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After years away from the guitar I wanted to pick it up again, but learning flamenco (for something completely different).

I live half a world away from Andalucia, so getting to play with others is a bit difficult.

Getting the unique tempos/compas of flamenco ingrained is one of the challenges I face, as they are quite unlike anything I've played in the past. If I play unaccompanied, I can stray quite easily.

Ideally I'd like to find some good backing tracks, with palmas & cajon but no guitar. Youtube doesn't yield much of interest, but I see a few companies selling dvd, loops and such. Any recommendations?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I suspect the elusive part of "good backing tracks" is going to be the "good" part. The kind of stuff you're likely to find for sale is likely to be rather "soulless". It'll sync nicely with a metronome, but you may end up sounding like you have a metronome permanently mounted in your ear.

I think it may be more useful to focus on find "good pieces" that you really want to learn. Then there are gizmos and software to "remove parts". (To the group: Do any of these things work well enough to recommend?)

Recording yourself and listening to playback can be helpfull, too.

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+1. Audacity works well for removing parts using the technique described here - I think that's a great idea. – jadarnel27 Nov 7 '11 at 4:53

If your concern is playing in compas, I would search for a "flamenco metronome". There are many available for download on the internet. Some come as apps for your phone. The more basic ones include the beat for each palos and the more advanced ones include various options such as palmas or jaleos. As far as the visual presentation is concerned, almost all of them use the so-called "flamenco clock" (which is useful for the 12-beat cycles).

Depending on how much you plan to use it, you could opt for apps such as Beatvibe, Doctor Compas or the Graf-Martinez metronome (all around 15 to 20 USD). On the upper end, the only one I know of is the Oscar Herrero flamenco metronome which is of far better quality but also much more expensive (around 350 USD). I wouldn't recommend it unless you are aiming at becoming a professional flamenco guitarist. For a beginner or an intermediate-level guitarist, many of the features on there would be superfluous.

Once you feel comfortable with the compas, you can also get tracks that include the singer, cajon, palmas, but no guitar. This is a good way to learn how to accompany, especially if there is no real flamenco scene in your area. Most of these tracks (at least that I know of) are found in some of the typical guitar methods that you can purchase. Any on-line search for a flamenco accompaniement method should give you an idea of what's available.

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worldmusictracks.com. You can ask for tracks without guitars.

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