Clive Davies

Clive offers five day fingerstyle courses in Southern Spain - a fantastic player and teacher, working in a beautiful location!


Clive Davies Biography, Classical / Fingerstyle Guitarist, Montefrio 2013

The guitar is perhaps the most warm and exciting of all instruments. I like to delve deeply into its potential in many ways - writing new instrumental guitar music, music that is excitingly different - spanning classical to fingerstyle - via jazz, latin, folk, rock and blues. Plus arranging and ‘jazzifying’ standard songs.

I am always adding to, amending and polishing my portfolio of pieces, I have over thirty solo compositions and suites that I keep fairly current for my recitals. Songwriting is a passion also - I have written some fifty original songs and have a collection of over a hundred popular song arrangements that I use in my teaching and perform at summer Hotel Patio gigs.  

Playing the guitar fires me with such enthusiasm, forever pushing me into trying new harmonic or rhythmical ideas and developing new melodies using, for example, melodic patterns…

Four string, root bass jazz chords, plus my own ‘partial’ (skeleton) chords and discords (used sparingly!) form an essential part of my harmony.

My effects are produced by my fingers, not a stomp box!

Defining phrases in novel ways; string stretching, wobbly notes, blue notes… Extending them with parallel sixths and embellishing them with trills, glissandos and many of the tools from the toolbox of the classical and fingerstyle guitarist - plus whatever effects I feel enhance the music and, by the way, display my trademark style and guitar quirkiness!

I’ve also found my ‘softer side’ - playing more gently, with passion, articulating phrases differently…

My concert Ramirez, a magnificent, full toned concert guitar (made for me in 1970) has a high string action, 5mm at the 12th fret, which, coupled with its long string length, 665mm, produced occasional left hand problems for me…

It was only years later, after I acquired my Aria guitar which has a shorter string length and lower action, when I realized how comfortable playing a nylon guitar could feel!

So today I mainly play my Aria Flamenco (electro acoustic cutaway) it has such wonderful playability - it has helped me to develop my musical character - which has novel quirks and humour!

Audiences enjoy it when I sometimes smile to myself as I play - my expression reflects the joy and pleasure that playing my guitar gives me.

Moving from South Africa to Spain in 2005 gave me the opportunity to do so much more with my music, such as giving concerts of my classical / fingerstyle compositions and playing my distinctly different arrangements of popular song arrangements in the warm summer evenings on Hotel Patios.

Also, recording videos for my Youtube channel has given me fresh insight into performance playing and gained me recognition and wonderful comments from fine classical and fingerstyle guitarists worldwide.

Watching myself playing in these videos has provided literally a window of opportunity for me - I have learnt so much more about the way to portray my music:

- Such as, how to give my music more breathing spaces…

- Using dynamics effectively, how to bring the music to life…

- How to capture the essence of the music by displaying its different aspects…

If you view my Youtube video Melodia para Luiza (a little girl at play…) you will see it reveals the joy I have in playing it for my daughter! While my Questionable Waltz displays my trademark quirkiness and humour!

In life we are all constantly learning and I continue to learn so much about music as I write, play and teach the guitar to my students.

A milestone learning experience came after recording my first album, Clive Charles Davies, Guitar.

Fritz Buss, who was then Professor of Classical Guitar at Wits University, Johannesburg, had heard my composition The Loosely Saddled Mare from this album and, as a result, he invited me to study with him.

A brilliant guitarist, he’d studied guitar with the great guitarist Narcisso Yepes.

Although I’d been passionate about my guitar playing before, this period opened my ears and my mind to music, helping me to develop my fine tone playing and classical sensitivity.

Fritz headed the Johannesburg Guitar Society and, along with Tessa Zeigler, David Hewitt, myself and others, we ran the monthly recitals for students. David and I played duets together long before he and Tessa formed their classical guitar duo, which became famous in South Africa!

I’d left Oxford bound for South Africa many years before. Among other pursuits, I gave private guitar lessons there and performed in music clubs and the odd concert and festival for over thirty years.

Now I’m here in Spain, the home of the Spanish guitar!


Clive Davies - Classical / Fingerstyle Guitar Methods:

My teaching methods use the best of Classical Guitar techniques, plus my own unique fingerstyle ideas.

I have written all of the music that I use in my teaching, which incorporates specific learning techniques.

Currently I have some 50 or more progressive learning pieces / studies for guitar students.

Here's a link to my Classical / Fingerstyle Guitar Booklet and video samples:

My studies are melodic, interesting and focus mainly on right hand technique - the hand with the important role of producing the sound we hear!

They deal with the right hand’s critical position relative to the strings and finger stroke playing, which, if applied, allows this hand to ultimately play unobserved!

Coordinated and sequential finger placement and playing of left and right hand fingers in diatonic and chromatic melody patterns, facilitates m i (alternating) and a m i repetitious right hand finger playing.

Right hand thumb melodies - together with the fingers which play repetitious open strings - is a technique I use in my studies to get the early student guitarist to produce music which flows...

The a  m  i  tremolo is critical for a player to learn early on - I have written many attractive studies that feature this technique.

Arpeggios, mixed arpeggios and roll offs, are vital techniques to perfect - they open the way, ultimately, to more fluid and rapid melody playing.

To facilitate the study of these techniques, the left hand in my studies is often asked to place similarly shaped chords and patterns, thereby allowing relatively easy access into the upper register of the guitar.

This action of the left hand, simplified through repetition, gives it the ability to be easily moved - and as the hand moves away from the first position, it encourages and gives confidence to the guitar student.

The left hand though requires close visual observation as it moves up the fingerboard - position changes which offer enhancement of the melody in unusual ways…

Throughout these, the sound focus always remains on the right hand, though the eyes are on the left hand!