How to Play Flamenco Guitar Scales

Written by catherine hewson
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As a guitarist, you will find that there are many different types of scales to play. There's the pentatonic, the minor, the major and even the Phrygian scale. But one that is commonly overlooked is the flamenco guitar scale. It is a scale that can help you to diversify your guitar playing; here's how to play it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Guitar in standard tuning (EADGBE)
  • Guitar pick

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Pick up your guitar and pick. Put your index finger on the first fret of the B string and pick the string; follow this by picking the third fret of the same string using your ring finger and then the first fret again with your index finger. Play the B string open (no fingers on the fretboard) and then hit the first fret again, followed by the open string again. The pattern for this in tablature would be 1-3-1-0-1.

  2. 2

    Place your index finger on the second fret of the G string (right above the B string) and pick the note. Play an open note on this string, then the second fret again, followed by another open note. The tablature pattern for this would be 2-0-2-0.

  3. 3

    Play the third fret of the D string using your middle finger, followed by the second fret of the same string. Play the third fret of the D string again, then play the second again. Play the string open. The tablature pattern for this is 3-2-3-2-0.

  4. 4

    Moving on to the A string, play the third fret using your middle finger, followed by the second fret. Play the string open and then move on to the E string. Tab for this is 3-2-0.

  5. 5

    Play the third fret of the low E string (the thickest string), then play the first fret of the same string. Hit the string open and then hit the first and third fret notes. In tab, this is 3-1-0-1-3.

  6. 6

    Play 0-2-3 (open, second, third fret) on the A string, 0-2-3 on the D string, 0-2 on the G string and 0-1-3 on the B string. This brings you up to the next part of the scale, where you play an open note on the high E string, followed by notes on the first, fourth and first frets of the same string. Hit the open string again, then hit the fourth fret, the seventh fret and the fourth fret again on the same string. Keep playing like this so you follow a pattern like 0-1-4-1-0-4-7-4-0-7-10.

  7. 7

    Now that you have a feel for the scale, finish it off by playing 7-0-10-12-13-10-13-12-10 on the high E string, 13-12-10 on the B string, and 12-10 on the G string. Then play 0-1-0 on the high E string, followed by 3 on the B string, and a big finish with 0 on the low E string, 2 on the A string, 2 on the D string, 1 on the G string and open notes on the B and high E strings.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't know tablature, here's a quick explanation: Every number in tablature refers to a fret on a string; so 7 in tablature would refer to the seventh fret. It's really that simple.
  • Practice this scale like crazy. The key to any flamenco scale is to play it fast, so you'll want to memorise the above pattern and practice it until you can play it with great speed.
  • Always properly warm up before attempting any scale. Some scales, such as the flamenco guitar scale, require a lot of stretching, so it's important to make sure you're warmed up first. Start off with a simple scale like the E Phrygian before playing the flamenco.

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