Scales: notes


Knowing the way around the fingerboard is essential knowledge.

  • to know where the notes are
  • and to know which fingerings are the most beneficial for practice and efficient for performance.

Unlike some instruments, such as the piano, on the guitar, every note can be played in several locations on the neck and each note can be played with any of the four fingers of the left hand. Master these left hand fingerings first and then start to experiment for your self, finding new left hand fingerings.

You will notice that these scales are played in the first position from strings six to one. Then the scale continues on the first string until it reaches its tonic, or start note. Practice extensions would be to play in the first position until the second string (as opposed to the first) and then continue until the tonic.

Which scales to study?

For our flamenco orientated purposes I propose that we look at three scale types

  • Major scales
  • Relative harmonic minors
  • Harmonic minors starting on the same note as the above scales
  • The Andalusian flamenco modes… in the most common keys of flamenco:

I have organised these scales for convenience and attrempting to reflect relations between the scales and some kind of flamenco conventions. You will find the following:

La familia de Mí – por arriba

  • Mi/E Andalusian Phrygian: Often called “por arriba”: zambra, soleá, fandangos, peteneras, serranas, fandangos, verdiales, malagueña, bulería. (note wrong labelling on the stave)
  • Mi/E major: alegría, bulería.
  • Do#/D minor: relative minor.
  • Mi/E minor: granaína, rumba, romeras.


La familia de La – por medio

  • La/A Andalusian Phrygian: Often called “por medio”: tangos, tientos, soleá, bulería, siguiriya.
  • La/A major: tanguillo, alegría, guajiras, bulería.
  • F# minor: relative minor
  • La/A minor: farruca, rumba, tanguillo, bulería. Fa#/F# minor: relative minor
  • Do/Cmajor: Zapateado, Alegría – relative major to A minor.


Re/D Andalusian Phrygian

Zambra with detuned bass E string to D (mi to re)

Download -still to be uploaded

Fa#/F# Andalusian Phrygian

Taranta/o, Rondeña with E to D and G to F#

Download -still to be uploaded


1. The term ‘alegría’ refers to all in the cantiñas family.
2. Sevillanas is not included as it is played in nearly every scale type above.


One Comment

  1. gokul
    Posted January 4, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi.. I am playing guitar for the past 2 years and have always wanted to learn the flamenco. Could you please give me tips as to how best this can be done.

    The 2 song files that are there on this website are not downloading properly. Could you please check out why so I can read thru the tablature.

    Thanks a lot..

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Photos