Design and Construction
This model has a brilliant, loud, vibrant, boisterous, punchy sound that is desired for flamenco playing so it can be heard above the footwork, singing and crowd noise. However, it is not the sweet harmonic rich sound of the classical. It is furnished with your choice of slotted head with mechanical tuners or tuning pegs. The action is low and fast with golpeadors to protect the top from fingernails. These guitars are lightly braced, lightweight and fragile so care must be taken in their handling. Flamenco guitars are fun and interesting to play, especially if you can master some of the techniques such as rasqueado, golpe, and tremolo.
Flamenco guitars are traditionally built from Spanish cypress for the back and sides, but this wood is rare in Spain so most of it comes from Italy. Fortunately we have a good substitute here in North America in Monterey cypress that grows on the west coast. This wood is a close cousin to Spanish cypress and is only distinguishable to the trained eye. The traditional top is European spruce and fortunately we have a substitute in Engelmann spruce and other spruces available here in North America from a number of locations. The bridge was traditionally made from rosewood with an ebony fretboard and ivory for the nut and saddle but now bone is used. This model is available as a cutaway
Also, many other woods can be used for the back and sides such as maple, Alaskan yellow cedar, myrtle and even E.I. rosewood or black walnut. The spruce top may be replaced with western red cedar, redwood, or Port Orford cedar.
The top and back guitar edges are bound with E.I. rosewood with purfling used on the top only along with a rosette to complement the top wood. The neck is usually Spanish cedar but Honduras mahogany is an option and the neck is reinforced with an carbon fiber/epoxy bar for long term stability.
The negra sound is between the classical and the blanco flamenco. It has a slightly sweeter sound than the blanco with less of the dry rasp typical of the blanco. The negra and blanco are braced and built with the same thickness of materials but the negra uses E.I. rosewood or other hardwood for the back and sides instead of cypress. The negra is also loud, percussive and very responsive to flamenco techniques especially noveau flamenco but also capable of playing classical pieces.
The flamenco action is fast and low generally with some buzzing.
Here is youtube link to David Norton playing his Walker flamenco blanca:
Many thanks to David.
The base cost of the standard flamenco model is $3,000.
Materials and Specifications
Your flamenco guitar is built especially for you. It's your choice of materials and design. I make suggestions, answer questions and put it together with TLC. The following materials are not all that are available and some options cost extra.
Item Standard Options
Back & sides Monterey cypress(blanca) E. I. rosewood(negra)
Top Engelmann spruce Euro. Spruce
Cutaway no yes
Binding E.I. rosewood
Top purfling black and white maple
Side & back purfling yes yes
Neck Spanish cedar mahogany
Rosette your choice from list
Bridge E.I. rosewood
Fretboard ebony rosewood
Head plate rosewood
Nut and saddle bone
Finish French polish
Strung weight 3.0 lbs.
Scale 650 MM 640, 655, 660 MM
20, 21 frets no yes
Tuners Gotoh premium Gotoh
Pegs no yes
Geared pegs no yes