The flamenco thumb is the most important digit to control. Some players (though rather limited players) limit nearly all their playing to rasgueado and thumb. One such is the marvelous Antonio de Rosa. You will need to learn to play on one string, and this is addressed in the “alzapÃºa” section, as well as crossing the strings in an up and down direction.
When using your thumb bear the following things in mind-
- Play apoyando (unless you are playing some types of arpeggios or tremolo).
- Play into the guitar, allowing the string to ride from the fleshy side of your thumb over the nail.
- It is possible to achieve a more brilliant tone by using your nail in a more perpendicular position. However, this may increase the movement you need to get to the next note, so bear this in mind.
- Practise slowly and deliberately – speed comes of its own accord.
Alternating index and thumb
One very important flamenco technique is to alternate the thumb with the index finger. Here are two exercises to practise this technique that can be quite impressive as it sounds like you are playing many more notes than you really are.
Here is a sample: