Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Hidy Ho

Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Hidy Ho » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:57 am

Hi, I'm new to the board and generally don't know a whole lot about classical guitars, except solid top is a good thing.

I hope it's ok to ask questions regarding Flamenco guitars. What makes a guitar a flamenco guitar vs "classical"? I googled some and I guess flamenco guitars have lower action, thinner body and are more "percussion" in nature?

What is a good one to get for say $1K (or less)? I probably preferred getting a broken in, used one vs. getting a shiny new one.

Thanks in advance.

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:11 pm

For comparison between a flamenco guitar and a classical, do a search on past topics the forum. This has been discussed extensively.

For a good flamenco guitar:
NEW
- Yamaha CG172SF - $330, This has not yet been widely released to the dealerships. Only a few have them.
- Francisco Navarro Garcia (blanca or negra) - Starts at $650 to $1000 depending on the dealer.
- Montalvo (drive to the Berkeley Music Instrument Exchange) - Starts at $650. You can go and compare these against their better $2k guitars and ask William for help in selection.

USED
- Yamaha CG171SF - About $275. Check local CraigsList or fleaBay.
- Francisco Navarro Garcia (blanca or negra) - Don't know at what price these are selling used. Hard to find.
- Montalvo - George or William might have trade-ins at the shop. Ask and inquire.

Ramon Amira
Teacher
Posts: 3318
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
Location: New York City

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Ramon Amira » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:31 pm

Buying a used guitar can be a great way to go. But – you have to have the experience and knowledge to get the right guitar and at the right price.

With respect to a new guitar, Guitar Vlog gave some excellent advice, which I would second. I would also add the following – under $1000:

Cordoba F7
Cordoba 45FM
Alhambra 3F
New – Cordoba F10 – All solid woods

Ramon
Classical and Flamenco guitar lessons via Skype worldwide - Classical and Flamenco guitars from Spain

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:01 pm

I just remembered that Guitar Salon International had a "Flamenco bundle" deal through February on their FC-100 ($900 I think, upgrade to hard-case, cejilla, DVD). I believe the FC-100 is their house-brand version of the Cordoba F10. You can search their site for more information on this guitar.

The offer has expired but you could call them at 310.586.1100 and ask if they would still be willing to extend the deal to you.

I've sometimes seen the Manuel Rodriguez FF sell used for $500-$750 on fleaBay. That's not a bad guitar. The Lucida LG797 (a re-badged Prudencio Saez PS22) and the Prudencio Saez PS24 (negra) are also good choices if purchased used from $500-$600.

Personally, I'd rather go to the Berkeley Music Instrument Exchange and compare all the student guitars against their $2k guitars until I find the best flamenco guitar or until my ears fall off. Be careful over there or you'll become tempted to buy one of the $2k guitars. George or William won't have to convince you ... the guitars will do that for themselves.

Ramon Amira
Teacher
Posts: 3318
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
Location: New York City

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Ramon Amira » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:21 pm

It would seem that the new GSI F-100 and the Cordoba F-10 are the same guitar, given their similarities, and that they both came out at about the same time, but they are actually two different guitars.

They are both all solid woods, but the F-100 has a Rosewood fingerboard as opposed to ebony on the F-10, and the F-10 has a truss rod, whereas the F-100 does not.

All that notwithstanding, for all practical purposes they're pretty much the same guitar.

Ramon
Classical and Flamenco guitar lessons via Skype worldwide - Classical and Flamenco guitars from Spain

Hidy Ho

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Hidy Ho » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:33 pm

Thank you (GuitarVlog and Prominent Critic) for your helpful information.

I think I've been to BMIE once when I was younger and living in East Bay. I will have to stop by there again. From what I can gather from the website, Montalvo seems like their own "brand/model" made in Mexico, similar to Kenny Hill's New World models made around the world? I

I was looking at bunch of Cordoba models on the 'net but most likely will try out some different guitars in person.

Anyone know anything about Luis Molina guitars being imported by Fine Fretted String Instruments in Campbell, CA? That's another place I was thinking of visiting.

Hidy Ho

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Hidy Ho » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:56 pm

Here's good thread on Flamenco vs Classical guitar viewtopic.php?f=11&t=3323

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:12 pm

Hidy Ho wrote:Anyone know anything about Luis Molina guitars being imported by Fine Fretted String Instruments in Campbell, CA? That's another place I was thinking of visiting.
Randy's a cool fellow and you can find a few gems in his shop. But these are usually at prices well above what you've stated your budget to be. I like visiting his shop and rummaging through his boxes and files for books, DVDs, CDs and sheet music. If it's hard-to-find or out-of-print, there's a good chance that Randy will have at least 1-2 copies and at the original retail price. :D

He's got a lot of stories to tell about the classical and flamenco world. :wink:

I wish I could get a little more excited about his entry-level flamenco guitars but I don't feel that they're competitively priced. Of course, he has one of the best trade-in-and-trade-up deals in the SF Bay Area (probably the best) so that could be taken into consideration. His Louis Molina modelo 75 looks very much like the OEM version of the aforementioned Prudencio Saez PS22 (also once imported into and sold in the US as the Lucida 797 by The Music Link in South San Francisco). You can buy those for $1k plus shipping elsewhere (but you won't get Randy's set-up nor his trade-up deal).

If you don't mind my asking, how much of a beginner are you and how confident are you in your ability to evaluate guitars? How serious are you about traveling down flamenco road (after all, you are here in a classical guitar forum :lol: )?

Hidy Ho

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Hidy Ho » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:40 pm

Hey! I just joined http://www.foroflamenco.com as well :D. I'm actually not sure how serious I am about flamenco road but I do like wood so probably will end up with at least one classical and flamenco guitars. I just bought a Kenny Hill New World Player Fingerstyle Spruce top guitar as a guitar to transition from steel string to nylon string.

Regarding evaluating guitar, I'm not sure of my ability but am not totally a newbie either. I currently own and neglect a Ibanez ES335 copy and Guild Dreadnought acustic guitars. I've had both for close to 20 yrs now.

Among other things, I collect custom pool cues and, in some aspect, there appears to be some similarity to custom guitar market :-)

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:29 pm

Hidy Ho wrote:I just bought a Kenny Hill New World Player Fingerstyle Spruce top guitar as a guitar to transition from steel string to nylon string.

Regarding evaluating guitar, I'm not sure of my ability but am not totally a newbie either. I currently own and neglect a Ibanez ES335 copy and Guild Dreadnought acustic guitars. I've had both for close to 20 yrs now.
I'm now wondering if a $500 Cordoba GK Studio might be more your style (Gipsy Kings Rumba flamenco instead of traditional flamenco). It has a slightly narrower nut width and is an acoustic-electric. I think you'd have to install tap plates on it though.

What "flamenco" music do you really like? Are you into Sabicas, Paco Pena and Paco de Lucia? Or are you into Strunz & Farah, Gypsy Kings and Ottmar Leibert? A lot of beginners hear music that sounds like it's flamenco but it isn't. Often, it's really nuevo (jazz) flamenco, gipsy rumba or rock-on-nylon (Rodrigo y Gabriella).

The music comes first. From there, we can give you direction.

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:49 pm

Hidy Ho wrote:I think I've been to BMIE once when I was younger and living in East Bay. I will have to stop by there again. From what I can gather from the website, Montalvo seems like their own "brand/model" made in Mexico, similar to Kenny Hill's New World models made around the world?
George and William have their guitars made in Paracho, Mexico. There are some really impressive luthiers there: Navarro, Castillo, Huipe (family) and more. A luthier who examined one of the Montalvos suggested that the build reminded him of a Huipe but he couldn't be certain.

FWIW, they've recently introduced their own hybrid flamenco (also with a narrower nut width) for $925. I haven't played it but you may want to check it out. While you're in the neighborhood, you can also drive over to Blue Note Music in Berkeley to play some of the Antonio Aparico guitars. Pepe Vergara on this forum likes those and he holds the Aparicios in high esteem.

Good luck in your hunt. I think we've given enough information to thoroughly confuse you and paralyze your decision-making process. :lol:

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:51 pm

Just got back from the Saturday morning clinics at the South Bay Guitar Festival. Grisha Goryachev was playing a person's guitar for about five of us. Randy (Fine Fretted) had sold it to the owner a few years ago.

The guitar was very impressive and it was purchased for about $2.5k. Grisha really liked it too and was having fun putting it through all sorts of tonal tests. It wasn't a loud guitar but it was very lyrical. Grisha said it would be an excellent recording guitar. The sustain was long and clear ... notes seemed to float into the air and hang there. There was something very nice about the basses too ... clear and robust even in dropped tuning.

EDIT: I should note that this was not a flamenco guitar, but it does show that Randy does bring in some uncommon gems into his store. Grisha did play some falsetas on it and it sounded very nice.

Hidy Ho

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Hidy Ho » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:10 am

Thanks for the information. I had to google the festival and found it. May try to go down there tomorrow ..

GuitarVlog

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by GuitarVlog » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:22 pm

Hidy Ho wrote:May try to go down there tomorrow ..
Eric Symons's clinic is a good one to attend. I found his clinic to be very helpful last year. He does a good job of imparting the concepts of "natural guitar technique" as taught by the Romeros. I think that's why he was invited for an encore this year.

Hidy Ho

Re: Flamenco guitar for beginner/intermediate

Post by Hidy Ho » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:17 am

Didn't make it to the South Bay Guitar Festival; however, I did manage to get a nice CG171SF with a case locally for a good price. 8)

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