The materials you could learn on this page will surely be very useful for guitarists interested in improving their accompaniment quality. But these materials won’t teach you how to truly play the guitar because they do not contain any information on how to correctly place your hands on the guitar, nor any exercises for developing mobility, endurance, and strength in your fingers. Basically, it doesn’t contain the fundamental materials for learning.
That’s why if you are intending to learn to play the guitar with these materials (or any other material related to accompaniment by means of strumming or fingerpicking technique), I recommend that you reconsider. I know that you might know better… But beginners usually have limited knowledge about the guitar. They don’t know how to prepare the guitar for comfortable playing; how to avoid pain in the early stages of learning; how to control their fingers that are resistant to proper positioning on the strings; how to learn playing techniques, such as «barre» and «arpeggio» (both basic and complicated in their own ways), without which not even one slightly advanced song can be played. Even if you do succeed in beginning these exercises, it’s going to take an enormous amount of time to learn each song. As a result, you will have learned only a very small number of compositions of questionable quality after years of hard work. Most importantly, your habit of placing your hands in the position you want, not in the position you should, will never let you master your playing skills. And by mastery, I am not talking about developing chord-playing techniques or the correct movement of the right hand which is responsible for extracting sounds in the standard sitting position but developing skills for playing a guitar solo. You will ask, of course, why you need these skills. First of all, especially when you are young you cannot be sure what you will prefer in the future: to sing with your own accompaniment or just play the guitar. Secondly, you simply might not have the voice to sing, but giving up the guitar won’t be possible for you. Thirdly, you need these skills to play the instrumental intro, break, or coda, which is present in almost every song.
But now let’s look at the other side of the coin. If you undergo training in my guitar school or at any other qualified place, you will be able to play music of various genres and styles, including, by sheet music. You will be able to play solo, producing high-quality music without the involvement of other musical instruments or voices (when I am talking about high-quality guitar solo, I mean the simultaneous extraction of sound into no less than three flows). Learn all known guitar techniques (I have all of them on my website!). Acquire the skills which will help you to progress and grow as an artist. And song accompaniment will be much easier to conquer. It won’t take any more time than you would have spent learning a couple of dozen songs without the appropriate qualification. There’s a difference, isn’t there? It’s up to you to decide. But if you’ve decided to undergo the training in my school, please visit the section «Guitar Lessons» and download the first lesson for free. The price for each subsequent lesson is $2, which, as you can see, is not that high of a price to pay.
To heighten your interest in learning the guitar, I offer you to visit the section «Guitarist’s Library» and listen to what’s possible to play on guitar (rubrics «Sheet Music + Tabs», «Romances and Songs», «Guitar Ensembles» consist only of my arrangements).
Next, we will discuss some information regarding the offered topics…
Alphanumerical Designation of Chords. Alphanumerical Designation is a method of recording individual sounds, chords, and keys of musical compositions using the Latin alphabet, mathematical and musical signs, as well as other special symbols (see details here: «Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School» > «Useful Materials» > «Accompaniment» > «Alphanumerical Designation of Chords»).
This designation system has some advantages and disadvantages.
PROS. Firstly, it is a simple way to learn new compositions for those musicians who play chords but do not know notation.
Secondly, it is more convenient to read when playing chords (in comparison to sheet music). Moreover, if a musician knows these designations well (or more precisely, is capable of connecting them to actual chords), he can sight-read without prior preparation. But if he does not know them, he can always refer to the chord catalogue (a large chord catalogue for the 6-string guitar is available for viewing and downloading here: «Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School» > «Useful Materials» > «Accompaniment» > «Catalogue of Chords for the Guitar»).
Thirdly, alphanumerical designations are very helpful for those musicians who are used to playing in an improvisational style (regardless of which instrument is used). This is because these symbols provide accurate information on the current harmony, allowing to avoid false notes while playing in combination with other instruments and to avoid «getting lost» in the score. But honestly, this is only possible if you know notation and the basics of music theory. Thus, if you are not yet familiar with this topic, you can learn it here: «Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School» > «Guitar Lessons.»
Fourthly, alphanumerical designations as well as sheet music are standard for everyone in the world and therefore are understood by all musicians, regardless of the language they speak. This feature has become particularly valuable due to the advent of the Internet and, consequently, the dynamic merging of cultures. And this is applicable not only to chords but also to all musical disciplines, in which alphanumerical designations are very widely used.
CONS. Firstly, these designations do not provide any information about the relative positions of chord sounds or their pitch. Therefore, a performer has to decide on their own how to arrange chord sounds and where on the neck or keyboard to extract them, and this may not coincide with what the author intended, which usually involves a specific lower sound (for the guitar, it is a bass (basic) sound) and a specific pitch.
Secondly, these designations do not provide any information on the exact moment to produce the chord and its duration without extra notation elements like staff and time signatures or lyrics (see details in the document «Alphanumerical Designation of Chords» > «Application of Alphanumerical Designation of Chords»).
Thirdly, the alphanumerical designations do not reveal how to extract the sounds of the chord, whether simultaneously (strumming) or alternately (fingerpicking), or with what rhythm.
CONCLUSIONS. Alphanumerical designations, despite their certain disadvantages, will be useful to anyone who does anything somehow related to music.
Catalogue of Chords for the Guitar. Chords in my (Andrey Nosov’s) catalog are written in notation and contain detailed fingering of the left hand that is responsible for holding down the strings. They are also provided with tablature, which allows the guitarists who don’t know notation to play the chords without any difficulties. The chords are provided with all possible designations used in different countries and various musical genres. So you won’t have any trouble understanding the chord symbols which are accepted worldwide and actively used, let’s say, in jazz.
The catalog includes a large number of chords that are surely sufficient for playing any accompaniment regardless of its performance manner: fingerpicking or strumming (the convenience of using the strumming technique has been the key factor in choosing chords; all of them are played solely on adjacent strings). But… this is only a small part of the chords that can be played on the guitar. The catalog doesn’t include chords, where adjacent sounds are placed one string or more from each other. Chords containing an open string in the middle of the chord structure are not included either (or presented in a very small number). The number of such chords is tremendous, so it’s almost impossible to record or learn all of them. Besides, qualified guitarists tend not to memorize every single chord and do not use cheat sheets like the catalog of chords. They use theoretical and practical knowledge which allows them to form and play the appropriate chords of any difficulty. To join the ranks of qualified guitarists who are notorious for not only excellent chord-playing technique but also for brilliant solo playing, I invite you to undergo the training in my guitar school. Detailed information can be found on the website of Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School.
Strumming Techniques – «Rasgueado», «Golpe» and other «Flamenco» playing techniques. Flamenco – a musical style characterized by a heightened excitement and emotional temperament, combined with frequent changes of rhythm, frets, and harmony. The techniques we are going to discuss in the document «Guitar Strumming Techniques» are the basic techniques for this style and are related to the strumming technique performed by the right hand, which is responsible, by default, for the extraction of sounds. But you should know that the strumming technique of the right hand is only one-half of the «Flamenco.» The second half is improvisation (or composition parts memorized beforehand from sheet music), which is traditionally played with the fingers (information on the classical method of extraction of sounds can be found in my (Andrey Nosov’s) manual «Andrey. These two aforementioned components make up the incomparable, inimitable flavor of the «Flamenco» style performed on the guitar.
The document «Guitar Strumming Techniques» may seem to be designed for those guitar players who are not well-acquainted with the classical guitar, with its solo character and academic method of sound extraction. But for the classical guitarists, I still highly recommend learning this, firstly, in order to enrich the sound palette of their instrument with extra colorful features. Secondly, in order to keep pace with the modern realities, in which the use of «Flamenco» techniques is considered almost a standard in all musical genres, from classical to jazz music.
Catalogue of Rhythmic Patterns. Rhythmic patterns are recommended for guitarists who use the guitar for strumming accompaniment (even if it’s used fragmentarily, alternating with solo playing). There is no restriction on the number of guitar strings.
The collection includes more than 800 rhythmic patterns. Of course, even more, could have been written, but this quantity of rhythmic patterns should be enough for you to become a skilled hand at strumming and never have trouble with this guitar technique.
Rhythmic patterns or strumming patterns are recorded by means of sheet music. However, this should not discourage those who don’t know notation. Specifically for them, a special mechanism has been developed that allows one to read the rhythmic patterns of any difficulty. This mechanism is called «steady pulse of beats» and is designated by dots in the strumming pattern. Complete information on the steady pulse of beats can be found in Lesson 2 of Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School. In brief, it’s a chain of certain objects placed equidistantly from each other. A couple of examples of this steady pulse of beats are your heartbeat or… steady foot-tapping which has been used by musicians to keep rhythm since the olden days. As we can see from the strumming patterns, notes are aligned with dots (read them by tapping your foot). So, in order to produce the rhythm, extraction of the sound shall be combined with foot tapping. But be careful because some sounds can last for the duration of a few taps while others are combined with every other tap. Important note! The correct reading of rhythm is possible only if the taps are absolutely steady. So if you are not sure, use the metronome (you can download the «metronome» software for your computer here: «Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School» > «Useful Materials» > «Softwares» > «‘Metronome»).
Arpeggio (String Picking) Guitar Technique. Arpeggio on the guitar, simply put, is string picking. The success of this technique, by and large, depends on the movement of the performer’s right-hand fingers interacting with the strings to extract the sound. The left hand, the fingers of which form the chords (not always standard…), is also involved in playing arpeggios.
Any guitar player who plays at a basic level considers himself an outstanding performer if he or she knows a few string picking techniques. And I offer… 60 types, each of which is considered not only a separate exercise but also has a purely practical value, serving as a template for song accompaniment. Moreover, these types can be combined (within the same meter signature) to get an even greater number of string picking techniques. Please see details in the «Arpeggio» section and, of course, in my lessons (see section «Guitar Lessons»).
I wish you success, my colleagues!
the author of the manual «Andrey Nosov’s Guitar School»
and several hundreds of arrangements for guitar solo,
guitar ensembles and voice accompanied by guitar.