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What's the difference in a Flemenco and a Classical guitar?

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  • What's the difference in a Flemenco and a Classical guitar?

    I know both of these have nylon strings. Is it the length,body style,or just diffent kind of music? It appears that the classical guitars appear darker in color (true classicals).Is that the difference? I really don't know.
    1997 Epiphone PR-350CE
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    ......and more to come!

  • #2
    Traditionally, Flamenco guitars are smaller, and typically made of Spanish Cedar. Action is usually a bit lower.


    • #3
      Flamenco blancas are cypress iirc, where as classicals vary. High-grade flamencos should also apparently be shallower than a classical and will have a clear pickguard or golpeador.
      Originally Posted by jaxn slim

      I'm totally gonna beat my kids until they can play like that.


      • #4
        All true. The biggest true difference however would normally be in tone. Traditional flamenco guitars (flamenca blancas made of spruce and cypress) would be brighter and have less sustain because of their woods and their shallower bodies.

        You are not likely to experience this tonal difference with many of the affordable flamenco guitars under $700. They are often brighter but they tend to have a sustain equivalent to a classical. Annoyingly, I've played higher-end flamenco guitars which have the same sustain as classicals.

        To make it even more confusing, many flamenco guitar soloists now opt for flamenca negras - flamenco guitars with spruce tops and rosewood backs and sides. Paco de Lucia seems to have been one of those that started this trend. The idea is to have more volume and sustain for solo performances that must fill a concert hall.

        In the end, the only factors that might separate a classical from a flamenco would be:
          Best Regards,
          - ChiyoDad


          • #5
            The only other thing I would add is that traditionally flamenco guitars are built lighter than their classical counterparts. They were never built with longevity in mind. Rather, they were constructed much lighter to accentuate projection. Top flamenco players would play a guitar to failure within a year or two.


            • #6
              They were never built with longevity in mind. Rather, they were constructed much lighter to accentuate projection.

              The speculation of one luthier/historian is that they were constructed lighter because:

              • Rosewood, imported from Latin America, was the more expensive wood and reserved only for classical guitars and those who could afford them.
              • Cypress was then a common wood in Spain (grew like weeds) and was readily available to the commoners and, naturally, the Gitanos.
              • Cypress is, of course, a much lighter wood than Rosewood.

              The supposed origin of the flamenco guitar sound and its design (pegheads instead of metal tuners, Cypress instead of Rosewood) is therefore not rooted on the purpose of the builder but rather rooted in the evolution of the instrument from its social roots. The guitar was traditionally the instrument of the common folk. It was of a bit more slapdash construction of inexpensive woods. You could say that the traditional flamenco tone was really the sound of a cheap guitar.
              Best Regards,
              - ChiyoDad


              • #7
                Don't forget, flamenco guitars are way cooler.



                • #8
                  yup, the generalities have been covered here already: cypress sides/back, lighter construction (thinner sides/back being a major contributor to this), shallower body, lower action (fret buzz is not neccessarily a bad thing!), faster attack & shorter sustain, tap plate to protect soundboard, peg tuners, are all differences of a flamenco guitar compared to a classical guitar.
                  Circular logic is best because it's circular.