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aqualibguitars

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Jan. 28 2012
 

converting classical guitar to flamenco 

Hello friends.
im planning to convert my classical guitar to flamenco guitar
may i know the depth of the body and size of braces?
its engelman top with 2.5 mm thickness. should i thin it to 2 mm?

also can i use classical strings to this flamenco guitar
or should i buy flamenco strings?
waiting for ur advice
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 13:16:48
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

Do you have any idea how big a job this is? Do you have any experience building guitars?

This is not something a professional luthier would attempt since it's easier to just build a new guitar.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 14:16:24
 
aqualibguitars

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Jan. 28 2012
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to jshelton5040

Yes sir
im an amatuer luthier and built 8 guitars till yet.
so want to give a try
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 16:55:40
 
Ricardo

Posts: 15039
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

Only NEED to lower bridge (perhaps plane ebony if it equals too low action to just lower saddle and possible bridge material to below 10mm string to golpe plate)...and put golpe tap plate. Easy job if you don't have to plane any ebony.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 17:07:51
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

quote:

ORIGINAL: aqualibguitars

Yes sir
im an amatuer luthier and built 8 guitars till yet.
so want to give a try

Making the body thinner (narrowing the ribs) will almost certainly require adding wood to the foot, installing new linings, back braces and most likely a new back. To thin the top you'll need to remove the bridge which will entail making a new one that is the correct dimension for flamenco. After that you'll need to set the neck deflection so the setup is for flamenco, glue the new back, purfling and bindings then you can begin the refinishing. Why not just build a new guitar?

Of course you can do what Ricardo suggested but that's not what you asked.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 18:16:49
 
keith

Posts: 1108
Joined: Sep. 29 2009
From: Back in Boston

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

is this classical guitar of yours a factory guitar with a thick finish? a hand built guitar? if the former, you could remove the thick finish which would allow you to thin the woods on the top, sides and back--and the bridge if necessary/the neck angle allows for a lower bridge. once thinned you could then finish it with a thinner finish. if the latter you might want to consider the monetary repercussions of altering the make up, etc. if you are ok with the repercussions you could then proceed as if it were a factory guitar.

of note, a lot of folks shy away from re-finishing as it is difficult to get an even and level thickness. in addition, there is no guarantee the modified guitar will sound flamenco after the many hours of labor. i would agree with what john wrote: cutting up the guitar would be a herculean task and it would be better to build a flamenco from the ground up rather than try to modify a classical.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 19:45:42
 
estebanana

Posts: 9411
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

By the time you convert the classical to flamenco you could simply use the time to build a flamenco. Lot's of diminishing returns for the effort of rebuilding a classical. There's no sure way of knowing if you cut down the body and reconstruct it that it will do rasgueado and have the pulsation feel under the right hand.

Lowering the saddle and maybe leveling and recrowning the frets would get you closer. And then just glue or stick a golpeador to the face.

If you do decide to go forward it will teach you a lot, but the result will less than if you build a flamenco.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2014 23:43:57
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Only NEED to lower bridge (perhaps plane ebony if it equals too low action to just lower saddle and possible bridge material to below 10mm string to golpe plate)...and put golpe tap plate. Easy job if you don't have to plane any ebony.


Weren't Sabicas and our own Ramzi, in fact, playing classical guitars with such simple adjustments?

However, if I may, there is a somehow hallow sound that only a properly built flamenco guitar can give you, and particularly a Blanca, that makes the proposed adjustment a temporary remedy to mortify one's desire for better sound.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 1:55:04
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Only NEED to lower bridge (perhaps plane ebony if it equals too low action to just lower saddle and possible bridge material to below 10mm string to golpe plate)...and put golpe tap plate. Easy job if you don't have to plane any ebony.


Yes, thats what i would do and maybe, if the fingerboard is thick and the action at the bridge is high, I would take off the frets and plane the fingerboard in a slight angle (thinner near the soundhole than at the nut) and thereby making the setup at the bridge lower. (called poor mans neck angle asjustment)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 7:41:09
 
Flamingrae

 

Posts: 220
Joined: May 19 2009
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

Ok, so I'm right in the middle of one of these........

and yes, it's a labour of love and may never be as good as if I built from scratch but thats not why I'm doing it.

Won a guitar holiday about six years ago - great. Did I want to take a really good guitar away - no. Buy a cheap Admira classical over there, do course, bring guitar back......Passage of time and thinks I might just do a conversion, see what it's like inside and hopefully lighten up the instrument to give it a more flamenco feel. It's my souvenier and I've learnt a load doing it. I think it will sound better, look better and play better and I can give it a French polish. Whats not to like?

Right in the middle of doing proper bindings having lightened up bracing on .....wait for it ..... a plywood top ha! taken a great chunk of wood from the front top cross brace away, cut the body depth down and you know, it's beginning to sound really quite responsive in the tap.

It's the journey, not the arrival and my memories, learning curve and little piece of Spain from a particular time - thats all, and I bet it will sound more flamenco than when it was.

Go Aqualib.........and conquer.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 16:54:33
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3436
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to gj Michelob

quote:

ORIGINAL: gj Michelob

quote:

Only NEED to lower bridge (perhaps plane ebony if it equals too low action to just lower saddle and possible bridge material to below 10mm string to golpe plate)...and put golpe tap plate. Easy job if you don't have to plane any ebony.


Weren't Sabicas and our own Ramzi, in fact, playing classical guitars with such simple adjustments?



Early in his career Sabicas played an Esteso, of which I have no knowledge. However, Esteso and Santos Hernandez, his fellow Manuel Ramirez oficial were among the pioneers of the divergence of the modern flamenco guitar from its ancestors, the designs of Antonio Torres and Manuel Ramirez.

Richard Brune argues, convincingly I think, that 19th-century Spanish guitar design was more strongly influenced by flamenco tocaores than by classical players, since there were many more tocaores than classical players at the time.

http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/download/file.php?id=22751&mode=view

Of course Torres was strongly influenced by the classical players Julian Arcas and Francisco Tarrega. Players of both styles were known to frequent the shop of Manuel Ramirez.

By the time I saw Sabicas the first time in the early 1960s he was playing Barberos, and at least once an Arcangel Fernandez, by Barbero's disciple. These were both decidedly what we would nowadays call flamencos.

Later in his career Sabicas played a Ramirez blanca--and always seemed to have one or two available for sale. Except for the cedar top, this guitar is a very flamenco design. Jose Ramirez III comments in his book that he could introduce no innovations in his flamenco guitars, due to the conservatism of the tocaores. I have had a 1967 example of this model since it was new--it's definitely flamenco.

A different flamenco design, the tablao guitar of Manuel's older brother and teacher, Jose Ramirez I, didn't last much beyond the lifetime of its originator. It had a considerably larger plantilla than the Torres/Manuel Ramirez design, and a shallower body.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 18:32:54

C. Vega

 

Posts: 379
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan

A different flamenco design, the tablao guitar of Manuel's older brother and teacher, Jose Ramirez I, didn't last much beyond the lifetime of its originator. It had a considerably larger plantilla than the Torres/Manuel Ramirez design, and a shallower body.

RNJ


FWIW, a friend in Madrid told me that Ramirez has started making a somewhat updated version of the earlier tablao style guitar. The official "unveiling" will be at Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany in March. The Ramirez exhibit will reportedly focus on flamenco this year and they will have Victor Monge "Serranito" on hand on March, 15 performing and signing CDs.

There is a mention of the new guitar on their website but not much in the way of details.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 18:45:53
 
estebanana

Posts: 9411
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

I've booked the least expensive room at the Emperador Frankfurt in order to attend this gala event and paid a special fee to allow my dogs to stay in the room with me.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 19:04:07
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

Thank you Richard, a well written answer which, after all confirms the point that Flamenco needs a flamenco guitar...

But it is otherwise gender neutral, isn't it?

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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2014 20:29:43
 
aqualibguitars

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Jan. 28 2012
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

Friends thanks for ur consultations.
im ready to modify the guitar and need ur best wishes

also forgot to ask can i use old classical strings or buy new flamenco strings?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 6:07:34
 
keith

Posts: 1108
Joined: Sep. 29 2009
From: Back in Boston

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to gj Michelob

the two guitarists that come to mind who played a classical guitar for flamenco are mario escudero (hauser) and manolo sanlucar (ramirez).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 8:08:15
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1750
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

You can use both, what you like in sound.
The only thing you can consider is a higher tension string. To avoid too much buzzing and to play and sound a bit "punchier"

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 9:19:34
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to keith

quote:

ORIGINAL: keith

the two guitarists that come to mind who played a classical guitar for flamenco are mario escudero (hauser) and manolo sanlucar (ramirez).

Also Victor Monge (Serranito) who also plays a Ramirez.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 14:11:32
 
PeterLC

 

Posts: 24
Joined: Jan. 18 2014
From: Rotterdam, Netherlands

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to aqualibguitars

Specific flamenco-strings are mostly a marketing fad, in my (flamenco-wise limited) experience. I'm now using high tension Dynacore Titaniums, that make my modest yet all-solid blanca really shine. I always found these strings too bright on my classicals, but here they work great.

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4 guitars, the one that matters here: Prudencio Saez mod. 22, blanca - sounding better every day
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 14:39:50
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to keith

quote:

the two guitarists that come to mind who played a classical guitar for flamenco are mario escudero (hauser) and manolo sanlucar (ramirez).


Thank you, Keith, I thought there had to be a few who do just that.

and of course...


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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 15:37:44
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3436
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to gj Michelob

quote:

ORIGINAL: gj Michelob

But it is otherwise gender neutral, isn't it?


"La guitarra"….."blanca"….."negra"….

I even have a hard time writing "flamenco guitar" sometimes in English. But then, English doesn't have the utterly pervasive gender awareness of many other languages.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 19:14:09
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

English doesn't have the utterly pervasive gender awareness of many other languages.


So true. Among the most interesting is German. German not only has the masculine and feminine genders ("der" and "die"), it also has the neuter ("das"). And to make it even more confusing, it's not the actual person, place or thing that has gender in German, but the WORD that stands for the actual thing. That's why a “car” can be either das Auto (neuter) or der Wagen (masculine). One of the terms for "girl" is das Madchen, neuter when one would expect feminine.

And that's just the easy part of learning the German language. Mark Twain once observed: "It's easier to decline two drinks than one German adjective."

Back to the gender of the guitar. Here German has it right and keeps it feminine: die Gitarre.

Cheers,

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2014 21:58:19
 
pjn

 

Posts: 113
Joined: Mar. 23 2009
From: New York

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to keith

Escudero also played an early '70s Ramirez classical for a long time, don't remember the year but I do remember the guitar; Dennis Koster bought it from him and played it for a while.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 2 2014 1:59:43
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1693
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: converting classical guitar to f... (in reply to gj Michelob

When all I could see of his face was his chin, Ramzi looked like Tomatito to me, his posture and neck--and right hand technique. Right on, Ramzi.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 4 2014 20:51:34
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