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  1. #1
    So I've been playing bossa nova on my Joe Pass Emperor for a while, but have been wanting to play more authentic and buy a nylon string. What are the differences between a flamenco and a classical guitar? I'm assuming that classical are used for bossa, but do some players use flamenco nylons? Anyone with some info please let me know! Thanks!

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by anightintunisia
    So I've been playing bossa on my Joe Pass Emperor for a while, but have been wanting to play more authentic and byy a nylon string. What are the differences between a flamenco and a classical guitar? I'm assuming that classical are used for bossa, but do some players use flamenco nylons? Anyone with some info please let me know! Thanks!
    I've heard a great local gypsy guitarist (Alphonso Ponticelli) play that Django style gypsy swing music on a flamenco--worked out great. The rhythm guitarist accompanying him played on traditional gypsy guitar. Play what ya like that sounds good!

    What's the difference between the two? Woods, sustain, action.

    You may want to check out an excellent Brazilian nylon guitar maker, if you're gonna play bossas/sambas: Giannini Guitars. I have an old Giannini nylon with cutaway and small pup and it sounds very trebly. Maybe a traditional classical may be have a more boomy sound in the bass..not an expert at this, just some impressions.

  4. #3
    My guess is that flamenco guitars probably have lower action, and more of a trebly sound and classical have slightly higher action with a more bassy tone? Now that I'm thinking about it, I think a flamenco guitar would be a no no for bossa nova. Are their any guitars that are maybe OK for both styles, like some kind of hybird classical flamenco?

  5. #4

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    It'll probably work either way, but the flamenco guitar will typically favor a brighter attack and quicker decay. Most bossa nova comping is warm and lush to my ears.

    If you want to go for a traditional or authentic bossa nova sound, get the cheapest classical guitar you find and make sure you understand ginga.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    I've heard a great local gypsy guitarist (Alphonso Ponticelli) play that Django style gypsy swing music on a flamenco--worked out great. The rhythm guitarist accompanying him played on traditional gypsy guitar. Play what ya like that sounds good!

    What's the difference between the two? Woods, sustain, action.

    You may want to check out an excellent Brazilian nylon guitar maker, if you're gonna play bossas/sambas: Giannini Guitars. I have an old Giannini nylon with cutaway and small pup and it sounds very trebly. Maybe a traditional classical may be have a more boomy sound in the bass..not an expert at this, just some impressions.
    I have a Giannini - conventional as opposed to cut-away. It is trebly when compared to a Japanese classical guitar used by my old Japanese teacher. To be honest, I prefer the Giannini partly because it is Brazilian and perhaps has been designed for the Bossa Nova. Could this be?

  7. #6

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    Some flamenco guitars are warmer than others, especially rosewood back. I have found that the rosewood flamenco is really good for jazz in general, the sounds pops right out and they are light and easy to play. The Gianninis are warm and have a nice sustain, although the pickups aren't very good. Replace with B-band or transducers or, if money isn't a problem, the RMC system, which will give you whatever tone you want, with its excellent EQ. The hybrids by Yamaha and Ibanez are good for bossa, and not so wide in the neck, so easier for electric players to switch back and forth.

  8. #7

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    I play a hybrid Ibanez. Not a GREAT guitar....good for classical, good for Bossa, good for CMs, etc........I like to be able to play a big portion of my repertoire on ONE instrument.

    Sailor

  9. #8
    Wacht Zé Menezes




  10. #9

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    Taylor nylon strings play more like a standard guitar than either a classical or flamenco.

    Taylor Guitars | Nylon Acoustic Electric Guitar Models

  11. #10

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    You might consider this. You can get both flamenco and classical sounds and won't have to fight feedback when playing with a band:


  12. #11

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    I use both. A cedar top/rosewood classical and a spruce/cypruss flamenco guitar. The action is adjusted low on both. Both guitars sound great in the typical phrygian mode play. The are simply of a different tone and feel and it is great to switch. As a note, I use extra hard tension on the flamenco guitar and hard tension on the classical.

  13. #12
    Classica..

  14. #13

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    The B-Band or Fishman "duet" systems with piezo and condenser mic works in any nylon-strung guitar, and adjust the EQ will give you a warmer or brighter sound. I have found that flamenco guitars amplify better than classicals because they don't have the dominant low-mids that tend to feed back first, thus are more controllable.

  15. #14

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    I have a Godin Multiac grand concert that works great.
    I used to have a Taylor ns32ce that also got the job done.

  16. #15

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    Ramirez with cutway.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by anightintunisia
    What are the differences between a flamenco and a classical guitar?
    Traditionally, flamenco guitars were thinner than classicals, and has been said, generally lower action. Until recently, cypress was the favored back and sides wood, but recently flamenco negro models with rosewood are becoming more popular. Plus they were the last to eliminate the friction peg, although probably still found on some traditionalist makers guitars.
    Brad

  18. #17

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    A Flamenco guitar is brighter and lighter. They usually have a pick guard on top and bottom although I have seen some bossa guitarists get their classical guitars fitted with an extra pickguard on top. Flamenco players usually play with the right hand behind the sound hole to get more "punch" while classical players play right on top of the sound hole for a more mellow tone. BTW, I play bossa on a Flamenco and often wish I had a more mellow sounding guitar.
    Last edited by richb2; 12-25-2014 at 06:45 PM.

  19. #18

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    The bossa nova brazilian sound isn't in the bass or bright ranges. Never tried a flamenco guitar but I don't think this is what you need for bossa nova.

    Baden Powell played Hopf guitars among others

    Fron my own experience
    - Taylor nylon NS64 : not enough bass and neck a bit too narrow to play acoustic brazilian guitar, but can do for jazz bossa nova, acoustic or amplified.
    - classical Hopf Membrane : nice, but too much bass for that style. A bit hard to play.
    - classical Hopf : can do
    - classical, cheap no brand found in a garage sale for 20 Euros: my preferred one !!

    A Brazilian friend of mine who plays and sings bossa nova and other brazilian styles uses an amplified Godin as shown here above. I tried the Yamaha ones of that kind and I disliked them.

    Some renowned brazilian guitarists use Framework guitars, expensive, built on order, long manufacturing delay, probably the best when playing with an amp.

    I think I read somewhere that current gianinnis weren't as good as they used to be ?

  20. #19

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    Any nylon-strung guitar is fine for bossa-nova, as long as the player is comfortable with it. I have played my classical, bossa and jazz repertoire on flamenco guitars for many years, now, finding them much faster in response, easier to amplify and record, lighter and, in general, quicker. Flamenca negra (rosewood rather than cypress back and sides) yields a warmer sound. Having said that, it's rather hard to beat the Godin Multiac series for amplified nylon-string sounds, ease of use and overall stability, including the new 7-string Multiac nylon, which is nearly the perfect instrument for bossa and samba. The RMC pickup system is very fast and accurate, and drives a guitar synth as well.

  21. #20

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    Many players that play traditional bossa are trained in classical and Jazz and play "Crossover" styles mainly using a classical guitar. Marco Pereira and Bellinati are examples:








    The boss guitar tradition in Brazil started with classical guitars ( bonfa, Garoto, etc ), and continues that way


    That doesn't mean you can' use flamenco, just pointing out what some players there are doing, did. Having said that, the technique and sound you need will lend itself better to a classical guitar than a flamenco. As someone pointed out earlier, flamencos typically have lower actions and different tone.
    Last edited by seaguitar; 12-26-2014 at 01:23 PM.

  22. #21

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    Ok, what did Jobim play? Or Charlie Byrd? Luiz Bonfa?

  23. #22

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    At least we know from his own son what guitars Baden Powell played, and surprise there are 2 flamenco ones in the list

    Baden Powell - his records and guitars

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanM
    Ok, what did Jobim play? Or Charlie Byrd? Luiz Bonfa?
    Evidently classical. I'm certainly not saying you have to use a classical. But most of these originators of the style started there and did most of their recordings there. There are also steel string and mandolin traditions in Brazil. Villa Lobos was a huge influence on Jobim and he originally Learned classical guitar when he started but there is a lot more piano playing by jobim than guitar since that seemed to be his instrument of choice later and what he learned formally.

    there are plenty of recordings on YouTube of bonfa playing a classical, and Byrd. But their histories:

    Luiz Bonfá - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Charlie Byrd - Guitar Planet Magazine

    They may have used flamencos but I haven't heard it and again I'm not being religious here just pointing out the tradition as I learnt of it.

    In general in South America in the early to mid 20th century, classical guitar was used a lot esp in formal education. A lot of current repertoire came from there - villa Lobos, barrios, Lauro, etc.

  25. #24

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    Flamenco guitars are perfectly adequate for bossa and samba. tone is in the hands and technique. Many Brazilians now use Godin electric nylon-string guitars, which are neither classical nor flamenco.

  26. #25
    destinytot Guest
    Flamenco guitars are perfectly adequate for bossa and samba. tone is in the hands and technique.
    Well said.

    My two cents' worth: use a condenser mic for amplification.

  27. #26

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    So the answer is (IMO) use whatever you want! It won't make a big difference. It is more about how you play than what type of guitar you play.

  28. #27

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    There is a broad spectrum, or perhaps a continuum, these days between the traditionally classical and the traditionally flamenco. There are "hybrid" guitars that blend characteristics of both archetypes. The best modern builders know how to finesse the bracing and bridge setup to achieve the player's desired characteristics.

    I play such a hybrid. It's a flamenco with a cedar top, cypress back and sides (blanca), set up for low action, but braced for a more open and overtone-rich sound. It excels at bossa and jazz playing, which is one of the things I asked the luthier to do for me when I had it built a few years ago.

    Fact is that while bossa is thought of as "warm," jazz proper is much easier to play on a low action nylon string with a quick response and not so many deep ringing overtones. That's a flamenco guitar.

    Joao Gilberto is most well known for playing a Di Giorgio Tarrega model, a Brazilian made classical guitar near the top of that company's line of mostly lesser quality partial-laminate instruments.
    Last edited by rpguitar; 12-28-2014 at 01:22 PM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar
    Fact is that while bossa is thought of as "warm," jazz proper is much easier to play on a low action nylon string with a quick response and not so many deep ringing overtones. That's a flamenco guitar.
    That makes sense. But I guess there is a spectrum here from rich tonality and warm, but more difficult to play, to easy to play, but sacrifice in some tone. I understand that with the newer guitars the sacrifice isn't as great as it used to be. I know in the classical there is some contention about double tops not being as tonally rich as traditionally braced guitars but they are proving that they sometimes are equally if not more rich in tone. I had not considered the evolution in guitars.

  30. #29
    destinytot Guest
    Great comment by rpguitar (about hybrid construction) - that explains a lot about why I'm happier using a second-hand (and rather beat-up) Camps flamenco CE-800 than the fancy, nylon-strung 'electro-acoustic' (?) Ovation I had a when I first started playing in public.

    And rpguitar's maxim says it all - Gear don't mean a thing if ya can't make it sing.

    I taught myself to play by imitating João Gilberto. I find his particular genius is in marrying his innovative guitar playing with wonderful singing that shows - if proof were needed - that Beauty is universal.

    For me, what distinguishes great singers is not their 'instrument(s)' but their phrasing. I see Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra - and others I could mention - as Time Lords, whose singing is rhythmically and prosodically 'sound'.

    I put João Gilberto next to Nat 'King' Cole; firstly because playing an instrument while singing puts them in decisive control of the inside-outward flow of music from the body to the listener, and secondly because both have a rare subtlety to the their sound that is hypnotic and Zen-like in its Beauty.

    I've come to realise that these qualities don't defy close scrutiny or careful study, and that technical results can be measured and, with practice, reproduced on whatever instrument one happens to have.

    I've had a decent LR Baggs p/u fitted to my Camps - the previous owner fitted a Fishman which I din't like at all- and the sound through the preamp of my RE200 amp is surprisingly good to my ears.... but I much prefer using a condenser mic.

    I still sing and play several of João Gilberto's classics, but mostly so I can practise 'hearing (and responding)' by improvising vocal harmony and singing counterpoint with like-minded friends.

    (There are some great players and teachers here, but I'd like to try and give something back to this forum by sharing what I've picked up about the João Gilberto guitar style with anyone to whom this might be of interest. Please feel to PM or post here.)
    Last edited by destinytot; 12-28-2014 at 11:13 AM. Reason: spelling and punctuation

  31. #30

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    Personally I'd love to hear it, destinytot, and posting for all to see would be better than a PM in my opinion.

    João's playing is so understated and "perfect" for the style (which of course he partly invented) that it sometimes goes unnoticed as mere background music. But it is hardly simple; it is his soft tone, perfectly relaxed rhythm, and clever voice leading that makes him so brilliant.

    I too play numerous Jobim, Valle, and Veloso tunes... I just wish I had such a sublime ability to sing and play simultaneously as João does.

    BTW my guitar was built by Danish luthier Anders Eliasson in 2008. He lives in Granada, Spain.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar
    Joao Gilberto is most well known for playing a Giannini Tarrega model ...
    Actually it's a Di Giorgio Tarrega model, not a Giannini!

    Portuguese only, sorry ... O violão de João Gilberto

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlosCampos
    Actually it's a Di Giorgio Tarrega model, not a Giannini!
    God, yes of course and I absolutely knew that but my brain misfired. (Post corrected) Thanks!

  34. #33

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    ^Ok!

    According to the article, today he uses a Ignacio Fleta guitar. His Di Giorgio had a crash, was fixed but never sounded the same. Also JG use LaBella's 850B strings. His guitar has no electronics, he prefer the AKG 414 condenser microphones and the expertise of Ken Kondo, his preferred sound engineer.

    Personally, for bossa, I use a custom made guitar by luthier Emanuel Carvalho, made of Brazilian rosewood laminated on bottom and sides and solid Canadian Cedar top.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlos...7627384932419/

  35. #34
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar
    Personally I'd love to hear it, destinytot, and posting for all to see would be better than a PM in my opinion.

    João's playing is so understated and "perfect" for the style (which of course he partly invented) that it sometimes goes unnoticed as mere background music. But it is hardly simple; it is his soft tone, perfectly relaxed rhythm, and clever voice leading that makes him so brilliant.

    I too play numerous Jobim, Valle, and Veloso tunes... I just wish I had such a sublime ability to sing and play simultaneously as João does.

    BTW my guitar was built by Danish luthier Anders Eliasson in 2008. He lives in Granada, Spain.
    I live in Valencia, but I know Granada reasonably well (and have friends there).

    I'm posting an example from a live performance that was recorded on VHS in the UK - which dates it! There was a lot of supportive listening going on from fine and sensitive musicians, making it possible to play that guitar acoustically.

    Tomorrow I'll make a little tutorial video to post here as an introduction to playing in this style. Should I cover singing while playing (as well as the guitar style)?

  36. #35

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    Astrud & Emily.

  37. #36
    destinytot Guest
    GIRL FROM IPANEMA with the same great band plus Anthony Kerr on vibes, and recorded live on a little stage at London's Pizza on the Park (before it became a hotel).

    https://soundcloud.com/mike-mckoy-2/descarga-download-girl-from

  38. #37

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    Neither. Get D'Addario ball-ended nylon strings amd futz with those for a while.