Acoustic Guitars, classical guitar music, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, electroacoustic guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitar music, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments, flamenco music, guitar, Guitar for beginners, guitar music, Guitar players, MIDI guitar, MIDI guitars, musical instruments

Time to change your guitar strings

Cambio de cuerdas

As the market is full of different guitar strings brands and each of them have different string tensions and options sometimes is difficult to choose the right set of strings for your guitar. We will try to clarify some concepts here and explain what the options are but at the end of the day experimenting and trying different strings will give you a clear idea of what you are looking for in terms of sound, volume, attack and playability.

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How to restring a classical guitar or a flamenco guitar

The first thing we would like to show you is how to restring your classical guitar or your flamenco guitar. Surfing the web we found this video by Phorenon that explain visually and in deep detail how to do it properly. The only extra advice that we could add to this illustrative video is that when you change the strings, try to do them one by one in order to maintain the tension on the bridge and the neck.

Which String Tension to choose?

The string tension is the amount of tension pulling on each string when in tune. String tension ranges from low to extra high.

Every guitar reacts differently to each string tension, so experiment until you find one that sounds best on your guitar.

String tension affects the volume, technique, note attack, and note body when you play. Here are some general guidelines:

Higher Tension = More Volume

In general, the higher the string tension, the louder your can play without getting a buzzing sound. However, you must use more effort to play a high tension string loudly.

Lower Tension = Easier to Press Strings

Since low tension strings have less pressure, you can easily push them down against the fretboard with the left hand fingers. As a result, all classical guitar techniques are much easier to play on low tension strings. Moreover, this helps you to conserve energy for longer practice sessions, and prevent bad habits, like squeezing with the left hand.

Higher Tension = More Note Attack

The “attack” is the strong sound that you hear instantly after you pluck a string. High tension strings have a strong attack, making them sound more accented. This is very good for rhythmic playing, but bad for smooth legato playing.

Lower Tension = More Note Body

The “body” is all of the sound in the middle of the note, after the initial attack. Lower tension strings tend to have less attack, but more body. This is good for smooth, legato playing, but bad for rhythmic playing.

What String Material?

Each string material produces a different tone when you play. Some materials are mellow while some are bright. Some are clear while some are dull.

For the most part, you only need to worry about string material for the top 3 strings. Also, don’t be afraid to combine different string materials. For instance, many people use nylon on the 1st and 2nd string, and carbon on the 3rd string.

Read about each string material below:

Nylon Strings

Nylon strings are the most common type of string material. Nylon strings generally sound very clean, warm and mellow, but can be very dull and lifeless when playing on the third string, or in higher positions.

Carbon Strings

Carbon strings are a very recent development in the classical guitar world. They are very bright and clear, and good and projecting across a room. Carbon strings sound very good when played in the middle registers, but are sometimes weak in the high registers.

Gut Strings

Gut strings are the oldest type of guitar string. They have a very rich mellow sound, but are also very quiet. Do not use gut strings if you play with fingernails – your nails will tear the strings apart.

Nylgut Strings

Nylgut strings are another new development in the classical guitar world. Nylgut strings are made of nylon, but are designed to sound like gut strings. They have the warm rich sound of gut strings, and your nails will not tear them apart (like normal gut strings).

How Often Should You Change Strings?

You should change your strings whenever they start to sound dull and quiet.

How long will this take? It depends on the person. Based on how much you play and how oily your skin is, your strings may last anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months.

Also, treble strings tend to last a lot longer than bass strings.

Clean your strings with a dry cloth after playing and you will keep your strings in good shape for longer periods and the sound will be brighter  and sharper.

Some information in this post has been taken from Daniel Nelson on his page www.classicalguitar101.org

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Raimundo MC801CE
Acoustic Guitars, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, electroacoustic guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments, guitar, Guitar for beginners, guitar music, Guitar players, musical instruments

Spanish guitars, more than classical or flamenco guitars.

Raimundo MC801CE

When we think about guitars made in Spain we automatically think about flamenco guitars or classical guitars but there is another category of guitars that we tend to forget. Acoustic guitars or Folk guitars. Yes, the spanish guitar makers also make acoustic steel stringed guitars and they are awesome.

Imagine people who have produced probably the best classical and flamenco guitars in the world putting all that experience and expertise in making steel stringed guitars. Using those first class quality woods that they have been storing and drying for years for their classical staff in acoustic guitars. The result is no less than outstanding. They are very unique instruments with a detailed and superb craftmanship and a very warm and detailed sound.

Raimundo MC801CE

Sound integrity and character are some of the characteristics of the sound of those acoustic guitars. The traditional spanish heel construction inherited from the traditional spanish guitar making is also applied in their acoustic guitars. That makes them unique and gives the that powerful and balanced sound. It is a more difficult construction technique, more time consuming and for instance more expensive to build but the spanish guitar makers believe so much in this constructing that they still applying it even in their acoustic guitars.

We want to offer you a series of reviews from independent people about some of the acoustic guitars made in Spain from manufactures like Alhambra guitars and Raimundo Guitars.
Alhambra W3 Acoustic Steel String Guitar

Alhambra W3 Acoustic Guitar

An uncommon fusion of dreadnought and Spanish elements in a rich-sounding, smooth-playing flattop

Reviewed by by Patrick Francis in ACOUSTIC GUITAR May 2007

Alhambra has been renowned for classical guitars since the company was born in Muro De Alcoy, Spain, in 1965. Today, the company offers a comprehensive line of instruments ranging from laminated, entry-level classicals to requintos and high-end, concert classicals?all made in the Spanish tradition defined by integral heel construction and fan bracing. More recently, Alhambra expanded its line to include steel-string guitars with the Steel-String Luthier Series, handmade guitars built with premium materials. The series includes auditorium, western (dreadnought), and jumbo bodies with optional cutaway and Fishman pickup.

The W-3 falls midway in the line of Alhambra?s dreadnought offerings, of which there are five: W-1 through W-4, and the top of the line, W-Luthier. With a solid German spruce top, solid East-Indian rosewood back and sides, and an ebony fretboard, the guitar adheres to a proven blueprint for an all-solid flattop guitar. The guitar?s most notable (and uncommon) construction elements are its Spanish heel construction?in which the sides are glued into slots in the integrated neck block and heel?and a backward-slanted, split saddle.

Alhambra W3 Acoustic guitar

Flattop with a Spanish Accent

Although it has a dreadnought shape, the aesthetic sensibilities of this simple yet elegant guitar follow the stylistic example of the Granada school of lutherie?typified by simple appointments and spruce and rosewood constuction. The spruce top, bright and lacquer-finished in its natural color, contrasts nicely with an inlaid rosette of concentric wooden rings in various hues of brown, and a maple binding.

Alhambra W3

While essentially simple in design, the W-3 possesses an understated flair. An ebony bridge, with carved, elegant sloping curves, is a nice touch. Other noteworthy design details include fret markers offset toward the bass strings, and Alhambra?s curving, asymmetrical headstock, which is finished in black. The guitar?s designers have done a nice job marrying form and function. One cool detail is a built-in strap lock recessed into the heel of the guitar, along with the included hardware you?ll need to attach your guitar strap.

In terms of fit and finish, the workmanship that went into the W-3 is of very high quality.

Smooth player with an even voice

The W-3?s voice is lush and balanced, with plenty of sparkle on the high end, and bass that?s focused and clear without overpowering the higher registers. When played with a pick or fingerstyle at an average volume, the guitar?s response was quick and gratifying along the length of the neck and sustained nicely, although the fourth string lacked the focus of the fifth and sixth strings. Some players might prefer a tiny bit more oomph in the low end, though fingerpickers might actually prefer the clarity of the bass response of this ax over others with a lot of low end.

Alhambra W3 Pont

Players who like a flatter neck profile will like the feel of this neck, which is much more akin to a classical neck profile than to the average dreadnought. A more rounded, steel-string-like fretboard radius helps lend a more familiar feel for pickers accustomed to a traditional dreadnought.

Fingerpicking through the tune ?The Water Is Wide,? the melody sang clearly in the treble range, which was supported by a well-defined bass. While playing through an arrangement of ?Summertime,? and digging in for volume, I found the guitar could take just about anything I had to dish out; and strumming through the chords to ?Hey Joe? and ?Folsom Prison Blues? yielded shimmering, even tones from high to low. And while some might find the neck profile unusual, the guitar was easy to play in every style, though the action at the nut could have been set a bit lower at the factory.

Alhambra W3 Head

The Wrap

In both construction and tonal quality, the W-3 makes a very satisfying package. With features like a Spanish heel and flat neck contour, it marks a successful attempt to fuse Spanish playability with steel-string flattop tone. The woods are beautiful, the joinery and finish are excellent, and the sound is complex and brilliant. If the W-3 we reviewed is typical of the steelstring guitars coming from the folks at Alhambra, there?s a solid new contender in the steel-string guitar market.

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Acoustic Guitars

From Nylon to Steel and Back

Originally posted on Classical Guitar n Stuff:

Well, peeps we have our first guest post today from the very talented Rick Alexander (you may remember his name from a post back in September last year. If you want to recap head here). So, without further ado, over to Rick…..

From Nylon to Steel and Back  by Rick Alexander 

A few weeks ago Nicole posted about how to get back into classical guitar after a long break. That day I emailed her with an idea for a similar topic:  How about a post about  “how to change back and forth between playing steel string and nylon string guitar?”   So I was pleasantly surprised when Nicole suggested I write a post myself about this topic.  Thank you Nicole!

I wonder if there are a few of you out there like me. For almost 20 years now nylon string guitar has been my first love. But I’ve been fickle…

View original 766 more words

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Acoustic Guitars, christmas presents, classical guitar music, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, electroacoustic guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitar music, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments, flamenco music, flamenco players, guitar, Guitar for beginners, guitar music, Guitar players, MIDI guitar, MIDI guitars, musical instruments

A spanish guitar, the perfect christmas present

Navidad

As christmas is coming up we start wondering about the perfect gift for our beloved. The latest piece of high tech gadget is normally at the top of many people’s list and yes, it is a good option but how long does it last? Not much actually. Very soon a new gadget will come to replace our expensive and precious present in the mind of the gifted one. We can always opt for the practical present and we can give him/her a new electric drill, a nice jumper or an annual subscription to the gym but yes, there’s not much passion or illusion in those presents.

A classic but often forgotten one is a guitar. A guitar is more than a present. A guitar is a present with a project attached for those who always wanted to learn how to play and never took the decision to do it or a present with a sentimental charge for those that wanted a new guitar for ages and did’n had the chance or the money to buy it.

A guitar for everyone

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When we get to this point many people will wonder what guitar to buy. It`s not difficult to get wrong when you buy a quality guitar. If you get away from imitations or unknown brands and buy a guitar from reputable manufacturers of spanish guitars you only have to concentrate in the level of the performer and in your budget. Even if you get one of the entry models from manufactures like Alhambra guitars, Raimundo Guitars, Admira guitars or Camps guitars just to name a few, you know you are buying a quality classical guitar or flamenco guitar hand made in Spain. Here you have some examples of guitars for beginners rangin from 150€ to 250€ with solid tops, comfortable action and a very good sound. Some of them you can find them in different sizes (Señorita 7/8, cadete 3/4 or Requinto 1/2) for the youngest, as a traveller guitar or for players with smaller hands or bodies.

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For the students or for more advanced players there are some models with higher grade woods, better overall quality and more volume. Between 300€ and 600€ you can find many spanish guitars with a quality and sound that sometimes rival more expensive guitars. There are some classics like the Alhambra 4P, the Raimundo 136, the Admira Virtuoso or the Camps SP6. Models that have been in the market for many years but they have keep improving their quality and tone.

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Ranging from 700€ and up you can find a spanish guitar for the most demanding guitarist. You don’t have to spend few thousand Euros to find an amazing classical or flamenco guitar hand made in Spain. Those guitars are made with mastery, experience and love for the instrument. Guitars like the Alhambra 9P, Alhambra 11P, Alhambra Linea Profesional, Ramirez R2, Ramirez FL2, Raimundo 150, Raimundo 160, Raimundo 148, Camps Primera, Camps M16 or Camps M14 represent a great value for money for a professional classical guitar or flamenco guitar. Of course you can spend much more but you won’t always get a much better guitar or at least you won’t justify the big difference in price. In any case, we are not talking about money in this article, we are talking about making someone happy with an amazing, emotional and unforgettable present. Choose yours, there are many guitars in every price range and if you are not sure you can always contact with the people at www.guitarfromspain.com, they are really nice guys and they can give you the advice you need.

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Acoustic Guitars, classical guitar music, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitar music, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments

The music you made with our guitars – Part 2

Hotel Madrid

Again Marcel Flendrie or “Duckbear” as he is known in the artistic world has gratefully surprised us with another composition performed and recorded with the Ramirez 2N CWE that he bought from us not long ago. “Hotel Madrid” is his new song and is an engaging and relaxing piece of guitar music very tasteful and inspiring.

I asked Marcel how he recorded the sound of the Ramirez 2N CWE. I wanted to know if he recorded his guitar tracks using the Roland AP-1 Preamp system built in the Ramirez or if he used a microphone or both (As I explained in a previous post) and this is what he answered:

“The main guitar is recorded with microphone. The additional left and right guitars are a combination of mic and AP1 recorded simultaneously. 
I am still experimenting with the setup. For fingerpicking I feel a mic recording gives the most faithful recording, but for soloing and plectrum playing the AP-1 gives a great sound as well. At this moment I mostly use the second preset which is more bossanova -style and really usable for pop. I am now working on a recording using only the AP-1″.
Ramirez 2N CWE Electro-Classical Guitar
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Acoustic Guitars, classical guitar music, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitar music, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments, MIDI guitar

Raimundo 646 MIDI Flamenco Guitar Review

The MIDI classical guitar

Some times we tend to associate music technology with modern electronic instruments or with computer based software instruments. The term MIDI is very familiar within electronic musicians, synthesizer players or DJ producers but it’s hardly associated with classical guitars or even less with traditional flamenco guitars. Some more adventured guitar players are used to see or play MIDI electric guitars, that have been in the market for few years now as specific instruments or adapted electric guitars with special pickups and MIDI converters.

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The first popular nylon guitars with MIDI where the Godin Multiac series, a kind of special nylon strings guitar with a MIDI pickup that can be connected to a MIDI guitar system like the Roland GR series. They performed well as a MIDI guitar but their result as a classical guitar when not connected where very poor or null, particularly with the solid body versions of those guitars.

Adaptations for electric guitars was solved by Roland with the combination of MIDI pickup and converter of the GR systems but for classical and flamenco guitars the solution was more difficult until the RMC system appeared in the scene. The RMC system is a combination of special divided pickup tailored for the acoustic guitar in combination with a preamp that send a precise signal to the MIDI converter. This is the same system first introduced in the Multiac series from Godin and now available for traditional classical and flamenco guitars.

Jason McGuire with flamenco guitar equipped with RMC Polydrive IV and Roland GR-55

The combination of a quality flamenco or classical guitar with the RMC MIDI system is the most satisfactory solution for the classical or flamenco guitarist so far. They don’t have to choose an specific guitar to have the benefits of MIDI and they can still play a traditional quality guitar with the possibility of using the MIDI pickups when they want. When MIDI is not in use, those guitars perform as expected, with the same sound, action and feel then you are supposed to find in a good classical or flamenco guitar but when you connect your guitar to a MIDI converter and a synthesizer or sound module, you can trigger notes or chords of a piano, strings, brass instrument, synthesizer pads or any imaginable instrument combined or not with the natural sound of your guitar. In the video of Chema Vilches you can hear how in some parts of the song he is triggering some notes of other stringed instrument along with the notes and sound of his Raimundo flamenco guitar. The result is fantastic, like to guitarists playing at once.

The Raimundo 646 MIDI Flamenco guitar

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Focusing in the Raimundo 646 MIDI Flamenco guitar we have here a guitar that on its own is a fantastic all solid good quality flamenco guitar. We have a solid spruce top of very well selected german spruce, solid spanish cypress for the back and sides, ebony fingerboard with dots, transparent pick guard, and special golden tuners. The guitar is totally hand made and you can feel it by the smooth finishing and the attention to detail. Even with the Poly-Drive IV System mounted in it the guitar still very light and comfortable, the cutaway body also contribute to that feeling.

646-Body     646-Boca

The natural sound of the guitar is full and crispy with a great balance between low and high notes. Its got that sharp attack that good flamenco guitars have and as soon as you hit the notes, the guitar respond. The action is so good, particularly for me. I’m not a classical guitarist and I appreciate the action of flamenco guitars. They let you play anything, from flamenco (of course) to bossa nova, jazz, folk or classical, so sweet sounding and inspiring… But yes, flamenco is its element and for that is superb. The “ligados” and “falsetas” are so easy to perform and the “rasgueados” sound’s like a shot.

RMC-2             646-Head

But the Raimundo 646 MIDI is more than a great flamenco guitar. Like a Chameleon this guitar when connected to a MIDI converter thru a synthesizer or a computer with software instruments can play a universe of instruments in a live performance or recording tracks in the studio. The RMC Poly-Drive system is installed at factory by the Raimundo luthiers up to perfection. You can see the divided pickup perfectly integrated in the bridge allowing each string to deliver a perfect signal to the preamp and to the MIDI converter. That is a crucial point in the installation of MIDI pickups and one of the main reasons that should be done by expert hands preferably during the manufacturing process. The result is great. Connected to the Roland GR-55 and playing a piano sound we can feel no delay triggering the notes of the piano nor false or hidden notes. Of course you have to understand what instrument you are playing and apply the right pressure to the strings and the right expression. If you apply bending to a piano sound it will not sound very convincing but you can do that with a saxophone sound and give it a very realistic expression.

RMC Poly Drive 4                20120629-171022

The RMC Poly-Drive system mounted in the Raimundo 646 MIDI will also perform as an ordinary pickup system for amplifying the sound of your guitar and will do it like one of the best pickup systems available out there so if you only need to amplify your guitar without the MIDI option that’s already there. Just plug your guitar in to an amplifier or PA system and you will be jamming along instantly with a great sound.

One important thing to remember for those who are not familiar with MIDI guitars is that the RMC Polydrive System is not a MIDI converter but a polyphonic pickup system that delivers individual signal for each string of the guitar and make it compatible with most guitar to MIDI converters like the Axon AX SO, Axon AX100 MKII or the Roland GR-55 with sound module on board. Once you have the guitar plugged into one of those devices, you can control via MIDI any synthesizer, sampler, sound module or soft synth in your computer. For your computer you would need a MIDI interface as well.

Conclusion

If you want to get into the fabulous experience of controlling with your guitar different instruments or blending the sound of your guitar with those instruments without compromising your guitar sound and technique and enjoy at the same time a fantastic hand made flamenco guitar, the Raimundo 646 MIDI flamenco guitar is one of the best options in the market at a very competitive price. Great flamenco guitar hand made in Spain with solid woods and perfect craftsmanship, full balanced crispy sound, versatile instrument and mounted with one of the best polyphonic pickup systems in the market. Fully compatible with the majority of guitar to MIDI converters . And the good news is that you don’t have to travel to Spain to buy this guitar at the best price. You can just visit www.guitarfromspain.com and buy it there from all over the world.

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Acoustic Guitars, classical guitar music, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, electroacoustic guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitar music, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments, flamenco music, guitar, Guitar for beginners, guitar music, Guitar players, musical instruments

Alhambra 4P classical guitar review

The Alhambra 4P has been one of the best sellers for Alhambra guitars for decades. For anyone that don’t want to spend a fortune in a guitar but wants a very decent guitar for studying and playing, the Alhambra 4P has always been the intelligent option. It is a very well balanced classical guitar with solid cedar or spruce top and laminated rosewood back and sides. The feeling when you hold and play the 4P is that you are actually playing a more expensive instrument.

clasica-4p-frontclasica-4p-post

The volume in the Alhambra 4P is quite surprising and the detailed sound doesn’t correspond to the price of the guitar. I know that in some countries the Alhambra 4P is not very affordable and that is probably because it can compete with much more expensive guitars in finishing and sound. The process of varnishing the Alhambra 4P takes weeks and that shows you how seriously Alhambra care about their guitars and explain the beautiful detailed overall finish of the guitar.

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Another example of the quality in every detail is the ebony fingerboard. At this price range it’s a luxury to have an ebony fingerboard in this guitar. If you add a fantastic fret work you end up having a very professional guitar for a bargain price.

clasica-4p-clavij

Where to buy it? Well, you can always go to your local dealer if they have it in stock or you can order it directly from Spain with the choice of cedar top or spruce top or even standard or lefty option at Guitar From Spain. It will be served to you freshly made from Alhambra in few days and I’m sure you will save quite a bit of money.

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