And the Jazz cat's dilema: Flamenco or classical...

Often we work with jazz guitarists who are tired of carrying gear around. They are also tired of heavy electric guitars. Sometimes they are just looking for a different sound. As most of our clients buy online and don't get the opportunity to play the instrument previously, they rely on our knowledge to find the right one.

Classical and Flamenco guitars have a lot in common, but they also have differences that can make a jazz player feel comfortable or awkward from the first touch. Probably, the obvious quality is the action.  Flamenco guitars have by standard a lower action which  helps to play scales faster and to make less effort on the left hand. Cypress woods on the back and sides can produce a jazzy sound that most jazz players will enjoy, and feel familiar to, but laminated back and sides on a classical guitar can produce a similar effect.

The percussive, drum-like principle behind Flamenco guitars is ultimately favorable to jazz. Furthermore, the new designs of luthiers like Ramirez, Bernabe and Contreras, allow the sound of the instrument to be more versatile and universal adapting quickly to most music genres. 

Classical guitars have also evolved in a big way. Some are now designed for the contemporary player who not only plays "classical" but different styles, on different venues, with the most varied instruments. So classical guitars are also a good choice for jazz cats. The warmer sound of Spruce tops and a lowered action (3mm at the 12th fret) - which we can do at the shop, brings color and textures to the jazz feel that's distinctive and attractive.

This conversation is a long and interesting one. For now, we recommend a Flamenco guitar for a scale-crazy, straight up, bebop jazz man, and for the more experimental jazz player a classical guitar with an adjusted low action.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us! 

Paulino Bernabe Classical Guitar