Tango Guitar Technique

Review

In this class, Flavio talks about the importance of adopting a comfortable position to play the instrument, which does not over demand our left wrist or the curvature of our back. Then he mentions that tango can be played either with a pick (plectrum) or with our fingers, as it will depend mainly on our own comfort and the sound we want to achieve.
Flavio also mentions that there are 2 essential ways of accompaniment (he calls them “toques”): strumming or plucking block chords. About the strum, he shows us a traditional strumming in which the strings are partially muted, achieving a sound with a good attack and of short duration. He also specifies “We should not play and then mute, as if they were 2 different movements, but try to achieve it in a single movement”. About the block chords, it means pluck several strings simultaneously, rather than one by one as in an arpeggio. He also mentions that it is very usual to play the bass of the chord first and then the block chord.

Assignment

Spend some time studying and practising the right-hand mute to play the strums, either with fingers or with a pick (plectrum). Choose any chord and try to achieve a sound similar to that obtained by Flavio in class. It would also be nice if you spent some time listening to how other tango artists play it. Achieving a good sound with the strumming of your right hand will be very important to practise the rhythms in the next classes.

Take it further

We recommend trying different positions, always in a comfortable chair and without armrests, until you find the one that works best for you. Remember that you can use a bench for your foot, a guitar support with suction cups or simply cross your legs so that the guitar is at 45 degrees and you don’t have to over demand your back or your left wrist. A healthy position will allow you to play the guitar better and longer!

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