Etude no.2 Incredible Picado exercise!

This is one of the studies that molded Jose's hands into becoming one of the best Flamenco players in the world. He practiced for hours as a child this exact study and you get an idea of what it did for him when he speeds things up towards the end of the study. The first thing to watch for is the hemiola rhythms (changing time signatures) throughout the piece. The second thing would be to work out what right hand fingering you're going to use. Which brings up the topic that many guitarists struggle with: "strict alternation versus slip finger". Well, let's break down the difference:

"Strict Alternation" would lead to a different finger starting the group of 6 because of the slur. This has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage would be gaining familiarity and stability starting the group with either finger. The disadvantage of strict alternation would really depend on your i,m finger length and what you're comfortable doing. And ultimately I doubt you will ever be able to play it as fast as Jose does with strict alternation. The "Slip Finger" method is based upon the idea of pulling the finger back and playing the string below, hence repeating whichever finger you slip. It is a technique that for many is a no-no and is not really taught in many schools as well as something that is a personal choice dependent upon the player. Many guitarists who pick up the guitar without consulting a teacher to begin with have the tendency to develop this technique naturally. However, this is one of those techniques where you should make a conscious decision to employ rather than it just be the way you play your descending scales. Many students have spent years in trying to undo this technique once it is ingrained. It can be a hinderance but like I said earlier, if you make the conscious decision to employ it combined with alternation it can be a great tool.

So now that you know the difference between these two techniques, let's break down how he employs the Slip Finger. Essentially every time he goes from the 2nd string to the 3rd string he slips with the index. He also slips the 1st string to 2nd string but not all the time. Sometimes he uses strict alternation on 1st and 2nd strings but always slips to the 3rd string. I don't think he really thinks about it to be honest. He's so comfortable with this etude that he doesn't have to get caught up in the technical portion. Which is why he is a master, he doesn't have to think about what he plays, he just wills it to happen however he wants. We can all aspire to this, I think!

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