Classical and Flamenco

Somewhere for members interested in Flamenco to exchange related knowledge and techniques. Please do not give direct links to performances.
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:48 pm

Classical and Flamenco

Post by twistedblues » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:35 pm

Does being proficient on classical guitar help with playing flamenco? And vice versa? Or is it like starting over?

User avatar
robin loops
Posts: 3226
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 am
Location: California

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by robin loops » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:44 pm

Flamenco uses some strumming techniques that you won't find in classical and these are like learning a brand new thing and visa versa. However a player proficient at any style of guitar will have a much easier time learning any other new type of guitar as fretting notes, forming chords, plucking the strings, etc., are essentially the same (albeit with different techniques, hand angles, method of holding guitar, etc.). Flamenco and classical have many similarities (more than most styles/techniques) and knowing one definitely facilitates the other but keep in mind that there are significant differences stylistically and technically, and that classical and flamenco guitars are different as well.

The flamenco guitar has a narrower bout lower action (as well as some other structural differences). You can use a classical for flamenco but they tend to have (especially cedar tops) a deeper or boomier tone than you want for flamenco and classical on a flamenco guitar can sound a bit thin and buzzy. If wanting a single guitar for both styles a classical spruce top with action on the low side (for a classical) is an option or a flamenco guitar that has a deeper boomier tone with action on the higher side (for a flamenco). I do not know much about flamenco guitars but I believe that a flamenca negra is one that many crossover players like to use. Someone more versed in flamenco and flamenco guitars will have to provide more info on that. Of course keep in mind that to pursue both styles seriously and accurately, two guitars is the best (if not only) option.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

Posts: 2317
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Luis_Br » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:51 pm

I think LH are more or less the same and help each other. Basic musical knowledge of rhythm, reading scores etc. are also the same...
RH has some differences as pointed out, but considering in both cases you should be building up consciousness, musical and body knowledge, they end up helping each other a lot. If you have developed good consciousness of what you are doing, you quickly adapt to each other.
But I think changing the style caracter is the most difficult. When I listen to Romero playing Giuliani I still think this is a flamenco/spanish guitarist trying to play some operatic music.
So I think biggest difficulty to a Classical going to Flamenco is the rasgueos and rhythmic variations and consistency, with a more percussive approach to articulation.
To the flamenco, the difficulty is to remove the percussive attack and change the articulation to something more fluid, as well as to work on the subtleties of independent simultaneous voicings.
But you can still do great music with your own way. I still appreciate Romero playing Giuliani.

Ramon Amira
Posts: 3312
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
Location: New York City

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Ramon Amira » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:07 pm

See my post from yesterday under "Favorite Websites."


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

User avatar
Posts: 1723
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by guitarrista » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:45 pm

twistedblues wrote:Does being proficient on classical guitar help with playing flamenco? And vice versa? Or is it like starting over?
Compared to a beginner who starts flamenco guitar and has not played nylon-string guitar before, it gives you a huge advantage. As Ramon says in his post in the other thread, the core guitar technique is the same, but there are a lot of add-on techniques to learn as well. Just the different types of rasgueados are a whole new complex universe to deal with for a classically-trained guitarist; also alzapua and other thumb-only techniques. Then all the different palos and working on rhythmic patterns. And if you'd like to accompany dancers or singers, there is yet another universe of skills to acquire - not so much as additional pure technique, but rather about observing, listening and responding to the dancer/singer on the spot.
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez


Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Salvador » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:03 am

I played classical guitar for a long time but i don't know how to play Flamenco. I really wish i can play Flamenco guitar also. For classical guitarists it's beneficial to know some basic Flamenco technique like playing scales, rasgueado. Let's learn Flamenco guitar together, by watching youtube tutorial videos.

Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:32 pm

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Semitone » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:34 pm

Threads a bit old but I thought I would add my two cents as I am familiar with both styles. ( Note: I am not using the word proficient.)

In many ways, I felt going from steel string pick style guitar to classical is similar to going from classical to flamenco. Sure there is some overlap and having facility with music theory helps but there are also some pretty major differences between classical and flamenco and it will take a bit of time to train your ears and muscle memory.

Right hand technique is very different. Not just rasqueados, but there are lot of techniques that one doesn't commonly use in traditional classical playing...golpes, alzupua.... I see traditional flamenco as being a very percussive/rhythmic endeavor to accompany singers and dancers. Classical has more tonal subtleties,IMO.( subtlety seems to be something that doesn't work in a loud dancing/singing festive environment. Modern flamenco on the other hand seems to be a different beast and is a bit of a hybrid of styles) Flamenco is a group activity, classical more solo oriented.

The chord voicings and fingerings are usually very different as is the common use of the modes of A Phrygian and E Phrygian. The rhythms ( or compas) of many traditional flamenco styles have a 12 beat pattern. (something like 6/8, followed by 3/4). Most of the classical pieces I play are in 4/4 or 3/4 timing either in major or minor keys. Getting used to the very different rhythm may be one of the most difficult adjustments.

As far as the instruments themselves, I think flamenco guitars were relatively inexpensive working mans guitars at the turn of the century ( I mean two centuries ago :D ) They were made with local materials and not expensive imported rosewood. They didn't have the sustain that "classical" concert guitarist desired but they did have a sharp attack and were somewhat treble heavy to cut through the other participants. I think guitars with more pronounced/deep bass were developed a little later on and coveted by concert players. A golpeador on a guitar used for flamenco was essential if you didn't want to damage the guitar. ( I'm guessing that didn't help with sustain either)

Playing posture is also taught differently....

All of which makes me wonder...what really are the similarities?

Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:01 am
Location: Friesland, Holland

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Pede » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:33 pm

I am an experienced classical player and started studying flamenco guitar. Especialy for the right hand its is very different. I agree also that getting used to the palos and rythmes takes much practising.
Gert Petersen 2000, Spr-BRW, Felipe Conde FP17 Negro, Santos Hernandez 1932 S-BRW, Asturias 10 string s-IRW, Ramirez 1a Especial 2014, Bernabe M5 S, Bert Kwakkel Merula 1982, Baroque guitar by Martin de Witte

User avatar
Amateur luthier
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:46 am
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by attila57 » Fri May 05, 2017 6:23 pm

twistedblues wrote:
Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:35 pm
Does being proficient on classical guitar help with playing flamenco? And vice versa? Or is it like starting over?
Yes, it helps, of course. But still, you'll need to learn and practice every new technique (there's lots in flamenco, especially RH). In the end your playing will definitely be richer, with more tonal colours, new sounds and techniques. Apart from that, if you want to sound and feel flamenco, you'll need to study the folklore background, watch flamenco dancing and listen to the great maestros' music. Seeing them personally also helps a lot. I was lucky to hear Paco Pena live once, and I'll never forget it! That was definitely the greatest, most unbelievable guitar experience in my life. He is in an altogether different class from all classical and jazz guitar performers I've heard to play.

Attila :bye:
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

Posts: 119
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 10:01 am
Location: West of Ireland

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Flawiler63 » Sun May 21, 2017 9:48 am

Very informative, thanks to everyone. I am trying to learn some flamenco on my own. I have played CG on and off for decades and have ordered Juan Martin And Patrick Campbell: Essential Flamenco Guitar - Volume 1 to help me along the way. Will see how it goes, olé.

Posts: 998
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:10 pm

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by ronjazz » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:05 pm

I started flamenco guitar studies in Cordoba, Spain while attending classical master classes. It takes a long time to absorb the rhythms, in fact, until I got a job accompanying flamenco dance classes, I couldn't internalize the accents of the different dance forms. But working with dancers was the key to getting those rhythms to flow and work right, and that is highly recommended. The Koster, Serrano and Martin methods all have their strengths, but listening and watching youtube vids with dancers are really necessary.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

User avatar
robin loops
Posts: 3226
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 am
Location: California

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by robin loops » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:09 pm

Never used any myself but if you search YouTube for 'flamenco backing tracks' you'll find tons of videos to accompany. Perhaps even be able find one some with dancers but no guitar.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:11 am
Location: San Diego

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by corsair49 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:33 am

I was watching a YT video with Pepe Romero teaching rasqueados to student. He said that learning that will really help your RH technique. Balance your hand etc. After seeing that I am now training that specifically. Even though I mainly just want to play cg.

Posts: 418
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by Tonit » Wed May 30, 2018 10:03 pm

twistedblues wrote:
Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:35 pm
Does being proficient on classical guitar help with playing flamenco? And vice versa? Or is it like starting over?
I think it does, in particular when we compare two different kinds of proficiency which would give us more dimensions to both classical and flamenco.

Having said that, I don't think two kinds of guitars are the same anymore today (but maybe they used to be), so it is desirable to tame these two kinds of instruments separately.

Daring to say, it's like you need an F1 car to qualify for the F1 races. NASCAR is fast but is not an F1 car. Or it is more like, If we claim ourselves being an F1 driver, maybe we need to demonstrate that we can drive an F1 car, and not a Group-C car, given that, any guitar playing is absolutely not any race.

Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:21 am

Re: Classical and Flamenco

Post by GuidoGitarist » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:07 am

There's a little bit of overlap, but the playing style is very different for the right hand. So the right hand will feel as starting over, the left hand is fine.
2013 Perez Luthier India 'Abeto'
Flamenco player

Return to “Flamenco Corner”