Latest Lessons

Tremolo Technique

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 93 Min
  • 16 Videos
  • Edition 1

The technique of tremolo whether a 3-note or a 4-note, is one of the hallmarks of a professional guitarist. Considered an advanced skill, it is a technique that demonstrates refinement, control and lyricism in one’s playing.

The classical tremolo is a 3-note tremolo i.e. p,a,m,i (not including the thumb) and is found in some of the most iconic and memorable pieces such as Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega, Una Limosna para el Amor de Dios and Sueño en la Floresta by Austin Barrios.

The flamenco tremolo is a 4-note tremolo (not including the thumb), i.e. p,i,a,m,i the extra note in the flamenco tremolo makes for a slower moving melody line and allows for a more rubato phrasing. Typically used in the slow and free forms of Taranta, Granaina, Minera, but also in a slower rhythmic form such as a Soleá.

In this lesson, you will learn how to play both the classical tremolo and the flamenco tremolo, where you will get very specific techniques and methods of how to develop your fluidity, accuracy, control and tone quality whilst playing a tremolo piece. If you’ve never done tremolo before, or have limited experience with this technique and have struggled with it for some time, this lesson is recommended before you get the lesson on Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

Lagrima & Adelita

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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Advanced BeginnerAdvanced Beginner
  • 85 Min
  • 13 Videos
  • Edition 1

The word Lágrima means tear. Francisco Tarrega wrote this piece between 1889-1909, the exact date never having been catalogued. It is his most played piece and many times given as a beginner piece for people starting to play the guitar. However, as easy as the opening bars are, there are some quite challenging passages which involve bar chords and half bar chords that are not easily executed.

There are two stories that are said to have inspired the writing of Lágrima. The first: It is said to have been written while Tárrega was touring in London, and that the English fog and overall lousy weather were at the root of it. The second: It was written as an homage to his daughter’s passing. Either way, the melancholic and delicate characters of this piece is ideal for learning the fundamentals of romantic phrasing and rubato on the classical guitar. You will learn about tone production, sustaining the notes in a lyrical way and the right vibrato. If you are an advanced-beginner to an intermediate level guitarist, this is an ideal piece for you to have under your belt especially for entertaining friends at a party as well as a great encore in a concert.

Adelita and Lagrima have always made a perfect pair. They fall in a unique category of their own in the sense that they are both "simple" miniature pieces but are by no means on a beginner level. Adelita is slightly more challenging than Lagrima due to its tricky B section where we have some tough bar chords and stretches for the left hand.

A very poetic and romantic piece in nature, titled as a Mazurka, a Polish dance in origin, usually quite up-beat, is somewhat sending a mixed message by having the tempo marking set at Lento. Some believe playing it too slowly gives it a completely different meaning and feel, taking it away from the natural character of the Mazurka. This is also an ideal piece to learn about romantic phrasing and rubato. The guitar repertoire is hard pressed to find pieces that pay their respects to the great composers that did not write for the guitar such as Frederick Chopin, Piotr Illich Tchaikovsky and Franz Schubert. We can hear the echoes of these giants in Adelita but in an intimate setting transmitted with the natural poetry of the guitar.

In this lesson you will learn about phrasing, tone production and interpretation in the romantic style. Since the realm of interpretation is not a science, but an art form, this lesson will set you on the path of looking and thinking about romantic music in a way that will allow you to explore your own ideas, after having grasped the main principles. There are some challenging hammer-ons and pull-offs for an advanced-beginner level player that require diligent and patient practice, but they will pay off in the way of advancing your technique.

Tangos 2

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 52 Min
  • 10 Videos
  • Edition 2

This Tangos lesson builds on the skills learned in Tangos 1 but increases the rhythmic complexity and includes more syncopations. There is also the traditional Alzapua phrase That is a must-know for a soloist or an accompanist alike. All the compas phrases and falsetas are Challenging enough to be considered higher intermediate, but are designed to be very playable And easy to execute in any situation whether at a concert or even a party-jam session!

Tangos 1

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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Advanced BeginnerAdvanced Beginner
  • 57 Min
  • 15 Videos
  • Edition 2

Tangos is a dance form that developed primarily between Cadiz and Sevilla. It is a 4/4 beat rhythm and has some reminiscence with certain Arabic rhythm and groove patterns. The flamenco Tangos, has nothing to do with the Argentinian Tango. This style of dancing is also much more sensual which includes much more hip movement (due to the Arabic belly dancing style) in comparison with the starker Soleá and Seguiriya.

Tangos, together with Bulerías are the two favorite forms of jamming and partying in all the Juergas (a flamenco party-jam) usually in celebration of a wedding, baptism or any joyous occasion.

In this lesson you will learn the basic compás and rhythm patterns of Tangos, broken down into great detail. We also cover the characteristic chord voicings of Tangos, and how we use them in playing compás. We’ll be sharing how to play these traditional phrases with the right feel or aire, showing the tricks on how to get that groove, including how to play and understand it with a rhythm track for more context. There will be a gradual evolution of complexity and subtlety throughout this lesson that will give you a good foundation of the basics but also show you some more advanced and syncopated patterns.

Once you’ll get the basics of compás and aire, you’ll be ready for some Falsetas that will start you off nice and easy so as to get confidence in your understanding and execution of these phrases. Again there will be a noticeable growth in complexity in that area as well.

Alegrias 1

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
Alegrias-1-Small.jpg
Advanced BeginnerAdvanced Beginner
  • 52 Min
  • 10 Videos
  • Edition 2

This lesson covers the theory and techniques of Alegrías for an advanced-beginner student. It includes a very important traditional phrase called escobilla and a traditional rhythm phrase called compás. Also a melodic falseta (musical variation) using scales and thumb technique. Perfect for understanding the fundamental rhythmic and harmonic structure of Alegrías.

As in most of flamenco forms, Alegrías is a mixture of various musical cultures converging in the south of Spain or Andalusia. The melody of Alegrías was originally a part of a peasant dance called the Jota, an unsophisticated style of music and dance originating in the northern part of Spain, Asturias. It then found its way to the southern part of Spain, Cadiz and the area of El Puerto de Santa Maria, where it was later mixed in with the 12 beat compás of Solea. The rhythmic structure of Alegrías is the same as the Solea and Bulerias; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 where the underlined numbers representing the fundamental accents. The main difference is in the harmony. Alegrías is one of few forms that is in a major mode, rather than the Andalusian cadence (many times referred to as the Phrygian mode, however, that explanation is incomplete).

The Alegrías is a part of a category of cantes known of Cantes de boda - wedding songs. The sister forms of the Alegrías are Romeras, Alboreá and Cantiñas. The Alegrías is typically played in E major for mostly dance accompaniment and in A major as a solo however, many solo Alegrías compositions are in E major as well.

Alegrias 2

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 42 Min
  • 8 Videos
  • Edition 2

Alegrias is a happy and joyful dance, as it is part of the category of Cantes de Boda i.e. wedding songs. The sister forms of Alegrias are Alboréa, Cantiñas and Romeras. They are all in the major mode, either in E major, A major, D major or C major. They all share the same rhythmic structure (compás) of Alegrias, however, the chord progressions of the cante (the singing) differs from one to the other.

Alegrías is one of the most popular forms both for dancers and solo guitarists. Because of its optimistic character (a welcome break from the usual dramatic and serious forms such, as Soleá, Siguiriyas, Tientos etc.) Alegrías is also popular because it has a large variety of mechanisms which highlight the rhythmic, melodic and virtuosic elements of flamenco guitar. It is a very well-balanced form since it includes a well-rounded array of techniques and musical possibilities. Harmonically, since it’s in a major key, it lends itself to a much more open and inclusive influences from jazz and classical.

The first falseta in this lesson is great if you want to learn something with a nice off-beat feel to it. It's mostly in triplets and uses the thumb for the most part, even in the higher register and treble strings. It also follows the traditional harmonic changes of Alegrias. A must have!

The second falseta in this lesson is richer harmonically which will make a perfect addition to your Alegrías repertoire. It also has an impressive picado ending that is bound to get a good ole! out of the crowd! The second remáte after the picado is a powerful yet a traditional ending to an exciting falseta.

Solea 2

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 78 Min
  • 11 Videos
  • Edition 2

Solea 2 is a perfect lesson for those of you who studied the advanced-beginner level Solea 1 while looking to further your understanding of this flamenco style beyond the basics. The material goes into the more subtle nuances of the right hand and shows how to capture the aire (the feel or the ambience) of the Solea with authentic mechanisms and dynamics.

This 2nd edition of Soleá 2 extends its earlier edition by about one full hour of more instructions. It introduces and breaks down three more falsetas, and covers variations of the traditional remate, the conclusion section of a compas, which you learned in Soleá 1.

Solea is one of the most sober and oldest palos (musical form in flamenco) that predates just about any other palo with the exception of Seguiriya and Toná. Although originating in Jerez, there are many different types of Soleás such as Soleá de Alcalá, Soleá de Jerez, and Soleá de Triana, all with their variations in the cante. Some speculate that it began in the mid 1800s. It has passed through many different phases of interpretation or "ways of feeling it." In the 1920s – 1960s the tendency was to play Soleá in a faster tempo and quite rhythmically. It almost resembled the tempo of Soleá por Bulerías however, over time the pace got slower and by the 1980s Solea was played very slowly yet in the same 12-beat rhythmic structure (compás).

Solea 1

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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Advanced BeginnerAdvanced Beginner
  • 68 Min
  • 13 Videos
  • Edition 2

Solea or soleares comes from the Spanish word Soledad which means solitude. Its mood is very much introverted and melancholic in character. It is one of the most fundamental forms in all of flamenco literature. With its enigmatic rhythmic structure (compás) of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 where the underlined numbers representing the fundamental accents, this compas pattern is shared amongst other major forms of flamenco such as the Solea por Buleras, Alegrias, Bulerias and Fandangos de Huelva. The cante (singing) of Solea is of a solemn, serious and introverted character. Although, it is loaded with outbursts of expression of pain and despair, that intense emotion is what fuels the depth and drama of Solea.

This introductory lesson to solea starts you with some important basics in flamenco. It features three falsetas and two variations which are perfect as a skill builder and for aiding the understanding of the compás of Solea. Even though these phrases are deemed as “Advanced-Beginner” you do need some basic and fundamental technical ability on the flamenco guitar. We recommend that you start with the Flamenco Guitar for Beginners Part 1 and Part 2 to get the necessary skills if you've never played flamenco guitar before.

Selected Etudes 1

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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Advanced BeginnerAdvanced Beginner
  • 190 Min
  • 30 Videos
  • Edition 1

Without a doubt Mauro Giuliani (1781 –1829) and Matteo Carcassi (1792 – 1853) are two of the most important composers for the classical guitar. They created some of the most brilliant set of etudes (studies) that classical guitarists of all level continue to study and incorporate in their daily routines. In this comprehensive lesson Adam del Monte breaks down a set of five etudes both technically and expressively.

The studies we have selected for this lesson are excellent choices for the advanced-beginner to the lower-intermediate level classical guitarist. You will be focusing on the execution of simple to a more challenging phrases with the proper attention to the tone quality and ease-of-playing. Too often students gloss over this critical stage of their development, and instead they take on the difficult pieces that are beyond their level. Here, we take the opportunity to program a relaxed way of playing using "easier" pieces, while allowing the more skilled players to go back and fix basic tension and bad habits. You will be focusing on arpeggio patterns and exercises, counterpoint voice leading, basic tremolo and the articulation of phrases.

You will be covering the following guitar etudes in this lesson:


  1. Etude No. 1 (Op. 100) - Cadenza Maestoso (Mauro Giuliani)
  2. Allegretto in A Minor by (Mauro Giuliani)
  3. Etude #2 in A minor by (Matteo Carcassi)
  4. Etude #6 by (Matteo Carcassi)
  5. Etude #1 in C Major by (Matteo Carcassi)
  6. Etude #7 in A minor by (Matteo Carcassi)

Capricho Arabe

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 81 Min
  • 12 Videos
  • Edition 1

Capricho Arabe is yet another iconic piece by Francisco Tarrega (1852 – 1909) that has captured the imagination of guitarists and audiences alike. A unique haunting melody full of poetic yet subtle drama inspired by the Moorish influence on the Spanish culture, it is drenched in a fair amount of European romanticism. A humble yet sublime melody caresses our ears after a rather dramatic and attention-capturing beginning. The first melody, being in D minor, is charged with melancholy and sadness that tugs at the heart. The second theme, which modulates to F major, and the third theme in D major, gives us but a brief respite and a momentary sense of optimism, climaxing into the inevitable pain of the first theme in D minor, challenging the performer to tell the same story one more time but from a different space in your heart.

This expressive formula follows the lines of the Romantic era, even though this piece was written towards the end of it. We can clearly hear the influences of the great romantic composers, especially Frederic Chopin, whispering in Tárrega’s ear, but in miniature and idiomatically adapted to the intimacy of the classical guitar.

It takes a certain maturity to play this piece with the required innocence and purity. In this lesson you will learn a lot about phrasing, rubato, articulation, expressivity and control. All the difficult passages will be broken down and explained in detail. Also, from a technical standpoint you will benefit from learning to play a melody with a rich and full sound whilst holding a solid yet melodic baseline.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
Recuerdos-de-la-Alhambra-0212_00_06_40_21-Small.jpg
IntremediateIntermediate
  • 75 Min
  • 12 Videos
  • Edition 1

Recuerdos de la Alhambra is without a doubt the most famous and popular tremolo piece ever written. The evocative magic by this haunting melodic line with the subtle yet eloquent baseline has become a classic amongst guitarists of all levels as well as aficionados of the instrument and the public at large.

The technique of tremolo is a succession of three notes (3-hit for the classical guitar and 4-hit for the flamenco guitar) played repeatedly on the same string preceded by a base note, thus creating the illusion of a sustained melody on the guitar. This is one of the more advanced skills and a great challenge for any guitarist. In recent years, Recuerdos de la Alhambra has often become a favorite encore piece due to its easily digestible melody and the romantic mood. The Granada composer and icon, Manuel de Falla once said that the only example one needed to understand and feel the beauty of the guitar would be to listen to Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

According to historical documents, Francisco Tarrega (1852 – 1909) was on a tour with his student Doña Concha Gómez de Jacoby, a wealthy aristocrat who inherited her fortunes and became an avid fan and a follower of Tárrega. It is said that at their visit to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, as the evening fell, he got the initial inspiration for the melody which he then later completed. In the original unpublished version of this tremolo piece that he dedicated to Doña Concha, Tarrega wrote “Since I can’t offer you a gift of greater value on the day of your saint, accept this, my poor little poetic note and impression of what my soul felt before the great marvel of the Alhambra we admired together in Granada”.

In this lesson you get an in-depth explanation of the interpretation and the phrases as well as the analysis of the dynamics. You are also given the keys and the solutions on how to get the difficult phrases to flow comfortably. If you are new to tremolo or you are not confident about your technique, we encourage you to sign up for Tremolo Technique first where you get an in depth study and a step-by-step set of instructions and exercises on both classical and flamenco tremolo techniques.

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