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FLAMENCO GUITARS

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The history of flamenco guitars

Flamenco” stands for a special kind of music and dance from Andalusia in Spain. The musical accompaniment to the songs and dances is classically provided by clapping (“palmas” from Palma – the palm), chestnuts, and the guitar.

How do flamenco guitars differ from concert guitars?

Flamenco guitars have narrower sides and are lighter in construction than concert guitars. The shape is more or less the same. The distance between the strings and the fingerboard and top is much flatter. Fast runs, as is common in flamenco, are thus easier to play. Lightly stroking the frets is allowed and underlines the percussive character of the music. The light construction makes the guitar sound faster and more concise.
Originally, the strings were attached to pegs pushed through the head in the same way as stringed instruments. Today, standard tuners are normally used, which makes the instruments easier and more precise to tune. There is often special impact protection on the top of the flamenco guitar, the “golpeador.” It is transparent, self-adhesive (electrostatic), and flexible. This means that it can be removed at any time if the guitar is used for different purposes. The golpeador has the task of protecting the soundboard from blows with the fingers of the playing hand. The name “golpeador” is derived from the Spanish “golpe” for “blow” and refers to a percussive style of playing typical of flamenco, in which the top is struck with the fingernail and the tip of the finger to produce a rhythmic tapping sound. Once applied, a golpeador is hardly visible and ensures a longer life for the guitar. The sound is practically not affected by the use of a golpeador.

What woods are flamenco guitars made of?

Traditionally, the body of a flamenco guitar is made of cypress wood or rosewood and the top of spruce (so-called flamenco Negras). Paco de Lucia, probably the most famous flamenco guitarist of all time, wanted a somewhat more powerful, louder flamenco guitar. This changed the flamenco guitar considerably.
Most Spanish guitar makers also build flamenco guitars. The best known are certainly Conde Hermanos, who also built guitars for Paco de Lucia.

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