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Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

classical and flamenco 

I know some of the luthiers here make both classical and flamenco guitars. I wonder if anyone could say how the two cousins are different in their construction and desired sound qualities, and how these are achieved? Not asking for the keys to the kingdom, but just generalities.

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Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 15:49:22
 
theblackcat

 

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Joined: Feb. 2 2010
From: Istanbul

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Psts: 2652

Seriously?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 18:36:04
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

From: Istanbul

Seriously?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 18:43:06
 
theblackcat

 

Posts: 57
Joined: Feb. 2 2010
From: Istanbul

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Leñador

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lenador

From: Istanbul

Seriously?

Definitely
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 18:47:27
 
daffeey

Posts: 115
Joined: May 20 2012
 

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to theblackcat

Are you sure?

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from the city of angels
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 18:52:54
 
keith

Posts: 1108
Joined: Sep. 29 2009
From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

one resource from sr. charles vega

http://www.acguitar.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=7328

another resource--check out david george's book, the flamenco guitar.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Flamenco-Guitar-David-George/dp/B000KKAW08
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 19:09:29
 
Blair Russell

 

Posts: 51
Joined: Sep. 6 2012
From: Bristol

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Not going to be too specific but generally you want the string height at the bridge to be lower for a flamenco, as well as a lower action. This usually is done by having a different neck angle than a classical.

For a classical guitars the soundboard is thicker in the center of the lower bout. Lots of people use taller and narrower braces for classicals, but I use low and wide braces (like my flamenco guitars). You want the classical to sustain, but the flamenco not so much.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 20:12:01
 
Sean

Posts: 672
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From: Canada

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Flamenco's have lighter weight bridges, and lower string heights; everything else pretty much overlaps.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 20:24:54
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to theblackcat

quote:

Posts: 32
Joined: Feb. 2 2010
From: Istanbul




....Or Constantinople?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 20:57:46
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

....Or Constantinople?


Or Byzantium!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 21:04:19
 
estebanana

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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Seriously Lennie, it's nobodies business but the Turks.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2013 22:29:43
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to estebanana

Thanks for the replies.

The post was actually inspired by something Stephen wrote, that a flamenco is overdriven in some areas and underdriven in others (paraphrasing). It's a fascinating idea, as if the luthier had a set of switches that he could use to adjust the tone.

I had been playing my blanca (Shelton-Farretta) for classical, and I found that when I moved my hand closer to the bridge, that the sound really just popped out! And I wondered if that was because flamencos are supposed to be played with the hand near the bridge, and if in classicals, the sound if I played closer to the soundhole. I play a lot of classical nowadays, but I don't have a proper classical guitar, just use a negra.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 7 2013 18:13:55
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3289
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Hello Miguel,

Traditionally, I think most flamenco guitarists played closer to the bridge than over the sound hole. That may not be the case so much today, though, with the more modern "fusion" style. Ricardo could probably answer your question better, regarding whether or not that is still the case today.

Cheers,

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 7 2013 18:26:01
 
Ramon Amira

 

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From: New York City

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Seriously Lennie, it's nobodies business but the Turks.


Hey Stephen - you're dating yourself with that one. Bet not too many people on here got it.

Ramon

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Classical and flamenco guitars from Spain Ramon Amira Guitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2013 18:51:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Ramon Amira

quote:

Hey Stephen - you're dating yourself with that one. Bet not too many people on here got it.


There was a pop band in the 1990's that covered the tune and it played on the radio...

I played in a 'band' last year and we covered the tune too. I don't have time to play with them any more, they are called Skimpy Portions ~ two ukuleles, two singers, one mandolin and a cello.

Still, even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2013 20:44:14
 
Leñador

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From: Los Angeles

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Yeah, I know it from they might be giants, not my cup of stout but a talented band none the less.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2013 21:16:10
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

I had been playing my blanca (Shelton-Farretta) for classical, and I found that when I moved my hand closer to the bridge, that the sound really just popped out! And I wondered if that was because flamencos are supposed to be played with the hand near the bridge, and if in classicals, the sound if I played closer to the soundhole. I play a lot of classical nowadays, but I don't have a proper classical guitar, just use a negra.




Miguel, here you hit a very important point. We the builders build to make the players happy. Look at the right hand tecnique of a flamenco and a classical.

The flamenco is flat, with short, hard movements of the hand. That produces this "pop out flamenco sound". This is what the players want.
At the same time, a flamenco guitar must have the capacity of making fast, thick, fat sounding rasguados. Almost an overdriven sound or slightly distorted sound.
The typical classical tecnique is rounder and trying to make a fuller rounder sound. Also classical players tend to look much more for dynamics in the forte/piano registers and they look for a greater variaty of colors in the sound. Its not enough to have machinegun picados, snappy rasgueados and a mezzoforte arpeggio.

When playing classical on a flamenco, very often it sound very pretty, but with lacks of dynamics and volume. The flamenco guitar is built to respond to a much more agressive right hand.
When playing flamenco on a big classical with a lot of tension in the bracing, the rasgueados sounds horribly clean. and you cannot find this "pop out" sound sweet spot.

There are some Spanish Classical designs which are quite capable of doing flamenco. The original Torres 7 fan design and its clone, the Hauser, are bot pretty fast and not to tense classicals and you can make them sound almost flamenco if they have a flamenco setup.

Also, if you accept play flamenco a little bit closer to the soundhole, and accept that your rasguados sound a little bit cleaner, you can chose a builder who knows how to make a hybrid guitar. A hybrid can be many things. It can be closer to a flamenco or closer to a classical or inbetween.

I´m not going to go into the way that is been done. It´ll be like writing a long essay, but it has to do with bridge weight, angle of braces and tension in the bracing.

I hope this helps a little bit.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2013 7:46:23
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria

I know some of the luthiers here make both classical and flamenco guitars. I wonder if anyone could say how the two cousins are different in their construction and desired sound qualities, and how these are achieved? Not asking for the keys to the kingdom, but just generalities.

We use the same plantilla for both, the same top thickness (1.8-2 mm) and the same amount of dome (3 mm). The classic has a deeper body, more deflection in the neck, a taller bridge and 7 fan braces which are asymmetric. The flamencos have 5 fan braces which are parallel. The classics have more bass, brilliant trebles and much more sustain.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2013 14:39:25
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to jshelton5040

Anders, thanks really cool to hear how you think about these things and how you tweak those factors. The "rasgueados on a classical" sound really is a terrible thing, isn't it?

John, it sounds like such small things, but I bet it makes a big difference!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2013 17:37:25
 
HolyEvil

Posts: 1239
Joined: Nov. 6 2008
From: Sydney, Australia

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to jshelton5040

quote:

ORIGINAL: jshelton5040

The flamencos have 5 fan braces which are parallel.


question to clarify, do you mean the flamenco have fan braces which are symetrically fanned out? fanned out like /|\ where it's more or less equally fanning out or parallel like ||?

is there much difference in bracing fan as oppose to parallel?

thanks mate!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2013 21:54:07
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I agree with what John and Anders said, but I'll add there are no rules.

I used to think flamenco guitars meant five fans and classical guitars meant seven fans or lattice...until I saw a classical guitar with five fans and a flamenco by Manuel de la Chica with nine fans. Or Conde's with seven fans not parallel.

You can generalize about brace schemes and how they function, but when you start looking under the hood of a large cross section of guitars by different makers you see bizarre contradictions. Then after a while the contradictions cease to be bizarre. It is what it is, and it sounds how it sounds.

If you go around with the preconceived idea that flamenco guitars should have this or that arrangement of braces forget it. Sure the basics are the basics, but you'll find a lot of brace pattern variation and still guitars that sound flamenco.

It's more complex than boiling it down to five and seven. It's more about where you put the braces in relation to how stiff or not stiff the top is than how many braces.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2013 22:37:05
 
jshelton5040

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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to HolyEvil

quote:

ORIGINAL: HolyEvil

question to clarify, do you mean the flamenco have fan braces which are symetrically fanned out? fanned out like /|\ where it's more or less equally fanning out or parallel like ||?

is there much difference in bracing fan as oppose to parallel?

Parallel as in lined up with the grain of the topwood...no fan. It's nothing original, Ramirez and lots of other makers use the same pattern. Stephan is correct that the number and placement of the top bracing is full of variations. Top thickness and brace stiffness are the important factors; however as a VERY general rule of thumb the more parallel braces seem to produce a little more percussion and less sustain.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2013 23:01:50
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13243
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

they are the same pretty much. The main reason cypress is prefered by flamenco players is because they play fast and need a clear sounding guitar. More mids, less bass=more balance and clear rhythm. volume is often sacrificed (perceived volume) by having a less bassy guitar. Some flamenco players like bassy guitars and just lower action for more snap and buzz, but it's still just a classical guitar IMO if the wood is not cypress. Some builders build (accidentally) very bassy cypress guitars ....and I don't get what that is about unless the makers just don't get it? On rare occasion they over do it and make anemic sounding guitars with zero bass, but i think that is an accident too. Flamenco negras are just classical guitars with special bridge and set up so it can be low but not insanely buzzy. I have seem some fairly high bridges that still work for flamenco, only the player will get tough skin above the right hand nails from the excessive spacing between soundboard and strings, but the sound can still be flamenco on a classical set up.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 10 2013 16:38:44
 
jshelton5040

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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
Flamenco negras are just classical guitars with special bridge and set up so it can be low but not insanely buzzy.

This statement is true of some negras (i.e. Ramirez) but certainly not all. For instance our negras have shallow bodies like a blanca. They sound and play very much like blancas which has lead to my belief that the wood used for the back and sides has minimal effect on the sound.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 10 2013 17:08:42
 
HolyEvil

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From: Sydney, Australia

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to jshelton5040

quote:

ORIGINAL: jshelton5040

This statement is true of some negras (i.e. Ramirez) but certainly not all. For instance our negras have shallow bodies like a blanca. They sound and play very much like blancas which has lead to my belief that the wood used for the back and sides has minimal effect on the sound.


i agree.. classical guitars tend to have this really bassy rounder mellower sound when i play it. On my negra, the sound slightly rounder than a blanca but not as round as a classical, and my teachers tell me the sound is very flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 10 2013 22:40:01
 
Miguel de Maria

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Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

Richard, that is a good way to reduce it to its essence, and makes sense.

When I pick up my negra after my blanca, I do perceive it to be louder--in the trebles! My blanca has very powerful basses, but not a bassy sound. Juan Huipe makes a blanca that has very powerful trebles, although I doubt it's made of Spanish cypress.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2013 1:17:18
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Flamenco negras are just classical guitars with special bridge and set up so it can be low but not insanely buzzy.


Hmmmm Ricardo. . I dont agree at all. 2 different beasts that work differently.

What you describe is what I call a hybrid or cross over guitar. And as I wrote, this can be tweaked to be closer to a classical or to a flamenco. But a flamenco negra is not the same.

Since 90% of classicals and flamenca negras are made with some kind of rosewood, they will always share some sound characteristics. They will both have a rosewood voice. But that doesnt mean they both sound classical. If it was so, then classicals made with maple or other tonewoods wouldnt sound classical and thats kind of absurd.
Most negras compared to blancas have more body, bass and clearer trebles just like classicals, but they work differently, have a different attack, decay and sustain than classical guitars and this because they are braced differently. They also have a different feel in the right hand.

Some older style spanish classicals are small and lightly braced and come closer to a modern negra, some big body classicals with more tension in the bracing have absolutely nothing to do with a negra. The difference between classicals like Torres, Smallmann lattice and some double top is very big. Its more or less impossible to generalize on this subject. Just like you cant compare and generalize a Martin 0 with a Jumbo and talk about general stellstring guitars. The guitar world is much more conplex than this.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2013 7:45:52
 
Miguel de Maria

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Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders, would you say there is more variation within a class, or between classes?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2013 15:30:11
 
Ricardo

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Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anders Eliasson

quote:

Flamenco negras are just classical guitars with special bridge and set up so it can be low but not insanely buzzy.


Hmmmm Ricardo. . I dont agree at all. 2 different beasts that work differently.

What you describe is what I call a hybrid or cross over guitar. And as I wrote, this can be tweaked to be closer to a classical or to a flamenco. But a flamenco negra is not the same.

Since 90% of classicals and flamenca negras are made with some kind of rosewood, they will always share some sound characteristics. They will both have a rosewood voice. But that doesnt mean they both sound classical. If it was so, then classicals made with maple or other tonewoods wouldnt sound classical and thats kind of absurd.
Most negras compared to blancas have more body, bass and clearer trebles just like classicals, but they work differently, have a different attack, decay and sustain than classical guitars and this because they are braced differently. They also have a different feel in the right hand.

Some older style spanish classicals are small and lightly braced and come closer to a modern negra, some big body classicals with more tension in the bracing have absolutely nothing to do with a negra. The difference between classicals like Torres, Smallmann lattice and some double top is very big. Its more or less impossible to generalize on this subject. Just like you cant compare and generalize a Martin 0 with a Jumbo and talk about general stellstring guitars. The guitar world is much more conplex than this.


yes I know, I generalized in hopes to get some specifics.


But for sure bridge details make a huge impact on the playing and the resultant "flamenco" sound. I love this comparison. Same player on a classical guitar with a tap plate, vs a proper flamenco. Couple of the same falsetas to compare:

vs


My opinion are results are equally flamenco though different thanks to bridge mainly.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2013 17:10:00
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: classical and flamenco (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Why is that a classical guitar?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 11 2013 18:15:17
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