Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments

Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:53 pm

Hello,
I am sure you have all seen many of these "which guitar?" posts, so I'll try to be as specific as I can, because I did narrow it down to several options.
First let me introduce myself - my name is Oren, I live in Israel, and I have been playing guitar for about 25 years now.
I played mostly electric guitars through the years - mostly jazz, but also blues, rock etc.
Recently I have been more interested in classical and flamenco style playing, and I have begun to study it more seriously. However, I have found that my old, beaten Admira Paloma does not inspire me, and I need a more fitting instrument.
Ok, after that said and done, I'll tell you what I have tried and liked, and I would like to hear the thoughts of people with more experience with classical guitars than me about these models.
First, I have tried the Admira artista and Admira Virtuoso. Both are nice, but I have seen flaws in their construction. Both play and sound very nice, I like the artista better mainly because of the nice rosewood sides and back - though the back is laminated (is there any advantage to solid sides? I mean, when the back is a laminate?). These are the cheapest of the bunch.
Second, there is the Alhambra 4P. This guitar seemed better constructed than the Admiras but in the same ballpark. the 5P is too expensive in Israel, over my budget.
The third guitar I saw was a Raimundo model 140 which seemed to me much better built, and it also sang to my ears. But I tried it in a different store, in a quiet sound proof room, as opposed to the other store where I tried the Admiras and the Alhambra in the main store, so I can say I am totally sure about the sound of it vs the other ones. This one too has a laminate back and solid sides (again - is this a selling point?).
Ah, and the best thing, is that the store manager there sold me my first fender stratocaster 20 years ago, we go way back, so he's letting me have the 140 at 30% off - which makes it only a little more expensive than the admira, and well withing my budget.

Ok. This is what I have seen so far, and right now I lean towards taking the Raimundo.
However, these is this dude who sells Aparicio and Burguet guitars. He's not a real store, but a guitar teacher and performer, but he brings them from spain in small quantities and sells them in his studio.
I will drive and check them out, but it's on another town.
I was thinking about AA50 and AA70.
The AA50 is probably within my budget. How does it compare to the Raimundo 140? From what I understand Raimundo and Aparicio where partners for a long time, so I'd expect both know their trade well?
The AA50 has laminated back and sides. (again - does this make her less desirable than the Raimundo with solid sides?)
The other option is the AA70 which would stretch my budget a little, but of course if I am caught in her charms nothing will stop me :-)
She's all solid, and I would guess she's a better instrument. But is it 30% price better than the 140?
Please remember, I am not a pro, just a guitar addict. I want an instrument that will last, be comfortable, inspiring, and sound as good as possible - considering my budget.
Thanks,
Oren
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby Lemonsieur » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:14 pm

Don't get caught up in price determining the quality of sound that a guitar produces. Set yourself both a hard and soft limit on what you are willing to spend. Use the soft limit for a guitar you deem adequate, the hard limit for a guitar you deem fantastic. Don't get caught up in the brand name determining the quality of sound either. With factory guitars it can sometimes be a crap shoot. Some individual guitars can be gems and others lemons. You have to evaluate them individually and see what appeals to you. I think with solid wood vs factory laminated guitars, the solid wood is the better choice.

Since you have access to all of interested guitars, play them all and rate them base on 1) how comfortable are they to play 2) how do they sound 3) how does the sound make you feel. Then rank them and see where they fall in regards to you hard and soft monetary limits.

Personally I would lean toward the Burguet, Alhambra, or Apararicio.
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:23 pm

Thanks,
Now - all of the mentioned are within my budget - except for the AA70 - I will stretch my budget if I have a "connection" with her.
The Raimundo seemed most comfortable to play, It had a little lower action. But I can't *really* compare becuase the conditions for playing are so different between the two stores (one lets you sit on a stool in a nice quiet room, the other sit sit on some amplifier in a hall full of kids playing ibanez electrics...).
Burguet is probably above my budget. I will see them, but I don't beleive it will happen.
We'll see about the aparicio's.
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby Pepe Vergara » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:06 pm

If you can afford the Aparicio AA100, buy that one. It is all solid guitar and believe me the design, construction and quality control is the best for that guitar. How much is it in Israel, lik $1,800 dollars?
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:15 pm

yes, about 1800$ which is above my budget.
AA80 is about 1500$ and AA70 1200.
I can get the Raimundo 140 at about 800$, it usually costs in that store 1200.
Originally I aimed at 800$ max.
I can get an AA50 for 800$. But the qeustion is if it's better than the raimundo (and if there's any significance to the solid sides?). I havent played the apparicios yet (2 days to go).
I figure that if the dude will give me a 20% discount on the AA70 I can take it. but 1200$ is way over my budget...
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:22 am

Maybe I should have posted this in the public space forum to get more exposure. Perhaps a moderator can move this message?
I went to play the Admira Artista and the Raimundo 140 again. Tomorrow I'll go and see the apparicios (it's quite a drive).
Anyway, the thing is - I can't afford an AA100 or an AA80.
So my options are the AA70 (maybe! If he'll come forward and lower the price a little bit), or the AA50 (which is within the budget). Maybe a Burguet guitar, but I think they are more expensive than the aparicios.
Or the Raimundo 140. I'll pass on the Admiras, since the Raimundo comes close in price after discount - and it is much better built and finished (on the Admira I can see glue between the body and neck, yuck!). It also sounds better to my ears - but again - different playing conditions.
Pepe, are you familiar with the AA50/70s? I beleive the AA70 is higher grade than the Raimundo, but what about the AA50?
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby wilhelmreich » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:57 am

I never listened to Admiras and Raimundos, but I have compared some Alhambras and Aparicios, I think both are great, but Aparicios offer more for the same money. I have bought an AA65 (spruce/maple) and I am very happy with it, AA70 is a level about it and should even be better. I would advise to spend the most that you can spare if your intensions to play guitar are serious - there are possibly some years before you can afford something better and you want to enjoy this years with the best possible guitar.
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:06 pm

Thanks.
The Raimundo I have seen is obviously better built and sounding than the Alhambra I can afford (4P). I've seen nicer Alhambra's, but well above my budget(7P).
I agree about spinding what I can. I may be a newbie with classical guitars, but I have many years of playing Electric and steel string accoustics behind me - I want an instrument that will inspire me to play it more and more.
This is why I am looking to get the most out of what I am going to spend.
Keep them coming!
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:11 pm

Another option!
I talked to the dude who holds the Aparicios, it turns out he has 3 AA52 in stock, which are within my budget (they go between the AA50 and AA70 in mr. Aparicio's line).
This model seems to be a fine guitar, with all solid wood - Cedar or Spruce top (i'll go for the cedar, unless a spruce model will win my heart) and cocobolo rosewood back and sides.
I've never tried (or even seen) a cocobolo back/sides guitar before, and I know nothing about this wood, except that it looks awesome in the pictures.
What can you tell me about this tonewood? I guess it will be better than the raimundo laminated back - but i'll have to try and see.
Has anyone tried this model?
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby Pepe Vergara » Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:35 pm

I do not think the stores or dealer have exclusive agreements with the guitar factories anymore. I only knew that being true with some American dealers. Why don't you contact the factory directly and ask them if they can sell you a guitar for their wholesale price. In that case, you have to pay the shipping and taxes, etc. the dealer covers. that may be cheaper than you think. I insist that the AA100 is better guitar for the price. I remember when I was working in a Valencia factory that people arrived there and bought one guitar. Even a gypsy musician came by with a set of cypress that came from the same tree his father casquet was made of and order a guitar. Well, this cannot be done in every factory, it has to be an artisanal shop/factory like Aparicio's.
Pepe, el Nino de Las Guitarras
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:55 pm

Yes, but then I would buy a guitar I haven't played.
I emailed Aparicio about it, but so far no answer.
It is way over my budget anyway.

Strange thing about the AA52 - I don't think it's solid cocobolo on the back and sides. If it is, he would write that on the website, not just cocobolo.
On the other hand, it's in the craftman series, which should be all solid woods.
But on various dealer sites who holds it, it says it's the top of the standard line, and had laminated cocobolo or madagascar rosewood back and sides.
Oren
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby avoz » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:46 am

It is a matter of 'suck it and see', of course, and sheer luck. I have an Admira 'Artista' which I bought from a friend who - always looking for the finest sound - had purchased many guitars (including Hernandez y Aguado/Fleta/Sakazo Nakade/several Ramirez -including the 'Centenario') over the years and described it as "like a small (quieter) Fleta", but the closest sound I have heard live and from recordings is the Ruck played by Manuel Barrueco - it sings and was a 'steal' for the money, about fifteen years ago. I have since bought another Admira for my grandson but, though great value for the price paid, it lacks the magic of the well-named 'Artista'.
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby Winterdune » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:00 pm

It may be just me but when I tried some Aparicios they seemed a bit "nice and polite" sounding - not much guts... I thought Alhambras were better, in the same price range.

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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby arran1810 » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:06 pm

You might try asking the staff in the loud store if they have a quiet spot (maybe a back room) where you can try the guitar.
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Re: Which guitar to choose-Aparicio? Raimundo? Alhambra? Admira?

Postby ogeva » Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:10 pm

I've been to the dude with the Aparicio, and checked out the AA52.
Well, first - it's a beautiful guitar. I haven't seen anything like that in this price range. Plus, she sounds full and fat, and I liked it very much.
After trying her, I knew I would not buy thje Admira or the Raimundo.
Then I tried a couple of AA70's, and that was it. More than 20% over my budget, but what can you do? When there's that connection, it's there.
My camera or photography skills can't do it justice. I'll upload some music when I'm good enough :-)
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