Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs: An Essential Guide To Playing Spanish Guitar

Learning Spanish guitar is easy! Let’s have a look at our list of 9 easy Spanish guitar tabs!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 9 of our favourite Spanish guitar tabs
  • Why the Spanish guitar is awesome
  • How to approach these songs
  • Why traditional songs are great to learn

Ah, The Beauty Of The Spanish Guitar!

So, you’ve got yourself a classical guitar. Lucky you!

  • Whether you meant to or not, you’ve joined a centuries-old lineage of the guitar as it was originally developed in Spain.
  • Your guitar was born of the vihuela and gittern instruments in the 15th and 16th century and developed into the modern classical guitar, through the Guitarra Latina, around the same time the piano was developing. Crazy times!
  • Spanish guitar as a classical guitar style of composition started booming in the 17th and 18th century, as the modern classical guitar took shape.

Those compositions were done mainly in a kind of tablature form similar to what you see today.

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There are so many beautiful Spanish-influenced compositions from all around the world for you to try!

  • Today, we’re going to focus on easy Spanish guitar tabs for you to stretch your skills with.
  • The songs we’re going to take a look at are from Spain itself to Brazil, Mexico, and the Caribbean, from the 18th century to the present.

Let’s get tuned up and get going! Vamos!

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Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 1: Spanish Romance (Traditional)

“Spanish Romance” was written in the 19th century and has been used as a fundamental study in Spanish guitar ever since.

  • Nobody knows who wrote it, although it’s been attributed to many of the major guitar composers who were around in the first days of the modern classical guitar.
  • It’s one of the first easy Spanish guitar tabs to learn to familiarize yourself generally with the style.

Here it is, played by Marija Agic.

“Spanish Romance” has been performed by Andy Williams, My Chemical Romance, and Eddie Vedder.

  • You can get yourself ready to play it by grouping the notes in each measure into chord shapes, practicing your fretting hand moves before trying to pick it out.
  • Here is the Ultimate-Guitar.com tab for Spanish Romance.

Begin slowly and take as much time as you need to get through it.

This piece is frequently played with very stretchy time, which allows us as beginning Spanish guitarists to really listen for and feel the meaning of each note.

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Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 2: Cielito Lindo (Traditional)

Here’s a truly famous song you’ll love having in your stack of easy Spanish guitar tabs. 

“Cielito Lindo” is an amazing Mexican folk song, popularized in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza de Cortés.

  • It originated with a verse about being frightened to travel through the Sierra Morena mountains of Spain because of bandits, a legit folk theme if we’ve ever heard one.
  • Now it’s played and sung by everyone from mariachi bands to soccer fans!

Stephen Bennett plays a lovely version of “Cielito Lindo” on a harp guitar, below:

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One of the unique features of the guitar is its ability to play melody, harmony, or both together.

  • This song is a great way to build an arrangement using any of those aspects.
  • This is one of the easy Spanish guitar tabs for “Cielito Lindo” played with only the melody.
  • After mastering this melody, you can begin to figure out the chords and eventually build them into the melody itself.

If you would like a lesson for a different arrangement of “Cielito Lindo”, you can get it here!

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Pro-Tip: If you’re new to easy Spanish guitar tabs, you may want to check out some preliminary classical guitar tips! We have a couple of excellent beginner-level lessons for you:

Spanish Guitar Lessons: 4 Essential Lessons

Learn Classical Guitar in 7 Easy Steps

Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 3: Malagueña, Ernesto Lecuona

This Spanish classical guitar standard is played by all instrumentalists everywhere, has an interesting history, and is sure to become one of your favorite easy Spanish guitar tabs.

  • Lecuona, a Cuban 20th-century composer, wrote this piece on the piano as part of his Suite Andalucia in 1933.
  • It has become a general performance staple for all sorts of people and groups, including Stan Kenton, Roy Clark and Carlos Montoya, who adapted it for classical guitar.

Here it is, played by Andrés Segovia, a man deeply associated with a whole century’s worth of Spanish classical guitar music.

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And now you can add this piece to your collection of easy Spanish guitar tabs! Here is Ultimate-Guitar.com’s tab for Malagueña.

  • There are countless versions of this song in tablature at a lot of different levels, so “Malagueña” is a piece you can really grow with.
  • The version we are using is a really good demonstration of what many musicians, perhaps unfortunately, call “chunking.”

This song comes in distinct sections, or chunks.

You can take each chunk and practice it separately. If you focus on one section of music a day, you will have the whole piece ready to put together within a week.

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Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 4: Salamanca (Traditional)

There is not a lot of information flying around about “Salamanca”, the next in your set of easy Spanish guitar tabs.

  • This is a traditional Spanish guitar tune, and whether you’ve actually heard the song before or not, there is something familiar about the melody.
  • It’s beautiful, and it is not terribly difficult to play.
  • Do we really need to know much more about it? We need to know how it goes!

Here’s a nice live rendition of “Salamanca” by Marc Burguera.

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Although not a song for absolute beginners on Spanish guitar, “Salamanca” is a solid introduction to the idea of playing melody notes together with accompanying harmony.

  • Ultimate-Guitar.com, one of our favorite primary tablature resources, has a version of “Salamanca” tab that you can read and listen to here.
  • With this or any of your other easy Spanish guitar tabs, it’s important to take it very slowly at first so that you can develop control over the movements of both hands.
  • As your fretting hand begins to memorize the mechanics of the song, you can begin to work in the rhythm.

Trouble reading rhythm? Check out these basic theory and reading lessons!

Reading Guitar Music: The Ultimate Guide

Music Theory for Beginners

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Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 5: Entre Dos Aguas, Paco de Lucia

Whoa, whoa, wait a minute! You said easy Spanish guitar tabs!

Don’t tell me you’re expecting me to learn this whole thing!

Well, we don’t have to learn the whole thing, but we should definitely at least learn some of it, and there are plenty of parts that are not impossible to play.

“Entre dos Aguas” is at its core a flamenco improvisation.

Learn pieces of it and you will learn the vocabulary of flamenco, one of the mightiest branches of the Spanish guitar tree!

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There are quite a few versions of tablature for “Entre dos Aguas,” but this one seems to be the most straightforward arrangement that is available online.

  • Each section of “Entre dos Aguas” is a lesson in technique, style, and genre.
  • For example, the first section, with a main melody theme, combines some relatively mellow scale passages with the ripping cadenza, which is that incredibly fast waterfall of notes you hear.
  • Another main feature of “Entre dos Aguas” is the Andalusian cadence. Well, now we’re getting pretty fancy with the talk, but all it is is a particular chord sequence.

These songs – “Hit the Road, Jack” and “Stray Cat Strut” and “Runaway” – all have the Andalusian cadence, which can be in any key but generally goes:

A minor, G major, F major, E7.

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Pro-Tip: Easy Spanish guitar tabs are in the eye and hands of the beholder!

Every guitarist has a pile of songs that we want to learn, intend to learn, and at some point tried to learn before we discovered that we just weren’t ready.

Have you started your pile yet?

Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 6: One-Note Samba (Antonio Carlos Jobim)

No pile of easy Spanish guitar tabs would be complete without taking the very slight detour into the world of beauty and wonder that is Brazilian jazz.

  • The works of Antonio Carlos Jobim are fun to arrange on a classical guitar, interesting to work out from a rhythmic standpoint, and simple enough in many cases to learn as a relative beginner!
  • Here is an intermediate version of “One-Note Samba” by Jake Reichbart and Walter Rodrigues Jr.

By the way, the song is not kidding about being one note, for a good portion of it. So if you can find yourself a Jake Reichbart or a Walter Rodrigues Jr. to play with, your job is easy!

If you’re doing a solo arrangement, though, never fear! It’s still one note. It just has a bunch of other notes underneath it.

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There is really no limit to how difficult you can make your arrangement of “One-Note Samba,” but there are lovely simple versions available online.

  • The nicest one in terms of easy Spanish guitar tabs is this one. You can read and listen at the same time!
  • If you’d like some further guidance playing this beautiful and fun song, here’s a YouTube tutorial to walk you through an arrangement!

“One-Note Samba” has two parts.

Learn each part separately, and with a little practice you’ll be able to play them all together.

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Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 7: La Borinqueña (Ramirez/Astol Artés)

And now we’re going to add a national anthem to your collection of easy Spanish guitar tabs!

  • La Borinqueña is the national anthem of Puerto Rico, and it has an interesting lyrical history.
  • The music (variously attributed) was around in the mid-19th century, and in 1868, the initial lyrics were set to support the Puerto Rican revolution.

In 1952, after Puerto Rico ceded itself to the United States, the words were changed to remove all the talk about machetes.

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The gorgeous melody is harmonized nicely in this easy tablature version of “La Borinqueña.”

  • What this tablature brings out in “La Borinqueña” is the use of the harmonic minor scale in the melody.
  • The harmonic minor scale makes the melody particularly beautiful and haunting.

You don’t have to know or care about the harmonic minor scale before you learn to play “La Borinqueña”, but if you’re interested in learning more about what makes a song sound identifiably Spanish, check out this lesson!

Spanish Guitar Scales – An Essential Guide

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Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 8: Bolero (Julián Arcas)

In another lesson, we cover a classical guitar arrangement of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero,” a 1928 composition of general and enduring fame.

  • The “Bolero” we’re adding to your easy Spanish guitar tabs, however, is a Julián Arcas guitar composition from the mid-19th century.
  • Here’s a beautiful gut string guitar version of “Bolero,” played by Rob MacKillop.

MacKillop is an early music expert, punk guitarist, and general scholar and virtuoso.

A bolero, generally speaking, is slow-tempo Latin dance music.

There’s also a different kind of bolero, referring specifically to a separate type of Cuban vocal music.

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Ultimate-Guitar.com has a relatively simple interactive version of the tablature for “Bolero.”

  • One pretty consistent feature of Spanish guitar is an orchestral style of composition.
  • This means that the guitar plays the melody and also plays harmonic and rhythmic support, doing all the jobs of different instruments in an orchestra.
  • If you enjoy playing these easy Spanish guitar tabs, including “Bolero,” you can begin developing your arrangements through tutorials available on the web.

Here is a nice Bolero lesson from Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

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Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs 9: La Llorona (Traditional)

We’ll round out your set of easy Spanish guitar tabs with “La Llorona,” a Mexican folk song recently featured in the movie Coco.

Here’s a beautiful guitar quartet arrangement of “La Llorona.”

The origins of this song are murky, but it has also been performed by Joan Baez, Chavela Vargas, and Lila Downs.

This is a relatively simple version of the tablature to “La Llorona.”

  • There are a lot of versions available, and there are plenty of verses, if you choose to sing along.
  • The song structure has two parts. Does the second part sound familiar? It’s our new friend, the Andalusian cadence!

Here’s a chord chart for “La Llorona”. Use it to sing and play the chords or to augment your arrangement of this pretty song.

Enjoying Your Easy Spanish Guitar Tabs

Apart from the tabs and online tutorials for learning Spanish guitar, there are plenty of great books available. 

Check out 30 Easy Spanish Guitar Solos and Spanish for Guitar: Masters in TAB for two excellent learning resources.

Learning Spanish guitar really builds your fingerstyle skills and broadens your musical vocabulary with beautiful music, so enjoy!

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