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Down and Up Rasgueo

Down and Up Rasgueo

After practicing the downward rasgueo and working on separating the fingers, it becomes possible to learn a form of rasgueo that is perhaps the most important—the one that involves an immediate upstroke following the downward movement of the fingers.

The rasgueo for Malagueñas started on a weak beat and ended on a strong one. Like the di-didi- da which forms the letter “V” in Morse code, the l, i, and m fingers were followed by the index finger on a strong beat. In contrast, the rasgueo that we are about to learn starts on a downbeat. Here is how it would look in notation:

The important thing is that the four strokes, three down and one up, are evenly spaced with a slight extra stress on the first ring finger downstroke. You can try it first away from the guitar so as to have it clearly in mind. Here are the steps:

  • In a sitting position place your right hand above your right knee. Make a fist.
  • Flick out the ring finger.
  • Now flick out the middle finger.
  • Flick out the index finger.
  • Pull the index finger back toward you.

The timing should be an even one-two-three-four with a slight extra push on the one.

It becomes apparent now why it was necessary to prepare the fingers with the Malagueña rasgueo. The all-important secret is to develop the ability to do the ring finger downstroke separated from the middle finger. It is hard at first, but comes with practice.

Now let’s try it on the guitar. The rasgueo is followed by simple upstrokes and downstrokes, keeping a regular rhythm.

Before playing, count out the rhythm as above. Then try playing the pattern, making the individual strokes as clear as possible. Then, as your tempo increases, you will develop the even sound of a good rasgueo.

For practice, here are some typical introductory rasgueado sequences.

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