flamenco techniques

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by nate 0 jt, Aug 18, 2001.

  1. What flamenco techniques are you aware of? I know about the flamenco strum, but I also know there are other ones too. I can't remember what they are called or what they are but I remember reading about them. Do you know anymore? Thanks a lot.

    Nate M
  2. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Nate, funny you should bring it up as I have been studying several flamenco techniques for a while now. I hope Steve doesn't mind me answering this for him...
    Many flamenco guitar techniques are quite appropriate for bass. As for the strum, there are many varieties; from using just the thumb to using the thumb plus all four fingers for strumming. I suggest you check out the work of Abe Laboriel for examples of this as he is truely a master of these techniques on the bass.
    There are also quite a few other right hand techniques: The apoyando is a alternation of the thumb and forefinger. This is a technique which both Sting and Jonas Hellborg have borrowed for the bass. It may be augmented by the use of the fingernail/finger flesh, and the thumbnail/thumbflesh alternation. And with apoyando, flamenco guitarists will often play fast triplet passages using and up and down thumbstroke followed by a roll with the index and/or middle finger. I think these might be where Victor W. and Marcus M. got into their "double-thumbing" techniques.
    Probably the most bass-specific flamenco technique is the picado, which is a strict alternation of the index and middle fingers, played with great control, rhythm and dynamics. The alternating patterns, like many flamenco rhythms, are stictly enforced, and therefore cannot be faked.
    Even without "mastering" these techniques, the study of them is very useful to bassists; it shows the level of dedication and passion to which great musicians aspire. There are quite a few good books on flamenco guitar techniques you might want to check out, and Abraham Laboriel also has a video (maybe two) out which demonstrate many of these techniques on bass.
    Max Valentino

    p.s. Steve, est-ce que vous vous plaisez ici francais?
  3. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    ah, Steve, desole pour mauvais grammaraie. Je suis fatigue.....Max
  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Ya still in France Steve? :)

    Anyway, I love the sound of flamenco on guitar. I think I practiced something called Malaguena. I never thought of trying it on bass.

  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Max's tips are cool - Abe's a great person to listen to for some of these ideas. BUt even better, listen to flamenco guitarists. I did a CD a couple of years ago with a contemporary spanish guitarist in the UK called Jason Carter, and picked up quite a few new ideas by watching him play (the CD was called Fragments Of Grace, and is available on Amazon I think - it was recently rereleased with additional percussion and retitled 'Elements', but the new percussion has spoiled it, IMO, so get the original if you're planning on buying it...)