How To Play Bachata On A Guitar

So you're delving into Latin American music and you want to know how to play Bachata on a guitar. Bachata is a musical style native to the Dominican Republic is getting more popular all the time. This article will help you on the way to finding the smooth rhythms and lilting melodies of Bachata.

Things you will need:

  • A guitar (electric or acoustic)
  • Sheet music or tablature
  • Recordings for reference
  1. Know the music and its roots. The main thing with any ethnic music is to understand where the music comes from and what its parameters are. According to Musicouch writer Jake Pachino, "Bachata used to be the music chosen by the low class people of the Dominican Republic. The first songs expressed a lot of hidden messages." Like many forms of Hispanic music, Bachata guitar follows a rhythmic pattern of three-three-two. This pattern is common throughout Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. When you are learning, playing or writing a song in Bachata style on the guitar, keep that pattern uppermost in your mind. 
  2. Sound and style. The Bachata guitar sound is relatively clean and unprocessed. There is usually a lot of bass in the guitar EQ and a chorus pedal is often employed. As far as the style is concerned, playing Bachata on the guitar involves lots of arpeggios in the major key. Keeping with the rhythm, you would do two three-note arpeggios and finish the measure with two notes of a third arpeggio to make up three-three-two.
  3. Playing lead. A lot of the time Bachata guitars play the background or rhythmic parts. However, there will be times for playing a solo. Bachata guitar solos maintain the major-key sweetness associated with much of Latin American guitar music. Single-string lines, double-string harmonies and arpeggiated solo lines are all acceptable. Do your best and be creative!

Now you have the knowledge you need to play Bachata on the guitar. Have fun and make some music!

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