Rasgueado mastery part 4
Common rasgueado patterns
Don’t let anyone tell you there are only a few rasgueado patterns that traditional flamenco guitarists use. My guess is that people who say that sort of thing are probably confusing flamenco with the limited way Classical guitar players play rasgueados in Spanish sounding compositions. The truth is that the list below shows only the useful patterns. It is not a definitive list I found in a book and should not be considered right or correct or the best list of patterns. These are subjective terms that mean very little to me.
How did I come up with this list?
When I was training quietly at home there was no Internet to get information from. There were only the books and recordings that I could get hold of. Most books only mentioned the real basic ones which always included e a m i. This is not necessarily the best pattern to use in all circumstances but these books sort of made you believe it was because that’s all they mentioned. I found Juan Serrano’s technique books a breath of fresh air because he uses i e a m as his main 4 stroke pattern. This is easier to execute than e a m i and is especially useful when the last stroke ends on a downbeat that requires a golpe (tap). While neither if these are universally appropriate in all cases, they both have their uses.
Since I was keen to develop technique in a logical way without missing anything out, I wrote out every possible combination of finger strokes as a starting point. This came to about 250 patterns which included all fingers and the thumb. Of course the only upstrokes were the natural ones, namely the index finger and thumb, with and without a golpe. That’s just the way my mind works. I like mathematical progressions and I want to make sure I have left nothing out. I practiced all the patterns in my big list every day, even though most of them were totally impractical. This was purely to loosen up and develop the muscle strength. I knew I would never play some of them in actual pieces.
So in the end I trimmed the big list down to the 21 patterns you see below. These are the practical ones that are actually used in my real life flamenco playing.
Use these patterns in a daily warm up routine
Play each pattern maybe five or six times. Play one, stop for a couple of seconds and then progress to the next one. If your hands feel tense or start to hurt, you are not relaxing between strokes, or playing too fast