4 Essential Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Wondering how to play flamenco guitar? These 4 essential flamenco guitar lessons will tell you everything you need to know about flamenco guitar.

flamenco guitar lessons

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • The no1 strumming secret which enhances musicality and phrasing.
  • 2 chord hacks which will make you sound amazing.
  • 2 must-know flamenco chord progressions.
  • 2 quick & easy flamenco scales. (Complete with tab & audio!)

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Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Understanding Technique

There are some absolutely astounding guitar players in flamenco music. Not only does it look cool, it also sounds fantastic.

Check out this video of Paco Pena, here he demonstates flamenco technique flawlessly.

Notice how Paco Pena uses a ton of different techniques in his playing. He switches between finger style and picked techniques it’s truly phenomenal to watch.

In today’s flamenco guitar lessons we’re going to take a look at some fingerstyle techniques.

Flamenco guitar, is based on fingerstyle technique. To learn the basics of fingerstyle, go here: Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – 5 Easy Ways To Sound Amazing

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Using Your Index Finger As A Pick

One very common technique which is used by flamenco guitar players, is the use of your index finger to pick the strings.

Let’s learn how to do this killer technique.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Downstrokes With Your First Finger

To begin with, we’re just going to be using our right index finger to strum the strings.

When strumming the strings, you must push against the strings with a downward motion, like this:

Notice how I’m using the tip of my nail when I strum, make sure that you’re not too aggressive when you use your nail. Catching your finger nail on the strings can hurt!

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Upstrokes With Your First Finger

In this next exercise, we’re going to be focusing on using our first finger to strum upwards.

All we have to do here, is drag the fleshy part of our finger up the strings, like this:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Downstrokes and Upstrokes With Your First Finger

In this next exercise, we’re going to combine downstrokes and upstrokes. To do this, start with a downstroke and then immediately follow it with a upstroke, like this:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – The Spanish Flick

As well as using our index finger to strum the strings, we can also introduce our second finger to create a percussive sound.

Check out this technique here:

Now we’ve looked at how to use our index and second finger as a pick, let’s take a look at how we can turn standard guitar chords into flamenco chords.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – How To Turn Open Chords Into Spanish Chords

Even though we’ve learned how to strum in a flamenco style, currently the chords we’re playing don’t sound very spanish.

Here’s a cool trick which will instantly make your open chords sound like they’re from the heart of spain.

Here it is:

Take any open chord, and move it up 1 fret.

Let’s apply it to a few well known chords.

The E Chord

This is a standard E chord:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

To learn this chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

The Spanish E Chord

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

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To play the spanish E chord:

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. (3rd string.)

Can you see how the E shape has been moved up one fret? Let’s see what other chords we can apply this too.

The A Chord

This is our standard A chord.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

To learn this chord, go here: 3 Easy Ways To Play The A Chord On Guitar

The Spanish A Chord

Now let’s move our standard A chord up one fret.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

To play this chord:

  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Strum from the A string. (5th string.)

The D Chord

Here’s what our standard D chord looks like:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Learn this chord here: 3 Easy Ways to Play the D Chord on Guitar

The Spanish D Chord

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Now let’s apply our method of moving our D chord up one fret, to play this chord:

  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

 Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers. Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

 

The Final Trick

One last trick you can do is move these chords up the fret board.

You can move each chord to the following frets:

  • 3rd fret.
  • 5th fret.

Let’s apply this to each of our open chords.

The E Chord

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Notice how it gradually moves up each fret from the 2nd, to the 3rd and then to the 5th.

The A Chord

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

The D Chord

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

This a really great way of giving your standard chords a new exciting flavour.

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Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Essential Flamenco Chord Progressions

Now we’ve learned some flamenco chords, let’s take a look at some classic flamenco chord progressions.

For this section, we’ll be using the key of Am. Our first chord progression uses the following chords.

Flamenco Guitar LessonsSome of these chords use barring technique, if you don’t know how to do this technique, watch this video:

For this progression, we’ll be allowing four beats per chord. Like this:

flamenco guitar lessons

That sounds like this:

As an added challenge, try applying some fingerstyle techniques to this progression.

Flamenco Guitar LessonsA great way of instantly sounding like a flamenco god, is to buy a nylon string guitar. Check out some of best nylon string guitars in this article by Music Radar which features 15 of the best nylon strung acoustics: 15 of the best nylon-string acoustics | MusicRadar

Adapting Your Chords

Just like before, we can adapt the standard voicing’s of our chords to give them a Spanish flavour!

Here are our revised versions:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

The names of the chords sound a lot worse than what they actually are. Don’t worry about the names, just focusing on playing them.

Here’s the tab:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

All together, they sound like this:

Other Chord Progressions

As well as our standard Am – G – F and E chord progression, there’s also another chord progression that features heavily in flamenco music. This progression is slightly different, as it doesn’t use standard open chords. Here it is:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Watch this video to learn how to play this classic chord progression:

Even though this sounds Spanish already, we can add finger picking to this progression to bring it to life.

Finger Picking Pattern 1

In our first variation, we’re still playing the same chord progression, but this time we’re using finger picking to add interest.

In this variation, we’re going to be using our thumb to play the D string (4th string), and our 1st and 2nd fingers together to play the G (3rd string) and B strings (2nd string) simultaneously.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

You may notice that there are a few extra letters and numbers above and below the tab.

These mean:

  • P = thumb.
  • i = first finger.
  • m = second finger.

These are the fingers on the right hand which you’ll use to play each chord.

Where as the numbers relate to what fingers you use for each chord, like this:

  • 1 = first finger.
  • 2 = second finger.
  • 3 = third finger.

It’s important that you use the correct fingers in this pattern, as it will help you to play it smoothly and accurately.

Finger Picking Variation #2

In this variation, we’re going to be plucking each note separately. This sounds great and is a fantastic for improving the dexterity in your right hand.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Essential Flamenco Scales

Even though it can be great fun to play classic flamenco chord progressions. Flamenco playing wouldn’t be complete without improvisation.

In this section we’re going to learn:

  • A natural minor scale.
  • A harmonic minor scale.

To learn about scales, go here: Learn Guitar Scales In 8 Easy Steps

The A Natural Minor Scale

This is a must-know scale for any aspiring flamenco player.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Make sure you spend a bit of time playing this scale slowly, it can be tricky to get this scale underneath your fingers.

One of the best ways to intergrate this scale into your playing is to learn some spanish licks. Let’s learn some.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Lick #1

This first lick sounds great and works perfectly over an A minor chord.

Make sure you spend a bit of time getting it right. You can either use your fingers to pick this or you can use a pick!

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Make sure you play each note with accuracy.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Lick #2

This lick is a little tricker than the previous one, it descends down the scale and then switches to the high E string. (1st string.)

This can be a difficult change, so make sure you practice this slowly.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Now we’ve learnt a couple of licks which use the A natural minor scale, let’s take a look at the harmonic minor scale.

The A Harmonic Minor Scale

This scale sounds fantastic and is THE perfect scale for spanish guitar playing.

Here’s the tab:

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

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. Click here to download your copy.

Can you see the difference between this scale and the natural minor scale? It’s the seventh note. We’ve sharpened it.

This is what gives the harmonic minor scale it’s extra kick.

By playing this scale on its own, it doesn’t give you that flamboyant sound which is commonly associated with flamenco music. However, what we can do is create some licks from this scale.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Lick #1

The first lick is a bit of a finger twister as it descends down the scale. To enhance this lick, try and add some hammer on’s and pull off’s to this lick.

To learn about this technique, go here: How To Play Lead Guitar

Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Flamenco Guitar Lessons – Lick #2

The final lick we’re going to learn features a flurry of notes. If you want to instantly sound like a flamenco god, learn this lick.

Here’s the tab:

lick-2-harmonic-minor-scale

When you play this lick, make sure that you don’t rush. Play each phrase slowly, then gradually build up the speed.

Playing licks, is a great way of integrating a ‘Spanish’ sound into your guitar playing, however playing them on your own is no fun. When practicing these licks, try and use them in a musical situation.

Here’s a backing track which you could play all of these licks over:

Once you’re comfortable playing these licks, try improvising with the natural minor and harmonic minor scales!

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 30,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

NGAEM

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