Learning the basics is fundamental to playing the guitar. Right hand stance, left hand movement, keeping in tune, finger positions; it is critical to focus on these before starting to play chords and melodies. All of the major styles, jazz, rock, folk, country, blues, have these fundamentals in common.
Over the next few months we’ll introduce a series of posts on guitar techniques, adding a further dimension to our extensive range of practical music books and our new chord and scales website, Flame Tree Music.
This short video uses a flame red flamenco guitar to demonstrate basic right hand techniques.
Before We Start
- Find a chair that you feel comfortable with, preferably with a hard frame and back.
- Rest the guitar on your knee, relax your shoulders and try to keep your back straight.
- You must feel comfortable before placing your hands on the guitar.
- Relax your right hand and let it fall naturally across the strings.
- For this style of playing, longer nails on the right hand will give your strokes some bite.
Thumb For Bass
- The thumb strikes the bottom three strings, (from the heaviest string), E, A and D.
- Try to practise simple note progressions.
- Play slowly at first. It’s always tempting to start quickly but if you can discipline yourself and keep a steady rhythm, speed will come.
Strumming (in this case Rasgueo)
- This is a powerful technique that can generate loud volume and, used effectively, allows you to use the tension in the strings to create a clattering sound.
- Every form of strumming can switch from percusssive intensity to flowing waves of sound. Try playing gently and loudly to feel your way into this technique.
- This particular rasgueo style uses the second finger to lead the attack on the strings, with the others following in a cascading fan. Traditional flamenco uses the forefinger which allows the second finger for the golpe, a percussive tap.
- The palm or the whole hand is used for damping the strings.
- Useful for finishing or closing off the sound at the end of a phrase or the whole song.
- Effective in creating quiet percussive passages between strikes and chords.
- Our Flame Tree Music chord finder website with sound for each note. Here.
- Take a look at Flame Tree Rock for inspiration, mixtapes and free downloads.
- Links to further video techniques will be posted here as they are made available.