Watch the Posture, Foot Stools, & Fingernails online guitar lesson by Andrew Leonard from Beginner Method for Classical Guitar
This is a very detailed video covering classical guitar seating position and the use of right hand fingernails. You may want to review it a few times or come back to it as you proceed through the course. Also, this is the longest video and most detailed section of text in the entire course. I think you'll find it useful to take a few minutes to read, possibly before watching. After viewing this video you'll have a good understanding of the foundational elements of classical guitar and we're ready to start playing
First, we will cover the basics of classical guitar seating position, body alignment and posture. How you position and hold the guitar is of utmost importance to playing classical guitar with as little effort or tension as possible.
The video begins with an explanation of proper alignment without a guitar. I provide several examples with and without a guitar.
What is BAD Posture & Alignment?
If you want to see an out of alignment leg, I have a quick example. At about 50 seconds into the video, my right leg is straight ahead. Right after I say, "out to the side," I move only my knee and keep my ankle and upper leg straight. If you try this, you'll notice it feels a lot less comfortable than when your legs are in alignment. Immediately afterward I move my entire leg to the side into a position to accommodate the guitar and foot stool.
At about 2:05, I demonstrate an out of alignment upper body. After I give the "thumbs up" for a good upper body position, I lean too far forward and then I sit up too much and my back is over straightened and over arched. Once I hold the guitar, there are plenty of demonstrations.
Footstools & the Murata Guitar Rest
At about 4:30 I demonstrate the traditional way to hold a classical guitar with a footstool. In addition, there are many devices that allow the classical guitarist to keep both feet on the floor. If you're curious, I use something called the Murata Guitar Rest. If you search on the internet, you'll find places to acquire one or something similar.
Right hand fingernails for playing classical guitar are discussed at approximately 5:35. I have provided a general "Classical Guitarists Guide" for shaping and filing the right hand fingernails. If you prefer not to use fingernails or are just beginning, fingernails are not necessary. The "contact point" and "release point" discussed in the course are quite similar with or without right hand fingernails.
The release point is discussed at about 7:55. You can see that my fingernail is now placed on the string beyond the line I drew for the contact point. One additional idea is to file the fingernail so the highest point is the "release point". You can do this by rounding the right side of the fingernail that's beyond the release point.
Although it is mentioned several times in the video, finding the correct nail shape is a work in progress. Also, sometimes my nail does not sound its best until a day or two after it has been filed. If you play daily, you may not need to refile your nails for a few days. Instead you can smooth them. See below for a lengthier explanation.
Another tip, after you finish filing, is to smooth out the nail with fine sandpaper and or a buffer. I use "500 Grit Tri-M-ite Free-Cut Sandpaper". It can be bought in sheets that are about 8"x10". You can cut it into small rectangles about 1 inch by 2 inches or whatever seems manageable to use. Each small rectangular piece will allow you to smooth your nails for at least a few days, so a sheet may last a few months.
As mentioned above, the video is very detailed — as is all the text you just read! But, if you would like even more information on seating position and fingernail filing, buffing and smoothing, visit my TrueFire Channel, Andrew Leonard's Classical Guitar Conservatory. I created several additional free videos for you. By clicking on “Channel” on the black banner at the top of the web page, you can find Andrew Leonard's Classical Guitar Conservatory.