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Andy Culpepper

Posts: 3028
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

I made a Conde-inspired blanca 

I recently completed another "experimental" flamenco guitar and wanted to share the results.

This came at the request of Victor who is an active professional musician in the New Jersey area. He is a junkie for good live sound and is always striving to achieve a good, pure, natural sound at his performances which are often in noisy venues, etc. He is very successful with these gigs and attributes a large part of his success to that tireless pursuit of good tone.

Anyway, he reached out to me with a desire to have a guitar that is responsive, but with very controlled bass frequencies so that he doesn't have to put as much effort into EQ to avoid feedback and undesirable boominess. This would make life a lot easier as far as gear, setup, etc.

This represented an interesting puzzle to me, but after thinking about it for a bit, I thought of the modern Conde designs with the big beefy parallel braces going up through the lower harmonic bar. Based on the work of Alan Carruth, I had the heuristic in my mind that adding a lot of long-grain stiffness to the top would tend to limit the bass response, which makes sense as I think of the modern Conde sound being very midrange/treble driven. I think it's compensated by the fact that the 5 fan braces are parallel and wider spaced, giving the bridge and top some breathing room so it's not completely choked off.

Anyway, long story short, I came up with this design that I think worked really, really well.





The trebles on this guitar are phenomenal I think, and it has a good amount of growl without being overly bassy...anyway Victor's review speaks for itself:

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10233583450751208&set=a.2396492954827

And here's a recording he made of it, hopefully these Facebook links work:
https://www.facebook.com/reel/3723659831216234



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

_____________________________

Andy Culpepper, luthier
http://www.andyculpepper.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2024 16:38:43
 
ernandez R

Posts: 761
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Nice.
The ribs look wide but could be the foto.

Where is the box volume compared to your standard flamenco?

Thinned my last two to to lower the volume/bass / holmeltz/ then stiffened up the top plate/ and double penetrating Perralel braces up through the lateral bars, some carbon bits inside the top plate a la secret sauce

Might have taken it too far but I just put the strings in the WRC toped one and stuffed in a box to take to the show. Sitting on the tarmac at Burbank/Hollywood airport now waiting for a gate to park at…

I’m really excited to get some hands on to compare my guitars with others…

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2024 17:16:44
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 3028
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to ernandez R

Double penetrating eh? Nice.

I think the Helmholtz on this one is between G and G# but it works.

Oh and I'm aware it needs more



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

_____________________________

Andy Culpepper, luthier
http://www.andyculpepper.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2024 3:04:25
 
elias

 

Posts: 40
Joined: Nov. 23 2023
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Those trebles really do sound amazing. It's always exciting to see your work, Andy.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2024 22:19:04
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 3028
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to elias

Thanks! I think I personally prefer a more mid-century style blanca sound, but he's quite over the moon with this guitar. I think I understand maybe a little bit more now of why so many professionals might like this kind of instrument.

_____________________________

Andy Culpepper, luthier
http://www.andyculpepper.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 23 2024 3:36:40
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Beautiful work, Andy. Looks and sounds great. Nothing wrong with the bass, either.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 27 2024 13:35:48
 
Joan Maher

 

Posts: 215
Joined: Dec. 3 2013
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Looks and sounds nice Andy

_____________________________

Gracias!


Joan Josep Maher
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 3 2024 12:39:56
 
Filip

 

Posts: 432
Joined: Apr. 23 2006
From: Paris

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Looks nice, congratulations!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2024 4:49:33
 
Ricardo

Posts: 15032
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

quote:

Based on the work of Alan Carruth, I had the heuristic in my mind that adding a lot of long-grain stiffness to the top would tend to limit the bass response, which makes sense as I think of the modern Conde sound being very midrange/treble driven. I think it's compensated by the fact that the 5 fan braces are parallel and wider spaced, giving the bridge and top some breathing room so it's not completely choked off.


I don’t know Carruth, but was wondering if you feel the brace pattern is really “the thing” in the end, for that midrange balance? The old conde also used the parallel sticks, the difference of the modern design is only those few inches that book end the soundhole. I find the old and new condes extremely similar in tone, despite what some people claim. The other thing is, it is obvious with condes that despite the same bracing, the Blanca and negra respond very differently (negra being less balanced, with more bass and treb than mid range, yet still not like a classical guitar).

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 7 2024 14:11:25
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1140
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

That bracing pattern was typical of the modern Conde guitars made from 1989 on in the Felipe V shop. Neither Mariano nor Felipe use it anymore nowadays.
To be clear, that is not even a bracing pattern used by Domingo Esteso nor a bracing pattern commonly used in the best years of the Faustino era.
A similar one (but with the 2 protuding braces not parallel and without closing bars) was used at times in the late seventies, often for classical guitars.
Parallel bracing was used regularly but it wasn't the main one.

The main one is here in the picture attached, with some variations in the spacing between the central braces. Actually the 76 Conde used regularly by Paco is quite similar, but with the 3 central braces more close to each other.

The pattern used by Andy is great for top stiffness but it's not ideal for mass production, as it work best with low density /low longitudinal stiffnes ratio spruce imho.

A bracing pattern in itself is a poor info without discussing of top stiffness/thickness and plantilla.



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Attachment (1)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2024 13:34:35
 
Ricardo

Posts: 15032
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Echi

quote:

Actually the 76 Conde used regularly by Paco is quite similar, but with the 3 central braces more close to each other.


Paco used a 75. Would like to see evidence of the brace pattern in that guitar.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2024 18:28:44
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1140
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

It’s well documented. Mariano, Carrillo, Ricardo Sanchis and Johannes Inhoffer took measurements of that guitar in different moments. I saw the pictures.
The current Felipe Conde re-dition (both the spruce and redwood versions) follow precisely the same plantilla and bracing pattern. Some pictures are available in his instagram page
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 8 2024 23:44:11
 
orsonw

Posts: 1971
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Paco used a 75. Would like to see evidence of the brace pattern in that guitar.


Maybe trying asking Felipe Conde Crespo next time you're in Madrid. Seems like he has a few templates. From 39:40 you can catch a glimpse of one or two e.g. a 1974 of Paco de Lucia.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 11 2024 17:50:36
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1140
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I can’t post the original pics as I don’t have them with me right now but really there’s no secret here. It’s just an ordinary Conde fan bracing, like the one of the picture I posted above, but the 3 central struts are a little closer to each other. The plantilla of the guitar of Paco is with tight waist.
The large plantilla is the one I for one prefer the most.
A peculiarity of the old Conde bracing patterns are the very long closing bars wich discipline in a specific way the bridge movement.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2024 11:00:00
 
Ricardo

Posts: 15032
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

I can’t post the original pics as I don’t have them with me right now but really there’s no secret here. It’s just an ordinary Conde fan bracing, like the one of the picture I posted above, but the 3 central struts are a little closer to each other. The plantilla of the guitar of Paco is with tight waist.
The large plantilla is the one I for one prefer the most.
A peculiarity of the old Conde bracing patterns are the very long closing bars wich discipline in a specific way the bridge movement.


The one pictured above has 7 fans and 2 huge long ones at the bottom, and a tie block I can’t discern/recognize. My guitar and Brune’s are the same, only 5 and parallel sticks (67,73) and two opposed outer ones pointing central, and others I have seen (70s) use this pattern. See photo of the 67 below. I have only seen 2 with other style bracing.
https://www.rebrune.com/1967-faustino-conde/

And the plantilla above shown by crespo is a 1974, and echi claims a 1976 has the plantilla. The guitar I want to know about is a 1975, so maybe we are talking about different guitars? Crespo clearly has lots of variation in his templates.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2024 14:16:55
 
yourwhathurts69

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Sep. 16 2009
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Ricardo

Personally, I've only seen Condes from the 70s with the pattern as posted by Echi (i.e., 7 fans and 2 huge long ones at the bottom). I have photos of a 1970 guitar with the same pattern, and my own personal 1973 guitar has the same pattern as well (from what I remember). I'm traveling for a few weeks, but when I get home, I'll try to remember to get a photo of my '73 to confirm.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2024 14:48:02
 
orsonw

Posts: 1971
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

My guitar and Brune’s are the same, only 5 and parallel sticks (67,73) and two opposed outer ones pointing central, and others I have seen (70s) use this pattern. See photo of the 67 below. I have only seen 2 with other style bracing.
https://www.rebrune.com/1967-faustino-conde/


I have a 1971 that also has the same pattern as Brune's 1967.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2024 20:48:25
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1140
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

74, 75, 76… We are speaking of the same guitar used by Paco.
Th Same plantilla kept being used in different years.
Felipe Conde calls “ 74 replica” the copy of the guitar used by Paco (same plantilla, woods and rosette) He couldn't recall the name of Paco as when Paco was alive he had clearly took distance from the Conde shop of Calle Felipe V, claiming his name could be quoted just by Juliana Conde out of his long time friendship with Faustino.
That kind of fan bracing and plantilla was originally used by Esteso.
The 5 + 2 struts is instead more recent: it’s a bracing pattern drawn by Faustino after Barbero and was also used on some blancas. The more typical bracing pattern used by the Conde is the fan bracing here above though
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2024 23:53:14
 
orsonw

Posts: 1971
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Echi

quote:

74, 75, 76… We are speaking of the same guitar used by Paco.
Th Same plantilla kept being used in different years.
Felipe Conde calls “ 74 replica” the copy of the guitar used by Paco (same plantilla, woods and rosette) He couldn't recall the name of Paco as when Paco was alive he had clearly took distance from the Conde shop of Calle Felipe V, claiming his name could be quoted just by Juliana Conde out of his long time friendship with Faustino.


As well as a replica of Paco's 1975 often used concert guitar, they do also make a replica of another of Paco's guitars from 1974. As you say they do not name Paco in their official marketing, but it's no secret these are copies of Paco's guitars.

https://www.flamencoguitarsforsale.net/en/50-anniversary-felipe-conde-reed-sobrinos-de-domingo-esteso-1974/


quote:

The 5 + 2 struts is instead more recent: it’s a bracing pattern drawn by Faustino after Barbero and was also used on some blancas.
Thanks for the information.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 13 2024 8:41:59
 
Ricardo

Posts: 15032
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to orsonw

quote:

ORIGINAL: orsonw

quote:

74, 75, 76… We are speaking of the same guitar used by Paco.
Th Same plantilla kept being used in different years.
Felipe Conde calls “ 74 replica” the copy of the guitar used by Paco (same plantilla, woods and rosette) He couldn't recall the name of Paco as when Paco was alive he had clearly took distance from the Conde shop of Calle Felipe V, claiming his name could be quoted just by Juliana Conde out of his long time friendship with Faustino.


As well as a replica of Paco's 1975 often used concert guitar, they do also make a replica of another of Paco's guitars from 1974. As you say they do not name Paco in their official marketing, but it's no secret these are copies of Paco's guitars.

https://www.flamencoguitarsforsale.net/en/50-anniversary-felipe-conde-reed-sobrinos-de-domingo-esteso-1974/


quote:

The 5 + 2 struts is instead more recent: it’s a bracing pattern drawn by Faustino after Barbero and was also used on some blancas.
Thanks for the information.


Thanks for clearing that up. Cedar top, 1974, different guitar totally. You dont’ brace it the same as spruce far as I understand, cedar is braced heavier, no?. When the heck did Paco ever use the guitar you see him with under that tree??? Never seen him on stage or tv with it, however, it looks (low res photos there) suspiciously similar to the 1980 sold already. Is the story referring to an unseen guitar, or it is supposed to be that red one paco has? The copy doesn’t look at all like it, looks like Manuel Adalid LOL!!! Anyway, I still find it amusing the GOOD condes I have played have the Brune bracing ,and you guys are saying those are the minority guitars historically? It is all quite curious to me.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 13 2024 16:30:57
 
yourwhathurts69

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Sep. 16 2009
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

According to the Conde website, they offer a 1975 model which is an exact replica of Paco's guitar.

https://condehermanos.com/guitarras/ano-1975/

At first glance, it appears the 1974 model offers a cedar/sequoia soundboard, and the 1975 model offers a spruce soundboard.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 13 2024 17:16:27
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1140
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

That 74 replica golden label is the very same guitar with a sequoia top, Brazilian back and sides and Scheller tuners. A model for people with money basically.
It’s just silly marketing with Solera Flamenca as Madinter (a wood retailer based in Madrid) 3 years ago used to sell a stock of 200 sets of aged redwood. Some were bought by Conde e Solera.
Redwood can be braced exactly as spruce.
Once again that parallel bracing was never a main one for Conde nor something you should look for to spot a”good” Conde. It’s just a wrong assumption. The Conde owned by Bruné is from their best output time, no matter the bracing (and they are many).
The chances to get a very good one from those years is very high compared to guitars made by the brand from 89 on. At least this is my experience.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 14 2024 7:02:20
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 3028
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: I made a Conde-inspired blanca (in reply to Andy Culpepper

To be clear this is not a Conde copy but I borrowed an idea that I have seen first hand on Conde primeras from the 2000s, namely the very beefy 2nd and 4th braces that extend up through the lower harmonic bar.

They may not look that big but they're 6 mm high as opposed to the flatter ones at 4 mm, and when you consider that stiffness goes up as a cube of thickness, that's pretty significant.

Of course it's all part of an ecosystem of top thickness, bridge weight, bracing pattern, etc. but I found that tweaking on that variable and also keeping the bridge nice and light, produced the effect I was going for.

_____________________________

Andy Culpepper, luthier
http://www.andyculpepper.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2024 17:25:42
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