The best flamenco guitars aren’t the ones that just sound good. It’s how they feel in your hands, and how they make you feel when playing them. You always want to find an instrument that feels comfortable and as natural as possible when playing…
Are you a beginner guitarist interested in learning the flamenco playstyle? Or maybe an experienced guitarist looking to explore flamenco music?
Either way, it can be challenging to choose which is the best flamenco guitar for you. After all, there are a lot of options on the market, with different brands and styles available to choose from.
Without a guide, you may end up dazed and confused (big Led Zeppelin fan here) about what to buy. That’s why I’m here to help you with my definitive list of the best flamenco guitars on the market today!
I’ll help you decide among some of the most reliable options out there. Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced player, there’s something on my list for you.
I’ll briefly discuss what makes each instrument special and also show you what aspects to look out for in a quality flamenco guitar, and with the help of videos, you can hear the best flamenco guitars in action!
Regardless of your budget, each flamenco guitar I suggest is one that is of good build quality and will last a long-time.
The Best Flamenco Guitars In 2020
Table of Contents
- The Best Flamenco Guitars In 2020
- Choosing The Best Flamenco Guitar For You
Cordoba Guitars currently make some of the best flamenco guitars on the market today. Cordoba aims to combine modern technology with the tradition of the early luthiers and create guitars that respect the purity of the Spanish tradition.
They provide excellent quality guitars, and ukuleles, with different price ranges that suit all kinds of budgets. You’ll notice that a lot of my picks are from Cordoba Guitars, this is merely due to their high-quality craftsmanship and wonderful sound.
If you’re familiar with the popular flamenco band Gipsy Kings, Cordoba guitars have a partnership with the group and even collaborate on some of their guitars, such as their GK Series.
The Cordoba GK Studio Negra Acoustic-Electric Nylon String Flamenco Guitar is a top choice for reliability and sound quality.
It’s made with an excellent European spruce top, Indian rosewood back and sides, and a high gloss finish. The body has a soft cutaway to accommodate playing on the higher frets comfortably.
The tone produced by this guitar is unique and best described as robust and bassy. This is contrary to the usual brighter tones on other flamenco guitars. It’s quite inevitable it will capture the attention of your listeners.
The neck, body, and nut width are slightly thinner than most traditional guitars, making it the best flamenco guitar for the stage. The neck also has minimal to no relief, which allows for effortless playability. All these features make the guitar comfortable to play and offer quick playability.
Any guitar player will appreciate how easy it is to pick up and play it for hours on end.
It comes with a Fishman Presys Blend electronic pickup installed. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want to plugin or connect to amps at their gigs.
Like all Cordoba guitars, the GK Studio Negra has a two-way truss rod built into the neck. It features a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, high gloss finish, clear golpeadores (tap plates), and premium Savarez Cristal Corum strings.
All in all, the comfortable design and choice of materials give this guitar a premium feel and nuanced sound. The tone it produces is bright and snappy, making it perfect for traditional Spanish music and dances.
If you’re a serious musician who’s looking for a reliable guitar to travel around with and dazzle your audience, then this model is perfect thanks to its installed electronics, playing experience, and an included high-quality gig bag.
Finally, the price to value on this guitar is simply unbeatable, and hence why it is by far my favorite flamenco guitar.
If you’re a serious flamenco guitarist willing to splurge a lot on a guitar that is of professional quality and excellent craftsmanship, then your money will be best spent with the Cordoba GK Pro Negra Gipsy Kings signature model.
The “Pro” in the name is well-deserved. The body is made with a top-quality European spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides with a soft cutaway. There’s also a mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard for that premium feel and maximum transfer of string energy.
The neck has little to no relief translating to a very low action setup. Your fingers will be able to rest and move on the frets with ease.
The guitar is lightweight and thin. Much like the GK Studio, the dimensions are slightly narrower than the standard flamenco guitar. So players will find this model’s playability to be an enjoyable experience.
The tone is downright superb. Like the GK Studio model, the sound is also bassy and dark. Between the two, if you want the absolute best flamenco guitar for sound quality, this is the better option, no doubt.
Of course, you’re also getting top electronics with a Fishman Prefix ProBlend pickup installed. All your sound nuances will translate perfectly to whatever amp you have it plugged in to.
It’s simply a stunning guitar. All those aesthetic touches make this flamenco guitar a thing of beauty. From the detailed hand-inlaid rosette and Indian rosewood binding to the premium gold tuners.
The gloss finish shows off the rosewood body and European spruce top beautifully. But don’t be fooled by its looks, the GK Pro Negra was created with playability in mind and the premium tonewoods combine to produce the best sounding flamenco guitar on my list!
Thankfully, there’s a humidified hard case included ensuring that the guitar’s beauty and functionality will be preserved and protected.
Simply put, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better professional flamenco guitar than the GK Pro Negra, unless you head over to Spain of course!
3. Cordoba 55FCE Thinbody
The 55FCE, played by the distinguished flamenco guitarist Tonino Baliardo of the Gipsy Kings, is one of the more expensive and better sounding flamenco guitars on my list. It’s made with a European spruce top and flamed ziricote back and sides with a high gloss finish.
The tonewoods combine to produce a bright and full sound full of intensity and overtones. Matched with the Indian rosewood binding and bridge, they assure a tonally balanced sound is created.
It comes with a built-in Fishman Prefix ProBlend pickup system, which is a cut above the usual Fishman Presys system. There are more EQ controls and better pickup quality, so this is a must for professionals who rely heavily on amps in gigs.
As its name implies, the 55FCE has a thinner body design and narrower neck, which prioritize comfort and faster playability.
The neck is constructed from Spanish cedar with an ebony fingerboard, creating comfortable playing but capable of a driving percussive attack.
There’s also a deep cutaway for reaching those high notes. Whether you’re playing at home or on the stage, you won’t quickly tire out with this guitar.
It even comes with a HumiCase Protege Thinbody hard case for top storage and portability functions.
If you’re a rock guitarist looking for a nylon-string instrument, the Cordoba 55FCE acoustic-electric flamenco guitar is an excellent choice, especially if you want to take the stage.
This model, the Cordoba Solista Flamenca nylon-string flamenco guitar, is handbuilt in the classic Spanish flamenco tradition for an incredibly dynamic and tonally rich playing experience.
The guitar top is crafted from fantastic European solid spruce, while the cypress sides and back create a deep bass that together with the spruce top create a sound full in color and tonality.
The Solista Flamenca’s Spanish cedar neck is strengthened with ebony for great vibration and stability. Also, the neck has the same shallow angle that is found in the best flamenco guitars.
Combined with Indian rosewood for the bridge and binding, regardless of how dynamic your playing style is, every aspect is integrated into this guitar.
The Cordoba Solista Flamenca proves that the best way to make a guitar truly sing is to honor classical craftsmanship know-how and techniques that have been performed and perfected over the years.
If you’re looking for a flamenco guitar that you can play for a lifetime, the elegant and lively sounding Cordoba Solista Flamenca is for you!
The Cordoba F7 Paco was built in honor of Spanish virtuoso flameco guitarist, Paco de Lucía.
This F7 Paco model differs from the previous models featured so far by using a Canadian cedar top instead of solid spruce, while the sides and back are laminate rosewood.
Cedar is softer than spruce, which means that it’s more sensitive. Heavy strumming won’t work as well on this guitar, but more delicate, refined playing will.
The tone isn’t as bright as some of the others on my best flamenco guitars list, but the sound is still full-bodied, but generally warmer and darker. This isn’t a downside, as some prefer that sound more.
The solid mahogany neck creates superb sustain and detail, and is set at a flat angle to give you low string action for outstanding flamenco playability.
This guitar is an excellent pick for the more budget-conscious guitar player while still embodying the quality and reliability of Yamaha’s guitars.
If you’ve been using a classical guitar for your flamenco playstyle, you might not be getting the desired effect. If you want to get a bona fide flamenco guitar, but you’re not sure if you’re want to splurge a lot, then this guitar is ideal for you.
The top is made of solid spruce, and its sides and back are made of cypress. These materials will give you a solid tone and volume. The neck is nato, and the bridge and fingerboard are rosewood, giving your fretting hand a smooth and comfortable playing experience.
For those taking their first steps into the world of flamenco music and looking for their first flamenco guitar, the Yamaha CG172SF is a great option.
7. Alhambra 3F CT Flamenco Acoustic-Electric Guitar
If you want to connect your guitar to an amp, then this Alhambra acoustic-electric flamenco guitar comes with a built-in Fishman electronic pickup and tuner. Fishman is known for its amazing electronics on acoustic and classical guitars.
The built-in Fishman Classic II system is especially dedicated to nylon string guitars, but the 3F CT is built with the steel-string guitar player somewhat in mind also, due to the slightly narrower neck width compared to typical classical models.
The combination of a solid German spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and rosewood fingerboard means acoustically the guitar sounds rich, bright, and snappy.
When played through a top-quality “acoustic” amplifier, the 3F CT, with its built-in Fishman pre-amp, creates a sound that you wouldn’t imagine from a budget-priced electro-acoustic classical guitar, in a good way of course!
The body also features a cutaway, so you can reach those high notes with ease but there aren’t any strap pins, though, so the guitar is more suited to a seated playing position.
I like this flamenco guitar because of it’s built-in pre-amp and affordability, so if you think you’d like to have that extra versatility, the Alhambra acoustic-electric model is one to consider!
Although the PS-15-S is the more budget-friendly model from Prudencio, nearly half the price of their more popular model the PS-22, it shares a lot of the same high-quality features.
Like the PS-22, the PS-15-S uses a solid spruce top with Torres-style fan bracing creating a warm yet powerful tone. The cypress back and sides produce an immediate and rich bass response and the cedar neck superior resonance without sacrificing comfort.
For many players that want to own a Prudencio Saez guitar, a brand that has been going since 1963, but want a slightly more budget-friendly option, the PS-15-S combines tradition and technology to make an excellent flamenco guitar.
The Angel Lopez CF1246 S is another excellent budget flamenco guitar option; this time, it’s made by Angel Lopez.
It has a solid spruce top, cypress back and sides, and rosewood fingerboard, which are at par with other more expensive options. There are also design touches to give it that more refined feel, like the body coated with a beautiful glossy finish to keep it protected and shiny.
The setup is perfect straight out of the box, so beginners can quickly learn and play this guitar while expecting reliable sound quality.
More advanced players may notice the nuances when compared to a more expensive flamenco guitar, like the smallish string spacing and slightly thick neck, but this model will serve beginners and intermediates very well for a long time.
For an easily affordable and quality pick, with a slightly better look than the Yamaha in my opinion, this model is another great flamenco guitar for beginners!
You might not have heard of the Kremona brand. It’s been in business since 1924, and they manufacture their guitars in Bulgaria. This beautiful Rosa Morena is one of their sub-$1000 models.
It’s made of a solid spruce top and mahogany sides and back for that reliable, fantastic tone. It also comes with a cedar neck and ebony fingerboard, which will feel excellent on your fingers.
Since flamenco players use their fingernails to pluck the strings, the body can likely get all scratched and banged up. That’s why this guitar’s body is protected with two pickguards, to ensure that it stays protected and fresh as much as possible.
Choosing The Best Flamenco Guitar For You
So, there you have it. Whether you’re a beginner who wants to get into the world of flamenco or a professional who’s looking for a flamenco guitar to take to the stage, these are the best flamenco guitars on the market today!
A lot of the list is comprised of Cordoba flamenco guitars, and this is simply because I believe they’re currently the best flamenco guitar makers that are easy to get your hands on!
You have the workshops in Madrid’s flamenco district, with likes of Pedro De Miguel and Mariano Conde, who handcraft Spanish guitars for some of the best flamenco guitarists in Spain. The latter, Mariano Conde, have even made flamenco guitars for music legends Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
But I’d reserve these for players with vast experience, and those that are looking for something extremely special, especially if you have the opportunity to visit their workshops in Madrid and order a custom!
For the rest of us, the best flamenco guitar is the one you can afford and get your hands on. Set a budget, and then narrow down your options based on your playing style, whether you’ll be performing and want a built-in electric pickup, and the body style you prefer.
Rest assured, you won’t go wrong with any of these flamenco guitars, and remember, the best musician is always the one having the most fun!
Happy playing! – Will