Acoustic Guitars, Classical guitars, electro classical guitars, electroacoustic guitars, flamenco electric guitars, Flamenco guitars, flamenco instruments, guitar, guitar techniques, guitar tips, musical instruments

Alhambra Crossover CS3CW Review

alhambra CS3CW

In a previous post we tried to explain what crossover guitars are and we covered a general approach of the concept and purpose of those guitars. In this post we are going to present you a review from Guitarist magazine of the Alhambra CS3CW E5 Electro-acoustic Crossover nylon stringed guitar, a high quality spanish guitar that covers the gap between the acoustic guitar and the classical guitar. An instrument that once you try it, its difficult to forget.

Alhambra Crossover CS-3 CW E5

Is it a steel-string, is it a nylon? A confused acoustic…

Dave Burrluck (Guitarist) 

Alhambra guitars is a Spanish maker located in Muro de Alcoy, in the province of Alicante, that has been successfully making nylon string guitars for over 40 years. Along with its standard classical instruments, Alhambra is known for its electros like the Alhambra 5P CT.

And while some feature a slightly thinner-than-classical-standard neck width, to most electric players, and many steel-string players, the classical neck still feels massive and invariably has a flat fingerboard. The Crossover, however, is a full-depth cutaway released in 2007 that aims to bridge the gap between steel and nylon: a purpose-designed electro for those used to steel-strings.

Alhambra CSS3CW Front

Build

Visually it displays a strong steel-string vibe thanks to its natural finished spruce top which contrasts the dark chocolate-coloured rosewood back and sides. The white face is contrasted again by an ebony bridge with its maple ‘V’ inserts, which mirror the V-shaped, ‘A’ logo’d maple insert in the rosewood headstock facing – the inlaid rosette is suitably dark and gothic too.

Construction is very clean, the maple edge bindings and inner purflings are sharp.  The head and main shaft of the mahogany neck is one piece – with a central ebony strip for reinforcement, there’s no truss rod – while the heel is a separate piece and has quite a complex carve as it joins the cutaway body.

Alhambra CSS3CW Back

Internally you can see a fairly classic Spanish-style foot, kerfed mahogany linings top and bottom, mahogany back braces and spruce top strutting (and hidden standard seven fan braces). It all looks very clean and considered. The fretwire is cleanly installed on the radiused ebony fingerboard.

Another break from tradition, though hardly radical, are the side-only dots at the third, fifth, seventh and ninth frets and the neck joins at the 12th so position orientation should be easy enough.

While the scale is fairly standard at 650mm things are slightly narrower than usual, in Spanish terms, at the nut which is just over 48mm wide (as opposed to 50-52mm or more) and a gnat’s under 60mm at the 12th. Yet at 20.4mm at the first fret, and 25mm at the 10th, you’ll not feel the neck is over large. The shape is quite flat-backed with square shoulders and we have to say the neck is very comfortable and easy – especially compared to a quality concert classical.

alhambra crossover cs3cw Cutaway Back

You can order the Crossover with various Fishman preamps to manipulate the undersaddle piezo. The E5 system here is one of the Fishman‘s top-end Prefix Premium Blend and includes both under-saddle piezo pickup and a separate gooseneck mic that is installed on the bass side shoulder. The two pickups meet up on the pretty complex control panel that flips out for swift battery changes and also access to a mono/stereo switch.

alhambra crossover cs3cw-e5-controls

The preamp’s controls are well laid out but with white legends on a light grey fascia the contrast is low and in low lighting, compounded by the sheen of the facia, it’s very difficult to read. But the spec is high with slider controls for mic/piezo balance, frequency (10khz-250k), and treble, contour and bass with a range of +/- 17db (all centre notched). While the treble and bass frequencies are fixed, the contour affects whatever frequency you’ve set with the frequency slider.

A pair of push buttons engage the phase switch for feedback rejection and the onboard tuner that is easier to see and very accurate. Finally, two rotary controls affect overall volume – very nicely placed at the top corner and with a very tactile rubber knob – and the notch filter which ranges from off to 300Hz and removes a very narrow band for feedback rejection. A red LED battery indicator completes the fulsome spec.

Alhambra crossover-css3-marq

Strung with Alhambra-branded D’Addario extra high tension strings, the supplied set-up is also lower than a standard classical (3.5mm bass, 2.2mm treble). But although the saddle noticeably leans back in its slot, there’s no actual compensation, especially for the thick G (unwound) string that proves a little sharp. That aside, the combination of the neck shape, fingerboard radius and cutaway make the Crossover a fluid player.

The tuners seem a little spongy, but once new strings settle in, tuning is stable.

Sounds

Factor in this guitar’s cutaway and there’s an impressive robustness and depth to the acoustic tone. Yes, it sounds a little tight, yet the dynamic range is acceptable.

Yet it’s the amplified sound that we’re primarily interested in and that’s where, along with fairly effortless playability, the Crossover scores.

Amplified nylons can be surprisingly bright and brittle and there’s some of that here, but with careful EQ’ing it avoids sounding too thin and plastic-y: in fact there’s a richness and plumbiness to the tone that keeps us playing this one. The mic adds a diffused, less direct sound, but keeping it under control especially in a live environment, isn’t easy.

That said, with nylon strings the onboard tuner is a Godsend – particularly as it can be used unplugged.

Alhambra crossover-css3-pont

Bearing in mind the base price of this guitar, it’s very well made, sharp and clean. The cutaway might well limit it’s acoustic volume but it’s enough for small room ensemble use. Amplified it performs to a high standard and the easy playability makes it hard to return to a larger-necked traditional classical.

The E5 electronics package adds considerably to the price but even with the E2 system  you’d be purchasing a lot of guitar. But the dual-pickup Fishman system fitted here – despite the excellent onboard tuner – might be too much for more general use. By design the Crossover should appeal to anyone working in a jazz, Latin or pop field that wants to add some nylon magic – one we’d recommend you try.

Alhambra CS3CWE2 Cedar

The options

This review covers the spruce top version of the Alhambra CS3CW but there is also a cedar top version of the guitar that you can order for the same price at www.guitarfromspain.com. The electro version of this guitar comes with the Fishman Matrix Pro-Blend (E2) as the standard option but you can also order it with the mentioned Fishman Premium Blend (E5). The Matrix Pro-Blend (E2) also combines a piezo pickup and microphone at a more affordable price with brilliant results.

Fishman-Pro-Blend    Fishman-Premium

 

Ar you sure there is nothing missing in your guitar collection?

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Spanish guitars and the environment

The world is full of cheap guitars. Number one priority seems to be “cheap” or “cheapest” at any cost. That tendency of making, finding, selling and buying the cheapest possible guitars has made companies around the world manufacturing products in the most remotes, less regulated areas of the globe with the only aim of making things cheaper and more profitable.

After few decades doing the same thing, our planet is showing clear signs of stress and damage, not only for our guitars of course but because the same principles are applied to any consumer products. The word sustainability  has become very popular and even fashionable but the concept still far from been generally accepted, particularly from big companies that do not want to leave the race of cheap price and from governments that don’t want to face the future and only see the immediate profit and growth.

madagascar-holz

This maxim also applies to the world of guitar making. The biggest guitar companies make guitars in countries where the lack of regulations allow them to manufacture instruments with very little respect for the environment. From the selection of unregulated timber to the actual manufacturing process where no recycling of dangerous chemicals involved in the varnishing or glueing is done.

Bosque sostenible

The spanish guitar manufacturers have taken this matter very seriously, not only because they are more committed than others with the environment, but for the sustainability of their businesses over time. Alhambra guitars is a good example of a company that understand the importance of sustainability and commitment with the environment:

 

“Alhambra is committed to the preservation of the environment whilst going about its daily tasks. It is not a matter of image but a need for survival as our main raw material is wood and our future depends on the sustainability of the world’s resources.”

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Wood suppliers.

“All our wood suppliers are companies with a proven track record with most of them committed to reforestation. Depending on the origin of the woods every supplier abides by set rules. For instance our Indian Rosewood is obtained through public government auctions and the trunks are then cut up at source. Another example is our Ebony supplier who must contribute annually a percentage of his turnover to the government who then allocates it for reforestation.”

maderas_apiladas_g

 

How to minimize the waste and optimize the best use of woods.

“We always try to take full advantage of the options available for the maximum usage of the wood we buy. For that reason, our policy is present in several points:

  1. Regulations in these countries insist that the wood is cut to specification before it is exported thus ensuring the country’s own promotion and development.
  2. As we have a wide range of models, this makes possible to classify the woods in accordance with their qualities.
  3. Suction System. The manufacturing of briquettes is a by-product. This is where the surplus wood and dust is condensed into cylindrical pieces and is often used by bakers for their ovens or in Alhambra’s case as a form of central heating during the winter.
  4. Supplying craftsman. Sometimes we supply fine pieces of wood (ebony, Indian rosewood etc) to craftsman.”

depuradora_g

 

Water Treatment.

“We are always seeking ways to assist the environment. This is why we work in collaboration with specialists in the field of varnishing in order to develop new varnishing techniques. Every week our varnishing plant is cleaned and the water is treated through a closed circuit. After the treatment in our water purification plant is completed the water is re-used. Alhambra was a pioneer in this process long before it was made compulsory by law. Regular checks are made to ensure we fulfil the council’s regulations.”

bidones_barnices_g

Toxic waste treatment.

“After the varnishing process the residue in the containers is collected once a month by a special company authorised by the official environment authority for safe disposal.”

Protected woods and our co-operation with the authorities.

“After the 8th meeting of CITES (convention of international trade of endangered species of wild fauna and flora) which took place in Japan in 1992, Dalbergia Nigra (Brazilian Rosewood) was declared an endangered species.

 In order to make an inventory a questionnaire was sent to all members of the industry requesting details of their stocks of wood. At the time of the questionnaire Alhambra stock stood at 879 sets of Dalbergia Nigra and 22 guitars in process. Every time Alhambra makes a guitar using Dalbergia Nigra a form must be submitted so that it may be recorded.

As a result of this co-operation and collaboration the civil servants have become familiar with the different parts of the guitar and the woods used to build them.”

 

The wood suppliers 

FSC Logo

Maderas Barber (Paterna – Valencia – Spain) is one of the main wood suppliers for the  majority of spanish guitar manufacturers and probably the biggest guitar wood suppliers in the world. This company has been is business since 1957 its specialized in all king of wood for guitars and its certified by the FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL Certificate Registration Code: SW-COC-004960.

 

Maderas Barber

 

Next time you buy a guitar think about where that wood may come from and under which conditions.

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Crossover guitars – What are they?

In the recent years, a new type of guitar have come to the market. A nylon stringed guitar with the sound of a classical guitar and the feel and playability of an acoustic steel stringed guitar: The crossover guitar, a cross bridge between a classical a flamenco and an acoustic guitar.

alhambra CS3CW Crossover guitarAlhambra CS3CW Crossover Classical Guitar

The crossover guitar has a classical guitar body with cutaway and a narrower neck with some radius in the fingerboard. They normally come electrified with piezo electric pickup and Preamp but you can by them without electrification too. The targeted guitarist for the Crossover guitar is the electric guitar player and the acoustic guitar player that finds the neck of the classical or flamenco guitars too wide and too flat for their playing techniques. That was the original idea but now more people are finding these guitars suitable for them (guitarists with smaller hands or simply people that feel those necks more comfortable than the traditional classical guitar neck).

Guitar Camps-CW1-Crossover guitarCamps CW1 Crossover Classical Guitar

The reality is that there are a great amount of guitarists that owns and play electric guitars, acoustic guitars and classical guitars and love to switch from one to another whenever they feel like it and the crossover guitar makes the transition between these different type of guitars smoother and less dramatic.

It all started with the first introduction of cutaway and electronics in the classical guitars and flamenco guitars. Once they where stablished as a new kind of guitar for the studio and the stage, the Electro-classical Guitar was born. The next step was the introduction of a narrower neck with some degree of radius. At first, the idea was a bit estrange for some purists but once people try them they where totally convinced.

Ramirez 4NCWE Electro classical guitarRamirez 4NCWE Electro-Classical guitar

Alhambra guitars was probably the firs company introducing the idea and the product with the Alhambra Crossover series. Now other Spanish guitar makers like Camps guitars or Prudencio Saez guitars are following the idea with their one models.

Here are some of the most popular Crossover Guitars on sale at the moment:

 

ALHAMBRA CS1CW E1 

Alhambra CS1CW Front

The Alhambra Crossover CS1CW is a new concept that combines features from classical guitar and from acoustic guitars in an instrument of great sound and great convenience. All Alhambra Crossover Series guitars incorporate  cutaway for easy access to the upper frets of the guitar. The neck of the Crossover is narrower than that of a classical and the fingerboard is curved instead of plane. It is especially recommended for acoustic or electric guitarists accustomed to a narrower neck who want to experience the sound of a great classical guitar. The sound is very much alive and with great sustain. The Alhambra CS1CW features a solid cedar top German sapelli body and fingerboard of Solid Indian Rosewood. Electrification from Fishman can optionally be incorporated.

TOP: Solid German Spruce or Solid Red Cedar
SIDES & BACK: Solid Mahogany
NECK: Mahogany
FINGERBOARD: Indian Rosewood
MACHINE HEADS: Gold Plated

ALHAMBRA CS3CW E2

Alhambra CS3CW Front

 The Alhambra CS3CW E2 Electro-classical Guitar. Alhambra Crossover is a new concept that combines features from classical guitar and from acoustic guitars in an instrument of great sound and great convenience. All Alhambra Crossover Series guitars incorporate  cutaway for easy access to the upper frets of the guitar. The neck of the Crossover is narrower than that of a classical and the fingerboard is curved instead of plane. It is especially recommended for acoustic or electric guitarists accustomed to a narrower neck who want to experience the sound of a great classical guitar. The sound is very much alive and with great sustain. The Alhambra CS3CW features a solid cedar top German indian rosewood body and fingerboard of ebony. Electrification from Fishman.

TOP

Solid German Spruce or Solid Red Cedar

SIDES & BACK

Solid Indian Rosewood

NECK

Mahogany

FINGERBOARD

Ebony

MACHINE HEADS

Luxury Gold Plated

 

CAMPS CW1

Camps-CW1-Front

 

The guitar Camps CW1 from Camps guitars is a professional yet affordable electro classical guitar and cutaway with a Crossover attitude made in Spain with select woods. Guitar innovatively designed with the aim to facilitate the transition from steel strings guitars to nylon strings guitars. It is by means of adapting the ergonomics to those who are used to electrical or acoustic fingerboards. The neck is narrower and the fingerboard is slightly radius. This contributes to a better easy action. The size of the body is slightly smaller and the scale length is shorter.
This guitar offers high versatility and flexibility. It makes easy to play a width range of styles, but with the added value of nylon string comfort and sound. 

Top Solid cedar (C)

Back and Sides Ciricote

Fingerboard Rosewood

Neck Cedar

Bridge Rosewood

Nut 48 mm

Distance between 1st and 6th 55 mm

Scale length 636 mm

Case deep at the heel 85 mm

Case deep at the bottom 90 mm

Bone Saddle No

Bone Nut Yes

Finish Mat

Pick Guard No

Truss Rod Yes

Electronics Fishman Classic III

These guitars are hand made in Spain and like their counterparts, you can choose the soundboard in cedar or spruce. You can even choose a “narrow body” for some of them. If you want to see all the options and the latest prices you can press the links or visit www.guitarfromspain.com

If you want to hear a Crossover in action, watch the following video laid on You Tube by an amateur:

 

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Classical guitar and flamenco guitar action

 

Flamenco-guitar-string-action

Classical guitar action and flamenco guitar action are some of the topics more popular within the guitar blogs and they  are subject of discussion among guitar fans all over the world. Everyone has an opinion about it and people come across with different arguments bringing measures, suggested strings heights and different data as if this were a mathematical question.

Each guitar manufacturer / luthier have their one point of view about String Height and and guitar action and each guitarist too, so what is the perfect guitar action for your guitar?

The answer is no mathematical even though there are some standard assumptions defined for string height in a flamenco guitar or classical guitar.

Vicente Amigo

FLAMENCO GUITAR ACTION

It is in the public domain that the height of the strings on a flamenco guitar is lower than on a classical guitar. The reason has to do with the way to play flamenco and the sound and effect they want to produce with it when they play “rasgueados”, “ligados” or “falsetas” for example. The desired sound in flamenco is sharper, more explosive and with plenty of attack. Some flamenco guitarists want to move along the fret board really fast too with a quick response and a more percussive and rhythmic sound. Some controlled “buzzing” is not only allowed in flamenco guitars but also desired  as part of the inherent sound of flamenco guitar music.

classical-guitar students

CLASSICAL GUITAR ACTION

In the other hand, classical guitars have higher action because they need a cleaner, more precise sound with more sustain and volume for each individual note. That higher action is more noticeable in concert classical guitars than in student models. The hands of an student is not as strong and trained as the hands of a professional concert player and the need of higher volume is not as important in an studio model than in a concert model.

Camps-CW1-Close 2

CROSSOVER GUITARS AND ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC GUITARS ACTION

Crossover guitars and electroacoustic guitars are basically classical guitars adapted to a more general use than just flamenco or classical music and they are more and more popular among the guitarists for their versatility and easy of use. They normally have an action in between a flamenco guitar and a traditional classical guitar and in some cases they have narrower necks and even a bit of radius  in the fret board like in the case of the crossover models. The incorporation of pickup and preamps makes not essential a great amount of volume of the guitar when not amplified.

droppedImage

GENERAL FACTS

String action is determined by several factors -

  • the angle at which the neck joins the body
  • the height of the nut – or, more specifically – the height of the cuts in the nut above the fretboard
  • the height of the saddle in the bridge
  • the height of the frets above the fretboard

How we perceive action is also affected by the tension of the strings – the higher the tension, the harder it is to depress the string, and the “harder” we perceive the action to be.

SOME STANDARD FIGURES

 For those who love figures, I will give some general measurements of classical and flamenco string heights but don’t take those as a fix pattern to follow, as I said before, they are different opinions from guitar manufacturers and from guitarists and they are other factors involved in the right action of a guitar like the neck angle, shape of the neck, etc. At the end of the day, this is something very personal too and if you are happy with a certain string height and you play your guitar comfortably you don’t have to worry about anything else.

Typical concert guitar action:
12th fret: 4 mm low E and 3 mm high E
1st fret: 1 mm low E and 1 mm high E

Typical Flamenco guitar action:
12th fret: 3 mm low E and 2.5 mm high E
1st fret: 1 mm low E and 1 mm high E

Nylon strings have a little less tension than steel strings, therefore little bit more circular movement. Because of the lower tension though, they are a lot easier for the hands to press down to the frets. 

A good classical or flamenco guitar does not need to be played hard to get a good loud sound, but a cheap one  will usually not have the best response and sensitivity.

You gotta figure out what works best for you, your attack style and the guitar. if you use higher tension strings you can sneak lower and vice versa with lower tension strings. then you need to figure out how much buzzing is acceptable (Flamenco guitars).

FEELING RIGHT

Feeling right is for me the basic point. Don’t take the ruler, just play the guitar and if the guitar respond to you as you play it and you feel comfortable with it, then you have the perfect action. I know many luthiers that would not answer the question of what is the right action for the guitar. They would just say “depends on the guitar”.

SAMSUNG

RELY IN GOOD MANUFACTURERS

Experience and “know how” is essential when it comes to choose a good guitar and rely on it for years. You may buy a guitar that have a correct action when new and weeks or months later the guitar is practically impossible  to play. Low quality woods or not properly dried woods can make your guitar neck twist or bend in no time with difficult or impossible readjustment.

Guitar manufacturers like Alhambra guitars, Raimundo guitars, Camps guitars, Ramirez guitars or Prudencio Saez Guitars, just to name a few pay a great attention to the action of their guitars, even the entry models have the right standard action for its purpose. They have different angles for the neck  in classical guitars or flamenco guitars (Its not just the height of the saddle as some people think). Also the “spanish heel” construction gives great stability to the neck of those guitars, contributing to more stable action of the guitar for years.

Some of those manufacturers use the traditional method of neck construction for their guitars with the implementation on some models of an ebony strip inside the neck like Alhambra guitars, Ramirez guitars or Raimundo guitars and others like Camps guitars or Prudencio Saez Guitars implement Truss rods in the neck of some of their models for stability and future modifications of the angle and action of their guitars. Which ever method they use, you can rely on them because they have been designed with performance and stability in mind and they have been proved to be effective on few generations of guitars.

droppedImage_2

THE PERSONAL TOUCH

Even though the standard action of most well built guitar should satisfy the majority of performers, they are some that requires a personal adjustment to their playing techniques. That is possible to do it in a well built guitar but we recommend you to be done it by a professional luthier or guitar technician. Its not a big job and it should not be expensive but it should be done properly. One of the first things to adjust in a classical or flamenco guitar if you want to change the action is the saddle, by lowering it dow or by putting a new higher one. Some times is necessary to touch the nut bone as well or replace it for a new one but that is usually not very common. If your guitar has Truss Rod the technician or luthier may touch it as well or in stead of one of the above operations. It would be ideal to be there while he/she perform the adjustment so you can try your guitar during the adjustment until is set to your complete satisfaction.

Last tip for this, don’t get obsessed trying to find the “perfect” all most impossible adjustment or action. You also have to adapt your technique and your hands to your guitar and that will happen much sooner than you expect. Guitarist that play classical guitars, acoustic guitars and electric guitars and switch from one to another knows that its possible to adapt to a completely different neck and action and its got many advantages, much more than expecting that your guitar will get adapted to you.

 

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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.

cue-guit-highEXP45Carta rojamedia_tension.jpg-DPJaYa5oyjVHTHtlIAzb7WY5xFm7LQPa

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…

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