Second episode of Guitarise Q&A section, this time with Gert asking about how you can eliminate squeaking noises when changing positions on classical guitar.

I feel like the squeaking noises are a big issue for classical guitarists. The example you chose, the Prelude nr. 1 by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, is a good one, as it is really quite hard to play this piece with no squeaking noises at all. But, that said, there are a couple of things we can do to reduce those noises on classical guitar.

1) The first one is kind of obvious, but I’ll say it nevertheless: keep the number of position changes as low as possible. Only change positions when it’s really necessary.

So, instead of playing the first part of the phrase with only the third finger, I would strongly recommend you to try and play glissando at start – as it’s written in the score – without releasing the pressure. Then, on the 7th position, try to stay there as long as possible. In only a few seconds, we already have two squeaking sounds fewer than originally.

Finally, on your way to the 12th fret, you can even instead change your anchor finger from 3 to 2 and avoid jumping to the 12th fret again.

2) Do any position changes in two stages. First, release the pressure while still touching the bass strings with your left hand fingers. Only then you can jump to another position.

Why does this work? Well, the general idea is that to get out of the string, we should always do a movement perpendicular to the string first, and only then can we move the hand to the side onto another position.

Always change positions the last moment possible, but gracefully and in a round movement instead of a straight line.

3) Slide on the trebles for stability, but always lift the fingers off the bass strings. As an example I’ll play the part in the prelude with only the diminished chords.

Or, an even better example is perhaps a piece called Lagrima by Francisco Tarrega. *Samples with and without lifting the 1st/2nd fingers.

To recap, the main points were:

1. Keep the number of position changes as low as possible

2. Do position changes in two stages – a) Release the pressure
while still touching the strings b) Jump to another position

* Get out of the string in a movement perpendicular to the string!

3. Slide on the trebles for stability, but always lift the fingers off
the bass strings

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