The top five topics that set off classical guitar flame wars on the internet

A ‘flame war’ for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a heated discussion that can easily devolve into childish mud-slinging. The anonymity of the internet has made flame wars all too common and you just have to read the comments of any given you tube video to find remarks ranging from stupid to down right vulgar. I find it very interesting how quickly people will turn nasty when there are no consequences. It always makes me wonder what people are not saying in normal social situations.

I digress…

Here are some of the most contentious guitar topics on the web…

The bestest mostest of all time(est)

Arguments about opinion seem to be a little pointless, but that’s just my opinion. The best guitarist, the best guitar, the best string, Spruce vs. Cedar

Historical accuracy

I once uploaded some program notes that I wrote when I was in my first years of university. The content was written on a little known work by J.S.Bach entitled Chaconne BWV 1004. Wow. Big mistake. I received so many messages from everywhere saying that the information was ‘bogus’ and that the article itself was ‘deplorable’ that I took the article down. Admittedly, the article was of a poor scholarly level and I did not want to spread mis-information, but my first experience with the internet’s very particular style of scrutiny was a little shocking. I kept thinking, can’t we all just get along?

Apoyando vs. Tirando

This epic tug of war was started by guitar heavyweights in 19th century Paris (More like 7th century Uganda, check your facts mate!) and it still rages in the guitar forums of today. Which way do you tug?


Specifically tied to the Delcamp forum is a particularly perturbed pluck of guitarists that feel they have been victimized on the forum. In some cases they claim to have posts removed and in others they have been banned entirely. The cases for and against censorship on the Delcamp forum are strong, but you cant argue with the Mod. Because he has the delete button.

Big Personalities

Some people get a kick out of stirring up trouble, some are passionate, and some just feel the need to abuse but there are a certain few who regularly appear amidst the flames… you know who you are.

Got any good flame stories to share?

Leave them in the comments below.

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12 Responses

  1. Christopher says:

    I once got attacked for my views about ornamentation in 19C music and how it should be performed.

    It’s really crazy: the level of commitment that some folks display in bringing others down is amazing. That’s part of the reason why I so rarely comment or offer advice on Delcamp anymore. If I do participate it’s more likely to be conversational than instructional.

    That said, Delcamp is still a really good community. Despite the censorship.


  2. Tiffany says:

    yes I have was actually on the topic of right hands nails LOL ….the debate ranged from using or not using nails to how to file them and weather or not to use nail hardeners was a very interesting debate I must say

  3. Mark Antony says:

    “It’s really crazy: the level of commitment that some folks display in bringing others down is amazing. ”

    If only the same people had displayed the same level of commitment to their own playing as they do in ridiculing others maybe their names would be remembered as musicians rather than argumentative posters.

  4. Max says:

    Delcamp, pfff…crazy nazis, that bunch. That Napoleon-esque moderator has way too much time on his hands. Paranoia runs that site. I hardly think it’s worth the time. They only maintain the topic which is something one could get at any music school or coffee shop nearby.

  5. jake_donzen says:

    Good quote about the Delcamp forum: “with ridiculous censorship, the low quality of knowledge of the moderators, what remains? Beginners being mislead by know-all wannabe’s, being mislead by …
    (Did I mention the holier-than-thou, let’s-be-friendly-to-everyone people ?)”

    Alone knowing the fact that Frédéric Zigante, Fabio Zanon, Matanya Ophee, etc. had once contributed there, but no longer do so shows what kind of forum it is.

  6. FinkRoger says:

    Delcamp moderators have just deleted my post on…
    Christmas Carols.

    Can you believe it?

    I vented my frustration over at Sean’s blog and explained what happened.

    I fully agree with most commentators here and there…

  7. Allow me to add one more flammable topic: reading. There are places where people are still arguing that classical guitarists don’t really need to be able to read standard notation! (DelCamp is one of those places.) Now, I’m new to this website, so I don’t know for sure, but might the tone set by my second sentence set off a barrage of invective?

  8. George says:

    Apoyando vs. Tirando -> So true.

    There are some ridiculous examples of people, disregarding free choice and trying to dictate technique and strokes etc. Absolutely horrible to read.

    The big irony here, being that it’s so easy to criticize the players who prefer tirando (e.g. in quick scale runs). The absurd argument usually runs: “oh, you’re limiting your technique by not using apoyando”.
    How ironic, since many players who use lots of tirando (including such luminaries Zoran Dukic, Beijing Guitar Duo), can lay down the most stunning performances, and are often at the cutting edge of smooth incredibly artistic delivery… (probably because they use tirando out of active choice, rather than blindly forcing out that heavy apoyando whenever there are scale-runs).

    Oh the poor students who wonder why their scale runs are so limited in speed. And yet exactly these students continue and continue practicing apoyando scales to no avail. Sometimes blind stupid repetition does not lead to enlightenment…

    Or those who play apoyando scale runs in Sor and Carulli and wonder why it sound more like flamenco, than 19th century music.

    The point being: don’t ignore choice! Esp. choice (in issues where people try to dictate their claims religiously over your choice.)

  1. July 8, 2011

    […] talking about Matanya Ophee, Frédéric Zigante, Fabio Zanon”), I followed a link to here, where details of other bad experiences were related in the comments at the bottom, my personal […]

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