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Introduction To The Martin Taylor Guitar Academy
This "introduction" block sets the stage for what is to follow. Put down your guitar, and enjoy learning about Martin's background, influences, and philosophy about music and the guitar. If you are anxious to get going, you can skip ahead to the "Underlying Concepts" block or even "Learn By Playing Tunes" block. Just be sure to get back and watch these important videos!
 ≡ 
Underlying Concepts
The "Underlying Concepts" block starts very basic and progressively lays down the foundation for Martin's approach to fingerstyle guitar. Even if you are already an advanced guitarist, Martin asks that you go through all of these lessons. This block ends with Martin teaching two versions of the jazz classic "Satin Doll."
 ≡ 
Developing Technique & Musicianship
Here we switch almost entirely to music, musicianship, and advanced techniques for making music on the guitar. To get started right, Martin teaches a simple but soulful version of his own composition "True." Martin uses this tune as reference point throughout the curriculum. More techniques flow from Martin's presentation of jazz blues, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", and "My Romance."
 ≡ 
Learn By Playing Tunes
Watch, listen, play. It's all here: A progressive collection of tunes that represent every skill and technique Martin employs in his fingerstyle guitar playing. For many of these tunes, Martin provides a very detailed analysis of all of the techniques employed. All of the tunes are presented with alternate camera angles (you can see exactly what Martin sees using the "topview" camera angle), and slow-motion versions. Many of the tunes have downloadable notation PDF files, though Martin prefers you to use you eyes and ears rather than the notation which can become a "crutch" and inhibit progress.
 ≡ 
Auxiliary Lessons
This is the place where material will be placed that relates to specific topics not covered in the core curriculum, such as accompanying a singer, gear, etc.
 ≡ 
Guided Arrangements
 ≡ 
30 Day Challenge
 ≡ 
+Music
 ≡ 
Video Exchange Archive
 ≡ 
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Your Playing Position

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[MUSIC]
I'm
really gonna start with some very, very,
very basic things here.
And for some of you more advanced
students, a,
you may be tempted to kind of skip this
part and move further on.
But I would really ask you to, to kind of
bear with this because, a,
from my own experience I found that
sometimes going back to the beginning,
not just in music but in, in lots of
things that, that I'm interested in like.
Going back to the beginning you can
sometimes pick up things that you missed
somewhere along the lines.
So it, it's all valid, so you know, if
you, if you don't mind,
just kind of stick with it right from the
very beginning and there, there might be
some other things that you find in here
that, that of interest so rather than.
Moving on ahead.
Start from the beginning.
So, we're really going to start at the
very, very, very beginning.
I'm actually just holding a guitar.
Now when I first started to play my dad
gave me this guitar and,
and he gave me a pick, and I, he sat with
it like this.
And I just played like this, exactly the
way that he did and all his friends did.
Along the way, I've kind of changed things
around.
For a while, I played, I used to have a, I
used to stand with a strap.
And then sometimes I used to sit with a
strap.
Sometimes on the right knee, sometimes in
the middle.
But, over the years I've kinda settled on
playing in,
in the classical the classical position.
I use a foot stool.
I have the guitar resting in the middle.
And particularly for finger style,
it means that your, your hand is really
where it, where it needs to be.
You're not gonna have to, if you, if you
got it here, you're gonna be in a position
where you're having to move your hand in,
in an awkward position.
Here it's like, I always say this is like,
it's like dancing, you know?
It's like, that's your, your hand on.
The ladies back, and then ya this is,
you're holding the hand, here.
You're doing a waltz.
So, it's very important, right from the
very beginning, as I've said earlier,
to, get a close relationship with the
guitar.
Feel comfortable with it.
It's a great big lump of wood, basically,
a guitar.
But I want you to feel that it, it's part
of you.
Just hold it close, get it really it's got
to be
[MUSIC]
it's got to feel comfortable.
You've got to get to the point where you
don't even, you don't even feel you're,
you're playing the guitar.
Sit around the guitar, sit around the
house, with the guitar, pick it up.
Just so it becomes second nature to you.
And all the time, when I'm playing.
And I could be on stage, playing a solo
concert.
And suddenly the guitar just disappears.
The music just takes over.
And I'm not even aware, that I'm playing
the guitar.
So I want you to really start thinking
about that, right from the very beginning.
Get the guitar so it's so
comfortable you hardly even know you're,
you're holding it.
This is the way it works for me.
It might not work for you.
Experiment with it and, and see how that
feels for you.
With the right hand, my style of guitar
playing, is really based on the,
the right hand.
Very often, guitar players come and see
me,
and they'll say, could you show me how you
do such and such a thing?
I've, I've heard you play this, could you
show it to me?
And I'll start playing, and nearly always
they look at the wrong hand.
They look at the left hand.
Everything's in this one.
This is where everything really happens.
In fingerstyle playing, it's a right
handed guitar guitar technique.
So everything is going on here.
I'm going to talk in more detail about
this later on.
I'm gonna talk about advanced techniques
with the right hand.
But feel the hand that's that's
comfortable here and
now if I'm playing finger style, I'm
playing.
With a little bit.
With a little bit of nails, so I grow my
nails slightly not, not very long.
And what this does is I I can then get
different textures out of a note.
I can make the, I can make a, a note sound
quite
attacking, quite hard, and, and, and
attack it or I can make it very soft.
So it, by using the flesh of the finger,
it can be, see with the thumb, that's
quite a soft, kind of sound, or I can,
[MUSIC]
So I have lots of options there.
All these options are all part of our
musical vocabulary, so
that works well with me.
Some guitar players don't like to play
with nails, but I do.
But you don't need your nails very long,
and if you have trouble with your nails,
as well, there's all kinds of things,
if you don't mind going, you can go to a
nail parlor.
And they'll fix your nails with acrylic or
silk wraps or gel.
This is what I do.
My wife does this for me.
She puts gel on here, which protects the
nail.
They're less likely to break.
And actually, it makes the nail slightly
thicker.
And I, I prefer the sound of that.
So you might wanna look into that a, as
well.
So we have this, getting the, the
right-hand technique here.
The, there's another thing we can do.
Some guitar players like to play with a
thumbpick.
I've never been able to play with one, but
you can do the same thing, with with a
thumbpick.
Just, some people just feel more
comfortable with that.
We can also do, like a hybrid, way of
playing, where we play,.
With a pick, with a flat pick and fingers,
so we can play with the,
the pick just held between the thumb and
the first finger
[MUSIC]
but then we bring in some finger style as
well
[MUSIC]
It's very good if you want to play finger
style but also want to play some really
nice single string lines as well.
I'm starting to favor this way of playing
a little bit more.
I don't do it as much as I, I should do
but I'm starting to play more like this,
this hybrid way of playing with a pick as
well.
[MUSIC]
But
because I also have, I've developed a way
of playing with the thumb.
I use upstrokes as well.
Sometimes I need to use the thumb and this
is a very good trick for you.
Some people call it palming the pick.
I'm not actually putting it in the palm.
I'm putting it in this finger here.
I'm playing.
[MUSIC]
So, I can play this kind of thing,
when I go between playing with a pick and
playing with fingers.
[MUSIC]
So, I'm I'm going backwards and forwards,
that's a really good technique to learn if
you can.
[MUSIC]
Now with the left hand you've really just
gotta feel very comfortable.
Keep the hand really loose.
Keep the fingers loose.
One thing not to do and it's very common
thing that happens is some people
get a bit kind of, pushy with the thumb
here, really pushing in here.
And, know what, sometimes I play and
I don't even put my thumb on the back of
the neck.
So, keep everything fairly loose.
Don't, don't grip hold of it.
Keep very loose about it.
But again, I can't really,
there isn't really a particular method
I'll give you for the left hand.
That's something that you'll, you'll find
out for yourself.
Whatever feels comfortable for you.
But the main thing is to keep, just keep
relaxed with your left hand and
keep everything relaxed when you're
playing.
Don't grip at the neck just be ready to
just be ready for action all the time.
[MUSIC]
>> Teach the world
[MUSIC]
I'm
really gonna start with some very, very,
very basic things here.
And for some of you more advanced
students, a,
you may be tempted to kind of skip this
part and move further on.
But I would really ask you to, to kind of
bear with this because, a,
from my own experience I found that
sometimes going back to the beginning,
not just in music but in, in lots of
things that, that I'm interested in like.
Going back to the beginning you can
sometimes pick up things that you missed
somewhere along the lines.
So it, it's all valid, so you know, if
you, if you don't mind,
just kind of stick with it right from the
very beginning and there, there might be
some other things that you find in here
that, that of interest so rather than.
Moving on ahead.
Start from the beginning.
So, we're really going to start at the
very, very, very beginning.
I'm actually just holding a guitar.
Now when I first started to play my dad
gave me this guitar and,
and he gave me a pick, and I, he sat with
it like this.
And I just played like this, exactly the
way that he did and all his friends did.
Along the way, I've kind of changed things
around.
For a while, I played, I used to have a, I
used to stand with a strap.
And then sometimes I used to sit with a
strap.
Sometimes on the right knee, sometimes in
the middle.
But, over the years I've kinda settled on
playing in,
in the classical the classical position.
I use a foot stool.
I have the guitar resting in the middle.
And particularly for finger style,
it means that your, your hand is really
where it, where it needs to be.
You're not gonna have to, if you, if you
got it here, you're gonna be in a position
where you're having to move your hand in,
in an awkward position.
Here it's like, I always say this is like,
it's like dancing, you know?
It's like, that's your, your hand on.
The ladies back, and then ya this is,
you're holding the hand, here.
You're doing a waltz.
So, it's very important, right from the
very beginning, as I've said earlier,
to, get a close relationship with the
guitar.
Feel comfortable with it.
It's a great big lump of wood, basically,
a guitar.
But I want you to feel that it, it's part
of you.
Just hold it close, get it really it's got
to be
[MUSIC]
it's got to feel comfortable.
You've got to get to the point where you
don't even, you don't even feel you're,
you're playing the guitar.
Sit around the guitar, sit around the
house, with the guitar, pick it up.
Just so it becomes second nature to you.
And all the time, when I'm playing.
And I could be on stage, playing a solo
concert.
And suddenly the guitar just disappears.
The music just takes over.
And I'm not even aware, that I'm playing
the guitar.
So I want you to really start thinking
about that, right from the very beginning.
Get the guitar so it's so
comfortable you hardly even know you're,
you're holding it.
This is the way it works for me.
It might not work for you.
Experiment with it and, and see how that
feels for you.
With the right hand, my style of guitar
playing, is really based on the,
the right hand.
Very often, guitar players come and see
me,
and they'll say, could you show me how you
do such and such a thing?
I've, I've heard you play this, could you
show it to me?
And I'll start playing, and nearly always
they look at the wrong hand.
They look at the left hand.
Everything's in this one.
This is where everything really happens.
In fingerstyle playing, it's a right
handed guitar guitar technique.
So everything is going on here.
I'm going to talk in more detail about
this later on.
I'm gonna talk about advanced techniques
with the right hand.
But feel the hand that's that's
comfortable here and
now if I'm playing finger style, I'm
playing.
With a little bit.
With a little bit of nails, so I grow my
nails slightly not, not very long.
And what this does is I I can then get
different textures out of a note.
I can make the, I can make a, a note sound
quite
attacking, quite hard, and, and, and
attack it or I can make it very soft.
So it, by using the flesh of the finger,
it can be, see with the thumb, that's
quite a soft, kind of sound, or I can,
[MUSIC]
So I have lots of options there.
All these options are all part of our
musical vocabulary, so
that works well with me.
Some guitar players don't like to play
with nails, but I do.
But you don't need your nails very long,
and if you have trouble with your nails,
as well, there's all kinds of things,
if you don't mind going, you can go to a
nail parlor.
And they'll fix your nails with acrylic or
silk wraps or gel.
This is what I do.
My wife does this for me.
She puts gel on here, which protects the
nail.
They're less likely to break.
And actually, it makes the nail slightly
thicker.
And I, I prefer the sound of that.
So you might wanna look into that a, as
well.
So we have this, getting the, the
right-hand technique here.
The, there's another thing we can do.
Some guitar players like to play with a
thumbpick.
I've never been able to play with one, but
you can do the same thing, with with a
thumbpick.
Just, some people just feel more
comfortable with that.
We can also do, like a hybrid, way of
playing, where we play,.
With a pick, with a flat pick and fingers,
so we can play with the,
the pick just held between the thumb and
the first finger
[MUSIC]
but then we bring in some finger style as
well
[MUSIC]
It's very good if you want to play finger
style but also want to play some really
nice single string lines as well.
I'm starting to favor this way of playing
a little bit more.
I don't do it as much as I, I should do
but I'm starting to play more like this,
this hybrid way of playing with a pick as
well.
[MUSIC]
But
because I also have, I've developed a way
of playing with the thumb.
I use upstrokes as well.
Sometimes I need to use the thumb and this
is a very good trick for you.
Some people call it palming the pick.
I'm not actually putting it in the palm.
I'm putting it in this finger here.
I'm playing.
[MUSIC]
So, I can play this kind of thing,
when I go between playing with a pick and
playing with fingers.
[MUSIC]
So, I'm I'm going backwards and forwards,
that's a really good technique to learn if
you can.
[MUSIC]
Now with the left hand you've really just
gotta feel very comfortable.
Keep the hand really loose.
Keep the fingers loose.
One thing not to do and it's very common
thing that happens is some people
get a bit kind of, pushy with the thumb
here, really pushing in here.
And, know what, sometimes I play and
I don't even put my thumb on the back of
the neck.
So, keep everything fairly loose.
Don't, don't grip hold of it.
Keep very loose about it.
But again, I can't really,
there isn't really a particular method
I'll give you for the left hand.
That's something that you'll, you'll find
out for yourself.
Whatever feels comfortable for you.
But the main thing is to keep, just keep
relaxed with your left hand and
keep everything relaxed when you're
playing.
Don't grip at the neck just be ready to
just be ready for action all the time.
[MUSIC]
>> Teach the world