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  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • paco de lucia

    Beginners Flamenco Lesson: Malaguena

    Training the Thumb and Index Finger

    by Simon James

    Learning how to use the right hand correctly is the first base for all beginners to Flamenco Guitar. Without a solid shape and position it will be impossible to get a good grasp of the many different techniques involved in using the right hand.

    Below you will see an excerpt from a Malaguena. Begin by making an E major chord on the first four strings of your instrument, that is an E, G#, B and E.

    Then, with your right hand play a rest stroke with your thumb on the 4th string, then the 3rd and then the 2nd. After each of these notes play an upstroke with your index finger. Repeat this for the first two bars.

    In bar 3 make an A minor chord on the first three strings, that is an A, C and an E. Continue to use the thumb and index alternating technique with your right hand, but with your left hand move down the scale, back onto the 3rd string before finishing on an E on the 4th string.

    Practice this technique over and over so that you become comfortable with the rest strokes on the thumb and alternating the upwards index finger strokes.

    In the final bar, strum an E major by only using your index finger, going down on the first quaver of the second beat, up on the second before finishing with a down stroke on the third beat.


    Throughout this study pay careful attention to your right hand. Ensure that you have a good shape, in that your knuckles run parallel to the strings and that your fingers if laid flat on the strings would bisect them at right angles. Ensure that your thumb and your finger are spaced apart so they avoid bumping into each other and do not cause your hand to turn at an angle. The rest stroke with the thumb is essential as it keeps your hand steady and enables you to relax when making the upstrokes with your index finger.

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