November 28

Easy Flamenco Rumba Strum

Flamenco music is all about the feel and the rhythm of the song. It's a lot of what gives Flamenco music the vibe it has. Today I'm going to show you an easy version of a strum called a Rumba strum. In the half dozen CDs I've released over the years, this is a strum I use more than any other.

There are a lot of variations of this strum, and while it sounds complicated it's actually pretty simple. I'll show you step by step how to play this stylish strumming pattern. But first, go ahead and put your pick away. You wont need it! We're using a Thumb and Index Finger technique. To do this, bend your fingers into your palm as if you're about to make a fist.  

  • On the down strum, graze the strings with your fingers. Try not to dig in too much.
  • On the up strum, reverse the motion and use the nail of your thumb. 

Is this strumming technique challenging? Check out this lesson on Strumming With Your Thumb And Index Finger.

The strumming pattern itself is mostly a bunch of down and up strums with a mute occasionally thrown in. Jump to 1:05 in the video to hear this.

Just try that down up strum for a bit to get used to it. Make sure to start slow to get the pattern. Though a lot of times it's actually easier to play a strumming pattern a little faster than slow. Make sure your strum motion isn't too big. The farther out you go, the farther you'll have to come back. 

The mute here is almost like a flick and a slap. On the up strum before the mute, open you hand as you strum up with your thumb and flick the strings. Then slap the strings with your palm. It will be a single motion, flick-slap.

Try the strumming pattern without chords a few times before worrying about adding in chords.

Adding Chords To The Easy Flamenco Rumba Strumming Pattern

Adding Chords To The Easy Flamenco Rumba Strumming Pattern

Skip to 6:10 of the video to hear this with a chord. 

The trick to this whole strumming pattern is to be able to play it without thinking about it. That's true of any strumming pattern. It's hard to feel the rhythm if you're thinking about it. So before you add in chords, spend a few minutes getting familiar with the rhythm.

Once you're ready you can add in the chords. In this video I'm using a very common chord pattern in Flamenco music called the Andalusian Cadence. This can be played in any key but I'm playing it in Am. The chord pattern is Am-G-F(maj7)-E. You can play an F instead of an Fmaj7, but I like the way this version of the chord sounds. 

I'll show you all of the fingerings in the video so you have a chord progression to practice this strumming pattern with. 

As always, start this at a slow tempo until you can play it pretty well. I like to use that 80% mark, then increase the tempo little by little. Anything you can play slow you can play fast, so make sure to get those details down before speeding up.

This is a really fun strumming pattern so I hope you have fun with it! If you want to hear more exotic strumming patterns like this, let me know in the comments!

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Easy Flamenco Rumba Strum on Guitar
Easy Flamenco Rumba Strum
Tomas Michaud

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