Differences between a Classical and Flamenco Guitars

These are the main differences between a classical and a flamenco guitars: Type of Wood Classical guitars are built to have a wide tonal and dynamic range. This is because classical guitar music requires lots of tonal variation like sweet, warm tones or harsher bright tones and it often requires very quiet dynamic or very explosive […]

The Story of Classical Gas

Classical Gas is an iconic fingerstyle piece written and recorded by Mason Williams in 1968. It was originally called Classical Gasoline but due to a publishing error, it was shortened to Classical Gas. Interestingly Williams was not known as a musician, more so as a comedy writer for the show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour […]

LGM Podcast Ep 4: Tommy Emmanuel on Classical Guitar

Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of spending some time with legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel. In this interview, Tommy shares his love of classical guitar and some of the players that influenced him. Sergio: You have mentioned in other interviews that you took some interest in classical guitar in the past. […]

Zoom Settings For Online Guitar Lessons

I am doing lots of online guitar lessons along with many other guitarists at the moment. Zoom is an easy to use web conferencing software that has become an industry standard and seems to have surpassed Skype as the go-to online teaching software. It’s easy to use, all you need is a link from your […]

Gipsy Kings Greatest Hits

The Gipsy Kings are well-known music group who originated in the south of France, in particular in Aries which is home to a thriving Gipsy community. They popularised the Rumba Catalana which is a fast popular version similar to the flamenco rumba. The group consists of two bands of brothers: the Reyes (Nicolas, Canut, Pablo, Patchai […]

E Minor Pentatonic – Latin Blues Tutorial

Today I want to talk about improvising in a Latin Blues style. I’m going to be using the E minor pentatonic in various positions along the fretboard and showing you my approach to using the scale in my solos. We’ll also explore some extra notes and ideas you can use to help improve your solos […]

Fun with Pentatonics

The pentatonic scale is a versatile and easy scale to practice. It’s a great scale for learning how to improvise and compose as well and for ‘jamming’. What is the Pentatonic Scale It is a five-note scale (in Greek Pente=five and Tonic=note). Though there are a number of different five-note (pentatonic) scales we will focus […]

Silent Guitar

The silent guitar is a great practice companion. It is 80% quieter than a traditional guitar and very portable. They come in steel string and nylon string and include a variety of pick up options. Yamaha has added a digital imaging option which uses sampled guitar sounds to try and capture and recreate an authentic […]

4 Valses Venezolanos – Antonio Lauro

Here are 4 waltzes by Venezuelan guitarist/composer Antonio Lauro. They were edited by Alirio Diaz who was an internationally renowned classical guitarist and former student of Andres Segovia. Antonio Lauro is known for his skill in composing waltzes in a Venezuelan national style drawing form its folk traditions. His friend and champion Alirio Diaz brought […]

Mediterranean Sundance

This is an iconic guitar piece of the Latin guitar world. Three giants of the acoustic and nylon guitar come together to collaborate in a guitar trio. This piece was recorded on a live album and is featured in a number of YouTube videos (see below). The piece is an elaboration of Paco De Lucia’s […]

The 3 stages of plucking technique

It’s a good idea to regularly revisit the fundamentals of right-hand technique. I particularly like Scott Tenant’s approach the Rest and Free stroke and this video shows an excellent close up of this process. There are 3 stages: Place: this first contact with the string is very important. If you don’t have contact with the […]

Lamentos Do Morro

Lamentos Do Morro is one of Garoto’s most popular compositions. Garoto didn’t write down any of his music but this piece has been transcribed by many players most notably Paolo Bellinati. Raphael Rabello played a wonderful version which I love. It features a lot of flair and virtuosity typical of the more street style guitar […]

John Williams talks about the Guitar

If you’re looking for an introduction to classical guitar influencers of the 20th Century then these short clips will be a good start. Taken from the documentary The Story Of The Guitar, the interviewer asks John Williams about the classical guitar and Andres Segovia.

Bossa Nova Guitar Books

Here are some great Bossa Nova Guitar Books: Easy Steps to Bossa Nova Guitar Here is a preview of the book, you can scroll through pages to have a look: Bossa Nova Guitar Arrangements Here is a preview of the book, you can scroll through pages to have a look: Jazz Bossa Nova Guitar Here […]

Guitar Tips and Tricks

Practice the ending of the piece first, that way, in performance you are heading towards the part you know the best. when you slide to a particular fret, look at the fret you want to land on. Your finger will automatically stop at the right fret. To increase the volume of your bass notes, point […]

Technique = Habit

As a teacher and player, I am always looking at technique from different viewpoints. From one perspective it seems obvious that we should all be trying to improve our technique. Better technique means fewer mistakes, and an easier, more masterful performance. But improving technique is not as easy as it seems. In truth, our technique […]

Segovia Scales

This is an excellent collection of scales for development of technique. I play these most days. They contain all the major and melodic minor scales in either two or three octaves. It’s great training for getting around the fretboard.

Giuliani – Composer Profile and Sheet Music

Mauro Giuliani(1781-1829) was a leading guitar figure of the Classical period. He was a prolific composer and virtuoso guitarist and teacher. His music forms an important part of the classical guitar repertoire and his studies are an essential repertoire for students. Unfortunately, Andres Segovia, who helped revive interest in the classical guitar in the early […]

Must Have Guitar Technique Books

Pumping Nylon Scott Tenant, a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, shares effective and targeted drills to improve all aspects of your guitar technique. Scott studied guitar with the Spanish master Pepe Romero so many of these drills and techniques come from the Spanish guitar playing tradition. Scott is able to give a modern […]

The Chromatic Scale on the Guitar

The chromatic scale is a great scale to practice on guitar. In this article I will explore different ways to practice the chromatic scale and why it is good scale to practice. The chromatic scale is made up of every note on the guitar (or any instrument) as it moves along by semitone, in the […]

LGM Podcast Ep 2: Solea

Welcome back to the LGM podcast! Today we’ll chat with Adam Del Monte about the Solea. I will also be updating you on my latest offerings on the blog and YouTube channel. Adam: The Solea is a very fundamental form that informs many other styles. Both technique and rhythmic understanding and the way of the […]

LGM Podcast Ep 1: Choro

Welcome to the first episode of the Latin Guitar Mastery Podcast. This podcast will feature short episodes on Latin Guitar styles, techniques, players and more. I had a chat with guitarist Doug De Vries about what Brasilian choro music is. Here’s an excerpt from our interview: Doug: Choro is a bit like jazz, it’s all-encompassing. […]

The 4 Times Rule of Practice

To create more focus and mimic some of the pressure you will feel when performing I suggest trying the 4-Times Rule. It’s a simple process: 1. repeat the passage 4 times without making a mistake 2. If you make a mistake, restart the process 3. If you get stumped and can’t get 4 times in […]

Spain Guitar Version (Chick Corea)

   Spain is a Jazz Latin piece written by Chick Corea inspired by the second movement Rodrigo’s Concerto Concerto De Aranjuez. It features a syncopated melody that is played in unison and also includes a flamenco-inspired circle of fifths: the chord progress Gmaj7 – F#7 (b9) – Em – A7 (b9) – Dmaj7- Gmaj7 […]

Reading Practice Top 3 Strings

Here are some practice patterns for the first three strings in the first position.  Many guitarists are not great readers. The guitar is an instrument you can learn by ear and through playing with others, reading music generally happens when you have formal guitar lessons or classical guitar lessons. So why work on your reading? Well, […]

Interview with Adam Del Monte

I recently did an interview with Adam Del Monte. Adam is a grammy award-winning flamenco and classical guitarist. He teaches at USC Thornton School of Music and alongside his busy touring schedule has written a flamenco guitar concerto, collaborated with artists such as the LA Guitar Quartet and written and recorded for numerous films. In […]

Rumba Nova Part 1

This is the first part of a Rumba that I wrote recently and perform often. It is in the Rumba style which is a flamenco form of medium to slow pace characterized by a 3 – 3 – 2 pattern. This pattern is strummed in a certain way to bring out the accents on beats […]

Malaguena Basics

Title: Malagueña Key : Am (E Phrygian Mode) Time : 3/4 Style: Flamenco Dance/Folk The Malagueña is a spanish folk song that originated in the town on Malaga. It was derived from the Fandango and grew to become a popular flamenco dance of the 19th Century. Cuban composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona also popularized this […]

Besame Mucho

 Title: Besame Mucho Key : D minor Time : 4/4 Style: Bossa Nova Composer: Consuelo Velazquez Notes Originally written as a Bolero, this piece is one of the most famous Mexican songs. I have arranged it here as a Bossa. Two sections – Binary form Melody and Bossa Nova accompaniment. Chromatic chords and triplet […]

Milonga by Juan Buscaglia

This piece is called Recuerdos De Mi Pago (Memories of my home town).  It was composed by Juan Buscaglia who was an Argentinian guitarist/singer/composer. It is in the style of Milonga which is a slow Tango. The piece is at an intermediate level with some playing in higher positions, octave scales and arpeggiated chords in […]

Black Orpheus Part 2

Title: Black Orpheus (Manhã De Carnaval) Key : A minor Time : 4/4 Style: Bossa Composer: Luis Bonfa (1922-2001) was a celebrated Brasilian guitarist famous for this particular song Manha De Carnaval which was featured in the production of Orfeu da Conceição also known as Black Orpheus. Bonfa worked alongside the likes of Jobim, Stan […]

One Note Samba

 One Note Samba is a famous Bossa Nova by Antonio Carlos Jobim.  The pattern requires you to keep the 1st string open for the first section, while the bass (played on beats 1 and 3) is moving down chromatically.  The chords are: Cm7 – C7 – Bm7 – Bflat 7 (flat 5) Followed by: […]

Spanish Ballad Guitar Lesson

 This is an iconic and popular guitar pice that uses 4 main techniques: Position Changes Bass plus Treble notes arpeggio style accompaniment Barre Chords In this video, I’ll take you through each element of technique and give you suggestions on how to practice this piece.    

New Podcast Show

 Chrystian Dozza is a Brasilian guitarist/composer living in Sao Paolo.I saw Chrystian last year at the Adelaide Guitar Festival and also attended his guitar workshops. He has an infectious appetite for music having performed around the world and written a solid body of work and is developing a strong a devoted following. In our […]

Rumba De La Noche

This is a simple Rumba in E minor suitable for intermediate players. It features an arpeggio style accompaniment alternating with melodic passages. The final strumming can be used to solo over by a second guitar.

Libertango by Piazzola with NZSO

Astor Piazzola is one of Argentina’s most iconic Tango composers. He was a virtuoso Bandoneon player and arranger. Many guitarists play Piazzola’s music which has mostly been arranged for guitar. Some of his most famous works include Libertango, his Four Seasons, Oblivion and History of Tango. I was asked last year to perform at a […]

Essential Daily Guitar Drills

 This is a great way to start your practice or lesson. These are simple exercises which allow you to concentrate on what your hands and fingers are doing. The first two exercises focus on right hand walking, then left hand position and synchronisation. The finger ladder will help you develop strength and independence in […]

How to play Concerto De Aranjuez Part 2

 Today I’m going to do a follow up video of Concerto De Aranjuez, the previous video was on the rasguedo opening passages. This is the following 8 bars. Let’s discover it together. The end of the introduction, which includes some thumb work and scale work. I’m going to use my thumb to play the […]

Pensiero – Bossa Nova Original in A minor

 This is part one of my new Bossa Nova guitar piece called Pensiero. It has some embellished Jazz chords and effective voice leading while still being at an intermediate level. Harmonically we move through the circle of fifths:  Am – Dm 11 – G 11 -Cmaj 9 – E7+ – F7 – E7 – […]

Gipsy Kings Style Picking Pattern

  This is a new piece I’m working on called Mano a Mano. Here is the opening section which has a Gipsy Kings feel. This opening section features arpeggio style chords in C sharp minor. I’m utilizing the open E and B  strings to get a nice Spanish dissonance and I have also added […]

Black Orpheus Guitar Arrangement

  Here is my arrangement of Luis Bonfa’s classic bossa nova hit. It was also performed on a film called Orfeo Negro and was originally called. Maha De Carneval.

New Beginner Course

 Here are the lessons covered in this introductory course: Sitting and Hand Positions Guitar Notation Basics The Rest Stroke Rest Stroke Exercises Parts of the Guitar Rhythm Exercises Overview of First Three Strings E, F, and G Exercises B, C and D The B to G Scale Summer Bossa Fuego This is a free […]

Rumba Picking Pattern in A minor

Rumba’s can be strummed or plucked. It can be played as an arpeggio style pattern with the bass taking precedence and the chord tones filling in the rest of the beats. In this Example we have the chords Am and E with the 3-3-2 pattern being played in the bass part. Start off slowly and […]

Alirio Diaz – Campanas Del Alba

Alirio Díaz (1923 – 2016) was one of the most prominent  Venezuelan composer-guitarists of his country. He studied with Andres Segovia and had international success as a soloist. I had the privilege to study with Alirio Diaz in 2003 in Brisighella. We spent two weeks taking masterclasses from the old master during the day and […]

Useful Bossa Nova Pattern

Useful Bossa Nova Pattern  Using the chord following chords, you can create auseful Bossa Nova Pattern: Am – AmM7 – Am7 – Am6 There is an internal line which is descending chromatically. Follow the video to learn the finger and right hand pattern. Some examples of this pattern in pieces include: Besame Mucho Girl From […]

Entre Dos Aguas

  This piece, written by Paco De Lucia, was written in 1973 and is featured on is album Fuente y caudal. As told by his sister on the documentary Light and Shade Paco improvised this piece as a filler for the album. Ironically it was a runaway hit and helped Paco break in to the […]

Rumba Strumming

    Rumba Strumming is a very useful tool for performing flamenco music. This video will take you through the Rumba technique as used by Paco De Lucia and Gipsy Kings (and many others). The chord progression we are using is Am – G -F – E . We start with a thumb down and […]

How to Eliminate buzzes and wrong notes

The Four Times rule is something you can use to improve the quality of your practice and eliminate small and annoying mistakes that can creep into your playing. Sometimes mistakes do happen when practicing or performing and thats ok but we can definitely minimise them through methods like this one. One often finds that under performance […]

Paco De Lucia on English TV 1976

Here is an example of incredible guitar skill and mastery. The great Paco De Lucia performing on Parkinson in the UK. The piece is Almoraima which is a Buleria. Amazing rhythmic control and depth.

Alzapua

Alzapua is a flamenco technique involving the thumb. the term comes from the word alzar which means to raise. It is usually payed as a fast flourish of notes in quick sequence. The thumb plays all notes using down and up strokes. Played accurately and fast it can sound fantastic as a high point of a falseta or […]

Five Famous themes by Tarrega

Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) was a Spanish guitarist composer who lived in the latter part of the 19th Century. He composed some of the best known pieces for the Spanish guitar. Born in Castellon, Tarrega took lessons in guitar and piano as a boy. He studied composition at Madrid Conservatory and by his Twenties was performing […]

Circle of Fifths

What is the circle of fifths chord progression? Well, chords and tonalities have various relationships to each other. For example, the chords C, F, and G7 are all part of the key of C. They form the chords I, IV and V7. Put another way, they are the first, fourth and fifth chords in that […]

8 Ways to handle performance nerves (for guitarists)

Performance nerves can be a real issue for guitarists, especially because of the nature of how we create sound on the guitar. Nerves can manifest themselves as shaking of the hands, sweating, memory slips, loss of focus and more. There things can amount to technical breakdown, buzzing, wrong notes, and many more unwanted effects. There […]

G Lydian Mode : Authentic Flamenco Scale

Today I’m going to shaw with you an authentic flamenco scale. Its also used a lot in jazz as well. Its the Lydian mode. A lot of guitarists have confusion about what modes are, it took me a long time to get my head around how to use them. The best thing you can do […]

Major 7th Arpeggios in E

This is a good warm-up arpeggio technique you can add to your daily practice. As part of my guitar warm-up, I practice a 2-octave major 7th arpeggio. Let’s try G major 7, this includes the following notes: G – B – D – F# then next octave G – B – D – F# – […]

Rumba Strumming 101 – Play Like the Gipsy Kings

Here’s my first video blog; Rumba Strumming is a flamenco technique. It has been used a lot by artists like the Gipsy Kings and Ottmar Liebert. Its an excellent technique to learn especially if you want to play with other guitarists. Rumba Strumming – Full Score

4 Bossa Nova Exercises

Here are 4 Bossa Nova exercises, each exercise uses the same 2 chords : Am6 and Am7 with voicing on strings 2 to 4. Its a good idea to practice with a metronome at a comfortable tempo. Note that the bass part is always on beats 1 and 3, while the chords vary between begin […]

Andres Segovia at Los Olivos

Here is an excellent documentary about Andres Segovia and his life. Filmed in 1968 when Segovia was 75, the documentary features interviews with the Maestro and a number of performances. Segovia plays beautifully and has an amazing tone, there is a nice quality to this film. This is an informative and inspiring video about Segovia. […]

Sharon Isbin’s : Classical Guitar Vibrato Technique

Here’s a video I came across in which Sharon Isbin talks about how she uses and applies vibrato. Vibrato is given to a note by applying and relaxing pressure to a string in a lateral direction. Lateral direction along the line of the string. The pressure towards the bridge with the hand motion coming towards […]

Brasilian Guitar Arrangements by Milos

Here are a couple of nice guitar arrangements of the popular Brasilian Bossa Novas: Girl From Ipanema and Mas Que Nada performed by Milos. Milos has exploded onto the classical guitar scene in recent years helped by heavy promotion by  Deutsch Gramophone. Much of the music he plays is Spanish and South American and his […]

Left Hand Thumb position

Many players are taught to keep their left hand thumb in a fairly stationary position behind the neck of the guitar whilst playing. In some ways it makes sense that in order to stay in position you need to have a reference point which is usually the thumb. The reference point refers to the lateral […]

Concerto De Aranjuez – Intro

Rodrigo’s Concerto De Aranjuez is an very well known spanish guitar work, though it’s the Adagio theme which people are most familiar with. Today we are going to be looking at the into to the first movement. The concerto starts with a series of rasguedo chords which are played in a 6/8 and 3/4 time […]

Major 7th Chords

Here are the main major chord shapes you can play on the guitar: Root 6 (Tonic on the 6th String) Root 5 (Tonic on the 5th String) Root 4 (Tonic on the 4th String) There are other major type chords with can often also be used like 6, maj 9, 6/9 etc depending on the […]

Segovia Guitar Scales: Gmajor and E Harmonic Minor

Here is the next instalment of the Segovia Guitar Scales, G major and E Harmonic Minor (3 Octaves). There are many ways to practice these scales, I would recommend a variety of Right Hand fingerings. Here are some suggestions: im, mi, am, ma, ia,ai, ip, pi, imam Rest Stroke or Free Stroke  

Matteo Carcassi (1792-1853)

Matteo Carcassi Summary Born in Florence, and lived in Paris, and Germany. Virtuoso guitarist and composer. toured Europe extensively Friend Meissonnier published many of his works. Wrote an important method The Carcassi Method Op 59 (Paris 1836) Op 60 : 25 studies are popular classical etudes. Contemporary of Carulli, Sor and Giuliani.

Batucada by Savio

Batucada has been around for some years now having been written by the great Brasilian teacher/guitarist Isaias Savio. I first heard the piece at a Milos concert last year. Here is a great version by Brassilian born guitarist Carlos Barbarosa Lima. A Batucada is a Brasilian dance often played in a group and forms part […]

Girl From Ipanema : Bossa Nova Chart and Info

The music Girl from Ipanema (also known as Garota De Ipanema) was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1962. This song became an international hit by the mid-1960s after it was recorded by Stan Getz with Joao Gilberto on guitar and his wife Astrud on vocals.    

Soleares

The Soleares is one of the fundamental flamenco forms. Here are some basic facts about about the Solea or Soleares: Compas 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 (accent on bold numbers) Originated in the mid 1800s Share the same compas as Allegris and Buleria Use the Phrygian Mode  in E major […]

Right Hand Classical Guitar Technique

I spend a lot of time explaining my take on correct right hand classical guitar technique. In truth there is no one correct way but here we can go over the basic ideas. I will also show some examples of different players’ right hands and what I like about them. 1. The arm sits on […]

Basic Guide To Learning New Guitar Music

It’s as important to think about how to practice is what to practice. You will become efficient at learning new guitar music if you follow a simple and effective process. I have outlined below the one I use with many of my guitar students. Be sure to have a metronome with you and give yourself […]

How To Hold A Classical Guitar

 We’re going to talk about how to hold a classical guitar, I prefer to use a footstool though sometimes you can get a device that will help you hold the guitar in a certain way, the main thing is that you should get the neck of the guitar reasonably high. this will assist your […]

Top 6 Guitar Practice Tips

Here’s my ultimate guitar practice breakdown. These are the things you should cover when you practice. I have also included a rough percentage of time that you should spend on them. I find that it’s easy to get into bad habits when practising. These can include overplaying, poor technique, practising too fast, and avoiding some […]