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Can somebody please explain to me what kind of wizardry is going on in this video. The player has a quality of tone that I simply did not know existed. How would someone go about reproducing these sounds?

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  • 1
    Take lessons, practice for years and buy the best guitar available.
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 24 at 20:11
  • 1
    By "wizardry" and "quality of tone", do you mean "which special techniques are used here?" or "how does he get such a pure sound?" The question could be more specific on that.
    – Ramillies
    Jan 24 at 20:25
  • Is the question about the audio quality of the recording or about the quality of the player/instrument?
    – mkrieger1
    Jan 25 at 9:28
  • @mkrieger1 quality of the playing
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 25 at 12:04

2 Answers 2

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Everything matters, and I’ll put a partial list below in roughly the order of importance. Some may disagree with the order. There’s some things that relate to the quality of the tone (how refined it is) and others that relate to the type of tone (like how bright/dark it is).

  • Right hand preparation is most of the game for classical guitar
  • Right hand nail shape
  • Left hand technique
  • Position of the guitar
  • Quality and type of guitar
  • Control of color (kind of part of right hand technique)
  • Strings

One thing particularly impressive about the performance linked is that even with the fast tremolo, the full preparation for each note is clear. It takes much practice to prepare so accurately, consistently, and quickly.

It’s a spruce top guitar and sounds like brand new strings so that helps with the brightness and articulation, especially the low notes. His thumb preparation and technique is also excellent.

Mostly left hand technique is about accurately fretting at exactly the right time and using the right amount of pressure to prevent messing up the tone created by the right hand. At least 90% of tone is the right hand.

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  • Also, @mkrieger1 hints at a good point: any time we listen to a recorded performance and talk about tone, we have to talk about the recording process. (And even in live performance, things like the acoustic of the space or your position relative to the performer matter more than one might think.) Sometimes amazing tone in a recording is an artifact of micing (and sometimes lousy tone is too!). Brooklyn Rider's raw, "scruffy" Debussy qt. is more about the dry, close recording than about technique. Jan 25 at 15:29
  • @AndyBonner I asked this question kinda on a whim but you are correct the acoustics of the venue and the recording is next level.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 25 at 18:07
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Nylon strings. Classical guitar uses nylon strings not steel and have a nice mellow sound to them.

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