Pulgar (Full Version)

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Aretium -> Pulgar (Mar. 26 2014 12:41:53)

Forget Picado, for me the thumb is really complex. Being without a teacher I have several questions for some of you fantastic players.

Contact point- where? Tomatito is more direct, Paco is slightly angled. I find that being perpendicular helps on the basses but on the trebles makes a sound a bit like "plunk". However if I angle the thumb and catch the string on the side of the nail its makes a sweet, clean and loud sound on the trebles. (nail shape?)

Nail Shape - I can never get the side of the thumbnail (picture attached) to stick out due to the way I file, should I let it grow more outwards so the side can grip more? I find this great for arpeggios as to achieve a more parallel palm to the guitar.

Alzapua - contact point? It helps when I have a rigid thumb but does this add unwanted tension?

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vigrond -> RE: Pulgar (Mar. 26 2014 17:13:28)

experiment and find out what works for you.

Ricardo -> RE: Pulgar (Mar. 26 2014 18:20:21)

If you can get your hands on Gerardo Nuñez Encuentro DVD, he spends a good half hour teaching only pulgar techniques. It certainly ends up being personal after lots of experiment, but for me Gerardo has one of the coolest sounding and most recognizable pulgar techniques in the biz.

About shape, I would say the vast majority will file off that edge in the red circle of your picture, such that there will be times when doing arpegios with pulgar over close the the soundhole (hand held flat thumb sticking out to the side), that only a tiny bit or even NO nail at all is contacting the bass string. That is ok. Obviously we get more straight on when doing alzapua or passages of only pulgar and the sound necessarily changes. I agree tomatito gets exaggerated with the perpendicular angle, and after all I don't think he gets as nice a tone with that as Gerardo, Paco, and many others. Actually, there is that famous old video where he has a dark green colored cement on his thumb nail, and he is getting a better sound IMO with THAT than his normal natural nail sound, as on Encuentro video etc.

Aretium -> RE: Pulgar (Mar. 26 2014 21:36:54)

I've heard great things about that encuentro DVD. The tomatito vid on your youtube channel is so good especially the pulgar falsetas. Thanks for answering Ricardo.

Gerardo is easily my second favourite player, he reminds me of Paco in the way that his compositions lift it from Flamenco into something universal. Its like I am watching an orchestra playing rather than one man and a guitar.

I've always wondered as well, did Paco start using pulgar more later in life (more than usual) especially on Cositas Beunas?

mark indigo -> RE: Pulgar (Mar. 27 2014 9:47:23)


did Paco start using pulgar more later in life (more than usual) especially on Cositas Beunas

I don't think so, a lot of his stuff from the late sixties and early seventies used pulgar a lot. but it depends on which track/palo.

Ricardo -> RE: Pulgar (Mar. 27 2014 11:00:41)


I've always wondered as well, did Paco start using pulgar more later in life (more than usual) especially on Cositas Beunas?

No, but he did stop doing as much picado. For sure that Buleria por Solea is mostly expressed with pulgar. I don't think it is something flamenco players are deliberately conscience of doing...it's whatever works for the melody they are trying to bring out.

Rmn -> RE: Pulgar (Mar. 27 2014 22:07:19)

Aretium, are you right or left handed? Before you file that bit down in the red circle like Ricardo suggested.
Pulgar nail shape is very hard to get right, even when you found the right shape. Me i can never get the same as i did before. the nailshape of my thumb can make or brake a concert for me/ especially coz it curves down

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