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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

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Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions


Exercises

warm-up fret pluck alzapúa scales picado

Warm-up

This exercise combines a few techniques to warm up both hands. It starts with the chords D, A, G and F sharp in
arpeggios and picado and ends with a variation of this idea using the chords B minor, A, G and F sharp. In the last
four measures, a transposed soleá falseta of Niño Ricardo. Notice that all the slurs are on the first two notes of
the triplet. Keep the notes ringing as much as possible when changing from one position to another.

(click here to listen to the audio file)

Fret

This exercise was shown to me by David Serva. Taken from the classical-guitar repertoire, it moves the same
pattern up the fretboard and will quickly tire your fretting hand. The suggested fingering keeps the index, middle
and ring fingers on the same strings as much as possible. Try to use rest strokes and move the pattern up the
neck a fret at a time until you've had enough.

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

Pluck

This exercise strengthens thumb, index and middle. Play everything in rest strokes, letting thumb and fingers rest
on the following string and alternating index and middle at all times. Keep your fingertips very close to the
strings. This includes the thumb, because it is the base for all the other fingerstrokes and should not be
subordinate to them. In this sense, the exercise can be simplified by playing a single bass note for each measure.

(click here to listen to the audio file)

The same pattern in sixteenths (2/4).

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

Alzapúa

This exercise also works for arpeggios. Alzapúa basically consists of a rest stroke followed by a downstroke and an
upstroke that brush several strings, although many falsetas start with the downstroke. To get started, use a
twisting motion by rotating the two bones in your forearm (it's like turning a key in a lock). Click here for a study
of this technique. Your hand has to be relaxed enough to feel the centrifugal force from the twisting movement.
When you've got the idea, do as much of the work as you can with your thumb, keeing your index finger on the
first string (I use my ring finger).

When alzapúa is used for sixteenth notes, the ternary mechanism (plant-brush-brush) contrasts with the binary
structure, creating the offset pattern seen below. Notice that in each measure, the planted thumbstroke happens
at a different rhythmic moment: beat one, first and fourth notes; beat two, third note; beat three, second note.
The exercise can be simplified by playing in triplets so that each planted thumbstroke falls on the beat.

(click here to listen)

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

Scales

Diatonic | With slurs | Blues-pentatonic | Chromatic | Dim. 7th | Octave tritone

The following scales and arpeggios are based on patterns of 48 and the division of this number by its common
denominators 2, 3, 4 and 6, which allows us to play each pattern in eighths, triplets, sixteenths and sextuplets, as
seen below. Logically, the patterns can be reduced to just 12 notes, six ascending and six descending.

Eighth notes = 2 notes per beat x 3 beats x 8 measures = 48 notes

Triplets = 3 notes per beat x 4 beats x 4 measures = 48 notes

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions
Sixteenths = 4 notes per beat x 3 beats x 4 measures = 48 notes

Sextuplets = 6 notes per beat x 4 beats x 2 measures = 48 notes

Using this arrangement, we can play the following patterns in triplets and sixteenths. In order to make the two
rhythms clearer, you can accent the last beat in each measure. Strike the note a little harder and follow with a
very slight pause, for a rubato effect. The patterns are completely systematic, so you can concentrate fully on the
rhythm, as the descent starts in the third measure in both triplets and sixteenths. You can reverse all of the
patterns, playing them descending and then ascending.

Diatonic (E minor)

Changing notes creates different diatonic scales. For example, changing the C to C sharp will give you D major,
using no sharps or flats yields C major, etc.

Diatonic with slurs

As above, you can alter the notes of the scale.

Blues/pentatonic

You can apply this to the other "blues boxes" up the fretboard:

Chromatic

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

You can start at almost any fret on the sixth string:

Diminished 7th

You can add slurs (pull-offs) when there are three notes on one string (the first three, for example). Also, the
descent can be fingered higher up on the fretboard.

Tritone octave

This can be played p-p-i. As with the preceding pattern, you can finger the descent from a higher position on the
fretboard.

You have probably gathered by now that it is not too hard to apply the idea to many other patterns. Just play any
interesting pattern in sixteenths or triplets over a three- or four-beat rhythm, respectively, changing direction
when you reach the third measure. You might have to start the descent one note higher in the pattern in order to
create a loop.

Picado

These exercices are designed to strengthen your picado technique, especially the movement of the fingers to a
new string.

I recommend starting with Exercises 1 and 2 when you want to work on picado because the muted strings focus
your attention on precise striking-hand technique. For Exercise 1, play eighth notes on each muted string,
alternating your index and middle fingers and repeating the pattern in a loop. Make sure that you always
alternate index and middle, use rest strokes and keep your thumb on one of the bass strings. Notice the
difference between starting the pattern i-m and m-i and that it's awkward to move to a lower-pitched string with
the middle finger (use rest strokes). When you can play the pattern quickly and starting with either finger, do the
same with triplets, as seen in Exercise 2. If Exercise 3 is too difficult, you need to go back to Exercises 1 and 2
and look at the rest strokes.

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

Exercises 1 and 2

For Exercise 3, start the looped pattern with your index finger and notice that the new string always falls on the
middle finger in the ascent and on the index in the descent. Now play the same pattern but starting with your
middle finger. It's probably going to feel very awkward, particularly in the descent, where it's very important to
make use of rest strokes. Although we normally avoid the awkward fingering, there are parts of certain falsetas in
which there is no other alternative. The rest of these exercises are meant to be played with the two fingerings (i-
m, m-i) in order to concentrate on the way that the fingers "lay" on different sets of strings. Remember to keep
your thumb on one of the bass strings.

Exercise 3

The descent is particularly difficult when using the awkward fingering. Exercise 4 loops the pattern in a way that
repeats the same fingering for each new cycle, and Exercise 5 alternates the two fingerings.

Exercise 4 Exercise 5

Exercise 6 places the above pattern on different sets of strings. Each measure can be looped for practice on a
particular set of strings.

Exercise 6

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6/11/2019 Guitar Exercises - Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions

Exercise 7 distributes the same 12-note pattern in sixteenths (4x3=12, 3x4=12).

Exercise 7

Exercise 8 is a variation that is offset in such a way that every other beat is one note lower in the scale (beats 1,
3, 5, etc.)

Exercise 8

You don't have to limit these patterns to the C major scale: with F sharp, it would be G major (granaínas); with B
flat, it would be F major (por medio), etc.

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