Some Thoughts on The Classical Guitar, Classicism, and Classicists, Part Two: The Dim Side

Sometimes The Old Way Is Not the Best Way.

Ease of playing once attained to, either in a fingerstyle method or when using a plectrum (pick), begets various levels of relaxation. One thing I know classicists won’t argue is that muscle tension is good. But for some reason they can’t seem to entertain the notion that the muscle tension required to play their guitars is vast compared with that required by an electric guitar. I believe that any piece that was written for a classical guitar can be played faster and more effortlessly on an electric. The future is here so let’s play like it.



“OHO! you are silly and naiive, my boy!”, a classicist may proclaim.
“The tone from our very fragile and expensive wood is irreplicable, and therefore superior to any tone that could ever emanate from an electric!”

The first thing I say to all who react in such or similar manner, since classical guitarists do react invariably enough as to warrant a more or less standard and invariable response, is that I still believe wood is possibly the best material for building guitars. My instrument is just as wooden as anyone else’s.
Secondly, I challenge them to show me an acoustic tone that can’t be replicated satisfactorily using an electric. I daresay that all tones can not only be replicated, but also even improved, though improvement means different things to some than to others. After replication/improvement, one can then take some lovely classical music and overdrive it, compress it, EQ it, reverb it, chop it, flip it, bounce it, slice it, and wah-ever else old men don’t want done with it. But, it is our inheritance. Have fun with it. Make it new. Make it yours. And instead of needing a super expensive mic and/or studio to preserve your tone, you can just record right into a DAW or mixer.
All the while, remember, playing with much less effort. The efficient way, the fun way, the masterful natural way, the way that is like water, the way of the Tao.

Rare painting of Lao Tzu with a very ergonomic-looking guitar.
Rare painting of Lao Tzu with a very ergonomic-looking guitar.


Take the classical guitar out of the mental box you have constructed for it.

Now take the electric guitar out of the mental box you have constructed for it.

Now put them in the same box and shake it up.

Now realize there were never really any boxes to begin with.

If the greatest classical composers could have used electricity to their advantage, they would have with bright, eager eyes.


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