If any of the world’s music cultures especially highlight the importance of the guitar, they are those found in the Latin American countries. With nuanced rhythms, brilliant harmonies, and soulful melodies, the styles that were born in Latin America are some that any guitarist should heed when learning.
In his course, Latin American Guitar Guidebook, Jesús Hernández helps you explore the techniques and best practices when playing eight of the most famous genres from Latin America.
Here are nine video Latin American guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Jesús Hernández’ Latin American Guitar Guidebook on TrueFire!
Latin American Guitar Lesson – Peruvian Vals – Style 1
Here is some basic information about the Peruvian waltz, or “vals,” and how to strum it. We’ll also discuss tapao or muting.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Cumbia – Style 4
Here we look at the bassline of the cumbia and how to combine it with chords.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Milonga – Style 7
Here we look at the most commonly played milonga melody.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Venezuelan Merengue – Introduction
There are different styles that share the name merengue. However, they are all quite different. And, in this case, I will show you a completely different one. Venezuelan merengue is distinct from the more popular Dominican merengue. The rhythms have actually very little in common, except that they were commonly written for partner dancing. There is probably no agreed-upon way to properly notate the lilt of the Venezuelan merengue. Quite frequently we use a 2/4 rhythm. The first half of the bar is written as an eighth-note triplet. Then, the second half of the bar is written as two eighth notes. Thus, the unique swing in the second half is what gives Venezuelan merengue its lilt. Another approach is to notate the Venezuelan merengue as 5/8. This is the one I will use in this video.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Venezuelan Merengue – Performance
Now, I will perform this style of merengue up to tempo for you. This way, you can hear how it sounds in context.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Venezuelan Merengue – Breakdown
Finally, we can break this rhythm down step by step.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Samba Bossa – Introduction
Bossa nova is a beautiful genre of the music of Brazil. It was developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, and is still today one of the best-known Brazilian music genres. The phrase bossa nova means literally “new trend” or “new wave”. Bossa nova is most commonly performed on the guitar. Actually quite frequently on nylon-string classical guitar, played with the fingers rather than with a pick. There is almost always a guitar that plays the underlying rhythm.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Samba Bossa – Performance
Many of the composers and troubadours of Brazilian music basically took one of the several rhythmic layers from the samba ensemble – specifically the tamborim! They then applied it to the picking hand. Through the years, they developed a new way of playing the guitar. The clave pattern of the bossa nova sounds very similar to the two-three or three-two son clave of Cuban music. Bossa nova has at its core a rhythm based on samba. Samba combines the rhythmic patterns and feel originating in former African slave communities. Nowadays, it’s played in many different ways.
Latin Guitar Lesson – Samba Bossa – Breakdown
Let’s break this samba bossa down so you can get the hang of the rhythm and the feel.
Digging these free video Latin American guitar lessons? Check out Jesús Hernández’s Latin American Guitar Guidebook.