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Just the Two of Us – Flamenco Rumba Guitar

Intro

Copyright 2022: TL Music Productions

 Just the Two of Us was composed by Bill Withers, William Salter, and Ralph MacDonald.

It was later recorded by Grover Washington Jr. and released on the album Winelight  in 1981. This recording won the grammy for the Best Jazz Fusion Performance in the 24th Annual Grammy Awards.

How did I Record it

I have created an instrumental version featuring the flamenco spanish guitar. In the recording you will hear the rhythm section made up of two flamenco guitars panned in stereo with timbal  “cajón flamenco” and palmas.

Also as background you can enjoy a variety of electric guitars helping further define the groove and the harmony. The lead is played on my Flamenco Spanish Guitar Conde 2007.

National Art Gallery Victoria concerts Thomas Lorenzo

How did you Create the Rhythm Tracks

The first two tracks of Just the two of us  I recorded were of only rhythm guitars. I played each from the start till end to a click track. This is the only way to achieve a live groovy feel that moves back and forth to the beat; in some sections I push and in some sections I pull.

Please notice how even though I have two guitars playing, more or less, the same pattern they blend and stand out perfectly.

No Compression

Please note that in order to have the groove of the guitar as the pulse of the song I decided to record and mix with hardly any compression. That is why all guitars sound so clear and with so much attack.

How can you Play Without Bass

Yes, the tracks of Just the two of us are recorded without bass. There is no need as the guitars define the groove and bass line. This is a different way of playing where you can get the crowd dancing without the need of bass and of strong percussion.

The Role of the Percussion

Please note that the role of the percussion is to define the pulse but the actual excitement occurs with the attack of the Spanish guitars.

I would suggest that if you wish to explore the use of the Spanish or Flamenco guitar to give it a go without bass and compression. In the end you will be surprised by the results in your mix and production.

How do you get that Powerful Sound in the Guitars

The secret is to play soft so the instrument can vibrate as a whole. There is a point in the articulation where if I play loud, the sound even though feeling aggressive does not project. The instrument, how it is built, limits the sustain and decay of the sound. In other words  with guitars in general if you want to play loud, play soft and feel relaxed.

The tricky part of this approach is to express great power and feelings through a soft interpretation. It is like a contradiction where performers might feel the need to scream to express but music does not work like that. The emotion is not carried through by how loud you play but more by register, harmonic density and rhythm.

Tip

In a recording the audience needs clarity in all elements. Play with extreme clarity and with simplicity. There is the misconception that playing fast and fancy will get the audience’s attention. This can be true but for a brief moment and this will not occur over a full song and especially in the event of a full performance.

So do not practice virtuosity but rather conversation with other instruments either as lead or rhythm.

Different Layers of Rhythm

Also when you play the guitar please consider your roles as a rhythm guitar. I call this the listening plane. You can be far in the back of the listener´s perception, in the middle or in the foreground.

Listen to my recording of Just the two of us and you will hear that most instruments are at the same level but the way I play them makes them stand out.

This is the beauty of arranging and this concept is much discussed in my online guitar course which is also the consequence of my book on arranging and orquestacion in the Spanish language called: El Arreglo un Puzzle de Expresion Musical.

So if you do not speak Spanish it is time to pick up this beautiful language and also be exposed to the huge variety of music styles that over 500 million people offer on the planet.

How do you Record el Cajón

The cajon is an instrument which sounds in simple terms: crap. You should not play it like a bass drum and snare as it does not work well.

In Flamenco we play the rim of the box for the subdivisions and we play the middle part of the sound board for the low frequencies.

These slow frequencies can be obnoxious and need to be carefully balanced. The best way to capture the sound is with a dynamic mic in the sound hole cutting all middle frequencies and the more the better.

The best sound is achieved when you get the low boom, eliminating unwanted resonances with a parametric eq and thus achieving the high frequency hissing rim shot pulse sound.

This instrument works well in the background of guitars as the wooden sound blends well, adding an extra pulse to the mix but never in any way being a prominent sound as it does not work well.

How do you record Palmas

Just the two us How to record palmas

Palmas start sounding good with 4 tracks of such. One track should always be played sordas( soft), playing the pulse (maybe subdivisions) and with no accents.The other palmas tracks will add the accents and create the flam effect so desirable for palmas.

Once again this sound is not very precise so the real rhythm will come through with the guitar: the raw sounding guitar played soft with extreme dynamics exploding away at the accent.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and listening to my music and videos. My intention as a creator is to express how I feel music should be.  My main tip is for all musicians to play live with other musicians so they can understand how music works and how the audience reacts to music. Please join my music ensembles at my Sydney Creative Guitar School also specializing in guitar lessons

Don’t be misled by the conception you may see on special media of fancy quick beautiful playing will get you work. Long term careers generally do not work in this manner.

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