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Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic techniques-bulerias   You are logged in as Guest
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Thomas S.

 

Posts: 11
Joined: Jan. 31 2019
 

Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic techni... 

Hello everyone,

I have what is probably a stupid question, but it is really confounding me.

I have been trying to learn flamenco guitar for a couple of years, mainly from books, videos, but also in a short class
I have a question about the Bulerias from Flamenco Guitar Basic Techniques by Juan Serrano. If anybody is familiar with this and can help me understand it better, it would be much appreciated.


Basically, to me it seems to go out of compass. I'm sure it doesn't really, since Juan Serrano is a master, but it's confusing me. I wrote out all the counts for the whole song(12 counts) What confuses me are a few things:

1) and probably least important, it doesn't end on count ten like the soleares and alegrias do, and the bulerias in another book I have do.

2) At the beginning of the bulerias, he notates the 12th count to be played with an upstroke. Later on this is not the case(the upstrokes fall on count 6)

3)it seems a very typical sequence is to play A on the first two counts and then it changes to Bb on count three. This holds true at first, but later the same sequence is on counts 7, 8 and 9 (off by 6 counts)

4) Certain falsetas seem to start on beat 7 when I would think they would start on 1.


I could probably find a few more, but this should be sufficient for now. Am I overthinking this? Can you just put in a 6 measure falseta and get off by 6 counts, and it's no big deal? That's the only thing I can figure. Anyone's input would be appreciated.

Thank you

Thomas
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2019 20:57:08
 
JasonM

Posts: 1434
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Hey Thomas,

The short answer is that Bulerias is often felt in cycles of 6 rather than 12. You can search the forum and find a lot of good discussion about this.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2019 22:06:00
 
Thomas S.

 

Posts: 11
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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Thank you Jason. I have heard something about the 6 count thing, but Juan Serrano only mentions 12 counts in the book. I feel it's really important because if he went into a 6 count at some point, wouldn't that throw off the accents if you counted in 12 and were trying to pay attention to the accents on 3,6,8,10, and 12?

If anyone with this book could tell me exactly where it goes into 6 and back to 12 it would be appreciated.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2019 22:25:15
 
FredGuitarraOle

Posts: 887
Joined: Dec. 6 2012
From: Lisboa, Portugal

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

As Jason already said, bulerías is actually in cycles of 6 beats. Very simply put in bulerías you either feel the accents in 3's or in 2's, always in groups of 6 beats. 6 1 2 3 4 5 or 6 1 2 3 4 5 respectively. The pattern you were taught is nothing more than a group of 6 beats with the accents in 3's followed by a group of 6 beats with accents in 2's: 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11. The most common pattern is a variation of the previous one and is like this: 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11. However in many situations the accents just keep going in groups of 3's or 2's and you can visualize them as 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 and 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 respectively. If you want to stick with the 12 beats patterns you can visualize the rhythm like this, however you will face many situations where this doesn't work. Since the lowest common denominator in bulerías is a group of 6 beats, there are situations where the first or the last 6 beats of a 12 beat compass are missing. That's what happens in this bulerías from Juan Serrano and it's know as medio compas (half compass in English).

I remember this particular falseta, when I started playing I had the exact same doubt as you. Here it is counted in a 12 beat pattern and the place where the half compass happens is marked in red. Everything else in these bulerías fits into the 12 beat compass perfectly.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2019 23:56:25
 
FredGuitarraOle

Posts: 887
Joined: Dec. 6 2012
From: Lisboa, Portugal

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to FredGuitarraOle

There is also the possibility of changing the remate so you can correctly fit the falseta into a 12 beat pattern. That's what I did here at 0:37:

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2019 0:06:00
 
Thomas S.

 

Posts: 11
Joined: Jan. 31 2019
 

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Thank you so much Fred for the in-depth explanation. I wasn't sure exactly where the 6 beats came from but I also found that everything fit if I started counting at 1 on that C chord(do?) following the single note run at the end of that falseta you notated.

So an extra 6 count phrase, or medio compas, can just be put in anytime? That sure confuses things, like if I'm using the standard 12 count bulerias metronone. Would this only be done with solo guitar? Would a random medio compas mess up a palmero or dancer? Why would Serrano add a medio compas in a beginner book? Or is it something that just naturally occurs in the style and someone else transcribed it and put it down(that's my guess). Juan Martín mentions in one of his books that a falseta can be 6 counts, but then a 6 count rasgueado passage should be added to complete the 12 count cycle. It's also very interesting to know that either group of six counts can be repeated.

Great video and playing Fred. Thank you. I also wonder why in the Serrano book and others I have, the bulerias start on count 1 rather than 12.

Do you count (either in 6 or 12) while you're playing bulerias, or is it just internalized so the counting is no longer necessary? Is adding a medio compas a "mistake" in counting, or is the 12 count with typical accents just a guideline. I've heard of great guitarists such as Manitas de Plata and Carlos Montoya criticized for not playing in compas - is this an example of what is meant by these criticisms (i.e. adding a random medio compas here or there.) I have too many questions I know.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2019 11:35:09
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

The fundamental measure unit is usually 6.... but it is symmetrical in the sense if you were crossed your 123 can feel like 789 and vice versa. I try to teach beginners this from the start so there won’t be a problem later. It is not unique to solo guitar or baile. To illustrate the point clearly I accompanied a solo cante track once cuadrao in 12 and again with half compases like crazy. It proves the idea of where exactly a half compas might occur is often arbitrary.





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2019 20:09:54
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Thank you very much for your reply Ricardo, and great playing. So do you count when you are playing bulerias, or just feel it?
If you do count, is it in 6 or 12. I've already gathered that the accents don't strictly have to fall on 3,6,8,10 and 12 (or 3,7,8,10 and 12). Do you recommend beginners count until the rhythm is internalized, or should you always count and always know exactly where you are and you choose to throw in a medio compass where you like?

Does cuadrado or cuadrao mean counting in 12s? If you play an odd number of medio compases, would it work with a bulerias metronome set for 12 counts with the typical accents?


I know I have a lot to learn about this but thank you for the responses. Anymore will also be appreciated.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2019 22:15:00
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Thomas S.

Thank you very much for your reply Ricardo, and great playing. So do you count when you are playing bulerias, or just feel it?
If you do count, is it in 6 or 12. I've already gathered that the accents don't strictly have to fall on 3,6,8,10 and 12 (or 3,7,8,10 and 12). Do you recommend beginners count until the rhythm is internalized, or should you always count and always know exactly where you are and you choose to throw in a medio compass where you like?

Does cuadrado or cuadrao mean counting in 12s? If you play an odd number of medio compases, would it work with a bulerias metronome set for 12 counts with the typical accents?


I know I have a lot to learn about this but thank you for the responses. Anymore will also be appreciated.


Good questions. Much easier to explain with a guitar, but I will try.
No I don’t count anymore, just feel the phrases in 6’s. I also feel 12 phrases, and sometimes phrases in 3, etc. It ends up becoming about rhythmic phrases that you learn sort of like talking, or reciting poetry. There becomes a flow, and that is the feel. Anything that disrupts the flow of the phrase feels off. But learning NEW phrases, yes I might have to do some math to be sure, especially if it is highly synchopated and fresh, meaning not one I have already encountered. AT this point that is rare for me (my paco falseta tutorial 3 was a good example, the first falseta has some tricky stuff) but what I would count is quite simple. For me I count the 6-8-10 accents only, and repeating like half compases, however I call them 1,2,3. The subdivision there is 16th notes, not 8th notes, and any phrase no matter how complex, must fall into that groove. I think of starting and ending and attaching the phrase as count 1 is head, count 3 is the tail, and count 2 is the body. So the feeling becomes like that, I have a thing to do at the head of the phrase, or in the body, etc. The paco tutorial 3 first falseta, the entire falseta is about starting phrases at the tail, but not losing track of the HEAD.

Cuadrao means square, and for me, in this case above, it always have to be even groups of /head, body, tail/. Any odd group feels “odd” and therefore is a half compas mathematically. This situation is not unique to flamenco, all music makes good use out of 2,4,6,8 etc bars of music phrase. Whenever an odd measure group appears in any style music, it throws off one’s internal clock of neat and clean phrasing. However that odd feel might be the INTENTION. My recent tutorial Frevo I discuss the picado tag they added to the original song, it’s odd because it is 3 measures long. That is a similar situation as what occurs frequently in bulerias. In both cases attempts to repair the damage by adding or subtracting a measure results in something not as cool. That doesn’t mean it is not important to understand when it occurs (i don’t know, i just feel it man!! Lol”

Lastly the 12 count metronome is no good because it only teaches you one type of phrase, and there are so many that are different that need to be learned.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2019 12:59:04
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Thank you Ricardo. I can see this is gonna take a while.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2019 20:58:45
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Forgot to add this vid I referred to above. The first falseta has most phrases start on 10 or 4... both of these feel like the tail end that lead in to the head beats (12 or 6). Although the entire thing adds up to 12, when both playing at tempo or teaching I’m not always sure if I’m actually starting at 10 or 4 especially at the picado section, and my point is that it doesn’t matter really as I trust the music to add up to 12. I know this is advanced but at least it’s an example to show how I need to count or feel phrases when learning now a days



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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 2 2019 15:38:11
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Thanks for the explanation Ricardo. Your tutorials are really great and well explained. The one about tuning was really enlightening too. I definitely plan on spending some time with your Paco tutorials. I really need to read everything first before asking more questions about the counting.

So it seems a lot of the stuff in the method books, like Juan Serrano's, is an older style of playing (pre-Paco?). I wonder if the counting has changed, or loosened up in more recent flamenco, or if it is basically the same as in the older styles, as far as the so-called 12 count palos and where accents should fall, etc.

Can anyone recommend the best method books for learning flamenco, either for how it was played in the past or how it is played now? I've been going through Juan Serrano's Flamenco Basic Techniques, You Can Teach Yourself Flamenco Guitar by Luigi Marraccini( does anyone know anything about this guy? I can find very little about him online. I like the book though), The Total Flamenco Guitarist by Jonathan "Juanito" Pascual (this one does seem to have more of a modern sound), and a Juan Martín book called El Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra. Any better ones out there?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 3 2019 18:01:39
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

quote:

I wonder if the counting has changed, or loosened up in more recent flamenco, or if it is basically the same as in the older styles, as far as the so-called 12 count palos and where accents should fall, etc.


Counting was not really done until the concept of dance academy became important, so they had to translate the music to the body movements and steps. In terms of the basic beat... you can see old ladies born before 1900 in Rito y geografia tapping the foot the same as modern players. And the accent patterns go back long before flamenco. Listen to gaspar sanz from 1500’s.

What Paco introduced mainly was synchopations against the basic beat and patterns.... synchopations that were only done by the voice previously have become the norm for guitar falsetas. These types of synchopations don’t work well unless you give them purpose with metronome strict tempos... so that has naturally evolved in to the modern flamenco lexicon as well.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 3 2019 18:35:21
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

That's really interesting and makes a lot of sense that counting had to do with dance. Also about the foot tapping- how do you tap your foot on bulerías? And does it change based on the accents played at the moment?

Like in Canarios by Sanz, in 6/8 and 3/4 time, which is like the 12 count with accents on 12, 3, 6,8,and 10 - but why didn't they just start counting from 1 rather than 12? I think that's one thing that messed me up because some of the books i have, including Juan Serrano's, start the bulerías on beat 1 instead of 12, to simplify it I guess, but then why throw in a half compas in a beginner bulerías to mess me up lol?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2019 2:18:44
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

quote:

That's really interesting and makes a lot of sense that counting had to do with dance. Also about the foot tapping- how do you tap your foot on bulerías? And does it change based on the accents played at the moment?


Yes it can change. Most of the time it’s 6,8,10 repeating (as I said before it’s 1,2,3 for me)....some falsetas are more waltzy so you can tap constant 12,3 and or 6,9. It not wrong to change your foot to do the Gaspar Sanz accent, changing groups, however it is not as groovy and consistent. The last way to tap the foot is more advanced and was developed to align with the nudillos pattern (knuckles on a table). Watch Paco de Lucia doing this often. 1,2,4,5,7,8,10,11. Again this is not meant to be 12, it’s really only the 7,8,10,11 portion that repeats feeling wise. Notice it is the fill in beats of the waltzy tap I destribed first. Sort of like tapping on the up beat in certain styles of music it is a way to train coordination and groove. In the case of Paco he would flip between this pattern and the 6,8,10 base foot tap, depending on the falseta. The pivot point is always count 10...in the case of half compas count 4 becomes 10 suddenly. Here is a video, watch at 3:47 (by a strange coincidence in your favor, it’s the same exact falseta from my tutorial, and you can see him change his foot tap exactly as I describe):




quote:

but why didn't they just start counting from 1 rather than 12? I


In the case of buleria this would seem like a great question. But answer goes beyond just buleria. You see the dancers not only wanted to have a way to communicate and teach the rhythm and translate music to body, but they had the crazy idea of mixing song forms into a single choreography by changing tempo, but NOT changing the count. So guitar players can play a very slow solea phrase such as the trad arp baseline ABD, CEG, FEF, EG#B... take that which is clearly in 3X4=12 meter. But it has the accents on 3,6,8,10, 12. At slow tempo 1,2,3 accenting 3 feels same as the remate in buleria 6,8,10. However as you speed up that melody towards buleria tempo, the accents take on a strong grounding feeling and the down beats (1,4,7,10) become lost feeling wise. At a certain point when increasing the tempo from solea speed of say 80 bpm, to buleria speed of 210bpm, their is a flip of the feeling, a change of foot tap. It’s this moment where any musician would argue there is also a meter change. However to the dancer mind, only the counting matters, the unbroken thread that ties together the forms of solea and buleria despite the different tempo and feel.

In addition, to defend the strange concept of starting counting a phrase from 1 that no longer feels like a down beat at fast tempo, the SINGING, the letras, have the same form for both songs. The solea song structure and melody is the same as buleria basically. Of course melodic details can’t translate at different tempos, but the WORDS can be exactly the same, and the chords as it turns out.

Similar thing happens tientos-tangos. However because it is 4 beat, the 1 stays 1. The strangeness occurs there again when tempo changes, the dancers count to 8, in the 5-7 area. Musicians know that 8/8 is a BS meter, but the dancers use that to tie the two forms neatly together as tempos change. I can’t tell you the number of times guitar players are feeling 4 and suddenly the dancer stops on our “5” or “6 or 8” because either they or we flipped to tangos prematurely....always supposed be “7”. So learning this counting thing very simply cuts through the confusion when dealing with dancer mentality.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2019 10:53:12
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Came across this revealing dance class. Keep in mind Jason here is probably first or second best at this thing in entire USA. The class is working on some solea portion that transitions into buleria as I describe. Jason improvise each time differently but over 30 minutes here you can learn a lot see how the counting thing is important to dancers. Couple of spots to pint out: the first transition is at 5:02 but watch from 4:40, 8:17, and at 14:35 he plays some straight solea but super fast throughout the buleria so you can keep track of count 1, it’s pretty cool:



_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 5 2019 18:15:47
 
jg7238

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Ricardo

Great learning material. I love watching Jason play. He is a beast man.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 5 2019 19:11:27
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Yeah he is a beast. That was really informative and fairly easy to follow, though I still lost count sometimes on the bulerias section.

It brings me back to some of my original questions. In a situation like this, dance class, I'm assuming that a random medio compas just wouldn't work at all, since the guitar would be off 6 counts from the dancers. Is that right?

Do medio compases even occur in solea? I assume they possibly could. And in alegrias as well.


But in bulerias, would a medio compas work with dancers. It seems they are counting to 12 after all.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 7 2019 22:39:27
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Thomas S.

Yeah he is a beast. That was really informative and fairly easy to follow, though I still lost count sometimes on the bulerias section.

It brings me back to some of my original questions. In a situation like this, dance class, I'm assuming that a random medio compas just wouldn't work at all, since the guitar would be off 6 counts from the dancers. Is that right?

Do medio compases even occur in solea? I assume they possibly could. And in alegrias as well.


But in bulerias, would a medio compas work with dancers. It seems they are counting to 12 after all.

Of course sticking to 12 in classes w dance is smartest and safest bet, however....
Yes medio compas works fine.... however you notice it stops, whatever they are doing I can’t see. Sometimes the need for the even phrasing is because it’s left foot then switch right foot etc. what’s important once you are in bulerias is keep the feeling in the groove and STOP when they do. There are clear signs, but in terms of math, if Jason had been crossed due to his own half compas phrase, he simply has to do another half compas to stop with them. The fact that works out to 12 is arbitrary. In my own case of a dance class the other day, advanced stuff, i improvised cuadrao phrases like Jason here and eventually noticed a crossed feeling. In a live situation it’s an easy fix, however in class we repeat often so I have a chance to decipher where the dancers might have done an extra 6 and adjust my playing so it is all neat and clean, fits like a glove feeling. However that’s for the sake of keeping things perfect and clean, it truly not necessary to do that.

Half compases used to occur more frequently in Ramon Montoya’s day in solea or buleria Por Solea when accompanying cante and playing falsetas. Due to the personal playing styles of Nino ricardo and Melchor Marchena and their huge body of recordings for influential singers, it became standardized to NOT cut the 12 count pattern for solea or buleria Por Solea, yet allow half compas cutting for bulerias frequently. The need for cutting compas for cante is delt with simply by shifting important chord changes that normally occur on count 10, over to count 3, maintaining the 12 pattern but preserving the harmonic structure and alignment to verses that might cross the bar line. At www.canteytoque.es Norman shows examples where old guitarists used cut the compas in half when accompanying buleria Por Solea. No law that says we can’t do this other than fashion and taste. In the modern era the only player I have noticed doing this is Antonio Carrion. Alegrias same deal as solea, due to Melchor and Ricardo we stick to 12 even when singers cross the compas.

Falsetas have more freedom as far as solea goes. Also there is a slow minor key version of Alegrias that has this same feel as solea and therefore you again find half compas falsetas. But these example are pretty old school.... most modern example is Paco De Lucia 1972 Barrio La viña. Pretty much all modern Alegrias sticks to 12 patterns. I can assure that if Antonio Rey did a half compas falseta in Alegrias it would go over just fine. Modern examples of solea falsetas cut in half are quite numerous.

Here is montoya solea sticking to 12 for cante but delivering a half compas falseta at 1:30:


And here he cuts compas of solea second half of first letra at 1:27:


_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2019 12:23:29
 
Thomas S.

 

Posts: 11
Joined: Jan. 31 2019
 

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

quote:

Keep in mind Jason here is probably first or second best at this thing in entire USA.


So who is the other person that might be the first or second best?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2019 17:38:45
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12198
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Thomas S.

quote:

Keep in mind Jason here is probably first or second best at this thing in entire USA.


So who is the other person that might be the first or second best?

Chuscales

Actually the three players in this photo Pedro Jason and chuscales are the top dogs in USA... the 4th guy with long hair is more about his sexy looks than playing well:
http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=180184&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=irvine&tmode=&smode=&s=#180184

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2019 17:52:51
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

Awesome. Thanks!

At least, I guess, the 12 count solea metronome seems to work good for me. Maybe Solea is a little more regular than bulerias, as far as the typical accents and that little ascending E7 arpeggio starting at the tenth measure helps me to find my place if I do get lost.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2019 23:26:04
 
Thomas S.

 

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RE: Juan Serrano Flam. Gtr. Basic te... (in reply to Thomas S.

I mean E arpeggio not E7.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2019 12:53:07
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