Ask Marcelo...

Q: What type of guitar do you use for flamenco style playing?

By Jeffrey M Friend

A:

In the beginning, flamenco guitarists played whatever they could find and afford!. Usually, non expensive instruments that had a more percussive sound (less sustain) and were made with cheaper woods and thinner tops than their “Classical” counterpart. If you’re a beginner you can start with any Spanish/Nylon string guitar. It is important that the action (distance between the strings and the fretboard) is low to get a percussive sound. When the guitar became a lead instrument, a new variation was born called “Flamenco Negra” (Black Flamenco). This guitars are a hybrid between Flamenco and Classical guitar and were made very popular by Paco de Lucía. My CD “Azulejos” was recorded with a “Esteve Flamenco negra” guitar. This days you can get very inexpensive Spanish guitars that can be used for Flamenco. I’ll be happy to help you find one if you’d like.

 

Q: Finally I decided on no longer avoiding to learn scales and some theory A friend gave me a backing track using Cmaj7 and Fmaj7. I can use chord tones to improvise – but which scales can I use for each chord? Is there any rule or do I just have to try what sounds good?- If you do not have the time to answer right now I will ask again in an online session on jamplay. Thanks and regards, Stephan

By Stephan Meinl

A:

To fully understand how the system works I recommend studying some basic Theory. Than means basically having an understanding of: Notes, sharps, flats, Major tonality, intervals and finally the 7 chords that form the family of a Major tonality. In this particular case, you have CMaj7 and FMaj7. This two chords correspond to the I (first) and IV (fourth) grade of the C Major Tonality (AKA Ionian mode). To improvise over this chord progression you’ll use the C Natural Major scale. C D E F G A B. No sharps, no flats. Having an understanding of the chord tones of both chords will help you as well (and you already seem to have that). Notice that the chord tones themselves are all part of the scale. CMaj7= C E G B and FMaj7= F A C E. The only note of the scale that is not there is “D” and that note can be considered an extension of both chords. The 9th of the CMaj7 and the 6th (or 13) of FMaj7.

 

Q: Hi Marcelo, I learned the phrygian scale as A Bb C# D E F G. Now I saw a phrygian scale in a book consisting of A Bb C D E F G. Which is the “right” one? Do other scales also exist in different variations?

By Stephan Meinl

A:

A Phrygian (A Bb C D E F G) is the 3rd mode of F Major ( F G A Bb C D E)

A Phrygian Dominant (or Phrygian Major) is a mode derivative of the Harmonic minor scale. This scale contains the notes A Bb C# D E F G and it is the 5th mode of D harmonic minor scale (D E F G A Bb C#).

This creates a lot of confusion when people first study this mode. In Flamenco (and other styles that absorbed its influence) it is very common that in the same musical piece, or even within the same musical phrase, both, Phrygian (relative to Major) and Phrygian Dominant (relative to Harmonic minor) are combined.

To get a clear understanding of this and be able to visualize it on the guitar neck, I recommend learning scales in this order: 1) Major . 2) Natural minor (Aeolian).

3) Harmonic minor 4) Phrygian 5) Phrygian Dominant

Q: I would like to see if it is possible to coordinate Skype lessons. I live in California.

By Guillermo Bazan

A:

Sure! To book a lesson just follow the instructions on my lesson page

Q: just i need to learn guitar because i appreciate your guitar technic, how to register in institute musical? i live now in egypt. thanks.

By Adam

A:

Just follow the instructions on my lesson page

Lessons

Q: Hi, Maetro! Coud you please tell me how to play the tempo of rumba gitana using the pick? I thank you so much, waiting for an answer. Greetings from Rome, Italy

By damiano siani

A:

I’ll be happy to show you in one of my live sessions on Jamplay. There’s a free code on my lesson page

Lessons