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10 Jun 2002
I'm Harvey. Heh.

I just got to Japan on the 4th, it's my 3rd time... maybe 4th. once for 6 weeks after junior year of high school in Chiba with YFU (Youth for Understanding International Exchange, great program) doing a home stay. Once just to dink around as a tourist during a winter vacation, and one year at Nanzan University in Nagoya. And then now. I think I'll stay for quite some time this time since I'm here to work, in Tokyo.

I like Japanese. heh. I like computers. heh. And I wish I knew how to play the guitar.

I'll be stopping in frequently as this site kicks butt! I also run that site in my sig. I'm sure I can get a lot of help from you guys!

yoroshiku onegaishimasu and stuff.
Hehe, once again, Harvey, nice to have you here!

Japannewbie.com: highly recommended!
Welcome Harvey.

I love Japanese, computers and the guitar, so if you have any questions please shoot (especially on guitar. I doubt I could help out with the other two so well since we've got some veterans in here :))
Wow seriously? Maybe Dana will stumble in on this thread.

Well, here is a question to start off with. I want to start playing guitar, but I never have before in my life really, so I'm a toally beginner.

What I really want to eventually be able to do is to play classical guitar music, and eventually, Flamenco guitar. That would be great. The blues also interest me.

So, I plan to start with an acoustic guitar and just go from there... I heard that most classical music is played on guitars with nylon strings though, but do you think I should start with one of those? Or should I learn the basics on a 'regular' steel string accoustic first?

Any suggestions on what brands are good to start with? A guy in a store in Shibuya recommended 'seagull' to me.

I dunno. What do you think my approach should be?
dude harvey! should have expected to find you here -- still have my lain? yo, if you meet some guy who's all like 'saino no nai gaijin ga koko ni kitara na...' tell me, yeah? for guitars... chords, scales and tabs are your best free resources. check the garbage drop spots on gomi day -- we found a kickass guitar with a case laying on the side of the road one time. it was cool -- back to the listings!

I know nothing much about Flamenco guitar, but I'm pretty sure they usually use a normal classical-type guitar.
For this reason, I reckon it's best to buy one of these to start off with for 2 reasons: 1) it's the type of guitar you'll want for the music you're working toward playing and 2) nylon-stringed guitars are much easier to play at first, the necks tend to be wider than steel-strung ones, but you can practise without punishing your fingertips too much. Of course, if you fancy going for "practising till your fingers bleed" cool, then you need the cheapest steel string you can find...
As for brands, I have really no idea about classical, I have one, but there's no label on it. I bought it for a few quid many years ago.
In general, Yamaha acoustics seem pretty good value, though, even more so in Japan (I assume).

Alternatively, you should just steal a guitar off the tone-deaf high school buskers hanging around most Japanese stations. I'm sure everyone would be very grateful (the ones in Mito are particularly deserving candidates..)

Good luck!
I agree with grza. In my experience, it's best if you go with a nylon string guitar (classical/Spanish guitar) rather than a western style steel string model. It's convenient in your case because you want to do classical and flamenco, and a classical guitar should not be substituted in this case. The necks on the classical guitars are indeed wider and stay roughly the same width all the way along the fretboard. This is good because you really have to get the hand position right for playing classical style which means your thumb has to remain tucked well away under the fretboard, away from the frets. You'll notice that people playing western style guitars occasionally let their thumb creep onto the fretboard for some chords -- to the best of my knowledge, the thumb isn't used for this in classical

I've not played on many classical guitars... but with a western style guitar you can really tell the difference between a cheap ol' job and a good quality model. I think the best thing to do is try several out in a shop and come to a compromise between comfort and price. Before I bought a guitar I practised solely on classical acoustics and they are pretty good for getting started on. In my case it was because the action was set really high (the distance between the string and the fretboard was high) and meant I had to srengthen my fingers fast!

Make sure the guitar you are going to buy is comfortable in this respect; that it doesn't require so much pressure to get the string onto the fret. It's a bit easier buying a classical guitar, I think. I am not totally sure, but with steel strings, you can buy sets of strings with different gauges (the thickness of the strings) -- lower gauges = lighter strings = lower volume, sharper tone = easier to hold down notes = easier to break strings

As for brands, I do not really know. Over in the west the bigger brands like Fender and Yamaha also have a cheaper range. These are probably the best to start off with since although they are a bit more expensive than the cheapos, they will give quality and longevity. I still think you should try playing different ones to find your best one though. Brand names are only a guideline
Thanks for the tips! I think I will buy a classical one. Actually, I heard today at a store in Shibuya that Flamenco guitars and Classic guitars are actually differnt. The material the bodies are made of are different. but the guy said that if yo'ure just starting, a classic is fine even if you wanna play flamenco, because the only real differnce is the quality of sound that they produce.

Have you guys ever heard of Kaoru Muraji? She's a Japanese classical guitarist. Just heard her stuff while in Tower Records. Good stuff.
I wanna learn to play like that!!!

I know it'll take about 10 years. but it sounds so wonderful.
Kaoru Muraji?

I think I've heard some of her songs. It's a good target because she's reeeeeaaally good!

Didn't know just the wood was the difference for Flamenco guitars. Flamenco style for me is a bit difficult, especially on steel strings. A good way to get some cool scars
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