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Beginner Flamenco Guitar: what's the best way to start learning?

Learn to get your posture in place, know your left hand from your right, then dive into either the rumba or the buleria to get going in flamenco guitar as a beginner

by Michael & Rafael

Rafael has taught and performed flamenco guitar for over 40 years, including many famous stars – from EOB (Radiohead) to Jack Peñate (recorded with Adele).

Tired of playing the same chords over and over?

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We'll send you short modules from Rafael's new flamenco guitar course based on that.

Good to know you want to get started in flamenco guitar! Out of all guitar playing styles, who does not want to be able to pull out this at a party?

Or this...?

Flamenco guitar is a very fun, versatile genre. Some people who take it up become so passionate about it that they move to Spain for a year or two to learn more about the culture and develop their own virtuosity!

But just starting out – here's a normal pathway to learn the flamenco guitar as a beginner:

Get to know the musical style

Rafael explains the different types of flamenco - or 'flamenco palos' - here. Some are sad, melancholic and deep, whereas others are loose, joyful and lighthearted. Different styles will appeal to different people.

Get your habits right now, before they cause problems in the future

In the 21st century the modern working environment isn't good for our bodies. Many of us sit at desks and slouch, or in the evenings many lie on sofas and...slouch.

But you really do not want to replicate these habits in your guitar practice – that is, unless you want to get good at flamenco, only to have to stop due to back pain, which could have been avoided!

Rafael discusses the correct flamenco guitar posture over here. Get acquainted with it. The problem affects professional musicians of all sorts. It'll take 10 minutes to understand.

Learn the left hand – it takes 5 minutes

Perhaps the most important guitar lesson of your life, Rafael explains in 5 minutes how your left hand should be: relaxed.

While this will take 5 minutes to watch, it will take years to master.

Right hand technique - what makes flamenco guitar 'flamenco'

Right hand technique is what unlocks the flamenco style for guitar. These consist of different 'rasgueados' or 'rasgueos' (there are many naming variants). 

In the video below you can probably spot things going on with the right hand a few within 20 seconds... (from 0:45 onwards)

What are these movements, and how do you do this? Let's take a look below to get started.

We have split the video into two parts (from Rafael's flamenco guitar course)

With these fundamentals of technique done, you are ready to begin learning your first 'palo' or flamenco style.

Rumba

Probably the most light-hearted or 'party' feel, this is a popular choice to begin with for beginner flamenco guitarists. Especially as the time signature is in the familiar 4/4 signature that you will feel intuitively if you are from the Western world, as most music is based in this rhythm.

Here's an example of Rafael playing rumba 

Rafael teaches you the basics of rumba guitar in his flamenco course.

Buleria

This is also a popular choice to begin with for beginner flamenco guitarists, even though it's certainly more difficult than the rumba (for Western musicians in particular). Rafael also teaches you how to play the buleria in his flamenco course.

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