Flamenco Guitar

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The flamenco guitar is a string chordophone instrument of the guitar family. It consists of six nylon strings played over a Spanish wood resonator body that is thinner and has less internal bracing than a classical or steel-string acoustic guitar. The flamenco guitar player uses a distinctive playing technique known as toque that involves touching, brushing and hitting the strings.
History of the Flamenco Guitar
The flamenco guitar shares its common ancestry with other plucked lute-like instruments and records of instruments resembling the guitar date back as early as Ancient Egypt. The first known reference of these instruments being called ‘a guitar’ began in the 15th century in Spain where the flamenco guitar is still most commonly associated. The simplistic early shape of these stringed instruments were called a ‘vihuela’ and had just four strings. In the 1800s, a six-string variant became popular and subsequently the ‘torres’ was developed. Spanish luthier and guitarist, Antonio de Torres, extended the neck and enlarged the body of these early guitars to create what we can recognisably consider a modern guitar. As the traditional ‘flamenco’ became less of a family tradition and more of a performance art during the 19th century, the flamenco guitar was born. Torres’ modifications were built upon to create an instrument that could create loud percussion sounds to accompany dancers. The lighter wood allowed the instrument to be conducive to street performance and its popularity soared. Flamenco and the flamenco guitar became intrinsically associated with Spanish culture and heritage, resulting in Unesco declaring it a ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ in 2010. Today, flamenco guitar is considered an independent genre of its own away from flamenco with guitarists worldwide training in this popular genre form.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

$300 - $2,000

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How to Play

A type of nylon-string guitar used in flamenco music. Played with a combination of fingerpicking and percussive techniques.

In Popular Music

American rock group Santana use flamenco guitar on many of their songs including The Beatles cover of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ from 2010. There are many notable examples of the flamenco guitar in popular music and it is most often used to create a Spanish, Portuguese or Latin American feel to the music.

Famous Players

Paco de Lucía, Vicente Amigo, Tomatito

Close Relations

Acoustic Guitar, Gypsy Guitar
Video Credit: Veojam
Understanding the Flamenco Guitar
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