Classical Guitar Ideas for the Rocker

The Lesson Studio guitar instructor Adam Buer by Adam Buer, Guitar Instructor at The Lesson Studio

There is a reason so many famous rock guitarists had some sort of background in classical guitar. Zappa, Van Halen, Randy Rhodes, and The Doors’ guitarists are just a few examples. I assume many of these players are so musically versatile because they have a variety of general musical skills. Classical guitar methods of teaching offer an organized development of these skills. Take arpeggios for example; practicing the notes of your chords individually with a steady hand position can prepare you for more advanced finger style work. Ever want to think outside the pentatonic scale box? Then consider fingering some of these left hand arpeggio patterns as solo lines to spice up your lead guitar parts. A guitar instructor can help you find a specific fingering that works for you. Or try learning an excerpt of Bach, the Toccata in D minor, for example. Once you’ve mastered this on your electric guitar, try it with your distortion cranked up to 11. Not only will you sound like a fret-board shredder, but you’ll also be playing what some people call Bach Rock.

Classical guitarists also spend a great deal of time thinking about proper hand technique, which is very beneficial to any rock/shredder who plans to put in a lot of hours on their instrument without developing a hand injury. The famous guitar teacher, Aaron Shearer, promoted “proper” technique with his four principles of effective muscle movement. They are: uniform direction of joint movement, muscular alignment, midrange function of joints, and follow through. I would summarize two of these principles with the following activity: let your hands fall loosely at your sides and walk around the room paying no attention to them. Then, stop and notice the relaxed position they are in. They are not in a fist, but they are also not fully extended or flat (midrange function of joints). Also, your wrist is relatively straight (muscular alignment). Maintaining this type of relaxed hand position when you pick up your instrument is key, and with guitar lessons these concepts can be reinforced and refined. The more effective your technique and practice habits, the more you can learn. The more you can learn, the more you can shred, dazzle, inspire, or just have fun.

For more information, or to schedule a lesson with Adam, please visit,  e-mail: or call 303-543-3777.


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One Response to “Classical Guitar Ideas for the Rocker”

  1. Rusty Tubbs Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. To be honest, I’m learning more about playing the guitar from your blog, then I’ve ever did from any training DVD set I’ve bought over the past few months. Hope it’s ok that I share this post on Mixx?

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