Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Dante
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 7:21 pm

Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by Dante » Tue May 23, 2017 7:50 pm

Hello everyone,
After 10y break from playing guitar, I decided to get back to it. Yay!

Where I am:
I used to play flamenco and classical music at an intermediate level, so I will be playing that from time to time, but I will be using the guitar mostly for singalong/fun/bored-in-winter playing (I have recently felt bad for not being able to join my friends and play anything during a singalong... I couldn't remember anything except for some 20 seconds from one or two bulerias...).

I have two distinct questions I was hoping you could help me with.

1. Should I get a flamenco guitar or a classical guitar?
I am planning to play 60% "fun" stuff, 30% classical (but mostly Spanish/Latin), 10% pure flamenco. I was convinced to buy a classical guitar, until... my old flamenco teacher said that what I am describing will perfectly suit a flamenco guitar. My issues vs his responses:
(1) It will be too bright ---- > but, if you get flamenca negra, the "brightness" is likely to be comparable to a classical guitar with spruce top (and I don't want cedar top, nor flamenca blanca). So there is little difference.
(2) I won't be playing a lot of pure flamenco ---- > but chords sound much better on a flamenca (thanks to different structure), which is made for chords and which tends to better isolate various tones/sounds in a chord (and this, in his view, becomes an even bigger problem with really high-end classical guitars). Thus, a flamenca is likely to be much better for a singalong. (?)
(3) and...... ----> flamenco guitar tends to be more comfortable to play. Much lower action, slightly thinner neck, shallower cage etc...

But I am afraid that a flamenco guitar will have minimal sustain and will be very "buzzy" which will be very annoying especially for classical pieces. What do you think?

2. Which one? (budget: <€1k):
I am currently looking at (most of the luthiers mentioned below have their "flamenca negra" equivalent at the same price point):
- Cordoba C9 (£715)
- Camps M10 (€879)
- Raimundo 140 (£810)
- Juan Hernandez Profesor Spruce (€889)
- Paco Castillo 205 Spruce (£940)

Having searched through various threads on this forum, it seems like: Cordoba is made in China with some quality control problems so can be disregarded, while Juan Hernandez Profesor is the preferred guitar over the aforementioned Camps and Paco Castillo, and - especially at this very low price point, it should be the preferred choice. (NB: I know the situation looks very different in the USA, where e.g. Cordoba is significantly cheaper than the other ones.)

I was wondering - have any of you had any experience with the aforementioned guitars, whether good or bad? Anything else I should add to the list? Any preferences?

Thank you all for your help!

Best regards,
Dante

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed May 24, 2017 4:03 am

Flamenco guitars are not necessary brighter than classical per sé. Part of the apparent brightness comes from how they are played.

My main issue with flamencas for classical program would be their strong percussivity versus little sustain. But it can be workable and negras would be somewhere in between, indeed.

As to the price range, you can't really decide by brands, I think. You would have to play (or let play by a friend who can play well) and decide what you like best. In this price range the guitars are not necessarily very consistent, so you have really take them in your hands...

BTW I have a Mundo Flamenco Model 3AF made in China that performs very well, but the batch in the shop was very inconsistent and I chose exactly this one out of three. So being made in Chine isn't a deal breaker if you have tested them before buying.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Laudiesdad69
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Thu May 25, 2017 10:46 am

You might want to check out the Alhambra 3F if you are looking for something for sing alongs. They are under 400€. The only reason I mention this guitar is that the back and sides are laminate, and the guitar might be less affected by taking it outdoors camping or what not. It doesn't matter that it isn't a negra as the back and sides are laminated. You might want to try one out. A little bit snappy.

Bodhi
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:18 pm
Location: London England

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by Bodhi » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:25 pm

Hi Dante, wonderful to hear you are coming back to the guitar! It took me 25 years so 10 years doesn't seem too bad. I have found my Hermanos Camps Primera Negra A guitar immensely versatile. I bought it with exactly what you had in mind: To have a great flamenco guitar that also had a rich sound for classical if I wanted a change from my normal classical guitars. I had assumed this would not be possible and tried a number, then came across the Camps guitars. Mine has a golpeador plate and 20 frets on the high E string. Compared to the Cypress I can get a strong sustain for flamenco by just varying my playing style, and then a much softer sound when I play a classical piece. The action is just about perfect for my playing and is very easy to play. I will often pick it up , play some flamenco and then rather than change guitars, will keep on playing classical. Somehow, the Camps guitar makes my Barrios and Tarrega playing sound way better than I am in reality. Julia Florida in particular sits very well on this guitar. My next project is to learn Barrios' Aires Andeluces and lay it on my Camps Primera Negra A as I think it will be great for the classico-flamenco feel of this great (but very hard) piece. Now the Primera Negra A is a special model probably above your budget range but I tried the less expensive Camps and I found a very consistent feel and sound and versatility. I was all set to get one and then the shop brought out the Primera Negra A and I was hooked. If you can stretch to 1-1.5k Euro and save a little up then you will hit a sweet spot with more options. I also believe that most of their range is handmade and the signature range is personally certified by Manuel Granados. You may find that the SP-6 guitars can fit your price range and versatility requirement. Their website allows you to find dealers near you.
Hope this helps
Juan De La Mancha Allegro 1980 Cedar
Loriente "Clarita" 2004 Spruce
Frederico Sheppard Barrios "Morant" 2010 Spruce
Hermanos Camps Primera Negra-A 2016 Spruce
Yulong Guo "Philharmonic" Double Top 2016 #01 Cedar French Polish

ddray
Posts: 291
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by ddray » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:23 pm

I wouldn't discount the C9, certainly not simply because it's made in China. A factory in Spain isn't necessarily going to be better.

Dave Stott
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:24 am
Location: Connecticut

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by Dave Stott » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:49 pm

I'd like to suggest that you add the Cordoba GK Studio to your list. It's a guitar that is very capable of getting you some nice flamenco tone as well as a lot of your sing along songs.
2015 Cordoba GK Pro Negra
2015 Cordoba Solista Cedar
2003 H-12 Froggy Bottom
1989 Takamine E-30 Classical

epcritmo
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:59 am
Location: Spain

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by epcritmo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:58 am

Bodhi wrote:
Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:25 pm
Hi Dante, wonderful to hear you are coming back to the guitar! It took me 25 years so 10 years doesn't seem too bad. I have found my Hermanos Camps Primera Negra A guitar immensely versatile. I bought it with exactly what you had in mind: To have a great flamenco guitar that also had a rich sound for classical if I wanted a change from my normal classical guitars. I had assumed this would not be possible and tried a number, then came across the Camps guitars. Mine has a golpeador plate and 20 frets on the high E string. Compared to the Cypress I can get a strong sustain for flamenco by just varying my playing style, and then a much softer sound when I play a classical piece. The action is just about perfect for my playing and is very easy to play. I will often pick it up , play some flamenco and then rather than change guitars, will keep on playing classical. Somehow, the Camps guitar makes my Barrios and Tarrega playing sound way better than I am in reality. Julia Florida in particular sits very well on this guitar. My next project is to learn Barrios' Aires Andeluces and lay it on my Camps Primera Negra A as I think it will be great for the classico-flamenco feel of this great (but very hard) piece. Now the Primera Negra A is a special model probably above your budget range but I tried the less expensive Camps and I found a very consistent feel and sound and versatility. I was all set to get one and then the shop brought out the Primera Negra A and I was hooked. If you can stretch to 1-1.5k Euro and save a little up then you will hit a sweet spot with more options. I also believe that most of their range is handmade and the signature range is personally certified by Manuel Granados. You may find that the SP-6 guitars can fit your price range and versatility requirement. Their website allows you to find dealers near you.
Hope this helps
I have recently bought this guitar too. Camps have superb QC, perfect frets, nut and saddle, build. I wanted a versatile guitar and ended up with this one. I loved the Camps blancas too, but they are not as versatile. I like the sound of the Cordoba Luthier series, but I ended up sending a C10 crossover and a C9 crossover back, due to QC problems. Obviously, if you can try them in a shop and they are fine, then they are worth a look (I couldn't and had to buy online).

I live in Spain and so was able to try a number of Camps guitars, I also have their crossover. All excellent guitars for their price. I'm sure the one you have listed will be decent too. The guitar I have is the Primera Negra A, but the Primera Negra is slightly cheaper - here in Spain about 1400 euros, the "A" version is about 400euros more.
Camps Primera Negra A, Camps CW-1 Crossover, Blackbird Lucky 13, Cordoba Mini M, NeckUp,
Music I play/am learning currently: Bert Jansch, John Fahey, Joseph Spence, Ali Farka Touré, Bob Dylan, Santaolalla
https://www.youtube.com/user/sirwhale28/videos

MessyTendon
Posts: 1155
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:57 am

I think it's pretty stupid to make the assumption that a guitar made with darker back and sides will sustain more than cypress "blanca" guitars.

No experience with the guitars you have mentioned. But I wouldn't get caught up in a broad based generalization that "negra" guitars have more sustain than "blanca" guitars.

My five fan braced Cypress has a lot more sustain than many rosewood guitars, but it also has a bigger percussive voice, not because of the type of wood, but because of the relatively, light and lively back. It's built quite light.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't take the tonewood bias to the extreme. The thickness of the bracing, stiffness of the back and sides, top thickness etc...all these things have a much greater influence on what a guitar will respond like than the actually wood itself.

I wouldn't waste my time with Cordoba guitars. They are nice at a certain price point, but once you approach the 1,000$ point...going into other makers, you can get something comparable to a one off hand built single luthier guitar.

Bodhi
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:18 pm
Location: London England

Re: Classical or flamenca negra for me... sub €1k

Post by Bodhi » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:30 pm

Hi Messy I think the point epcritmo made is the experience had of actually played these Camps guitars and the different experience of each type and then matching it to the kind o f sound and versatility you get and desire. So I don't think we are making theoretical generalisations but simply reporting our common experience of having played these guitars. Another example is the generalisation of how spruce sounds vs cedar. My own experience is each guitar has a unique blend of richness and whilst some archetypes tend to lean one way or the other you only see what really happens when a player with their style meets particular guitar and the sound emerges. For example, my spruce "Morant" Barrios replica has a warmth of sound that might be assumed to come from a generic description of cedar guitars.
Juan De La Mancha Allegro 1980 Cedar
Loriente "Clarita" 2004 Spruce
Frederico Sheppard Barrios "Morant" 2010 Spruce
Hermanos Camps Primera Negra-A 2016 Spruce
Yulong Guo "Philharmonic" Double Top 2016 #01 Cedar French Polish

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