Before you can learn the flamenco guitar, you need to understand its roots. Flamenco is actually comprised of three parts: song, dance, and music (typically the flamenco guitar). The art form, as the three combined parts are called collectively, hails from southern Spain and has a folky, jazz-type sound.
If you’re a fan of the culture and music of Andalusia, or just love Spanish guitar music, you may consider learning how to play flamenco—or Spanish—guitar.
What Is Flamenco Guitar and Is it Hard to Learn?
The flamenco guitar differs from a classical guitar in its body shape and the types of wood it’s made from. A flamenco guitar has a thinner top and less internal bracing with a cypress or sycamore wooden back to enhance sound. However, both types of guitars have nylon strings. The sounds differ too, though. The flamenco guitar is known for its livelier, grittier sound.
In terms of difficulty, it depends on your familiarity with instruments and, more specifically, the guitar. If you know how to play the classical guitar, you’ll have a leg up on learning how to play the flamenco guitar. But if you’re starting from scratch, then your learning curve will be much steeper.
However, flamenco guitar is very specific, proving a challenge for any string guitarist. You will have to master the strum and other techniques used only when playing the flamenco guitar.
How Long Will it Take to Learn?
As with any instrument, it can take years to master. With the flamenco guitar, again it depends on your level of proficiency with guitars. Some estimate it takes at least two years to learn flamenco guitar.
The Basics of Flamenco Guitar
Before you begin flamenco guitar lessons, familiarize yourself with these terms and techniques.
Bulerías is a fast rhythm with a 12 beat cycle. This is among the most popular flamenco forms and typically ends a flamenco performance.
Rasgueado, or Rasqueado, is a strumming technique that uses only one finger for each strum. Ordinary strumming is done with several fingers at once.
Rumba Flamenco is a palo, or style, of flamenco music. It’s characterized by its happy rhythm and is used at celebrations.
Tremolo is a technique that is used to make the sound seem like it’s ongoing. With flamenco guitar, or classical guitar, sound dies quickly, so the tremolo technique is a way to mimic continued sound.
Alzapúa is the epitome of flamenco music’s sound. It is a repeating pattern of three upward thumb strokes on the flamenco guitar.
Spanish Guitar Lessons
Ready to get strumming? Taking flamenco guitar lessons online is a great way to learn at your own pace. These three flamenco guitar lessons for beginners will get you started.
1. Learn the Sexy Seductive Spanish Guitar Playing
This class, comprised of seven flamenco guitar lessons, teaches you the basic techniques for Spanish guitar outlined above.
2. Introduction to Spanish Guitar Techniques
In under an hour, these flamenco guitar lessons will teach you fundamental techniques and melodies of the Spanish guitar.
3. Spanish Guitar Strumming Techniques
Award-winning guitarist Edina Balczó teaches these flamenco guitar lessons. She reviews multiple strumming techniques and includes exercises for you to practice, all in under an hour and a half.