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Flamenco Guitar Techniques: Thumb Technique (Pulgar)

Learn the flamenco guitar thumb technique in this beginner guitar lesson video from Howcast.


Hi, my name is Dan Garcia. Welcome to flamenco guitar. The technique I'm going to explain right now is called pulgar technique. Pulgar in Spanish means thumb and this is the technique we use in flamenco guitar to play notes with our thumb on the right hand. On flamenco guitar we always or almost always use a technique called rest stroke as opposed to free stroke.

Rest stroke means we strike the string with out thumb and we rest on the string below. Free stroke means we play the string down and out. Okay, this is more of a classical guitar technique of free stroke, but in flamenco we almost always use the rest stroke. And not only a rest stroke, but a pretty aggressive rest stroke. We always need the help from the wrist. We want to get as much sound as we can from our thumb, so therefore we're going to need a little help from our wrist.

So this kind of movement is going to be very common for a lot of other techniques, as well. A good way to get our wrist to help and not our arm; this is kind of a big no-no; we don't want to use our entire arm to push our thumb down. We want to use our wrist. Okay, so we want to keep our index finger almost touching the first string of the guitar. This way when we play our thumb we're not going to use this technique. We avoid this kind of movement.

So our index stays there and notice my wrist is going kind of in this direction. This is the kind of movement we want to produce. So as you can see it's a very-- you have to dig your thumb very deep in there to get as much sound as you can. So have fun practicing your pulgar.

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