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Where I live, there are several music shops. Although they sell a great variety of guitars, none has the category "flamenco guitar."

I'd like to buy a guitar to play flamenco. So, what features shall I look for to get that hard flamenco sound instead of softer, sustained classical guitar sound?

Appearantly, I cannot try all the guitars in the store, but I can ask for specific things such as front, side and back plate materials, width of zero fret etc.

Basically, my question is, how can I narrow down my choices for a flamenco guitar without playing it?

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You want low action, probably the most significant difference in a proper flamenco guitar. If available, get cypress (most common for "flamenca blanca" guitars) and you'll need a plate (golpeador) but you can always just slap one on yourself. Stear clear of anything with a trussrod in it. You don't want a lot of weight in a flamenco guitar. Usually the top of a flamenco guitar is light and it has less weight in the bracings.

When everything is said and done, it's how you play the instrument that will define whether you sound flamenco or not, not the instrument itself.

As a point of history, it's interesting to look at when the difference between flamenco and classical guitars emerged. Antonio de Torres made no distinction between the two and luthiers will use derivatives of his design for both kinds of guitars. They only started going their separate ways in the 20th century, and it is only with Andres Segovia, who single-handedly created this artificial rift between classical and flamenco, that the guitars really start to change. The point being that until not that long ago classical and flamenco guitar was the same thing.

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You won't need to play all the guitars in the store, as most won't be suitable. The guys in the shop ought to be able to offer you half a dozen to try, acoustic obviously. If they can't or won't, then that's not the shop to even consider buying from!

The strings will most likely be nylon or carbon, as opposed to steel, and some there's a choice between wound and plain 3rds. If you don't play flamenco already, it might be best to work on it with the classical guitar, as eventually, you'll discover whether you like soft or hard strings better - they're not sold in guages, but tensions.

  • I do play flamenco, and when I asked for a flamenco guitar where I used to live, they offered me specific guitars to choose from. But here, when I ask for flamenco guitar, they say that they don't know what the difference is. – padawan Apr 25 '17 at 16:16
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    If you play, surely you have a pretty shrewd idea. If they don't, then they need to do some homework, otherwise they're not getting your custom. – Tim Apr 25 '17 at 16:29
  • I do not have any other choices. – padawan Apr 26 '17 at 14:01
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    You say there are several music shops.But you ask how you can narrow choices without playing. I'd say you cannot. The guitars need to be played. – Tim Apr 26 '17 at 14:10
  • By asking for specific features, I can narrow down. For instance, I can say "please show me the guitars with back plates made of spruce." – padawan Apr 26 '17 at 14:18

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