Classical Guitar Instruction with Douglas Niedt
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Guitar Technique Tip of the Month

Your Personal Guitar Lesson

Douglas Niedt, guitarist

My press agent says:
Douglas Niedt is a successful concert and recording artist and highly respected master classical guitar teacher with 50 years of teaching experience. He is Associate Professor of Music (retired), at the Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Fellow of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management—Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Doug studied with such diverse masters as Andrés Segovia, Pepe Romero, Christopher Parkening, Narciso Yepes, Oscar Ghiglia, and Jorge Morel. Therefore, Doug provides solutions for you from a variety of perspectives and schools of thought.

He gives accurate, reliable advice that has been tested in performance on the concert stage that will work for you at home.

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Downloads of content and videos are available at the end of the technique tip. Please scroll down to bottom.

Classical Guitar Technique

HOW TO PLAY SHIFTS ON THE CLASSICAL GUITAR
AND IMPROVE YOUR SHIFT TECHNIQUE



By Douglas Niedt

Copyright Douglas Niedt. All Rights Reserved.
This article may be reprinted, but please be considerate and give credit to Douglas Niedt.


Brevity is the Soul of Wit?

Well, maybe not.

Many of my technique tips are long and detailed. The two videos that comprise this technique tip are long and detailed.

But let me ask you this. If you were to undergo brain surgery, which of the following books would you want your surgeon to have read?

  1. The Complete, Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Brain Surgery
  2. Bubba's Quick Guide to Brain Surgery

I rest my case.

This isn't brain surgery but watch these two videos to learn everything you need to know about shifts and shift technique.

Video #1: HOW TO PLAY SHIFTS PART I—An Overview

CONTENTS AND TIMELINE:

Our ultimate goal 00:14
Bad shifts vs good shifts 00:38
Practice on treble strings only 01:01
Extract shift from scale or passage 01:21
How to test to tell if your shifts are inaudible 01:53
Guide fingers 03:15
Thumb position 04:17
Shift on the beat to make shift inaudible 04:44
Make lightning-fast shifts 06:03
Shifts must be graceful and effortless 06:18
Right hand should not accent the shifts 06:37
Ascending shifts are easier than descending shifts 07:18
Practice shifts with mixed rhythms 07:50

Musical examples referenced in Video #1

Classical guitar shifts C major scale complete
Classical guitar shifts extracted from C major scale
Classical guitar shifts extracted from C major scale we want to master
Classical guitar shifts extracted from C major scale guide fingers
Classical guitar shifts extracted from C major scale with and without shifts
Classical guitar shifts extracted from C major scale mixed rhythms

Video #2: HOW TO PLAY SHIFTS PART II—The Details

CONTENTS AND TIMELINE:

SHIFT TECHNIQUES

NOTE: You may notice I don't always follow my own advice about keeping the thumb in position with the hand. In an effort to keep my head out of the video, I was leaning back in my chair like a pretzel. My thumb was occasionally less concerned with correct shift technique than with helping me to not drop my guitar on the floor.

Ascending Shifts 00:14

Elbow position 00:37
Guide fingers 01:26
Thumb Position 01:40
Leaving fingers down or lifting them 03:00

Descending Shifts 03:45

The Guide finger 04:08
Land on the broad part of the finger 04:39
Elbow position change 05:35
Thumb on descending shifts 07:48

All Shifts

Compression of the fingers 08:44
"Look before you leap." Choose a target point 10:00
Summary 11:38

SHIFTS IN UPPER POSITIONS PAST THE 12TH FRET 12:37

NOTE: You may notice I don't always follow my own advice about keeping the thumb in position with the hand. In an effort to keep my head out of the video, I was leaning back in my chair like a pretzel. My thumb was occasionally less concerned with correct shift technique than with helping me to not drop my guitar on the floor.

Ascending Shifts 12:51

Ascending shifts collapse of tip joint 13:07
Thumb position 13:27
Elbow position change 13:54
Clearing the upper bout 14:01

Descending Shifts 15:42

Guide fingers 15:46
Land on the broad part of the finger 15:52
More on Guide fingers 16:08
Elbow position 16:27
Clearing the upper bout 16:45
"Look before you leap." Choose a target point 17:11
Thumb position 17:56

Musical examples referenced in Video #2

SHIFT TECHNIQUES

Classical guitar shifts F major scale complete
Classical guitar shifts F major scale fragment extracted for practice
Classical guitar shifts F major scale fragment shifts to master
Classical guitar shifts F major scale fragment guide fingers

SHIFTS IN UPPER POSITIONS PAST THE 12TH FRET

Classical guitar shifts G major scale complete
Classical guitar shifts G major scale shifts to master
Classical guitar shifts G major scale guide fingers

Downloads

These are downloads from Dropbox. NOTE: You do NOT need a Dropbox account and don't have to sign up for Dropbox to access the file.

1. Download a PDF of the article with links to the videos.

Download a PDF of HOW TO PLAY SHIFTS ON THE CLASSICAL GUITAR AND IMPROVE YOUR SHIFT TECHNIQUE with links to the videos.


3. Download the videos. Click on the video you wish to download. After the Vimeo video review page opens, click on the down arrow in the upper right corner. You will be given a choice of five different resolutions/qualities/file sizes to download.

Download Video 1, HOW TO PLAY SHIFTS ON THE CLASSICAL GUITAR PART I—An Overview.

Download Video 2, HOW TO PLAY SHIFTS ON THE CLASSICAL GUITAR PART II—The Details.