The 6 Best Flamenco Guitars

The flamenco guitar has one of the most characteristic sounds of all guitars. Maestros such as Tomatito, Paco de Lucía, Paco Pena, or Gerardo Nunez have exported the popularity of the flamenco guitar all over the world.

Most of these great flamenco guitarists have a custom-made flamenco guitar made by a guitar maker. However, there are also factory-made models for any type of guitarist, beginner or experienced. You probably know Spanish flamenco guitar brands such as Alhambra, Cordoba, or Raimundo.

In this article you will find a selection of the 6 best flamenco guitars, starting with a flamenco guitar for a beginner and going to a flamenco guitar with a microphone system for an experienced player who wants to perform on stage.

But before going into this selection, let’s start by answering a question that you may ask yourself if you want to buy your first flamenco guitar:

What is the difference between a flamenco and a classical guitar?

In terms of design, these two guitars are quite similar. But don’t be fooled, there are many differences. How many times have I been told that my guitar has a Spanish sound!

Flamenco guitars were originally built to play at parties in Spain. Therefore, they had to have a percussive sound to be heard. Thus, the construction of the guitar is not the same as a classical guitar.

Here are the 4 major differences between a flamenco and a classical guitar :

  • The ribs (sides of the guitar) are slightly thinner than on a classical guitar.
  • Although the woods are thicker, the flamenco guitar is a bit lighter than a classical guitar.
  • Flamenco guitars use woods such as cypress, sycamore, or rosewood (for the sides and back) and spruce (for the top).
  • The action of the strings is lower on a flamenco guitar which brings a typical sound.

These characteristics make the flamenco guitar more suitable for flamenco playing than a classical guitar. It is quite possible to play other styles on a flamenco guitar, but the sound will always have a little bit of a Spanish touch.

More details on the differences and similarities between a classical guitar and a flamenco one.

Beginner : The cheapest – Thomann Classica Flamenco 1F

This guitar is the cheapest of this selection and is clearly intended for beginners in flamenco guitar. As you will see, it has a few flaws, but for the price, the Thomann Classica Flamenco 1F is simply unbeatable.

Thomann  Classica Flamenco 1F
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back + Sides: Maple
  • Made in Portugal

This entry-level flamenco guitar is light and surprises many people who buy it. It has a nice sound and resonance with its brilliant trebles and deep basses. This is the perfect guitar for an introduction to flamenco guitar on a small budget.

Price : 150 – 200$

Concerning the construction we can’t say that it is a 100% flamenco guitar because the sides are about the same height as a classical guitar. However, a flamenco guitar has sides about 1cm lower. On the other hand, for a guitar of this price, the finishes are still excellent.

To make this guitar sound even more “flamenco”, you can :

  • replace the strings with flamenco strings (personally I love Savarez’ strings).
  • replace (ask a guitar maker) the plastic bridge and saddle with a bone bridge and saddle.
  • ask for a light string action lowering for a performance closer to the table and therefore more flamenco.
  • install a golpeador (transparent vinyl pickguard) that will protect your table when you have a percussive game (very useful for gypsy rumba).

Advanced Beginner : ~ 600$ – Cordoba F7 Flamenco

If you have a little more budget to spend into your future flamenco guitar, the Cordoba F7 Flamenco for beginners/advanced beg. may be an excellent choice. As you can see, its aesthetic is beautiful.

cordoba f7 guitare flamenco
  • Top : Solid Spruce
  • Back + Sides : Cypress
  • Gold plated tuners
  • Golpeador

In this price range, the Cordoba F7 is a very light and nice model. The sound is both percussive and clear. The balance between round bass and clear trebles is very well managed.

The varnished cypress back and sides are very beautiful. The gold tuners with black ebony keys (to adjust the strings) bring a very classy touch to this flamenco guitar.

Price : 600 – 640$

This video below illustrates very well the percussive sound of this guitar when playing flamenco with:

Intermediate: Under 1000 $ – Raimundo Model 145 Palo Santo

The Raimundo Model 145 Palo Santo is a very nice flamenco guitar called “negra” because the back and sides are made of rosewood. It is a very good choice for someone who already has some experience in flamenco playing.

Raimundo Model 145 Palo Santo guitare flamenco
  • Top : Solid Spruce
  • Back + Sides : Rosewood
  • Golpeador
  • Made in Spain

This is the perfect guitar for people who want to change their flamenco guitar for a more advanced model at around 1,000$. Its bass is deep and its trebles are bright which gives this guitar a very harmonious and warm sound.

Raimundo guitars are made in a workshop in Paterna in the province of Valencia, Spain. This perfectly finished guitar has a Spanish construction which ensures a solidity and a very good durability over time.

Prix : 990 – 1030$

On the video below you can listen to the sound of this superb flamenco guitar:

Advanced: Unlimited Budget – Cordoba GK Pro Negra

The Cordoba GK Pro Negra is designed for players who already have a good experience with flamenco guitar and who would like to have built-in microphones to perform on stage.

Reading reviews on Internet, you will see that this guitar is often described as a perfection. Its cutaway side allows easy access to the highest notes, which is very handy.

Cordoba GK Pro Negra guitare
  • Top : Solid Spruce
  • Back + Sides : Rosewood
  • Fishman Micro System
  • + Humidified Cordoba hard case

The Spanish sound of this flamenco guitar is powerful yet very balanced. For the amplification system, you will have the choice between two microphones which is very useful for stage use. The guitar comes in a hard case with a humidification system. In short, be careful, you could fall in love with this guitar!

Price : 1 950 – 1 980$

On the video below you can listen to the stunning sound of this guitar:

Bonus 1: Very good bang for the buck – Cordoba GK Studio – also available for lefty’s

If you are looking for a flamenco guitar to do stage at a lower price, there is the Cordoba GK Studio, the little brother of the previous guitar I introduced you. It also has a Fishman mic system and a cutaway.

This model is sold at around 750$, and it’s an excellent bang for the buck. And the left-handed version is at the same price (which is rare)!

Cordoba GK Studio
  • Top : Solid Spruce
  • Back + Sides : Cypress
  • Fishman Micro System
  • + Cordoba Gig-bag 

This flamenco guitar is very light and has a good bright and percussive sound. With this Cordoba guitar, you can play flamenco styles such as rumba but also explore other more classical or new styles such as flamenco fusion. The mic system is a real + for a guitar at this price.

Price : ~ 750 $

Here is a performance video to listen to the beautiful sound of this guitar:

Bonus 2: Another Very good bang for the buck flamenco guitar – Alhambra 4F

This is the guitar I own, and for the moment, this Alhambra 4F suits me very well. I’ve been playing flamenco guitar for 3 years and I was looking for a complete model at around 700$. I mainly play rumba style and this guitar is percussive as I like it to be.

Alhambra 4F guitare
  • Table : Solid Spruce
  • Back + Sides : Sycamore
  • Made in Spain
  • + Gig bag

The quality of this guitar is excellent and mine has a perfect finish. But… you have to love the orange color! My favorite part on this guitar is the sapelli neck which is beautiful. Moreover the playability is excellent. Generally, I put Tomatito flamenco strings on it in high tension and the sound that comes out of the guitar is really clear and deep.

Price : ~ 700$

What I like about Alhambra is also that their guitars are “numbered” by quality range, from the 2F for the beginner to the 10F for the expert. Therefore, as you progress, you can easily go up in scale by taking a higher numbered model.

Here is a great example of the sound of this guitar when it is in the hands of a flamenco guitarist :

Conclusion

It is sometimes rare to find these flamenco guitars in stores, especially if you don’t live in Spain. When I was looking to buy my first flamenco guitar, I went to several guitar stores that didn’t necessarily have many models. However, the Alhambra brand is easy to find. If you have the possibility, I would advise you to test the guitar before buying it.

best flamenco guitars pinterest

If you don’t have any flamenco guitar basics, it is recommended to start on a beginner or advanced beginner’s flamenco guitar such as the Thoman Classica Flamenco 1F or the Cordoba F7 rather than buying the best flamenco guitar straight away.

You will be able to discover the style smoothly, to make progress, and see if you like it. You should know that the flamenco repertoire is very, very wide with rumba, solea, bulerias, fandangos, etc.

FAQ

What is the best affordable flamenco guitar to start with?

For beginners, the online music store Thomann sells a flamenco guitar (the 1F) for around 150€. This one is made in Portugal and can be a very good first guitar.

How much cost the best flamenco guitar?

If you want the best flamenco guitar you can have, I advise you to have it made by a guitar maker. He will know how to adapt to all your needs to build the perfect guitar for you. Otherwise, excellent models of flamenco guitars for the stage can be found starting at 1,000$ like the Cordoba GK Pro Negra.

Can you play other styles with a flamenco guitar?

Absolutely. You will be able to play all styles: bossa-nova, classical, pop… However, you will always have a little Spanish sound.