Classical Guitar Answer Book

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In the Classical Guitar Answer Book, virtuoso guitarist Sharon Isbin answers 50 essential questions about performing, practicing, and choosing and caring for your guitar. Isbin directs the Juilliard School guitar department and is known as much for her versatility as she is for her extraordinary technique. She has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Laurindo Almeida, Larry Coryell, Herb Ellis, Stanley Jordan, Michael Hedges, and Nigel Kennedy, and has recorded everything from Baroque music to Spanish/Latin, 20th-century, crossover, and jazz fusion. Every guitar player can learn from Isbin's experiences as a musician and a performer.

This comprehensive guide is available in two different formats:

  • Book: 81 pages of tips, references, glossary, diagrams, and more written by Sharon Isbin.
  • PDF: Downloadable version featuring the complete written instruction from the book. 


  • Equipment: Auditioning a Guitar, Choosing the Right Scale Length, Cedar vs. Spruce Tops, Instrument Care and Repair, Locating Rattles, Testing Strings, Footstools, Amplification Setups, Traveling with a Guitar
  • Starters: Tuning Up, Finding a Comfortable Playing Position, Playing Lefty, Lessons for Children, Single Notes vs. Chords for Beginners, Finding the Right Teacher, Studying with a Teacher vs. Using Method Books, Studying Multiple Styles, Choosing a Guitar Program
  • Fingernails and Calluses: Playing with Fingernails, Fingernail First Aid, Caring for Calluses, Bass-String Squeaks
  • Practicing: Structuring Practice Time, Using a Metronome, Warming Up for Performance, Taking a Vacation from the Guitar
  • Repertoire and Interpretation: Basic Repertoire, Keeping Abreast of New Music, New Music for Classical Audiences, Embellishing Composed Music, Ensemble Playing, Using Altered Tunings, Handling Rests in a Score
  • Refining Techniques: Harmonics, Free Strokes and Rest Strokes, Tremolo Exercises, Stopping Open Strings, Cross-String Ornaments, Percussive Techniques
  • Roadblocks: Breathing, Making Faces, Reading High Notes on the Staff, Hand Fatigue, Rebuilding Hand Muscles After Injury
  • Where Mind Meets Music: Memorizing Tips, Relaxation and Visualization for Performing, Tripping over Mistakes, Making a Career, Approaching Music Publishers, Finding a Niche in the Classical World
  • This new edition also presents extensive resource listings: music schools with classical-guitar programs, both in the US and abroad; an international directory of nylon-string guitar makers; shops specializing in classical guitars; books, publications, organizations, and websites of interest to classical players; a sampling of Isbin's concert programs, annotated by the artist; and a list of works for guitar and orchestra

"...there are many pearls of information that give insight into Isbin's personal commitment to and understanding of all aspects of the classical guitar."

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