The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

New from Alhambra in Spain: Carlos Piñana Flamenco Models

 

New from Alhambra in Spain: Carlos Piñana Flamenco Models - The Twelfth Fret

In the past century, Flamenco Guitars evolved as solo instruments to accompany dancers.  Huge volume with strong note-separation was essential as these guitars had to compete with the dancers and background noise of the busy local restaurants. The traditional Flamenco Guitar is loud, brash and clear sounding. Built with cypress wood back and sides this light weight wood reflects treble frequencies as it reduces bass output.  The shallow neck angle and low saddle-down-bearing angle plus narrower sides that reduce internal volume all contribute to the bright, brash tone of the Flamenco Guitar.  Traditionally these guitars are called Flamenco Blanca due to the blond colour of the cypress wood back and sides.

While there remains an enthusiastic fan-base of “true” Flamenco music, recently, Flamenco Guitar has experienced an exciting synergy with pop-music.  We now see many great players using the Flamenco technique to play pop-music.  Players like Jesse Cook have taken the Flamenco sound in a new, more accessible direction, bringing Flamenco Guitar culture to a wider audience. 

Many contemporary players find they need a Flamenco Guitar that offers a fuller and rounder bass response as well as the traditional treble-clarity and power one expects in a Flamenco guitar. To this end we have seen an increasing number of Flamenco Guitars built with dark coloured Rosewood back and sides; commonly called Flamenco Negra guitars.

Alhambra 10FP Piñana Flamenco Guitar

Alhambra Guitars, in a collaboration with Carlos Piñana, a fabulous young player from Murcia, Spain, have focused on making dramatic improvements to the Flamenco Negra Guitar.  Master Luthiers Menguel Y Margarit of the Alhambra Custom Shop completed a year-long experimental phase developing an entirely new bracing system for these new guitars.  Breaking with tradition they chose the increased responsiveness of cedar for the top; abandoning the standard 7-fan-brace pattern, they developed a complex bracing system of 9 delicate parallel braces intersected by 2 cross members with a total of 15 individual top braces; and joined to the sides using massive solid Spanish-cedar linings. 

The Rosewood for the back and sides is selected for density and is thicker resulting in a noticeably heavier guitar. They bring to mind the guitars of the famed Barcelona maker, Ignacio Fleta who also used thicker back and sides to reflect bass and offer improved balance in his guitars.

Finish is matt which means the bare minimum of varnish is applied to the instrument, ensuring that the response will be maximised.  The tuners are metal barrel type and very smooth. One feature I really like; the Golpeador or clear tap-plate has a 3 cm open break in the center; fitted in two pieces rather than the standard one-piece which should dramatically increase the responsiveness of the top.

In my opinion the new 10FP Piñana guitar is comfortably in the same tonal league as any concert-grade Flamenco at three times the price. 

View the 10FP on the Alhambra website.

Alhambra 5FP  Piñana Flamenco Guitar

Sprouting from the same initiative, Alhambra has developed an intermediate level Flamenco guitar that offers very comparable response using laminate rosewood back and sides with a cedar top.  This model uses the new “10P Premium” bracing pattern with 7 fans with 4 transverse lateral fans; an incredibly complex top bracing system for such a reasonably priced guitar. Finished in the minimalist Open-Pore finish with a two-piece Golpeador plate this new model knocks-the-socks off any guitars in this price range. 

View the Alhambra 5FP on the Alhambra website

 

A last comment:  the enhanced clarity of Flamenco guitars is ideal for bare-finger-style Latin Jazz. Steel-string players who don’t culture the classical right-hand attack “rest stroke” and grow the fingernails needed for “correct” classical guitar technique, often choose a Flamenco guitar over a standard classical guitar as it can seem less “muddy”  to their ears when played without nails.

 ~Grant MacNeill, Classical Guitar Specialist



Introductory Pricing!

  • 5 FP OP Piñana:        Introductory Price with Everest Case               $1189. CAD w/c
  • 10 FP Piñana:            Introductory Price with Spanish Euro Case   $2049. CAD w/c

Note: The letter P in the model names indicates “Palosanto”; Spanish for Rosewood. We can provide the necessary CITES export documents for any Rosewood guitars that we ship outside of Canada.


You might also enjoy our article on the Alhambra Carlos Piñana2F Flamenco Guitar.

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