Flamenco Guitarist: Sabicas

A guitarist who needs little introduction…

Truly one of the greats, and you can find his influence in modern flamenco everywhere.

Modern players such as Paco de Lucía, Tomatito, Serranito, Juan Manuel Cañizares, El Viejín, Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Nuñez, Javier Conde and many more claim large influence from Sabicas’ music.



Sabicas; one of the founding fathers of modern flamenco


Sabicas began playing guitar at the age of 4 and made his performing debut two years later. His early style was influenced by Ramón Montoya, to whom he was related on his mother’s side of the family. Extensive collaboration with important cantaores of the period helped him develop his personal style.

Leaving Spain in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, he went into exile in South America with bailaora Carmen Amaya. He lived in Mexico City, married Esperanza González Erazo and had four children. Carmen & Sabicas toured together several times. Sabicas later settled in New York City in the United States. He did not return to his native Spain until 1967.

Sabicas was instrumental in the introduction of Flamenco to audiences outside of Spain and the Spanish-speaking world. He was probably best known for his technical skills: blazingly fast picados, fast arpeggios, quality composition for the many forms of flamenco, and infallible rhythm, which was critical if playing with a dancer. Also, he was considered to have perfect pitch. “The finest technique around has got to be Sabicas, the Flamenco player,” Chet Atkins told Guitar Player Magazine in March 1972.

Sabicas was one of Flamenco’s greatest-ever guitarists, not only in terms of technique, but with major creative contributions, playing Flamenco previously unimaginable and giving new tools and possibilities to the solo instrument. He brought this art to concert halls and major theaters where all classes could enjoy.


Sabicas died at a hospital in Manhattan, New York of complications from pneumonia and multiple strokes on 14 April 1990.


Though there is bound to be many more

  • 1949 Flamencan Guitar Solos
  • 1957 Sabicas Vol. 1 (CD = La Guitarra Flamenca)
  • 1957 Sabicas Vol. 2 (CD = La Guitarra Flamenca)
  • 1958 Sabicas Vol. 3
  • 1958 Gypsy Flamenco
  • 1958 The Day of the Bullfight (MP3 is abridged)
  • 1958 Romantic Guitars (with Mario Escudero. MP3 = Masters of the Spanish Guitar)
  • 1959 Flamenco! (with Carmen Amaya)
  • 1959 Queen of the Gypsies (with Carmen Amaya. MP3 = The Best of Carmen Amaya)
  • 1959 Flamenco Puro
  • 1959 Serenata Andaluza (with group)
  • 1959 Solo Flamenco
  • 1959 Fantastic Guitars (with Mario Escudero)
  • 1960 Festival Gitana (with Los Trianeros)
  • 1960 Flamenco Fantasy (CD = Adios a la guitarra. MP3 also available under the original title)
  • 1960 Furioso (with Dolores Vargas)
  • 1960 Soul of Flamenco
  • 1960 Flamenco Variations on Three Guitars
  • 1961 Flamenco Virtuoso
  • 1961 Rhythms of Spain (with group)
  • 1961 Flamenco Styles (with Mario Escudero)
  • 1961 El Terremoto Gitano (with Dolores Vargas)
  • 1962 Concierto en Flamenco (with orchestra)
  • 1963 Flamenco Reflections
  • 1963 Flaming Flamenco Guitar
  • 1965 El Rey del Flamenco
  • 1966 Rock Encounter (with Joe Beck)
  • 1967 Flamenco Fever
  • 1967 Guitars of Passion
  • 1968 Artistry In Flamenco
  • 1969 3 Guitarras Tiene Sabicas
  • 1969 Arte Gitano
  • 1969 La Historia del Flamenco (with many singers. CD = Sabicas, RCA ND 74612)
  • 1969 La Guitarra de Sabicas
  • 1971 The Soul of Flamenco and the Essence of Rock
  • 1972 Flamenco!!
  • 1972 ¡¡Olé!! (with Adela la Chaqueta)
  • 1972 Sabicas in Concert (CD = Concierto Vol. 2)
  • 1972 Fiesta Flamenca (with various old-time singers)
  • 1973 Flamenco Passions
  • 1976 The Art of the Guitar
  • 1990 Nueva York-Granada (with Enrique Morente)
Reference Wikipedia

How many of your falsetas have roots in Sabicas?

Would you consider Sabicas to be among your favourite guitarists?

Let me know below 🙂


About Fisch

Fisch is a Flamenco Guitarist from Australia. Currently he studies flamenco guitar in Sevilla, Spain. He spends most of his time expanding his knowledge of this wonderful music.

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