These are the questions people ask me every day in their letters, personal messages and comments. So, I have created this page to avoid answering the same questions over and over. I think the list will grow :)


Personal

Instruments,  equipment, recording techniques

Musical questions

Arrangements, repertoire

Discs, Concerts, Plans


Personal

How long have you been playing the guitar?
It's about 20 years, that I'm with the guitar. Of course I’ve been fooling around and didn't take music seriously most of that time. Only these days I realized myself as a musician, started to recognize simple truths, discovered things that have changed all my musical perception. I have just started to study for myself, because there’s so much to learn and to know.
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Where did you study?
At first, in the studio (there were such hobby groups in the palaces of culture). Because the music school refused to admit me because as they said «the boy will be successful but not in music, sorry”. Then, after two years in the studio, they finally admitted me, then I went to college and after that to the conservatory in Odessa. I don't want to describe the studying process in detail. There were lots of contests, concerts, moonlighting in the restaurants and night clubs, playing with various bands and solo. But for me my career as musician started only after graduation.
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Where do you teach?
I give private lessons. Previously, for two years I had classical and estrade guitar classes in a musical college as well as in musical school. Now retired from both places. Teaching takes too much time and energy, which I need in my creative work. And then, I do not agree with the official system of musical studying, my method of teaching is not compatible with that one.
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Instruments,  equipment, recording techniques

What kind of guitar do you have?
Most of my recordings were made ??with IBANEZ EWN30SYE NT Electric Guitar. This is an inexpensive, electro acoustic guitar, I used for most of my recordings. I like it how it sounds when connected, and its live sound is pretty quiet, but with a pleasant timbre. Besides that, for me personally, it has a very comfortable neck, and it has a great range (20 frets). I’m planning to buy Godin Multiac Nylon. Just want to warn those who are going to buy a guitar for learning, do not buy IBANEZ like me, it's pretty specific guitar, I bought it for recording. It has a narrowed neck and low sound without electronics. Buy a regular classical guitar like Hohner or one of the inexpensive Valencias, or any Spanish one from the middle price range.

The classical guitar I used  for my early records (“Ласковый зверь”,  Only you)  is a simple factory Admira Solista. I played it while studying in college.
And the electric guitar, Fender Squier is the simplest.

“Не тревожь мне душу скрипка” recorded with Sanchez 1050. Using ZOOM H4n.

And the last guitar I bought is the guitar by guitar maker Aleksandr Momot.  It is a maple guitar which costs 1000 euros. I used it for recording  "Настроение утра" "Здесь птицы не поют" and later recordings in the ‘Terem’ recording studio. Recorded with Zoom h4n. The guitar maker’s web site is http://www.momot-guitars.com/ . The link for guitar description is http://www.momot-guitars.com/ru/gallery/category/39-maplewood2

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Why do you use headphones ?
Since not the live sound of the guitar is recorded, but from the pick-ups , it is important to me to control precisely the signal output. Using headphones I can hear the sound that is recorded, and not the one in the room. I don’t know how  to answer to this question more clearly. Although lately ‘ve been recording without headphones, because I already know quite well my instrument, and can prefigure what kind of signal goes to the record based on the live sound.
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How do you record audio/video and what equipment do you use?
A guitar processor KORG Pandora PX5D has the key role in my audio recordings.  You can read about it online, I will not describe, in fact it is for electro guitarists and bassists. I originally bought it as an electro guitar processor. Then stopped playing the electric guitar, but I liked a lot one of the KORG’s great recording features. The thing is that it connects to a computer via USB, and works as an audio interface, digitizing the incoming signal. But that’s not its main function, 90% of the functionality is designed specifically for electro guitarists. I just used what was available.

At first when I didn’t have electro acoustics and had only a classical guitar, I used a transducer-tablet, which was set on the deck at the stand. Of course, the sound quality was not good enough. But with the IBANEZ the sound has improved a lot, there is a pretty good pick-up  and preamp. 

Then I bought  ZOOM H4n – it is cool. It has two built-in condenser microphones, plus two inputs where either external microphones or a guitar jack can be connected. So it is able to record  4 channels simultaneously.  Starting from 11.02.2010 I’m recording using that device (the first video was  "Бежит река"). I’m recording using a combined method - the built-in microphones plus the signal from the pick-ups, which goes on the cord.

At first I recorded Video using laptop’s built-in webcam, then Panasonic SDR-S7 camera. Starting from 15.01.2010 I’m recording video using Sony HDR-HC5E camera (first video was " Тёмная ночь ").  Audio editing is performed  in Adobe Audition. I combine video with audio and finalize the clip in Sony Vegas.
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Why do you play  the classic guitar?
First of all, because I was taught to play the classical guitar.  And very pleased with this fact , because the classical school, the technique makes it possible to play in all styles.  It gives  versatile skills that enables you to simulaneously keep up the melody, bass line and accompaniment.
Thanks to the classical school now I  don’t need a band to play what I want. You can play alone for a few people :-)
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Do you have nylon strings ? What make? Tension?
Yes, I prefer nylon. Basically, I use D'Addario strings. I’m using various tensions from Light to Extra Hard.
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Which strings are better, metallic or nylon?
The question is fallacious. This is a matter of personal preferences and musical style. Both have their pros and cons, and each of them is good in given situation. Beginners (self-taught) are mainly play metal strings and hate nylon ones. Because the metal strings will ring on any quality guitar and with any musicianship, so it sounds louder without much effort etc. It has its advantages as well as disadvantages .Yes it rings. But the ring is almost the same with different guitars and poorly responsive to nuances of sound (compared to nylon). I personally, for example, do not like that ringing; it’s like playing a tin basin))).
 On the other hand nylon strings have very rich timbre. The slightest change in angle of attack immediately alters the sound. They have the deep tone of the bass strings, similar to the sound of the bass guitar. And they convey a unique guitar sound much better than metal strings do. But you have to know how to play nylon to be able to make it sound good. How to get the sound you need, to make it sing. And sound techniques play a major role in that. Of course, to use nylon strings you should have a classical guitar.
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For most of your recordings you downtuned or uptuned your guitar. Why are you doing that? What is a capo  for?
For many reasons. When I shift the tuning, the sound feeling, tone are changed accordingly, I feel and hear it otherways, as if I played a different guitar. I like that feeling of novelty. It often happens that the light tension is needed, but  Hard or Extra is set. To avoid changing the string set I downtune strings by semitone or tone, and may and may not use a capo to make up for the downtuning. Sometimes I use a capo, because the timbre of fretted strings is different from the open ones. In general, I often fool around with tunings, sometimes I play with quite exotic tunings, but, of course, I don’t write arrangements for them , I play for myself, search, improvise.
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Music questions

My harmonics don’t sound as good. What should I do?
If you are having trouble producing 5th and 7th fret harmonics you should shift your right hand closer to the bridge. I’m not going to discuss the harmonics theory here you can find all the information on the Internet I’d just like to say that the sound of your harmonics depends on the attack point of your right hand fingers.
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Can I learn how to play guitar on my own or I need a teacher?
It depends on what you mean by “learn”. Anyone in your courtyard can show you how to strum chords but you won’t go any further than that. You DEFINITELY need a teacher to play guitar more or less decently especially in the beginning of your learning so that you gain basic skills of playing guitar and develop the correct position of the hands. Don’t start learning how to play guitar on your own!!! You are going to have trouble with long and hard relearning everything over again.

Self-learning how to play guitar is as pointless as trying to get out of the thick forest with your ears and eyes closed. The teacher sees that forest from the plane and can guide you out through the shortest and easiest path. He will save you time and efforts because you yourself can never understand what hinders you and which way to go. Neither the Internet nor your friends will be of any help to you but personal contact with a pro as a role model to follow. Well it is natural that your teacher himself must play guitar himself and you should like his playing.

You may mention Tommy Emmanuel and Jimi Hendricks as examples of self-taughts. But it’s an exception to the rule. You can hope you one of those exceptions and wheedle your way to the world of music on your own. But why? Why go long, hard and as it often turns out wrong way discovering what already have been discovered?
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How much time should I study a day?
Took the guitar - hide your clock. It’s no good to watch the time as you learn how to play. When I’m asked ‘How much time should I study a day’ I think there’s the only universal answer – just as much as you like. If you don’t feel like playing the guitar you by no means should. Nothing will work out well under compulsion. You will just waste your time. And what is even worse you are going to fix in your mind the scheme ‘guitar – study – work – MUST!’. You won’t make any progress with such a mindset no matter how much time a day you spend playing the guitar. Playing a musical instrument is not an obligation. It is a pleasure first and you should take you guitar lessons accordingly.
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Tabs or sheet music?
If you want to progress as a musician knowing sheet music is an absolute requirement. You won’t go far without it. All the logic of music is clearly seen in scores, it ‘s a universal system for any instrument since it reflects music itself. Sheet music supports multivoicing and allows exact rhythm notation for each voice. Tabs are oversimplified system showing only where to poke your finger and it often doesn’t even have any rhythm notation. So you don’t know what exactly you play.

But tabs have their undeniable advantage – it shows the exact finger position on the fretboad. Since the same note can be played on different strings it is very handy as compared to sheet music where finger positions are specified by special markings.  That’s why I add tabs to sheet music in my arrangements as an aid.
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I play the same notes as you do but my playing just won’t sound as good as yours. Why?
That’s because the only thing which is important is HOW you play not WHAT. Knowing where to put your fingers and which string to pluck is not enough to turn your playing into ‘real’ music. That level is just one among many. And it is not the most important one. It is impossible to teach how to play Music, but guide and teach basic concepts. The musician comes to his own perception of Music on his own. Your sound will never be the same as mine because each person is unique.
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I want to play fast! Please recommend me exercises for that.
You really shouldn’t pay attention to that. First of all strive to play beautifully and expressively. Virtuosity doesn’t mean playing fast.

It is important you realize one simple thing. Guitar playing speed is a result of relaxing your hands and gaining the full control of the performance apparatus (your inner condition, body, hands, and fingers). Playing speed increases gradually as a result of regular exercises. It is boring and ineffective to purposefully and intentionally increase playing speed. Besides, it can even do harm as many basic aspects and techniques of guitar playing are overlooked. Eventually your playing becomes unnatural and broken when it should sound relaxed and easy.
To be able play fast you should learn to play slowly first. It is a bromide but it is truth. Only at a slow tempo can we control every aspect of performance which is essential for playing guitar virtuously. Relaxation, eurhythmy, precise and efficient finger movements is a recipe for success.
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Arrangements, repertoire

Tell about your duet with Natasha
I stumbled across Natacha's video on Youtube. I was amazed by her voice, it touched me. And our repertoire was very much alike. So I wrote somewhere in the comments, that I would play for this great singing with pleasure, it's a pity we are in different countries. Then Natasha suggested to sing virtually, and sent "Concerto" and "Lanfren" where she already sang with my videos. I didn't like the sound quality, but I liked the idea itself and the performance a lot. And so it started. We recorded a few works. It was really hard to make music via the internet, but the result is worth it. We never met in reality. All the questions related to Natasha, her life and creative work , ask her and not me please :) Her channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/natatans
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Can I order a song? Do you work on a by–order basis?
I do NOT work on a by order basis. I work only at my own wish. Please do not ask me to play something. It is really very tiresome. It is not that I don't like the music I’m asked to arrange. I may like it, but to record a video, make tabs and scores, is a troublesome. If I record video and make the scores for everything that I play,(and I play everything that I hear ), then the whole life won’t be enough. That's why I record only the things which I want to record. Thanks for understanding.
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Why you do you mostly arrange the soviet period music?
I can't logically answer this question. I like it and that's it. There is something in it you can’t find in modern music. Something bright and honest. It is romantic and nostalgic. And I'm an incurable romantic :)
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How can I learn to do arrangements on my own?
In order to professionally make an arrangement, it is necessary to know such subjects as: general music theory, harmony, instrumentation, voice-leading. It is very desirable to have an idea of polyphony and the composer's own skills. And of course, possess all the technical and textural resourses of a guitars. Often, it’s just enough to play the guitar well, to arrange a melody on the fly. At one time I did like that, just played on the fly. Then I got interested in this question more deeply, began to understand, the knowledge obtained in the conservatory is very helpful.
But I find it difficult to answer the question how to learn it by yourself . Either you're just a talented person who can play anything by ear, there are some people like that, or you have to learn long and hard all the musical sciences.
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How much time do you spend on one arrangement?
It depends. I can spend a day or week. It depends on many factors. First of all on my wish . Often most of the time is being spent not on the arrangement itself but on making the tabs and scrores and final appearanceperfecting.
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Share the tabs / sheet music, I want it so much! But free.
Interesting,  a lot of people are irritated by the fact that I sell my music. What can I say? Each of us works somewhere . Each of us chose where and how to work. This is the right of everyone. I am a musician, and quite naturally I make a living by what I can do. I'm happy because I have a job I love. And I want everyone to find a job that would give joy and satisfaction.
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Do you offer discounts?
Although I believe that the prices I offer are really  low, you can always agree with me. Different people, different situations. Contact me. Often I give a discount for purchasing multiple (more than 5) arrangements.
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Why are some arrangements so complicated?
Because,  first of all I think about composition to sound well. I can’t bring myself to make compromises at the expense of the sounding. But I always try to make it as easy as possible.
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What  you play is a kindergarten!  (Comments from "pros")
Yes, I do not rush through the neck at a reckless speed and intentionally do not play anything complicated (for  a professional), although my  technical capabilities allow it to me. I'm not interested in this. I set myself other goals. My only goal is  to convey the beauty of melody, to create a mood. It is much harder than blurting out like a machine gun series of brilliant passages. I do not want to pass for a virtuoso. It is time to stop to assess the musician from the perspective of how hard he plays. If I’m being said I play simple, it's a compliment. And  I have a goal during the arrangement, performance to achieve a result as simple and concise as possible. So I have to think a lot, to experiment, how to simplify it more, to make it sleeker, more comfortable, and to identify the most important parts. Image,  mood,  melody phrase. Often, due to artificial complications (which make a big impression), the main point is being lost.

And one more thing. I'm learning. From scratch, despite many years of academic school. After graduation, I realized that the technique which I’ve been playing for many years does not meet my requirements. I threw away all that could and started from scratch. With exercises on one string, like in the first grade. I began to build my technique up from scratch. With full control and understanding of what I needed . With the maximum relaxation, expressiveness, and listening to every sound. From that moment I felt that I really began to grow and to understand something. I began to think differently. Think by melodic phrases. Think by music texture, trying to perform a solo, bass and rhythmic accompaniment on a single instrument. Here came  the need for new techniques, and methodsto master them. I'm searching. I have lots of tasks for which  I need to find a solution. So I do not play anything more complicated than what I currently need. Do not try to impress anyone, and   to show off  something. I'm learning. Take me as a student, and my videos are like a reference works for the specific problem solution.
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Why don't you play guitar classics (Guiliani, Sor , etc.)
I played  guitar classics for 17 years  in a compulsory way. Played them too much during the studying  process,  in a variety of concerts and guitar competitions. In a case When a step in other direction is a shooting (in terms of repertoire). With all respect to Giuliani, Sor, Aguado, Villa-Lobos, and many other brilliant composers, I have developed a stable allergy to performance of this music.  These are psychological causes. Maybe someday, I will again began to play guitar classics, but this will take some time.

As for classical music in general, not the guitar, I've always loved, and now can’t stop listening to Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, etc.  If I play the classics, it was only in my own transcriptions. Lacrimosa by Mozart is a  first step in this direction.
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Why don't you  play ready works, but only your arrangements?
I’m not interested in playing other people's arrangements, transcriptions. I played a lot of them during my studies. In this case you do not always agree with the author, do not understand his logic, you see where you can make it easier or sound better . When you make it by yourself, then you know the role of each note,  you start to think, search, analyze and try.  As a result you grow up, increase your musical level, you begin to understand the essence of your playing. Deeply . This is quite different from mindless memorization of where to put your fingers when playing someone else's sheet music.

I believe that every musician should be able to make his own repertoire.
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Discs, Concerts, Plans

I want to buy your discs, when will they be released?
Can't say exactly when, but they will be. I don't feel I have a music, which needs to be recorded and sold yet. I'm still searching.
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Where do you perform? Why not in estrade?
Currently I do not perform because of the same reason as  I'm not recording a disc. If I  get into the estrade  with the things I play on YouTube (though people like them) , my growth as a musician will be stopped. There will come up obligations, contracts, deadlines, requirements. But I feel much bigger potential in myself, I haven't played the most important music yet, these all are just  tryouts. I will only perform with my own music and I will feel when I'm ready.
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