This is what makes flamenco what it is. Here are some ideas to help you start to develop your rasgueado.

  • Rasgueado is a percussive effect, so hit, don’t strum the strings. You are not playing folk guitar around the camp fire now :)!
  • Aim for the E’ string, even if you are playing all six strings.
  • Do not play perpendicular to the strings, but at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.
  • Try to play close to the bridge to get a more percussive effect.
  • Work on individual fingers first.
  • Aim to keep every stroke individual and every sound individual.
  • Play the exercises as slowly as you possibly can – use a metronome.
  • Your hand and forearm will ache whilst doing these exercises, Have a rest and stretch occasionally.

Download the first tablature file for rasgueado. A word on the exercises. These exercises are designed to make you pay attention to each and every finger whilst practising all of the most common rasgueado variations. Keep the beat steady whilst accentuating the first beat of every bar. That will ensure that you control you fingers. If you find it difficult to accentuate the beat at first another option is to “unstress” all of the other beats, keeping the sound low and as you get more control, more volume will be easier. The aim of rasgueado is not to make a noise, but to keep compás.

pdf file Download a jpeg file that shows different variations of rasgueado.

pdf file Download a jpeg file that forces you to accentuate each finger independently.

Simple exercises for soleá.

pdf file Download

At the top of the page I have shown some simple chords that are most often used for this toque. After there are four very simple exercises that form a part of my daily practice. They are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4.

1. Individual downstrokes: The most basic rasgueado is a straight forwards downstroke. Here fingers “m” and “a” play together, alternating with the thumb. In this example, the thumb should carry the accentuation. Make every chord sound in full and make your strokes crisp and clean. This is especially difficult to achieve with your thumb stroke as it is more difficult to control across all the strings.

2. Syncopated up and downstrokes: Start practising this exercise using your index finger and then when that is working well go start to practise the same exercise using “m” and “a”. You will see that there are crosses on the page and these crosses denote “golpes”. Two thing to be aware of here. Firstly, when playing the golpe, do not allow the “a” finger movement to interfere with the sound of the other strings. Try to move your ring finger with complete independence of the others. Secondly, make the golpe as light as you possibly can. The guitar should not be beaten to death, and too many of these hard golpes begin to sound ugly and detract from the music you are playing.

3. Continuous rasgueados: These are often known as “redondeos” will be practising redondeos for a long, long time. The idea to to deliver a continuous sound to the listener. Some people execute redondeos with four fingers: “i”, “m”, “a” and the little finger, other omit the little finger. I personally prefer not to use the little finger. I like the percussive sound of the individual strokes hitting the strings and I find that it evokes the sound of the dancers feet on the floor, or the sound of palmas. In any case, it gives a more modern and accurate feel to your playing ‘ if you have put in the necessary practice. Practise dead slow and make every individual note sound crisp and clean.

4. Simple up and downstrokes: This exercise, if practised with all of your right hand fingers will help you to achieve the independence of movement needed to play continuous rasgueados.

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