Flamenco music is one of the most distinctive style of music, with almost anyone able to readily identify its unique style, even if they may be unsure about many other popular styles of guitar based music. Flamenco music has such a distinctive quality due in part to the special style of guitar used, called a flamenco guitar. The flamenco guitar has a long history, but is alive and as popular as ever today. It is possible to purchase a flamenco style guitar as well as a fully traditional flamenco model.
If you are looking to purchase a genuine, traditional flamenco guitar then you will most likely be looking for an instrument made from Spanish cypress and spruce. This combination of wood is what lends the flamenco guitar its distinctive body colour and visual appearance. The flamenco guitar is also significantly lighter in weight than classic guitars, and is a good deal smaller too. This smaller size and shape, in addition to the choice of woods used, is what helps to provide a flamenco guitar with its distinctive bright sound, with a quality of note that is quite a good deal more percussive in sound than a standard guitar.
One of the features of the flamenco guitar which was considered of particular importance in its original design and subsequent development is volume. The reason for this is that, traditionally, flamenco guitars have been played as a musical accompaniment for the flamenco dancers. Traditional flamenco dancers wear nailed shoes to create a tapping sound as they dance, and in order for the flamenco guitar to be heard above this shoe tapping, it has always been important for it to have the ability to create music with significant volume.
Another feature of a traditional flamenco guitar which is quite different from standard, classical guitars, is the inclusion of a metal plate or guard, which works in a similar way to the pick guard. Today these are often made of plastic, but they are still used to help protect the body of the guitar from the regular tapping, or golpes, which forms part of the playing style.
Traditional flamenco guitars were often created with tuning pegs which were made from wood. In this way they were styled more in the way of violins than guitars, and although today many flamenco guitars use the same style of tuning pegs as most other guitar styles, the more traditional models still have wooden pegs, and some traditional flamenco players insist on this feature being kept. The reason for this is to help keep the weight down in the headstock section of the guitar. The more weight there is in the headstock part of a guitar, the better the sustain. In many guitars this is a desirable feature, but for flamenco guitars it is not. By having a lighter headstock, the sustain is shortened, and the attack on the note is much sharper and crisper. This is one of the essential aspects of flamenco playing, and so having wooden tuning pegs and a lighter headstock is important in helping to maintain a fully traditional flamenco guitar sound.