Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book review: Flamenco Guitar Method Volume 1 by Gerhard Graf-Martinez

Flamenco Guitar Method Volume 1 – Gerhard Graf-Martinez

This book (with DVD and CDs) looks at the techniques used in Flamenco. There are two volumes and the first volume introduces the basic techniques such as the Rasgueado and the Golpe. The second volume expands on the techniques and introduces more advanced techniques. The first volume is split up into five lessons which detail a certain aspect of playing (such as a technique or style of Flamenco). Exercises, examples and pieces of music are included in each lesson starting from basic exercises to more demanding compositions. The DVD provides videos of all the pieces played at slow and faster tempos from multiple angles. Close-ups on the right hand are used to show how the techniques are to be played. The volume concludes with a glossary on all the Spanish words used in Flamenco and their meanings.

What I gained from reading this book:
I bought this book after I started getting interested in Flamenco. I had seen other ‘Flamenco’ books at local guitar shops but I from a simple flick through the pages I realised they lacked substance. This book is a fantastic introduction to the traditional techniques and styles. The explanations are very clear and the video explanations are extremely helpful.

Within weeks I was able to recognise the difference between proper Flamenco and Spanish sounding music imitating Flamenco. The pieces of music in this volume are so fun to play and I still play all of them. The explanations of the techniques were very detailed and were extremely helpful. The explanations and exercises were great help from bringing me all the way from the first ‘one finger Rasgueado’ to the ‘continuous Rasgueado’.

So much effort has gone into this package and it really helps the learning process. The explanations and examples help so much and being able to see the exact same pieces played with close-ups makes learning them a breeze.

There really isn’t anything negative to say about this package. Although this is not for beginner guitarists! This book assumes you have a solid foundation in guitar before you even start. A beginner will not be able to play any of these pieces. Even after 8 years of playing I struggled as I worked my way through this book. Flamenco is considered one of the most technically demanding styles to play on guitar so don’t expect it to come easy. If on the other hand you are already an advanced guitarist, you should be able to learn at a fast rate.

Recommended for: Advanced guitarists
I recommend this book for advanced guitarists looking to learn how to play real Flamenco. After learning the material here I looked again at the so called ‘Flamenco’ books at my local store and could easily recognise that they were way off the mark. This book teaches the real deal.

Genre: Music - Guitar

Overall rating: 10 of 10 stars
I don’t like giving a perfect rating to anything but I am truly impressed with this book and DVD. It is worthy of such a high score.

Australians can buy the book, DVD and CD package by clicking the picture below:

Flamenco Guitar Method, Volume 1 [With CD (Audio) and DVD]

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