How to play flamenco guitar
Learning to play flamenco guitar is a rewarding and captivating journey that requires dedication, patience and passion. And duende, which you have. Grab your guitar and let's get started.
If you have come this far, it is because your love for flamenco wants to be expressed through the instrument par excellence of this Andalusian art. You already have the most important things to play flamenco on a guitar with the passion that this music deserves! So now you can join us to know those other requirements to start playing this instrument.
How to play flamenco on the guitar
The flamenco guitar. You need, to begin with, to choose a guitar designed for flamenco sounds. Its structure is slightly different from that of the classical Spanish guitar. Its construction offers tonal qualities that provide the rhythmic and harmonic basis for passionate flamenco performances. They are usually made of cypress wood, their neck is narrower than that of the classical guitar and they often come with a plate or "golpeador", a piece attached to the top of the flamenco guitar body to protect the wood from percussive blows. And their price is not exactly cheap. A good flamenco guitar can cost between 2,000 and 6,000 euros. But to start with, you can find models for 200 or 300 euros until you feel more comfortable.
Model Mengual & Margarit Flamenca of the Alhambra brand, one of the most prestigious manufacturers of flamenco guitars. Its price is approximately 4,400 euros.
Posture. It is important, secondly, a correct posture to play flamenco on the guitar. And although it is not an essential feature, some instrumentalists say that having longer fingers can make it easier to reach around the neck and perform certain complex chord shapes or stretches. Don't be discouraged if this is not your case, the great Manolo Sanlúcar triumphed with small fingers. But an upright posture is relevant, and a good placement of the right hand, which should float slightly above the strings, using the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers to strike the strings with precision.
The essential techniques. To master the art of playing flamenco guitar, you need to become familiar with several essential techniques. These techniques include rasgueados, golpe, picado and alzapúa. Learning these techniques will allow you to create the authentic flamenco sound and express the deep emotions associated with the genre.
- Rasgueado: this is a strumming technique unique to flamenco guitar, where the fingers of the strumming hand fan out and then rapidly brush the strings. There are several rasgueado patterns, and it is essential for creating the percussive sound characteristic of flamenco music.
- Picado: involves playing fast, alternating single-note passages using the index and middle fingers of the picking hand. It requires precision and speed and is used to perform scales and melodic lines.
Alzapúa: this is a combination of thumb movements and strumming. It is used to play powerful and rhythmically intricate patterns. It often combines downstrokes of the thumb, upstrokes and also on the body of the guitar.
The essential notes of flamenco. To begin playing flamenco it is important that you master basic chord and strumming patterns. Common flamenco chord progressions include the E, A and B major chords. The most commonly used techniques are "picado" (using the index and middle fingers), "alzapúa" (thumb and index) and "rasgueado" (fast strumming with the fingers), perhaps the most basic of all. It involves using the back of the fingernails or fingertips to create a percussive effect on the strings, often incorporating rhythmic variations to add complexity and style.
What sheet music to start playing flamenco guitar?
Well, a malagueña is a good piece for beginners because it introduces basic flamenco techniques, such as rasgueados and tremolos, without being too complex. Flamenco tremolos, by the way, somewhat more advanced, start with the thumb playing a low note, followed by the same higher note played in rapid succession by the index, ring, middle, index fingers.
Sevillanas are very famous all over the world. They follow a set structure and rhythm, and there are many beginner versions that can help new players get used to flamenco techniques.
Known for its catchy rhythm and danceable beat, the flamenco rumba is one of the easiest forms of flamenco guitar to start with. A popular example is Paco de Lucia's "Entre Dos Aguas," although don't "go all out" and start with a simplified version.
Listen, listen and listen to the great guitarists
Remember that it is not only about learning the notes, but also about understanding the rhythm and experiencing the sensations of flamenco. Listening to a lot of music of this style will help you, while enjoying, to internalize the magic of this art. Flamenco music is full of intense emotions, from deep sadness to exhilarating joy. As a flamenco guitarist, you must be able to convey these emotions through your playing.
In the ALL FLAMENCO APP, you will find the most exquisite performances to take note of from the best artists. You can subscribe for a year or rent only those videos that you like the most, such as the spectacular guitar concert of Juan Requena, accompanied by artists of great level as is the National Dance Award Jesús Carmona, and the powerful voice of the singer José Valencia lebrijano.