Flamenco Latin

Learn how to play like Rodrigo Y Gabriela!

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Ultimate Guitar
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Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Ever heard of Rodrigo Y Gabriela? It's more than likely that only a few of you have. If you're one of those few, give yourself a pat on the back and grab your acoustic. If not, go look them up and listen to their music, it's amazing. This duo uses a mix of flamenco and rock-styled music along with some world influences and great guitar percussion to make their music. Here's a quick little exercise to get started with. For some of you, it will be fairly easy, but for others, it'll take some time to develop. This is just a little jam in C Major/A minor that you can do some nice solo work over. Tuning is Standard.

  O     X   O     X     O     X   O     X   
|---5-5---5---3-3---3-|---1-1---1---0-0---0----|
|---5-5---5---3-3---3-|---1-1---1---0-0---0----|
|---5-5---5---4-4---4-|---2-2---2---0-0---0----|
|---7-7---7---5-5---5-|---3-3---3---2-2---2----|
|---7-7---7---5-5---5-|---3-3---3---2-2---2----|
|---5-5---5---3-3---3-|---1-1---1---0-0---0----|
Notice the O's and X's. The O's symbolize a bass percussion sound, while the X's represent a sound like that of a snare. The best way to make these sounds, in my opinion, is: for the bass sound, make a fist with your hand and use the bottom of your fist to hit (softly) your guitar with. I find that just under the saddle words best for this sound. For the snare sound, I just slap the guitar around the area of the pickguard (or where the pickguard would be if yours doesn't have one). Just make sure that when you use the guitar for percussive sounds like this that you don't strike it too hard. You'll just damage your guitar that way.

For soloing over this progression, here's some scales that sound nice over it:
A minor (natural or harmonic)
B Locrian
C Major
D Dorian
E Phrygian
F Bebop Major (1,2,3,4,5,#5,6,7)
G Bebop Major (same formula as F Bebop)
You can also use F Lydian and G Mixolydian, but the Bepop scales sound a bit more fitting to me. If you don't know about scales, visit this site. Here's a lick Foc, one of my favorites by them. To make it easier, I've broken it into segments:

Segment A

|-----7--------------------5---------|
|---8---10---8---7------5----8-7-5---|
|-9------------------5-(5)-----------|
|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|
Segment B
|-----7-------------------------------|
|---7---10---8---7----------7-8-10----|
|-8---------------------7-9--------8--|
|--------------------10---------------|
|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|
Segment C
|--------------------------7--------|
|----------7-8-7-------7-8---10-8-7-|
|------8-9-------9-8-9--------------|
|-9-10------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
Segment D
|-8-7------------------------------------|---------|
|-----10-8-7-(7)-----7h8p7---------------|---------|
|-------------9--8-9-------9-8-----------|---------|
|------------------------------10-9------|---------|
|-----------------------------------10-9-|-7-------|
|----------------------------------------|---------|
The order of the segments in the song is this:
A B A C A B A D
That's the main theme of the song. After this section is a solo:

|---------------------------------5-|-5s7-----------------------7--|
|---------------------4-5-7-5-7-8---|-------------------------8----|
|-------4h5p4---4-5-7---------------|-----------------------9------|
|---5-7-------7---------------------|------------------------------|
|-7---------------------------------|------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|------------------------------|

|-8-7h8p7-------------------------7-|-10-8---7h8p7----7---------7-7-7-|
|---------10-10s12-10-----------7---|--------------10-----------------|
|-----------------------------8-----|---------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|---------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|---------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|---------------------------------|

|-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
|-------5-7-8-7-5h7p5-4-5h7-7p5-5p4-|-4---------------------------------|
|---5-7-----------------------------|---5-5p4-4---4-5-4h5p4-------------|
|-7---------------------------------|-----------7-----------------------|
|-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------4-5-7--5---7-7--8--7-8-|
|------------4-5---7--5-7-7--------------------------|
|-4-5-7----7-----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------|

|----------------------------7-7-7--|
|-10-8-7-------7h8p7----------------|
|--------9-8-9----------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|

|-7h8p7---------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
|-------10-10---8-8-8-8s10--7-7---5-5-5-|-7-5-4-5-7-5-4---------------------|
|---------------------------------------|---------------5-4h5p4-------------|
|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------|

|-------14-12-11h12p11-------------------------------|
|----13----------------13-12-11-12-13-12-11----------|
|-11----------------------------------------12-11-10-|
|----------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------|

|------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------|
|-11-12-11-10------------------------------|
|-------------10-9-8-9-10-9-8--------------|
|-----------------------------10-9-8-9-10--|
|------------------------------------------|

|-------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------|
|-----------------8-9-11-9-8h9p==8----------|
|----------7-9-10---------------------------|
|-(10)--------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------|

|--------------------------------------------------------7---------||
|--------------4---5---7----5-7-7-7----8---10----8-10-10-----------||
|-4-5-7----7-------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------------------------------------------------------||
And that's the end of the first solo. If you've never heard "Foc", go download it or buy one of their CDs. Or you can look up this powertab here.

Another technique that Rodrigo Y Gabriela uses is pure percussive guitar. Listen to the beginning of "Satori" and you'll hear this. Keep in mind that if you're not a drummer (I am, so a lot of this came easily to me), a lot of the percussive stuff will take a while to develop. Our lead guitarist is one of the best guitarists I've ever heard, and he has a very hard time with the rhythms that Gabriela plays. If you want to learn to use this kind of technique and you're not a drummer, go to vicfirth.com and go to the student section under "Education". Look up the rudiments Flam and Flam Accent. Other than that, get used to using note patterns of 3's and 6's.

Also, if you have the time, look up the powertab for "Tamacun". It's got some good solos in it, and it'll keep you busy for at least a few hours (if not a few weeks).

Unfortunately, that's the end of this quick lesson. If I get a good response, I'll do some more on flamenco/Latin guitar. Personally, learning these styles are a good way to improve your playing drastically (so is metal, but a lot of people aren't that fond of it). Hope you enjoyed this and I certainly hope that it helps your playing. Til next time.

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ultius
    GoldenGuitar wrote: Good lesson, flamenco isn't so much a style it's more dancing, singing and a rhythmic guitar.
    You're thinking of the typical Andalusian folk performance that you might see in a commercial for a rural Argentinian travel destination. While you are correct in that Flamenco is the name given to the overall performance that is created through these styles of Latin folk singing, guitar, and dance, Flamenco is the name given to three distinctive styles of dance, song, and guitar playing, respectively. Each can be performed independent of the other, though they are often performed together because of the way that each part is structured to fit the other parts. In short, Flamenco dance does not need to be performed to Flamenco guitar, Flamenco singing does not need to be sung to Flamenco guitar, etc., etc. Each is a different genre of art in its own respect. Also, although the style of guitar played to accompany flamenco dance or song can be rhythmic, flamenco guitar is characterized by its very vocal, flowing personality. Make sure you do your research, kiddies.
    Lotsagrapes
    I am proud to say I gave myself a pat on the back at the beggining of this lesson. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
    Life Is Brutal
    Dregen wrote: Would have loved to see some rasgueado stuff in here, like triplets and whatnot. Good lesson.
    This Wasn't a True technique lesson to the Genre, it was just giving you a Feel of it... Could use some Picado and rasgueado lessons, with some actual Right hand excersises and such...
    chaosxero3
    I didn't know what style this was called exactly, but i knew i loved the sound of it more so than any other style. Thank you so very much for: #1 identifying this style. #2 showing me a excellent flamenco guitarist. #3 putting forth effort to teach curious peeps like my self.
    rokthisway
    another band that is unknown that plays excellent flamenco is called seis cuerdas and a song called la posada on youtube the screenshot is of a classical neck with the hand blurred on there (thats how fast they are) this isnt spam i am simply informing ppl of this great duo!
    IndieMetal
    Hey I was wondering if I learned to play like this would I eventually learn to play paco de lucia and tabs and I was also wonder if they sweep pick with their fingers let me know if you know thanks ; p
    crazytjeuh
    i g ot interested in this when i saw two great flamenco players on tv like two days ago! Too bad i can't remember them but the guy who was playing the lead could play as fast as hell with only 2 fingers on 1 string!
    blackace212
    thankyou so much...it is so hard to find anything good in flamenco or free should i say...thankyou so much for putting the time into this...if you could do another study on Ropdrigo Y Gabriela or some more flamenco of anysorts it would be soo apreciated.... thanks again
    Mr.Tea
    Sweet, flamenco is such a hard style to learn. This is pretty good.
    DeadH34d
    I saw them front row at Bonnaroo '08. They are amazing live. Rodrigo got up and left for a while near the end though, and Gabriella just kept playing and looking around like, "Where the **** did he go?!"
    gonick1220
    You are one new lesson short of God. I've been trying to look for tabs for Foc for weeks on end. Also, thank you for the links and whatnot. I do agree you should have added rasguedo and the way Rodrigo does his solos as well, which is very interesting to hear and watch. I would say it's just sweeping, but there's something else I can't put my finger on. I am looking foward to another lesson from you.
    SilverSpurs616
    I came looking for some flamenco after seeing Once Upon a Time in Mexico, this was a good start! thanks
    buckeyeshredder
    Rodrigo y Gabriela are pretty sweet. If you like them you should give Strunz and Farah a try too. Keep the flamenco lessons coming as it is hard to find a teacher or anything for this kind of style.
    GoldenGuitar
    Good lesson, flamenco isn't so much a style it's more dancing, singing a rhythmic guitar.
    GoldenGuitar
    Good lesson, flamenco isn't so much a style it's more dancing, singing and a rhythmic guitar.
    evolucian
    Oh, there's no rasguedo described here. Why not? To play like the two suggested or more like Gabriella, her technique would have been, or should have been, dissected. But yeah, nice for the rest though. A short note would be that within flamenco guitar you also have many styles within it.
    miniPhil
    Sweet lession. I love flamence as well as Rodrigo y Gabriela. Please do more.
    srvkicks@$$
    i play blues but im trying to learn classical stuff and i really hate on how every lesson here has to do with either the blues (which rules) or some kind of metal or numetal or heavy metal, or glam metal, or death metal, or thrash metal, or classic metal its pathetic there are like 20 somthin metal lessons that all have about the same thing, a few metallica or pantera riffs, a few licks they made up, and a few scales that are good for making your own licks wheres the diversity ppl
    Dregen
    Would have loved to see some rasgueado stuff in here, like triplets and whatnot. Good lesson.
    zorbozate
    you really did an exellent job on that i,ve played what you have taken the time to score ,and thank you!!
    NJBadam
    gracias man, ive been trying to figure out flamenco music for weeks
    BeenaSon777
    Dude, this is lesson is a 10 just for that link, major props to brokenanthem.Sweet about the flamenco as well.
    mikecollins52
    Loved this lesson. Please keep more of them coming. It's a nice change of pace to what we normally see on UG, and pays respect to a great style of music. Thanks.