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Flamenco guitarists use two devices which help give the music its unique flavor. If you are taking beginners’ Flamenco guitar lessons, knowing about these pieces of equipment will help you get up to speed on the technical aspects of the art.

The Golpeador.

‘Golpe’ is the Spanish word for “tap.” This tapping sound gives a unique flavor to Flamenco music and is aided by the golpeadores, or tapping-plates. To perform golpe, make a quick flexion movement with the third finger (or occasionally, the fourth finger) of your right hand, bringing your fingernail and the flesh of your finger into contact with the golpeador.

You need to keep the movement of your finger confined to the knuckle, keeping the rest of your finger, your hand, and your wrist relaxed. Make sure that your nail and flesh hit the golpeador at the same time, for that is what produces the characteristic sound.

After you hit the golpeador, keep your finger in contact with it, lifting it only at the beginning of the next stroke. Never allow your movement to become forceful.

When you reach more advanced levels, you will learn to play the golpe simultaneously with your thumb or index fingers sounding the strings.

The Cejilla.

Flamenco guitarists use a device called a cedilla to raise the guitar’s pitch, giving added brightness to its tone. Originally, guitarists used a cejilla in order to match the pitch of different singers in the Cante. Now, nearly all Flamenco performers use the cejilla.

The cejilla acts as a movable nut, fixed across the strings, which stops the strings when it is fastened tightly right behind a fret. For solo playing, the guitarist will usually place the cejilla at a fret between one and four, usually on the second fret. Guitarists primarily use the cejilla on positions higher than four only for accompaniment.

We suggest that you practice exercises without the cejilla in place, however, in order to develop strength and ease of use in your left hand. This will put you on a faster track to technical mastery since your hand must stretch farther, which in turn develops your flexibility–a definite asset when playing your guitar.

Cejillas are available in two styles. The first, the more traditional of the two, is crafted from finely carved and decorated hardwood. These cejillas are tied down with a nylon string which is wound around a wooden peg, the peg inserted into a hole in the wooden crosspiece.

This style protects the neck of the guitar by a leather thong attached to the crosspiece, absorbing the string’s pressure. The second style of cejilla is the more modern variety, constructed out of metal with a rubber lining, a plastic crossbar, and a nylon strap.

Learning about the special equipment that you will need to use when playing the Flamenco guitar will give you more confidence when you play. By becoming aware of the terminology and equipment used by Flamenco guitarists, you will begin to develop more knowledge about the technical aspects of Flamenco music.
Source by Ed Witten

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