on our you know tons
of here yeah it’s really interesting
I’ve spoken to you know several luthiers
just about how cuz you know I just play
the things I really should know more
about how they’re paid and stuff but
yeah it’s really interesting whenever
I’m you know talking to a luthier about
how intricate you know these instruments
are and how much goes into it it’s it’s
really neat I got my guitar it’s a Kenny
Hill which is an American-made it’s our
company I think they they may actually
make them in China but they finish them
here in the States
um but yeah so I got that up in
Baltimore actually from the sky Michael
Kirkpatrick runs a little shop out of
his basement up there and it was yeah it
was just he was so knowledgeable and
like yet he just had this like closet
just lined with cases of all those
different guitars yeah I was is a really
cool experience I’ve never you know been
somewhere like that and yeah he was
super helpful I went in you know at this
certain price point and and then I was
like oh you know maybe I’ll try this
guitar that was like five hundred to a
thousand more
and I want to spend and he’s like sure
do it and I fell in love
oh it was funny he told me the eye this
will always stick with me I don’t know
why I just liked how he said it but he
was like you know you won’t miss the
money and I was like you know I won’t
miss the money like like I never do like
yeah it’s money well spent
what are you looking for when you look
for a classical guitar for me it’s two
main things so first of all like sound
so I and you know this there’s you know
different people have different
preferences I like you know a mellower
sort of base year sound I actually you
know the first string instrument I
played was the electric bass so I’m
always attracted to that you know very
mellow smooth smoothness so it says
sound and then the second thing is is
feeling a lot of different guitars have
have just a different feel to it
my current teacher Matt Matt Chu Kula he
he has like like V guitar it’s it’s by
like a really famous maker Rodriguez and
it is it sounds amazing but it is just
so hard to play the action is really up
high so you got squeezed but it projects
like no other and and just it’s just for
me I got like tiny hands like it is
really hard sometimes you know I’ve got
yeah I deal with a lot of tension issues
no I’ve just just you know pressing down
too hard that I’m working through
currently and so yeah so I love the
sound of that but I would never get one
cuz it’s just it’s just too dang hard to
play right yeah so so yeah so mainly
sound and then and then feel and say
the two aspects that yeah I’m looking
for and then when it comes to strings I
know there’s a bunch of different kinds
of nylon acoustic glass above the
strings what strings do you use
and so I I use these they’re made by a
company called sapper as I believe
they’re they’re French
they’re called cantiga bases and like
new crystal cantiga bases and they are
just again it’s just got this you know
mellow this richness to it that I’m
attracted to some some strings you know
it’s it’s feel to some are thicker than
others and yeah I just I like the
thinner sort of strings I forget what
gauge exactly they are but um but yeah
it’s it’s mainly you know I’m listening
for a particular sound and I’ve gone
through you know a couple I used to plan
Zafra’s alliances and trying to think
there’s a couple I think Oasis made a
pair that I didn’t really like they’re
too thick but yeah but yeah I’m loving
the ones I’m using now and yeah it’s
just that that rich bass town I don’t
know is it that and that shouldn’t be
the most important part of what you’re
playing but like I appreciate it a lot
it connects with you and that’s what
matters really yeah yeah yeah exactly so
and so and so just as important is the
strings in the instrument self I would
think are your nails as a classical
guitarist right oh yeah yeah I mean
there’s a whole argument between playing
with nails and without nails and stuff
but yeah but the main the main thing is
it just affects your tone so much and
you know it’s a it’s the kind of thing
where you don’t really notice it at
first but when you just dig deeper and
deeper you’re like wow like just this
minuscule you know I just
mints make such a difference in the
sound and adjustments in how you file
the nails oh yeah where you actually
pluck that name yeah yeah the point of
contact and and stuff like that I still
am trying to get used to like how I
shaved my nails my original teacher
larry Schnitzler had like you know all
these handwritten notes and like dates
and stuff and like i don’t know like
like angle measurements and yeah it’s
pretty intense but uh but yeah so i yes
still getting used to that I got
pretty thick nails and so so you
actually use a whetstone
like a knife sharpener to uh you know
file them down and then I finished it
off with like five em triumph light
polishing paper I think so yeah and it’s
just super smooth
but yeah so nails definitely you know
add a whole nother you know quality of
changing your tone
can we see your nails yeah yeah so right
now they’re a little long so I got my
physio right oh yeah and then yeah he’s
the you know yeah no ring yes I did I
didn’t realize it was it was shaved in
and yeah there’s no point yeah so so you
kind of so the I guess a correct
technique or whatever is it the string
actually touches your your the flesh of
your finger first then makes contact
about you know all right I don’t know if
you can see that but right where my
thumbnail is touching and then it just
slides off we’re gonna move it yeah okay
yeah yeah right about there and then
I’ll just slide off and say yep my nails
are kind of long I haven’t shaped them
in a couple of days and they grow really
fast so a lot of work yeah some constant
like doing stuff with it but yeah it’s
just one thing that you know you know
I’ve learned to do by feel no it’s just
what feels right everybody that’s the
thing it’s so hard to teach because
everyone’s nails are just so different
that there’s no one you know you can’t
really say this is the one right way to
do it actually sorry I did this
masterclass with this an amazing you
know one of the greats this Italian guy
Oscar Julia he he’s a student of
Segovia’s like my old teacher Larry well
but um so and he was showing me this
picture of this guy who I forget what he
might be an Italian guy to I forget his
name but he shakes his nails like the
opposite way people do so like you see
how it’s angled like that
yeah his is angled the other way yeah
and so there’s no you know and that’s
kind of the the that’s something I press
upon my students a lot is that there’s
no one right way right do anything you
know this is just you know the style
that I’m showing you and you know the
most efficient quote-unquote way to do
these things so for somebody out there
who wanted to get more into classical
guitar is it acceptable to can you still
play the repertoire just with no dance
like oh yeah normal short nails that
don’t you don’t have to spend time
working on definitely definitely you
yeah there were a ton of you know
there’s actually I wish I could run with
this exact story but like there’s this
band you know classical composers you
know from Spain who didn’t have a
classical guitarist who didn’t grow
nails there was a whole there’s two
different schools where one of them were
like now you don’t need nails and the
others were like yes you do and so yeah
it’s it’s totally acceptable
in fact I would say most of my students
you know they’re they’re a decent amount
are like middle school high school age
you know doing sports and stuff like
that and it’s just like not an option
yeah you know so I don’t press it upon
them at all but yes it’s totally yeah
totally think to play without nails even
some my colleagues at Mason they yet
didn’t have nails or couldn’t grow them
so and they still had you know they had
ways workarounds and stuff to get the
tone that they wanted without nails so
yeah I sometimes use a thumb pick to get
a better I was just gonna ask about X
yeah good yeah so like what do do people
use that sometimes if they can’t grow
their nails
well no not so much not growing your
mail nails but just just the thumb like
in general and how it’s used versus not
using it like what’s the percentage you
know it’s like so I would say for the
most part no people don’t however
they’re there they do make products like
that for when you break your nail and
it’s a this is sort of a different style
I forget what it exactly it’s called but
it looked it’s a lot thicker than then a
normal thumb pick and it goes it wraps
around your your thumb kind of like a
ring and and yeah some someone in the
studio now is using one because he broke
his is nail that happens a lot people
are people break their nails yeah it’s
pretty if people use ping-pong balls and
like all sorts of other things to like
you know if something goes wrong I
remember maybe last semester this
semester before I just kept on slamming
my ring finger nail into things and just
shattering it oh I would have to go to
that’s a good like nail salons as and
get it get it well I’m laughing because
thick nails well yeah like I don’t know
why I just freaked out I had like a
recital or so there’s something coming
up and I was like freaking out cuz like
night before or maybe not the night
before maybe two nights before I had to
play I had broken my ring fingernail
and so I was just in such a state of
mania that I clipped my pinkie nail off
and I just glued it onto my ring finger
and it looked like this freakishly like
Frankenstein’s sort of thing and I went
in I went into the nail salon the next
day and I was like why did I do this and
I went in and it was still glued on I
had to explain like hey this is the
whole situation like the guy is just
looking at me like what it was wrong
with you but like I didn’t do that he
started laughing but they had to take it
off and quite put a fake nail on it stuff
oh yeah guys it’s pretty hilarious
definitely not one of my proudest
moments but it happens it was worth it
that was one of the funniest things I’ve
ever heard about nails oh man so so I
like I said I’ve been playing a lot more
fingerstyle guitar but on a steel
string guitar and recently like I’ve
been ramping it up doing more and more
of it and I finally have gotten through
the part where my fingers hurt on my
right my picking hand yeah but now I’m
starting to get these calluses building
upon those fingers that are now
catching the strings it like sometimes
harder and it’s messing up my tone like
I don’t have a consistent callus on the
tips of my fingers like it’s bigger in
one spot and then the other day that
ripped off which are in performance and
I had to like Oh pull it off and like
try to like smooth it off
yeah I still even with my electric stuff
I still hybrid pick a lot of my jazz and
so that I get it’s like cat the callus
so yes does it happen to you that
doesn’t happen on my right hand because
typically it’s only on the flesh for you
know not that much time before it hits
the nail but on my left hand is the same
sort of issue just going on the left
hand is yeah the size of my fingers I’ll
get calluses like huge ones and they’ll
sort of start to peel off and then catch
the string so what and this is something
that I guess Segovia would do is you
actually you would polish your left hand
fingers too and I guess in your case
your right hand where the calluses is
you actually you know polish that up so
it’s smooth and and that’s helped a lot
it just takes away that edge that
catches the strings and just you know
slice right on so you’re not getting
you’re not polishing off the whole cow
so you’re just keeping then the layout
of is nice yeah yeah so it doesn’t catch
anything cuz yeah I run into that all
the time on the side of my index finger
yeah I’m x on the side of my pinky I
feel like those the two main spots where
I’m I’m getting you know pretty gnarly
calluses yeah yeah it’s a constant
struggle it hurt before uh-huh it would
be too tender to play and now it’s the
opposite problem
I can’t yeah I can’t feel those fingers
anymore yeah yeah it’s like a superpower
yeah I could touch a hot stove yeah I’ve
definitely done that yeah yeah it’s
always weird to think about like like
you know all these skills that you’re
building as a musician like how like
untranslated how untranslatable that is
to anything in life it’s like oh I can
do all these weird things with my hands
like yeah that’s never gonna help me
outside of being a musician no but I
mean go along that a lot of mental
things though you know playing music
it’s just such a great you know it’s
it’s it’s so relatable to like so many
things and
just like up Seattle lot which is one of
the reasons you know people push it in
the public school system it’s that
personal discipline to be able to sit
down and focus on something and to work
at it day after day and oh yeah yeah but
even with like I talked about in my
lessons you know critical thinking a lot
like think and like actually thinking
about what you’re playing like pattern
recognition and stuff like that you know
that’s just you know makes makes
digesting music a little easier and and
and then just having that throughout the
rest of your life you know being able to
think critically about you know what
like certain things you’re doing and yep
just being able to understand patterns
you know helps me study for like other
unmusical related things yeah
there’s a lot of crossover so I wanna I
want to hone in on the music part here
for our listeners who really do want to
potentially play more classical guitar
where would you recommend starting what
are their method books we mentioned the
Christopher parking but are there books
that you would recommend you recommend a
hundred percent finding a teacher are
there online resources is there certain
repertoire they should learn are there
certain players they should listen to I
know I just threw a lot at you yeah
that’s like kind of some of the the big
things I wanted to get at here yeah
so I would definitely if you know
starting out definitely invest in a
method book more so you know I I
constantly have this struggle you know
should I be emphasizing you know note
reading or you know should I know and
it’s it’s case-by-case you know whether
I if they’re younger and you know
they’re more open to it and you know I
always push that but but yeah a lot of
older students who just
you know like don’t are just in so many
other things have so many other things
going on like learning musical notation
it’s like it’s just a whole nother thing
so I don’t stress it as much and you can
read tap like play class yeah yeah do
things by you yeah yeah definitely and
there are talented individuals who just
pick up stuff by ear like that I feel
like guitar is a very you know learn by
ear more so than a lot of other
instruments but but yeah so it’s a I do
more stuff for the technique know pick
up a method book it’s there is no like
perfect you know one perfect technique
I like the Christopher parking method
with a lot nuts Scott it’s only notated
in treble clef yeah yeah have or
there’s no tablature yeah so but but
more so for the pages where he’s talking
about how to do certain things so so
that’s the thing and then there yeah I’m
trying to think of a books it also have
tablature and because most of the stuff
I just create myself no I know Friday I
use I’m gonna butcher this name I know I
am Mauro Giuliani
yeah Giuliani yeah yeah got the hundred
and one or however many actually 120
right hand studies and it is it’s free
on the internet just put in PDF and it’s
great because it just uses see and be
diminished so it’s a c41 measure and it
be diminished from the next measure all
120 you just kind of go through these
exercises and it’s great yeah it works
the right hand out I use it for a lot of
my students it’s just so you know stand
by that’s one of the ones that everybody
uses yeah yeah it’s relatively easy
shapes and it’s just all different
patterns to get your right hand working
because the yeah that’s one of the
tricky things about you know playing
classical guitar is all you know what
notes you’re playing mm-hm
all controlled with one hand all the
most of the rhythmic stuff is all
controlled with your other hand
besides like you know slurs and and some
other things but uh but yeah so getting
those rhythms down sometimes you know
you get to a level where you’re doing
polyrhythms like all in one hand and
and it just doesn’t sit well so you
gotta you gotta really work at it and
say yeah that’s a that’s a great standby
let’s Mauro Giuliani
yeah Giuliani I would tell you how to
spell it but there’s too many eyes and
ELLs and I forget yeah take off the top
of my head but um baby assets oh that’s
a great one
Scott Tennant is he’s a guy he played in
in in this group called the LA GQ the
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
but he’s written a couple of methods one
of them’s this is my favorite title is
called pumping nylon it’s medicine by
step on the front cover and he keeps it
a little bit lighter it’s not as serious
as you know so the Christopher parking
method or there’s stuff like that but uh
but it’s got a lot of great technique
building stuff my senior I found it on
the internet here yeah pump pumping
nylon it does it really does have a
bicep yeah oh yeah yeah he’s a great guy
and a killer player but uh yeah and the
way he breaks down things is it’s very
it’s well written out and it’s not you
know super boring which which is you
know you know as a teacher you know you
always it’s like you wanna nerd out
about like a lot of things but you have
to spin it in such a way that like this
is the coolest thing in the world
yeah or else you lose your students
but I should say yeah so that they a
student who a serious classical guitar
student needs to take lessons with you
or another teacher today
can you get to where you want to go
through a book so for me personally I I
just like having a teacher has been like
the greatest thing in the entire world
like and I guess it’s case I case cuz I
guess you know I wish there wasn’t but I
guess is you know not so great teachers
out there you know make or break it for
for people but um but I would highly
recommend you know getting a teacher and
just having someone to sit down with and
you know break these these these uh
these concepts down and and from for me
like that was just you know that was the
game-changer it’s like I really want to
get into this like I didn’t know you
know that all of this intricacies
existed and not not that the books don’t
delve into it but I don’t know I lucked
out cuz you know I had such a great
teacher and and like seeing it is much
different than you know reading about it
or yeah or watching a video but I guess
you know watching video is kind of
seeing it so like yeah it’s more
personalized and you can have questions
and it’s having a teacher is by far I
mean it’s untouchable oh yeah oh yeah
definitely definitely
the feedback and what you’re doing you
know you could you can think you’re
following the directions in a book and
maybe you’re not doing it right though
and having a t-shirt can fix that
quickly yeah yeah just right then there
yeah so I I’d highly recommend getting a
teacher when uh what do you think about
early repertoire and people to listen to
you oh my god tourists so I guess for
earlier repertoire so there’s actually
created by this there’s a I guess it’s a
school or something I don’t know it’s
called the Royal Conservatory and they
publish repertoire books for a lot of
instruments and they have one for the
guitar and there’s sort of leveled and
as a as a preparatory sort of book for
that that’s got a lot of great beginner
pieces in it but I guess a lot of would
people go to first as this one piece
call it romance mmm which is an e-minor
using a lot of open strings and you’re
playing a melody on the top string the
mate the major when it goes the major is
a little tricky but there’s versions
where it’s just a minor version so
that’s a great one too to start out with
the there’s there’s some more modern
stuff with Andrew York there’s a piece
called snow flight that’s like kind of a
lot of our edgy is moving around and so
there’s that there’s there’s this Cuban
guitar player and composer named Leo
Brouwer and he wrote a book a bunch of
etudes that are there
to play but they’re very
they’re very like very deep very like
modern harmonies and very crunchy at
points and they’re really cool I dig
them a lot yeah
and then there’s a lot of you know
simple 80s and stuff written out by your
go-to classical like we’re talking like
actual classic because you know how
classical is an umbrella term for like
you know all these different periods and
stuff the go-to like classical guys are
sore Giuliani have a lot of Easy Pieces
and like C or a minor and
yeah so as far as people to listen
to its yeah sort of an interesting thing
because you know for talking like you
know like I don’t know other genres of
music you name like you know you could
name bands or like particular songs and
stuff whereas in in like and I feel like
it’s the same way and sort of jazz that
it isn’t like classical but you name
players you know yeah yeah so so some of
my favorite players and the go-to ones
obviously Andres Segovia
yes he just has a very very particular
style about him that you people either
hate or they love it and I love it so so
I listened to him a lot it’s funny cuz
cuz a lot a lot of his students and
including my teacher obviously they have
their own you know unique spin but like
they’re just very there Segovia nism Xin
they’re playing and I remember I was in
do you remember um dr. Smith Glenn Smith
he taught me early music theory for and
is in charge of the healing arts
ensemble and that I didn’t I didn’t
really know him okay
but I took the class okay I took like
orchestration I think with him and he
was playing this this flute and guitar
piece and I was listening to the
guitarist and I was like is that Larry
Smith slur my teacher and yes like yeah
how did you know it was like cuz there’s
certain things in there sound like
Segovia and Larry studied with Segovia
for a while that’s like okay yeah so so
Segovia would be a guy check out there’s
there’s a lot of British players who are
there’s actually guy his name is John
Williams not the guy who the film
score composer but a classical guitar
player John Williams he’s known as
having like you know just really tight
technique as I said he’s great
there’s Julian bream is another
guitarist British guitarist he’s just I
just I just love the way he plays
actually that so there’s not a lot of
concertos written for the guitar but um
but a decently famous guy composer
British composer Benjamin Britten he
actually wrote a guitar concerto and I
think he wrote it for Julian bream at
the time and so that’s pretty cool but a
Julian bream wanted to check out roll on
DNS so roll audience is as a French
guitarist he passed away a couple years
ago I think he’s good friends with my
teacher like slur but he is like and he
he’s one of my favorite guitarists he’s
just such a showman and like it just it
just sucks you in and he you know he
dabbles across the board doesn’t he
plays a lot of you know he actually
arranges for classical guitar like jazz
standards he did like a night in Tunisia
come like the a train some Jobim stuff
saw Dodge I think is that there no
that’s a different thing that’s his own
original composition but uh but yeah so
some stuff by Jobim cuz he loves like
Brazilian stuff but our role on dance he
Olympians yeah fantastic player heavy
into improvisation and well like a lot
of the times open up his you know
concerts with just some improv
Laurie stuff and it’s always amazing like
like whenever like you can improvise a
bass melody and accompaniment like that
just blows my mind and and and have it
like I don’t know just like watch it
evolve just on the spot it’s really cool
but he’s it he’s a fantastic player and
one of my favorites and even playing his
stuff he’s got a lot of like modern
classical music that is just so so
amazing and well-thought-out and
interesting and yeah I’ve played pieces
by him songs Capricorn just this really
out there dreamy sort of it’s got a it’s
got a sort of a drone going on this
you’re playing this beat it’s kind of
weird tuning to I think the I’m gonna
butcher it something I don’t even gonna
go into him but uh yeah it’s got this
alternate tuning and it’s just it’s just
the most you’re that that’s one of the
ones that just has a ton of polyrhythms
in it you’re applying this like beep
moving bass note and then hitting
harmonics at the same time it’s just
it’s so intricate and it sounds so
dreamy and awesome but do you get into a
lot of alternate tunings in classical
ah yeah I would say a fair amount this
is a lot of you know this and this is
like is basic as it gets with alternate
tuning but there’s a lot of stuff in
drop D yeah there’s a decent amount of
Renaissance stuff that has the your
g-string tuned during an f-sharp –
because I guess the lute was sort of
tuned like that so there’s decent amount
of like stuff by John Doland and and and
just a lot of Renaissance stuff that’s
this tune that way there’s this one
piece Cohen Baba bhai
domenico knee I think he’s from
somewhere in Eastern Europe I want to
say like Turkey or something like that
but it’s just like is this is an open C
minor or c-sharp minor maybe C an open C
minor tuning and this is just so wacky
and like well at least notated wise cuz
everything he did so what he did was he
has it written as if it wasn’t IND
oh that tuning so so that your water it
helps cuz so you you’re playing you’re
not playing the notes that are written
on like you’re playing the same frets
and stuff but you’re not actually
playing those notes so if you were to
look at that music it would make no
sense but and then he hasn’t written out
in that in that tuning as well
which is really hard to read because
it’s just everything you know about the
fretboard has changed no C minor tuning
but is it really is a really cool piece
I think it’s kind of like yeah it’s
called Cohen Baba and it’s like I don’t
know it’s really interesting but yeah
along the same lines you use the capo
very much not too much there are some
I’ve run into it at least once in a
range mint for a guitar and choir or I
had to use a capo Oh going back to
people to listen to David Russell he’s
he’s he’s an amazing he’s from I think
technically he was born in Spain but I
think he’s like Irish or Scottish or
something but um Russell doesn’t sound
yeah very Spanish but uh but he is
amazing but he’s got this this book of
Celtic pieces for solo guitar and and
those are all the some of those have you
know Capo’s written in to use
so say yeah I’ve run into it you know
it’s not a I have seen it before but I
wouldn’t say it’s it’s super common to
use a cape I mean it’s like that in jazz
we would never use capo
yeah just play you know everything’s you
can move the chords cross the fretboard
yeah yeah and then play me up in strings
oh yeah see that’s okay there’s one big
difference is typically with classical
guitar you want to take advantage of
those open strings yeah while you’re
playing and that allows you to do you
know multiple things at once you know
it’s because your finger is only so big
yeah you know and that’s part of the fun
thing at least you know in my limited
experience with you know arranging for
the guitar is is is the the
technical like limitations you know of
the fretboard of you know your hand and
how can you do the this stuff you know
with with those limitations say yeah so
it’s a lot of fun but yeah going back to
the open string thing there’s a lot of
pieces a lot of the guitar-centric keys
are ones revolving around your open
strings no say yeah a lot of pedal tones
and do you do you compose like I wish I
had more time T’s and not really as a
now I have recently not in the classical
guitar sort of sense but um but yeah
I’ve always I’ve always because I’ve
always been attracted to to like cords
and how they resolve and like where they
can go and stuff like that so I do a lot
of like like chordal stuff and then put
melodies on top of it and
and it’s just yeah so that’s a lot of
fun unfortunately I don’t have like time
to you know flesh out like ideas that I
have I just you know record it on my
phone like a fifty-second thing and then
I’ll come back to it later when I have
yeah but yeah I I have for my recital
that’s coming up yeah if people want to
come to that it’s December 8th and 4:00
p.m. on in the choral room at George
Mason and I think it’s called Laskey
but yeah so so but for that I arranged
this this Japanese song called Venus by
this guy Susumu Hirasawa he does
he’s pretty out there like Japanese
artist who’s he was playing like prog
rock in like the seventies stuff like
well I think I oughta doubters and punk
bands and like did film film scores
worked with a lot of animators in Japan
during film scores but I like is awful
one of his solo albums I transcribed
this song called Venus and it is it was
a ton of fun you know it was very easy
because a lot of it was written on
guitar but like you know dissecting it
and giving different parts to different
the first guitar second guitar third
guitar and how it all you know melded
together that was a lot of fun arranging
wet yeah yeah that’s Saturday December
8th a lackey yeah at George Mason yeah
yeah summer 8 that 4 p.m. yeah Fairfax
Virginia yeah so if anybody wants to
come to that it’s open to the public
yeah it’s gonna be a lot of fun I’m
doing doing a lot of my whole thing was
was I didn’t want to play like true
additional Western European classical
music so it’s gonna be a lot of Latin
stuff I’m doing this presenting composer
named Heitor Villalobos okay and then
Paraguayan guy
Barrios um what else am i doing I’m
doing the liver tango by epi Isola and
with a flautist some Pujol who’s another
Brazilian guy and then and I am doing
some French stuff I couldn’t not play
some Debussy so I’m gonna do oh yeah
yeah and this other guy pull along and
what else I I don’t know if I’m gonna
had this in but I feel like I need to do
something Spanish so I’m probably gonna
do a Granados one of his Spanish dances
as a duet um say yeah say yeah that’s
awesome and uh is there do you have any
sort of website where people can check
out some of your playing
unfortunately back to you unfortunately
not I do a lot of stuff off of
Facebook’s Facebook Nicholas I’m on
there but yeah I need to you need to get
into that the whole website thing is
yeah just school is you know is it sucks
the life out of you yeah there’s a lot
of things that since I’m a little bit
older a lot of my you know gigging
friends and colleagues you know they’ve
all got their websites and you know
business cards and stuff and I need to
get on that yeah well you’ve got you’ve
got the more important side of it
covered the actual your performance
abilities and your knowledge yeah well
taking it from me I’ve seen him play and
that was it’s fine it’s been a little
while since I moved in yeah I’ve really
enjoyed having you on the show yeah
thanks for having me guys you know
absolutely thank you Nick appreciate it
yeah yeah but yeah maybe I’ll see you
soon in Virginia Beach yeah yeah
absolutely and uh I’ll be up around
Northern Virginia this uh Christmas time
oh nice yeah give me a call
yeah so uh maybe I can I can trade you
some some jazz for yeah yeah sorry
definitely definitely I didn’t do great
so uh guys it’s been great and uh hope
everyone has a great Sunday yeah thanks
thanks for having me on
yeah absolutely everybody have a good
signing out yeah

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