Mas Que Nada was written and originally recorded by Jorge Ben. It was later covered by Sergio Mendes in 1966 and has gained a popular status amongst the Latin repertoire. The title translates to “yeah right” or “No way”.
“Sabor a Mí” is a bolero written by Mexican composer and singer Álvaro Carrillo. This is generally regarded as a standard of the Latin repertoire and I have made a guitar arrangement here that features a romantic melody and Latin jazz chords. The original key is G major but I have moved it up to […]
A beautiful choro by Italian guitarist/composer Mario Gangi. Gangi was a respected Italian guitarist, composer and teacher. It has some challenging techniques including bar chords and arpeggios up the neck but the final result is quite magical. Interactive sheet music for members below:
This week’s lesson features a beautiful samba-canção by the celebrated Brasilian guitarist and songwriter Luiz Bonfa called Sambalamento.
This week’s lesson is Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Released in 1967 this is a lively Bossa Nova syncopated rhythm and some great Latin Jazz chords. This is an intermediate-level arrangement that combines the famous melody with the Bossa NOva accompaniment.
I have arranged Tom Jobim’s Chega De Saudade for this week’s lesson. In this arrangement, I have opted for a more arpeggio approach as there are long gaps between the melodic notes, you can also shape the chordal accompaniment with interesting dynamics to create compelling phrasing. I have put accents on the melodic notes so […]
This is a popular Latin piece by Marcos Valle often played as a Bossa Nova. I have made a solo arrangement featuring some extended chords and a melodic line that moves up the fretboard.
This is the fourth lesson in my series on Concerto Aranjuez, so far I have covered the opening of the Allegro and I also did a post on the first cadenza of the Adagio. I am now continuing the Allegro bars 61 to 200. This is the part where the guitar enters after the first […]
Besame Mucho is regarded as one of the most famous Latin songs. Written by Mexican songwriter and concert pianist Consuelo Velasquez, the melody was inspired by the start of a Granados piano piece. The song style is a Bolero which, unlike the Spanish Bolero, is a popular Latin song form that originated in Cuba. It […]
The Bolero is a popular Spanish dance of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. It originated from the folk dance the Seguidilla from Madrid and Andalusia. One of the palos (styles) of flamenco is derived directly from the dance, the Seguidillas Boleras. This piece moves from a dance feel to a more melodic feel, […]
This Brasilian dance is by Argentinian guitarist and composer Jorge Morel’s and his most famous piece. It has a fast and lively tempo with a samba feel, and there are also elements of choro found here. Let’s explore the first half of the piece including the technical and musical challenges.
In this lesson, we’ll look at how I created a solo over a circle of fifths chord progression. We’ll look at the chord tones and modes that I am using so that you can work out how to create your own solo improv ideas. Here’s the chord progression: Here’s the solo with a description above […]
Astor Piazzola was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger. His works revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. One of his most famous pieces is called Libertango which roughly translates to freedom tango. We’ll look at the first part main melody and […]
There are different ways to approach improvising and using a scale-based approach is very useful because it means you can practice scale patterns which you can then call upon when you are improvising. Learn the notes in C (natural notes) on the fretboard Following on from our previous lesson we will look at […]
In this video we will look at what the Latin jazz chords are in a major key. We will also look at how these chords are constructed and give a few examples of common jazz progressions. For this example, we’ll explore the chords in the key of C major. We derive the chords in a […]
We’re going to look at the start of Manha De Carneval and use chord tones to do get you thinking about improvising. Chord tones will give you a starting vocabulary of notes you case to improvise with. This lesson will help to famillarise you with where along the fretboard you can find certain chords […]
Água de Beber by Antônio Carlos Jobim This song was featured on the album The Composer of Desafinado, Plays released in 1963. The title means “Water to Drink”. Music written by Antônio Carlos Jobim and lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. The song was inspired by a walk that Jobim and Moraes were having in the governor’s house in Brasilia looking for somewhere […]
With many years of teaching and performing experience under my belt, I have found that there certain exercises that have improved my guitar technique the, most. In this video I’ll show you what these exercises are and why they are important. Pressure As you get more advanced your hands will become stronger, it takes time […]
In this lesson, we’ll look at the first half of Desafinado by Antonio Carlos Jobim (full version available for LGM Members below). The Bossa Nova pattern will be as follows with the bass note on beats 1 and 3. We start with F maj7 with the bass note on the 6th string, this is over […]
Our next lesson will involve practicing picado or rest stroke. Picado is used for melodic passages and scale work. It’s important that the right hand fingers are always walking or alternating. Keep practicing this walking as talked about in lesson 2. Here are some exercises and scales to practice your picado. We will put picado […]
Counting down my top 5 mistakes guitarists make. Note that these mistakes are not entirely just guitarist mistakes but are still very important things to try and improve on: 5. Right Hand Organisation I often see guitar students pay a lot of attention to their left hand but not enough to their right-hand work. It’s […]
Latin Guitar Scales you need for know (Great for improvising) Harmonic minor played over Am – E7 The A harmonic minor is a natural minor scale with a sharp 7th degree. This scale has a dark and moody feel and is characterized by a minor third interval which gives it a lot of tension. The […]
Sheet Music Download / Play-Along Track / Lesson Notes or
0:27 Right Hand Technique 3:27 Simple Right Hand Rhythm 4:38 Arpeggio 5:55 Left Hand Technique 6:37 Left Hand Exercise 1 7:20 Left Hand Exercise 2 8:02 LH Exercise 3 8:45 Synchronisation 10:40 Drills Video
Baden Powell was a leading Brasilian guitarist and composer. He wrote in many styles including Bossa Nova and Samba, Popular Brasilian and Latin Jazz. He toured internationally for many years especially Europe and collaborated with many well-known artists including Vinicius de Moraes, Billy Blanco and Paulo Cesar Pinheiro. Here is one of Baden Powell’s slower pieces, it […]
Lagrima is one of Francisco Tárrega’s best loved pieces. The title means ‘teardrop’ in Spanish and was written by Tarrega when he was living in London and feeling homesick. The piece is intermediate level because it uses a number of techniques including melody in a number of voices, arpeggio, and position changes. The form is […]
It’s important to learn and use the correct sitting and hand positions when playing guitar. Whether you are just starting or trying to improve your playing, it’s a good idea to revisit the basics periodically. Sitting There are a number of possible sitting positions which will work well. You can adopt the classical sitting position […]
The Concerto De Aranjuez is one of the most famous guitar Concertos ever written and the main theme from the Adagio movement is very well known. In this video, we will look at the first cadenza from the Adagio movement which features this famous melody. This piece was written by the composer Joaquin Rodrigo in […]
Inspiration is an instrumental piece written and performed by The Gipsy Kings on their self-titled album. It has a fast Rumba feel which is typical of their music. In this lesson, we will look at the opening chords and melodic passages played over these changes.
Here is the opening of Moorea by Gipsy Kings. We will look at the chord progression and then the chord riff that is played above that. The Gipsy Kings were a popular Latin group of the 90s (though they are still around today), they helped to popularise Latin guitar, combining flamenco and South American elements. […]
Mediterranean Sundance is an iconic Latin guitar piece written by Paco De Lucia and Al De Meola. It was a featured track Al De Meola’s album Elegant Gypsy. It was later reworked and released by The Guitar Trio which consisted of Al De Meola, Paco De Lucia and John McLaughlin on the live album Friday […]
A great arpeggio workout with some challenging bar work. Spanish guitar composer and virtuoso Francisco Tárrega wrote a number a studies for guitar. These, alongisde his more famous guitar compositions (Recuerdos De La Alhambra , Capriccio Arabe) form an important part of the Spanish Guitar canon. This study is quite straightforward in a musical sense […]
Tango is an intermediate classical guitar piece by Spanish guitar composer José Ferrer. This piece is in the form of a Spanish tango which features this main rhythm: It is in binary form (2 sections) with the A section the key of A minor and the B section in A major. There are also a […]
In this guitar tutorial, I will show you how to play the first part of Jorge Morel’s arrangement Misionera by Fernando Bustamente. Morel was an Argentinian guitarist who wrote and arranged for guitar.
Modes are types of scales, they include the major and natural minor scale but also include other more interesting scales which feature in Latin Jazz flamenco and Brasilian music as well. In this tutorial, we’ll look at modes on the guitar. I will try shed some light on this often confusing topic. I thought the […]
In this guitar tutorial, I’ll show you how to play this Alzapua passage in Entre Dos Aguas by Paco De Lucia. This is a descending pattern in E minor also known as the Andalusian Cadence starting with Em – D – C – B7. The melody is in the bass part and seeing […]
In this video tutorial, I will teach my arrangement of Cuban Dance which is a standard in the Latin Guitar Repertoire.
Here is the final part of my Corcovado arrangement. It is a bit more challenging than the previous section as we will be playing up the next more with position shifts and quick chord changes. It’s quite playable and with practice intermediate players should get this under fingers. Play Along Track or
In this next section we will look at the next 8 bars. The next four bars utilise bar chords Gm7 and C9 barring the 3rd fret and chords F#m7 and B7#5 barring on the second fret.
Corcovado, also know as Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars is a popular Brasilian Bossa Nova by Antonio Carlos Jobim. In this intermediate guitar arrangement I have changed the key from the original key of C and moved up one tone to D major to make use of more open strings. The feel is not […]
When it comes to guitar techniques on the guitar nothing beats the magic of the guitar tremolo. There are many guitar tremolo pieces in both the classical and flamenco styles but the most iconic tremolo piece is Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega. In this video I will show you how to practice and […]
I caught up with Milos recently to chat about his career and recordings. This interview is an excerpt of my longer form conversation with him about his recording of Concerto Aranjuez. The full interview is available here: https://guitarconversations.com/
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Today I want to share with you my arrangement of the popular Spanish/Flamenco piece Rumba Flamenca. The Rumba is a common flamenco dance form (Palo) characterised by the rhythm 3 – 3 – 2. A Rumba is traditionally played at a slow to medium pace but this arrangement is more dramatic at faster tempi. I […]
I’ve had a few comments about improvising over flamenco chords and in particular over the Spanish Cadence. The Spanish Cadence is a very common chord progression that occurs in Spanish music and flamenco which uses the chords IV – III – II – I. It is usually in a minor key and often occurs […]
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In this video we will be exploring what the chromatic scale is and how to practice it on the guitar. The chromatic scale is a 12 note scale that includes all the notes within the octave. This will include natural notes and accidentals. So for example, we can play the E chromatic scale starting […]
The Milonga is an Argentinian musical genre. It is similar to Tango but is generally played quite slowly and generally in 2/4 time. It originated in the Rio de la Plata areas of Argentina, Uruaguay, and Brasil. Milonga has a syncopated beat, consisting of 8 beats with accents on the 1st (sometimes also 2nd), 4th, 5th, […]
This flamenco piece was written by Paco Pena and appears on his 1987 album Azahara. It’s a Guajiras which is a flamenco form or Palos which is based on the Cuban Punto Guajira Cubana. Basically it’s a 12/8 rhythm which comes back to a rhythm that looks like this:
I will be posting a video tutorial on this piece soon, in the meanwhile here is a performance of this beautiful waltz I recorded over the weekend. It’s called Se Ela Perguntar by Dilermando Reis. Follow me @sergioguitarist to get my latest news!
Here’s a new piece I wrote called Rio! I will be releasing sheet music for this soon, available to members. Hope you enjoy! Follow me @sergioguitarist to get my latest news!
The Mixolydian mode is a useful scale mainly for playing over blues and dominant 7th chords. It is similar to a major scale but has a flattened 7th degree. Let’s look at an example, you can improvise over a C7 chord using a C Mixolydian scale. The chord tones in C7 are C […]
Latin Jazz includes jazz music that is written in a Jazz style. These pieces usually take the form of Bossa Novas, Sambas, Cha-Chas, Mambos, and more. Here are some common jazz chords found in Latin Jazz Guitar Pieces. Minor 7 This minor 7 chord is part of the Minor Chord Family (there are 5 chord […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
This week’s episode will feature a short introduction to Bulerias by Alejandro Florez who is an excellent flamenco guitarist (solquemia.com and senesflamenco.com).
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 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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Title: Black Orpheus (Manhã De Carnaval) Key : A minor Time : 4/4 Style: Bossa Composer: Luis Bonfa (1922-2001) was a celebrated Brasilian guitari st 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 Getz […]
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: […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 – […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Useful Bossa Nova Pattern Using the chord following chords, you can create a useful Bossa Nova Pattern: Am – AmM7 – Am7 – Am6 There is an internal line that 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 is a flamenco technique involving the thumb. the term comes from the word alzar which means to raise. It is usually played 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 […]
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 […]