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What's the Right Way to do Flamenco Strumming? Answer from a Master Flamenco Maestro

Whatever you do, keep your right hand relaxed – and practice with intention – we promise you'll get better, and you avoid wrist injury!

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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The right hand technique in flamenco guitar is a huge part of what makes flamenco 'flamenco'. Listen to the below and see (without playing any notes or chords) how distinctive and infectious the rhythm of the right hand alone is:

Rafael has been playing for over 40 years as a flamenco, as well as teaching students around the world. One common thing he sees in beginner flamenco students is the rushing of the right hand technique – too eager to get the party going! Below we break down some of the basic flamenco strumming techniques which we encourage you to practice in front of a mirror.

There are different strumming styles in flamenco guitar for different 'palos' or styles. The most popular strum techniques – or rasgueos – are often used in the 'rumba' and the 'buleria', both of which we will discuss in this article. Flamenco guitar also uses plenty of finger-picking, which are used in these styles and others, but we will focus on rumba and buleria below.

Basic rumba pattern

For an absolute beginner who has a little experience holding a guitar and nothing else, one of the most popular flamenco strums to begin with is the 'rumba' strum.

If you want your playing to get beyond 'sloppy', we'd recommend using a metronome in practice.

But beyond this little party-trick is a much deeper and more interesting layer of right hand strumming techniques, which are all known as rasgueos. For a big picture overview of these right-hand techniques, below Rafael demonstrates a summary of the 5-finger, 4-finger and 3 finger 'rasgueo', as well as the 'golpe' and picado techniques – taken from his beginner flamenco course.

We have a separate article on these flamenco rasgueos here, which cover common beginner flamenco student mistakes too. We suggest you review it all – and good luck on your practice!

Tired of playing the same chords over and over?

A new course for flamenco guitar beginners. Join thousands of other students taught by Rafael Lloyd Iglesias.