Background Image

Best Flamenco Guitar: Top 5 Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Models

Want to know the best flamenco guitar? It depends on your budget, and sorry to say, your own personality!

by Michael & Rafael

Rafael has taught and performed flamenco guitar for over 40 years, including many famous stars – from EOB (Radiohead) to Jack Peñate (recorded with Adele).

Tired of playing the same chords over and over?

A new course for flamenco guitar beginners. Join thousands of other students taught by Rafael Lloyd Iglesias.

Taught by a lifelong flamenco performer & teacher. Access now at $30 / month.

The Best Flamenco Gutars for Beginners: Introduction

Authors' note, unlike other sites with affiliate links, we are not paid to promote any flamenco guitar manufacturer. Enjoy the article and good luck on the purchase!

Why buying the right guitar matters for flamenco players

Flamenco guitarists, or "guitarra flamenca" players, usually have a modified guitar to match the flamenco playing style. This is known as a flamenco guitar. These deliver a sharp, percussive tones and maintain clarity in the midst of what can be complex spanish guitar rhythms.

More practically – flamenco playing involves a lot of percussive whacks, known as golpes. Without a guard against this, known as the golpeador, the guitar will end up with a hole in it over time!

For some, having a special guitar for the spanish playing style also enables an extension of the player's emotions and feelings.

What is the best flamenco guitar?

The "best" flamenco guitar is not a question with an objective answer. It varies depending on personal preferences. It also depends on the money you have to spend. Flamenco guitars can be bought new from as a little as $300, and easily go into thousands or tens of thousands for collectible guitars.

Many professional players play with guitars on the cheaper end – $500 -  going up to $1,000 - $2,000. But in the reality of performing a gig with other singers, dancers and audience noise, having a studio-level guitar is not necessary.

You can check our previous post on buying a Flamenco Guitar here. In short: try out different models in store to find the one that suits your needs and resonates with your playing style. This rules out buying a flamenco guitar online, unless you are happy to invest time returning it if it doesn't suit you.

Below are several popular or highly regarded flamenco guitar models that have gained some recognition for each 'bucket' – student, intermediate or collectible.B

Top 5 Best Student Flamenco Guitars

There are many well-regarded flamenco guitars, and the "best" one for you will depend on your playing style, preferences, and budget. Five popular and well-reviewed ones are:

Alhambra 3F

This is a well-known flamenco guitar for beginners and flamenco students, made in Spain. This guitar is renowned for its playability and dynamic range. Its German spruce top and cypress back and sides offer a balanced tone with a quick response. Can be bought for £/$400-500.

The German spruce top gives it a bright, snappy "flamenco" sound designed for rhythmic strumming and percussive playing. The sycamore wood back and sides provide a balanced tone.

As a student (beginner) model guitar, it is comfortable to play with a low, easy action on the fingerboard. This is often one of the most important things students want: low action.

It is an affordable option ideal for anyone starting to learn flamenco guitar. It is great value for a student guitar.

Manuel Rodriguez C3F

This guitar features a solid cypress back and sides, which provide a traditional flamenco tone. Its clarity and volume make it a popular choice for players. Likewise available for £/$400-500.

The Rodriguez C3FLAM (sometimes just called C3F) is built for playing flamenco guitar. Some guitars are built for cross-genres eg classical and flamenco hybrid playing, but this is not one of them. The C3F has a thinner body depth and bracing that allows the solid spruce top to really sing with a bright, percussive tone perfect for rhythmic strumming and tapping. The sycamore back and sides add warmth and projection.

Special flamenco features naturally include a golpeador (tap plate) for finger rhythms and a wide 52mm nut for easy fretting of chords.

The mahogany neck has a traditional Spanish heel joint for smooth playability along the Indian rosewood fingerboard. The C3FLAM is an affordable option ideal for flamenco students wanting an authentic voice for this passionate Spanish style. Have a listen below.

Cordoba F7 Flamenco Guitar

Cordoba make a variety of entry and mid-level guitars, and the F7 is a popular model for beginners. It has a spruce wood top which a lot of flamenco guitars have, giving a bright, snappy sound perfect for rhythmic flamenco playing.

The body is a little thinner than a classical guitar – and generally Cordoba guitars we've noticed tend to be thinner than other flamenco manufacturers – giving it a nice lightweight feel. Also the Cordobas we've played have a low, easy-to-play neck (made of decent materials like mahogany and ebony) – in other words, the 'action' is low.

The F7 guitar has some really nice features that you normally only find on much more expensive guitars. For example, the top of the guitar body is made from solid spruce wood from Europe. Most cheaper guitars use laminate wood for the top instead of solid wood. The back and sides are made of cypress wood. The whole body has an attractive glossy finish.

The neck is made of solid mahogany wood, which is good quality. The fretboard on the neck is made of pau ferro wood. Many guitar makers are using pau ferro instead of other woods because it follows international rules about using natural resources. The fretboard has 19 metal frets along it, with 12 frets easy to play. This is the typical number of frets for a classical guitar.

Overall, the F7 looks and feels like it should cost way more than it does because of the quality woods and construction. But it is still affordable, even for beginners.

Cordoba GK Studio Negra Flamenco Guitar

Selling at around $700, the GK Studio comes loaded with 'premium' features usually found on pricier instruments, such as a built-in pickup. 

The top is made from solid European spruce wood, while the back and sides utilize rosewood - both higher-quality tonewoods than the laminates used on cheaper guitars. The mahogany neck has a rosewood fretboard with the standard 19 frets. It has a thinner, cutaway body style compared to classical guitars. Additionally, it's equipped with a Fishman pickup for amplifying the sound.

Reviews frequently praise the guitar's beautiful aesthetics, rich and powerful tone, and outstanding value for the money. One customer deems it "worth every penny". Another feels it "punches above its weight class" for a mid-priced model.

The vast majority of reviews rave over the premium woods, construction quality, playability, and superb sound - especially for the price point after doing a basic setup. Descriptions like "amazing" and "beautiful" are common for this instrument praised as an exceptional value.

The GK model comes with a pricier variant (known as the Pro) made of better materials, but the studio version can be picked up online for around $700. Note this guitar really needs to be played in hand because of the unusual body size, which is about 3/4 the size of a fuller guitar. While it is a beginner-intermediate guitar, we do not recommend it to beginner students because of its size is too small, and hand positioning is harder.

Prudencio Saez 15  Flamenco Gitarre

Coming in at around £/$550, this classical guitar is handmade in Spain by Prudencio Saez, a luthier with over 50 years of experience crafting high-quality Spanish guitars using traditional methods. The PS-4A-S model features a solid spruce wood top and rosewood back and sides - premium tonewoods that produce a resonant, responsive tone.

The top has fan bracing in Saez's unique pattern to reinforce it while allowing it to vibrate freely. The neck is slim and comfortable, made of solid mahogany wood. The fingerboard utilizes Indian rosewood, with a polished rosewood bridge as well. Elegant wood inlays and purfling trim accent the body.

While more affordable than Saez's higher-end PS-22 model, the PS-4A-S maintains excellent craftsmanship. The main difference is the fingerboard wood, using rosewood instead of ebony. But it shares the same quality spruce top, cypress back/sides, and cedar neck as the PS-22.

Overall, it's described as combining tradition and modern technology into an exceptional, stylish flamenco guitar - especially for the price point from a renowned Spanish luthier.

Have a listen to the guitar below – note the playing style position and playing style is classical, but you can still hear the tones of this guitar.

Best intermediate guitars

Burguet Flamenco 2F Negra

We like Burguet guitars. Rafael has been recommending them to his students throughout his career. Rafael Lloyd Iglesias even plays a custom Burguet made for him.The 2F is an intermediate guitar coming in at around $1,500, and being the cheapest Burguet availabe, means it is unfortunately outside of beginner budgets.

Easy and comfortable play, with a bright and intense sound. More advanced models are available at higher price ranges but this one is a popular option for players looking to spend £1-2k. For many advanced players a Burguet is a fine guitar to play.

The Model 2F Negra from Amalio Burguet is a high-quality handmade flamenco guitar. Burguet takes pride in their guitars being 100% made by hand using traditional Spanish luthier methods. Only premium solid woods are used, like the spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides on this model. The woods have at least 20 years of drying time for optimum resonance.

The neck is made of cedar wood with an ebony fretboard and a bone nut, allowing for comfortable playability. Amalio Burguet uses top-notch glues and finishes like the polyurethane finish on this guitar.

While designed as a flamenco guitar, the 2F Negra is very versatile. Its low action and slim neck profile make it suitable for other styles like jazz and blues in addition to flamenco. It falls into Burguet's "Studio" level of instruments.

Overall, this handcrafted guitar utilizes traditional Spanish construction with high-end tonewoods and appointments. Burguet prides themselves on providing customers with meticulously made guitars of the finest quality materials and workmanship. The 2F Negra is a versatile and authentic flamenco guitar found in many guitar distributors in Spain.

Camps Concierto Flamenco 

A beautiful guitar made by Camps in Girona (near Barcelona, Spain), with a similar feeling to the Burguet 2F. In my opinion it has more responsiveness when played, and is the flamenco guitar I use. The downside is that it comes in at a higher price point ($2,500 - $3,000). Can be found second hand sometimes for $1,500-$2,000.

The Camps Concierto Flamenca is a top-tier flamenco guitar designed specifically for professional musicians and concert performers. It was created through close collaboration between the renowned flamenco guitarist Manuel Granados and the expert luthiers at Hermanos Camps. They combined their skills and experience to build an exceptional instrument.

Despite being pleasantly lightweight, this instrument has powerful projection and responsiveness. It excels at rendering brilliant traditional flamenco styles, but also handles contemporary fusion sounds with great attack and superb volume.

The Concierto model represents the joined expertise of an acclaimed flamenco artist and a respected Spanish guitar maker. Through careful wood selection, refined craftsmanship, and novel building techniques, they created an elite flamenco guitar tailored for the needs of performing artists. It balances luxurious aesthetics with outstanding musicality across traditional and modern genres.

Camps Primera Negra A Flamenco Guitar

The Camps Primera Negra A is an upgraded version of the popular Primera Negra model from the renowned Spanish luthiers Hermanos Camps. It features a solid spruce top wood that has been carefully selected and an elaborate internal bracing pattern designed to produce an exceptionally detailed sound with deep basses, sparkling trebles, and excellent projection.

The solid rosewood back and sides pair with the spruce top to create a very open, vibrant tone. The neck allows for easy playability and responsiveness. Each Primera Negra A is personally certified by maestro Manuel Granados before leaving the Camps workshop in Girona, Spain.

The Primera A has a quintessential bright, punchy sound desired for percussive techniques, while still offering enough warmth and sustain for melodic passages. Reviewers praise how well set up it is right out of the box, with the action low enough for effortless playability without being overly buzzy.

Overall, it's as an exceptional flamenco guitar from a respected maker, similar to the Camps Concierto but cheaper and easier to obtain.

The guitar plays quite similar to the Burguet 2F and even the more expensive Camps Concierto – really, with any of these guitars you can't go wrong!

Expensive / Collectible Flamenco Guitars

Vicente Carrillo Flamenco Negra

Vicente Carrillo is a renowned luthier. The Flamenco Negra, with a solid Indian rosewood back and sides and a spruce top, produces a warm, deep tone with a quick response, making it suitable for complex rhythms. Prices vary, but can be found online for $4,000 - $5,000.

Conde Hermanos Flamenco Blanca

Conde Hermanos is known for its quality in the world of flamenco. The Flamenco Blanca model is favored by professional flamenco guitarists, featuring a spruce top and cypress back and sides for the classic punchy and percussive flamenco sound. Prices vary.

Should I buy a handmade flamenco guitar?

Not necessarily, but the higher build quality that you'll see from a handmade process by a Luthier generally makes the guitar feel better to play. In turn you will want to play it more. The intermediate flamenco guitars above are handmade, eg the ones by Burguet and Camps, which reflects the higher price points.

While the beginner flamenco guitars are generally mass-produced, the most important thing is to try them and see if you like how it feels. For your playing level they may feel wonderful to play. A lifelong guitarist will notice more differences in build quality than someone just starting out.

When just starting out, the key thing is to spend your time practicisng, take some flamenco guitar lessons (as Rafael offers in his course). It is not necessary to spend all your money on the best gear, although this is easier said than done!

Should I look for guitars made in spain? Are spanish made guitars better?

Rafael discusses this in his online course, but the answer is no: there are wonderful guitars being made all around the world. The scene was different 40 years ago, where most of the expertise was certainly based in Spain. With globalisation you can buy many wonderful guitars in the UK, America, Europe, Japan, the UAE, Australia and so on.

Many luthiers still handmake their guitars in Spain however – eg Burguet and Camps, as we've referred to above. 

What are the best spanish guitar brands?

We like (and play) Burguet and Hermanos Camps. These are for intermediate and professional players.

Cordoba and Alhambra are household names and offer beginner / entry level models. If you are paying $1,000 or more it is worth trying to get a Burguet or Camps guitar.

What guitar does Rafael play?

As a famous performer, Rafael Lloyd Iglesias plays a number of guitars, mostly Burguets, including a custom model named after him.

One thing to (in our opinion) avoid or not put focus on when buying a higher end flamenco guitar is the use of French polish. In practice it turns the guitar less into something you want to play on a daily basis, and into a piece of furniture. The instrument is designed to be played, rather than marvelled at in it's physical beauty. The addition of the polish is an unnecessary complication when maintaining the guitar (and can, for some, make it harder to hold).

Now that you have a flamenco guitar, check out Rafael's course on how to actually play it!

Tired of playing the same chords over and over?

A new course for flamenco guitar beginners. Join thousands of other students taught by Rafael Lloyd Iglesias.