The Flame Tree Music Blog

Flame Tree Music: Paco de Lucia: The World's Greatest Guitarist.

Posted by Nick Wells

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Paco de Lucia, 'the master' to many, passed away yesterday, 26 February 2014. He was a gifted inspiration to many traditions and performed his salsa/jazz flavoured flamenco with immense style and grace. Even more accomplished than Jimi Hendrix, with greater passion than John McLaughlin and an excellence of technique rarely seen Paco de Lucia was probably the greatest guitar playing musician of the modern era. He was featured in our Illustrated Encyclopedia of Guitar Heroes (Flame Tree Publishing, 2008), with a version of the following entry:

Paco de Lucia: Flamenco Flair

Spanish composer and guitarist Paco de Lucía (b. 1947 d. 2014), born Francisco Sánchez Gómez, was a proponent of the modern flamenco style and one of the very few flamenco guitarists who successfully crossed over into other genres of music, including jazz, funk, classical and world music. The son of Gypsy flamenco guitarist Antonio Sánchez, he adopted the stage name Paco de Lucía in honour of his Portuguese gypsy mother, Lucía Gomes.

In 1958, at the age of 11, de Lucía made his first public appearance on Radio Algeciras, and a year later he was awarded a special prize in the Jerez flamenco competition. In 1961, he toured with the flamenco troupe of dancer José Greco. In 1964 de Lucía met Madrilenian guitarist Ricardo Modrego, with whom he recorded Dos Guitarras Flamencas (1965) and Doce Canciones De Federico García Lorca Para Guitarra (1965). Between 1968 and 1977, he enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with fellow new-flamenco innovator Camarón de la Isla, with whom he recorded 10 albums.

On the World Stage

Friday Night in San Francisco, great guitarists, guitar heroes, flame tree music,In 1979, de Lucía, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell formed the Guitar Trio and made a brief tour of Europe. They released a video recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall entitled ‘Meeting Of Spirits’. Coryell was later replaced by Al Di Meola, and the trio recorded three albums, Friday Night In San Francisco (1981), Passion Grace and Fire (1983) and The Guitar Trio (1996), with that line-up. His own band, the Paco De Lucía Sextet (which includes his brothers Ramón and Pepe) released the first of their three albums in the year of the San Francisco concert. De Lucia released several albums encompassing both traditional and modern flamenco styles. He introduced instruments, techniques and variations that shocked flamenco purists yet became accepted elements of the modern musical form.

Classic Recordings

paco de lucia, great guitarists, guitar heroes, flame tree music,De Lucia’s work has led to a new understanding of flamenco and has advanced the technical and musical boundaries of his instrument. De Lucia’s Antologia, volumes 1 and 2, are good starting points to explore the master’s range, expressed in tracks such as ‘Almoraima’, ‘Cancion De Amor’ and ‘Gloria Al Nino Ricardo’. Other important albums include Almoraima (1976), Siroco (1988) and Luzia (1998) and Cositas Buenas (2004).



  • For some links on how to begin playing in the flamenco style, start here.

  • For more on Paco de Lucia, his own website is here.

  • And here's Paco de lucia playlist on Youtube.

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Topics: guitar riffs, flametreemusic, guitar heroes, Flame Tree Music, flamenco, chord finder, great guitarists

Play Guitar Made Easy: Strumming Techniques (Videos)

Posted by Jake Jackson

play guitar, chord finderGood strumming is a core skill for every guitarist, especially the acoustic specialist. Most people start with simple strokes up and down, so its worth refining your methods as soon as possible: it's all too easy to slip into bad habits! One of the great things about the guitar is that you can make a good sound very quickly with very little knowledge of chords, and no interest in notation: strumming will allow you to get to grips with the songs you like, or make up your own. 

Strumming is one of the early steps in learning to play the guitar. This post is a companion to the strumming technique pages (Step 2, page 46 if you must know) in Play the Guitar Made Easy, link here). You can also use our music website to hear chords and scales.

These short videos use a medium body Morris acoustic guitar, which has Fishman pick-up for live gigs. It's a robust guitar, it combines bright tones with a warm, reflective character: like a mini Martin (I wish!).

Strumming Techniques 01: Right Hand Positions

This first video shows the sound of strumming the guitar at different places - at the bridge, at the end of the neck, over the sound hole, each producing different qualities of sound. Playing close to the bridge creates a tight, rockier feel, but over the neck the sound is blousier. 

Strumming Techniques 02: Rocky Strokes (Bass Strings)

Strumming on the 6th and 5th bass strings, close to the bridge of the guitar, gives a nice rocky feel. Keep the wrist loose but hold the pick firm and try to avoid too much movement from the arm. This is a simple exercise based on G major, A minor and E major, played using barre chords (on the first two chords) to give a tight, solid sound. 

Strumming Techniques 03: Upstrokes (Treble Strings)


Using up-strokes naturally strikes the trebles strings first to produce a clear, bright sound. This video plays the strokes slowly at first, then speeds up. Towards the end the edge of the palm is used to deaden the ring of the strings, creating a more percussive flow. The chords are all variations on D major. 

This technique works well as a companion to lower notes sounded on another acoustic guitar, creating a wider harmonic base for melodic instruments or voices to move around.

Strumming Techniques 04: Full Strokes (All Strings)

There are three types of full stroke strumming here: slow, full chords; faster full chords; fast and percussive. The slower chords here ring out with a clear, natural reverb; the same chords played faster propel the song forward; the percussive final section allows for more complex rhythms, which would combine with other instruments, voices, or straightforward stamping of the feet! The chords here are C major, A minor and G major.

There's More to Strumming Than Meets the Ear!

An acoustic guitar can take the place of drums in a simple set-up, creating the engine room of a song. If more than one guitar is playing chords in the full-stroke style of strumming, one guitar should take the first position chords and the other use second or, preferably, third position to give some variety and width to the sound.


  • Our Flame Tree Music chord finder website with sounds for each note. Here. Also now, 20 scales for each key.
  • Take a look at Flame Tree Rock for inspiration, mixtapes and free downloads.
  • More video techniques here and here.


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Topics: learn guitar, guitar chords, videos, chord finder, folk guitar, rock guitar