Guitarists love inventing fresh ways to play, and despite all of the innovations that’ve already been made, there are still new techniques to uncover. Just look at Columbian progressive/tech-death metal axman Sebastiside, whose “hybrid rasgueado” rhythmic approach is astounding everyone who sees it.

In a new interview with Guitar World, Sebastiside – whose real name is Sebastian Garcia – reveals that his initially wanted to be a lead guitarist. Early into his career, however, he realized that he’d be better suited trying something else: “I couldn’t shred like Rick Graham and Stephen Taranto [The Helix Nebula], and maybe because of that, I focused on my rhythmic playing.”

Influenced from artists such as Caligula’s Horse, Plini and Karnivool, he eventually moved to Australia and began honing his craft while teaching. His debut EP, Reincarnate, arrived in August of 2023, and his ground-breaking method shines throughout it.

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Sebastiside's "Hybrid Rasgueado" Technique

In the videos below, you can see Sebastiside demonstrating his “hybrid rasgueado” technique (which essentially sees him sweeping his fingernails across multiple strings so quickly that it creates a condensed and muted staccato sound). In a way, he’s fusing traditional rasgueado fingerpicking (typically associated with flamenco music) with the distorted tones and irregular slapping of djent and other prog/tech-death metal practices.

“With chords, you have dominant chords that create a lot of tension, and tonics for the release. It’s like telling a story. I try to do the same with my rhythms,” he tells Guitar World, adding: “So if you’re playing eighth notes, using triplets, syncopations, or polyrhythms adds tension and interest to your story.”

Regarding his incorporation of slapping, in particular, Sebastiside reflects: “I realized there were hybrid picking elements – you could use your thumb to slap and your fingers to pull on the other strings to create a strong percussive effect. So I used that idea to combine hybrid picking with rasgueado.”

By holding the pick between his thumb and index finger (as is standard), he’s able to use the remaining fingers for raking (basically, scrapping strings just before the notes ring out or are bent). Per Guitar World, he routinely plucks a note “on a low string” and then “rake[s] with his pinky, ring, and middle fingers.”

“It can be used for chords and rhythm playing and leads,” Sebastiside explains. “It has endless rhythmic possibilities. . . . You can make music with just one riff when you have enough variations. [It’s about] thinking about riffs in a very melodic sense.”

If that weren’t enough, he also bucks trends by endorsing the benefits of inexpensive and second-hand guitars.

He mentions:

I wanted a guitar to play more modern styles of music, but they’re very expensive to ship to Colombia. I found a seven-string Legator Ghost on Facebook Marketplace, which I traded for an old Laney tube amp head and cab plus cash. . . . [Cheaper guitars are] much easier to play. The strings feel loose and the pickups are sensitive so this makes the playing experience very different from my regular guitars. I get a lot of new ideas whenever I play one of those guitars. . . . I love the challenge of making a cheap guitar sound good!

Back in 2022, Sebastiside garnered attention for giving Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” the prog rock treatment and for demonstrating the virtues of playing “modern metal” on a $200 guitar. So, he’s been showing the world his skills for a long time.

You can check out Sebastiside’s “hybrid rasgueado” technique below, and be sure to let us know what you think about his playing and his stance on cheaper guitars.

Sebastiside – “Try This Rasgueado Exercise”

Sebastiside – “Hybrid Rasgueado Tutorial”

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Take a closer look and listen.

Gallery Credit: Jake Richardson

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