The Flame Tree Music Blog

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

Posted by Nick Wells

Paco de Lucia, great guitarists, guitar heroes, flame tree music,

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).

 

Links

  • 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: Left Hand Technique 01 (Videos)

Posted by Jake Jackson

To play guitar well you have to play it every day. According to one of Jimi Hendrix’s girlfriends (Monika Dannemann I think) in the late '60s he used to walk around their Chelsea flat with the guitar strapped to him, all the time, making breakfast, drinking vodka, watching TV – the guitar became part of his body.

We can’t all be as good as the greatest guitarist who ever lived (yes, I'm biased) but, assuming we play because we love the sound and feel of the instrument, we can do everything possible to get better.

This particular video shows a simple left hand technique.

Left Hand Fingerwork

The rif, a flamenco-flavoured exercise I do every day to warm up my fingers, is full of little techniques including:

  • fluid playing from note to note
  • occasional note holds
  • note bends
  • vibrato
  • hammer-ons

To see the full effect of this, take a look at the video below which shows what the right hand is doing.

Watch the fingers pause while the hammer-ons operate on the left hand, continuing the melody. It is entirely possible to play a series of notes without using your right hand. This gives the sound a more fluid quality and adds some texture and variety to your playing.

Guitar technique, play guitar,This sort of rif can be played on any guitar: electric, acoustic steel, flamenco or classical nylon, as long as the instrument has some bounce in the strings (some of the cheapest guitars are so rigid it’s impossible to get a decent sound out of them). An electric rock guitarist might hold some of the notes longer, a folk guitarist might try to achieve a more staccato feel but a classical player might aim for greater tonal variation.

A Couple of Other Tips

  • It’s important to feel the string as you play, don’t just knock out the note: push into it, move around it, make it resonate.

  • Here's a simple exercise to play once a week: strike just one note repeatedly but make a different sound with each stroke, find different qualities of sound each time: harder, softer, more vibrato, make it rasp and sing.

It's worth spending five minutes a day on left and right hand techniques for a few weeks while you begin to explore the notes and strings.

The next videos will focus on further left hand techniques and introduce chord combinations.

Links

  • Our Flame Tree Music chord finder website with sound for each noteHere.

  • Take a look at Flame Tree Rock for inspirationmixtapes and free downloads.

  • See a video for right hand techniques here.

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Topics: Flame Tree Music, Jimi Hendrix, play guitar, scales and chords, jake jackson

Play Guitar Made Easy: Right Hand Techniques (video)

Posted by Jake Jackson


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.

play guitar, right hand, jake jacksonOver 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.

Muting

  • 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.
Play Guitar, right hand 01, jake jacksonIt's worth spending five minutes a day on right hand techniques for a few weeks while you begin to explore the notes and strings. The next videos will focus on left hand techniques and introduce chords.

 

 Links

  • 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.
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Topics: strumming, Flame Tree Music, flamenco