The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique (Book)
Detailed compendium on the basics and playing techniques of the guitar in the 21st century
This is more than just a book about technique. Hubert Käppel, a worldwide-recognised and successful classical concert guitarist, is one of the most exceptional artists in his field. His reputation as an instrumentalist and a guitar teacher is not disputed. He was the only German among the award winners at the "Concorso Internazionale di Interpretazione" and since then has played on concert tours across the globe. He has been leading Europe's most successful guitar class at the Cologne University of Music fo ...more
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AMA Verlag
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This is more than just a book about technique. Hubert Käppel, a worldwide-recognised and successful classical concert guitarist, is one of the most exceptional artists in his field. His reputation as an instrumentalist and a guitar teacher is not disputed. He was the only German among the award winners at the "Concorso Internazionale di Interpretazione" and since then has played on concert tours across the globe. He has been leading Europe's most successful guitar class at the Cologne University of Music for some time, started the "International Guitar Seminar Frechen/Colonge" and is a sought-after judge at international guitar competitions.

He left himself more than two decades to publish his "The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique", so that he could pour all of his teaching experience, which spans more than four decades, into his work. This is how a 246-page strong course book came into being, which will deliver material for guitarists for many years to come.

Of the book's three large sections, the second, practical part makes up the bulk, containing many technique exercises (arpeggios, scale exercises, hammer-ons and pull-offs with the left hand, tremolo, flamenco techniques, speed training, vibrato techniques and dynamic exercises). This technical part is framed by theoretical topics: in the "Prerequisites and Basics", Hubert Käppel gives detailed tips for effective and systematic practice and how to move when playing. In the third part, the 'important topics' of fingering techniques and memory training for playing by heart are tackled and comprehensive plans for daily practice cycles are presented. Through the meticulous system used when putting this book together, it has been possible to do without an index because of how detailed the contents page is.


Introductory Words by Aniello Desiderio 

Suggestions for Using this Technique Handbook 


Part One: Prerequisites and Basics


I. Short Introduction to Systematic Practicing 


Organizing Your Practicing 

Practice Objectives 

On Practicing Technique 

On Sound, Rhythm and Tempo While Practicing 


Practicing with a Metronome 

The Importance of Playing from Memory While Practicing 

On the Frequent Repetition of Difficult Passages, Single Measures or Phrases 


II. Holding the Instrument 

The Four Points of Contact on the Body 

The Correct Angle Towards the Body 

Alternate Ways to Hold the Guitar 

The Fusion of Body and Guitar into a Single Sound Source 


III. Left Hand Posture (LH) 

Four Universal Rules 

The Principles of the Four Hand Shapes 

Different Positions of the Left Arm-Hand-Finger System, Clarified by the Fourth Hand Shape

The Positioning of the Fingertips 


IV. Short Outline of the Movements of the Left Hand (LH) 

The Shoulder-Arm-Hand System 

The Motion of the Arm 

Basic Motions of the Fingers 

Intonation and Finger Pressure 

Left Hand Shift 

Stretching and Contracting the Fingers 

Ascending and Descending Slurs 




V. Right Hand Posture (RH) 


Base Finger Joint Position Relative to the Strings


VI. Tone Production and a Short Outline of the Movements of the Right Hand (RH) 


Nail Shape 

Nail Length 

Nail Shape of the Playing Finger 

Polishing the Nails 

Playing Angle of the RH 

A System of Springs 

Tirando: Sequence of Motions 

Apoyando: Sequence of Motions 

Sequence of Motions when Alternating Strokes (m-i and a-m-i) 

Thumb Attack: Sequence of Motions 

Tonal Colors and Point of Contact 

Playing Chords (Several Notes Simultaneously): Sequence of Motions 

Arpeggios: Sequence of Motions 


Part Two: Technical Exercises


I. Arpeggios 

The Practicing Units 48

Endurance, Evenness and Speed 

Arpeggio Practicing Methods 

1. Variable String Assignments of p-i-m-a 

2. Impulse and Reflex Development 

3. Practicing with Fixed Fingers (RH) 

Chord Progressions and LH Patterns 

Arpeggio Practicing Units 

A1 The 6 Basic Arpeggios 

A2 6 Basic Arpeggios Expanded to 24 

A3 Arpeggios with p-m-i, p-m-a, p-i-a 

A4 Alternating Various Arpeggio Patterns 

A5 12 Basic Arpeggios with Simultaneous Thumb Attacks 

A6 12 Basic Arpeggios with Polyrhythms 

A7 Arpeggios with p-i, p-m and p-a 

A8 Important Two-Part Arpeggios 

A9 The 12 Basic Arpeggios on Three Strings 

A10 36 Six Note Arpeggios 

A11 24 Eight Note Arpeggios 

A12 Variations of the 12 Basic Arpeggios on Three Strings 

A13 Arpeggios with Thumb Accompaniment 

A14 Various Arpeggio Patterns 

A15 12 Basic Arpeggios as Quintuplets 

A16 Arpeggios with Two to Eight Note Groupings 

A17 112 Arpeggios on the 2nd and 3rd Treble Strings 

A18 Basic Arpeggios with Difficult String Crossings 

A19 Playing Chords with Arpeggios and Repeated Notes 

A20 One Finger Arpeggios over Several Strings 

A21 Arpeggios with Thumb Accompaniment to Strengthen Your Attack 

Intensive Training of Important Arpeggios 

A22 Intensive: The Classic Arpeggio Pattern p-i-m 

A23 Intensive: The Classic Arpeggio Pattern p-i-m-a


II. Coordination of the Left and Right Hands 

Speed and String Crossing Exercises in the Right Hand 

Speed Exercises with Repeating Rhythms on a Single String 

Speed Exercises 

String Crossing Exercises 

Synchronization of Your Left and Right Hands – Exercises Using 2 Fingers from Each 

Chromatic Triplet Exercises over All Strings 

Synchronization Exercises While Changing Strings 

Synchronization of 3 Fingers of the LH / 2 and 3 Fingers of the RH 

Synchronization of 4 Fingers of the LH / 2 and 3 Fingers of the RH (24 Permutations) 

Synchronization of 4 Fingers of Both the Left and Right Hands (8 Note Permutation) 

Intensive Training of the Chromatic Permutations 1 2 3 4 and 4 3 2 1 

Various Coordination Exercises 


III. Scales in All Keys 

Preparatory Studies for Scales and Runs 

Scales over Two and Three Octaves in the Circle of Fifths and Fourths 

Five Short Exercises for Major and Minor Scales 

Applied Practicing Methods for Scales 

1. RH Patterns, 2. Repetitions, 3. Rhythms 

4. Accents, 5. Articulation 6. Dynamics

Examples for Practicing Single Scales and Runs 

Scales in Triplets 

Scales in Triplets with Three Finger Alternating Patterns a-m-i and p-m-i 

Scale Practicing Models in the Circle of Fifths 

1. 24 Scales with Alternating Finger Patterns 

2. 24 Scales with Repetitions 

3. Using a-m-i and p-m-i in Four Note Groups 

4. The Practicing Model of the 12 Basic Arpeggios (Excluding the Thumb) 

Practicing an Original Run Chosen from the Repertoire


IV. Ascending and Descending Slurs in the Left Hand 

Immediately Changing from the Treble to the Bass Strings 

Slurs with Two Fingers 

Ascending Two Note Slurs 

Descending Two Note Slurs 

Combining Ascending and Descending Slurs 

Two Note Slurs as Triplets 

Complex Two Note Slurs as Triplets 

Ascending Two Note Slurs While Crossing Strings 

Descending Two Note Slurs While Crossing Strings 

Two Note Slurs as Triplets While Crossing Strings 

Two Note Slur Combinations While Crossing Strings 

Two Note Slur Combinations as Triplets While Changing Strings 

Slurs with Three Fingers 

Group 1 Diatonic – Triplet Slurs 

Group 2 Diatonic – Triplet Slurs 

Groups 3 and 4 Chromatic – Triplet Slurs 

Slurs with Three Fingers Divided into Four Note Groups 

Combining Two and Three Note Slur Combinations 

Ascending Slurs with Three Fingers While Crossing Strings

Ascending and Descending Slurs with Open Strings 

Slurs with Two Fingers and an Open String 

Slurs with Three Fingers and an Open String 

Ascending and Descending Slurs as an Embellishment 

Short and Intensive Slur Exercises 

Scales with Slurs 

Chromatic Scales with Slurs 

Slurs with Fixed Fingers 

Slurs with Fixed Fingers / With and Without Open Strings 

Two Note Slurs with Triplets and a Second Part 

LH Trill Exercises and Embellishments 

Slur Exercise Taken from the Guitar Repertoire Tarrega, Variations on Paganini’s “Carnival of Venice” 


V. Tremolo 

General Practicing Methods 

Preparatory Exercises with a-m-i 

Tremolo Exercises on One String 

Tremolo Exercises Coordinated with LH Exercises 

Tremolo Exercises on Various Strings 


VI. Flamenco Techniques 

Rasgueado Technique 

Rasgueado with One, Three and Four Fingers 

Rasgueado with Thumb and Fingers 

Pulgar Technique – The Special Thumb Technique in Flamenco 


VII. Supplementary Technical Exercises for the Left Hand 

Shift Position Exercises 

Preparatory Shift Exercises

Shifts Resulting from Finger Motion 

Direct Shift Exercises 

Indirect Shift Exercises 

Chromatic Scale on a Single String 

Left Hand Independence Exercises 

Exercises for Leaving the Fingers on the Strings 

12 Independence Exercises on Two Strings 

Four Examples for Practicing 

Independence Exercises for the Left Hand on Two Strings (Alternating Two Fingers) 

Rhythmic Variations on Exercise 15 (“Two Against Three”) 

Strength and Independence Exercises 

Barre Exercises 

Barre Exercises According to Llobet 

Stretching Exercises for the LH 2E Thirds, Sixths, Octaves and Compound Thirds 


VIII. Additional Technical Exercises for the Right Hand 

Tirando and Apoyando Exercises 

Tirando Arpeggios Alternating with Apoyando on Two Strings 

Tirando Arpeggios Alternating with Repeated Notes in Apoyando 

Alternating Tirando and Apoyando 

Thumb Exercises 

Aguado Study 

Simultaneous Attaking and Muting with the Thumb 

Coste Study op. 38, No. 23 

Exercises to Help Avoid Nail Noise 

Pizzicato Exercises 

Pizzicato Exercise with Thumb and Index Finger 

Pizzicato Exercise with Thumb, Index and Middle Fingers (Three Part) 

Harmonics Exercises 

Natural Harmonics 

Artificial Harmonics 

Alternating Exercises with the Pinky and i-m-a 

Alternating Exercises with Fixed RH Fingers 


IX. Practicing Playing Fast 

Speed and Relaxation 

Practicing Playing Fast with the Right Hand 

Pure Reflex Development with Double Dotted Rhythms 

Achieving Speed by Playing with the Outside of the Nail 

LH Fingers “Sloppily” Placed on Purpose (Without Pressure) 

Taregga Exercise No. 7 


X. Exercises for Perfecting Musical Expression 

Vibrato Technique 

Sequence of Motions for Vibrato in the Left Hand 

Rhythmic Vibrato Exercises 

Exercises for Developing the Flexibility of Hand and Fingers 

Vibrato Exercises with Two or More Fingers 

Vibrato Exercises with Barre 

Exercises for Practicing Dynamics 

Developing a Broader Dynamic Range 

Exercises for Fine Tuning Dynamics 

Carcassi Etude op. 60, No. 2 in A Minor 

J.S. Bach: Four Part Chorale “Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende” 

Anton Diabelli: Sonata in C Major, Andante sostenuto, 14 Bars 

Exercises at Different Dynamic Levels in Two-Part Harmony 

The Arpeggiated Chord (Rolled) in a Polyphonic Chord 

The Elastic Wrist Attack in Dolce Cantabile Playing 


Part Three: Important Topics

I. Fingering Technique 

Fingering and Interpretation 

Left Hand Fingerings 

1. Tension and Release 

2. Incorporating Harmonic Reasoning when Developing LH Fingerings 

3. How to Use an Open String 

4. The Open String in Scales 

5. Analogous Fingerings 

6. Jumping with One Finger 

7. Special Issues with Fingerings Including Slurs 

8. Shifting by Contracting 1 and 4 

Right Hand Fingerings

1. Basic Fingering Rules for the Fingers of the Right Hand when Crossing Strings 

2. Special Issues Regarding RH Fingerings on the Bass Strings 

3. The Patterns p-m-i, a-m-i and p-a-m-i 

4. Arpeggio Patterns Applied to Scales 

5. Repeated Notes with a Single RH Finger 

6. Combining Different RH Arpeggio Patterns 

7. Using a-i on Neighboring Strings 

8. Special Issues when Using RH Fingerings in a Musical Context


II. Tuning the Guitar 

Simple Tuning by Comparing Neighboring Strings 

Tuning Using Harmonics and Octaves as an Aid 


III. Playing from Memory – Memory and Mental Training 

Playing from Memory 

Memory Training 

Associating Different Areas of Memory 

Different Memory Training Methods 

Mental Training 


IV. Stage Fright and Fear of Performing 


V. Technical Practice Guides for Daily Practicing 

Short Technical Practice Guide – about 45 Minutes 

Compact Technical Practice Guide – about 90 Minutes 

Intensive Technical Practice Guide – about 3 Hours 


TIP Directory 


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