Flamenco Guitar Techniques: How to Practice Rasgueos

Learn how to practice rasgueos in this flamenco guitar lesson video from Howcast.


I am Dan Garcia. I'm going to show you how to practice, and how to fit these rasqueos in time. We learned 3 or 4 different kinds of rasqueos, and each one is used in a specific way, especially at the beginning. Once you master your rasqueos, you can fit them in any way you like. For now, we're going to see how we can fit these in time, because this is a very precise measured technique.

I have a metronome here that's going to help us keep the beat, so you can see perfectly how these fit in. Our index is going to play the beat, which we're going to call the quarter note right now. I'm just going to follow the beat with my index, downward. Then I'm going to play the 1/8 note, which is dividing the beat in half, with my index coming back in the other direction.

The next rasqueo we learned was our 2-finger rasqueo, which plays 3 strikes on the strings. Now we're going to use . . . to fit this in the beat, we need to play triplets, which is 3 notes per beat. Before you try to play it, it's important that you try to sing it and fit it in time. That's our beat. We're going to go 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, triplet, triplet, triplet, triplet. Tri-pl-et, tri-pl-et; like this. That's our 2-finger rasqueo, with the index coming back.

Our 3-finger rasqueo is going to play 1/16 notes, that means 4 notes per beat. First note is going to be a finger, any other finger, second note is going to be the middle, then the next 2 notes are going to be index coming down, and index coming up, so 1-2-3-4. Before we try to play it, it's always good idea to sing it, so, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

In our last rasqueo, it's going to be our 4-finger rasqueo with the pinky and our index coming back. Now we have to fit 5 notes in the beat. 1-2-3-4-5; we call this a quintuplet. It's not easy as the finger to fit in the beat. Something a percussionist showed me once is to fit a 5-syllable word inside the beat before we play it. 5-syllable word is hippopotamus. We got to try to say hippopotamus and fit it in a beat. It would hippopotamus-hippopotamus-hippopotamus-hippopotamus, hi-ppo-pot-a-mus; 1-2-3-4-5. Let's try it.

Another subdivision we can once you start getting good at rasqueo is our sextuplet. What we do is take our triplet rasqueo, which is out 2-finger rasqueo, and just double the time. To fix 6 notes in the beat now, 1-2-3-4-5-6, 1-2-3-4-5-6, da-da-da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da-da. Let's try it.

I suggest you practice your rasqueo always with a metronome very slow, and then gradually start speeding up. Have fun.

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