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Flamenco Guitar Techniques: How to Play 16th Note Arpeggios

Learn how to play 16th note arpeggios in this flamenco guitar lesson video from Howcast.


Hi, I'm Dan Garcia and we're talking about arpeggios. The next arpeggio I'm going to show you is where we fit four notes into the beat. So it's a sixteenth note arpeggio. Okay, I'm going to start with a bass note. It's going to be our first note of the beat and the downbeat, and then we're going to fit three other notes with our annular, middle, and index finger. Annular is going to play first string, middle is going to play the second string, and index is going to play the third.

I'm playing in A Minor chord right up here on fifth position, A minor ninth to be precise. I have my first and second string open. Okay and here's the arpeggio, thumb, A-finger, middle finger and index finger, so I'm going to roll it, so one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four. Okay, this is very slow; up to speed. When you practice these arpeggios it's very important that your right hand stays in an open position all the time.

Meaning it's very common to lock your hand up this way after you play it. For example, your A finger. A finger's crucial for the arpeggio to roll. So we want to play our thumb and then we're going to play A-middle, and by the time I'm playing my middle finger, my A finger is already dropping out again, and getting into position to play the arpeggio again. So by the time I hit my thumb again, my A finger is just ready to go. Okay, and that's the trick to rolling the arpeggios.

A common mistake is to play your A finger and then just leave it hanging inside the palm of the hand; and then when you need it again it's got to travel twice as long, in a hurry to get back to the first string; and it usually doesn't get there in time. That's where we struggle with the arpeggio. Always keep in mind, do this very slow, thumb, A-- by the time I'm hitting my index finger, look at my A finger it's already up. Then I go very slow. I want to speed it up very slowly. Notice how my hand is always open while I do the arpeggio. That's what allows me to go as fast as I need to go. So have fun practicing your arpeggios.

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