Lessons and info for the nylon string guitarist

Rasgueado mastery part 1

Rasgueado mastery part 1

Things you need to know
arrow What is a rasgueado?
arrow How many different rasgueado patterns are there?
arrow How many strings are struck with each stroke?
arrow Finger symbols
arrow Stroke directions

What is a rasgueado?
A rasgueado is a continuous series of rapid finger strokes of the right hand which blend together to produce a variety of rhythmic strumming effects on the guitar. A succession of down strokes such as ‘e a m i‘ is a rasgueado. If we were to play this pattern 3 times in an unbroken series of strokes, the entire sequence of 12 strokes would be thought of as a rasgueado, rather than 3 short ones strung together.

How many different rasgueado patterns are there?
There is no definitive collection that every player uses all of the time. For any given effect you may hear on a recording, it is usually possible to produce the same sound in several different ways. There are literally hundreds of possibilities if we take into account the various elements such as fingers used, direction, timing, accents and tapping techniques. The rasgueados shown in the chart are some of the more common types. They can be used as building blocks for further experiment. The choice of which rasgueado to use, and where, is ultimately a matter of personal preference.

How many strings are struck with each stroke?
The exact number of strings that sound with each stroke is not important. As a general guide, aim for 5
strings with down strokes and 3 strings with index finger upstrokes. For thumb strokes, aim for 5 strings in both directions. As a general rule, rest the thumb on the 6th string when executing
rasgueados.

Finger symbols

Right hand symbols
P = Pulgar (Thumb)
i = Indice (Index finger)
m = Medio (Middle finger)
a = Anular (Ring finger)
e = Extremo (Little finger)

 

Stroke directions
How come the down strokes are pointing up in music notation?
We play rasgueado downstrokes from the lowest to the highest string. The highest string on the guitar is closest to the floor so we naturally stroke DOWN from bass to treble. However, in music notation the low notes are at the bottom of the stave and the higher notes are at the top. That’s why the downstroke direction arrows are pointing up in music notation as shown in these diagrams.

Go to
Rasgueado mastery part 2 – The 6 part master key

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