Juan Martin,
Play Solos: Flamenco Guitar
(Mel Bay, 2002)

This book fills a special niche that so far has been under-represented in available flamenco books -- specifically a Graded Course of Repertoire. This book is not meant to be an instructional course and the author mentions that in the Grade Approach chapter. To quote, "The main aim of this book is to give you a progressive series of flamenco music to play and enjoy -- and to learn with. It does not aim to provide a complete teaching course, so you will not find a detailed description of techniques demonstrated in the video, nor of other important issues relating to the flamenco guitar, its music and history."

That is very true. But the one thing it does have -- flamenco tunes progressing from very basic to intermediate -- it has in spades. Each tune is presented in both standard notation and tab. You start at Grade 0 but even this assumes you have some basic skill with the guitar. Specifically, you should know how to make chords and have at least some basic finger-picking skills (or at least be learning them concurrently). Other techniques the author labels as optional (such as golpe, picado, etc.) for Grade 0. At later grades you will need to know these techniques but will need to find instruction for them elsewhere.

This set, which includes a book, CD and DVD, complements other teaching methods by giving beginners some beautiful flamenco tunes to play even at the most basic levels. Grade 0 might be very simple but everyone will recognize the music as being flamenco -- and the tunes will be quite fun to play. It just increases the incentive to practice and go to the next chapter for ever more slightly advanced pieces. The learning curve in this book is gradual -- something that I think many people wanting to learn flamenco will appreciate. By the end of the book many beautiful flamenco songs will be added to your repertoire that will be a joy to play and for listeners to hear.

- Rambles
written by Dana Fletcher
published 15 March 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.