Yamaha Flamenco (Full Version)

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pat_smith -> Yamaha Flamenco (Jul. 26 2004 18:17:13)

I recently played a Yamaha handmade series Flamenco that seemed quite nice and I wondered if anyone else had tried them. I looked it up on the internet and found very little info and nothing on the Yamaha website. The model is called both FCSTD or FC-31. List price is $3480.00 US.

Any opinions?

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Jul. 27 2004 19:33:39)

Haven't played the handmade one. I have however, played the entry level one and thought it quite a good deal.

pat_smith -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Jul. 28 2004 16:07:36)

Well... I got a good price so I went ahead and ordered one. I'll report how it turns out

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Jul. 28 2004 20:33:30)

Please do!

pat_smith -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Jul. 30 2004 15:12:27)

I guess I should mention that I have the cheapo Yamaha Flamenco and like it very much. It cast me $350 US and came with a free $60 tuner. Yesterday I put a B-Band pickup in it and I think this guitar is as good a cheap guitar as you could hope for.

I also got to play a Lester DeVoe blanca with friction pegs and was totally blown away by it. Huge sound feather weight and super light touch. Really one of the best guitars of any kind I have touched. (and I am a guitar junkie). But, it was $5k and I can't quite afford that at the moment...sigh.
New Yamaha should arrive in three weeks or so

Guest -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 6 2004 15:41:24)

So Pat, Since I build myself, and since I´ve worked with guitars, I have to ask you this:

What is a handbuild guitar?????? Where is the limit? how many hands are allowed? how much machinery is accepted??? Who´s hands are we talking about? etc. All the Spanish factorys call their guitars handmade.

As a guitarmaker, doing more or less everything by hand, including a handmade rosette, inlayed directly in the soundboard, I do find it weired that someone uses a word like handmade on a Yamaha instrument.

I have nothing against Yamaha. Especially in the lower priceranges they make very good quality for money instruments. I´ve owned and played a steelstring and a nylon string guitars. Both exelent cheap guitars. I´ve played with Yamaha saxophones, clarinets, trumpets, Grand pianos, drum kits etc. And they were all good instruments, and some very expensive. A friend of mine lend me his Yamaha electric guitar. (The Carlos Santana, Les Paul clone) Very nice (but not a Les Paul!!).

BUT.... I´ve never ever seen a Yamaha instrument with personality. Everything perfect, down to the smallest details, but something special, the thing that inspires you? Nope...

I understand that 5k is a lot of money. But there are many very good guitarbuilders that would have made a very fine instrument for 3k......

I´m sorry if I sound like a grumpy old f###, but I had to write this.

I, of course hope that the guitar is a wonderfull instrument that will make you happy for years to come.


pat_smith -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 6 2004 15:55:09)

Hi Anders
Actually, the use of the term handmade is Yamaha's, not mine. Believe me I have much sympathy with guitar makers. I have studied guitar building with Richard Schneider, Bob Benedetto, The apprentice shop, and I worked as a repairman for several years. archtop builder Tom Ribbecke is one of my best friends. I am also friends with many other builders. I was president of the Northern California Association of Luthiers (NCAL) for two years.
I pretty much agree with all you said, except that so far I like yamahas, I have a Mike stern Tele and the cheapo flamenco. I have a friend that owns a store so I getting the "handmade" flamenco for well under 2k. If I had 5k I would most certainly spend it on a real handmade guitar. I currently own handmade guitars by Tom Holmes, Linda Manzer, Saul Koll and am waiting for one from Tom Ribbecke.
Do I pass the "I love handmade" test?
All The Best

ps do you have a website I can look at?

hamia -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 7 2004 14:10:11)

Hi Pat

I checked out your weblink - nice site and great music. So I've got to ask why suddenly the interest in flamenco? Since you're buying a nice instrument it must mean that you want to learn some flamenco playing techniques. If you are new to fingerstyle on nylon it will take a good year or so to build up a basic technique (even starting out with a useful left hand) for flamenco. Or maybe you've already dabbled in flamenco before - I know you electric guitarists are a pretty versatile lot! Anyway, hope it all goes well. I love electric jazz guitar - used to listen to that music a lot. Noticed you've got a Mike Stern guitar which reminded me of a concert of his I went to a while back - really excellent guitarist.


pat_smith -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 7 2004 14:58:51)

Hi Angus
I had a couple Flamenco CDs, one by Paco Del Gastor and one by Paco Pena which I have had for years. But a few months ago I saw Jaun Martin play. Oddly, I had never seen a real flamenco play up close...I got hooked. I have a fair amount of fingerstyle experience so I am not starting all the way from scratch..but a long way to go none the less. I took my first lesson the other night and have bought Juan Martin's book and about $600 worth of other books, CDs and videos. So, I am off on the adventure and having a great time doing it.
I'm glad you liked my tunes, I will record some flamenco... as soon as I can count to 12

hamia -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 7 2004 16:36:57)


It was the Martin teach yourself flamenco book that got me started on Flamenco about 20 years ago. And I've just recently bought his 42 solo book+DVD which I think is pretty good. But so far have never bothered trying to understand compass. Just wanted to get those flamenco vibes out the guitar. Understanding compass is in fact still not my priority.. I'd rather acquire a good working technique and then head off to Spain for a few months and find a good teacher who will set me straight on rythm (or at least try to - I have a feeling that any teacher will have his work cut out getting me to stay in compass!)

Btw, check out the Graff-Martinez book for good advice on technique and rythmic forms. Volume two has some advice on picardo which is worth the price of both volumes I think. I've been practising his (used by PdL as well!) picardo technique for a few weeks and it is worth the pain (I think)!


Guest -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 7 2004 17:59:32)

Hi Pat,

Of course you passed the "I love handmade guitars test", which of course is not important. The important thing is to play and be happy.

I wish you the best with your flamenco experience. When you´ve reached some level, buy yourself a "encuentro" video. They are very good (and expensive)

This with the "handmade" has something to do with the way we use words. In the end they tend to loose their meaning, and then we cannot communicate anymore, and I´m very confused about the meaning of exactly this word. What does it mean? and where are the limits. Is a guitar build by a famous luthier a handmade guitar, even though some employee has made the neck, the bridge, bended the wood, inlayed the rosette, varnished the guitar???? Is the guitar made by a Spanish factory a handmade guitar? (They even call them artesan)
Well, obviously all guitars have had touch with hands during the process, but where is the limit?

I do not have a webpage yet. I´m new on the scene, But I´ll attach a lousy picture of my latest, a very wellplaying and sounding (and very handmade) negra.


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Ron.M -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 7 2004 20:49:58)

To be "cerebral" about this, to me a "handmade" guitar is a guitar that has captured the personality of the maker in the sound.
I have a Bernal medium range model that I bought from Jim (Opfer) last year.
This guy Bernal in my opinion is a serious guitar builder.
Whether the guitar was made by himself or family under his supervision, is not important.
Amir Haddad, the guitarist on the "Understanding Flamenco" Didactic CD asked me..
"What kind of guitar do you play yourself?"
I said "Bernal"
He said " Ah....de Jerez"
That said it for me!
To me it's a very "honest" guitar, quite basic, rather difficult to play actually, but I think it's mainly my fault, due to my familiarity with Madrid based Ramirez and other guitars, but the guitar is definitely better than me and my ability, and has that "dry" Jerez sound, which is getting better the more I play it.
I'm struggling to control it's potential, which I know in the hands of better players would be terrific.
Good guitars don't make you play any better, just inspire you.



Miguel de Maria -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 8 2004 22:38:16)

I think a good guitar is one that feels like butter. That when you play a scale on it, it feels smooth. Each note jumps out at you. When you strum a chord, you think "ah, this is what it's all about," like when you have a sip of great wine. I think a guitar should be easy to play. I have a Vicente Carillo which probably is a lot like your new Yamaha. It has a good sound, plays well, is solid--but I have to say it doesn't have a whole lot of personality. Also the fingerboard is a bit wide in the lower frets for my manitas. Not a great guitar, but a very good one.

pat_smith -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 17 2004 18:27:40)

Hello All
I got the Yamaha yesterday and so far I really like it. It has a very clean simple look and seems to be french polished. The neck is mahogany and the tuners and smooth and nice looking. The guitar is quite loud and very even from top to bottom. It has that "hollow" sort of flamenco sound and I can't seem to put it down for long.
all in all a really good world-class guitar.
also it came with a nice case...which I didn't expect...YAY!

stock photo-

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Miguel de Maria -> RE: Yamaha Flamenco (Aug. 17 2004 18:34:31)

Congratulations, Pat. It looks like the other Yamaha flamencos but I'm sure it's all it's advertised. Please keep us posted on new developments and everything else.

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