5 Free Cuban Guitar Lessons

5 Free Cuban Guitar Lessons

The Buena Vista Social Club was started by guitarist Ry Cooder and directed by Juan de Marcos González, and is renowned for bringing back the music of Cuba from the 1930’s through 50’s and giving it a new, modern audience. Made up of a collective of musicians, they revivied musical styles popular in pre-revolutionary Cuba, such as the son, bolero, and danzón.

Jesús Hernández’ Buena Vista Cuban Guitar Guidebook teaches you how to play these styles of Cuban music, exploring all the essential concepts and techniques needed in oder to emulate this style of Latin guitar. In these free Cuban guitar lessons, you’ll find some of the concepts needed to get started and performance studies to get you up and running. ¡Vamonos!

Son Claves 2-3

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A guajeo – a typical Cuban ostinato melody – consists of arpeggiated chords in syncopated patterns, mostly played specifically by a tres, piano, or violin. In this case, this is the basic guajeo of 2/3 son.

Son Neutral

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If we use a rhythmic pattern based on a single bar pattern and repeat it during a song, we can call this a neutral pattern. This way there is no clash or contradiction with the clave, since it does not define the direction (2/3 or 3/2). I will not bother it rhythmically.

Peace – Performance

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Peace – Breakdown

Here’s an example of playing a song on the basis of a 2/3 clave, trying to look for subtlety and peace. In this case, I used melodies in sixth intervals and played them in a relaxed, peaceful way.

Guajira Son – Intro

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Since the 1930’s, the Guajira was popularized by the singer and guitarist Guillermo Portabales. He modified Guajira into an elegant style.

Guajira Son – Performance

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this Cuban guitar lesson on TrueFire.

Son Montuno Rico – Performance

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this Cuban guitar lesson on TrueFire.

Son Montuno Rico – Breakdown

This is a song played in the son montuno groove and in a 2/3 clave. The son montuno is a subgenre of son Cubano. Many of the songs in the Cuban repertoire are played in the son montuno style.


There’s more to be had in the full course on TrueFire – including all the tab, notation, and jam tracks to help you along your way. Check it out now!