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The quest begins: three intermediate priced guitars tried   You are logged in as Guest
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Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

The quest begins: three intermediate... 

At last I managed to get to a shop with some flamenco guitars. I spent last Friday hanging out at the Spanish Guitar Centre in Bristol.

On the menu in my price range (up to 700 or 800 quid) were the following guitars:

Burguet 2F
Azahar 132F
Cuenca 70F

Here are my thoughts on these guitars:

Cuenca 70F
Nicely made guitar, but like a Cuenca I had previously tried out, it sounded like a classical guitar with good note definition. A tad heavy to. Definitely not what I am looking for, so this was quickly dispensed with.

Azahar 132F
First (visible) impressions were not that good - the guitar had the finish and build quality of a guitar costing a hundred pounds or so. The finish on the body was a nasty, acid yellow varnish which IMO clashed with the colour of the neck. Varnishing on the side of the neck was not straight near the fingerboard edge, and the rosewod fingerboard was not great quality - uneven in places with gaps at the end of the first fret next the nut.

The guitar badly needed a setup - the nut certainly needed planing down and the saddle looked a little high too.

It did sound really rather good, a nice bright, raspy bite, lots of volume and it responded well. When pushed hard, it didn't seem to offer much more.

I kept picking it up, though, as I did like its sound, but in the this price range I expect a better finish, and a better set-up.

Last up was the Burguet. This is a really nice guitar to play. Lovely 'play-me' neck on it, and a very low fast action. Slightly too low, actually, as it was very buzzy on the basses just about everywhere. Lovely finish and build quality - it looks expensive - and the label inside was signed (presumably by Amalio?). Interesting choice of varnish - its kind of a maple colour, and not the usual yellow/orange.

The guitar body was slightly thinner when compared to the others - something I see Dave Billyboy thought too (in the archive). I also felt it was a little quieter than the other guitars, but it was certainly responsive and when played hard, responded well and seemed to have loads more to offer. Very good balance across the strings (my ras have never sounded so good), and a nice flamenco tone, maybe not quite as raspy as I want, but then I am probably going to have to compromise.

All in all, a very nice guitar. I didn't buy it as I want to try out as many as possible first, but I haven't ruled it out.

The best thing about the day was finally hearing my rasgueado on flamenco guitars, having been used to classical guitars for so long. Wow! What a difference. So much better, clearer, easier to do, sounded much more like that snare drum sound. It just makes the waiting even worse!

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2004 11:06:22
Guest

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hola

Nowadays a good guitar costs 2000 euros. Plan your holiday in Spain, perhaps even in Valencia, and buy a guitar which will be of your lifetime, unless you aspire to Gerundino or Reyes.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2004 14:38:42
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Guest

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sean
Nowadays a good guitar costs 2000 euros. Plan your holiday in Spain,


H Sean.

The trouble is, thats over £1300 - about twice what I was planning to spend. I started off wanting to spend abut £500 and I've already upped it by a couple of hundred quid. I mean, you can go on forever wanting a better guitar, but if my budget keeps rising and rising, I'll just never get one.

Besides, for that kind of money I could get a second hand luthier/hand made guitar here in the UK, there's a currently an Antonio Raya Parda for £1200 on Loot.com, for example.

Might sound like a dumb question, but are there guitars readily available in Spain? Someone here was saying that they went searching for a guitar in some of the main cities in Andalucia but found that you had basically had to place an order for the good stuff.

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2004 15:07:52
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

quote:

The best thing about the day was finally hearing my rasgueado on flamenco guitars, having been used to classical guitars for so long. Wow! What a difference. So much better, clearer, easier to do, sounded much more like that snare drum sound. It just makes the waiting even worse!


Cool, isn't it?

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2004 18:13:50
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

quote:

Might sound like a dumb question, but are there guitars readily available in Spain? Someone here was saying that they went searching for a guitar in some of the main cities in Andalucia but found that you had basically had to place an order for the good stuff


Not on your budget - you are in "factory" or "apprentice" guitar land. I would just buy a new Bernal Amigo or secondhand Bernal Prodigio and be done with it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2004 18:16:29
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Escribano

quote:

ORIGINAL: Simon
Not on your budget - you are in "factory" or "apprentice" guitar land. I would just buy a new Bernal Amigo or secondhand Bernal Prodigio and be done with it.


I can afford a brand new Prodigio, from Stephen Hill, but its a negra and want a blanca.

Who else sells them, Simon?


Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2004 12:17:40
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

quote:

Who else sells them, Simon?


There are a lot around, but shops tend to be expensive. Melchor could get you a deal in Jerez

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2004 15:38:00
Guest

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Or I can find you a NICE factory made blanca for 550 Euros in Granada

Anders
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2004 19:29:07
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Guest

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anders

Or I can find you a NICE factory made blanca for 550 Euros in Granada

Anders


Wow thats very cheap Anders - about 360 UK pounds - half my budget.

What kind of spec are we talking about here?

I'm after solid all round, spruce/cypress, ebony fretboard, probably gold plated machines.

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 9:46:39
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

quote:

gold plated

You can always swap better tuners later - they usually come with pretty cheap ones.

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 11:51:36
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hi Jon,

You've got to stop torturing yourself over this one.

I don't think you'll be happy to receive just any factory guitar that you buy because it's from Spain and it's cheep. I think this'll land you in trouble and your cash will be gone.

I had a Bernal that Ron M bought. A very good instrument at a very good price. Simon has one too. These are the real thing and nice to play.
If I were you, I'd check out Ron and Simon's view and if you're convinced, buy direct from Bernal:

www.valerianobernal.com/ing/flamenco.html

I'd suggest 'Maestro' at 1,392 Euros.
Having said that, any model down to the 'Prodigio' at 580 Euros is a great buy. The Prodigio from memory, has a rosewood fingerboard that might put you off but believe me it's great to play, it has nice balance due to light neck and the cedar top gives a big sound for the price.

I have a pal in Newcastle who used to import them from Bernal via Mike Jingle and I got to try them out.

But Jon, this is JMO and you've got to satisfy yourself.

Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2004 16:21:00
Guest

[Deleted] (in reply to Jim Opfer

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2004 17:03:44
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Guest

Andy,
63mm at the 12th.


Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2004 20:13:12
Guest

[Deleted] (in reply to Ron.M

[Deleted by Admins]
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2004 23:21:56
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Guest

Andy,

Sounds like there's something wrong there, sorry to hear that.

I know you are probably refering to Ricardo but I once had a Vicente Sanchis that I liked a lot. I gave it to my friend who still has it. I still enjoy a shot on it every now and then, although I realise from my other guitars that it has limitations.

Ron's Bernal is very responsive with big sound and very flamenco.

Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 29 2004 8:28:56
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Jon,

Just one other thought.
Perhaps you should contact Miles Roberts through his web site at:

www.kentguitarclassics.com/index.asp

Miles is sound and would be well placed to know what if anything good is for sale not too far from you.

The De Voe was my pal Mike Holmes' guitar and he has asked Miles to sell it for him.

Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 29 2004 15:15:11
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jim Opfer

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim Opfer

Jon,

Just one other thought.
Perhaps you should contact Miles Roberts through his web site at:

www.kentguitarclassics.com/index.asp


Thanks for the contact, I've added it to my list of dealers to keep an eye on.

I'll be up in London in a few weeks and there are a couple of 2nd hand Ricardo Sanchis 2Afs I want to look at.

I am also waiting for Adrian at the Stafford Guitar Centre to get some more Cashimiras in, they look VERY interesting for the money.

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 29 2004 15:31:47
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Jon,

Good luck and lets know how it goes.

Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 30 2004 9:00:28
Guest

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Escribano

The best deal on Valeriano guitars is at his taller/factory in Algodones. He is half retired, but his son makes top class guitars at top prices, while family and workers make the rest. The guitars exported are special factory jobs, worth little money after all costs of exporting and middlemen are considered.

It is no coincidence that the majority of young players in Jerez and the great majority of carnaval players in Cadiz play the cheaper models of Valeriano. They are the best value. Meanwhile, a top player such as Fernando Moreno is happy with the top model.

I could get you a great 1986 Primera Especial, signed by Valeriano, for 2000 euros. A new one probably costs 5000 nowadays.

Come to Spain and visit Algodones, Granada or Valencia.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 2 2004 15:21:15
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Guest

Sean,
Can you varify, Top model VB guitars have a red wax seal stamped over the label?
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2004 17:30:46
Guest

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jim Opfer

Jim

Ways of verifying guitars change: even signatures are suspect. I would trust only my ears and would never pay an outrageous price. And look at the serial number assigning on factory guitars like Fender and Gibson.

The 1986 I was referring to is simply signed.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 4 2004 12:15:46
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Guest

Hi Sean,

The one I had was signed but I noticed on this link that the Bernal they had for sale has a wax seal accross the lable.
Just wondered?

www.classicguitar.com/


Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 4 2004 17:35:43
 
vivace

 

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep. 22 2004
 

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

I've just bought an Azahar 132F and was a bit surprised by your comments. I'm only getting started with Flamenco but the build quality and general finish of the guitar look good too me. You mention the fingerboard being rosewood - my 132 has an ebony board which if you read the 132 spec is standard. I wonder if you were playing a 131 which does have a rosewood board and is a lower priced instrument.

Incidentally I paid about 250 from a german dealer for my new 132 which is a much better price than the 650 quoted by the guys in Bristol ! Unfortunately the last one he had.

cheers

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 22 2004 20:59:29
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to vivace

quote:

ORIGINAL: vivace
I've just bought an Azahar 132F and was a bit surprised by your comments. I'm only getting started with Flamenco but the build quality and general finish of the guitar look good too me.


As long as you are happy with your guitar, that is the important thing. One thing that really struck me when I went round trying guitars was the lack of consistency. I tried out a Burguet which was lovely, yet the same model in another shop felt like a guitar that should have been several hundred pounds cheaper

BTW, welcome to the forum, Rob.

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 23 2004 10:37:09
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3524
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Jon,
I have an idea. If you're really nice to Kate and maybe send her a regalo de Navidad or something, maybe she'll ask Emilio to grab a nice cheapie in Granada for you. Surely he knows what to look for...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2004 18:39:25
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

Jon,
I have an idea. If you're really nice to Kate and maybe send her a regalo de Navidad or something, maybe she'll ask Emilio to grab a nice cheapie in Granada for you. Surely he knows what to look for...

That's where I beg to differ Mike, if I may say so.
I think *any* good guitar is a good guitar really.
If any *special* guitar is out there amongst the best guitars, then it's only personal taste in my opinion.
Much like you may fancy a girl mucho, although her friend may be more popular amongst the guys.
But a guitar made with love and care is something to be valued in this world.
I now play a much cheaper guitar (Bernal) than my Madrid bought Ramirez.
But, it's like I can feel the wood through the notes.
A guitar constructed with mucho amor y afición IMO.

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2004 20:57:31
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3524
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

Ron, perhaps, perhaps. If I were an inexperienced flamenco (hey, actually I am!), I would probably trust a professional's judgement on what a good flamenco guitar is, though. There are some things about a guitar that you won't find out until you reach a certain level. I know nothing about classical guitars, so if I were trying to buy one I would possibly miss out on the characteristics of a good one. Of course, I suppose at that point you could just get another guitar, right? To me this is a similiar situation to the infamous F-T "What Kind of Guitar Should I Get, the Yahama or the Lucida Picado?" thread... My advice to those people, would be neither! These beginners do not have the knowledge to correctly choose a guitar, thus it is hit or miss. I have bought a lot of guitars that I later grew to hate! Now Jon is an excellent player and knows a thing or two about guitars, so that's different. I can play a little too, but I would rather have a pro pick one out for me rather than hope my local Guitar Center or Guitar and Keyboard City is going to be visited by an Andalucian Stork with a perfect guitar in it!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2004 21:37:01
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

What Kind of Guitar Should I Get,

Exactly, Mike....the one that makes you play like Paco de Lucia.
(Hmmm...sorry, but there's a bit more that goes into it than that!)


Nuff Sed!

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2004 21:46:30
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3524
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Jon Boyes

One more thing I wanted to add... there is an excellent player here in town named Miguel Rodriguez. As a hobby or a sidebusiness, he buys guitars from Paracho, Mexico, and sells them here. Although a horrible businessperson, he does have one trump card--he plays damn good! He can make the lousiest thing with 6 crappy old strings sound like Paco's Conde. So yeah a lot of people buy them. That does not mean they are good guitars.

Actually, its' kind of funny, one time we went to a pawn shop together and they happened to have two Lucida Picados (this is a low budget flamenco guitar). We played them and he convinced me to get one. The next day he went back and got the other one, claiming it wasn't as good as mine but was still worthwhile. I took it to my guitar guy to lower the action and he refused, saying there wasn't enough break angle, that it would lose too much tone. In retrospect I don't know if this is true or not, but anyways, I brought it back (and actually the guy at the pawn shop agreed with my reasoning, for what it's worth). When Miguel heard I had taken the back the other guitar, he was furious!

He played at a flamenco concert the next month, and a friend of mine went backstage to say hi. The first thing he did was hold up his $450 guitar and crow "Tell Mike (me) I played a concert with the ugly stepsister of the guitar he brought back!"
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2004 0:05:35
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: The quest begins: three intermed... (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Good story Mike.
Yeah, as I've mentioned (probably several times) before, when I've been lucky enough to have a shot of some of the pro's guitars, (Like P.Peña etc), I've always expected them to sound incredible, and they don't!
They just sound like good guitars.
I think the only way you can choose a guitar is to try it out.
Honestly, you could put me in a room with ten guitars from top makers, with the labels covered up, and I bet I would not be able to tell which was the most or least expensive. I could only tell which one which suited me most.
I think "feel" is very important, if you feel uncomfortable with the instrument then no matter how good the instrument sounds, you'll never play as well as you can.
However, even then, lots of other factors come into it, like could the guitar be set up to suit you better, or is it something you could perhaps adapt to in time?



cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2004 9:58:22
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