Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

tom3949
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Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by tom3949 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:21 pm

Ladies & Gentlemen, I am a 53 year old secondary school teacher from Liverpool, UK, and have owned various guitars all through my life, mainly electric. That said my playing is still **** <please insert an appropriate word or phrase of your choice here, as any term I would use would probably draw the attentions of a moderator>. So I am a 'guitar for pleasure' person, (who apparently has 'GAS'!).

My dilemma is that I recently went to a local guitar shop to source a 3/4 classical guitar for my (great) nephew, but ended up buying a Santos Martinez SM80 guitar for myself. I have never 'played', (that being an inappropriate word in my case as would be evidenced if you ever heard my 'playing'), a nylon string guitar before but absolutely loved it. So much so that for the past week and a half or so I have been unable to put it down, or stop searching the internet for everything classical guitar related - leading to my new found presence in this forum.

I have just broken up for the summer holidays, but instead of doing my 'assigned' jobs around the house, or making preparations for the new term in September, (which, as always, will probably be last minute in any case), I am finding I am unable to concentrate on anything but classical guitar. And I don't even like classical music! Well I didn't think I did.

I have a guitar which is less than two weeks old and I already know that I HAVE to upgrade, (and I know that wiser heads around here will urge patience and the need to fully explore the boundaries of my current guitar more - but you must understand that I have now obviously developed some form of illness) :D

When I was supposed to be spending a day in school, sorting stuff out, on Monday, I ended up driving from Liverpool to Stafford, (a 3 hour round trip), to visit the Stafford Classical Guitar Centre, a.k.a. the very charming house of Adrian and Selina, This was all because there didn't appear to be any local stores which really specialised in classical guitars, and I just had to discover what lay beyond my starter guitar. Although Adrian and Selina weren't around at the time of my visit, I found myself in the very capable hands of Sandra, (and Sandra if you are a member of this forum you have my heartfelt thanks for a truly wonderful experience - even though you have in part contributed to my current 'condition'!).

Sandra had already prepared a number of Alhambra and Sanchez guitars for me to try and needless to say I could discern the different qualities compared to my current 'starter' guitar. All left me with the desire, (sorry 'need'), to upgrade. However, as opposed to being content with the limits of my budget, represented by an Alhambra 5P, I just had to try the 6P, 7P and 9P. The Alhambra 7P was a revelation - an obvious step up from everything else, but the 9P ... Well it is my own fault for trying that. The addiction is now complete.

So here is my quandry. I want an Alhambra 9P, (or equivalent), but have a budget which maxes out at the 5P level. To put some figures on that, £550 tops! Wiser heads will probably tell me to be patient and wait for something to come along in my price range, second-hand. But that could be a long wait!

My line of thinking is that, in the Alhambra range at least, the leap in terms of perceived tonal quality seems to relate to the 7P and 9P guitars being of an all wood construction, (I know there are other factors involved, but this is the major one which jumps out), and I also know that all wood models are available from other companies at prices substantially below the £800 - 900 or so for an Alhambra 7P or a minimum of £1150 for a 9P. So could I get an all wood Alhambra 7P / 9P alternative at a price within my budget? My on-line research has thrown up the following:

Hannika 50 MC - £468
Kremona Fiesta - £475
La Patrie Collection - £529
Alhambra 7C - £619 (which would be a stretch as it is a bit above my limit)

The issue is that although Liverpool has a fair number of music stores there are none which stock any of these guitars, (or the likes of Cordoba). I would have to drive over 2 hours to try out a La Patrie, and there is no chance of me getting my hands on a Hannika or Kremona.

If you have read this far through my voluminous post - thank you, and well done! Having spend the past two days scouring the internet and this site to try and find out anything I can about these guitars, my head is now reeling, and I feel the need for alcohol!

At the moment my head says I should purchase an Alhambra 5P (£550), as I have played and enjoyed that guitar. However, my heart wants something it can't have at the moment, an Alhambra 9P, (and for me both this and the 7P overshadowed the 5P). So the crux is if anyone has experience of the above guitars, (which I am unable to physically try out), as an alternative to the more expensive Alhambra models please let me know!

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souldier
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by souldier » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:50 pm

Simple math. You have these options:
1. Be content with a lesser guitar. (Contentment doesn't seem to sit well with you right now).
2. Increase your budget. Your budget of 550 is seriously low, even for the used market. I don't know your financial situation, but a little patience and saving will well be worth the sacrifice of not having something RIGHT NOW. Doubling your budget would open a whole host of options whether new or used.
3. Score an amazing deal on a used guitar... Again this will require some luck, patience, and searching.

I'd look into vintage Japanese guitars that often perform above their price point, Cordoba C7-C9-C10. I don't think you'll get much out of the options you listed for what you're looking for.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

tom3949
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by tom3949 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:22 pm

souldier wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:50 pm
Simple math. You have these options:
1. Be content with a lesser guitar. (Contentment doesn't seem to sit well with you right now).
2. Increase your budget. Your budget of 550 is seriously low, even for the used market. I don't know your financial situation, but a little patience and saving will well be worth the sacrifice of not having something RIGHT NOW. Doubling your budget would open a whole host of options whether new or used.
3. Score an amazing deal on a used guitar... Again this will require some luck, patience, and searching.

I'd look into vintage Japanese guitars that often perform above their price point, Cordoba C7-C9-C10. I don't think you'll get much out of the options you listed for what you're looking for.
Thanks. That is what I needed to know - how the all wood guitars at the £500 - £600 price from the likes of Hannika, La Patrie and Kremona would compare with the likes of the Alhambra 5P, 7P and 9P. I am not going to get the chance to try anything else physically so I need to rely on the experiences of others. I know a budget of £500 - £600 might seem low to some on this forum, but I am not a professional musician, or a classical guitar student, but just someone who has unwittingly fallen in love with classical guitars and who wants to try and make the right choice, (for me), at my selected price point. This guitar will be purely for my own enjoyment. The Cordoba C9 and C10 are both beyond my budget, but the C7 isn't. I only didn't include this in my list because I know it doesn't have solid wood back and sides and so it's interesting that this may not be a factor to consider at this price level. As for contentment - how can I not be content with all the summer holidays ahead of me :D

And you're right with the 'right now' bit - I'm going to get something before I go away on holiday next Tuesday, so it will be waiting for me when I get back. That's just me!

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souldier
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by souldier » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:53 pm

There is nothing wrong with having a low budget, but it is low for what you are looking for, unless you score a good deal on used guitar. A person can't have a Ferrari if they only have the budget for a Mercedes.

I purchased a used C9 for $300 USD. You probably won't find such a steal today, but a used C9 for 550 pounds is definitely realistic. Also I wouldn't fixate too much on all solid woods... a lot of it has to do with marketing gimmicks. Try a guitar in person and judge it on its own merits.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:55 pm

You need to wait. I know that isn't what you want to hear. But if you wait until you have cash enough to get a 9P, or something equivalent, it will be worth the wait. I would look for a gently used guitar. You will be able to get a better guitar for less if someone else takes the hit on the depreciation for you.

I got both my Ramirez guitars by waiting. One was a used 125 anyos that cost me 1500 dollars. But it is my best sounding guitar. And the other night one is a 4NE that I bought new, for a fraction of what they typically go for. It had been hanging up in the shop since 2011 and the store owner who I've known for many years noticed that I really liked it. I told him that it was out of my price range. Well, he lowered the price 800 dollars to make it move, and I bought it. I had been looking at that guitar for four months without enough funds. It sucks being poor. And he didn't just lower that guitar's price. He lowered the other two that he had as well.

Sharkbait
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by Sharkbait » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:59 pm

Hi Tom,

Before you start getting infected with GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome), take a deep breath and pause. Reading your posts, it's very clear that you want something better than your Santos Martinez, even though your current budget really isn't enough to get you very far.

Instead of buying one cheap student guitar after another, why not put the money to better use - getting a guitar instructor? You've fallen in love with a nylon string guitar, now get some help to learn how to play it so that it sounds like music. You admit that you sound like ****. I'd say the guitar is not your limiting factor now, it's your skills, or the lack thereof. Even if you could somehow stretch your budget to the 9P's price, you'll soon realise that you still sound like **** on it.

A good teacher will help you overcome your crappy sound, especially if you apply your enthusiasm and passion to the lessons and exercises he or she gives you. My guitar teacher is teaching me how different strokes and attack of the RH can create different sounds. Even on my cheap Yamaha CG-122, I can hear the sound improving, which pleases me no end and keeps me motivated to practise. Since you have a couple of months' holidays where you'll have more time to practise a lot, you'll be very proud of your advancement at the end of your holidays.

Then, when you've had a bit more time to save up for the 9P, your improved skills will enable you to really appreciate & enjoy it!
:D

Rasputin
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by Rasputin » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:17 pm

What they said.

Also, it's not that easy to get rid of GAS. If you got the 9P then within a month you would want your first luthier guitar, and so on for the rest of your days. Feed a cold, starve a case of GAS.

You'll be just fine with a starter guitar for a good 18 months, by which time you will be much better placed to choose the next one.

tom3949
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by tom3949 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:28 pm

Thanks for all of the advice everyone. It is all fairly close to what I expected to hear. At the moment I am like an over enthusiastic puppy! However, whatever I buy, now, or if I can rein myself in, later, I will still probably be buying something I haven't physically tried, unless it is an Alhambra. I don't know why but Liverpool and the surrounding area appears to be a wilderness for certain brands of guitar - i.e. all of those I have shortlisted from my frantic internet search! It is very interesting to hear about not being fixated on an all wooden affair because obviously that seemed to be the main factor I identified in the Alhambra guitars I tried out. Also I have no doubt that my main limiting factor is my current skill level, as I am totally self taught, but I am probably not quite as bad as I make out, (but then again in the illustrious company of this forum - I would probably be considered pretty awful!). Enthusiasm I have - but I also couldn't exactly see myself as exactly being a 'model' classical guitar student. Even from comparing my current guitar to an Alhambra 4P I could recognise a significant jump in tonal quality, even with my skill level, and that is what I am after - something to make me smile. If I can get that within my budget that is going to make me very happy. If not, I will have to curb my enthusiasm, and try this patience thingy.
:D

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:39 pm

Join your local classical guitar society or societies - you never know what someone may have up for sale - not everything is posted on the net.

Also maybe look at up and coming luthiers - several of my students managed to get hold of rather nice hand-made instruments at around the price point you quote. The luthier in question aimed to get some instruments out where they could be heard and, as he was already in a very well paid profession, simply wanted to recoup his investment (in wood) as he refined his skills. Unfortunately (for you, not him) this particular maker is now charging mainstream prices but there must be others on the way up.

It's difficult but a little patience and investigation might pay dividends.

tom3949
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by tom3949 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:18 pm

Thanks. I know the patience game is what I need - but ...

If I could stretch my budget to say £900 I know I could get a new Alhambra 7P or a Cofdoba C9. I am not going to be able to try the Cordoba but would anyone have any recommendations at that price point. Also of interest I have just noticed that a second-hand Burguet Model 3 is up for sale at around £600. Is that worth considering?

Cheers - from a still enthusiastic, but slightly more grounded, beer swilling, wine drinking, tattooed, part-time biker, chemistry teacher from sunny Liverpool.
:D

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:35 pm

Stick with the wine - use water for swilling, sell the part-time bike - be a full-time guitarist.

re. patience - fully understand - I am the black pot to your kettle.

tom3949
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by tom3949 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:50 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:35 pm
Stick with the wine - use water for swilling, sell the part-time bike - be a full-time guitarist.

re. patience - fully understand - I am the black pot to your kettle.
:D

The latest 'part time' bike is a two month old Indian Scout which I somehow managed to acquire instead of buying a new car. Haven't a clue how that happened! :lol:

Also I do tend to gravitate towards the wine nowadays rather than beer. It's more 'civilised'. I have also found myself drinking G&Ts lately - must be middle age.

'Alternatives' somehow are coming thick and fast now - second-hand Joan Cashimira 140 For £400 and or a new Alhambra 10FP for £750 - but that's a flamenco guitar?

My head's spinning!

khayes
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by khayes » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:06 pm

I have nothing to offer you, other than to say you want what we all want :)
Ken

tom3949
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by tom3949 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:55 pm

Thanks Ken. Now I know I am not alone!

I'm also close to making a decision. Although I can't try one - if I up my budget to a touch over £700 that will get me a new Cordoba C9. Only good things seem to be said about this guitar so it may be the one. The Alhambra 9P will just have to wait.

I'm finding this 'patience' thing very very hard.
:D

Gary Macleod
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Re: Help - I NEED an Alhambra 9P for the price of a 5P!

Post by Gary Macleod » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:15 pm

Hmmm there's a Ramirez ra on e - b a y for £750 or offers.
I'd make an offer on that if I were you.

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