Tips to start learning flamenco guitar.

Compared to flamenco dance teachers… Flamenco Guitar Teachers are harder to locate and for those who want to learn flamenco guitar in Australia not many options are available.
I will devote this article to learning flamenco guitar tips. Covering a shortlist of some useful tips for Flamenco Guitar.
I will outline a basic checklist of 10 easy steps for absolute beginners.
1. The Guitar
2. Any acoustic nylon string guitar will do until your sound is worthy of a true Flamenco Guitar which is lighter, shorter, made of Spanish cypress and spruce, the strings are closer to the finger board and it generally has a crisper, more percussive sound. This brighter sound can also be sharpened by using a capo (crucial if your want the guitar melody to rise above palmas and percussion). Flamenco guitars often come with a protective tap plate above or/and below the strings. Many flamenco guitarists develop a string formula mixing brands and string types for a specific sound.
3. The Nails
4. Grow your nails long-ish (just above the tip of your skin finger) on your strumming hand, as you progress you will learn to shape them so that they are long enough to catch the strings but make a nice sound as they roll off and let go, angled to match the alignment of the hand position with the strings. The nails on your fret hand (left) are best left short.
5. Tuning
6. The number one skill to work on… If you can’t tune a guitar, commit to mastering this skill!!! You can start with a guitar tuner but you really need to learn relative tuning where you tune the fifth string to A – 440hz concert pitch
and then you tune all the other strings relative to 5th string:
E – Tune the 6th string 5th fret to the open A 5th string
A – Already in tune using a tuning fork or reference note
D – Tune the 4th string open to the 5th string 5th fret
G – Tune the 3rd string open to the 4th string 5th fret
B – Tune the 2nd string open to the 3rd string 4th fret
E – Tune the 1st string open to the 2nd string 5th fret
8. The Chords
9. To begin with you just need to learn about four chords and practice switching between them without breaking a consistent rhythm.
In the key of E (por arriba) master Am, G, F, E and then continue later to add E7, G7, G6, C and Fmaj7 to your repertoire, then A, Bb, Dm when you switch to the key of A (por medio).
10. The Strumming
11. Learn a basic Rasguedo (flicking the fingers out independently across the strings of a particular chord creating a percussive hit on the notes, start with just the index finger down stroke 1-2-3_1-2-3_1-2-rest, then add the more complex flick-out of each finger, an occasional tap on the guitar with your nail alternating with index finger down-strokes and eventually working up to repeating the flick outs in a rolling motion) .
Eg: [1-2-3]_[1-2-3]_[1-2-rest]_[3 or 4 finger rasgueado] each bracket being a count of three.
There are many different rasgueados to progress to:
4 Finger Rasgueado
3 Finger Rasgueado
1 Finger Rasgueado
2 Finger Rasgueado
Avinico Rasgueado #1
A 3 propeller fan rasgueado cycling a thumb upstroke, ring finger downstroke, and an index finger downstroke.
Avinico Rasgueado #2
Cycling a thumb upstroke, middle finger downstroke, and a thumb downstroke.
Eventually you will also need to learn:
Tremolo (picking individual strings with individual fingers in quintuplets – five notes to one beat – starting with the thumb on a bass note and followed by index, ring, middle an index finger again on a treble note then repeating the tremolo with a different bass note).
Alzapua (a thumb technique using the nail of your thumb as a pick, one down stroke from the lowest sounding note in the chord, one strong upstroke, and one single note on a bass string corresponding to the next down stroke your about to play).
Basically a lot of practice to develop independence and flexibility in your fingers.
12. Percussive Tapping
13. Master a basic 3 chord strumming rhythm that combines the Rasguedo, Alzupua and Tremolo with a Golpe (a percussive finger tap on the sound board, above or below the strings). I highly recommend Sal’s Rumba Lesson on Youtube, he is Australian and very generous with his information.
14. The Scales
When you can hold a basic flamenco rhythm its time to learn a simple melody based on either the Phrygian or the Phrygian Dominant scale and played using the Picado technique (playing single string scale passages with lots of attack). Once you know a scale you can improvise within it and work your way up to some more interesting falsetas.

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